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Virtual Console Mondays: The Rest of November, 2007

Double Dribble

by Michael Flynn - December 1, 2007, 6:12 pm EST

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I hope I'm spelling everything correctly right now; I can't see my keyboard through this thick fog of nostalgia. Double Dribble, originally released for the NES in 1987, is one of the most beloved sports games in the NES catalog. It features 5-on-5 basketball action, cut-scenes showing stop-motion slam dunks that would make Dominique Wilkins blush, and a whole lot of the quirky personality that only comes from Japanese developers recreating what was, at the time, an American sport. Back in the day, gamers fawned over the beautiful dunk scenes and realistic gameplay. Now it feels more like a bunch of discombobulated first graders running around making every shot they toss up. That's not to say it's not still fun, because it is, especially with a second player to face off against. There's even some mild strategy involved in avoiding the sporadic defense, but in the end it reminds you how much sports games have evolved since the eighties.

The graphics are simple, the sound is sparse, and there are only four available teams. It definitely hasn't aged as well as Tecmo Bowl, which was released the same year. But for fans of the era, there's more than enough charm to warrant a purchase. When you commit a back court violation, the game calls it a "back pass." Come on, isn't that cute? I guess you had to be there.

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