Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
As JaoSming noted in the Tuesday Triple, it’s been a while since an arcade basketball title was released. A little while ago, we were teased by the prospect of a new NBA Jam on the game’s official Twitter page, by way of an “unauthorised” Tweet that has since been deleted. While EA Sports currently has no announcements regarding the future of the NBA Jam series, I’m hoping that we will indeed see a new NBA Jam game sooner rather than later.
The overarching reason of course is that I’m a big fan of NBA Jam from way back in the day and as long as I’m gaming, I’m interested in seeing new releases from my favourite series (incidentally, I’m still waiting on that Fallout 4 announcement, Bethesda). I do have a few specific thoughts on the matter though, so without any further ado, here are five reasons why I want another NBA Jam game.
1. It’s been three years since the last NBA Jam game
Generally speaking, there’s less call for arcade basketball games to come out every year for the new season, compared to the simulation titles. We don’t tend to mind when they come out every other year or every few years, especially now that the possibility of roster updates has been introduced with NBA Jam: On Fire Edition. However, a few years have passed since OFE’s release, so it’s getting to the point where a new game would be most welcome.
Further updates for On Fire Edition would certainly be great too, but unless they can start pushing through some new audio and other substantial updates, it won’t be quite the same. Beyond trades and an influx of new players, we also have the New Jersey Nets becoming the Brooklyn Nets, the New Orleans Hornets becoming the New Orleans Pelicans, and the Charlotte Bobcats ready to take back the Hornets moniker. There have been some significant changes in the NBA in the past few years, so it would be nice to get an updated arcade game that reflects them.
2. New technology, new possibilities
Since the debut of the series in 1993, there’s been an NBA Jam game released for every console generation, on pretty much every major platform at one time or another. Two (count ‘em, two) NBA Jam games were even released for the PC! Since a new generation is upon us with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it seems only right that we see the next generation of arcade hoops with a new NBA Jam game.
Speaking of the new generation and new technology, EA Sports’ next gen releases have seen the debut of the IGNITE engine. We haven’t seen it used to its full potential in NBA Live as yet, but the flashes of brilliance in NBA Live 14 suggest that it’s really good tech. Additionally, FIFA 14 and the upcoming UFC game definitely show off the promise of the IGNITE engine, so it would be interesting to see if it could be adapted for an arcade game like Jam. Combine that with advanced Real AI, facilities to update the rosters, online play, a new tournament/career mode, and the sharing and streaming abilities of the new consoles, and a new NBA Jam game could be something really special.
3. Multiple games can cater to our different needs and tastes
As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I’m glad to see NBA Live back in action and showing potential for the future, as I feel that competition is good for both simulation titles. I also believe that having two sim games on the market opens up the possibility for different experiences, with each game offering something that the other does not. For example, NBA 2K may (and right now, certainly does) offer the deeper single player career mode. On the other hand, NBA Live’s Ultimate Team could offer the more enjoyable version of the fantasy team concept. Basically, there’s room in the market for both titles.
There’s also a place for a third game that caters to a need and audience that NBA Live and NBA 2K do not; obviously, that’s NBA Jam, with its more casual, arcade brand of basketball. Needless to say, not everyone is going to buy every NBA game on the market, but there will be enthusiastic basketball gamers who are willing to invest in more than one title for the different experience that each provides. With NBA Live and NBA 2K both doing their thing on the simulation front, all I need is a new NBA Jam release for some updated arcade basketball gaming, and I’m set for my virtual hoops fix.
4. The possibility of new legends and secret players
Glancing at the complete roster of Legends for NBA Live 14 Ultimate Team, it appears as though a couple of extra NBA alumni have signed on with EA Sports since NBA Jam: On Fire Edition. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to get them to sign on for a new NBA Jam game as well, beefing up the roster of hidden and unlockable players.
I’m guessing that EA would also be able to get a couple of new celebrities into the game, alongside NBA mascots and the other usual suspects…maybe even some WNBA players, too. On top of that, perhaps they could reach agreements to feature their other EA Sports cover athletes in the game as a special team. It might not be quite as amusing as Sub-Zero and Scorpion hitting the hardwood, but it would still be fun nevertheless.
5. That Tweet was just a massive tease
Look, we can come up with all kinds of theories as to what exactly happened with that “unauthorised” Tweet. Maybe an overzealous employee thought they were doing the brand a favour, or jumped the gun after some internal discussions. Maybe it was a sneaky way of trying to get people talking about the game, a quiet attempt at some viral marketing. In a similar vein, it might have been a subtle way of gauging fan interest in a new game without confirming or committing to anything, passing the whole thing off as an accident. Whatever the truth may be, the Tweet invited speculation.
And of course, it piqued my interest and got me excited about the possibility of another NBA Jam game. I’m sure that I’m not alone in that regard, as quite a few people had obliged with a Re-Tweet before the Tweet was deleted and rumours of a new game were shot down by a company rep. However, after a tease like that – intentional or not – I’m hoping that EA Sports will consider making another NBA Jam game at some point in the future. I loved On Fire Edition, but there’s still room for improvement and a new generation of consoles is upon us. Please, EA, make it happen!
That’s all for this week. Do you want to see another NBA Jam game released? What other basketball game or series would you like to see make a comeback? Sound off in the comments below and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! Thanks for checking in, please join me again next Friday for another Five.