Last month, I found myself thinking about just how far sports video games have come after Fox debuted some new technology that blurred the line between virtual reality and actual reality thanks to a camera that makes the network’s NFL broadcasts almost indistinguishable from Madden.
More of this camera angle please pic.twitter.com/FD5dzbY8Wq
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 20, 2020
I’m nowhere close to being ancient enough to know what it was like to have your mind blown by Pong but it’s still kind of wild to compare the hyper-realistic titles on the market today to the stuff I played growing up; when I was a kid, I was under the impression video games had peaked the first time I played Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey on the N64, so I can’t imagine how I would’ve reacted to the graphics of today’s games.
With that said, the NHL franchise features a serious lack of goalies suddenly transforming into brick walls, and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for sports video games that take a less grounded approach—which is exactly what NBA Jam did when it was unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 1993.
NBA Jam eschewed authenticity in favor of laughably over-the-top two-on-two matchups filled with flaming basketballs and flagrant elbows by taking the arcade approach that would eventually be harnessed by the likes of NFL Street to create an infinitely enjoyable franchise that’s provided me with countless hours of enjoyment over the years.
Last year, the designer who played the biggest role in helping Midway develop the original game revealed he wrote some code that made it impossible for a member of the Bulls to hit a last-second shot when playing the Pistons, and now, it looks like we’re poised to get more anecdotes like that after Variety reported an NBA Jam documentary is currently heating up.
The outlet reports the documentary will be based on the book Reyen Ali wrote about the game and will be helmed by Sean Menard, who previously directed The Carter Effect. He says he’s catering to people like himself who remember playing NBA Jam in an actual arcade in addition to a new generation of gamers who might not fully properly grasp its cultural impact and long-term influence.
As of right now, it’s unclear when the project will be released or who we can expect to be featured in it. I’d be surprised to see Michael Jordan make an appearance, but I can only hope the same can’t be said about the rare cabinets that allowed players to step into his shoes that are rumored to be somewhere in the wild.