by THQ Insider
When arcade games gained popularity in the 1970s, they were the traditional type like the first pinball games, Pac-Mac, Pong, and Space Invaders. However, over time, the creators of these games realized they had to innovate and improve constantly to retain the attention of their players. This led to them diversifying into games like the High Impact Football game series. This was a completely new format for arcade games. However, these games did not do as well as their ancestors. Perhaps players took time to adjust to them.
It was not until the release of basketball arcade games that this type of game really caught on. The first that really took the arcade games by storm was NBA Jam. This genre got noticed immediately with its release and became popular worldwide.
NBA Jam was unique in a lot of ways. First of all it was more expensive than the other games, where finishing a game required no less than $ 2. It was also the very first game that used real teams, real players with their real names, with the digitized version of these players playing the game on screen.
Playing the game was akin to watching a game on TV, only better, since here the game players could make control every move of their favourite basketball players. More so, one could defy gravity to make them do what a player wanted them to do. This has been one of the criticisms of the game, that it featured unrealistic effects, with the players flying as much as their heights to score a point. Fans of the game however maintained, that this was actually a great high.
However, the game continued to climb on the popularity charts and featured basketball greats of their times like Karl Malone, Chris Webber, Colbert Cheaney, Jeff Hornacek, David Robinson, Charles Oakley among others. After a time people discovered other features of the game like Easter eggs and other special features to be activated by use of buttons and joysticks.
The game saw many sequels and spin-offs, including the NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, NBA Jam Extreme of 1996 and even a 3D version of the game featuring a commentary. The other games in the line were NBA Hangtime and NBA Hangtime Extreme. A college version of the game, called College Slam was also introduced in 1995.
The huge success of basketball games also gave rise to other sports games, which centred on games like football and baseball.
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