04 October, 2011


Release Date: 1993
Platform(s): Arcade, SNES, SEGA Genesis, SEGA CD, Gameboy, SEGA Game Gear
Developer: Midway
Genre: Sports

The catchphrases are legendary: "He's on fire!" "Is it the shoes?" "From downtown!" You're apt to hear all these and more during a single game of NBA Jam, and if you need proof of the game's cultural currency, walk up to somebody, say any of these one statements, and see how the react. Most likely, they'll respond with the immortal, "Boom shakalaka!"

NBA Jam is the game of basketball as seen through a funhouse mirror. It uses real NBA teams and superstar players, such as Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, although that's about where similarities to the real thing end. (One notable omission is Michael Jordan, whose likeness was too pricy for Midway to license.) Teams take each other on in games of two-on-two, which leads to fast paces, high-scoring games without a lot of passing or strategy.

The game's true inspiration is to exaggerate the sport's traits beyond the limits of credulity. When a player hits three buckets in a row, he's said to be on fire, and from that point until the other team scores, he won't miss a shot, and the ball will scorch the net. The centrepiece of the game is its monster dunks -- the player can jam it in with a variety of long-distance tomahawks, behind-the-back moves, and aerial somersaults that take them outside the frame, each one lustily narrated by a Marv Albert soundalike.

NBA Jam's sense of fun knows no bounds. Fourth quarter dunks have the effect of shattering the glass. A bevy of unlockable secret characters creates hilarious match-ups. Between the various arcade and home versions of the game, it's possible to play as actors, mascots, athletes from other sports, and even President Clinton. Slick Willie throwing down a baseline jam on Hakeem Olajuwon's head? Boom shakalaka!

5 memories:


Man, loved this game! I tried to play it in a rom a few days ago but now I suck so much... It was kinda sad.

I didn't even like basketball back then. My choice team in the game were the Utah Jazz!

Btw: Nice blog! Following you!

I remember playing this on the SNES with my brother even before I knew how to legit play basketball. Good times.

My brother used to play this game a lot at the arcades. I remember how much money he spent on it, but it did look like lots of fun!

this game at the arcades all day long XDDD... but the fun only lasted around 3 days for us.... not much of sports fans i guess, street fighter 2 came out at the same time i think and it dominated the arcades back then XD

The NAIL in the coffin!!! HE'S ON FIRE!!!!!!

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