NBA Jam – we all have played it, we all have seen it, and we all remember the legends of its existence. The over-embellished gameplay stuck to us for reasons completely unknown to anyone. But for some odd reason, seeing our favorite players transposed into the extraordinary games made us fall in love.
Fast-forward to the present and EA is remaking the game exclusively for the Nintendo Wii. With updated rosters and the same in your face slam dunks, NBA Jam is reason enough to get excited for the Wii’s revival.
Let me start by saying that this game is really easy to pick-up and play. With a flick of the wrist and a press of the turbo button, you’ll be dunking over your most hated rivals. The best part about the game is that it encourages trash talk and light jesting with your opponents.
The demonstration started when I stepped up to the booth with three random strangers. We got a 30 second tutorial from the booth host and proceeded to pick our teams. Right now, there are only two players to choose from, but I was told there will be a third player from the team’s roster upon release.
Since E3 is in LA and I’m a huge Clipper fan, I was reluctant to choose the Lakers when my teammate was so adamant about being Kobe. I easily gave in and was the Robin to his Batman – Pau Gasol. Our opponents? The Trail Blazers (Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge).
The game tipped off and right from the start it was fierce. It was almost identical to the original – no fouls and tons of shoving; it was like I de-aged 15 years.
The first bucket was scored by my teammate and as soon as that happened, we erupted into a taunting roar. But then, our teammates ran the ball back down the court and shoved the rock right down our throats. From that moment, the game was a close battle all the way down to the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Because of our antics and the closeness of the game, small crowds began forming around us and the host began instigating a bit of a feud between the two teams. ”We got a game Boys; Kobe doing what he does best, beating everyone to a bloody pulp; Aldridge slamming down on Gasol”
Similarly, to intensify the situation, the in-game announcer was going through his repertoire of announcements. ”Boom Shakalaka Boom; Is it the shoes?”
There’s something about this game that gets opponents heated and the over-the-top antics really gets players motivated to slam the ball down. Likewise, the same qualities still exist that were in the original – shattering the backboard glass and the nets exploding into a ball of fire.
On the Wii, the controls were surprisingly very responsive. Flicking the wrist up makes the character jump and flicking it down shoots the ball. The turbo button dictates whether you swipe or shove and it also determines whether you shoot or slam dunk.
The A button passes – nobody needs to know that button – and the nunchuck controls the character’s movement. Likewise, for the hardest of fans there are more advanced controls that allow the player to perform alley oops and cross-overs. Essentially, there’s a lot in the game that will easily appeal to new comers and veterans of the game.
As I hinted earlier, what really appealed to me was the tension the game instantly created; it was fun and the trash talk was flying. Having four players easily makes the game much more enjoyable and it creates an eerie sense of bonding with the people around you.
As well, taking the current and fusing it with the old made the game that much more appealing. I’m definitely looking forward to this title in October.