Monday , Apr , 05 , 2010 J.N.

The Grand Champion of Basketball Games of All Time: #1 NBA JAM

This game is the only game in the God tier of basketball games. When I ran across this in a mall that hardcore gangsters frequent back in 1993, I knew this had to be a classic game. That’s how it is in the culture of gangsters. They do not mess around. They loved Street Fighter 2. They loved Mortal Kombat. And they loved NBA Jam. These are serious games and then they became all time classics where future games emulated the style. NBA Street, certain NBA Live games, NBA In the Zone, NBA Hangtime, Run N Gun series, NBA Showtime, and certain aspects of NBA 2K series all owe something to the legendary NBA Jam. That influence did not even stop at basketball games. Hockey games and football games such as NFL Blitz owe a lot to Jam. Kudos to Midway and the main producer, Mark Turmell, for putting together this groundbreaking landmark title.

The Positives:

Remarkable presentation. No game before it brought the “gangsta” like this. Over the top exaggerated dunks, hot streaks, and defense fit the WWF style era. Midway also had passwords to keep track of your win-loss record. This was back in 1993 so that was entirely new for me. The commentator was all sorts of hype blurting out classic lines such as “He’s on fire! Is it the shoes? Boom Shaka Laka! Delivers a facial! Grabs the rebound!” He kept the hype meter up. The game play itself is just as simple as Double Dribble. Anyone can play it. There is no hardcore technique you have to master to win. Just know the controls, get out there, and get it done. The audio tracks were heavenly and Midway even placed in Easter eggs, secrets, and hidden players such as Will Smith and Bill Clinton. There was even a full motion video half time report.


Mark Turmell input code that made the Chicago Bulls shoot horribly whenever they faced the Detroit Pistons. That was a bastard move. That didn’t matter because I still beat the Pistons. Michael Jordan wasn’t in the game as usual. Shaq was not in the home version and Gary Payton was missing. There’s a reverse dunk that is almost impossible to stop because it’s so quick.

NBA Jam arcade generated a billion dollars in quarters. You read that correctly. It was a billion, not million. We’ll never see that again. That proves the historical significance on how the game impacted the gaming world. It’s still being felt as Electronic Arts brought back Mark Turmell to add a new NBA Jam. One of the new things they’re adding is player emotions. Expect that to be over the top. This is great to get back into the NBA game with jaded fans who do not like the current NBA.

Don’t worry. They prevented cheesing with “the shove.” You can do the spin move that was first introduced in Hangtime. The team also needs to focus on defense. I hope EA is looking at the NBA Street series. Defense was just as fun and rewarding.  The original Jam’s defense mechanisms were not as great as Street. Stealing the ball was fine, but it was rejecting shots that weren’t satisfying.

The promotional video for NBA Jam Tournament Edition is hilarious since bad acting and some awkward pauses made the video look like a last minute college project. It was so awesome.

The game is back in an updated version. I don’t think NBA Jam 2010 will be as successful as the original because of the time and arcades are dead to generate the buzz. Regardless, I’ll be looking forward to mastering the game just like I did as a kid. Long live Jam!



Tags: ,