Released in February 1993. Many critics claim that the release of NBA Jam gave rise to a new genre of sports games, which were based around action-packed, unrealistic game-play.
Midway Games, no stranger to releasing landmark games having released "Pac-Man
", had started experimenting with the ideas two years earlier, with the "High Impact Football
" series. Both High Impact and Super High Impact had somewhat average success in arcades. It was not until the release of NBA Jam that gamers noticed the new genre. The game became exceptionally popular, and generated a lot of money for arcades after its release, largely because of the fairly expensive prices put on these games; a game quarter generally took two credits and a full game generally took eight, typically equal to $2.00 USD. Nonetheless, the game was a smash hit.
NBA Jam was one of the first real playable basketball arcade games (It was the first game to be officially licensed by the NBA (National Basketball Association)), and was also one of the first sports games to feature real teams, real players, and their real digitized likenesses. However, the unrealism of the game was the major drawing point, as the high flying dunks (often featuring players jumping twice their own height in the air while making highly acrobatic slams) were the games' signature. Of course, seeing NBA superstars like Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O'Neal flying through the air with the greatest of ease brought just as many fans back. In time, players discovered another major feature of the game, as it was filled with easter eggs, special features and players activated by initials or button/joystick combinations.