I heard about NBA Playgrounds and knew I had to have it. An arcadey 2-on-2 basketball game promising big dunks and fast action harkening back to the days of NBA JAM.
Spoiler alert: some of these big dunks and fast action are delivered. But the game trips over its own shoelaces all too often. This is not an updated NBA JAM you can play with your kids.
Back when it was a totally dope diss to say “don’t have a cow, man”, kids had a vocabulary full of pop culture. There was something magical about old video games’ vocal snippets. Because games had limited memory, and because we were dealing with cartridges and CDs instead of giant hard drive installs, sound bytes were short, succinct and hilarious.
My friends and I would dole out disses and exclamations based on video game sound bites. I wonder how many of these were common among your group of friends too! The best thing is that I’ve found that some old school video game phrases are totally still usable now that I’m a father…
Game: NBA Jam (1993)
System: Arcade, Genesis, Game Gear, SEGA CD, SNES, Game Boy
Usage: After jamming home some trash next to your unaware child.
Of course. NBA Jam was a game full of sound bites and quotables. And while “he’s on fire” was commonly thrown around by my friends, the more forceful exclamation was a gentle “BOOMSHAKALAKA” yelled into the ear of a friend who merely had the bad luck of standing next to a trash can while you had something to throw out. You’d throw down the trash so authoritatively that let’s face it, you should have looked into a career as a garbage man. Well, now you’re a parent, so part of your job is being a garbage man, so the next time you need to throw something out, do it with style and scream “BOOMSHAKALAKA!” Your kid will repeat it in no time.
If you’re 30-ish and had even a base-level interest in basketball in the early 90’s, you probably, like me, spent a lot of time screaming at the top of your lungs 1 inch from your friend’s face after dunking on him in NBA Jam Tournament Edition. Good news for you and your sports aggression – NBA Jam is back, and although you’ve grown up, the game hasn’t…and that’s a good thing.
A great thing, actually, as NBA Jam on the Wii serves as a great game for you and your budding basketball fan to play together. It’s a – dare I say – “charming” mix of the old school Jam you loved, with a couple new things to keep your youngin engaged when you’re not there screaming “BOOMSHAKALAKA” 1 inch from his face.