Can you imagine a world without NBA Jam? What does it look like? Are buildings still intact? Are citizens setting their own hoops on fire? Do people still say “boom shakalaka” while making love? It’s a frightening thing to think about and we were nearly close to experiencing this prospect first-hand.
Great Big Story has crafted an informative video that reveals how this arcade classic was nearly benched for good. Lead game designer Mark Turmell told the outlet that their demo of the game spooked the hell out of the National Basketball Association.
“So we put together a demo, a videotape, a VHS, we sent it to the NBA and said ‘hey, we’re making this cool game.’ And they immediately shut it down and said ‘no, we don’t want the NBA logo in the arcades.'”
That’s fair. After all, who would want to associate wholesome pro athletes with skeezy pits where pinball games happen? Think of the children and all that. As you might suspect from NBA Jam, um, existing, its creators were able to get things back on track. How? Turmell says it was another video that convinced the NBA to go along with the project:
“So once we got rejected, we made a videotape of nice family entertainment centers and we sent that back to them and said ‘look, your logo can be here.’ So they relented and provided the licence.”
If that tape wasn’t sent along, ’90s high school and college arcade dorks would probably drown in their unused stockpile of quarters. That would be an absolute travesty, so let’s all thank Midway and the NBA for taking all of those shiny 25 cent pieces off their hands.
The saga of acquiring the licence isn’t the only magician’s secret revealed in the video. Give it a watch and discover how player ratings weren’t always what they seemed.
(via Great Big Story)