I always thought NBA Jam TE was the best basketball game ever made. The Tournament Edition of the popular NBA arcade game took everything to another level, and many hours of my Super NES life were spent playing with Bill Clinton (I could've phrased that better, huh?). But along comes a challenger, a game with more plot twists than an M. Night Shyamalan movie and enough crazy shit packed in its tiny .zip file to make an unlockable President character seem altogether pedestrian:
Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden
The title may be confusing to those of you who aren't video game aficionados, but the "Gaiden" is a nod to famous Japanese-style games (Ninja Gaiden), and, naturally, in BSUAJG, the player gets to enjoy traditional Japanese RPG-style battles and dungeons. "In a game about basketball?" you understandably ask. This game is as much about basketball as Justin Bieber is to music. The real difference is that plot for this game makes me cry tears of joy, whereas Bieber makes me want to kick a baby in the head. Ninja Gaiden!
BSUAJG, released in 2008 by tiny indie developer Tales of Game's Studios, is set in a post-apocalyptic New York, dubbed "Neo New York" (bit redundant there, eh?); the "apocalypse" was brought about after Charles Barkley pulled off the first ever Chaos Dunk to impress his son, Hoopz, who was in attendance for his first game. The Chaos Dunk killed millions, and basketball players around the world were massacred in the aftermath, in what is now known as the "B-Ballnacht." Another Chaos Dunk happens years later, killing 15 million people, and Barkley, the protagonist of the game, is supposedly the only player who can perform a Chaos Dunk and is subsequently blamed. Barkley has to escape Michael Jordan's B-Ball Removal Department and finds his way into the B-Ball Catacombs and to the tomb of LeBron James. James contacts Chuck from the B-Ball dimension and warns him to seek out the "Cyberdwarf."
From there, things get even weirder/more awesome. Charles travels through the sewers and finds the Cyberdwarf, meets a robotic Vince Carter (Vinceborg 2050) who joins Charles' cause, deals with a hostage crisis with Hoopz, runs into Larry Bird as a priest, tries to get a handle on the infamous ball from "Space Jam," Wilford Brimley shows up, as does a natural segway to diabetes, and, of course, an appearance from Bill Cosby as "Ghost Dad."
Your move, NBA Jam.
- Shaquille O'Neal's autobiography excerpts keep getting better: "Our coach, Mike Brown, was a nice guy, but he had to live on edge because nobody was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron. Nobody wanted him to leave Cleveland, so he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do. I remember one day in a film session LeBron didn’t get back on defense after a missed shot. Mike Brown didn’t say anything about it. He went to the next clip and it was Mo Williams not getting back and Mike was saying, 'Yo, Mo, we can’t have that. You’ve got to hustle a little more.' So Delonte West is sitting there and he's seen enough and he stands up and says, 'Hold up, now. You can't be pussyfooting around like that. Everyone has to be accountable for what they do, not just some us.' Mike Brown said, 'I know, Delonte. I know.' Mike knew Delonte was right." Holy crap, when Delonte West, the monster hunter himself, is the voice of reason in an NBA organization, you know you're in trouble. The Cleveland Cavaliers, ladies and gentlemen!
- Apparently NBA commissioner David Stern and Co. believe that rules don't apply to them. In the same week the league fined Miami Heat owner Micky Arison $500,000 for a harmless message to an angry fan over Twitter saying he isn't the droid you're looking for, the NBA Labor's own Twitter feed harassed player Nazr Mohammed Wednesday with a message directed at him. Mohammed responded, "That's hilarious! I can't workout at our team's facilities or have contact w/ coaches but @NBA_Labor & @NBA can harass me on twitter lol SMH." As I'm not up to date on what lingo the kids are using these days, I'm assuming that Nazr Mohammed was interrupted whilst watching "Lord of the Rings," and that lol SMH stands for "Look out little one, Sauron makes haste!" Sigh, I hate myself sometimes.
- Opposing players have been striking a prayerful pose after sacking Tim Tebow, known on the Internet as "Tebowing," but the Broncos quarterback doesn't seem to mind. Tebow said he figures other players are just having fun with something that's become an "Internet sensation" (like Sports Tzu, obviously), and that they aren't mocking him and his Christianity. He could be right, and everyone loves a good Internet meme, but maybe they're actually praying for you, Tim, because after two games your starting career already looks doomed.
- Hey, look at me! I got through a Quick Takes bullet on sports & religion and didn't piss anyone off except Broncos fans! I'm growing!
- Okay, let's play a little game. I'm going to give you a quote from an athlete, and you're going to guess what sport he/she plays: "I was lucky. It could have caught an eye, but it caught a good spot. It was pretty deep, so they had to start from the inside to get all the muscles and everything that was cut. It felt sore the day after, but it feels fine." If you guessed hockey you win a bucket of freshly killed octopi!