This week I’m going to show you how you can play NBA Jam: Tournament Edition as a former President, a former Presidential candidate, a Prince, a Fresh Prince and more – Including how to unlock a Mortal Kombat style Fatality move. He really is on fire.
There’s many a reason why the NBA Jam series is a revered sports franchise, even for those who have no interest in sports. Over-the-top arcade gameplay, combined with official NBA player likenesses made for a basketball game unlike any other. Being developed by Midway, the company behind games like NARC, Pitfighter and of course, Mortal Kombat; NBA Jam, you could expect a thrilling game, but also a whole heap of hidden secrets – And the game’s sequel, NBA Jam Tournament Edition, had some secrets so crazy that I think they might literally be illegal.
Featured in the game were bunch of secret characters, some being the developers themselves, but the more interesting were the roster of hidden celebrities that could be unlocked – Thankfully, these awesome cameos were preserved in the game’s many console ports, and the version I am looking at today is the PlayStation version of NBA Jam T.E.
In this version, if you hold the L1 and R1 buttons while typing in a certain combination of initials and birthday, one of the characters would be added to your team on the Team Select screen.
Using BIL as your initials and June 3rd as your birthday would allow former President Bill Clinton to join your selected team.
Typing HIL and November 6th unlocked his wife and Presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton.
The letters FRS and a birthday of February 2nd unlock the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith – But if you want to play as his partner in crime, Jazzy Jeff – JAZ and October 9th will let you do that.
The strangest celebrity has to be the secret for typing CHA and May 4th – He might not become King of the United Kingdom, but at least Prince Charles can settle for being King of the court.
It’s not all about celebrities though, as BEN and September 20th unlocks one of many NBA team mascots – The Chicago Bull’s own Benny The Bull.
I’m not going to stop there, because early revisions of the original arcade version of NBA Jam T.E. has many more characters and secrets to unlock, but were actually removed from later versions and home ports by the request of the NBA.
If you use the initials RAD and July 9th, you’ll unlock the God of Thunder, Raiden.
The Chinese Ninja Warrior with a heart so cold, Sub-Zero, can be unlocked with the initials SUB and a birthday of December 5th.
The insidious Reptile is unlocked with RPT and November 11th.
Finally, fan-favourite Scorpion can be unlocked with SCO and July 6th.
But I’m not done because these early arcade revisions also feature a hidden Fatality mode. On the Team Select screen, you must hold up and press the Pass button a whopping 20 times. You’ll get a Fatalities Enabled message, and once you’ve scored three baskets in a row and are in On Fire mode if you push another player with the Turbo & Pass buttons, they’ll occasionally catch on fire!
That was a lot of hidden characters and secrets, and that wasn’t even all of them – But, I’d be here all day if I even attempted to show you every single one. As far as I’m aware, Midway never signed a single deal with the celebrities for their likenesses, so the fact they were never sued is nothing short of a miracle – Especially since the arcades would have been a worse off place without the booming shouts of…..BOOMSHAKALAKA!