From 1988 to 1993, Michael Jordan either “starred in” or was included in dozens of inferior basketball games on the NES to the Megadrive to the Super NES; None of them were really good. Thankfully, we were about to come upon a major breakthrough in the technology department with NBA Live ’95, but in the mid-90s, there was only one NBA game to rule them all — NBA Jam.
Ask anyone who obsessed overNBA Jam about the one thing missing from the game and you’ll get, “Michael Jordan.” Sure, the Bulls were a solid team, but Horace Grant and Scottie Pippenweren’t going to compete with the Stockton/Malone lineup that the Jazz rolled out.
If only Jordan could’ve licensed himself out to Midway, video game history would’ve been completely different. Imagine flying through the air and crashing down as His Airness as the announcer blared out, “he’s on fire!” Life would’ve been better, I reckon.
But, thanks to Jordan’s stingy business maneuvers, one of the best sports games of all-time was left Jordan-less. What changes everything is what we learned a few years ago — Midway made special arcade cabinets for Gary Payton and Michael Jordan (who were on the same team in the game), but no one outside of a few one percenters have ever seen it.
Now, that might change. In a Reddit AMA,NBA Jam creator Mark Turmell revealed that Midway made these cabinets for Jordan and Payton, and he held onto one for himself. When a Redditor asked if he could find the EPROM (an arcade cabinet’s memory) and dump it on the internet, he gave the most incredible answer a kid from the ’90s could imagine: “I could! Will try to dig up.”
“Have to see how they’re labeled when I get in there. Can’t imagine getting into any trouble at this point!”
So there we have it — Turmell isn’t worried about any rights issues, and he’s probably digging through his basement right now, ready to make our dreams come true. Boomshakalaka.