While NBA 2K is such a dominant force in sports games today, it took a minute for basketball video games to take off on the earliest consoles and in arcades like football did with Tecmo Bowl and others (do check out our previous episode on the very best football video games of all time).
In this edition of Recon, hosts Noelle Miller and Ray Apollo look back fondly on some of the best and most influential titles and developments in the long history of basketball video games, including the one that crossed over into broad cultural popularity.
Midway’s first edition of NBA Jam in 1993 was a huge step for basketball video games, timed well with the ascent of Michael Jordan (even though he wasn’t in the game) and the NBA turning into a global brand. So naturally, Noelle and Ray are going to talk about NBA Jam and how it blended high-adrenaline gameplay with real NBA stars pulling off cartoonish high-flying dunks. Talk about EA’s NBA Live follows before they dive into the NBA2K franchise and EA’s NBA Street games (which mixed elements from sims and the 2 on 2 fun of NBA Jam). Then they wrap things up with a quick look at how virtual headsets like the Meta Quest 2 are bringing the court into your living room.
Check out the episode above for all that and more.