Backyard Football '10

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Backyard Football '10 Game Poster Image
Even the youngest armchair quarterback can tackle this game.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game shows great racial diversity in the cast player kids. There are plenty of female "kid" players thrown in with, not just the little boys, but the real-life NFL big boys as well.

Positive Role Models & Representations

After a touchdown or a good tackle, players dance and showboat for the crowd. Also, by hitting button combos, you can "taunt" the opposing team's kicker and mess up their field goal attempts. No actual taunting is heard during this, though.

Ease of Play

Playing the game can be very in-depth, choosing formation, using time outs strategically, setting up zone defenses -- but it doesn't need to be. Younger kids, or those with no real knowledge of the intricacies of football can do quite well with only a few basic commands.

Violence & Scariness

Some tackles, especially those amped up by power-ups, can send players flying through the air and landing with thuds. No one looks hurt afterward, though.

Language

Not an issue.

Consumerism

There are over 30 real-life NFL players in the game (in cartoony kid form) and the logos of both the league and its teams are all over the game. The commentators occasionally do quick advertisements for fake products, like peanut butter hot dogs. They are played up for humor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this cartoony, kid-friendly sports sim caters nicely to younger gamers. It never gets overly technical and focuses on the fun of the sport. There's a lot going on within the game to sell the NFL, though --  more so than in previous incarnations of Backyard Football. Still, this is a game kids play for the love of football, not for lots of bells and whistles -- because there aren't many. It's simple, but in a very good way.

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What's it about?

BACKYARD FOOTBALL '10 is the latest in a series of sports games that allow kids to play sports with other kids. Youthful versions of many real-life NFL players are also in the game. Settings, like the characters, are cartoony and unrealistic, including a construction yard, a snowy mountainside, and a desert complete with UFOs abducting cows in the background. Playing well gives kids power moves, like a flipping over tacklers, growing bull horns to charge through a defensive line, or turning briefly into a mini-twister. Kids can play a single game or a 16-game season. Two-player cooperative mode also allows up to four kids to challenge each other, two on two.

Is it any good?

Backyard Football '10 is as fun as it is easy to pick up. Older kids who relish the realism of the Madden football games will likely find this one too childish. But younger gamers will be easily wooed by its bright colors, simple control scheme, and silly humor (the endearingly dimwitted commentator will elicit plenty of laughs from the SpongeBob set). The new ability to play cooperatively is a very welcome addition to the series. Kids playing football sims have longed to pass the ball to one another -- finally the have the chance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about good sportsmanship. Is showboating and dancing in the end zone something real football leagues allow? Why is it frowned upon by most school sports teams?

  • Parents can also ask their kids about the special "power moves" in the game. Are they cheating? Gluing the ball to the quarterbacks hand would never be allowed in real football, so why is it included here? Can rules be bent for fun sometimes?

  • Kids can create custom avatars in this game. Parents can ask children why they created avatars that look the way they do.

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love sports

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