NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC

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a game by Midway
Genre: Sports
Platforms: Dreamcast, Nintendo 64Nintendo 64, Arcade, GameBoy Color, PSX
Editor Rating: 7.1/10, based on 5 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 6 votes
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See also: Basketball Games, NBA Games
NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC
NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC
NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC
NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC

l wisdom states that if you're down by four points with 20 seconds left in the game, you foul the opposing team in hopes that they'll throw up a brick at the free-throw line and you grab the rebound. But what if fouling meant the opportunity for the other team to make a six-point play, putting the game out of reach? "What kind of f-ed up basketball game is this?" you might say. The game is NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, and it's anything but conventional, Showtime runs a smooth 60 frames per second and features realistic, detailed player models. All 29 teams from the NBA are here, as are their respective arenas (naturally, there are a few hidden courts thrown in as well). The teams are comprised of 145 NBA superstars (including the recently drafted 1999 rookies, see sidebar), the standard hidden characters that we have all come to expect from Midway, and a bunch of team mascots thrown in just for kicks. The Create-A-Player mode allows players to create their very own superstar, complete with custom head, nickname and ability attributes. Showtime also has the official NBC license, which means that all of the camera angles you see in Showtime are the same as those used during an NBC televised game. It also means that the real theme music is present, which is good if you're a stickler for realism (and awesome if you like John Tesh. And really, who doesn't like the Tesh?).

A new element of strategy has been added to Showtime: fouls. Now before you purists out there throw your controllers to the ground and shout "Where's the fun in that?", be assured that fouling doesn't detract from the gameplay. Every time you shove an opponent (who must have possession of the ball) to the ground, you get whistled for a foul. After five fouls, your opponent will go to the charity stripe. If he's successful, it's a three-point basket and they get the ball back. You really have to be careful who and when you foul, because a six-point play with 30 seconds remaining is difficult to overcome. The real secret to winning, however, is taking advantage of being "On Fire." After making three consecutive baskets, your player will be "On Fire" and virtually unstoppable. This means an unlimited turbo bar, exemption from committing fouls and goaltending, and draining next-to-impossible shots with ease. But if you thought facing only one "On Fire" player was bad, be sure not to let the opposing team make three consecutive alley-oop baskets. The team will go into Team Fire Mode, and all the regular "On Fire" conditions will exist for both players. The only way to break Team Fire is by making an alley-oop dunk of your own. This is how games are won and lost.

If you still have reservations about buying a Dreamcast, hopefully a near arcade-perfect port of Showtime will help put your mind at ease.

Download NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Basketball fans are going to be in for a huge treat this spring. The team that brought you NFL Blitz has come up with the arcade hoops game we've all been waiting for. NBA Showtime is a three-on-three b-ball contest in the same vein as NBA Jam. That's not surprising since most of the developers of Showtime worked on the original arcade versions of Jam (before the franchise name was bought by Acclaim). They were among the first to use real photos of the players and paste them on the bodies to make it look more realistic and they've taken that to the furthest extreme with Showtime. The problem with current "realistic" portrayals is that the face looks real, but they're plastered onto flat heads with maybe an extra polygon for a nose. The players in Showtime have cheeks, eyebrow ridges, ears and chins resulting in a shockingly realistic presentation. Of course the other body parts are equally detailed so you can see every cut of every muscle and ripple in uniforms.

The game is still early and we've only seen tape so far, but it looks like it will live up to the frantic and fun gameplay of Jam and Hangtime. All the NBA teams and a large majority of the real NBA players will be available, as well as the obligatory extras like Big Heads and secret characters. This could make its way to the arcades sooner if the NBA lockout is resolved, but will see release regardless this spring. It's showtime!

Midway scores with another arcade rim rocker, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC. This game is more refinement than revolution, but its still a great quarter-cruncher packed with high-adrenaline sports action.

