Top 100 SNES Games: #72 – NBA Jam (1993)

I Bet Kevin Durant Can’t Dunk From Half Court.

But I can! Where’s my $164 million over four years?
NBA Jam Title Screen
Sydlexia’s Ranking: #72/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

There must be some abstract equation that correlates creativity with limitation. One would think that boundless space would lead to unfeathered creativity, but I think that’s incorrect: only when we are restricted do we see our true imagination unfold.

You couldn’t actually simulate a basketball game in the 90s — the technology wasn’t powerful enough. So instead, they made a game that looked kind of like basketball by having a court, a ball, and rim. Then they layered on top impossible, acrobatic dunks that were as ridiculous as they were infectious. The end product is unlike the very thing it tries to imitate, but it is more fun and accessible than something realistic — and this game is anything but realistic.

NBA Jam Halftime
Youtube for the 90s.


You are trying to win a ‘chip like ever’body else.

NBA Jam Scoreboard
Pippin and somebody vs…other people. Also that logo for the Dallas Mavericks is horrible and can’t be real.


You can shoot, pass, and steal, but really the game is about dunks. Let’s check this one out:

NBA Jam Dunk 1

Believable enough, right? Pippen supermans to backboard height (13 feet) while nearly getting his foot stuck in the basket itself. I wasn’t quite a sentient being in ’93, but I have no doubt it happened. He was just getting started.

NBA Jam Dunk 3

Okay, a little bit more out there. Probably jumping from the three point line, Pippen now raises above the backboard soaring easily 15 feet above the ground while exhibiting a power posture as a sole camera flashes in the crowd to capture this unbelievable human feat. But wait!

NBA Jam Dunk 5

What’s Pippen trying to accomplish here? Is he going to cannon ball through the hoop like a child into a pool, getting torn to shreds by the small diameter of the basket and made into sausage meat as his body pushes through the tightly wound string of the net? No silly: he’s doing a 10,800 degree spin finished by a reverse dunk while breaking the backboard and backs of his opponents.

NBA Jam Broken Backboard

The things you do for playoff seeding.


You legitimately get hyped with every dunk.

Other People’s Takes: 

  • RetroGame Man: “Overall, this is a sports game that has simple but fun gameplay, excellent sound, and great multiplayer!”
  • The ‘tude Dude: “It’s a clear-cut knockout victory for the SNES version as it has much better visuals and sounds while also providing a more adaptable controller that feels slightly more comfortable than the Genesis version.”

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