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'He's heating up!' NBA Jam info and speculation

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Is that a kick-ass logo, or what?

This morning, EA confirmed earlier rumors of a revival of Midway’s arcade classic, NBA Jam, exclusively for the Wii. That last part -- that the game is only coming to the Wii -- seems to be tempering gamers’ nostalgia-based excitement for a current-gen version of a game they’ve put hundreds of quarters into.

There’s not all that much we know about the upcoming EA Sports title, but let’s take a look at it anyway. By the way, the February issue of Nintendo Power -- which goes on sale next Tuesday, January 19, and should already be on its way to subscribers -- has NBA Jam on its cover, so check out the magazine for an eight-page preview. In addition, I’ll soon be speaking with the folks working on NBA Jam, so keep an eye out for that.

Follow me to the jump!

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[Photo credit: International Arcade Museum and KLOV Forums]

So far, all EA has told us is that NBA Jam is on track for a 2010 release, and that it’s in development at EA Canada. The last arcade basketball game that EAC made was 2007’s NBA Street Homecourt, but it’s unknown whether any members from that game’s team are working on NBA Jam. The press release offers some heartening tidbits with phrases such as “vintage NBA JAM gameplay” that’s “true to the original” and “mixes the old school with the new.” And considering that the release has the arena announcer’s classic “BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA” call in its title, it’s no surprise that the Wii game will include “the sights and sounds that fans of the franchise will instantly recognize.” So I’m still holding out some hope that the original announcer himself will also be doing the voice-overs for the revival.

Apparently, NBA Jam will update the original game’s distinct visual style with “true-to-life body types, updated physics and visible player emotion,” though we’ve been promised that there won’t be too much of a simulation aspect to a game that will remain an “over-the-top experience.” That’s good to hear! Presumably, the game will be in 3D, but we’re not sure yet if it will remain a 2-on-2 battle. The press release is notable for its omission of the words “motion” or “control,” so I suppose it’s possible (though doubtful, in my mind) that NBA Jam will be a Classic Controller affair. In fact, I’d imagine that EA will offer at least two control schemes (Wii Remote + Nunchuk, Classic Controller) to try to appeal to as many gamers as possible.

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The game’s official Web site is up, and we can glean some additional info from it. The right sidebar features a weekly vote for the three (not two) players of each team that you want to see in NBA Jam. I’ve been assured by EA Canada’s Community Manager, Alain Quinto, that the development team “will definitely be taking the votes into account when selecting the roster,” so make your voice heard! There are 30 teams in the NBA, so in all, there will be ten weeks of voting that will end in the middle of March. Assuming that EA Canada will only be finalizing the rosters by then, I don’t expect the game to be released anytime before the summer; EA may even hold it back until closer to the start of the NBA season in October.

What are you guys looking for from NBA Jam?

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Samit Sarkar
Samit Sarkar   gamer profile

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Filed under... #EA Sports #NBA Jam #Sports #Wii

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