The Evolution of Basketball Video Games

NBA Live 98 (1997)

By 1997, Live had gotten on the bandwagon with polygonal character models, but good gracious are they ugly. Compared to the fluid-if simplistic-look of the game on Genesis (this would be its last year on Sega's console), the PlayStation version looks pretty ugly, with photo-realistic faces of players pasted kind of flatly over polygons. But the game also introduces wrinkles that will become staples of the genre, like crossovers and fadeaways. It essentially marks the way towards more nuanced control over the ball and body movement on the court. And for your regular update on how Michael Jordan is portrayed in '90s basketball video games, he's here represented by a 6'4" SG with the #99 and the name "player."

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