A while back, we here at Basketbawful pondered a list of the worst NBA video games. And by pondered, I mean stole the list from another blog and put it on this one. Anyways, those that know me know I'm all about the irony and schadenfreude, so I set out to play some of these games. And by that, I mean I'm too lazy to fire up an SNES emulator, but that's okay since the only actually free game on the list was the one who's presence on a worst ever list was most questionable.

barkley 14warningerotic

Have you ever thought to yourself: "Self, wouldn't this thing would be way more awesome if it had basketball somehow involved"? Then do I have an epic something for you. Tales of Game's Studios Presents Chef Boyardee's Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley SaGa (yes, the G is capitalized) does just this with the classic Square-Enix RPG video game formula. So if you're bored from the summer NBA off-season, or tired from stealing chairs from sorority houses, and need to zone out away from your geeky roommate, read onwards.

barkley title

Once again, if you haven't already downloaded this free game, here's the plot introduction courtesy of Wikipedia. I should mention that right when you load it up, the game clearly states that this story IS canon:

The game takes place in a post-cyberpocalyptic New York called "Neo New York", after a "chaos dunk" causes the death of millions.

Twelve years prior to the game, Charles Barkley, in an attempt to impress his son Hoopz Barkley, performs a Chaos Dunk -- and inadvertently kills almost everyone present. As a result, basketball was made illegal and nearly all great players were killed in "The Great B-Ball Purge of 2041" (a.k.a "B-Ballnacht").

In 2053, another Chaos Dunk rocks Manhattan, killing fifteen million, and the blame falls on Charles, who is believed to be the only human capable of performing the Chaos Dunk. With the help of the Ultimate Hellbane, Charles escapes his pursuers: the B-Ball Removal Department, led by ex-NBA all-star Michael Jordan. Charles follows Ultimate Hellbane through the B-Ball Catacombs to the tomb of LeBron James, discovering that the Ultimate Hellbane is actually Balthios - the Octoroon great grandson of LeBron James. James contacts Charles from the B-ball dimension, offering him a warning which tells him to "seek the Cyberdwarf."

barkley 02charles01barkley 03jordan01barkley 04bird01barkley 07vinceborg01

Protip: Remember the game is canon, so don't waste money upgrading Vinceborg's gear. He's obviously going to desert your team after moderately trying.

The combat system was simple and fun, considering the last RPG I played was Chrono Trigger like 8 years ago. You'll meet and battle plenty of other characters along the way:

barkley 05 Kobe
Luke Walton was cut last second as a playable character.

barkley 13KGstillanass
Even videogame KG is still an ass.

barkley 16thousands
Thousands of epic years.

In addition to the epic basketball tale, there's an underground town of furries, diabetes sugar land, racist genies, Incan gold, and even a horrifying dating sim section. Of course, what would an RPG be without those few unforgettable moments:

barkley 08cyberdwarf

barkley 11thetruth

Final verdict: If I had to give any existing videogame the prestegious award of being named Basketbawful: The Game, it would be Barkley, Shut Up & Jam: Gaiden, hands down.

About the author: AnacondaHL is the Chief Internet Media Relations and Security Officer for Basketbawful and a grizzled Internet veteran who watches in despair as his favorite team, the Phoenix Suns, prepare for the Pavlovic/Ben Wallace era. When not wasting time at his Clark Kent job to read BasketBawful, he can be found playing the Internet computer game du jour, still watching animes about robots in Nikes playing basketball, wondering why the Diamondbacks have seven team colors, living vicariously through other people's way cooler stories from college, and browsing other obscure things on the Internet. He hopes someday to learn four languages, name the largest number in the world after himself, and to eat a crab grown in Akron.

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Blogger Nick Flynt said...
I'm not willing to finish the game. I just cured diabetes with Wilford Brimley. How does it end, AHL?

Blogger Unknown said...
Hey AnacondaHL, since you like animes about basketball, and since obviously we are all nerds here - have you ever watched "Slam Dunk"? The anime is pretty good, but the manga is just awesome... the anime ends a little early - i highly recommend it.

Blogger Unknown said...
Shut Up And Jam Gaiden is possibly the greatest basketball-based Japanese style RPG ever made. Really.

reuben: Agreed. There's a little suspension of disbelief necessary (6 foot tall Japanese high schoolers dunking? Really?), but it's actually pretty realistic. I don't think I ever caught an egregious rules violation anywhere.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Buck Nasty: The ending sequence is one of the funniest most epic basketball moments I've ever seen in a game.

reuben: I've heard of it, but there's too much stuff on my plate right now. Lots of hilarious things have occured in the anime world in 2009.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Reuben - I'll take you up on that nerd admission and say that I read it, and liked it. And I definitely agree with you Howard, though I say there's quite a bit of suspension of belief necessary. (That there are all these high school players anywhere that turn into insanely sweet-shooting versions of some fusion of Lebron and Kobe? At least like 5 or 6 schools explicitly had one guy like that. I could name them, but I'm not willing to admit that much of my geekiness.)

