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The current Backyard Baseball logo.
|Publisher(s)||Humongous Entertainment |
The Evergreen Group
|Platform(s)||Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, Wii, Microsoft Windows, iOS, Xbox 360, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, Macintosh|
|First release||Backyard Baseball|
October 24, 1997
|Latest release||Backyard Sports: Baseball|
Backyard Baseball is a series of baseball video games for children which was developed by Humongous Entertainment and published by Atari. It was first released in October 1997 for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows. Later games were featured on Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Wii, and iOS. It is part of the Backyard Sports series. There have been eleven different versions of the game since 1997. Some of the game titles that were created include Backyard Baseball, Backyard Baseball 2001-2010, and Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers.
The original game consisted of 30 neighborhood kids from which the gamer could choose to play. Over the years, the idea of "Pro players as kids" became popular, and the original statistics and looks of the players changed. Some of the professional players that were available included Chipper Jones, Frank Thomas, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki, Sammy Sosa, Jim Thome, Albert Pujols, Nomar Garciaparra, Ken Griffey Jr., and Barry Bonds. As the game progresses, there are some professionals that become available or "unlockable" including Randy Johnson, Derek Jeter, and Mike Piazza.
In Backyard Baseball, players take a managerial role by creating a team of different players to compete against opponents. In the different installments, a player could play an exhibition game or a 14, 16 or 32 game season (different versions vary) followed by the "Backyard Baseball League" playoffs, which contains the American League and National League divisional series, the AL and NL championship series and finally the "Backyard Baseball World Series". Series games will vary per game.
This game has various playable modes, they include: Single Game, Batting Practice, Spectator, and Season Game.
In 2013, The Evergreen Group acquired the intellectual property from Atari.
The game has also been noted for its diversity (gender, race) of characters, both in ratio of white to non-white and male to female, as well as skill level and the distribution of the best characters.
Sometimes accompanying the four standard batting modes (Power, Line Drive, Grounder and Bunt), some beneficial power-ups appear. In the original Backyard Baseball, these batting power-ups appeared when the player got a hit when the computer used a "crazy pitch" (see below). Starting from Backyard Baseball 2001, the power ups were awarded after a hit off a "crazy pitch" and when the player turned a double play or triple play on defense. In addition to these batting power-ups, pitching power-ups, or "crazy pitches," also progressively appear, though they are much more frequent and in number, occurring whenever the player strikes an opponent out. These pitches consume much more energy and causes the strike zone to expand, so most of the pitches given are never used consecutively. In addition to the "crazy pitches," a strikeout may also award the player "More Juice," a full energy recharge for the pitcher that can be used when the player sees fit to use it.
Backyard Baseball 2001
- Aluminum Power: This power-up is the most valued and can disappear after one or no tries when in use. Players use an aluminum bat to increase the chances to hit a home run.
- Screaming Line Drive: The power-up last about two uses and appears more frequently. Players hit a fast line drive to the wall and allows the batter to run more or all bases.
- Under Grounder: This move lasts at least two uses. Players hit a ground ball that goes into the ground, causing the ball to reappear in any random area of the outfield.
- Crazy Bunt: The move disappears after one or no tries when in use, but if the power-up is used sparingly, the move can last up to four uses. When the ball is hit, the ball rolls around the field erratically as fielders just barely miss catching it.
- Big Freeze: The ball is thrown like normal but suddenly stops just before it enters the strike zone, often faking the hitter into swinging at the pitch.
- Elevator: The ball is thrown low along the ground and then the ball suddenly jumps into the air at the last moment.
- Crazyball: the ball "laughs" when thrown, and it moves in random directions in the air. Easier to hit if swingspot is enabled
- Corkskrew: The ball makes a spiral motion through the air. Easier to hit if swingspot is enabled
- Zigzag: The ball makes a zig-zag motion through the air. Easier to hit if swingspot is enabled
- Slomo: The ball travels very slowly through the air, requiring precise timing to be hit.
- Spitball: The ball is covered with saliva and jerks in the air.
- Fireball: One of the most powerful pitches, the ball blazes past the batter in a ball of fire at an incredibly high speed. When used by a player, this pitch is the most draining of the pitcher's stamina.
Backyard Baseball 2005
- Sonic Boom: The player knocks down opposing fielders with a super-powerful shockwave.
- Rubber Bat: The batter bounce a grounder really high into the air — the player will have a chance to reach base before any fielder catches the ball.
- Butter Fingers: The player will splatter the opposing fielders with butter. They'll have a slippery time trying to field your hit.
- Jumping Bean Bunt: This tricky power-up makes the ball jump all over the place!
- Lightning Bat: Produce tremendous power when you connect with the ball.
- Geyser Hit: The batter makes the ball burrow deep underground before it suddenly surfaces somewhere in the outfield.
- Piñata Bat: The batter drives fielders crazy when the ball is hit, the ball multiplies into dozens of bouncing baseballs.
- Orbiter: Knock the stuffing out of the ball.
- The Fang: The Fang looks like a normal curve-ball, but it bites hard at the last second and goes straight into the dirt.
- Freezer: The Freezer stops just before reaching the strike zone, pauses briefly, and then continues.
- Slo MO: This ball starts moving at ultra-slow speed just before reaching the strike zone.
- Juice Box: The Juice Box will refill your pitcher's Pitch Juice Box.
- Rainbow Pop-up: When it's hit, the ball goes straight into the air for an easy out.
- Crazy Pitch: The Crazy Pitch is so wild that even the pitcher doesn't know where it will go.
- Splitball: This pitch splits into two separate curve-balls, one of which is a fake,unhittable baseball.
- Fireball: The Fireball is so fast it can burn a hole in your catcher's glove.
|Backyard Baseball||October 24, 1997||Macintosh, Microsoft Windows|
|Backyard Baseball 2001||May 19, 2000||Macintosh, Microsoft Windows|
|Backyard Baseball||2002||Game Boy Advance|
|Backyard Baseball 2003||2002||Macintosh, Microsoft Windows|
|Backyard Baseball||2003||Nintendo GameCube|
|Backyard Baseball||2004||PlayStation 2|
|Backyard Baseball 2005||2004||Microsoft Windows|
|Backyard Baseball 2006||2005||Game Boy Advance|
|Backyard Sports: Baseball 2007||2006||Game Boy Advance, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows|
|Backyard Baseball 09||2008||Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2, Windows|
|Backyard Baseball 10||2009||Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2|
|Backyard Sports: Sandlot Sluggers||2010||Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows|
|Backyard Sports: Baseball 2015||2015||iOS, Android published by Fingerprint Network|
- Delayo, Mike. "The Inclusive Legacy of Backyard Baseball". Fangraphs.
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