Ok, before this blog gets going, I have a disclaimer:
I hate basketball!!!! There’s just no other way to say it. No disrespect to the professionals that make millions in the industry, but I just hate it. I hate the squeaking of the sneakers going back and forth on the court. I hate the running up and down of the court, and I can only really tell you about Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, just because I used to have a game for the PC called Jordan vs. Bird by Electronic Arts.
Maybe it was because I was scarred as a child. I played on a team that didn’t win one game. One game I got a really bad elbow to the face and the whole left side of my swelled up like a basketball. And years later, when I tried to play at the YMCA, after 5 minutes of running up and down the court, I was on the floor having trouble breathing. Oh yeah, and I really sucked at the game too.
Ok, having said that, I was watching Netflix last night and had a classic movie going…. SPACE JAM. Wow, talk about bad acting. And the toons were waaaay better than the real actors….Except for Bill Murray. He is a freaking legend. So back to the blog. Watching this movie made me think of only one game that I must have poured hundreds of dollars into just because it was awesome. NBA Jam, now there was a game. It was fast, quick and actually a lot of fun to play. This was basically the next step of video games after Midway created Arch Rivals in 1991. You know, that game where you can pull down the pants of your opponent and also punch him down. Midway must have figured that they were onto something.
But for those of you who are out of the age range, NBA Jam was released in 1993, one year after Mortal Kombat. It was a two on two game that allowed you to play as some of the greatest basketball players like Scottie Pippin and Dennis Rodman. Rodman was the one basketball player that you had no idea what planet he was from. To be honest, I can’t remember any other players because I always used the Chicago Bulls. I think you could play as Charles Barkley, but not sure. Anyway……
I remember the day they wheeled this game into the arcade. In fact, I got to help them set the game up since I was a “regular” at the Fun Factory. Yup, they knew me. But the game was awesome. After they released the original, they continued by creating a Tournament Edition, Extreme and several other versions of the game that it even went to the home systems. I was on cloud 9 when they finally released it for the Wii. Yes, I was that hooked.
But how could this be? I hate the sport to no end. Well, like I said, the graphics were awesome, the commentary was sweet. To hear the announcer yell “HE’S ON FIRE!!!” after you get three baskets in a row was just a sweet cherry on top. And the dunking tricks were insane as well.
Also , later on with future releases, you can enter codes to change things about the player such as Big Head Mode, Street Ball, which was playing outside the auditorium. You can even enter codes to get to play as famous Mortal Kombat characters. And yes, a lot of the programmers and developers of the game were part of that series as well.
This is a game that, when I finally create my retro machine, it will have this series. Because after all, I can’t have the actual machine in my house. It’s four player and about the size of the Simpsons Arcade Game, overly huge. But for now, I will just have to find an arcade that still has it and….
Keep Calm and Insert Coin