A few days ago, a colleague of mine absolutely crushed an assignment she’d been working on for months.
After congratulating her, I considered a chest bump, decided against it, and went with, “Is it the shoes?”
Thinking for sure it would be a) comedy gold and or b) recognized as one of the finest vintage video game sayings ever, I was shocked when it got nothing more than a courtesy response.
“You mean my heels?”
No. Not the heels, damn it. Although those are nice and do wonders for your calf muscles. :-)
It got me thinking, self, maybe she's just too young? Maybe she’s not a gamer? Or maybe I’m just wrong and NBA Jam is not as popular as I thought. No, it can’t be that.
NBA Jam is the cat’s meow. And I know I'm funny. I guess all that's left now is to educate these millennials on the finer art of old school gaming.
So, what vintage games bring back memories of blowing into the NES or playing the original PlayStation upside down?
Here they are:
NBA JAM - Where do I start with possibly the greatest game ever created? Granted, the arcade version was WAAAY better than the home systems, still those tomahawk jams brought great joy. First, there were the cheerleaders that came out to play after you defeated all 32 NBA teams. There were “easter eggs” and certain special characters. You could play the game in “Big Head” mode, play the game as one of the developers, even as certain Mortal Kombat players (Midway made Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam). Not to mention all of the signature catch phrases, like “Boom Shakalaka”, “Is it the shoes?”, “Boom goes the dynamite”, “He’s heating up”, and of course, “He’s on fire.”
And who can forget, "Get that stuff outta here."
Also, a little "did you know" trivia:
Michael Jordan and Gary “the Glove” Payton ended up being in a very few select location arcade machines on the West Coast. Jordan originally removed himself from the game, then later he and Payton teamed up and pitched that they both be in the game together, on the same team, an unbeatable All-Star team of just the 2 of them. Jordan and Scottie Pippen were also a team in some very early arcade editions in the Chicago area.
Other NBA Jam trivia:
One of the game's sexy cheerleaders is none other than Playboy model, Kerri Hoskins, who also played Sonya Blade in Mortal Kombat. In the game, she and another cheerleader/playboy model, tell you, "Let's play two on two."
And my final piece of NBA Jam trivia before I get on with the rest of the games:
Drazen Petrovic from the NJ Nets was killed in a car crash during the release of the home systems. Because of this, NBA Jam is said to be haunted by a Petrovic bug, often causing his last name to be randomly shouted by the announcer. I've heard it.
NFL Blitz - Football the way it was meant to be played. Pass interference, what's that? You better find a way to catch that ball while getting laid the F out.
RBI Baseball - The first console baseball game of it's kind to officially be licensed by MLBPA (but not MLB), hence players were represented but the teams they played for were just called, "California" and "San Francisco", no team names or nicknames. Vince Coleman was impossible to throw out, and Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco were monsters playing for the American League All-Stars (the Oakland A's were not represented in the game, so you could only use those 2 players on the All-Star teams). It was about as simplistic as a baseball game has ever been, and it sure was fun.
Bases Loaded - The first baseball game to utilize a television-style gameplay, it was also incredibly realistic for it's time. However, it was not at all licensed by MLB or the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association), hence, there are no MLB players or teams represented. Instead, the developers really stretched their brain-power and came up with names like: L.A., Hawaii, Utah, Jersey, Omaha, N.Y., D.C., and Philly. The players had names such as: Bopper, Doreo, Brutus, and Agua. This was the first game I officially stayed up all night playing. Literally, like 20 straight hours of baseball action. No sleep. :-)
Double Dribble - The first console basketball game I remember and man did it have it's issues (quirks), but that's what made it such fun and still memorable. For example, on the court were "hot-spots," areas where shots-taken almost always went in, like hitting a 3-pointer from the bottom right-hand side of the screen (nearly never missed). A player could start a 3-pointer from the top right or left corner inbounds, and continue the jump out of bounds, even slightly behind the hoop and it would go in nearly every time. He could also start a 3 behind the 3-point line and jump way over the line in the air, making it close to a layup, but worth 3. It was also the first game of it's kind to show animation dunks and lay-ups.
Tecmo Bowl - This game should have just been called "Tecmo Bo", because Bo Jackson was literally that unstoppable. Playing for the Los Angeles Raiders, good luck tackling him. It was the first football game to feature real NFL players, but like the baseball games above, Tecmo Bowl did not have NFL Team rights, so some of the team names were as follows: Los Angeles (Raiders)--evidently having the parenthesis made it legal?--, San Francisco, Denver and Seattle. The other dominant players besides Bo Jackson were: Marcus Allen, Eric Dickerson, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Dexter Manley, and Lawrence Taylor. Classic.
Mike Tyson’s Punch Out - Before the face tattoo, the Hangover movie series and biting off Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield's ear, Iron Mike was the best boxer in his own video game. You start out as a skinny, scrawny kid name Little Mac and work your way up the boxing ranks, taking on characters such as Glass Joe, King Hippo, Piston Honda, Mr. Sandman, and of course Mike Tyson.
Honorable mentions: Madden by EA Sports, NBA Street, NHL 94, NFL 2K, FIFA, Bulls v Blazers and the NBA Playoffs, NFL Street and Street Vol 2.
What about you, Lash Larue? What are your favorite old school games? Lemme know and drop me a comment below.
P.S. Did you know (what is with me and the trivia in this post?), that many professional gamers use the Alpha Brain for increased focus, memory, creativity and mental drive during their tournaments?