Heading into last weekend, it seemed the NBA Playoff Marathon was lurching toward the tedium of two chest-thumping juggernauts slugging it out for more prized jewellery; the competitions most decorated club pitted against their most decorated coach. Paul Pierce didn’t even other watching the end of Game Three against Orlando. The lopsided run of the Conference Semi-Finals had proven contagious. Then, A’mare Stoudemire (42 Pts / 11 Rbds) and his be-mulleted Canadian companion – with 17 points and 15 assists – may have gone and made it interesting again. Stoudemire & Nash make a great pair. Mild-mannered, understandably politicised, community minded, fine ball players, and at their best they come close to that other reliable old no-frills pairing of Stockton & Malone (athletically and aesthetically). But as much as my heart is in Phoenix right now, and as much as I love watching Stoudemire stomping on the Lakers, the irresistable lure of nostalgia makes me pine for Arizona’s finest ever power forward personality The Round Mound Of Rebound.
Barkley Shut Up & Jam is often overlooked in the pantheon of great basketball video games. Perhaps rightly so. But what cannot go unnoticed is that, legitimacy aside, it has spawned easily the finest sports game sequel ever produced. Towering over its progenitor, it is the exception that proves the rule. Ladies and gentlemen, familiarise yourself with Tales of Games Presents Barkley Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Barkley Hoopz Saga. Check out the majesty of the trailor here.
In short: Sir Charles brings the apocalypse in the form of a Chaos Dunk. Carnage reigns, and basketball is outlawed in the Great Basketball Purge of 2041 – or B-Ballnacht. Flash forward to 2053, another Chaos Dunk goes down, and Barkley – as the obvious culprit – is on the run. Larry Bird is a priest. Vince Carter is a cyborg. Given the ratio of the avatars involved, Mugsy Bogues is conspicuous by his absence. And Air Jordan is the establishment’s enforcer.
As the storm clouds gather around the country, there is narry an excuse to be found for not living out your Neo New York fantasies right now. For more reverent Barkley revelry, check out the review by my good friend Mr David Large, as part of the ongoing 20 Cent Old School Game Review series, originally broadcast on Radio One 91FM in Dunedin, and this one in particular stored half way down this post on Professional Aesthete.