Friday, May 13, 2011

Top 5 All-Time Basketball Video Games

DBSF played video games religiously--albeit, poorly--until game-makers added a fourth button to controllers. Once technology expanded beyond 16-bit and side-scrolling was replaced with three-dimensional angles, which little did the good people at Sega and Nintendo know 15 years ago that their version of 3-D wasn't really 3-D and that it would actually take the likes of James Cameron and a dwindling DVD market to show us what real life actual 3-D looks like--which grant it, is a noticeable improvement but is more living room hologramish a la a Princess Lea's plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi via R2D2 than the empirical tactility of touching say the actual game controller in the first place, DBSF's attention faded to other televisual romcom-based interests.

Although he's lost touch with the gaming world (Does GamePro still rate graphics, sound and gameplay based on the five-part scale of faces ranging from jonesing to orgasmic?), he still feels it appropriate to reflect on some all-time basketball games.

#1 Bill Lambier Combat Basketball (SNES)

Highlight: Based on the title screen apparently one of the creators at Hudson Soft thought that futuristic (the game takes place in 2030) robot-basketball players sport manicured goatees, women's sunglasses, one large hoop earing, and purple-dyed hair (the gentleman over Bill's right shoulder).

#2 Hoops (NES)

Highlight(s): There are actually two. First, the development team at Jaleco was clearly into physical fitness as all players run in place while not playing defense, offense, or really anything besides shooting the ball. Second, is that a young LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow dunking in a black tank top over a white t-shirt on the cover of the game?

#3 Jammit (SNES, Genesis)

Highlight: This game captures most racial stereotypes of white people who had minimal to no interactions with black people in the 1990s. The players look violent and angry, the background of the court screams urban decay, players have nicknames like "In 2 It" and "Cutthroat", and inevitably there is a boom box next to the court. However, the player is uncertain if the boombox is actually playing or simply there for aesthetics. Oh, and the game is predicated on dunking and three-point shooting--DBSF knows what you're thinking, how did the creators at GTE know about the JR Smith stereotype in 1994 when he was only 9 years old?

#4 Charles Barkely Shut Up and Jam! (Genesis)

Highlight: Probably the most homo-erotic 16-bit basketball game to date. Check out the 'team captain' selection screen (around 15 seconds in). That's a lot of gym-bulk, gay-cut dudes in spandex without shirts for one urban, spray-painted basketball court. You think the two guys that went t-shirt for the photo shoot are self-conscious about something?

#5 Rap Jam: Volume One (SNES)

Highlight(s): You can play one-on-one with Queen Latifah vs. Yo-Yo. 100% serious. The racial stereotyping indicator registers pretty high on this one too. Apparently, rap and hip-hop's biggest stars of the mid-1990s prefer playing basketball on dilapidated courts (although in this game the background shows a decrepit fence, rather than a spray-painted decaying brick wall), and don't have the means for actual baskets so they fasten (what looks like an upside-down) basket to some old oil drums?


  1. You forgot about Pat Riley basketball for Sega. They took original Double Dribble for NES except the dunk cut scenes were colorized.

  2. The dunk meter in Pat Riley basketball made the game. #6 All-time game for sure.