Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tonight's Matchup: NBA Jam vs Fighting Games

This blog is focused almost entirely on fighting games. Why, then, do I cover NBA Jam? There are a couple of reasons.

First, when I was playing fighting games in the local arcade in the '90's, NBA Jam always had a presence. People would line up to play Jam, just as they would for X-men vs. Street Fighter or Street Fighter Alpha. Between bouts of Mortal Kombat or Killer Instinct, we'd all get in a game or two of NBA Jam. NBA Jam was just as much a part of the arcade culture as any fighting game.

Second, NBA Jam is a competitive multi-player game. It is basically a fighting game with a basketball and two hoops. Players need to focus on meter management (the turbo bar), controlling space (steals and strategic goaltending), when to jump (shooting/blocking), and when to attack (pushing). Many of the elements of fighting games play a huge part in competitive NBA Jam. The game is fast and frenetic and full of those unbelievable moments that we love to see in fighting games. There are insanely-timed steals and miraculous comebacks. There are times when an obviously weaker, "low-tier" player or team overcomes the much-stronger competition. NBA Jam is a fighting game, and it will always have a place on this site.

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