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(Boss Fight Books #21)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  29 reviews
When NBA Jam dunked its way into arcades in 1993, players discovered just how fun basketball can be when freed from rules, refs, and gravity itself. But just a few years after Midway's billion-dollar hit conquered the world, Midway, publisher Acclaim, and video arcades themselves fell off the map. How did a simple two-on-two basketball game become MVP of the arcade, and ho ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 2019 by Boss Fight Books
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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Caleb Ross
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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NBA Jam Boss Fight Books book review

I’m reviewing all of the Boss Fight Books releases, so subscribe to my YouTube channel to be sure you don’t miss future reviews.

This is Boss Fight Books’ biggest release ever, coming in at 256 pages, and while boasting about page count could be seen as an attempt to validate its product in a world where thick books reign supreme, Boss Fight Books has never trafficked in girth. So when I read a statement from this publisher bragging abo
Eric Mesa
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: video-games
I love the various titles in the Boss Fight Books series; all the moreso when they involve games that meant a lot to me. NBA Jam (which I had filed in my head as NBA Jams), is one of those games that my brothers and I sunk countless hours into. We were always more into arcade or silly sports games like Ken Griffy Jr. for the SNES or Midway's NHL game for the N64 than sports sims. NBA was right in that perfect spot where it wasn't too focused on b-ball and having lots of players on the screen. In ...more
Peter Derk
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it

Great time.

Okay, the first 10% of the book, I was worried. I was reading the same video game origin stories that those of us who travel in the world of video game books have read dozens of times. The milk jug filled with quarters! Damn that jug!

Sometimes, with video game books, it's a little like Spider-Man movies. We don't need to go ALL THE WAY BACK.

But, NBA JAM pretty quickly gets on track, and it's a fun read from there.

The book is well-researched, but it works as a narrativ
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: games
In an afterword, NBA JAM author Reyan Ali revealed he'd worked on the book for four years. The result was worth every second of that time.

I went into JAM expecting to learn how one of my favorite arcade games, and one of the most influential titles ever, was made. I got that in spades, plus a detailed history of the rise and fall of Midway, my favorite coin-op developer, and an in-depth examination of the evolution of sports titles and how NBA Jam (the game) influenced the genre—all written in p
Mike Mertes
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Like many others in 1993, I spent a lot of money at the arcade, dropping token after token into NBA Jam. I was ten years old at the time, and our state basketball team, the Chicago Bulls were tearing through the NBA for championship gold for the third year in a row. NBA Jam was the perfect combination of everything I was enthralled with at the time - The Bulls and video games, even if the game didn't have Michael Jordan in it.

26 years later, Boss Fight Books had announced that one of the books t
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Absolutely fantastic read for anyone that is interested in arcade games, game development or just enjoyed playing the old Midway sports games. It goes beyond just the history of NBA Jam and documents the careers of everyone involved in making the game as well as the turbulent history of the company Midway Games.
Dale Kulas
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had this book per-ordered for awhile based on the amount of interviews conducted going into it and combined with it taking four years to compile I had high expectations going in. Ali did not disappoint with a quick, but thorough history on everything that lead up to NBA Jam, its breakthrough success in the arcades, at home and with the NBA players on the road and the many ups and downs with the franchise and publishers at Midway and Acclaim in the years that followed. Interviews from developer ...more
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
A fun look into the making of an essential piece of 90s nostalgia. It's not an especially well crafted book but was still so great to revisit the game I was most obsessed with as a kid - there are lots of great nuggets sprinkled throughout the book that made me want to deep dive online even more (I am VERY tempted to pay to have Tim Kitzrow record my voicemail message, for example), though some of the scene-setting and game developer details could have been trimmed and I would have loved to read ...more
Thomas Maluck
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gaming
I was relatively uninterested in this game compared to the RPGs and wonky indie games, but this turned out to be one of Boss Fight's best books by far. A fun and interesting deep dive into the development of a blockbuster game, its enduring popular appeal, the people who made up the company behind it, and where the roller coaster continued from there. ...more
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
A fun and informative read about the creation, reception, and legacy of NBA Jam. At points the book widens it's scope too much - it takes too much time setting up the history of the earliest video games and the arcade scene. But when it's focused on fun anecdotes and getting into some of the nitty gritty of the creation of the game it's a good time. ...more
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Getting to know the crew behind and story of a key piece of my childhood made it all seem better, which is nice these days.

Fingers crossed that someone with the rights relaunches this at some point.
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nostalgia overload! The book was well researched! This felt like a documentary in book form. I love thinking of the good old days playing NBA JAM on my Sega Genesis! Tons of great stories for those who enjoy gaming!
Kevin D Wilson
Jul 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great info, the research shows.

This is a great read about the game that took so many of my quarters in college. I always used the Spurs.
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm sure there's already another review that says this, but boomshakalala.
Cool profile of interesting people. After reading, you see their personality as you play the game.
Paxton Holley
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good delve into the history of the video game NBA Jam; how it was made, who made it, and the legacy it left behind.
hyper saline
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Riley Lahd
Feb 07, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Not only an excellent history of an iconic game (that I had never played, but hunted down a cabinet after the book hyped it up so much), but also a great breakdown of the arcade industry and Midway.
Aug 23, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i like Da book
Jul 09, 2022 rated it really liked it
If you're interested in how NBA Jam came to be and everything it spawned this is a great quick read. ...more
Josh Spilker
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent breakdown of the making and cultural impact. Lots of other info about coin-op games too
Vsevolod Zubarev
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The best documentary book about video games that I've read? Definitely better than the overhyped Masters of Doom. And I didn't even know NBA Jam existed before reading it. ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Kind of like Hackers by Steven Levy, but about one specific video game.
Bob Makin
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, the best Boss Fight yet. Very thorough, and well written.
Jason Flood
Sep 04, 2022 rated it really liked it
Very thorough book. I enjoyed the read, when I could finally get through starting it.
Dan Seitz
Jul 08, 2022 rated it really liked it
A fairly in-depth look at a hugely popular arcade game that also looks at the collapse of an era of gaming more generally.
Edgar Guevara
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A fine trip down memory lane. Just finished a great read from @nbajambook. A must if:
1) You're a Basketball fan
2) You love Video games
3) All of the listed choices
Ian Riccaboni
Colorful, Concise Just Like the Game Itself

This NBA Jam is much like the game it is written about: bright, colorful, full of details but welcoming and addicting.

Reyan Ali does a great job moving the narrative while providing the appropriate context. The most-avid NBA Jam fans stand to learn something from this.
Greg Otto
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you like NBA Jam, you'll love this book. A lot more interesting than you would ever imagine. Buy the book!
Mike Razak
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well-written and engaging deep dive into an all-time classic!
rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2020
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