83: Tecmo NBA Basketball

Genre: Basketball

Developer: Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo
Year: 1992

Basic Idea:  Play through the 1991 NBA season (with the retired Magic Johnson) while obsessing over the statistics.

Review: Sadly, the best basketball game for the system only hits #83 on this list, but there it is.  It has many good qualities.  Each roster is complete with real NBA players, with their respective abilities.  Muggsy Bogues is never going to dunk, and Manute Bol can block almost anything shot in front of him.  John Stockton can steal often, and John Paxson can drain three-pointers at a 40% rate.  Goaltending and backcourt violations are called.  There’s a shot clock.  You can’t run through players without being called for charging.  And every statistic is kept.

But there’s just something missing.  Playing the computer gets real boring, real quick.  It’s not just that it’s insanely easy to beat the computer.  It’s that there’s very little variety in how you can beat the computer.  Much like NHLPA ’93 where the wrap-around goal was almost guaranteed every time, rushing the bottom of the court and then dunking from the side is sure-fire points.  There is no play-calling, and very rarely can a player–not even Michael Jordan–drive the lane.  You either make a few passes and take a jump-shot and hope for the best, or pull off one of many, many fast-breaks.

While playing two-player is more entertaining because the games are closer, the variety of play doesn’t significantly change.  Also, while the rosters are full, there’s no need to access them unless someone fouls out, as your starters never tire.  Perhaps if there was more Tecmo-style close-up shots the game would hold a little more entertainment value.  As it stands, there’s little reason to play this unless you dislike more modern games or you really want to play with these old rosters.

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3 thoughts on “83: Tecmo NBA Basketball

  1. Actually, you could play calls on offense. Not that we ever bothered when you could just do the side dunk, etc. as you mentioned. Tiring players or having to rely on something besides a dunk definitely would have made it better. Because the stats were awesome. Still didn’t stop us from putting a lot of hours into it.

    Didn’t you once try and succeed to get every player on the jazz shooting at 90% and over? Maybe it was just getting them all on the first page of the field goal pct leaderboard.

  2. I never knew this existed. Or maybe I did. In any case, I didn’t really get into basketball until the rise of KG, so this one probably just didn’t catch my interest.

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