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Michael’s Mothballs – Backyard Baseball

When it comes to sports games, your options are limited. EA Sports consistently puts out yearly releases of FIFA and Madden, while 2K pumps out the basketball game. When it comes to other sports, Hockey, UFC, Golf, the pickings are slim but available. However, the options for baseball, America’s beloved pastime sport, are even slimmer. March 29 will see the release of MLB:The Show ‘16, the lone standout for some baseball action and will only be available for PS3 and PS4. But if you don’t have a PlayStation and are craving to pick up a bat and glove, look no further.

The PC game box featuring Alex Rodriguez

Backyard Baseball 2005 (PC, PlayStation 2)

The Backyard Sports titles are developed by Humongous Entertainment that involve kids playing sports. It started in 1997 with the first Backyard Baseball, and has gone on to include other sports such as basketball, football, hockey, soccer, and even skateboarding. Baseball is arguably the most famous entry in the series, but all of them are praised for their inclusion of professional sports athletes as kids as well as their creative powerups and gameplay.

Backyard Baseball 2005 will always hold a special place in my heart for being one of my first games. But it’s also wildly entertaining, as it recreates the imagination of playing baseball as a kid.

Choose between different backyard kids or kid versions of MLB pros!This entry in the series follows the same formula as most of the other Backyard games. You choose a single game or season, pick your team, and then you go through the process of selecting players for your roster. At first, the games included 55 made up characters known as the “backyard kids”. The kids ranged from a shortie who always had headphones on, to a lanky kid in gym shorts, to Pablo Sanchez, the greatest backyard kid who was all of two feet tall. In later installments they included some of the most famous professional MLB players from the time such as, Derek Jeter, Barry Bonds, Ichiro Suzuki and cover athlete Alex Rodriguez.

With Sunny Day and Abner Dubbleplay the jokes (and puns) write themselvesOther than the kid friendly aspect, including two joke-filled kid commentators, what separates the Backyard titles apart from other sports games is the use of power-ups. In Backyard Baseball, there are power-ups for pitching and hitting, obtained by completing difficult baseball plays such as double plays, striking an opponent out, or hitting a pitching power-up from the opposing pitcher. 

Here are some examples of power-ups.

Batting Power-Ups

  • Jumping Bean Bunt: This tricky power-up makes the ball jump all over the place!
  • Lightning Bat: Produce tremendous power when you connect with the ball.
  • Piñata Bat: The batter drives fielders crazy when the ball is hit, the ball multiplies into dozens of bouncing baseballs.
  • Orbiter: Knock the stuffing out of the ball.

Pitching Power-Ups

  • Crazy Pitch: The Crazy Pitch is so wild that even the pitcher doesn’t know where it will go.
  • Splitball: This pitch splits into two separate curve-balls, one of which is a fake,unhittable baseball.
  • Fireball: The Fireball is so fast it can burn a hole in your catcher’s glove.

A rare glimpse of the fireball as it usually moves to fast to see it!

With these power-ups, the player can add a twist to baseball, making it even more entertaining. Before super fancy graphic cards and processors, it was games like these that made PC gaming fun. Before the Internet was super accessible, it was games like these that you and your friends could play after school, or even after baseball practice. My friends and I couldn’t bring the power-ups into real life, bu
t I would be lying if I said we didn’t try.

You don’t have to worry about whether or not your computer can handle this game, so go ahead and load it up.

 

Also, follow Pablo Sanchez on Twitter for some hilarious kid-themed tweets. 

Look at those stats. For being two feet tall you think he wouldn’t be such a good player. But it’s like this in every sport!

Written by Michael Lanoie

Michael is a handheld gamer kid who evolved into a console player, the best of both worlds. He attends Chapman University and hopes to achieve his Masters in Creative Writing.

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