Double Dribble

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US arcade flyer.

Double Dribble is a basketball video game developed and published by Konami, originally for the arcade in 1986, ported to Famicom Disk System, NES, and PlayChoice-10 in 1987, the Amiga, Commodore 64, and MS-DOS in 1990, and the Game Boy in 1991. In the game, the player controls a team of basketball players as they try to defeat another person or the computer's AI. The player views the court from a slightly raised side-view perspective, and the game's gimmick is to show a large zoomed-in graphic of players when they dunk the ball.

Personal

My older brother was a fan of basketball growing up, so he got a used copy of this game for our NES. I remember playing him in 2-player vs mode, and uncharacteristically doing better than him at it. I had discovered that, if you hold down the shoot button longer while you're in the air, it increases your likelihood to make a basket. My brother, on the other hand, would simply press the button and frequently miss. I remember silently hoping that he wouldn't notice my slower, but more accurate, shooting ability, which allowed me to keep swishing baskets while he bricked them. He eventually got so frustrated he rage-quit the game. Later, I practiced the game on my own and got good enough to beat the bronze level AI. I tried several times to beat the silver level AI, but failed every time. One day, on a lark, I tried bumping the AI up to gold level just to see how bad it would beat me, and I ended up winning! After that, just to say I could beat all difficulty levels, I played the silver difficulty until I beat it. I did this sometime in the early 1990s.

Status

I don't own this game, but I have beaten the NES port on all difficulty levels.

Review

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4 5 3 4 5

Best Version: NES?

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The large player animations during dunk shots were pretty impressive at the time.
  • Having speech in a game was still a selling point at the time.
  • The game plays several short musical themes commonly heard at basketball games, which helps create a professional basketball vibe.
  • The ways the designers handled the jump ball and free-throws adds some strategy to the game.

Bad

  • The graphics aren't very good across every port. The human animation is very stiff, especially with the cheerleaders and mascots, and the backgrounds are ugly.
  • For the arcade game, play length is based entirely on how many quarters you spend, not your skill, which I find poor design.
  • In the NES port, the AI cheats by having the ability to pass the ball to players that are not on the screen, something human players cannot do. This gives them a advantage by allowing them to pass the ball all the way down the court to their own basket before any of your defenders can block them.
  • The music is quite lackluster in all versions, and mostly absent in the NES port.
  • The squeak of the shoes gets annoying after awhile, as does the dribble sound in the NES port.
  • It would have been nice to have 2-player co-op.

Ugly

  • Nothing, but I don't find the game very enjoyable.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Videos

Longplay - Arcade, hardest difficulty.
Longplay - DOS, easiest difficulty.
Longplay - Famicom Disk System, hardest difficulty.
Longplay - Game Boy, USA, hardest difficulty.
Longplay - NES, hardest difficulty.
Game play - Amiga.
Review - PlayChoice-10.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Double Dribble
English (Game Boy, Europe) Hyper Dunk
English (Game Boy, North America) Double Dribble: 5 On 5
Japanese エキサイティング バスケット Ekisaitingu Basuketto Exciting Basket
Japanese (Game Boy) コナミックバスケット Konamikku Basuketto Konamic Basket

Links

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