The Top Ten Basketball Videogames of All Time #8
8. NBA Live 95
That’s right, fools. I’m back with the number 8 basketball game of all time. NBA Live ushered in a completely new era of stylish lazy finger controlled basketball. Bulls versus Blazers and NBA Showdown laid down the foundation. NBA Live 95 took the framework to another level. This was the game that also introduced the “Live” series branding. The game blew open the graphics with a view that gave us an immersive feeling. It’s almost like faux 3D. Everything had depth.
The first noticeable thing is the graphics. The entire engine was brand new and had dazzling animations. Of course, the engine is not like anything today. Back then; this was a major deal because it really looked like a basketball game. People actually dunked on people. They fell like Scottie Pippen dunking on Patrick Ewing in the 1994 playoffs. Electronic Arts listened to the people who complained about previous games running on the speed of molasses. They sped it up. Defense really played like defense except for one broken thing that I’ll mention later. The Windows version actually had a real highlight intro video. That was very new to see. It’s the norm today, but in 1995, it was a huge deal since not many people had ESPN. We were stuck with NBA Inside Stuff’s Jam Session highlights on NBC.
The positives: The graphics was a huge evolutionary step. You can finally do a lob pass. You can do quick passes with a no look pass sprinkled somewhere. An assist actually looks like an assist. Help defense is relegated to many guys creating a fence then blocking your shot. The speed of the game feels like a track meet. They actually highlighted the player of the game as well as kept track of statistics. Every team is represented as well as every player. Minute by minute up to date stat overlays made the game seem like a live broadcast.
The negatives: No Michael Jordan. The physics engine is absolutely horrific. When you take a jump shot, you can actually guide him in mid flight. That’s bizarre. The ball takes weird bounces at times. The players fly around fast, but it’s almost if they were gliding on ice. They turn and pivot like a battle tank. And the defense system is really extremely broken. This is a game where you probably don’t want to play against a human competitor for fear of getting a gun pulled to your head for abusing the “push” that is found in NBA Jam. That’s the best way of stealing the ball from someone. You have to shove them out of the way.
The lasting impact: This entry paved the way for the staple franchise known as Live. NBA Live 1996 introduced create a player. The rest is history. Later on EA paved the way for better audio and commentary from TNT. It’s hilarious to see that they tried to implement some influence from NBA Jam. That didn’t go over very well for a simulation basketball game.
[image: Courtesy of me]