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YMMV: Backyard Sports

The series in general provides examples of:

  • Badass Decay: In the original games, Pete Wheeler could master everything with his blazing speed. He eventually degraded into being the same as the other characters, thanks to the pros. He also Took a Level in Dumbass.
  • Broken Base: Has happened many, many times. Just check below at They Changed It, Now It Sucks.
  • Chaotic Good: There is no way Ronny Dobbs would follow anyone unless the person actually needs help.
  • Chaotic Neutral: Kimmy Eckman. She likes candy and hurts pinatas and dolls just to see if candy is in them (or for batting practice).
  • Critic Proof
  • Dork Age: Backyard Baseball 2007 started this, with a complete design overhaul that put the characters into their teenage years. Several characters were removed, with new ones in their place. Around this point, the series was simply used as a cash cow for major sports licenses, with every single bit of not caring in full force. It peaked at the 2010 titles, until the series finally lost the major sports licenses and had to start using effort again. It wasn't enough though; see Win BACK The Crowd below.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Half the pros. Many of them took steroids (Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa), and many have their own specific reasons (Ricky Williams chose drugs over football).
  • It's Easy, so It Sucks: A complaint of the later games.
  • Memetic Badass: Pablo Sanchez, full stop. For just about every single player, he's the first pick. His incredibly high Game Breaker level stats combined with being a Bilingual Bonus made him the single most popular character in the series, and survived when the games went 3D.
  • Pandering to the Base: Atari only tries to attract young sports fans now.
    • And now they're baiting the fans of the old games back with Sandlot Sluggers.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The series has just become a cash cow for the sports leagues. The developers don't try in any other way.
  • Sequelitis: As with every other sports game ever.
    • If you really want to get specific on how the Sequelitis started, the company who had started the series, Humongous Entertainment, went bankrupt after a failed experiment. All the rights were sold to Atari, Inc. after 2002. They made all of the 3D titles, and have caused decline in quality ever since.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Backyard Hockey, because the characters were redesigned.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Again, when online play was removed. Also, when the characters were redesigned.
  • They Just Didn't Care: The later games until Sandlot Sluggers, with robotic announcing, bad controls and graphics, and barely any background sound whatsoever.
  • Vindicated by History: The early Atari titles weren't well-recieved when they were initially released. After the 2007 games rolled around, though, most fans went back to those and realized that they were actually faithful to the original games in comparison.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: You can make this happen yourself with the custom players in most games, if you give them the opposite voice of their physical appearance.

Certain installments of the series provide examples of:

  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • In Soccer 2004, one of the fields is called Fappy's Farm (or just Fappy Farm, which arguably sounds even worse).
    • In the Baseball series, "The gooch likes that! Yeah, give me some more of that!"
  • Breather Boss: The Joustasaurus from Backyard Skateboarding. You can lose your juice meter by bumping into him and it only comes out of the gate for a limited time, but those are easily fixed: you don't need the juice meter because you can just jump over him each time.
  • Contested Sequel: 'Backyard Baseball 2001 and Backyard Soccer: MLS Edition. People debate whether the addition of pros, who make up half the playable characters in Baseball 2001, is good or bad.
  • 8.8: IGN's review of Backyard Basketball on the PS2, giving it a 6.5 (the exact same score of its predecessor) despite fan acclaim.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Michael Vick's in-game nickname is "Mr. Electric". Guess something he's done to dogs.
  • Game Breaker: Basketball has Barry DeJay and Thor Herring as Purposefully Overpowered Secret Characters with full stats for everything. You can't use both of them at the same time, though.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Backyard Skateboarding is absolutely full of these. Perhaps the best one is being able to jump infinitely, which makes it a whole lot easier to reach high areas, and is the only way to get the coins on top of the castle in Merry Olde Englandland if you don't know the cryptic proper way. There are many others aside from that though, like being able to phase through walls and clip through many obstacles.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In Baseball, Stephanie Morgan, when pitching, says she models her pitches off Randy Johnson, who actually became playable in Baseball 2001.
  • Most Annoying Sound: "We want a batter, not a broken ladder!"
  • Porting Disaster: Football on the GBA. Apart from being painfully slow, we also get very low difficulty and annoying controls.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Running, for the outfielders in Baseball, although fielding can account for this as well.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Backyard Skateboarding could probably qualify for being a watered-down version of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, but being enjoyable all on its own. The Good Bad Bugs listed above are probably what make it this, not to mention the physics that make no sense at all (you can grind at full speed when going up on power lines!).
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Basketball on the PS2, as well as Basketball 2004 on the PC, gained the NBA license and ironed out a lot of the bugs the original had. Of course, this didn't stop IGN's aforementioned 8.8.
  • They Just Didn't Care: The dubs of Backyard Soccer for the PS1 by Infogrames seem to be complete afterthoughts. The character names were unchanged entirely, leading to hilarious instances of French and German people attempting to say American names. They also messed up what the league was supposed to be called multiple times; the German version occasionally refers to it as the "Junior Football League" instead of the "Fussball" league, and the UK version fluctuates between calling it "Football" and "Soccer". Speaking of which, the UK version would have been the one Humongous game that would have made sense to have a British dub for it due to the change in sports name, but all that was altered was the title — everything else, right down to Earl Grey calling it Football and "correcting" himself to Soccer, is entirely left alone.
  • Win BACK The Crowd: Very clearly attempted with Sandlot Sluggers and Rookie Rush. It seemed like an attempt to get the series out of the Dork Age that had plagued it starting with the 2007 games. Part of this seems to be the lack of a major sports license in both games, which meant a removal of the cash cow status and the ability to simply throw a game together and expecting to rake in money without trying. They actually put some level of playability into the games and added in an extra level of effort such as giving more life to the voice acting and adding unique power-ups, and giving a very cartoony look and feel as opposed to the realistic look the previous games adopted. There was also a whole lot more marketing for it, with a comic strip working as a prologue to the game and actually giving the games a plot for a change. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like they knew exactly what put the series into its Dork Age to begin with — for one, the players are still teenagers, which rubbed a whole lot of longtime fans the wrong way. Even worse, they removed even more characters, with only eight of the original thirty characters as part of the cast, plus Joey. The series also didn't return to the easy-to-use mouse controls it was famous for in the beginning, not even in the PC version, which required practically every key on the keyboard to play. Considering the complete Broken Base nature of the fanbase in the first place, not to mention a whole lot of older fans completely turned the series off at this point, these were probably not good decisions to stick with. Indeed, it not only did nothing to save the series, but it only buried it further, and there have not been any games announced since, possibly even making both of these Franchise Killers.

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