Weekend List Final Four: Top Ten Basketball Games #3 Double Dribble
Konami’s Double Dribble is the easiest simplest basketball videogame you’ll ever play. Don’t get this confused with Double Dragon. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened during the late 1980s, but they were fun times. I was introduced to this game by, who else, my older brother as he borrowed the cartridge from a friend. First you blow into the cart then you pop the sucker in. If you get a blinking blue screen, take the cart out. Then shove it back in, but not all the way in. Push the cart down until it physically “clicks” in. That method usually works. If it didn’t, try again. Or rub alcohol on the connectors even though there’s a warning level behind the cart that said not to do that.
It was frustrating playing games back then. Once this game worked, the party was popping. I spent days getting beat down by my brother. I was too competitive. Whenever he beats me, I sat in a corner crying. That’s how bad I wanted to win. This was one of my earliest sports game; the other being Tecmo Bowl.
The positives: The game play was very accurate. This is barebones basketball. Double Dribble is five on five without needing to worry about fatigue, stats, and injuries. No need to run plays or dump the ball in the post. Just pass the ball around with simple button presses and try not to get intercepted. You can take running three point shots from anywhere. There are several hot spots around the court. Experiment by taking running three pointers. You’re bound to run into a couple. There’s one shot from almost half court that was money. They called fouls, but no one really cared. The most innovative touch was the dunk. Go up for a dunk and a bad ass animation ensues in slow motion. That blew people’s minds.
The negatives: When you play the computer on the hardest difficulty, the CPU usually stole the ball quite easily. It was almost impossible to score at that level. That’s my only gripe.
The hilarious: The Star-Spangled Banner sung from the arcades was too funny for words. It sounds like Stephen Hawking singing that thing.
I can’t believe Double Dribble beats out the majority today’s basketball videogames. This is a testament to Konami. Simplicity stands the test of time. Every single game on my list owes something to Double Dribble. It was fast paced, but gave us a really early glimpse into simulation basketball since the game did sport five on five. New school gamers shouldn’t be sad if you did not grow up during that time. The original game is available on Nintendo’s Wii Virtual Console. If that doesn’t work for you, go check the 2010 version at http://www.konami-play.com/games/game/gid/4/aid/5. Double Dribble Fastbreak is better than the 80s version and it’s completely free. You kids are too spoiled today. That’s messed up. I’m heated. You do not have to worry about blowing in to the cartridge or mess with rubbing alcohol.