Coming up with a good sports video game can be tough.
The creators need to balance up a realistic product for real fans while making sure that the game can also appeal to those who have no real interest in sports but just want to play games.
NBA basketball has actually come off pretty well in the past – and there have been some really good titles, including the annual 2K series.
While the NBA betting markets get busy as the season progresses, we thought we would remember back to four NBA games that we really liked. Plus, one we wish we could forget.
This is one of the most popular basketball video games of all time, and its arcade roots really come through to the fore. NBA Jam was designed for everyone to enjoy, not just basketball aficionados. Even the purists couldn’t turn their noses up at this gravity-defying action game.
Allowing gamers to play two-on-two, this title is best remembered for the slam dunks from the free-throw line, backboard glass shattering, and the excitable commentary that went along with the game. It made a few reappearances on consoles in the 2000s because the gameplay was just so good.
NBA Street Volume 2
Just like The Godfather and, er, the Home Alone series, sometimes the sequel is even better than the original. The same can be said for NBA Street Volume 2, which somehow surpassed the first edition when it came out in 2003. Bringing the game back to the streets, this title followed a three-on-three format that was just a little more realistic than NBA Jam.
There are a number of reasons why this volume was an improvement, including the 29 extra pro players you could unlock to fill your street team roster. There were some incredible game-breaker moves to work on and a Be a Legend mode which allowed you to grow a career long before FIFA did it. The booming 1990s golden age hip-hop soundtrack also made this game just perfect.
When it comes to realistic NBA basketball video games, you really can only head straight for the 2K series – and this version is widely recognized as the best ever. Bringing Michael Jordan back as the cover star and as the subject of a number of game modes was an absolute masterstroke.
The gameplay, graphics, and AI were much improved across the board and took basketball games to a whole new level. Combining some nostalgia (there were other classic teams to choose from) with such innovation set the bar high for improving the series every year going forward.
NBA Live 2005
There was a time when EA competed on a level playing field with the 2K series – and NBA Live 2005 was probably the best of the lot. Gamers loved the addition of the All-Star Weekend that provided this game with so many more entertaining modes to go alongside the general hoops action.
The game followed the real All-Star Weekend in that it had a Rookie vs. Sophomore mode and a 3-point shootout competition. But the real draw – as in real life – was the Slam Dunk Contest. New controls gave more creativity, resulting in the most explosive dunks imaginable.
NBA All-Star Challenge
After those four classics of the genre, we thought we would also remind you that there have been some real flops as well. NBA Live 2005 may have utilized the All-Star Weekend to great effect – but this title almost ruined basketball for a lot of people. The main problem was that you couldn’t actually play an All-Star game.
That confusion aside, there were a few different modes available. But it didn’t seem to be as advertised. You also could only pick by a team rather than an individual player. This might have been tough for gamers with little knowledge of the NBA itself.
All in all, nothing worked with this game, and the less said about it, the better.
Featured Image: ---