Game name: NBA Jam

Manufacturer: Midway

Year of development: 1993

Category: Sports (basketball)

Hardware Platform Info: Midway T Unit

  • Main CPU : TMS34010 @ 6.25 MHz
  • Sound CPU: M6809 @ 2 MHz
  • Sound chip: YM2151 @ 3.57958 MHz, OKI 6295 @ 8 KHz, DAC

Main developers: Mark Turnell (Programador principal), Shawn Liptak, Tony Goskie, John Cartlon, Sal Divita and Jaime Rivett.

Music composer: Jon Hey


History of development

Midway had developed in 1989 another 2x2 basketball game called Arch Rivals, but it is in 1992 when they launched into the creation of a game that continues the same style, but using the NBA license and graphics digitization system that had already been used in Mortal Kombat (1992), managing to create a unique arcade.

The game is a pioneer in use of licenses of this type since it incorporates all teams in NBA franchise: 14 teams from Eastern Conference and 13 teams from Western Conference. Each team provided 2 players who appeared in game perfectly digitized.

Midway paid NBA $ 100 for each machine it put on the market.

One of details that most attracted attention in game, were the voices heard during the game. They were based on a famous sports commentator named Marv Albert known in the USA as "the voice of basketball." The person in charge of giving him voice in game was the actor Tim Kitzrow.

The arcade machine quickly achieved high collections, mainly due to high price of games and the fact that it allowed games of 4 players simultaneously.

Game Overview:

NBA Jam is an arcade adaptation of the sport of basketball. Players are capable of making impossible moves and jumps when scoring baskets.

The game is very simple: two teams of 2 players face each other on a basketball court throughout 4 times in order to score more points.

Controls consist of a joystick and 3 action buttons: steal / pass, jump / launch and turbo. The buttons modify their behavior depending on whether player has possession of ball or not.

At the beginning of game allows us to enter a series of data (initials and date of birth) that serve, among other things, to save the player's statistics.

The game compensates teams a lot when there is a lot of difference in points, so if a team loses it is possible to score baskets from their field. This makes the game hectic, right down to the last second, without the need for real equality between players.

Another detail to keep in mind is that there are no personal fouls during the game. Players can quickly steal the ball, and even push opponents to roll ball across field. This means that there are hardly any stops during games, except when a basket is scored. The only “personal foul” that can be whistled is the “Goaltending”, which occurs when ball stops when it falls into basket hoop.

  • Many of the phrases that are included in game have become part of general culture: "It’s on fire!", "Boomshakalaka!" and "He's heating up" are clear examples.
  • The game, both in its arcade and domestic version, is full of "Easter eggs". One of the most striking is one that makes players have a huge head. This can only be done by placing the dip-switches (small switches on the game's motherboard) in a certain position. Another curious "egg" allows us to play with people who participated in development of game. By entering certain acronyms and dates of birth we can play with them.
  • Michael Jordan does not appear on NBA Jam as his image rights were not tied to the NBA. The same thing happens with Shaquille O’Neal in the domestic versions, since when they were released, he managed his image rights himself and for that reason he was replaced by Nick Anderson.
  • Dražen Petrović only appears in arcade version of game and not in domestic ones, due to his death in the time that passed from one version to another. Account, in an interview, the main programmer of machine, Mark Turmell, that when NBA Jam had already been released with Petrović deceased, on one occasion they were playing Mortal Kombat with an NBA Jam next to him and machine (due to a bug, possibly) started yelling "Petrović !, Petrović!". That spread the rumor of a curse on machine.
  • Mark Turmel is a Pistons fan and because of that, he introduced a code into the game that when the Bulls play with the Pistons and the result is tight, a shot at the last second by the Bulls will never go into the basket.



Information on the location and purchase of the Vintage Arcade Machine:

José Mª Litarte acquired the machine, in its original state, in July 2014, from his friend Antonio “Tasca Barrio” in Elche.

Information about the restoration process or repairs carried out:

The machine has been operational since its arrival at Arcade Vintage.

Pending repairs or restorations:

It has no pending restoration. The machine is in perfect condition.

Links to other related websites:

Game sheet:

Interview with Mark Turnell: