You can find many things at the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual tech trade show that takes over Las Vegas at the beginning of every year. Robots, wall-sized TVs, boomboxes that look like they came straight from the ‘80s but are Bluetooth enabled: CES has it all. One thing I didn’t expect, though, was to find the largest NBA Jam cabinet ever built, with Clyde “The Glide” Drexler hanging out nearby. I feel like a fool, now, obviously—why wouldn’t I have expected that?
The oversized Jam box was unleashed upon the show floor to advertise one of CES’s cooler gaming announcements. Arcade1Up, the manufacturer of those arcade cabinet recreations that you might have seen at Target or Walmart, announced that it’s releasing an NBA Jam cabinet with three different versions of Midway’s classic basketball game. Not only will it have the games we used to pump quarters into back in the day, but it’ll add online multiplayer, so you can rip outrageous dunks on your friends from the comfort of your own basements.
Sadly Paste didn’t get a chance to play it ourselves, or to meet NBA Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers legend Clyde Drexler. We did take a photo, though. That should count for something.
Arcade1Up wasn’t the only company showing off recreations of classic videogames or pinball machines at CES this year. The gaming section seemed to have more space devoted to upcoming retro offerings than anything else. (Oh, and gaming chairs. Tons of gaming chairs. Including one that could do a full 360 degree rotation along a horizontal axis—so you could wind up dangling upside down while playing a game. I will never try that one out.)
It only had one absurdly blown up NBA Jam cabinet, though, and it made quite the impression on CES attendees of a certain age. Yes, it might be ironic to promote a smaller reproduction of an almost 30-year-old game with a much larger reproduction of it, but CES is all about size, and it’s hard to get people’s attention at a show so overstuffed with exhibitors. This big ol’ Jam cab did the trick.
Arcade1UP’s NBA Jam cabinet supports four players and will feature three games: the original NBA Jam, NBA Jam: Tournament Edition and NBA Hang Time. It also has online functionality. And it wasn’t the only cabinet Arcade 1Up announced at CES; they’ll also be releasing new models featuring Frogger and Time Pilot; a five-game Sega arcade collection that features the first two Golden Axe games and Altered Beast; and a Data East set with Burger Time, Bad Dudes and more. If you want to built your own home arcade without forking out collector prices for the real cabinets, Arcade1Up has your back.
Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, and anything else that gets in his way. He’s also on Twitter @grmartin.