If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

The creator of NBA Jam confesses that the Detroit Pistons were cheating against the Chicago Bulls all along

Bung out of order.

NBA Jam was one of my favourite games on the SNES. It's 2v2, over-the-top, arcade basketball action fuelled me during the mid-Nineties, and I loved playing against friends. Back then, NBA Jam felt like a fun, fair game of virtual basketball. It turns out that was not the case.

At least, it was not the case when two specific teams played each other - and in one specific circumstance.

In a fun video interview with Ars Technica, below, NBA Jam designer and lead programmer Mark Turmell reveals the ugly truth: the Detroit Pistons would cheat against the Chicago Bulls.

(Skip to 19:44 to jump straight to the cool anecdote.)

Turmell says that, as a big Detroit Pistons fan, he slipped code into the game that would make the Chicago Bulls always miss if they took a shot on the buzzer. That's right - the Pistons could outright cheat and the players had no idea.

"Making this game in Chicago during the height of the Michael Jordan era, there was a big rivalry - the Pistons and the Bulls," Turmell says.

"But the one way I could get back at the Bulls once they got over the hump, was to affect their skills against the Pistons in NBA Jam.

"And so I put in special code that if the Bulls were taking last second shots against the Pistons, they would miss those shots.

"And so, if you're ever playing the game, make sure you pick the Pistons over the Bulls."

So there you have it: one long-running NBA Jam conspiracy theory turned out to be true after all.

The full interview is well worth a watch, by the way. It runs through why NBA Jam launched without Michael Jordan in it, how the developers created the digitised players, and why the game had its iconic "On Fire" mode.

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Tagged With

About the Author

Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editorial Director

Wesley is deputy editorial director of ReedPop. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


More News

Latest Articles

Supporters Only

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer.net Merch