NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

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NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant had no right to be good.

The artwork for the game’s cart and box looks goofy beyond belief (just look at Bryant’s expression in the picture below), the name is a bit rubbish, and it was only released in America.

All these factors would seem to point towards only one outcome – the game is a failure and has been rightly forgotten.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

But no. Somehow NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant is a polished basketball extravaganza of a game, and is accessible for people who don’t even have an interest in the sport (such as myself).

It starts off as many sportsmen sponsored titles do though, with a pixellated image of the sports celebrity in question and some lively backing music.

All the options you’d expect are here as well – Pick Up (where you can play a one-off match), Season, Play-Offs and Rosters (where you can look at individual’s statistics and even create your own player).

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

You can also choose from a huge number of teams, all with their own cool names and flashy logos, such as the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings.

It’s the actual basketball itself where the game impresses though.

The small court is viewed from an isometric perspective, which could be a recipe for disaster, but actually works well- mainly because of the colourful but clear visuals.

There is some ghosting on certain players when there’s a lot of action on screen, but generally the game is impressive in the visuals department, especially for a GBC title.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant - Gameboy - Screenshot - Image
Has Mr. Bryant just seen a ghost or something?

Matters are helped further by the controls being simple to understand, but still offering enough depth to stop things from becoming boring.

While attacking A is pass, B lets you pull off a fake shot, and A plus B lets you throw the ball.

Defending is usually difficult in basketball games, but here it’s actually fairly easy to pick up if you’re patient.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

B allows you to swap your player, and A lets you swipe to attempt to regain the ball. Doing this at the correct time is crucial, and thanks to the game’s clear graphics it’s easier to do than you’d expect.

So the game’s well designed and fun to play, but it’s elevated even further by its excellent presentation.

An example are the sound effects that you hear during games, such as when you dispossess someone of the ball, manage to score, or lose the ball yourself.

They all sound like SFX from an Atari 2600 shoot-em-up, and are therefore brilliant. It helps stops the game from feeling too serious too.

NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant

Little cutscenes when you make a slam dunk, start a game, and win a match all add noticeably to the experience as well.

Overall, NBA 3 on 3 Featuring Kobe Bryant feels like it has had some real effort put into it, and it still holds up today.

As complete a portable sports game as you’ll find, this is well worth investigating if you’re into basketball – even if you’ll have to import a copy from the US.

Double Dribble

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In 1987, Konami released a video game cartridge for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console that was a port of a fairly widespread basketball simulation arcade game called Double Dribble. Could such an early-release title for the young system’s cycle actually live up to its arcade-cabinet origins? ~Eric Bailey

Double Dribble

Gameplay

Double Dribble is a basketball simulation video game sporting (pun intended) five-on-five full-court gameplay. In this particular NES b-ball sim, the developers opted for the control scheme of using B to switch which defender is being controlled or to shoot on offense, while the A button steals on defense, or jumps to contest a shot if the opponent is shooting, or passes the ball. Actually, to clarify, pressing B once on offense makes the player jump, while pressing it again in mid-air releases the ball for the shot. If this is done near the rim, the game shows a dunk-animation cutscene, emphasizing the slam dunk; or, in some cases, getting “hung” when the ball clangs off the rim instead of satisfyingly tearing through the net.

Double Dribble

Other, the gameplay is fairly standard for an 8-bit basketball game, following four periods of play, offering a selection of a handful of cities to pick from for teams, and instituting certain penalties such as out of bounds, traveling (incurred whenever a player fails to release the ball in midair) and backcout violations, humorously called “BACK PASS” on-screen and resulting in a rapid change of possession. There is a tip-off to begin each game, but the computer always wins. Double Dribble does, though, have a few unique quirks: The players retain their momentum if they jump while running, which is already distinctive, but then the player can even change the athlete’s direction in midair. This leads to very interesting maneuvers in the paint, wherein a fairly dexterous player can change direction five or six times before the second B button tap to launch the dunk animation. It could be presumed that this is something akin to digitally throwing down a 1080-degree jam. Also, the game seems to emphasize stealing as the primary strategical element.

Double Dribble

Furthermore, the A.I. moves in the weirdest, most illogical patterns – even on higher difficulty levels, one example would be when an unguarded player has a clear path to the basket, only to turn and take several step back toward the half-court line instead. Finally, one unfortunate deficit of this basketball game is the inability to pass to an on-screen teammate: The computer can pass to an off-screen teammate, but a human player must absolutely only pass to a player that is already visible on screen, lending a certain limitation to available plays.

