Backyard Basketball

“Nothing to it, baby.”

PlayStation 2
Released in 2003 by Atari
Grade: D+

This is an oddly imagined 3-on-3 basketball game featuring little kids, little kid versions of NBA players, and annoying-as-all-hell little kid sounds. There’s nothing terribly wrong with the gameplay, but there’s no point either. It’s simple and bland.

Where it falls in the series

I actually don’t know the facts here, but I think there are three versions: this, 2004, and 2007.

Praises and gripes

The game is easy to control. These stubby little characters move around swiftly and shooting is a piece of cake. Defense presents a bit more of a challenge, but is still rather easy. Rebounding, however, is a frustrating mess.

There are silly power-ups like full-court bouncing shots and dunks from the three-point line. You can even set screens or back down a defender, so they tried to add some gameplay mechanics, which isn’t bad.

This all sounds decent, but ultimately the game feels repetitive and overly simple. It’s truly made for kids to play.

The graphics are passable. There are some all-star NBA players, Shaq, Yao, Pierce, McGrady, Garnett, and more, but they look and play just like the kids, who are random made-up kids (including one in a wheelchair). I do like the environments, which are either parks or dinky elementary school gyms.

The sound is excruciating, unless you like hearing whiny little kids saying “Pass it to me” and “I feel sick.” Who the hell decided to add “I feel sick” to a basketball game?

This game is like how I think of a little kid: cute and inoffensive and I wish it no ill will, but I could do without it.

If you expect more than 20 minutes of 1/3 fun, 1/3 bewilderment, and 1/3 kiddie sounds from your dirt cheap basketball game purchase, skip this one.