Monday, July 2, 2007

Backyard Baseball 2001

Developer: Humongous Entertainment
Publisher: Humongous Entertainment
Release Date: June 14, 2000
Systems: Windows (reviewed), Macintosh
Official web site

In a nutshell: America's cutest pastime.

0:01 The 640 x 480 full screen animation intro shows its age a bit.
0:03 I can play as a real major league team or make one up with a wacky name. It's a no-brainer... go Crazy Melonheads!
0:05 I betray my Yankee-hating ways by picking little Derek Jeter first. He's just so cute!
0:08 Color commentary "I expect to see plenty of waves, signs and stupid-looking hats out of you people." I LOLed.
0:09 Simple click to swing interface, with four different targets: power, line drive, grounder or bunt. My first power shot turns into a lame pop-up.
0:10 Two minutes into the game and I've already heard "We want a batter, not a broken ladder," approximately one million times. That's going off right now.
0:13 The controls are nice and simplified, but I'd liek a little more fine control over my hits. It's all just timing as it is.
0:14 Pitching time. Barry bonds goes down in three straight throws. He sucks!
0:15 My opponents are barely swinging. Either I'm a pitching savant or this AI is too forgiving.
0:18 My turn at bat again. A pop fly somehow turns into a single. Not that I'm complaining
0:19 The pitcher sends four balls and gets Randy Johnson on base. Randy Johnson? Are they nuts? He couldn't hit a beach ball.
0:20 I love how the strike zone changes drastically with height. This short guy I picked is impossible to get one by.
0:21 Ken Griffey Jr. as a pitcher? Wha? He promptly walks in a run. DUH!
0:22 Despite the obvious child-focus, this is a surprisingly fully featured baseball game. You've got batting stances, stealing, fielder positioning, and more, all with a super-intuitive interface.
0:23 I just noticed the pitcher nods or shakes his head when you pick a pitch to indicate if he likes it. Awww!
0:25 I throw three strikeouts in inning two. When the computer does swing they swing late. This is Medium difficulty?
0:28 Sally Dobbs looks like she's gonna kill someone after she strikes out, but then she quickly shrugs it off. Atta girl.
0:29 The fireball tires out my pitcher quick, but it's totally worth it to see a baseball actually on fire.
0:33 The last four minutes spent trying to figure out how to substitute a new pitcher. My bad.
0:34 The sprite-based animation is near the pinnacle of a dying form. They even got details like Randy Johnson's sidearm.
0:36 Look of grim determination on Curt Shilling's face after he gets struck out is the cutest thing I've seen in a while.
0:38 "Tony [Gwynn] may be the first 8 year old ever to hit 400." Oh color commentator.
0:39 Color commentary on Barry Bonds: "This kids got baseball in his blood." I won't make the obvious joke on what else is in Bonds' blood.
0:43 One feature that's missing -- picking off batters. Not that I really mind. It just slowhe opposing batter is safe at first. I throw it from second to home and he makes a run for it. I throw it back and he's out. How's that for realistic AI?
0:54 A drifting slowball turns into a big double. Uh oh
0:55 Another underground hit ends the game 2-1. I shed a little tear for my little sluggers.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Maybe.
Why? It's cute and well produced, but a little slow-paced for my tastes.

This review based on a used copy purchased fro ma thrift store.

1 comment:

Joseph said...

I'm sure the difficulty levels are weighted for 8 y.o.s So, maybe try it on "super-duper hard!!!!" level?

BTW, love this idea for a blog. I came across it via Joystiq (where else?) and the first few reviews I read had me laughing at the appropriate moments.

Keep up the great reviews.