Infogrames has improved upon an already excellent franchise with Backyard Baseball 2003. We hope this software doesn't become a victim of its own success: the Backyard Kids are getting so good, it's only a matter of time before they start demanding astronomical salaries and brand-new stadiums. The pace, strategy, and statistics involved in baseball make it a sport that translates easily to the computer screen. In Backyard Baseball, players can play pickup games, launch a tournament, have batting practice, or just watch the computer play its own game. Options are initially overwhelming, but add longevity to the game as well. Twelve different game fields each exert their own unique influence over play--balls bounce crazily on the gravel lot, while homers are rare in the fenceless field. Games can be tweaked to add errors or include a visible strike zone; even field chatter can be added or eliminated. A wide selection of hits, pitches, and stance possibilities at the plate keep players strategizing, while the occasional power-up or wild pitch serves as a reminder of baseball's unpredictability. The creative team outdid themselves with character development in this software. The Backyard Kids are quirky and three-dimensional--the research done on the real players was exemplary as well. For example, did you know Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks listens to Rush in his spare time? Go figure. Backyard Baseball 2003 will keep both young and old baseball fans engaged for a good long time. Consider it a way to fill that long wintry gap between baseball seasons. (Ages 7 and older) --Anne Erickson
- Form teams from 30 Backyard Kids or 30 pro players as kids!
- 13 new pros including Jim Thome, Todd Helton, Bobby Higgenson and Ichiro Suzuki!
- Choose from all 30 Major League Baseball teams!
- Play quick games, single games or a whole season!