NBA Jam Appreciation Thread!

Talk about any and all other basketball video games including NBA Jam, NBA Street, college basketball games, and more. General basketball video game discussion and comparison topics are also welcome here.

NBA Jam Appreciation Thread!

Postby Andrew on Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:36 pm

Like a lot of long-time basketball gamers - i.e. anyone who grew up playing them in the 90s - I grew up a fan of NBA Jam as well as NBA Live. It's been almost ten years since a new NBA Jam game came out, so I thought I'd go ahead and create a topic where we can reminisce about this classic series. I know a lot of people prefer NBA Street and I'm a fan of it too, but NBA Jam really defined the genre.

Before I go on, a couple of plugs. First of all, for those who are unaware, I had Tim Kitzrow on the NLSC Podcast last year: https://www.nba-live.com/nlsc-podcast-280-tim-kitzrow/

It's one of my favourite interviews that I've ever done, as it was a real thrill to talk to him. I'll probably make a video out of it with some NBA Jam footage in the background at some point, just so that there's something interesting to watch while listening. When I do, it'll be uploaded to our YouTube channel and posted here. In the meantime though, please check it out in audio format!

Another thing I'd like to plug is NBA Jam The Book, by Reyan Ali: https://twitter.com/nbajambook/status/1 ... 1224114182

I'm looking to get Reyan on the podcast at some point too, but it's really cool to see a book about NBA Jam and Midway out there. He sent along a digital copy which I'll be reviewing in Monday Tip-Off, though I still want to get a physical copy for the shelf as well. It's not often you see books about basketball video games, and from what I've read so far, it's great!

Finally, a few of my other Wayback Wednesday features about NBA Jam:

The Original NBA Jam (Retrospective)
NBA Jam TE No Threes Challenge
NBA Jam TE All Threes Challenge
NBA Jam TE PC No Points Challenge
Investigating NBA Jam TE’s Ratings
Revisiting NBA Jam Tournament Edition
Yinka Dare Dominates NBA Jam TE
NBA Jam Tournament Edition PC Retrospective

So yeah, NBA Jam. What can you say?

I think one of the most impressive things about the early NBA Jam games (and NBA Hangtime, which I covered last week in Wayback Wednesday) is how well they hold up. It isn't just nostalgia; they are still very fun to play. It speaks to how they hit on such a great formula and pushed the tech of the era to its limit. A few concepts would be revised and improved through the years, but they got so much of it right, right away.

Something that doesn't get enough credit is how balanced and accommodating the game is. Offense is crazy and fun with the high flying dunks and forgiving as far as lower rated shooters being able to make jumpshots, but the defense is also well-equipped to shut opponents down. Turbo/sprint lasts for just the right time. It isn't ridiculously hard to get On Fire, but it's not too easy either, and it's balanced in how long it lasts and that it can be lost before then if you're not careful. Higher ratings are more effective, but lower ratings aren't completely useless. That's an area where NBA Playgrounds struggles; anything below a certain threshold is fairly useless, rather than simply being less effective.

I also prefer NBA Jam's approach of having at least two or three players per team available out of the box, and unlocking additional ones. Having to unlock all players in NBA Playgrounds, and then level them up on top of that, is a long and tedious process. It lacks the pick-up-and-play appeal of NBA Jam. I also remember how excited I was when I unlocked expanded rosters in NBA Jam Tournament Edition, and started seeing secret players show up after beating all of the teams. I didn't know that would happen, so it was really cool to be surprised like that.

Also, the dunks. Even after all these years, they're awesome. I remember how excited I was whenever I was able to trigger a somersault dunk, especially the ones that soared into the roof because they were rarer. I wish I'd kept the spreadsheet I made way back in the day documenting exactly which dunks a player of each rating could perform, as it would be a cool thing to add to our Wiki. If I ever get the time to document it again, I'll definitely share that information.

I also think the NBA Jam games by EA Sports are underrated. I will be going into more detail when I do retrospectives of them, but I think the 2010 reboot is a very solid game with some great new ideas. It's unfortunate that it was hurt by the situation with NBA Elite 11. However, one of its problems is that it replicated some of the issues of the original games, or things that hadn't aged as well. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition was a great follow-up though, basically improving on the 2010 reboot in just about every way and enhancing gameplay with the Real AI tech. I'd still argue it's technically the best NBA Jam game to date, though obviously I have a lot of nostalgia for the originals as well.

If I had to rank them today, it'd probably go something like this:

1. NBA Jam: On Fire Edition
2. NBA Hangtime
3. NBA Jam Tournament Edition
4. NBA Jam (2010 Reboot)
5. NBA Jam (1993)

There's not a lot in it, though. They're all fantastic games, and a couple of those rankings would change depending on the day.

Anyway, those are some of my initial thoughts on NBA Jam. Let's celebrate this classic series! Feel free to share your memories. Boomshakalaka!
NLSC Webmaster/Administrator
Image
Contact: Email | Twitter
Release Topics: NBA Live 08 | NBA Live 07 | NBA Live 06 | NBA Live 2005 | NBA Live 2004
Story Topics: NBA 2K19 | NBA 2K13 | NBA Live 06 (Part 2) | NBA Live 06 (HOF) | NBA Live 2004 (HOF)
NLSC: Podcast | The Friday Five | Monday Tip-Off | Wayback Wednesday | 20th Anniversary of NBA Live | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube


Support The NLSC Hosting Fund: Patreon | GoFundMe

Image
Like my work? Want to help out with the NLSC Hosting Fund? Please consider leaving a tip!
User avatar
Andrew
The One Admin
Administrator
 
Posts: 108835
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2002 9:51 pm
Location: Australia

Re: NBA Jam Appreciation Thread!

Postby sticky-fingers on Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:13 pm

I played with the first NBA Jam on SNES back in the old days. Lot of fun with my best friend of course, but as teenagers, we didnt know too much about hidden teams or cheat codes.
I tried the original arcade on Arcade with Mame years ago, but the emulation result wasnt good (at least for me).
Lately, i've discovered RPCS3 emulator. NBA Jam on Fire Edition works perfectly, graphics/animations/sounds are amazing. I'm on my way to unlock the players but the road trip isnt easy.
my NBA2K : YouTube | flickr

my Retro Mods for NBA 2K20 - 2K19 - 2K17 - 2K16

"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose"
Ayrton Senna
User avatar
sticky-fingers
 
Posts: 2426
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:33 am
Location: France

Re: NBA Jam Appreciation Thread!

Postby Andrew on Sat Jan 18, 2020 9:22 pm

Oh, there's definitely some tough challenges in Road Trip. The Jam Bots are relentless.
NLSC Webmaster/Administrator
Image
Contact: Email | Twitter
Release Topics: NBA Live 08 | NBA Live 07 | NBA Live 06 | NBA Live 2005 | NBA Live 2004
Story Topics: NBA 2K19 | NBA 2K13 | NBA Live 06 (Part 2) | NBA Live 06 (HOF) | NBA Live 2004 (HOF)
NLSC: Podcast | The Friday Five | Monday Tip-Off | Wayback Wednesday | 20th Anniversary of NBA Live | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube


Support The NLSC Hosting Fund: Patreon | GoFundMe

Image
Like my work? Want to help out with the NLSC Hosting Fund? Please consider leaving a tip!
User avatar
Andrew
The One Admin
Administrator
 
Posts: 108835
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2002 9:51 pm
Location: Australia


Return to Other Basketball Games

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest