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Backyard Football

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Please don't tell Peyton Manning he'd make a cuuute third-grader. He'll blush. Developer Infogrames brings its pint-sized take on sports to the Nintendo GameCube with Backyard Football 2003, a full-featured game that delivers great fun for kids both little and big. Backyard Football 2003 takes place in an imaginary world in which the play-by-play announcer tells knock-knock jokes and pint-sized players run crazy plays like the Leap Frog and the Roly Poly. The game mimics playground fantasies, but a full list of features ranks it up with the most ambitious gridiron sims. Get a Grip Developers Left Field and Humongous Entertainment have included all 32 fully licensed NFL teams. There are even 10 pro players that appear as kids, including Jerry Rice and Donovan McNabb. Each player is rated in different categories like receiving, running, and passing. When playing Backyard Football 2003, you can choose from an illustrated list of plays. There is a variety to choose from, but not so many as to overwhelm younger players. You will have to learn when to pass and when to run. Even though the game is light-hearted, you are bound to take a few hard hits on the way to the end zone. Controlling the action is a breeze thanks to intuitive controls, but navigating the menus can be tricky. Options include player fatigue, wind and turnovers. Game Modes In a Pick-up game you can play an exhibition with your favorite NFL team or even choose from fictional backyard footballers. Featuring unique voices and personalities, these uniformed tikes brim with charm. Some of 'em even outdo the pros. For example, Pablo Sanchez is the game's best overall player, while Kiesha Philips gives Tennessee Titan Jevon Kearse stiff competition in the defensive category. And don't be deceived by petite Vicki Kawaguchi's tutu: she could teach Jerry Rice a thing or two about pass catching. Meet the Players lists hobbies, interests and other fascinating facts about the itty-bitty athletes. For example, running back Kenny Kawaguchi loves hip-hop and wants to be a DJ when he grows up. In Season Mode, you play a full NFL schedule. Both Practice Mode and Coach's Challenge will teach you football basics that will aid your quest for a Super Bowl championship. As many as four friends can square off in multiplayer mode. Kid's Stuff It is the comical approach to a rough and tough sport that makes Backyard Football 2003 shine. Cute and colorful graphics deliver happy-go-lucky attitude by the bucketful. Player facial expressions range from smiley to menacing. The whimsical stadiums include Cactus Gulch, where buzzards circle and tumbleweeds cavort on the sidelines. The GCN's immense capacity allows for plenty of comical banter, including QB calling plays in code and announcer Chuck Downfield rat-a-tat-tatting wayward observations as the action unfolds. Only a grinch could fail to crack a smile at all the whimsical goings-on. Backyard Football 2003 is a great sports game that puts kids in control of real NFL players. The graphics and controls are fun, and a surprising amount of depth will teach kids football fundamentals. Look for Backyard Football 2003 in stores in October 2002. This game has been rated "E" (Everyone) by the independent Entertainment Software Rating Board. Progress is saved to a Memory Card (not included). For a sharper and clearer image, select the Progressive Scan option when playing on a TV set that supports that feature.