NBA Jam: the epitome of sports games


Markus Spiske

Vince Orozco, Managing Editor

Many hold love for Madden or FIFA (or if you’re weird NHL).

But the best sports game is NBA Jam.

“BOOM Shakalaka,” the announcer exclaims.

The reason NBA Jam is the best sports game is because of its simple gameplay, its funny commentary, and its wild style.

The game involves a few mechanics. A jump, shoot, move and pass are all you need. Combined within the jump mechanic is blocking when on defense; additionally, when on defense, the pass becomes steal. This simple gameplay allows for it to be an easy entry game. The real complexity comes from the skill in which one executes the small set of moves given, rather than the ability to do a crazy combo.

The commentary on the game is on another level. In your normal sports games, the commentators are about as close to real life as you can get — completely drab. On the other hand, rather than announcing the obvious or talking about something boring like batting average or wind speed, the commentators in NBA Jam exude wit. They will roast the shooters, the defense, or even the person actually playing the game. Additionally, they will get hype when really cool things happen. Rather than being detached spectators of the sport, they feel like real breathing fans of the game.

Finally, the style is off-the-wall. The default character design shows the athletes with rather large heads. Additionally, rather than being 3D animated, the heads are made up of actual photos of the athlete leading to a comical juxtaposition between lifelike and cartoonish. Furthermore, after whenever a player scores three times in a row, they become “on fire.” In this state, their shooting is more accurate and the dunking animation becomes much more exaggerated.

All of these aspects simply make for a game that is fun and easy to play with friends, and thus, the best sports game.