In 1993, video game developer Midway published the first edition of NBA Jam. The basketball arcade game was ported to home consoles, stretched across sequels and spinoffs, lost in pop culture obscurity, rebooted, and most recently ported onto smartphones, where it occasionally bubbles onto Top 100 sales charts. Which is to say, NBA Jam has surprisingly sturdy legs for a goofy sports game.
Today, we get the latest tribute to the series: a tweaked ROM that updates the game with a more modern roster.
NBA Jam 2k17, which was spotted by Kotaku, adds modern NBA players, as well as Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Kanye West, and Harambe, represented as a pixelated man with a weird gorilla head. Sure, it’s great to have access to players like LeBron James and Steph Curry, but Harambe — like NBA Jam itself — is determined to outlast us all. I’m not saying the meme is totally played out, but it certainly is resilient.
The ROM is currently available on Hogs with a Blog and includes includes 30 NBA teams, 117 NBA players, and some nice graphical tweaks. You’ll need an SNES emulator to play it. Considering this game isn’t approved by the NBA or Electronic Arts (the current owner of the NBA Jam IP) it’s safe to say the legality of this ROM is suspect, though one could argue it’s a damn fine parody of the original NBA Jam and the Jock Jams culture it released on an unsuspecting public.