How come the characters do not age at all for a few games, and then jump three years the next?
Which game are you referring to? 'Cause if it's Baseball 2007, that's probably a result of the Continuity Reboot.
Nope, I'm referring from Baseball 03 to Hockey.
In that case, I guess it's because the characters all got a redesign.
The NPC kids. Where do they come from? Why do they change appearance from game to game?note To elaborate on the latter, I'll take an NPC from recent experience, say... Debby Nagasawa. In Baseball '05, she's white with blonde hair. In Hockey '05, she has black hair and asian skin.
This can probably be chalked up to Rule of Cool, but in Baseball— where'd they get a blimp?note In a later iteration (Baseball 2005), it's replaced with a biplane.
Why does Hockey (can't remember which iteration) butcher all the kid's designs?
Because Humongous wanted to appeal to an older audience.
Not sure it helped too much. I'd been playing the games for a while and actually liked the fact that the characters were a bit younger. It helped make the more bizarre events fit in.
How was Atari allowed to use NFL teams and players when EA had an exclusive license?