|Platform Reviewed||Sony Playstation|
|Genre||Arcade Sports Game|
|Number of Players||1- 4|
|Skills Required||Hand-Eye Coordination, 'Sports Sense'|
|Interface Devices||Playstation Joypad|
|Game Design and Playability||Perfect|
|Type Of Fun||Whimsical Arcade Sports Entertainment|
|Overall Value||Very High|
|The Best||This game is a party in a box, it is pure joy even for those that dislike sports.|
|The Worst||What can I say? This game is well nigh perfect. Perhaps the music could be a little better.|
|How much would I be willing to pay for this||65 Bucks|
NBA Jam is a kind of loving, and positive, parody or satire of basketball. Everything about Basketball that is fun or intriguing has been hypertrophied, and anything dull has been omitted. Players leap fifty feet into the air, do twelve backflips, and glow to make a basket. Imagine 2 on 2 B-Ball played by high level wizards possessed of arcane superpowers, and you have the essence of NBA Jam.
There are only two professional sports that can be considered truly American. One, Lacrosse, was adapted from the Native American sport "Baggataway" just as the United States was forming. Although originated on proto-American soil (obviously prior to the mass genocide that made room for the current American culture), the game was reworked in Canada only to re-enter the US in 1840.
Basketball, however, was invented in 1891 by Dr. James A. Naismith, entirely on politically American land. Naismith was a Canadian national, working in the United States as a physical education director at the YMCA Training School in Springfield Mass. One day, frustrated with a limited repetoir of sporting activities to offer his students, Dr. Naismith nailed two peach baskets to opposite ends of the YMCA gymnasium and added a Soccer ball to the arrangement. Over time and experimentation with his students, 13 basic rules emerged, which became the foundation of modern Basketball. The first official game of B-Ball was played on Jan. 20, 1892, with nine men on a side. Since that humble beginning, Basketball has become one of the world's most popular sports.
The Playstation version of NBA Jam is absolutely arcade perfect. I can discern no significant difference between the arcade, and home versions. All features are intact, from special codes and trick dunks, to scaling and voice calls. Perhaps the flames that cover a fired up basketball are just a tiny bit less impressive, but I find that a small matter. If you want NBA Jam, buy this version above any other.
The game itself, for the uninitiated, is a whimsical and simplified version of B-Ball, with extremely overdone dunks and special effects. Imagine the X-Men playing Basketball against some of the Gods From Olympus, and some idea of the fun to be had is known. However, real, actual, digitized players from real teams perform these impossible stunts, all set in a game as fast paced and competitive as Street Fighter II.
This also counts as a 'Party-In-A-Box' type of game, and can be counted on as a full night of fun. I consider NBA Jam to be a classic of game design, and it is my opinion that one cannot fail to enjoy this game once immersed. Not to be missed.
Jennifer Diane Reitz is a Game Designer and Computer Artist, and one of the founders of Happy Puppy. She is the creator of numerous games and software products, including Boppin' , Shark Chums, Elsewhere, and many others. She has worked for such companies as Activision, Sculptured Software, Epyx, SRI, and Electronic Arts, and founded Accursed Toys. She has been active in the computer gaming industry since it's earliest days. She considers games to be works of artistic merit and achievement, and views computer entertainment as the most important media of our era.