NBA Jam Exists Because Of Terminator 2

10.31.11 6 years ago 3 Comments

Welp, that’s a headline I never thought I’d write.

But here we are, traveling back to 1992 to watch Williams Entertainment pitching the original “NBA Jam”, trying to win the lucrative NBA sponsorship necessary to license professional basketball players by basically listing off every scene in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. You see, Williams Entertainment are the guys who made that Terminator 2 arcade game you still find tucked into the corners of yet-to-be-updated bowling alleys next to Demolition Man pinball machines, and if it hadn’t been for the This Ain’t Nintendo blast processing rah rah of that game, Williams wouldn’t have had the tech necessary to put that two second clip of Horance Grant dunking in the halftime report.

You can watch the pitch below. At no point do the programmers catch fire.

It’s interesting to see how they put it together (especially since I’d always thought the game pitch was “Arch Rivals, except everybody dunks ALL CRAZY”), and especially interesting to see the concepts they chose to brag about but couldn’t follow through on, like “seeing the game through your player’s eyes”. I’d still be down for a Mirror’s Edge-style basketball game for at least a few seconds before my brain hemorrhaged and I lost equilibrium for life. Another, simpler idea that got cut was the camera changing POV during drunks and three pointers, which would’ve severely limited my ability to elaborately pump my fists while Larry Johnson was jamming it home.

I’m sad the video doesn’t include the pitch for Terminator, which had to have been “things go crazy on the screen and you have no idea what’s happening, but you get to hold a big fake gun so it’s worth 50 cents”.

[h/t Off The Bench]

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