Top Ten Greatest Basketball Videogames countdown #5
“Whatchu gonna do? Hang time. You know what I’m sayin?”
That was the line that got me hyped. That got me hooked. Midway’s NBA Hangtime made its’ debut in 1996 at the arcades. This is the next evolution of the Jam series. Why wasn’t it called Jam? Midway had to change the name entirely because the Jam name was acquired by Acclaim Entertainment. Following the new standards in arcade basketball game play set by Konami’s Run N Gun series, Midway followed suit by adding alley oops, team fire, double dunks, and a spin move.
5. NBA Hangtime
I didn’t know that this game was to be my last “Jam” like basketball game for a long time; 5 years to be exact. One day I walked into an arcade place and saw this game. I haven’t touched an NBA game in awhile. I’ve been actively playing real basketball at the parks for countless hours and competed for my middle school’s team at the time. I did not play much videogames except for Mario 64 and Zelda. I didn’t have any idea that Midway made this one. I thought they were done with the NBA Jam series. I was wrong. The first thing that grabbed my attention was not the graphics. It was the rap music played at half time. That was fire. I was thinking, “This is a full blown rap song in a game!”
I hate dumping quarters after experiencing NBA Jam for the first time. I immediately wondered when the home version was going to be released. My brother ended up copping the Nintendo 64 version since that’s the system we had and it was best arcade translation out of all the home versions.
The positives: There is a “create a player” feature. Allocate skill points. Picking a nickname is another nice feature. Your created player can be the strongest baller in the game. You can legally push off to get the ball as usual, double dunks and alley oops can activate team fire, and the spin move is the cheap way of doing the crossover. The half time music is the shit. The rosters were updated and you finally had the ability to choose any two combinations from the starting five.
The negatives: As usual, there is no Michael Jordan. There is no Charles Barkley and Muggsy Bogues. Shaq was also left out because he was tied up with greatest movie all time, Kazaam.
The N64 version is the best because it didn’t have any load times and it was virtually the same as the arcade counterpart. I spent endless hours perfecting my game. My friends were leveling up, too. I ended up playing against them 2 on 1 and I still beat the hell out of them even though they were not slouches either. They were impressed. I felt useless after that because I spent my time accomplishing nothing and didn’t get paid. I should have wagered some money. Oh well. Great game!
[photo courtesy of yours truly]