The NBA Jam video game franchise is such an iconic name that it’s a little hard to imagine there was a time before it existed — especially if you’re like me, and it’s been around for basically as long as you’ve known anything about video games. But the video below depicts just that: the time while the original game was still in development, but yet to secure an NBA license (i.e. be able to use NBA team/player names in the game). Starting at the 2:20 mark, the people of Williams Electronics (whose game rights were acquired by Midway, who ultimately relased NBA Jam…you know, before going under) make their pitch:
…and the rest is history: NBA Jam got the license, and is fondly remembered by my generation as one of the funnest sports video games ever.
It’s interesting to see how Williams Electronics sold the game, especially since the kinds of things NBA Jam was doing graphically were new at the time (motion capture!). And it’s a rare case of a company pitching its own product and actually not overselling. “We have a hit on our hands” – yeah, we’ll say.