Midway Cot Came

NBA Showtime builds oil the NBAJam/Hangtime high-flying dunks legacy with two-on-two basketball, complete with pushing, shoving, and flaming three-pointers--powered by a new 3D engine. All 29 NBA teams are represented, with rosters current ns of March '99 (including Paul Pierce, but not Dennis Rodman). Some secret characters are NBA team mascots, such as Kerri "Sonya" Hoskins, or classic Universal Monsters like the Wolfman and die Mummy. Plus, you can "draft" any player from the regular roster onto any other team. Wanna banish Pippen back to the Bulls? It's as simple as entering his team code and jersey number.

If you're a do-it-yourself kind of gamer, you'll find that creating a custom player is no longer merely a matter of vanity. As you win, more secret characters become available, and your attributes (power, height, accuracy, and plenty more) may be increased. You can choose custom jerseys, select the secret outdoor and island courts, and even choose the location of your hotspot--and knowing that can dramatically alter the course of a game.

Slick Grooves, Sick Moves

Showtime's got plenty of flash to go with its substance. Even casual onlookers will gasp at the game's stunning 3Dfx-powered graphics. Players look just like their real-life counterparts, and move oven better. The smooth animation and creative, wild dunks crank the excitement; (as does the big-beat soundtrack), while the new foul system holds you accountable for your strong-arm tactics without spoiling the fun. Computer-controlled drones, however, still do stupid things like shooting behind the backboard or standing idly as a loose ball bounces by. Why Isn't the A.I. tighter?

Hoops, There it is

Midway's NBA games have come a long, long way since NBA Jam's debut a mere six years ago. While the graphics, mechanics, and titles have changed, the spirit and the Fun Factor--remain as strong as ever.


  • Big guys take less damage, but small guys (like Sprewell) tend to be better shooters and stealers.
  • Cooperate! Perform three alley-oops or double-dunks In a row for team fire (note the blue flames).
  • A great place for your hotspot Is where the perimeter line begins to arc on the sides.
  • When a shot goes up, shove your opponent waiting for the rebound. Injuries detract from overall performance, and you won't get penalized.
  • If your opponent starts bombing threes. It's almost impossible to beat him with dunks. Match their play style or suffer!
  • Save your boost button for key shots and jukes, and huge dunks.
  • The A.I, won't guard as aggressively as a human will, so do your part on defense.


Chances arc you'll never get to meet Kobe Bryant or Patrick Ewing face to face--but Showtime's photorealistic textures offer the next best thing. Nice touches include animated crowds and court-floor reflections.


An emotionally charged announcer keeps things exciting, and there are nice little trash-talking asides after particularly tasty dunks. The shoe squeaks, ambient sounds, and fire swooshes all sound great too.


If it ain't broFc, don't fix it. Veterans of earlier arcade sports hits such as NBA Jam and NFL Blitz will find die same familiar, responsive controls at their fingertips.

Fun Factor

With (tiller graphics, sweet sounds, tight gameplay, loads of custom options, and four-player basketbrawls, NBA Showtime lives up to its name. Only the brain-dead A.I. keeps Showtime from a perfect score.

People say:


The NBA Jam-style of play has come a long way...and it hasn't. The arcade version wowed us all with an awesome polygonal engine that had nice, high-res graphics and a kick-ass frame-rate. The gameplay, however, is the same two-on-two business we've been playing for years (so yes, in this case with the arcade machine, graphics won us over and have revitalized the genre). Unfortunately, the N64 doesn't have the horsepower to run NBA Showtime the way it's supposed to. In a direct, unfair comparison, the N64 game looks fairly ugly...defeating the purpose of NBA Showtime (since you can get the same gameplay from any of the older games of this type). The frame-rate is inconsistent, running fine one moment then going chop-chop the next. Some frames of animation disappear here and there--it's especially noticeable during dunks. But if you can forget about the arcade version for a bit (or if you've never played/seen it in the first place), you can still have a good time with Showtime N64. I did, even though the arcade machine is sitting right down the hall from me. Naturally, four-player is where it's at, so if you're a lone gamer, you probably won't like this cart too much. As usual, Midway didn't put any enhancements/extra modes in this home conversion, which is disappointing.


