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‘NBA Playgrounds’ Is Here To Scratch Your ‘NBA Jam’ Itch

The game, which releases in May, looks to be the next-gen successor to 'NBA Jam'

When NBA Jam was released in 1993, it forever changed the landscape of basketball video games. Its cartoon-ish design, flaming basketball, and killer commentary (“Is it the shoes!?”) infused the sports game genre with some much-needed fun — and made it one of the most popular games of all time. Thanks to next-gen graphics and such tricks as motion capture, modern basketball games are frighteningly realistic (you can see the sweat on Steph Curry’s forehead as you post up in the NBA2k series). And while impressive, they fail to capture the casual joy of Jam. Now, it looks like there might be a worthy successor: NBA Playgrounds. The upcoming arcade-style streetball game allows players to matchup current stars like Steph Curry and LeBron James against past legends like Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal. While short, the preview shows blown-up heads and otherworldly dunks that make it clear the game will bring arcade-style absurdity back to the basketball gaming universe.

NBA Playground is set to be released in May, right during the heart of the NBA playoffs, and will be available as a $20 download on the Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The developers have assured fans that the game will feature “hundreds of over-the-top dunks and moves,” although it probably won’t include basketballs that burst into flames or secret playable characters like George Clinton and Warren Moon. Regardless, we’re pumped. Here’s hoping they at least tap the voice of NBA JamTim Kitzrow, to give the play-by-play.