September 4, 1995
0 21481 21012 2
1 to 4 Players
Kids to Adults – No Descriptors
Your state-of-the-art system demands a state-of-the-art NBA Jam T.E. – and this is it! Arcade quality player scaling! Updated rosters! Actual player heads! Want more? We’ve got all-new secret characters! Monster jamming stereo music and authentic arcade sound F / X – including voice calls for individual players! NBA JAM T.E….pump it up!
- There are no known variants.
- There are no known misprints.
For those younger readers and fans, let me tell you the tale of a magical place called ‘the arcade’. It was this dimly lit, neon-tubing everywhere, exotic place where giant machines took your quarters or tokens and provided amazing game experiences. Players stood shoulder to shoulder, whether they were with or against each other in the on-screen endeavors. Trash talking was relatively clean, no one insulted your mother (unless they had a huge temper) and every so often a random 8-year-old Japanese kid would destroy you in a Street Fighter match.
While sports games did appear in arcades, very few ever reached the frenzied cult status that Midway would unknowingly create in the early 90s. While Double Dribble and Arch Rivals had their moments in the sun, NBA Jam would go on to become nothing less of a billion-dollar sensation. This led to the eventual creation of NFL Blitz and more, but for now, we’ll stick with the NBA.
Jam is essentially the absolute core of a basketball and nothing more; 2-on-2 with the only possible foul being goaltending. There are roughly three to four players per team, with more unlockable once you beat the game. There are 3 buttons to worry about – shoot, pass, and turbo. On defense, they become jump and push with turbo.
What makes NBA Jam so damn fun is that this focus on the core aspects meshes with the wacky exaggerations of an arcade atmosphere. Besides regular shots and throws, you can sometimes perform super dunks, massive air dunks, and crazy spin dunks. Some of these displays of hang-time can leap right high into the screen and come down with a monster slam. If you make three shots in a row, your character becomes “on fire”. The ball gains flames and you get a better percentage of made shots. This lasts until the other team scores or the computer thinks you’ve had enough.
Up to four players can jump in thanks to the Multi-Tap option, and each person can keep their own record via the PlayStation Memory Card or Saturn’s Internal Memory. This was brought in from the arcade, a pretty crazy feature at the time. The machine, and now home consoles, can track all of your game progress, lifetime wins and losses, and your season. This was done by using three initials and a birthday. This way on the machine multiple users couldn’t access each other’s records (unless there’s a huge coincidence). What added to the fun was Midway hid, and here in T.E., celebrity and mascot characters among the players. The proper initials and date could get you anyone from Benny the Bull to Hilary Clinton.
The game gets fairly frantic on the court – there’s so much shoving, turbo running, and ‘moon jumping’ abound that it can get easily confusing, especially with the mammoth heads code on. However, if you can keep the craziness straight, the game still holds up. How well? So well that you don’t even need the originals anymore, as EA has completely redone the game on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Which, truth be told, may be easier to get 4 people together than it would be at your house with 4 controllers and a multi-tap, and a copy of the game.
NBA Jam was part of the PlayStation’s launch line-up, and though the series went through some rough spots, its legacy has been reborn and carries on.
You could even say it’s on fire.
- Gameplay still holds up
- Still a great 4 player party game
- Graphics still come off as vibrant
- CPU is unhinged in the clutch
- Sometimes a little too chaotic
Final Score: 7 / 10 – Solid
NBA Jam T.E. is like that amazing movie you saw a million times and could still watch repeatedly. Sure, you know the ending, every move the characters will make, but damn if you don’t crack a smile every time you hear “BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!”
- One of the PlayStation’s Launch Games. It came out 5 days before launch.
- The packaging for NBA Jam forgets a whole lot of things, including the Memory Card and Multi-Tap icons. The Player Icon is absolutely huge, for no reason.
- One of the few arcade games to actually track stats. You used a 3 Letter Abbreviation and a birthday to personalize your save file. So long as you logged this in each time you played, regardless if it was a season or against a human, the game tracked your wins, losses, and progress in season mode.
- Acclaim was famous for having no qualms about releasing games on as many systems as they could. NBA Jam T.E. was released on no less than 9 different gaming systems, including the Game Gear.
