Backyard Basketball 2007 Review (NDS)
Through what I can only assume is the natural result of growing up in a household with me, my kids have developed a fondness for my two favorite hobbies – gaming and sports. Maybe it was bouncing them on my knee during those football games in the fall or taking them out to their first baseball game when they were barely big enough to lift the box of Cracker Jacks that was in their lap. Could have been those games of Zuma (or “Zoomer” as my five year old still calls it) that we would play together when Daddy would take a quick break from his evening work. I’m sure “experts” would say that it’s not the sports or the games, but the spending time with Dad that the kids love. I’d buy that. I know for all the gaming I’ve done in my 30-odd years, I’ve never enjoyed it more than I do now when we play a quick game of Mario Party on the old GameCube. I know that watching a Detroit Tiger game means so much more to me now just to hear my little one say, “When is Magglio Or-Doughnuts gonna to bat?” Don’t get me wrong, I do teach my kids those other things like reading and math, but, hey, I’m a sports gamer, not a mathematician.
Despite my affinity to sports gaming as my primary genre of choice, my girls do not combine those two interests. They like to keep their sports and their video games separate. That’s why I was excited to introduce them to Backyard Basketball 2007 on the Nintendo DS – their gaming system of choice. The Backyard series, which is released by Atari, features real NBA players and fictitious ballers all reduced to their inner child. From coverboy Paul Pierce to Yao Ming, the game features a slew of real NBA players in all of their juvenile cartoon glory as well as the real NBA team names and logos.
In addition to the existing cast of characters, you can create your own kid to take in to one of the fun and colorful courts features in Backyard Basketball 2007. While the player creating system is very limited (you can’t even put in your name) it did my kids happy to have the opportunity to make a representation of them self, regardless of how accurate the player model was.
The gameplay in Backyard Basketball 2007 is what you would expect – easy. Even on the toughest setting, you will have very little difficulty throwing down shot after shot against the AI. The main difference in the difficulty setting seems to be how well your opponent does at scoring the rock. Defense is not at a premium in this game, but, I believe that’s what the team over at Humongous Entertainment was going for.
Backyard Basketball features three main modes of play and a few simple mini-games. The three modes are really the same mode with different levels of depth. Play Now launches you straight into a game, where Pickup Game allows you to pick your team before hitting the hardwood. The Season Play is essentially the same as playing a full season of Pickup Games with your chosen team. It’s a nice feature to have, I’m just not sure that this game is really built for Season Play. I don’t think kids care and the adults who are going to grab it as a quick casual hoop, aren’t going to commit to the mode.
When the final buzzer sounded, I sat back and thought about the purpose of this review. In a nutshell, I’m here to tell you if this game is worth owning. For me, I like that we have it in our house. My kids do play it quite a bit. I find myself grabbing it and playing it here and there when I know I have a few minutes to kill. Backyard Basketball 2007 won’t be mistaken for the competition, but it is fun for kids of all ages. And isn’t that what games, and sports, are all about?