Backyard Sports

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Just for the Rule of Fun.

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Backyard Sports, formerly called Junior Sports, is a sports video game series originally made by Humongous Entertainment, which was later bought by Atari. It is the only game series that has licensing from all the major professional sports leagues in the USA: the MLB, MLS, NFL, NBA, and NHL.

There have been over 30 games published in the series, the first few of which are regarded as quite good and the last few of which are regarded as awful. There are six main brands associated with the series: Backyard Baseball, Backyard Soccer, Backyard Football, Backyard Basketball, Backyard Hockey, and Backyard Skateboarding (which has only produced one game and its Game of the Year Edition). The series has spawned a TV special (NFL Backyard Basics: Football Tips from the Pros) and a few books, as well as a Comic Book Adaptation (a Prequel to the game Sandlot Sluggers) which can be read here.

The series was originally only Competitive Multiplayer, but starting with Backyard Football '10, Co-Op Multiplayer is also in the games.

A demo version of Baseball 2001 can be downloaded [dead link] from Infogrames, and a trial version of Sandlot Sluggers can be downloaded from Atari.

Tropes used in Backyard Sports include:

Certain installments of the series provide examples of:

  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Cactus Gulch in Backyard Football.
  • Always Night: Humongous Memorial Stadium in Backyard Baseball.
  • Area 51: Area 51½ (also known as A Nameless Field) from the Soccer series.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The Mul-T-Puk air hockey minigame in Backyard Hockey has exceptionally stupid AI. This video says it all.
  • Awesome Music: Invoked and lampshaded in Backyard Baseball 2001/Soccer: MLS Edition/Soccer 2004; one of the Credits Gags is "Click here to listen to the awesome credits song. Oh, and see the Smarty Pants who made this game."
  • A Winner Is You:
    • The GBA games, except Football, which has no ending.
    • Backyard Baseball 2001 and Soccer: MLS Edition removed the rewards for winning, besides getting a picture in the Hall of Fame.
    • In the Football games on the PC, beating the game as Mr. Clanky's Tackling Dummies gives you a simple victory photo. Justified as this team only consists of robots who probably aren't programmed to ride rides at an amusement park.
  • Battle in the Rain: The opening cutscene in Backyard Football 2002.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: There is a Yeti team in Backyard Hockey 2005.
  • Continuity Nod: from Baseball 2005; in Starlite Orchards, you can see the intro movie from Football playing on the big screen.
    • Also, Buddy Cheque (the Hockey commentator) makes an offhand reference to Vinnie the Gooch, the original commentator for the Baseball games.
  • Continuity Reboot: Arguably, Backyard Baseball 2007.
  • Covers Always Lie: Although Soccer 2004 was the last game to feature the kids' original designs, the box art depicted their then-new appearances.
  • Credits Gag: If you simply hover the mouse over the credits button in Backyard Baseball 2001, Backyard Soccer: MLS Edition and Backyard Soccer 2004, you get some humorous messages at the bottom of the screen.
  • Deadly Gas: A powerup in Backyard Football 2006.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Football 2002 has the NFL license, and thus the Miami Dolphins are a playable team. However, one custom team name is the Orcas, which are a species of dolphins.
  • Drive-In Theater: Starlite Orchards Drive-In in Backyard Baseball 2005.
  • Easier Than Easy: T-Ball mode in Backyard Baseball.
  • Easter Egg: All your base are belong to Humongous.
  • Feelies: Earlier installments came with promotional cards of the Backyard kids and pros. The ones that came with Baseball were an Obvious Beta, however, as some kids' clothes are differently colored, and their pitching and fielding stats are inaccurate and labeled as "Throwing" and "Catching".
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Powerups in Baseball are based off all three, along with water (the spitball).
  • Follow the Leader: The 3D Football games are similar to Madden, while Skateboarding copied the gameplay of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, right down to the control scheme.
  • Flying Saucer: In Wheeler Acres in Backyard Baseball 2005.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: A stage in Backyard Football 2004.
  • Ghibli Hills: The forest in Football 2006.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: The Cagey Bees team in Backyard Soccer.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Juice heals you in Baseball and Basketball.
  • It's Always Spring: Averted in Football 2004, where the climate changes with real-world climate.
  • Jet Pack: Backyard Football has the Rocket Boots powerups.
