NBA Jam

What Rhymes With Boomshakalaka?

NBA Jam finally gives Gilbert Arenas an outlet to use his firepower. Hopefully this won't get him suspended.
Author: Scott Rodgers
Published: December 30, 2010
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The latest iteration of NBA Jam has had a unique path to our homes. Originally, it was supposed to come out only for the Wii. An alternate version with different features was later announced as a special DLC pack-in voucher with NBA Elite 11 for PS3 and Xbox 360. So great was the demand for Jam itself, there were reports that some people planned to purchase Elite, redeem the voucher and download Jam, then sell Elite.


Things were shaping up for this to be one of the best downloadable bonuses of all time. Then, of course, Jesus Bynum came along with his buddy, the Carlos Boozer Rocket Dunk. After a flood of negative criticism, EA finally gave in and gave PS3 owners what they wanted: NBA Jam, completely separate and more fully featured. Elite 11 went on to be cancelled, with a few copies trickling out into the wild and fetching hilariously high prices on eBay as these things are wont to do.

But not all was well. Remember what I said about Jam being a voucher, downloadable from the PSN? Well, with Elite’s cancellation costing them quite a bit (the delay in and of itself cost EA around $60 million according to Michael Patcher, an analyst at Wedbush), they decided to go all out with Jam’s release. This was again met with negativity, though not quite as bitter as the original announcement (which is arguably one of the most infamous postings on the PlayStation Blog, I still feel bad for Yaw, the Community Manager at EA Canada for facing that firing squad). But hey, originally the Remix Tours and other single player modes were supposed to be removed (thus why it was only a download), and the final release ended up having everything, including online (which the Wii version does not have at all, despite originally being deemed the superior platform). Overall, the whole thing was a mess. Yet in spite of all of this, the game finally made its way into my hands here at TPS.

The first, and most obvious thing anyone will notice upon firing up the game is its unique style. One detail I really loved was how the coaches look (they’re literally cardboard cutouts). The cartoony look is rather sharp looking and a welcome change from the standard simulation look that almost all sports games go for. Really, in this case, less is more as the crowd/cheerleaders/bench players, while looking copied and pasted (the benches are literally the same) at parts are livelier than what you see in a lot of EA’s sports titles. One thing I do have a bone to pick with the fact that after every score it has to flash a giant bar at the bottom. Is it that hard to look up or press pause to see? It doesn’t detract from the look of the game, but I just find it completely unnecessary.
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