EA bought the NBA JAM and NFL Blitz licenses a while back and recently came out with new versions to bring these great franchises back to glory.


What. The. Hell.



For reference the original controls were:

NBA JAM Offense Defense
A Turbo Turbo
B Shoot Block
C Pass Steal
NFL Blitz    
A Turbo Turbo
B Jump Tackle
C Pass Change Player

And extended to many other functions by chording or double tapping. The new Blitz controls are at least pretty close to the originals, once you get past all the extra labels and crap they have on screen, while JAM is is messed up because some functions get moved around once you switch to defense. When the iOS version has better more faithful controls,1 YOU SCREWED UP.2 The new controls just make me think “MODERN GAMING!” How many buttons do you really need?3

Oh and those are the only control options, so if you happened to have a stick and wanted to relive the arcade joy (and better feeling control in general), well you’re screwed.

And I haven’t even mentioned core gameplay changes to JAM. Super dunking without turbo is a horrible, horrible change that screws up gameplay within the three point line. Remember put backs? Apparently none of the devs did! Not that it matters because the ball action above the rim after a shot is nearly nonexistent. Blocking is pretty nice, although perhaps overpowered now, and even more so considering how crippled you now are offensively.

Basically this is what I think about the new JAM:

[There was a video here, of the end scene of Planet of the Apes]

Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

Meanwhile Blitz could at least be awesome, if I could get used to playing on a controller. If they just let you configure buttons so you could play on a stick, it seems like it would be as good as the old games. Unlike JAM the gameplay appears to be intact.4

…except after the whistle. Getting in as many cheap shots as possible after the play is a thing of the past. It doesn’t sound bad since it was basically extraneous stuff, but in action it’s pretty noticeable since the post play time as the camera pans around is lacking that little bit gameplay all of a sudden. Instead you’re left with a plain old post play cutscene rather than a sort of “hurt everyone in x seconds!” mini game.

Like many things in the NFL these days I blame Goodell, so I don’t hold that against the new Blitz team. They got most of the important stuff within their control right. It’s amazing how screwed up JAM is in comparison.

NBA JAM: On Fire Edition, $15:

NFL Blitz, $15:
Rating system guide

  1. There’s a few things they screwed up…but after playing the console version it appears the major issues are pretty much carry overs from that one. IDIOTS.
  2. Seriously, I thought you guys were big fans of the original. HOW DID YOU SCREW IT UP SO MUCH?
  3. Well there’s AI partner controls…but really a lot of stuff on their own buttons or split up to separate buttons could be done with the aforementioned chording or double tapping on the old games. They had an established simple deep scheme to work with and just…ugh.
  4. Ok so there’s a juke left/right buttons now…but like the new stuff in JAM they feel like a poorly thought out tacked on feature. The juke animation is small, slow, and out of place, it feels like it was lifted from Madden. On the plus side there’s a lateral button…although I figure that could’ve been accomplished with the pass button.