[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Final Four '97

April 1st, 2013 by Benj Edwards

MCA Mindscape NCAA Basketball Final Four '97 1997 Ad advertisement - 1997It's that time of year again…

I'm not a big fan of sports, and I'm not a big fan of sports games (Blades of Steel for the NES is probably my favorite — off the top of my head). But having grown up in the heart of ACC basketball country surrounded by great and once-great teams (UNC, Duke, NCSU, Wake Forest, etc.), I have a soft spot for the ACC and NCAA college basketball tournaments. I tend to watch a couple games a year.

So I can't tell you much about NCAA Basketball Final Four '97, because I've never played it. The closest I've come was NBA Live '97 for the SNES, and that was pretty fun for a basketball game.

[ From GamePro, April 1997, p.35 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What's your favorite basketball video game of all time?



19 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Final Four '97”

  1. Dave Says:

    Favorite (closest thing to a) basketball game: Metroid. :)

  2. Geoff V Says:

    Double Dribble, hands down.

  3. Alexander Says:

    Turning off the console and picking a different game.

  4. Stan Says:

    One-on-one, featuring Larry Bird and Dr. J, one of EA's earliest games.

    I used to play the heck out of that game. It was probably the only remotely-playable sports game for the Apple II.

  5. Brian R Says:

    Double Dribble, but that's because it's the only Basketball game I remember playing.

  6. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    The original NBA Jam, without question. It's the only basketball game I've ever actually enjoyed playing for more than 10 minutes.

  7. Dementropy Says:

    For me, it was definitely Double Dribble. For my roommates in the early 2000s, it was the NCAA series because it featured the Albany Great Danes (we were living in Albany, NY at the time).

    But I'll have to agree with some of the previous comments - I couldn't get into most sports games.

  8. MES Says:

    Spent a ton of time playing Dr.J-Larry Bird One-on-One as a kid, but would probably say Arch Rivals was my favorite that I spent the most time playing. Fun game, sort of like NBA Jam but with fighting

  9. technotreegrass Says:

    NBA Jam Tournament Edition for the Sega Genesis. I played the hell out of that game. Tried the more recent takes like the PS2 and Xbox Arcade version and I do not like them at all. Original or nothing.

    I used to be a big fan of sports games during the SNES/Genesis era though I'm not really a fan of sports themselves. I felt like the major EA sim titles for football, NBA, and NHL weren't overly complicated and any player with little to no real knowledge of the sport could excell. After the PSX/N64 era, it feels that you have to be a hardcore fan of the sport to properly excel at the game, and casual arcade sports games are really becoming few and far between.

  10. MrKsoft Says:

    I've always been partial to NBA Hangtime, since it's basically NBA Jam 2. I dig the goofy character customization choices and the gameplay feels a little quicker and more action packed compared to Jam. I simply can't stand more realistic sports games, so more oddball, unrealistic stuff like that are what I prefer. (Not that I play a lot of sports games. Jam and Hangtime are some of the only exceptions to that)

  11. Benj Edwards Says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot about Arch Rivals, MES. I loved that game. I also loved the original Atari 800 Basketball game featured in this 2009 VC&G post.

    If we move beyond team sports, I have enjoyed many bowling and billiards games, and a few based on golf like Links 386 or mini golf (despite never having played golf in real life).

  12. roflmao Says:

    Easy. Takin' it to the Hoop on the Turbografx-16. Every other basketball game pales in comparison.

  13. roflmao Says:

    Sorry for the Double post. :( @Stan - I think it was called something like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird: One on One. I had the same game on my Commodore 64. :)

  14. Jaybee Says:

    Bill Laimbeer's Combat Basketball.

    I've played it as much as any other basketball game, but… how can you not love the IDEA of a basketball game with landmines?

  15. Zoyous Says:

    I played a lot of Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Championship, by EA for the Genesis. I remember being excited about getting it, looking at screenshots and marveling that each player was in a different position/frame of animation. Prior to that it was fairly common to see a bunch of players in matching stances at any given moment in a game.

    Probably a year or two earlier, I was interested in getting Basketball Nightmare for the Master System, but never got it. It's a cartoony basketball game where you play teams of werewolves and other monsters. It had awesome full-screen dunk animations like Double Dribble, but in a cute anime style.

  16. Jim U. Says:

    I would go NBA Jam. Does anybody remember that weird NCAA basketball game for the SNES that used Mode 7 for a first person view?

  17. Benj Edwards Says:

    I don't know what that Mode 7 NCAA game is, JIm U., but it sounds slightly familiar — and very interesting. I'll search for it later when I get a chance.

  18. Rob T Firefly Says:

    I hate sports and usually don't dig sports video games, but back when I was in the arcade business NBA Hangtime and its 3D successor NBA Showtime were always a fun way to kill some time. The gameplay was startlingly easy to pick up, and the ability to save a custom character, build stats, and unlock new skills while playing increasingly harder AI opponents meant I had a reason to keep going back to it; when I could play all the free games I wanted on any machine in that arcade, it was neat to have a game that still had new things to offer after I'd played it a whole lot.

  19. Mark Elliott Says:

    I've always been partial to NBA Hangtime, since it's basically NBA Jam 2. I dig the goofy character customization choices and the gameplay feels a little quicker and more action packed compared to Jam. I simply can't stand more realistic sports games, so more oddball, unrealistic stuff like that are what I prefer.

Leave a Reply