By Sam Rubenstein

Live coverAlmost forgot! The other day I mentioned how J.J. Redick will be on the cover of College Hoops 2K7, and it led to a little exchange about how basketball video games just aren’t that good anymore. Well, I present to you my favorite Basketball video game of all-time, NBA Live ’95.

Sure they’ve made all kinds of advancements in graphics over the years. The stat keeping and season modes are incredibly deep. Artificial Intelligence is good enough that you can’t get 8 blocks a game with your shooting guard cause you know that the computer will get the ball, run behind the 3 point line and fire away over and over. But the title rhymes: “Live ’95″ is all you have to say, and the gameplay was so easy. On Sega Genesis, A was turbo, B was pass, C was jump to shoot, and on defense the object of the game was to bump your man 20 feet out of bounds. My timeline of basketball video games where the newest entry revolutionized the genre goes like this: Double Dribble, Bulls vs. Lakers, NBA Showdown ’94, and Live ’95 as the best. Honorable mention to the first 2K game for Dreamcast, but not really.

Look at the cover! Today it’s all about marketing the athlete who gets the sacred cover of the game slot. Who’s on this cover? Horry? Starks? Hakeem? Charles Smith? The two teams from the Finals made it, as they should.

Memory lane section of the post: I had to invite myself over to a friends house to play, and this was when I went to High School in the Bronx and wouldn’t get home until 6 if I left right away. There was alot of NBA Live played on the weekends. We once got into a fist fight and had to be separated by parents because I scored 80 with Hakeem against him and it messed up the stats in his regular season. One day I couldn’t take not having my own copy anymore and I actually bought it for the PC (Genesis was like $240 back then. Now you can pretty much get one for free). I still remember to this day when I beat Orlando with a buzzer beater hook shot from Derrick Coleman.

I would strongly advise against breaking out your Genesis or downloading an emulator and ROM of the game. It will only destroy your memories, and you’ll be like “These are all stick figures.” But trust me, this game is a classic, and when we talk about the different players on Old School Fridays, they’re all right there in their prime in Live ’95.

My favorite team to be was Golden State. Hardaway, Sprewell, Mullin, Owens, Webber. Unstoppable.

Ah… the memories. And with that, I’m off for a week on vacation. Have a great weekend everyone, a better week after that, and an even better weekend after that!