Event report: NBA Jam developer day

Galloping Ghost Arcade innocently scheduled an NBA Jam Day at the end of January, but, as time passed, more and more details emerged that made this quite an event. Tournaments were held on both NBA Jam and NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, but it also morphed into one of the location’s trademark “developer days” that saw a number of former Midway members stop by to meet with fans and reminisce about the development of the game.

This winter has put me severely behind on my personal gaming projects, but, on that list is reading the much-talked about “NBA Jam” by Reyan Ali [Boss Fight Books]. The release of the book is one of the many items that has people talking about the game in recent months. Just prior to the event, we also tackled the SEGA Genesis port of the original in the RGB High Score Challenge, which proved to be an interesting test of players’ skills!

Attending the event included Tim Kitrow, Shawn Liptak, Jon Hey, Eugene Jarvis, George Petro, Josh Tsui and Paul Niemeyer, who at one time held a variety of roles at Midway ranging from development to sound. Each joined in on the live Twitch stream done by Galloping Ghost arcade and shared a number of stories about the game’s development, from the commentary and sound down to the brutally unforgiving rubber-banding that intentionally keeps the games as close as possible.

Those performance tweaks absolutely came into play during the tournament, including a very notable first-round matchup in NBA Jam that was won by a full-court shot with a single second remaining.

The tournament was also highlighted by bits of real-time commentary from the game’s commentator, Tim Kitzow:

I didn’t get a chance to have full conversations with some of the developers in attendance, but I was able to brief meet up with Josh Tsui, who is about to launch a Midway documentary entitled “Insert Coin.” Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet up again at some point to talk WWF: WrestleMania!

I also got a moment of time from George Petro. Last time we talked about a few details of Revolution X, but, this time he explained why he is credited in so many Midway games even if he did not directly work on them. He said he worked on the development of the code for NARC and this code served as a “base code” that was adapted for a large number of future Midway releases. Because he was involved in that original code that kept getting reused, he was then credited for any title it was implemented into.

Overall, the NBA Jam developer day went from a mild curiosity to a must-attend event, especially if you are a fan of the game. Thanks to Galloping Ghost Arcade for once again organizing a fantastic event!

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Categories: GemuBaka Events


Arcade enthusiast and game collector. Affiliate Twitch retro streamer and games archive writer at Gemubaka (http://gemubaka.com). For business only: gemubaka at gmail


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