AnacondaHL - Thanks for the review.

Blogger Unknown said...
I totally buy the suspension of belief, but its a really great storyline. Plus I read an interview with the Author and he spoke of how the title character was modeled after Dennis Rodman. Its amazing how well he can articulate an exciting basketball game through pictures... ok enough.. i'll ease up on the geekiness.

Blogger Michael Hsu said...
Slam Dunk is a good managa for basketball lovers. It has a nice little guy that explains all the rules as the games are played. Each player is modeled after a real life player and it's really easy to figure that out if you follow basketball.

Best part is that the anime is all free on youtube so you don't have to awkwardly go to a store and admit you like fake basketball.

The main grip is that you caould have a full 20 min episode, but only 3 minutes pass in the game so it can get annoying when you have 20 episodes to get through one game.

Anonymous Barry said...
I'm not much of a gamer but that has to be one of the most awesome things in the history of gaming, right?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Michael Hsu: Ah, yes, the standards of shonen. I think the record is still held by DragonBall Z, which had a 5 minute fight scene... spread over NINE episodes.

By the way, some extra things that got cut from this review were the hilariously bad use of Japanese words in satire of those horrible anime/Japanophiles of the western world. Like after you defeat Michael Jordan, he says "So.. desu ne...", and Barkley even calls Jordan "baka".

Barry: NBA Jam is still the tops for basketball gaming history (so much so that this game actually uses some NBA Jam player models and the court for a cutscene), but yes I'd put this game as the most awesome thing to happen to videogames since Conker's Bad Fur Day for N64.

Blogger Unknown said...
AnacondaHL: Hilarious things like...Endless Eight?

Blogger AK Dave said...
I saw the ending sequence to CBSUAJ:G (it was posted by Latin D on "Dunkin Cheerleaders" a while back).

It is beyond epic. It is legendary. My monitor almost shattered it was so powerful. I had to smoke a cigarette afterward; and I'm a non-smoker.

Blogger AK Dave said...
"I have flesh of b-balls now"

Wow. Wow.

Thanks for the review, AHL. How many game hours did it take to complete this game? For an experienced RPGer, where do you set the par for time to complete? Also, is much grinding necessary or is the game paced such that if you just fight everything along the way, you won't need to stop and grind?

Can you choose your party or players come and go as the story progresses (or both?)?

Are the battles turn-based or "real time" like in the ATB system?

Was this actually fun for you or did you consider it an "assignment" and force your way through the game?

Blogger Mart J said...
I can't answer for the guy but HELL NO is this game a grind in any way. If you enjoy basketbawful, you will love this game.

Blogger Yiping said...
It's like someone took 10 hits of acid, then decided to drop 10 hits of ecstasy, then took a few bong hits, and finally realised it was a good time to design a RPG basketball game with Charles Barkley as the main character.

All I have to say is: WOW & WTF. Someone needs to come up with a superlative that combines the two so that I can use it to describe this game.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Howard: Timeline: Endless Eight 1 comes out. People agitated. Everyone creates speculation timelines that there would only be 2 total episodes.
Endless Eight 2 comes out. People agitated, but atleast the plot changed. Everyone creates speculation timelines that there would only be 3 total episodes.
Endless Eight 3 comes out. People freaking out, rage quitting. AnacondaHL is completely pissed while watching the episode. Everyone creates speculation timelines that there would only be 3 total episodes. AnacondaHL is the ONLY person to make the realization: this isn't ending at 4, there will be a 5.
Endless Eight 4 comes out. Even more people pissed, fansubbers drop series, etc., but AnacondaHL is laughing his ass off while watching the episode.

Most amazing troll job by a company to it's viewers since Eva's CONGRATULATIONS!.

AK Dave: You can finish it in one night, my play time was around 5 hours, clicking/reading mostly everything and eating dinner at some point in there. Party is automatically made as the plot goes on (for example, my ProTip). Zero grinding. Battles have real-time elements similar to Mario RPG, and there's even some twitch reflex traps you have to survive. It runs on Vista 64 bit. No forcing through the game, I genuinely had a blast playing it, lots of good/bad meta jokes in there from the developers.

Anonymous Krishna said...
The article is really cool man..