  • Joke Item: The powerup The Fang in Baseball. It will always be a ball even if it is thrown in the strike zone.
    • Lethal Joke Item: It's designed to trick the batter into swinging (if they do, they'll always miss).
    • Actually you can get it in the corner of the strike zone if the player's strike zone is big enough.
  • Kung Fu Sonic Boom: The Sonic Boom powerup in Football.
  • Limit Break: Hot Hand and Dunk in Basketball.
  • Loading Screen: In Football 2006.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Screaming Line Drive in Baseball.
  • Meaningful Name: In Backyard Hockey, Beverly Backstop is the best goalie in the game...because she stops the puck.
  • Multi Mook Melee: In Baseball 2005, the Fielders' Challenge is against an endless team of dummies.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: From the original Baseball 's credits: "No hot dogs were consumed in the making of this game. Okay, maybe a few."
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Tokyo Field in Baseball 2007 is an obvious replica of Tokyo Dome.
  • No Ending: Football on the GBA has no ending at all. You don't even get a trophy for winning the Cereal Bowl.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Hockey does not take place in a backyard.
  • Nostalgia Level: Steele Stadium in Baseball 2005, looking exactly as it did in the original (except it is in 3D).
  • Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Backyard Soccer: MLS Edition is the only one to not be named after a year, up until Sandlot Sluggers.
  • Old Save Bonus: Having a Basketball PlayStation 2 save file unlocks Barry Dejay in Baseball PlayStation 2.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Batting in Baseball.
  • One Steve Limit: Happens in the original Baseball and Soccer. Averted in the later games, due to the pros.
  • Palmtree Panic: The Boardwalk in Baseball 2005.
  • Patchwork Map: The island in Football 2006.
  • Power-Up Letdown: The Chameleon play in Football, which turns your team uniforms into the offense uniforms. It really backfires, as it's still easy to tell what players are yours, and it's impossible to fool the computer. 2-player mode doesn't do any better; you can't highlight the pass icon over the defense, so the power up becomes worthless.
  • Product Placement: In Soccer 2004, Carlos Valderrama mentions that his favorite TV program is Blue's Clues (which counts as one of Humongous' self-promotions, as they made many of Blue's Clues' Licensed Games).
  • Recycled in Space: Football 2006 is Football... ON AN ISLAND!
  • Retraux: Babe Ruth in Backyard Baseball 2009 is done in a retro style.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: NFL Backyard Basics.
  • Save Scumming: The six save slots in the original Baseball were probably meant for this.
  • Self-Insert Fic: Typing in certain names for your coach in Hockey gave you three different teams featuring the game's art staff, producers, and programmers as kids.
    • As well, in Football 2004, Rhett Mathis, the original games' music composer, can be seen as an NPC kid on Season Mode teams
  • Silliness Switch: Cheat codes in Basketball for the PlayStation 2 make really big and small heads.
    • Even more so in Football 2006, where cheats can give characters big/small heads, big/small hands, etc; even different footballs-- from a watermelon to a chocolate eclair to a banana slug.
  • Single Pallette Town: Cyan Lane (which is, well, cyan) in Football 2006.
  • Slippery Skid: A powerup in Hockey causes this to happen.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The pros in Soccer: MLS Edition did have unique themes, but they can't be heard in the "Meet the Kids" screen. Instead, the menu song/previous kid's theme keeps playing, resulting in things like a lot of pros using Billy Jean Blackwood's cajun leitmotif.
  • Spinning Paper: Whenever you unlock something in Baseball 2005.
  • Sprint Meter: The juice meter in Baseball.
  • Sprint Shoes: There are sprint skates in Hockey.
  • Stealth Pun: There are a few examples, such as Duksana Pond in Hockey.
    • In some of the pros' endings, they are checking out something related to their team name.
  • Stop Poking Me: One of Kiesha Phillips' quotes in Basketball is "Stop that clicking, man! It tickles!"
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Bomb Ball in Soccer.
  • Super Mode: There is an invincibility powerup in Hockey.
  • Super Speed: A powerup in Basketball, Hockey, and Skateboarding.
  • Talking to Himself: Lani Minella plays both announcers in Baseball 2003 and Soccer 2004.
  • Tomorrowland: Quantum Field in Baseball 2005.
  • The Trope Without a Title: A Nameless Field (also known as Area 51½) from the Soccer series.
  • Under the Sea: The Aquadome in Baseball 2005.
  • The Voice: The mother calling for dinner in Dobbaguchi Arena in Basketball.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Aluminum Power in Baseball.

Sunny Day: This is Sunny Day, signing off!