NBA Basketball 2000 (PlayStation 1, 1999)
Time for my first review of an old computer game. As I have said before I have never been particularly good at playing any sport myself, but I have watched a lot of TV coverage over the years, and I have enjoyed playing sport games, and I have tried to collect one of each sport to learn more about and get a better feel of how the game is played.
There are of course many basketball games out there, and I wouldn’t know if the one that I have is among the best or the worst available, but one of the reasons that I chose NBA Basketball 2000 was after I played the demo which was on the disc that came with the Official UK PlayStation Magazine.
Around the late-90s there was some basketball shown on TV, and I remember that some coverage of the NBA was shown on Channel 4 and ITV2, but I don’t know what channel it is on in this country nowadays, probably something like Sky Sports 15. NBA Basketball 2000 featured all the licences of all the teams and players at the time, and you had the option to play a single game or go through a whole season. Now who should I play as today, the Minnesota Timberwolves or Utah Jazz?
Like many sport games, NBA Basketball 2000 featured realistic TV-style presentation, with the players walking on to the court to big cheers, action replays from lots of angles, plus accurate crowd noises and sound effects. Also featuring were the Fox commentators Greg Papa and Doc Rivers. Such is the nature of basketball that the game is somewhat one end to the other and there is scoring rather frequently, leading Greg to say various phrases such as “tickles the twine!” or “nothing but nylon”. Also along with this Doc would add various stats and facts about the teams and players.
For some reason almost every time the first free throw is taken in the game Greg will always say “I just don’t think good free throw shooting is emphasised any more at the lower levels”. I don’t know why he seems so concerned about the subject that he has to say it every single time. Also, because this game is now over 15 years old it is a surprise to think most of the players in the game would have started their NBA careers in the 80s, and even most of the rookies featured would be retired by now.
As the game progresses injuries can happen, and it’s always a tense moment as you wait to find out if your star player is out for the game or the season. There is one rather odd feature in the game, it’s not a glitch as such but it is still rather unusual. If when in the fourth quarter with a minute to go the gap between the teams is fewer than ten points, the computer-controlled team will instantly foul you the moment you get the ball, leading to you having lots of free throws almost as if they want you to win the game.
This means that the final minute of the game can last for a very long time, and this also happens if the game goes into overtime. Around this point Doc always says “you never give up on an NBA game because too many crazy things can happen in the dying seconds”. He’s definitely right about that, and it is always rather exciting and satisfying if you score a match-winning buzzer beater.
I was playing the game again before I wrote this piece and I still enjoy it, and although there seems to be no Wikipedia entry for the game, there are a few clips on YouTube with a few comments from people who seemed to enjoy playing the game and it has given me a feel of why basketball has been so popular in America.