When Everything had to be 3D!

NBA Jam Extreme [various platforms, 1996-1997] 90s Video Games, Episode 199

In today’s episode I am going to talk a little about the history of NBA Jam series.

Did you know, that basically two different sequels followed in 1996, that split the series into two different series. How could this even happen?

I am going to talk about NBA Jam Extreme, it’s strengths and flaws.

I am also going to show you some secrets and tricks in this game.

So what are we waiting for, let’s get going!

We all loved NBA Jam, released in 1993. NBA Jam started it all. An iconic and timeless classic that revolutionized the sports gaming genre, offering an exhilarating and fast-paced basketball experience that captivated players with its dynamic gameplay and over-the-top dunks.

With its unforgettable catchphrases like “He’s on fire!”, “Boomshakalaka!”, “Airball!”, “Kaboom!”, “Monster jam!” and many more, and its distinctive two-on-two format, NBA Jam Arcade not only brought the excitement of NBA basketball to the arcade but also created a social gaming phenomenon, fostering friendly competition and memorable multiplayer moments.

A year later, an update was released. NBA Jam Tournament Edition, a triumphant sequel was even elevating the exhilarating experience of the original with enhanced gameplay, a wealth of new features, and an expanded roster of NBA stars, which made it a must-play for fans of arcade sports gaming.

Inclusion of many secret characters, hidden codes, and the ability to play as legendary players from the past added a layer of depth and excitement, keeping players engaged and eager to discover all the game had to offer. The game, like it’s name suggests, also introduced a tournament mode.

Two completely different sequels, made by different developers followed in 1996.

Somehow, against the all odds, Acclaim, the publisher of the home versions of NBA Jam and Tournament Edition, ended up winning the exclusive rights to use the NBA Jam name.

That left the original developers scratching their heads and they needed to find another name.

They came up with name “NBA Hangtime”, a spiritual successor to original NBA Jam games, developed by the same people, was eventually released in 1996 and started a new separate franchise.

NBA Jam Extreme, developed by Sculptured Software and published by Acclaim Entertainment, became the official third sequel to the NBA Jam series.

NBA Jam Extreme was the first Jam game to use 3D graphics. In contrast, Midway’s NBA Hangtime continued 2D visuals similar to the previous Jam games. Extreme also features longtime sports broadcaster Marv Albert doing commentary.

Let’s talk about the arcade version first. It is not completely clear if updated 3D graphics, expanded rosters or other additional features such as extreme button or alley-oop play actually improved the gameplay.

Competition in game can be really unfair and sometimes if computer team goes berzerk there is nothing you can do. For example, we played around 20-25 games with my friend and ultimately we won just one game. However, the other day I played alone and I won 5 games in a row.

The game doesn’t perform all that well on the PC. Though it uses DirectX and Windows 95, its graphical speed and detail is inferior to other Windows 95 round ball games. The frame rate is extremely choppy with full detail on. Throw in a washed-out appearance during play and you get a game that is a little hard on the eyes, especially with the pace.

Saturn port also suffers heavily from blurry and unclear, choppy and awkwardly animated graphics.

Thankfully there is also Playstation port which fortunately plays a lot better than other ports and also looks better graphically compared to the Saturn port mostly thanks to transparency and blending modes. Both console versions unfortunately have annoyingly long loading times between each quarter which kind of destroys the flow.

There is also a way to make graphics better thanks to todays technology. Old good Playstation 1 game can now look like a modern game.

Secrets in the game

Unlock all 17 secret teams:
Set your initials JBP May 17

Big feet mode:
Hold LEFT or RIGHT when exiting the Big Head screen

Small bodies and big heads:
In the Big Head Screen press Up, Down, Left, Right, Down, Up, then press YES

Beach ball:
press Pass, Pass, Turbo, Extreme, Turbo, Pass, Pass before the tip-off

Soccer ball:
press Pass, Pass, Turbo, Turbo, Extreme, Extreme, Extreme before the tip-off

Bonus game:
Hold Up and the Left shoulder button when exiting the team screen

I found some cheats that actually sounded pretty interesting but I wasn’t able to pull them off. One of them was called Marshmallow treats, the other one was suppose to make you play as a pencil.

Let me know in the comments if these cheats are even real.

All right folks, that’s it for this episode!

Thanks for watching the video.

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