* Atari’s 1978 BASKETBALL
Sorry Tim and Sidizens…another blog entry in hopes of keeping you entertained until Tim and Sid: Uncut return next week.
Need something to help cure the impending NBA lockout blues? Did you enjoy last year’s NBA 2K11 starring the one and only Michael Jordan? Well, the NBA video game franchise isn’t wasting any time on their next game in the series. Late this past week, the video game franchise announced that they will have three different covers for NBA 2K12 as NBA legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson will join Michael Jordan in this year’s edition.
Up until last year, the only gaming system I ever had was the Super Nintendo; but when NBA 2K11 announced Jordan was coming back to the video game world for the first time in almost a decade, I went out and purchased an XBOX in anticipation for it’s release. For me personally, NBA 2K11 isn’t just a video game, it’s a piece of memorabilia.
In my eyes, NBA 2K11 was the greatest simulation basketball game I’ve ever played; the key feature being the ability to duplicate 10 of the greatest moments in Michael Jordan’s career. But this got me thinking, video games have come a long way since my SNES days and memories of past NBA games in my childhood began flooding back. Here’s a breakdown of my favourite basketball simulation games growing up and proof that the gaming world continues to get better.
I know I said I never owned a gaming system until the SNES was released…but the Commodore 64 we owned at the time was never used for games; it was used for grade 4 writing projects. My friend Tony DeBartolo owned the game and after school, we would spend hours playing Jordan vs. Bird: One on One. At that time, neither of us wanted to play as the white kid from Indiana.
Circa 1988 – I played Double Dribble for the first time. I was in grade 5 and never owned a Nintendo. I had to save my weekly allowance in order to rent the system and game at the local corner store down the street. At the time, the video game dunks had to be the greatest thing I’d ever seen in a video game and the “straight-arm” shot didn’t seem to bother me.
Finally on my 14th birthday, I received my very first gaming system – the Super Nintendo. Despite my parents wishes, my aunt and uncle came through and delivered every boy’s wish at the time. The first games I owned? NHL ’94 and Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs. By this time, I was rockin’ the Jordan sneakers and wishing I was the man himself. I would spend hours playing this video game and it wasn’t until I watched this little video below that I remembered little characteristics of the game that made it so special: the noise from shooting a brick, the wonky net, and how difficult it was to dunk (or at least getting into the lane). However, after months of playing, I found an error in the game which allowed the player to hit a three-pointer 100% of the time. I used to dribble just past halfcourt, move my character to the bottom corner, and shot the trey…money every time. Eventually it became a contest to see how many three-pointers I could hit with Jordan in one game.
By 1997, I was just finishing high school and the last simulated basketball game I played until NBA 2K11 was released was the Playstation’s NBA Live ’97. I was working at Blockbuster at the time and during the weekends, if the PSX hadn’t been rented out, I’d take the system home for a couple of days. This was the first game I had every played where the video game closely resembled players’ shots, layups, dunks, and alley-oops. “Here’s the tip.” (the PSX version was hard to find but below is the Super Nintendo version of the game – very similar)
And that was it…soon girls became important, beer was available without a fake ID, George Street became a constant routine, and provincial basketball took up much of my time. Now, 14 years later…pretending to be Michael Jordan doesn’t seem to get old.