The Best Basketball Video Games
Every child in America has played basketball as a sport at some point in their lives. It was a key sport in gym glasses around the country and continues to grow in popularity across the globe due to its accessibility. All you need is a basket and a ball. However, most people soon realised that they weren't the greatest when playing basketball and therefore didn't have a future in the NBA.
However, this doesn't mean that those who love the game can only watch a match on the sidelines or visit a bookmaker to place a bet through sports betting. There's also the innovative capabilities that will allow you to play basketball in the virtual world thanks to the best NBA video games. The best NBA video games have evolved over the years, from simplistic one on one games to more realistic variations that give the impression that you are watching a real live game. However, which basketball video games are the best of all time?
Released in 1993 by Midway, NBA Jam was the first addition to the NBA Jam franchise and its cornerstone. NBA Jam was an arcade game and started life as a coin-operated version. The overall gameplay was ridiculous, allowing players to fly across the arena, performing mid-flight stunts, and making three-point line dunks. The game featured hot and cold levels which altered their scoring capabilities and was the first to incorporate real player likeness.
NBA Street Vol 2
NBA Street allowed you to play with your favourite NBA stars outside the strict, organised world of NBA. The overall gameplay was on the arcade side, allowing you to fly over backboards and dunk a basket from the free throw line without too much effort. In NBA Street Vol 2 you could also court a team with 3 Michael Jordan's from different years and it featured basketball legends instead of fake players.
NCAA Basketball 09
Discontinued in 2010, the NCAA basketball series suffered a lawsuit with regards to the usage of former NCAA players without permission. It's a shame that players have been deprived of a sensational NCAA series as the game perfectly recreated the basketball atmosphere at a college level. The crowds were more passionate and louder than the best NBA video games, and you could recruit college superstars and high school players which was well executed.
NBA Live 2005
From all the previous NBA live releases, this one stands out as it introduced the All-Star Weekend, including the Three-Point Shootout and the Slam Dunk contest. The Dynasty mode was also rebuilt, and not only could you simulate the entire game, but game quarters as well, allowing you to jump in on the action whenever the match was on the line. You could also stay up-to-date through notifications on several occurrences in the virtual league. There was even scouting of prospects, making the GM experience more realistic.
Going back to streetball, you'll be surprised to know that NBA 2K1 was the first video game of the franchise that allowed you to take NBA players to a variety of legendary parks, such as The Cage and Rucker Park for not only one on one games but five on five games as well. This was a truly fresh and innovative step, allowing you to mix present-day stars with NBA legends, create ultimate super teams, and destroy your opponents. In addition, the player customization was one of the most advanced systems in any basketball game as well as the gameplay, allowing you to exhibit a broad range of low-post moves. NBA 2K1 paved the way for more realistic simulation play from the developers going forward as well.
NBA Live 2000
NBA Live 2000 was the first video game to feature Michael Jordan as a member of the elite 90's all-decade team which was one of five available in the video game. You could either play as him or play him in a one on one game as well as other NBA stars from previous eras. Another impressive element was the soundtracks from Run-DMC, Naughty by Nature, and Rahzel. The overall graphics were also a major improvement and the gameplay was extremely smooth.
NBA Live 18
NBA Live 18 is the latest release from EA Sports, allowing you to personalise your NBA athlete and choose from different roles to begin your NBA legacy. You can make a name for yourself by competing at various iconic venues on the streets or further develop your skills to become an NBA Star in the League. Your progress in both the League and the Streets are connected, giving players the freedom to choose how they wish to advance through the ranks.
There's also live events available, such as Takedown mode where you can challenge street legends and NBA players with their crews. Also, you can connect with an online team and take down other online opponents, enjoy solo play in the Nike Pro-Am tour, take on the role of player, coach, and GM in Franchise mode, or build your own squad in the Ultimate Team mode. NBA Live 18 even introduced the WNBA for even more action on the court, making this the best NBA video game on PS4.
Rated as the best NBA video game of 2018, NBA 2k18 will allow players to create a customized basketball player which they can take from a rookie level to an NBA superstar. You will need to work your way up the ranks by winning fans and courting sponsorships on social media as well as browse the online community, known as the Neighbourhood, to attend the gym where you can lift weights, do speed training, and agility training.
The game also comes equipped with a story-based, narrative-driven franchise experience, maintaining all the team building and user control aspects that basketball fans have fell in love with over the years. Furthermore, players can look forward to a comprehensive career mode through MyCourt or gain full access to a league with the MyLeague mode. If that's not enough, you can test your skills against other online players through a comprehensive multiplier experience online.