SUPER BASKETBALL / Konami / Arcade

Early sports games of the 1980s often couldn't come up with a way to actually replicate the entire game, so they would just do an odd chunk of it with weird rules. That's the approach in 1984's Super Basketball from Konami, which is sort of an early prototype of Double Dribble.

The scenario for this one is that you're perpetually on offense, and each match begins with you playing from a deficit trying to come back and win in the closing minutes. If the CPU gets the ball, you simply start over inbounding at the other side of the court. The thing is, they can't steal it from you ... but if you make too much contact with a CPU sprite you get a charging penalty and have to start the process over!

Another oddity with this one is that there is one button specifically for dribbling, and you have to tap it constantly to move your player. There are two other buttons, one each for shooting and passing.

Whether or not any shot goes in appears to be entirely random. The only really high percentage shot seems to be from the paint with no defenders right adjacent to you, so I found the best move in this game was to just Russell Westbrook it and try to Tecmo Super Bowl juke the entire defense on your own. Passes are useful once in a while, but the system is weird as you can only pass to a certain guy (that the game selects with a flashing light) who may or may not be open when the game decides to make them available.

You play as some sort of beer league men's squad who start out by styling on a hapless junior high team before moving on through the various scholastic ranks and then to international play. The underage kids are easy to beat, but things get much more challenging starting with the high school team. You always have a significant scoring deficit to make up and not much time to do it in.

Konami made solid sports games in the '80s, and even though this is more primitive than their best stuff it's still kinda oddball fun. It's definitely not a good game, though. The random shot success is irritating and it was clearly designed as an unfair quarter-muncher.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video