Tuesday , Jun , 22 , 2010 J.N.

First Impressions: NBA JAM (Wii) at E3

It was on a hot Thursday. I was in front of the Staples Center hours before game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals between Lakers and Celtics. I already knew that the Lakers got the game, but the real game was in the Convention Center next door. NBA Jam is proper. My first goal was to check out the Nintendo 3DS, but the main game I wanted to play was NBA Jam. The ultimate juggernaut is back. True story.

Trey Smith, associate producer of NBA Jam, introduced me to the game by explaining the controls. Everything was self-explanatory.  He showed off the new dunk motion Wii control where anyone can actually flick the controller down mimicking a dunk throw down. It is pretty fun. Imagine saying “Up in ya mouth, biatch!” after something like that.

The controls are simple.
– Z was turbo
– B was steal/push
– A was pass
– Flicking the Wiimote up was shooting/blocking
– Trigger button on back of Wiimote is for crossovers and spin dribble

There were no problems with the new way of playing it. The flick controls work extremely well. There is an option to go to old school classic controller and sideways Wii controller. The game is right up there with NBA Jam Tournament Edition. The crossover and spin dribble were not in Jam, but they were in NBA Hangtime. The development team played with Hangtime for hours on end as well to include that stuff, which is a major plus in my book.

The graphics are great. The art style we remembered is back in 2010 form. The game play is butter smooth. The exaggerated digitized faces fit the action. The cameras flash as you’re in the air for a vicious dunk. Yes, you can break backboards, too. The crowd is detailed and mascots do their thing on the sidelines. Defense is just as fun to play as offense. Electronic Arts was smart in getting Mark Turmell to help since he was the lead designer and programmer for the original Jam series.

Other modes were not available to the public – just barebones pick your team and play. Despite that, the major discussion was online play. Yes or no? Right now, they are exploring the option. The game is begging for online tourneys complete with brackets. The development team will not release an online mode unless they think that it is robust enough to handle everything. They’re not going to half ass it.

I know what you are going to say. Why didn’t they release Jam for the 360 and PS3 then if the Nintendo Wii can’t handle the online stuff? Port the sucker.

Here’s the thing: Xbox 360 and PS3 already have NBA 2K11 and NBA Elite 11. The Nintendo Wii doesn’t have anything but an inferior lackluster version of NBA 2K10. It’s only fair that Wii gets NBA Jam “for now.” This is probably a timed exclusive. I wouldn’t hold my breath for 4-6 months hoping for the game to appear on Xbox Live or Playstation Network. Buy the Wii to play the game.

Don’t worry. Tim Kitzrow is back as the announcer. He was the original voice guy.

Legends such as Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Kevin McHale, Magic Johnson, Dennis Rodman, and Detlef Schrempf are in the game as well as hidden characters. I wouldn’t be surprised if Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are in the game. Mascots are in play, too.

I played with the Chicago Bulls as Derrick Rose during E3. Everyone else kept on picking the Los Angeles Lakers. I didn’t mind since I am in Laker Nation, but I still whooped that ass. Trey Smith said that the Bulls were weak and that I should pick a stronger team. I did not care. My friend and I still won. I came back again later to play another game. This time I chose the Boston Celtics. I won again. I hope they put Bill O’Reilly in there so I can dunk on him. Oh noes!

Somebody actually recorded my friend and me playing as the Chicago Bulls and uploaded the clip on YouTube. I’m shocked.

The game will be released Fall 2010. Kaboom!

[image credits: from yours truly]

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