Double Dribble (video game)

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Double Dribble
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U.S. arcade flyer of Double Dribble
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Platform(s)Arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, Family Computer Disk System, PlayChoice-10, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, Game Boy, Virtual Console, iOS
ReleaseArcade version
FDS/NES version
July 24, 1987
September 1987 (North America)
1988 (Europe)
Mode(s)Up to two players.
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Japanese Exciting Basket flyer

Double Dribble, known in Japan as Exciting Basket (エキサイティング バスケット, Ekisaitingu Basuketto), is a basketball arcade game developed and released in 1986 by Konami. It was the second basketball arcade game by Konami, following Super Basketball. Much of the game's popularity came from its animation sequences showing basketball players performing slam dunks, as well as "The Star-Spangled Banner" theme during attract mode, which was the first arcade game to feature the national anthem. These were uncommon in video games at the time of Double Dribble's release. While successful in the arcades, the game became and remained popular and remembered when it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987.

Double Dribble was followed by a sequel titled Double Dribble: The Playoff Edition, which was released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. A remake titled Double Dribble Fastbreak was released for iOS in 2010, being based mostly on the NES version; however, the animation sequences were ripped from the arcade version.


Screenshot of the arcade version.

Several positions on the court were 'hot spots,' high-percentage areas where shots taken were likely to score points (e.g., "a fade-away, banked 3-pointer"). For example: it is easier to hit a 3-pointer on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. A player could start a 3-point jump shot from the top right or left corner of the court inbounds, and continue the jump out of bounds and even slightly behind the hoop and it would go in nearly every time. Another nearly guaranteed shot is taken with the player standing 3-quarters length of the court away from their goal could go for a running 3-point shot, provided that the shot button was pressed within the other team's free throw shooting circle.[clarification needed] In certain circumstances, the display would break away from the full court action and show a close-up of the players either dunking the ball or making a shot. Frequently a player would miss a slam dunk, which is a very high percentage shot. The arcade version was a timed play (much like Star Fire), where after every minute of play, the game was owed a credit if the score was tied or the computer is ahead. However, if the live player was ahead, a "free" minute was earned. Many average players could earn the first free minute, but this became increasingly more difficult to do as making 3-point shots became virtually impossible over the course of gameplay.

Players can choose from one of four teams: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. There is no difference in skill level or abilities between the teams. Since there is no NBA license, no team names or player names are used; however, the teams wear the same color of their NBA counterparts (Boston wears green, Chicago red, etc.). In short, the game control scheme is simple but it takes practice to get the hang of the timing scheme of the game.[1]


Compared to many sports-related Nintendo games of this era, Double Dribble resembled its sport with surprising accuracy. However, there were several quirks in the programming that are noteworthy, if only for their contribution to the overall experience of playing Double Dribble. The game clock, as in most early timed video games (see also: Tecmo Bowl), was accelerated (far faster than real-time). In the third quarter, third is abbreviated as "3rt." In addition, the color of a player's skin can change mid-game. This is the result of the strobing animation that takes place when controlling an individual player, which takes place by way of cycling quickly back and forth between the two skin tones.

Ports and related releases[edit]

The game was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in September 1987, which was later released in Japan in Disk Card format for the Family Computer Disk System under the title of Exciting Basketball. The NES version features 5-on-5 action on a horizontally scrolling court, four teams (Boston Frogs, New York Eagles, Chicago Ox, Los Angeles Breakers), three levels of single-play difficulty, and four choices of quarter lengths. Double Dribble was among the first games to feature cut scenes, which depicted a mid-air player completing a slam dunk, and one of the first to use speech, though in a limited quantity (such as announcing the game title, the game's beginning jump ball, and some foul calls). "The Star-Spangled Banner" in this version was slightly altered, while it was being played in a cut scene depicting the crowd entering the stadium before the menu pops up. The NES version was ported to the Wii's Virtual Console in Europe on November 16, 2007, and in North America on November 26, 2007.

In 1990, the game was ported to three home computers: the Commodore 64, the Commodore Amiga and MS-DOS operated PCs.

In 1991, a Game Boy version was released titled Double Dribble 5-on-5.

A Genesis version was released in 1994 titled Double Dribble: Playoff Edition (Hyperdunk in Japan and Europe).

A remake for iPhone OS titled Double Dribble Fast Break was released in 2010.


Review scores
GameSpot5.0/10 [4]

Double Dribble has received mostly positive reviews from critics. Allgame awarded the game 5 out of 5 stars.[3] The review referred to the game as the most realistic rendition of basketball on its release, and that it "was the beginning of a new era for sports games in which presentation played an increasingly important role. Once you get a glimpse of the innovative, cinema-style dunk attempts, there's no denying its place in history."[3] GameSpot editor Frank Provo displayed mixed feelings towards the game, emphasizing that once you rack up a few minutes of play time, you'll start noticing some nasty design quirks that ultimately force you to play the game a certain way.[4] Provo also criticized the computer player's unfair ability to catch up with the player.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Gameplay of Double Dribble was featured in the Family Guy episode "Run, Chris, Run". The episode also used gameplay footage from Tecmo Super Bowl. The Double Dribble footage was slightly altered with original audio, and made fun of the game's "corner three" glitch.[5][6]


  1. ^ "The 5 Best OLD SCHOOL Sports Video Games". WSAU News. WSAU News. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Double Dribble - Overview". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2015.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  3. ^ a b c Miller, Skyler. "Double Dribble - Overview". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Double Dribble Review - Gamespot". Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Paget, Mat. "Family Guy Used NES Game Footage From YouTube, Then Claimed Copyright on Same Video". GameSpot. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  6. ^ "7-Year-Old YouTube Video Pulled Because Of 'Family Guy'". Tech Times. Tech Times. Retrieved 12 August 2018.

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