NBA Jam has been around longer than almost any other sports game. While this is not including the Techno Bowl football game, the original NBA Jam came out in 1993 as an arcade game produced by Midway (the same company that also produced Space Invaders and PacMan). The arcade game started as a multi-player game that allowed up to two on two, where each individual could control a different player on the court and then switch to a different player, should they need to.
Now, NBA Jam has always been known for the over the top, exaggerated game play, which allowed players to jump from half court to jam the ball, plus with no fouls or free throws, there basically was no rules in the game, which made it that much more desirable.
With the first release of the game, there were all sorts of different easter eggs for players, they just needed to know the right codes to push. It allowed players to make the floor “Super Clean Floors” which would make a player slip and fall when running too fast. They could even unlock new characters such as Bill Clinton or the Hornets’s mascot.
When selecting a team, players only had access to two players per team. However, the players actually varied based on the version of the game played. While the 1993 version was only for arcade, it came out in 1994 for versions available on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Game Boy and Game Gear. For example, in the arcade version, if a player selected the Orlando Magic, they would play as Shaq and Scott Skiles. However, if they played on the Sega CD version, they would have Nick Anderson and Penny Hardaway.
The game continued to come out every year, although NBA Jam in 2003 featured three on three this time, although it only lasted for a single year release. The game stopped production until 2010 when the next version of NBA Jam came out with the NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, which still featured the similar characteristics and features of the original arcade game.