Today’s games have all the bells and whistles, but we wouldn’t enjoy them as much without these early basketball pioneers:
The first basketball video game ever, Atari featured a four-minute game of one-on-one between two stick figures that could move in eight directions. Eight! The baskets looked like street posts, and Atari Basketball gained more fame for its cameo in the movie Airplane than for its gameplay, but hey, it was a start.
A deal with the NBA allowed the game to contain full NBA rosters and an up-to-date league schedule; and it was one of the first basketball video games that allowed you to track stats. In the early 90s, this was unheard of.
You can’t talk about basketball video games without mentioning NBA Jam. It made “boomshakalaka” and “he’s on fire!” a thing, and the world is better off because of it. The NBA Jam games might be the most enjoyable basketball titles you’ll ever play.