- “Actual Player Heads!” may be one of my all-time favorite bullet points, ever.
- Having owned this game since it almost launched, it wasn’t until this review that I wandered into the options screen. There are actually a ton of little things you can adjust and make the game even more frantic, including power-ups and hot spots. Some will be auto-removed if you’re in a tournament, however.
- According to Arcade-Museum.com, NBA Jam made over a billion dollars in profit.
- The first ever licensed sports coin-op (the original NBA Jam).
- When Midway shut its doors in the 2000s, EA bought the rights to their NBA Jam and NFL Blitz licenses. Both games have seen successful reboots both in retail (NBA Jam) and as online downloads (NFL Blitz).
- The game wasn’t completely faithful to the arcade but in a good way. Speed was adjusted, messages and shot clock images were made bigger on-screen, and other adjustments. Just no Mortal Kombat characters brought home.
- Just like all the other ports, both PSX and Saturn Versions have weird differences. Loading screens, Half-Time report text colors, obviously on-screen button commands, and other minor things.
NBA Jam Tournament Edition is filled to the brim with secret tricks and characters. Let’s get to it!
Visual Modifiers (Match-Up Screen)
On the “Tonight’s Match Up” screen, quickly press the listed button sequence before the announcer finishes speaking. Once in-game, after the Tip Box disappears you will see your character blink to confirm it worked. In most cases, you will also see a little message pop up to confirm. I have noted when the game changes things up.
- Activate Baby Mode
Press Square then Circle, 6 times. This will change the announcer’s voice to a high-pitched squeaky version for a moment and shrink all the players.
- Activate Big Head Mode
Press Square, Cross, Circle, and Triangle and repeat that 5 times. You’ll see right away their heads get bigger.
- Activate Mammoth Head Mode
Press Square, Triangle, Circle, and Cross, and repeat this 5 times. You’ll know right away if it worked.
- Activate Huge Mode
Press Triangle and Cross together, 6 times. The announcer’s voice will drop an octave and the players will grow by about 50%.
- Activate High Shots
Press Up, Down, Up, Down, Right, Up, Circle, Circle, Circle, Circle, Down. There will be no message. Any shot or dunk that normally reaches a certain height will now reach the top of the screen.
- Display Shot Percentage
Press Up, Up, Down, Down, Triangle. You will see the message pop-up after the Tip Box leaves. When you shoot, a small percentage square appears to the left to show what the chance of the basket going in is.
Game Modifiers (Match-Up Screen)
- Activate PowerUp Fire
Press Down, Right, Right, Circle, Triangle, and Left. You’ll always be “On Fire.”
- Activate PowerUp Dunks
Press Left, Right, Cross, Circle, Circle, and Cross. Players can now dunk from almost anywhere.
- Activate PowerUp 3-Points
Press Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Down, and Up. You’ll always sink a 3-Pointer from the line.
- Activate PowerUp Offense
Press Square, Circle, Up, Square, Circle, Up, Down at Today’s Matchup screen.
- Activate PowerUp Defense
Press Right, Up, Down, Right, Down, and Up.
- Activate PowerUp Turbo
Press Circle, Circle, Circle, Square, Down, Down, Up, Up. You’ll have Infinite Turbo.
- Activate Quick Hands
Press Left, Left, Left, Left, Circle, and Right.
- Activate Max Power
Press Right, Right, Left, Right, Cross, Cross, and Right.
- Activate Teleport Pass
Press Up, Right, Right, Left, Circle, Down, Left, Left, Circle, Square. This will cause the ball to jump to the intended teammate without animating the distance between them.
- Push One Opponent and Both Fall
Press Up, Up, Up, Up, Left, Left, Left, Left, Circle, Circle. There will be no message.
- Push One Opponent and Their Teammate Falls
Press Up, Up, Up, Up, Left, Left, Left, Left, Circle, Triangle. There will be no message.
- Push One Opponent Across the Full Court
Press Down, Down, Cross, Circle, Cross, Right, Right.
- Extended Roster
Highlight a team, press and hold SELECT, and then do two full counter-clockwise rotations on the joypad. The words ‘Extended Roster’ will drop down, and there will now be a 4th player available to choose from. Note that you may only do this once on the Select Screen, so make sure you highlight the team you really want before performing the cheat.
