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Lunch » Tags » Video Games » Reviews » Backyard Baseball 2001 » User review

Field of Dreams Comes to the Screen

  • Dec 22, 2002
Rating:
+3
Play baseball in the comfort of your own home. There's no shortage of baseball games for the PC especially with Humongous Entertainment's addition to the Backyard Sports series. Continuing the same tradition found in its other Backyard Sports games, you are the coach and you have the choice of choosing your own players including pros like Ivan Rodriguez, former Ranger Juan Gonzalez, and unbeatable Randy Johnson to name a few. Only in this game, they're kids! Backyard Baseball provides a wealth of options that are adaptable to your skill level and preferences.

I brought in a pricey, 6-year old consultant to test the product. It took a little time to get set up and going, but once we had everything figured out we knew our way around the field of dreams, a basic neighborhood field or you can move up to bigger and fancier fields. The game was set on the easy level that allowed her to hit every pitch at which she swung. After she finished her game (her team, the Rangers, lost and it was no surprise), I changed the level to medium and it was very tough to hit the ball. Time passed and the adults got the hang of it.

Later, the dad got hooked on the game -- so it's great for adults, too. Not only do you get pro ballers, you get regular kids with personality including a clumsy girl and a rock n' rollin' boy who do their shtick while at bat or on the field. This makes the game more entertaining and a bonus is that you can play other players and get software bug fixes while connected to the Internet.

The only thing I wish it had was the ability to create team names from scratch instead of limiting the coach to stock names. Other than that, the game is batting 1.000.

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About the reviewer
Meryl K Evans ()
Ranked #1948
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About this video game

Wiki

First released in 1997, this updated baseball simulation is designed especially for young kids, playfully introducing them to America's beloved sport. As in more sophisticated sims, players pick teams and gameplay options, only in this case, players pick neighborhood kids to fill out the roster. Each kid has a unique personality and set of skills. New to this version are 31 "pint-sized" versions of professional Major League players like Cal Ripken Jr.., Mark McGwire and Barry Larkin. This adds an element of humor to the game, as you meet and play with these cute little future superstars.

What we like most about the program are its many options that give children control over the experience. Kids can design team uniforms, create custom players, play alone or with others over the Internet, and so on. They choose each pitch, when to swing the bat and how hard to hit. Just like the real thing, the game takes practice, but it's thoroughly engaging and downright addictive.

Flaws are few. There are some non-interruptible animation sequences that we would have skipped if we could and the save features are limited, only allowing season games to be saved. Also, the program requires some reading at first, until you've got the navigation system memorized. All in all, though, this is a great program for many reasons. It breaks stereotypes (girls and physically challenged players play) and racial barriers (a cornucopia of ethnicities are represented) and it's just plain fun to boot.
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