News Post

"Oh, I was unstoppable! Perfect combination of Mountain Dew and mozzarella, with just the right amount of grease on the joystick." - George Costanza as he discussed his Frogger skills

It has been fascinating to follow the resurrection of NBA Jam. The developers are trying very hard to resurrect retro feelings in us all, yet at the same time, it is a fundamentally different experience. After all, it is a title being designed with motion controls in mind rather than an arcade stick -- I could fit a Bizarro Jerry reference somewhere in there, but I think I'm at my limit for Seinfeld references in one preview.

Nevertheless, NBA Jam is shaping up quite nicely for a couple reasons. First off, the developers are not trying to completely reinvent what made the game great years ago -- a good call because NBA Jam Tournament Edition has not totally held up over the years as sad as it is to say. Second, the developers have stripped away a lot of what belittled the series and other arcade hoops games, and instead gone back to the beginning of the Golden Age of arcade hoops to tune the core elements.

An example of these core elements involves the blocking system in the game. In the original Jam, blocking shots was not impossible, but it certainly was not easy either. However, in an arcade game, creating opportunities for big-time blocks can create those moments where you can turn to your buddy and tell him that you are in fact better than him. So what you end up with here is a blocking system where the developers have decided to increase the amount of blocks, but they have not thrown a gimmick on top of it like "defensive fire" or something along those lines.

The same type of principles seem to carry over to other facets of the game. Players with better dunk ratings have more dunk animations that can create impressive moments, but you are not going to have a "team fire" mechanic after doing a double dunk like in NBA Hangtime. It is all about creating a "pure" and basic gameplay experience that still has enough flash for an arcade game.

Now I mentioned the change in controls at the start, and so that is where I want to end as well. Obviously, I have never played any other versions of Jam with motion controls, but as an accepting person, I was quickly able to adjust and roll with this new way to play Jam. After all, it was never the intricacy of the controls that made NBA Jam a success.

That being said, the quality of the game might not make or break this version of Jam, which is odd to say. It seems like the developers are well on their way to creating a solid game, but the real issue is getting people to accept this new version of Jam. Nostalgia is a powerful weapon, and it will be hard to win over some of the gamers the developers of Jam are targeting with this new-meets-old title.

Game: NBA JamReader Score: 4/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS2Votes for game: 3 - View All
NBA Jam Videos
Member Comments
# 1 Chi Dynasty12 @ 06/17/10 08:28 AM
Is Jam only going to be one Wii??? I'd love it for my PS2
# 2 bigball12 @ 06/17/10 10:58 AM
Online play confirmed yet?

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