The Best Retro Basketball Games For The New Season

Video games have evolved a lot over the years, and today’s offerings are full simulations that are as indepth as you could imagine.

Take the latest basketball game from 2K games, NBA 2K22. It puts you on the court as any of the NBA franchises and delivers a management simulator and deep, immersive action. Whichever of those big names are your team, you can seek to guide them to glory. Even the worst NBA teams can lift the Championship if you’re good enough; that makes these games all the more endearing.

The developers pull out all the stops when it comes to creating a great title. As Twinfinite explains, the newest edition of the franchise will have rapper J.Cole on motion capture. He isn’t on the roster of an NBA team, but he will form part of the overall experience. It will be his movement you see as you attempt to guide the Celtics to an expected title. Even if you’re seeking to take one of the outsiders in Ladbrokes’ NBA odds to the title, such as the San Antonio Spurs, the realism will still be the same. It might not be realistic to expect the Spurs to win the Championship, but if you do it, it will at least look real, thanks to J.Cole.

That hasn’t always been the case; many retro basketball games didn’t have motion capture. Instead, they relied on skilled development or over-the-top arcade action to draw gamers in. Luckily, some classic basketball games are still available on emulators and old consoles, and they’re well worth revisiting in terms of playability. Some even date back to a time when the Spurs did actually win titles. Imagine that!

Here are the best retro basketball games to revisit this fall.

NBA Live 95 (Super Nintendo)

1995 was a big year for fans of the Houston Rockets; they won their second NBA Championship in a row. They’re outsiders with the Spurs this season, but if you want to remember a time when they were the top dogs, then NBA Live 95 is the game for you. It followed up on the successful NBA Showdown of the previous year and is well known to fans of the sport. NBA Live 95 had the roster from the 1993/94 season and fictional customized teams. It was still a huge hit in the US and was even credited with helping launch Electronic Arts across the country, giving them a platform to release the Madden NFL and Triple Play Baseball games, which outsold their competitors.

NBA Street (PlayStation 2)

NBA Street is something a little different; it seeks to develop basketball as many of us started playing; in the streets and yards with our friends. NBA Street is a 3v3 game with trick shots and plenty of arcade action to compensate for the limited roster. All 32 NBA teams were included, but only five players were featured for each team. The game certainly felt like an arcade title, with fictional bosses to beat at the end of each stage, each representing a different area of the United States.

NBA Jam: On Fire Edition (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

We’ve had one simulation on our list, and one straddling both camps, so we’ll finish with a proper arcade game: NBA Jam. The original title dropped in 1993 and featured 2v2 basketball on a court, with real players and franchises. It was a first in that respect and left an indelible mark on basketball games as a whole. 17 years later, the exaggerated gameplay, flaming jumps and boss battles were back on the Wii, but later on the seventh-generation consoles.

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