NBA Jam T.E. uses a name and birthday ‘password’ that originally stored the user’s data in the arcade machine’s backup battery. While the PlayStation’s memory card takes care of that now, it’s actually kept in to access a bounty of hidden playable characters. I’ve sorted them by type for easy viewing.
The codes are listed by Character – Initials, Month, Day. You will need to Hold L1 + R1 while you enter all the information.
Acclaim White Team Developer Staff Codes
- Alex “Facime” Delucia – DEL OCT 19
- Asif “Chow Chow” Chaudri – CHD MAY 5
- Brett “Brutah” Gow – GOW JUL 17
- Dan “weasel” Feinstein – DAN JAN 2
- Elizabeth “Max” Burgess – LIZ AUG 7
- Eric “Air Dog” Samulski – AIR JAN 21
- Eric “Kabuki” Kuby – KUB APR 14
- Mark “Boo Boo” Thienvanich – THI NOV 1
- Nathaniel “Fumungus” Gunter – GUN JAN 11
- Pete “Pistol” Wanat – WAN JUN 10
- Seth W. “Magic Hair” Rosenfield – STH DEC 8
- Shawn “Sequoia” Rosen – SAW APR 10
Midway Arcade Developer Staff Codes
- Jamie Rivett – REV JUL 6
- Mark Turmell – TUR JAN 31
- Sal Divita – DIV JUL 3
- Shawn Liptak – LIP JAN 14
- Tony Goskie – GOS JAN 6
Celebrity Codes – Athletes
- Carol “Blaze” Blazejowski – BLZ JAN 14 (Women’s Basketball)
- Frank Thomas – FNK JAN 8 (MLB Chicago White Sox))
- Larry Bird – LAR JAN 15 (NBA Celtics)
Celebrity Codes – Musicians
- Ad-Rock – ADR APR 6 (Beastie Boys)
- MC Adam Yauch – MCA APR 9 (Beastie Boys)
- Mike-D – M(space)D JUL 1 (Beastie Boys)
- Heavy D – HEA JAN 9
- Fresh Prince – FRS FEB 2
- Jazzy Jeff – JAZ OCT 9
- Kim Gordon – GOR JUL 3 (Sonic Youth)
- Lee Ranaldo – REN FEB 4 (Sonic Youth)
- Steve Shelly – SHY JUN 8 (Sonic Youth)
- Thurston Moore – MOE JUN 8 (Sonic Youth)
Celebrity Codes – Politician
- Prince Charles – CHA MAY 4 (King of United Kingdom)
- Bill Clinton – BIL JUN 3 (President)
- Hillary Clinton – HIL NOV 6 (Senator, First Lady)
Iguana UK Developer Staff Codes
- Darren Falcus – DAZ AUG 6
- Jason Falcus – JAS NOV 16
- Steve “Snake” Palmer – SNK JUN 15
Midway DOS Version Developer Staff
- John Carlton – CAL MAR 25
Team Iguana! Developer Staff Codes
- Andy Catling – CAT JAN 2
- Barry Hutchinson – BAR APR 9
- Chris Kirby – CHR DEC 18
- Darren Hodgeson – HOG DEC 31
- Mike “Mad Mike” Muskett – MUS DEC 24
- Paul McHugh – BAA JUL 12
- Rob Gray – ROB FEB 23
- Tom Higgins – TOM FEB 19
Team Iguana! DOS Version Developer Staff Codes
- Jay “J Moon” Moon – JAY AUG 24
Team Iguana! PC Version Developer Staff Codes
- Jason “Jax” Whitaker – JAX MAR 1
Team Iguana! Saturn Version Developer Staff Codes
- Darren Tunnicliff – SAT MAY 7
- Neil “Ziggy” Hill – ZIG APR 7
Team Mascot Codes
- Chicago’s Benny The Bull – BEN SEP 20
- Charlotte’s Hugo the Hornet – HOR JUN 12
- Minnesota’s Crunch the Timberwolf – WOL MAR 7
- Phoenix’s Go Gorilla – APE APR 2
Secret End Game Scenarios
- Play the Final Season Game Against the Houston Rockets
END JAN 1
- Play Against the Team Where Both Opponents Use a Cheat Code
FIN JAN 1