The Top Ten Basketball Videgames of All Time #9
9. NBA Showdown
This was released in 1993 by Electronic Arts. The games before this had titles like Bulls versus Lakers or Bulls versus Blazers, but this time EA got away from that crap. For the first time, all 27 teams were available. The bench players finally showed up and we can actually call timeouts for substitutions. Michael Jordan was still in the game. The other innovative feature is stat tracking. Yes! They actually kept track of statistics and league leaders throughout the entire 82 game season. That was mind blowing at the time. No basketball game before that was doing the damn business like that. I was hyped as a youngster. I don’t like putting in games that succeed after each year because they don’t truly innovate. This is an exception because the stuff they added was a huge evolution in basketball games. The much needed additions kept me playing almost 24/7.
The positives: All season stat tracking without needing memory cards or saving to hard drives since everything was saved automatically to the cart. Full 82 game season with All Star game. There’s actually a bench for substitutions. Michael Jordan is STILL in the game. Scottie Pippen actually resembles Scottie. Charles Barkley is in here, too. Superstar players have signature moves to score such as MJ’s Jumpman dunk and an awesome dunk from the 1988 dunk contest. Larry Johnson grabs the rim then dunks it. Shawn Kemp comes through with the bounce and catch dunk. All of the moves are unstoppable so you can pretty much spam for points. The soundtrack is even better than the predecessor.
The negatives: Graphics stayed the same. Game play is the same except for signature moves. You still can’t cross over anyone. If EA committed to making huge strides in game play then this game probably would have been in my top 5. Michael Jordan is only in the SNES version. The Sega Genesis did not get him.
The hilarious: The crowd occasionally letting out a “Boooo!” The arena still sounds like a bingo hall with someone periodically coughing. You can’t cross anyone over yet you can damn well create screens like no one’s business. It’s too easy to score. Scottie Pippen’s signature move is throwing the ball off the glass and slamming one home. That’s an unbelievable ultra move. The song at the end of games sounds like something out of House Party 2. No lie.
I borrowed this game from a friend and forgot to return it. I didn’t steal it. He got it back. By the time he got it back, he was already interested in another game. I think he let me have it. I’m not sure. Anyways, NBA Showdown was a major leap from any basketball game before it. Electronic Arts used this game as the leap into NBA Live the next year. It’s disheartening to realize that the player signature moves did not make their way in to the NBA Live franchise.