Welcome to B-Ball Video Games Are Cool. In this feature, I review basketball video games that you may remember or not. You may be surprised on what kind of basketball games video game companies were making back then! That’s what I’m here for! I’ll make you remember some awesome gems… or I may bring some crap to the table. Here we go!
PAST B-BALL VIDEO GAME REVIEWS
7. One-On-One Basketball Featuring Dr. J And Larry Bird (7800)
8. Magic Johnson’s Super Slam Dunk (S-NES)
9. Hoops (NES)
10. Ultimate Basketball (NES)
11. All-Pro Basketball (NES)
I’m in a giving mood. Sorta. But this is quite a change, isn’t it? Which basketball fan does NOT remember this?!
Originally an arcade game, Double Dribble was released by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. This game came out at the same time as the 7800 game, that Dr. J and Larry Bird One-On-One game and was actually rated lower than the Dr. J/Bird game by TV Guide. Really?
Anyway, this is one of the VERY FEW sports games that remains timeless. Obviously, the graphics aren’t the greatest but it still plays well for a 22-year-old game.
Speaking of them graphics, look at the crowd go into the stadium while they play an “edited” version of The Star-Spangled Banner. And you get to choose between four teams (which were actually “based” on the NBA teams): Chicago, New York, Boston, and “Los Angels”!
Yes, the game is a five-on-five full court game. But the controls are sooooo… friendly. Granted, it’s very easy to steal the ball… but it makes for some nice back-and-forth action. The sound of a made basket is probably one of the sweetest sound effects you’ll ever hear in a basketball video game. It sounds like a perfect swish every time. Also of note are the other sound effects such as the shoes squeaking on the floor and the weird-sounding bounce of the basketball.
Shooting isn’t very hard; just release the B button at the top of the player’s jump to release a nice high jumpshot. When shooting a 3, you’ll hear a sound that will signify that it’s a three-pointer. And when the player is near the rim, it goes into a cutscene of a dunk.
The passing is as smooth as it can get… but, as mentioned, stealing is very easy so interceptions can occur quite often.
Fouls rarely occur in this game and, as most (all?) early basketball video games, freethrows are hard to make. It’s funny to note also that 5-second (inbounds pass), 10-second (taking too long to shoot a freethrow), and 24-second (in real time, which is like half the quarter if you chose “5-minute” quarters) violations do occur in Double Dribble.
There’s also a halftime show that you can’t skip (just like all those other old basketball video games!). Some people have told me that L.A.’s mascot is a wave. Yeah, that blue thing that’s smiling. I’m very convinced that it’s a blue hot dog.
The A.I. has three types of difficulty (Levels 1-3). I remember being so frustrated trying to beat the A.I.; they just wouldn’t miss! It’s hardest at Level 3 because they were smart enough to actually steal the ball (whereas the previous levels were more lax on their D). But since I’m such a low-life blogger/gamer, I managed to kill the A.I. Boston Celtics. Or Frogs. Whatever their mascot was.
By the way, the player can hang in the air for like three seconds. You can even do an awesome backwards shot!
Anyway, take that, Boston! When a player wins, the game shows a little cutscene of one of the players receiving… a medal and a trophy? I guess.
And another weird note? Games can end in a tie. No overtimes.
So Double Dribble may not have any big names. But rest assured that this is one of the best played basketball video games of all-time. No complicated menus and all that; it’s just simple, fun, get-to-the-point arcade basketball. And for a game that’s 22 years old, that’s pretty damn good.