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Whatever Happened To Backyard Baseball?

The sports genre is a popular category in video games. Even if you don't like sports, there are plenty of titles out there you'll probably enjoy. In fact, iconic mascots often have spin-offs where they test their athletic prowess, like the plethora of Mario sports games and the forgotten "Mega Man Soccer."

One of the best sports video games you've probably never played is a little PC title called "Backyard Baseball." While the first installment, which came out in 1997, may have flown under the radar, it led to a franchise full of various games based on many different sports. Unfortunately for fans of the series, the last time a proper entry made it to any console was in 2010 with "Backyard Sports: Rookie Rush."

Did you enjoy these games? Do you miss playing them? Are you wondering why the franchise has faded over the years? If so, read on to discover what happened to "Backyard Baseball" and its spin-off titles.

Hitting a foul ball

In 2017, "Backyard Baseball" turned 20, but no games approached the plate. Instead, Zach Kram of The Ringer spent some time with the developers to discuss the series in detail.

Its rise to a multi-game franchise was a true underdog tale in which the property really took off after its first few sequels were published. However, Kram explained that in the years following 2001, each new release felt lackluster compared to earlier installments. A failed jump to mobile gaming in 2015 and a corporate merger may have put an end to this property.

YouTuber Kofie had a few other theories behind what happened. In a video, he explained that the simple mechanics were both a highlight and a detriment, as each new game was too similar to previous titles. As Kofie put it, "for the most part, the Backyard series stayed conservative — went with what worked, and didn't take many risks." And by the time the developers attempted something different, it was too late. He also felt like the series didn't transition to other platforms well and that "financial instability" contributed to its downfall. 

As Kofie suggested, perhaps it's for the best that the franchise remains dormant.