It's hard to articulate just how big NBA Jam was back in the day. It was one of those 90's games that was an arcade staple. And EVERYONE had some version of it at home. The big thing was finding all of the hidden players in both the original and TE versions of the game. Even crazier was that this was a SPORTS game. And even non-sports fans seemed to enjoy it thanks to its crazy over-the-top arcade style gameplay.
Back then SNES was my preferred way to play NBA Jam. But I also had it in portable form. Truth be told, there were several games like this (Mortal Kombat II comes to mind) where I actually had it for SNES, but also Game Boy because I liked the ability of taking some version of the game with me between my mom and dad's houses.
These ports were serviceable at the time. But man, trying to play the GB port of NBA Jam is rough. I will say that it looks good for what it is. It's a pretty close approximation of the console game. But that being said, there's one thing that completely destroys this version: the controls.
Let me remind you that NBA Jam is a three-button game. You have shoot, pass, and turbo. But what's that? The Game Boy only has two face buttons? True. Which means the third function is set to the Start button. Uh oh. By default, this is turbo, and it's awful. There's no physically comfortable way to make this game work.
I tried for a while to play using my index finger on Start and my middle finger on the face buttons but this was super uncomfortable and honestly confusing. Eventually, I resorted to just not using turbo at all. Which completely ruins the game by the way. I mean turbo is pretty much how you "jam," right?
There might be a way to reassign the buttons. I think there is. I guess I could change passing to Start and just try to dominate the game without my teammate's help as much as I can. But I don't know. It definitely strips something from the flow of the game. It's too bad. This could be a solid portable title. And I guess it sufficed when I was a kid. But I just can't squeeze the same enjoyment out of it this way now.