Right now in my apartment sits something that, to be completely honest, I never thought I would have: an arcade machine for NBA Jam. But this machine doesn’t only have NBA Jam on it — there is also NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, and the not as well-known but just as fun NBA Hangtime. Arcade 1 Up, a development studio known for creating home editions of popular arcade machines, has taken all three games and combined them to form NBA Jam: Shaq Edition. It turns out Shaq is a huge fan of NBA Jam, so Arcade 1 Up partnered with him to put his name on the machine.
Who’s excited for some Shaq-sized experiences at @ShaqsFunHouse with @arcade_1up ? While @arcade_1up is bringing some games and reveals, I’m bringing the heat and challenging any of my celebrity friends to play me in NBA Jam. Who’s up for the challenge? pic.twitter.com/IVpWHoDoSW
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) February 3, 2022
As for the machine itself, it’s kind of difficult to review a game that everyone knows is great. Everyone loves NBA Jam and its sequels, so me telling you that all three games on here are fun would be stating the obvious. Let’s instead focus on what this machine offers and if it’s worth the pricey $700 tag for your home.
— Arcade1Up Official (@arcade_1up) August 19, 2022
NBA Jam: Shaq Edition is designed for the at-home experience. That means you’re not going to find very many of this specific machine at many of the Barcades that are popping up all over the place right now. It also means there are some really fun perks that only an at-home machine is going to offer owners, such as the ability to connect to Wi-Fi and play against other machines online. It’s a really simple process to connect, but finding games is a little difficult because not everyone out there possesses one of these machines.
The real fun of the machine, and all arcade machines, still comes from playing shoulder to shoulder against your friends. That experience was recreated perfectly and this edition of the machine, in particular, offers a few extra perks to make it more fun for owners. For example, you can turn on bighead mode straight from the main menu, adjust the difficulty, and many classic cheats are still within the game. Want to unlock a few secret characters? This definitely is not a link to a whole bunch of them. Everyone knows cheats are part of what makes classic games fun and it was absolutely the correct decision to keep them as part of the experience.
On the downside, the process of putting it together was a lengthy one and a second person is essentially required. The box the machine came in was extremely heavy and the instructions for putting it together were entirely image based. Also, it didn’t come with any hardware, so make sure you have a basic toolkit on hand. Also, as mentioned earlier, a $700 price tag is a lot for what really comes down to three arcade games. This is a big ask for anyone who is not a huge fan of NBA Jam and also has the money to throw around.
At the end of the day, it’s a great machine and if you are someone who is capable of buying this, then it’s a definite recommendation. You can even argue that it’s a must-have for fans of the NBA Jam franchise, but at the end of the day, it’s a total novelty purchase. If you’re like me and have always wanted an NBA Jam machine, then this is definitely the one to get. Everyone else, go find a friend who has it and mooch off them. After all, arcade machines are best when played with friends.