Gamer's Town

Classic Nintendo Games: NBA JAM


NBA JAM - nbafe

We are deep in the NBA Playoffs so what better time to look at one of the greatest sports games of all time!

Super Nintendo


One of the most popular arcade games of all time, NBA JAM when it was released on console was a monster of a hit. This along with the original Mortal Kombat are two of the biggest video game launches that I remember from the 16-bit era. Called JAM DAY, gamers all over the world were very excited to be able to play NBA JAM at home.

NBA JAM - nba3

NBA JAM was a huge hit not just with fans of basketball, but pretty much anyone who loved video games! Gamers who had never played a basketball game before or just had a passing interest at best in the NBA fell in love with this game.

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The Super Nintendo had the best looking version of NBA JAM. Not putting down the port that was on the Sega Mega Drive, but the Super Nintendo was more sharp, faster and in general just looked better in every single regard. The animation of NBA JAM was incredible and the over the top dunks were awesome to see. One really cool thing that just blew my mind when I first played NBA JAM on the Super Nintendo was the “FMV” ok so I use that term very loosely, but NBA JAM had what looked like actual video playing during half time!

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NBA JAM is famous for its sound there was a little bit of music playing during the game, but it was the commentary that the game had which is still fondly remembered to this day. Phrases like Boomshakalaka and He’s On Fire are still in pop culture to this day.

Game Play

This is what NBA JAM is all about! NBA JAM takes away all boring rules of basketball and just focuses on the fun aspects of basketball and takes them to total extremes.  This is a two on two game of basketball not your typical five on five. This game really does take basketball to the extreme. We are talking dunks that go high above the rim, full court shots, smashing the backboard, setting the net on fire and just no regards for the rules of basketball in general. No fouls, if you want the ball you just shove over your opponent and take it! Multi player is where the most fun is at, but there is a good single player mode where you try to beat all the teams in the NBA. The only downside to this is that there is no battery save. Your progress has to be continued via huge password, but that is the only down side I can think of.

NBA JAM - nba1

 The Super Nintendo has the best version of the original NBA JAM manly due to the controller. The Mega Drive port of the game was fun, but the controller was not ideal. The Super Nintendo on the other hand with its shoulder buttons as the turbo could not have been any better for playing the game. Actually from a personal point of view I honestly think that NBA JAM on the Super Nintendo controls better than the arcade! It may sound like a small thing to make a big deal about, but having the turbo on the shoulder buttons really does make a huge difference and just make the game more fun to play.

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Final Thoughts

NBA JAM is an all-time arcade classic and the Super Nintendo version may not have exact same graphics as the arcade, but it is still a lot of fun to play. I would say that the sequel, NBA JAM Tournament Edition with its three man per team roster, better tournament mode and slightly enhanced game play is the better version. But the original NBA JAM is still an incredible game and one that should be in all gamers collection.