Top 5 Retro NBA Games

As I write this we are right in the heart of the NBA Finals! I am what you would call a casual NBA game fan, I have been playing NBA games since the early 90s, but the NBA 2K series as it is today is way too much for me. Hey, I can appreciate how in-depth and realistic they are, but as I said, it is just too much for me. Anyway, having played a ton of great basketball games over the years, I decided to have some fun by sharing with you what my top 5 retro NBA games are.

As is always the case, no matter if it is My Top 5 8-Bit WWF games or My Top 5 PlayStation 2 games, this is my personal list. I would love to know what your favorite retro NBA games are in the comments section.

Number 5

NBA Live 2000

I got a less than legal copy of NBA Live 2000 for the PlayStation from a guy I went to college with who dealt in bootleg games. With its Naughty by Nature soundtrack and just epic style, NBA Live 2000 was a game that I put a ton of time into. I loved the Sacramento Kings team of this era with Jason Williams, Chris Webber, and Peja Stojaković, and taking them all the way to the NBA Finals was something I had an absolute blast with. What I liked about the NBA games from EA during this time was that they were basketball sims, but they were not so “realistic” that they took away the fun aspect.

Number 4

NBA Show Time NBA on NBC

NBA Show Time NBA on NBC may be the most unnecessarily long name for a sports game ever! I am specifically talking about the Sega Dreamcast version here. If My Top 5 Sega Dreamcast games was a top 10, this would have been on the list. I saw screenshots of this in a magazine and the graphics blew me away. This is part of the NBA Jam series, coming after NBA Hangtime, when Midway could no longer use the NBA Jam name. This is the same over the top 2 on 2 basketball action that you know and love from NBA Jam and Hangtime, but with a few more bells and whistles. It uses what at the time were cutting edge 3D graphics and I loved the expanded rosters. I put a ton of time into this on my Sega Dreamcast back in the day, even more than NBA 2K!

Number 3

Tecmo Super NBA Basketball

The amount of hours that I put into Tecmo Super NBA Basketball on the Super Nintendo is insane. While I complain about modern NBA games being too much for me, it was the depth here that I loved. This game was crazy as it let you play a full NBA season and at the time the stat tracking here felt so much more in-depth and realistic than what I was used to. The game was not super fast paced, but I liked that, I felt this was a game that made me have to think and try to play tactically. Plus, this was one of the very few NBA games of the era that actually had Michael Jordan in it. I also got a kick out of the cut scenes that would pop up from time to time. Before this, I was playing Bulls vs Blazers and this was such a huge upgrade from that game!

Number 2

Total NBA 97/NBA ShootOut 97

For me living in the UK, this game was called Total NBA 97 and it was the second game in the Total NBA series. For people in the USA, this series is known as NBA ShootOut. I talked about the previous year’s game when I talked about Demo 1 for the PlayStation. Total NBA 97 is one of my favorite basketball sims of all time. I had the version that came in the special box that had a cover that felt like it was made from a basketball. For some reason despite me trying to keep it clean and repeatedly trying to clean it, it has gone kind of grubby and gross. This game was like the next step up from Tecmo Super NBA Basketball for me. It was sim gameplay, but it was still fun. I liked how you could create players in this game and a huge part of the fun I had here was making a team based on the characters from the movie Blue Chips. Also, this was right around Grant Hill was becoming a big deal so I had a ton of fun building a team around him.

Number 1

NBA Jam Tournament Edition

I was a Super Nintendo kid, but I always felt that the NBA Jam series was better on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Sure the Nintendo version looked a little better, but why did the Nintendo version not have music playing during the games? That is why I prefer playing this on Sega. They took what was already a great game and made it even greater with NBA Jam Tournament Edition. I loved how the rosters were expanded and you could make substitutions and the game just felt more fun to play. Orlando Magic was my team here as I was a huge fan of Penny Hardaway. I never had this on the Super Nintendo, I had the original NBA Jam, but I played this all the time at a friend’s house. However, I did get it for the Sony PlayStation in 1995 and had a lot of fun with it there, but that version of the game is much harder than its 16-bit counterpart. One of these days I am going to add that epic Arcade 1Up NBA Jam Shaq Edition to my game room, I just have to figure out how to sneak it past the wife first!

Discover more from Eat Sleep Game Repeat

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading