NBA Jam for the Wii Review: Kicking it old school!
Written by Erik Kubik, kube00 Thursday, 16 June 2011 05:00
Boom Shakalalaa! Most gamers who grew up in the 1990s fondly remember NBA Jam from arcades and the days of the Genesis/SNES. I remember staying up late in the mid 90s and playing with my friends until my hands cramped up. For the last few years, ever since the Dreamcast, I really haven’t found a casual basketball game like NBA Jam. Then as of last year, thanks to EA, gamers can relive their youth.
Of course, younger gamers these days want games like NBA Live 10 to go with their Maddens. They don’t understand the fun behind NBA Jam. And to clarify, NBA Street has nothing on this game. NBA Jam is a game that dumps players into a 4 vs. 4 nontraditional basketball game with few fouls and few rules. NBA Jam has the ever-crazy, and over-the-top outrageous dunks. NBA Jam still has the fire, the annoying announcers, and crazy desperate 3 pointers -- oh yeah it’s all there.
The controls vary, gamers can use the classic controller for the more traditional feeling or go with the Wii-mote and nunchuck for a little motion control action. Concerning the actual game play, very little has changed since the 90s. The computer can still be cheap and I still cannot play as Jordan. NBA Jam has updated rosters, unlock-able classic players and teams, a remix mode, and the standard and ever satisfying arcade mode. What else do gamers need? Jordan?
NBA Jam is best played with at least one other person. Whether it’s taking on all the teams and going to the top or just a 10-minute 2 vs. 2 game. NBA Jam is fun but it’s hard to justify the price tag of $40, which may have dropped to $30 or less by the time you read this. The remix modes are fun, and the boss battles are something new. Don’t get me wrong, these elements add welcome substance to a short game. But there is no create-a-player feature like in NBA Showtime. I can’t put the Hornet’s mascot’s head on Kobe’s body and then tweak his stats to make him the ultimate defender. Did I mention I also made him 7’ 8”? There are a few surprises to unlock along the way and some of them pay homage to older NBA Jam games.
Most players will find themselves picking up this game and playing casually with friends where as a few will take the challenge and complete everything. In the end EA should have released this for $20 (you can buy it for about that much on Amazon right now) and possibly as a downloadable title only. Still its hard not to love a game that brings back a flood of childhood gaming memories. What can I say? We need more games like NBA Jam.