Kids are Winners! With Backyard Sports for the MacFootball

By Brad Cook
You’ve probably seen games like Madden NFL 2000 available for your Mac, but did you know that there are sports games available for your kids too? Introducing Infogrames’ latest releases: Backyard Football 2002 and Backyard Basketball.

Humongous' Backyard Basketball: Hoop action.
Humongous’ Backyard Basketball: Hoop action.

girlRemember when you were a kid and you went down to the local playground to shoot hoops on the blacktop or get together a game of football out on the field? That’s the spirit of Backyard Sports: easy-to-play sports games that are geared toward kids, with junior versions of their favorite NBA, WNBA, and NFL stars thrown in for fun.

Best of all, the Backyard Sports titles are easy to learn. You or your kids can play these games on any Mac, including your family’s iMac or iBook. And Backyard Football 2002 and Backyard Basketball are on store shelves — both virtual and physical — year round, so your kids can still enjoy their favorite sports long after the Super Bowl and the NBA and WNBA Finals are over.

For the Fun of it
“Backyard Sports set out to capture what it’s like to play sports when you’re a kid in the backyard or sandlot,” says game designer Rafael Calonzo. “We concentrate on what makes a sport fun, and throw out everything else.” Calonzo is part of Humongous Entertainment, the developer of both games.

Humongous' Backyard Football: Go team, go!
Humongous’ Backyard Football: Go team, go!

boyBoth Backyard Football 2002 and Backyard Basketball feature basic, cartoon-like animation and simple gameplay that can be handled with a mouse or keyboard. Or, add-on a USB gamepad for an even more immersive experience.

And if your kids want to dig deeper, both games offer league play, complete with championships at the end of the season (Backyard Football’s Gridiron Grits Cereal Bowl and Backyard Basketball’s Splendiferous Basketball Championship of all Backyards Ever trophy), customizable players, fields and courts, and plenty of stats to pore over.

Genuine Kids
catchingIn addition to pint-size versions of real athletes — the NBA’s Kevin Garnett, the WNBA’s Lisa Leslie, and several players from the NFL, including Brett Favre, Ricky Williams, and Donovan McNabb — both games feature the Backyard Kids: 30 children of all sizes, colors, and physical abilities. When you assemble your team at the beginning of the game, you choose from the kids as well as the pro athletes, who aren’t necessarily the best players in the game.

“The Backyard Kids are very genuine,” says lead programmer Ben Young. “They have individual strengths, foibles, and stories that make you say ‘I know someone just like that.’ Learning the kids’ personalities and knowing which ones to pick for your team strategy is a fun part of the game; adult sports games tend to have players that are just collections of stats.”

  Games For All the ‘Shorties’ Out There
So what do the professional athletes featured in the games think of becoming pint-size players in the Backyard Sports leagues?

First experience with a Mac.

ball “I only got to meet Kevin Garnett in person,” says Calonzo, “but he was really hyped to be immortalized as a Backyard Kid. He thought it was cool that we make games for all the ‘shorties’ out there.”

girl Both Calonzo and Young are happy that Humongous is reaching out to Macintosh owners and their kids with these games. “I know that a lot of young kids get their first computer experience on Macs at school and at home,” Calonzo says.

All Humongous releases are on hybrid CDs, which means that the Mac and PC versions of their games come on the same disc and in the same game box on store shelves. Be sure to visit your local Apple retail store, the online Apple Store, or an Apple authorized reseller and look for Backyard Football 2002 and Backyard Basketball.

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The Backyard Kids Scouting Reports

Just who are the Backyard Kids? While space doesn’t permit sharing all of their stories with you, we thought you might want to learn about a few of them.

Backyard Basketball:

Kimmy Eckman: Running constantly on the sugar from the candy she loves to eat, Kimmy is a solid basketball point guard.
Kenny Kawaguchi: Kenny is quick in his wheelchair and is a precise outsider shooter.
Jorge Garcia: Tall and gangly, Jorge’s specialty is blocking shots and picking up rebounds.
Backyard Football 2002:

Dante Robinson: Dante loves to eat. All that food gives him incredible speed and a powerful arm.
Maria Luna: She’s a great receiver, but she also insists on pink uniforms.
Kiesha Phillips: A solid all-around football player, Kiesha also loves knock-knock jokes.

System Requirements

Backyard Basketball

  233MHz PowerPC G3 processor or higher
 Mac OS 8.1 or higher (a Mac OS X patch will be available from the Humongous Web site at a later date)
 64MB of RAM available
 4MB free hard drive space
 4X CD-ROM or faster

Backyard Football 2002

 132MHz PowerPC processor; 233MHz recommended
 Mac OS 7.5.5 or higher (a Mac OS X patch will be available from the Humongous Web site at a later date)
 4MB free hard drive space
 22MB of RAM available
 4X CD-ROM (8X recommended)