NBA Jam by Reyan Ali
Release Date: Oct 22, 2019
ISBN 13: 978-1-940535-20-3
When NBA Jam dunked its way into arcades in 1993, players discovered just how fun basketball can be when freed from rules, refs, and gravity itself. But just a few years after the billion-dollar hit conquered the world, developer Midway, publisher Acclaim, and video arcades themselves fell off the map. How did a simple two-on-two basketball game become MVP of the arcade, and how did this champ lose its title?
Journalist Reyan Ali dives deep into the saga, tracking the people and decisions that shaped the series. You'll get to know mischievous Jam architect Mark Turmell, go inside Midway's Chicago office where hungry young talent tapped into cutting-edge tech, and explore the sequels, spin-offs, and tributes that came in the game's wake.
Built out of exhaustive research and original interviews with a star-studded cast —including Turmell and his original development team, iconic commentator Tim Kitzrow, businessmen and developers at Midway and Acclaim alike, secret characters George Clinton and DJ Jazzy Jeff, Doom co-creator John Romero, and 1990s NBA demigods Glen Rice and Shaq—Ali's NBA Jam returns you to an era when coin-op was king.
Reyan Ali is a writer from Columbus, Ohio. His work has been published by Wired, Spin, The Atlantic, The A.V. Club, and alt-weekly papers across the country. Born in Dallas, he grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, where he devoured '90s NBA action almost exclusively through trading cards, Beckett Basketball magazine, and NBA Jam: Tournament Edition on the Sega Mega Drive II.
Optioned by BestCrosses Studios to be made into a documentary film.
“Ali provides the perspective and insight of a professional historian ... [Jam] bestows the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the climate and process behind ‘90s sports video games.” - Eric Griffith, Blazer’s Edge
“Reyan did an amazing job and tells the story wonderfully.” - Tim Kitzrow, NBA Jam announcer
“If you ever played NBA JAM in the arcades back in the day, this book about the insane success of the game (and subsequent collapse of the developers/publisher behind it) is SUCH a good, brisk read. Makes for a perfect stocking stuffer, too!” - Brian Altano
“I devoured this shit like mutant cockroaches devouring a bunch of new Englanders stuck on an infested island.” - Peter Derk, Lit Reactor
“So many great stories about the making of an awesome video game & the crazy arcade-game-maker business back then.” - Marc Masters
“Boom shakalaka.” - Daniel Barnes
“Ali’s book is an ideal read for video game and basketball fans as well as casual readers.” - Fansided
“Highly enjoyable [...] an exhaustive, documentary-level look at one of the biggest game franchises of the 90s.” - RFGeneration
More Reviews: Goodreads