Double Dribble

The title screen has a voice effect for the Double Dribble name, then after the player chooses to play alone or versus a human opponent, a cutscene launches that shows people (or, at least, very fuzzily rendered pixelated massive blobs) swarming to an arena as a Konami blimp flies overhead. A shortened version of America’s national anthem plays, balloons are launched, and an absolutely enormous flag is raised over the stadium. Finally, one of the most awkward options screens in gaming history is found: Settings such as period length, team, and difficulty level can be altered, but with each button press, rather than simply and instantly scroll through the available selections, an on-screen player actually fires a jump shot at a rim that aligns with the intended option. This makes for an overly tedious selection process, which would be bearable if it were not for the already drawn-out effect of the opening ceremonies screen.

Graphics

This 8-bit basketball sim looks okay. There are better-looking roundball titles, and there are worse-looking ones as well. The players do not differentiate in height; but in classic NES basketball game tradition, there are palette-swapped sprites in two varieties to display white players and black players. Gameplay follows somewhat smoothly, the one animation anomaly being a bit of flickering, even besides the intentionality of the ball-handler flickering as a possession signal.

Double Dribble

Perhaps somewhat humorously, rather than the disappearing act of typical flickering characters, the ball-handler alternates in sprite frames between being caucasian and African-American in appearance. But the visual highlight of the game are the dunking cutscenes, perhaps the best on the console, copied by later titles but never quite equaled in their five or six frames of slam-dunk monochromatic-athlete glory.

Sound

Background music is laid to the wayside in favor of traditional arena organ ditties and the constant repetition of the bouncing basketball, emphasized appropriately for a game called Double Dribble, to the unfortunately annoying result. Some digitized voice effects are used, such as for the aforementioned title screen and certain foul calls.

Double Dribble

There is the usual “swish” sound effect for a made shot (heard often, since it seems very difficult for the computer to miss a jumper), the oomphy dunk noise, and perhaps this reviewer’s favorite, the rattling clang of a missed slam of the rim. Just as with its graphics and its gameplay, the soundtrack of this game is middling for a basketball title on the NES, though Konami does flex its muscles in a few highlight portions.

Originality

Double Dribble cannot get too much credit for creativity, since it is not only an arcade port, but also a title based on a pre-existing sport, basketball. However, Double Dribble did set the basketball video game standard on the NES, considering its early release date in the console’s supported lifespan. The gameplay is actually somewhat impressive in that context, but its most significant contribution to the genre is likely the dunking animations, which would be endlessly emulated by dozens of future basketball titles and series across further console generations, making the switch from gameplay view to a specific up-close dunking shot a staple for roundball games to come.

Double Dribble

In terms of its production quality, programming accuracy, faithfulness to the original sport, and overall place in the NES library, Double Dribble is an average game. This is not a title that will appear on any all-time greatest lists, except perhaps those that allow for sentimental favorites, but nor will this appear on worst-ever lists either. It is what it is: A simplified, arcade-style basketball video game. In fact, it is actually probably a step up from the original arcade iteration, which made players actually press a button for every single dribble. Nonetheless, Double Dribble on the NES scores two and a half stars out of five.

TV Sports Basketball

TV Sports Basketball

In honor of the All-Star Game we bring you this video review of 1990 TurboGrafx-16 game, TV Sports Basketball. Developed by Cinemaware and published by Mirrorsoft the game featured five-on-five gameplay, but no NBA licenses. This meant you got the city names and perhaps some colors that might match, but no team names like the Miami Heat and no famous names like Michael Jordan.

The game allowed you to play against the computer as either a player or a coach and against other players in versus mode. One of the strange things about the game was that it was a full court basketball game with a vertical view. However, when you crossed half-court there would be a short cut scene showing all your players running to the other side as a sort of loading screen.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 16TH 2010

EbGames rack
EbGames rack

Ah, turkey time is almost upon us and though we are still playing our way through Black Ops there are a few good games being released next week that are ready to suck the cash right from us. This week we are looking at three games that are worthy of a purchase, but let’s take a look at them first and then decide.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – PS3

What is better than an assassin, a team of assassin’s.  In Brotherhood we continue where ACII left off with Ezio Auditore da Firenze and a new villain who is the son of the villain from part 2. There have been a number of changes to combat and added horse-riding moves and abilities. In addition the Desmond storyline continues with promises of real answers and some conclusions being given. The graphics look even better this time around and the city is like three times as large. If you liked any of the other Assassin’s Creed’s you should definitely pick this one up.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

EA and the development team wanted to bring the NFS franchise back from the dead. They admitted that the last game was just not what it should be and blamed it on a number of things including how long they were allowed to work on it. Now with more time the team has put together a game they hope will restore NFS to its former glory.

First off, they didn’t go the open world route which so many racing games are doing these days. Instead the team focused on making sure the tracks were designed to the max from the ground up to look stunning and have the fun factor that racers want.  The game is about chases and it goes both ways. Play as the cops and the racers and level up on both ends in single player and pick your side in multiplayer. With a ton of awesome cars and incredible locations to race em this game might just put Need for Speed back on top.

