DBPG: Top 5 NES Basketball Games

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Drink a Beer and Play a Game Present the Top 5 NES Basketball Games.

#NESBasketball #Top5NES #Top5Basketball

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36 COMMENTS

  1. Basketball is the worst sport represented on NES. Baseball, football, hockey etc are all still fun and playable today. I can't bring myself to waste time on NES basketball instead of playing NBA 2K. Ugh. But great video as always!

  2. it's called a FOUL not a penalty. Unless were talking about Hockey, I've never heard of a penalty shot in Basketball.

  3. No love for Jordan vs Bird? I had lots of fun playing that game, until Tecmo NBA Basketball came out, and then later on, I upgraded to the Sega, and played my all-time fav basketball game, NBA Jam!

  4. my top 5
    1. Arch rivals
    2. tecmo NBA basketball
    3. Magic Johnson's fast break
    4. Jordan vs bird
    5. double dribble

  5. huh, I just got through playing one game of each NES basketball game, on an emulator against the computer, and my top 5 is very close, the only difference is i put Harlem Globetrotters in 3. (Roundball 2 on 2 came in 9th out of the 10 basketball games for me)

  6. I have never just went crazy with any basketball game really, like I have with football or baseball. I agree that Arch-Rivals was #1 out of the NES, though it is more because of lack of competition.

  7. No way it's clear cut, guys! You had an option for a whole season on Tecmo, that was a main seller and still is for me.

  8. Dishonorable mention: Magic Johnson's Fast Break…atrocious. Magic deserved better and Jordan vs Bird…just awful. Wasted three of the five all time greatest basketball players with those titles.

    Honorable mention: Arch Rivals and Ultimate Basketball

    5. Roundball 2 on 2 Challenge
    4. All Pro Basketball (basically Hoops but 5 on 5)
    3. Hoops (first great streetball game)
    2. Tecmo NBA Basketball (funniest part about the game was the fact that the sim glitched a bonafide scrub named Scott Hastings to always be among the leading scorers in the league in season mode, even though he didn't start for the Denver Nuggets)
    1. Double Dribble (end of story. It's the gold standard of NES basketball games)

  9. Looking at all these basketball games on the NES, it's interesting how they approached the NES' sprite limitation. The basic limitation is that if a game tries to render too many animated sprites on the same scanline, they can't all be drawn so you get flicker.

    Jordan vs Bird was designed for the limitations of early 80s computers. The 1-on-1 half court format with a vertical layout is very flicker resistant and low on CPU demands. The lack of scrolling was helpful to systems that couldn't handle scrolling well. The choice of a light and dark skinned character made it easy to tell the players apart without needing a lot of detail. It doesn't push the NES really.

    It looks like Double Dribble for the NES tries to hide players off-screen and plays more like 3-on-3. This limits the flickering problem while giving the feeling of a full basketball game.

    All Pro Basketball went with real 5-on-5 but in the vertical layout. The vertical layout tends to have fewer animated characters appearing on the same horizontal scanline so it keeps flicker from being as bad as it would be if the layout was horizontal. However, vertical creates a problem with seeing the basket at the bottom of the court, so they had to make it play like a half court game and had that irritating transition whenever you cross the center line.
    A few games (starting with Hoops) went with 2-on-2 vertical half court. 2 players per team reduces CPU demand and minimizes flicker. This could also be cashed in for bigger and more detailed characters since there aren't as many of them. 2-on-2 also feels like a natural fit with a vertical half court game.

    Arch Rivals is horizontal and looks pretty detailed, but it's 2-on-2 so the system isn't too stressed.

    Tecmo Basketball apparently tried to defy limitations and went with 5-on-5 horizontal, but unfortunately it's very prone to flicker as a result. People who didn't mind the flicker and wanted a more realistic basketball game may have really liked it though.
    The 2 games that tried to be the most realistic – All Pro and Tecmo – ended up having the biggest problems it seems. For sim oriented 5-on-5 basketball games the NES isn't really the right console, those games work a lot better on the 16-bit era systems. Seems like 2-on-2 was the sweet spot for the NES.

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