This console version of Showtime is a little rough around the edges, but it retains the insanely fun gameplay of the arcade--which is the most important part of the game. In no time flat, I got used to the feet and control style of this console version and got my game back. The player creation stuff and all of the speech retained from the arcade really adds a lot to the title. Showtime's not quite as impressive as the port of NFL Blitz, but it's a blast.


This is just like the arcade game. All the same moves, teams (updated) and frustrating-beat-you-at-the-last-moment Al. Actually, it works in your favor as well. :) I shouldn't complain, that's what makes the game so exciting in the first place. If you're concerned about speed, don't be, it moves along just fine. Graphically, it's decent but not spectacular. If they made it any sharper it probably wouldn't be as fast. Overall NBA Showtime is very good.


Like Shoe tells it, we've had the NBA Showtime machine in the office for quite a while. The only way to review a game in a situation like this is to wipe the slate clean, and pretend like it's the only true 3D sequel to NBA jam on the SNES. In such a case, Showtime on the N64 is a great arcade basketball jam. A couple graphical glitches aside, the only weird difference is the free-throw meter which makes it nigh impossible to score. Really glaring bug.


If you’ve played NBA Jam then you know the theme. This game is a two on two action-fest that glorifies dunks, three-pointers, and fancy plays. Forget about defense and player position because those aren’t what the game is about. Even though the NBA Jam formula is the same, the graphics, music and game selections are upgraded.


The gameplay is simple and extremely addictive. Frankly, I’m shocked at the amount of time I spent playing this game when I’m not even a basketball fan. Maybe that is why it has such appeal: you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy monstrous slams or awesome alley-oops. There are 130 NBA players to choose from but the real fun is in creating your own player. You can pick an NBA star head, mascot,s or various creatures like a gorilla, a horse, or even an alien. If you have trouble imagining a horse running up and down the court dribbling a ball, you’ve got to check this out, it’s hilarious.

The reason why this game is SO addictive is that there are a ton of attributes you can spend your "points" on to make your player a three-point shooting star, a dunking stud, or a well-rounded player. When you win three games you get an additional two points to invest in your players. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself playing game after game to get those extra points so that your custom player can be the greatest ever. If you don’t like the body or attributes you’ve chosen you can switch them at anytime, so that you don’t have to start all over again. You will also get certain privileges to choose from, like a hot spot or your own jersey.

One thing I really didn’t like about the gameplay was that the attributes don’t really seem to matter. I had my three-pointer attributes turned all the way up and I made and missed just as many shots as when I only had it a quarter full. Same thing with two-pointers, dunks, speed, and so on. The only thing in the attribute category that I noticed any huge difference on was height. At the end of a game you get a trivia question and if you get it right you get some trivia points. Get enough trivia points and you’ll get some attribute points.

One of the other major things I didn’t like about the gameplay was this: if you’re winning by a lot the AI kicks in and reduces your lead in the blink of an eye. This is because the AI team will suddenly make every three-pointer (no matter how far away), block your shots, and steal the ball if they’re even close to your player. The result is that all games come down to the wire and are usually won in the last 15 seconds. Pretty irritating and it made me feel as if I was simply wasting my time through the entire game just so I could get to those last seconds. If you're a better team why can’t you blow them out?


If you’ve played the arcade version you’ll be disappointed. The arcade is done so well that the players look real. The Playstation version isn’t bad; it’s just that the hardware can’t handle the polygons as well as the arcade. This really affects the gameplay because it is often hard to see who has the ball and difficult to follow passes. Frames are also dropped so don’t be surprised if you see a player in one spot and in the next millisecond he magically appears in another. Meshing is another problem where limbs pass through each other. You can really see this when they do the freeze frame at the end of a quarter and you’ll see the basketball halfway inside someone’s head or two bodies sharing the same legs.

Bottom Line

This is a fun game but it has its faults. They really need to improve the graphics so that you can better see who has the ball and improve the gameplay to where not all the games are decided by the last 15 seconds. I’d recommend renting it first and then if you still like it, make the purchase.

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Arcade Screenshots

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots

GameBoy Color Screenshots

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