NBA Jam

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing and that is the motto used in creating this new NBA jam. If you played the old arcade versions the only differences you will notice is new NBA players and updates to the visuals. The thing is that is a good thing. NBA Jam was fine the way it was and now you can continue the legacy of over the top dunks and full court jump shots. Put together your perfect duo by choosing from 30 NBA teams all licensed and trademarked. Sure, it is not 2K11, but it isn’t supposed to be. This is NBA Jam, home of the BOOM SHAKA LAKA.

Insufficient funds

Those are the top picks this week and we are sorry you will yet again be inviting your girlfriend over for chicken hotdogs and a bittorrent movie. However, with all these great games who needs a girlfriend, that’s why they invented X-Tube.

New Console Releases: October 3rd Report

Video Games on shelf
Video Games on shelf

October is a great time, you have Oktoberfest, Halloween and… well that’s about it, but you also have new releases for your favorite consoles. Unfortunately, November is normally a big month for games and because of this October seems to get the shaft, let’s see what we can dig up that might be worth you hard earned (or not) cash.

Just a disclaimer, these are not all the games that are coming out nor are they top picks based on their score from other sites. This is Obsolete Gamers or more correctly, J.A.’s picks for games coming out this month.

October 3rd

It seems as if I misspoke because this week of the month has a pretty hard hitting release line-up. I hope you have some extra cash on hand.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

It’s all about team work and in this case that truthisum is taken to the extreme. This action adventure games pits two main characters against, well against everything. You have to fight, run and transverse the landscape to make your way to freedom and if one of you dies its game over.

NBA 2K11

Ah, the war of the NBA games is back and just like the HEAT, 2K has stacked the deck by bringing in Michael Jordan to be on their team. Now the question is will the mix of MJ and the playstyle of 2K win out over Elite.

NBA Elite 11

EA Sports it’s in the name change. NBA Elite takes a different approach by redesigning key features of its game in hopes of bringing a different experience to basketball game fans. There is no doubt the game will be well done, but in the war of the court who will come out on top? Oh did I mention you get NBA Jam with this game and only if you purchase this game?

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

If the world was coming to an end Alucard is the guy I would want bashing heads with me in those final days. However, I will take a Belmont as well and in this 3D version of the classic Castlevania series we step into a new world that brings a cool and new dynamic to the game. Don’t worry all the classic whipping and Dracula bashing is still there and the environments are beautiful and well done. If you loved any of the Castlevania series this is a must have.

Def Jam Rapstar

It was only a matter of time before we got a Rap version of the karaoke-style games. With the release of DJ hero I knew it would be forthcoming and if there is one company to release a “band” game its Def Jam. Rapstar lets you rap long with a long list of Def Jam superstars including Redman, Method Man and Salt n Pepper. I got to see this game at E3 2010 and it looks like a load of fun partially with two people rapping together. I can’t wait for the YouTube videos.

So we are changing things up and will be bringing you a week by week breakdown of new releases so look out for next week’s review of games being released for consoles. The week of October 10th looks good as well; I hope you get your homework done.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

PVP vs non-pvp PVE
PVP vs non-pvp PVE

Player versus Player and Player versus Environment was the topic for this week’s show. We were happy to have our good friend Edwin in the studio with us and had a great conversation via Skype with longtime Obsolete Gamer fan, Liz Poisonkiss.

We started off with a recap of last week’s show which featured MMO’s and then moved into our Facebook fanpage question of the week which asked which our fans preferred to play PVE or PVP type games. From there we talked about our Insider Discussion question of the week which asked our panel which had a bigger impact on PC gaming RTS or FPS games.

From there we dove right into the main topic discussing the differences between a FPS mindset playing games such as Quake 2 and the strategy side of RTS games such as the original Warcraft game. Edwin also talked about his online Street Fighter games and said that he preferred to play again a human which we all agreed.

We premiered a new feature on OGS called Skype with a fan where we talk with people who have participated on our Facebook page and Forums and our first guest was longtime fan Liz. Who shared her thoughts on being a gamer girl, fps versus rts and pvp versus pve.

In our final segment Ignacio, Edwin and I discussed our various experiences in PVP from MMO’s to X-box live to arcades. Overall we had a good discussion about an important subject in the world of gaming. So give us a listen and we will be back next week with a brand new show.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Episode 7

NBA Showdown

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NBA Showdown

The playoffs are in full swing, but the next showdown is already upon us. With EA renaming its basketball franchise to NBA Elite and 2K getting Michael Jordan as a playable character in their game, the question is, which one will you be playing?

NBA 2K 2011

Now EA is coming out with some interesting changes to their game including their “total control” feature where you control the legs of your player with one analog stick and the hands with the other, add to that their “always on” physics and it looks as if they might have a pretty awesome game on their hands.


2K will also be improving on their game with updated graphics, controls, presentation and music, but that’s not what most people are talking about.


It’s all about number 23. We haven’t seen MJ in a NBA game in forever and now he will be in 2K11, will that be the difference maker or will the revamp of EA’s franchise win gamers over?