One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird

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One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird
One on One - Dr. J vs. Larry Bird Coverart.png
Cover art
Developer(s) Electronic Arts
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Designer(s) Eric Hammond
Platform(s) Apple II (original)
Amiga, Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Macintosh, TRS-80 CoCo
Release 1983
Genre(s) Sports (Basketball)
Mode(s) Single-player

Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One, commonly known as One on One, is a 1983 computer basketball game written by Eric Hammond for the Apple II and published by Electronic Arts. It was ported to the Atari 8-bit family, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, MS-DOS, Tandy Color Computer, and later to the Macintosh, Amiga, and Atari 7800. In Europe the publisher was Ariolasoft.


The player can assume the role of basketball greats Julius Erving or Larry Bird in a game of one-on-one against another player or the computer. Featuring outstanding animation for its era,[1] the game allows for play to a certain score or timed games. On offense, a player could spin or shoot; on defense, attempt to block or steal the ball, with over aggressiveness penalized by fouls. A hard dunk could shatter the backboard, prompting a janitor to come out and sweep up the shards, directing censored complaints at the player in the process.


One on One was very successful, helping EA avoid financial difficulty and increasing retailers' familiarity with the company.[2] In 1984 St.Game's readers named the game the eighth most-popular Apple program of 1983.[3] One on One was Electronic Arts' best-selling game, and second best-selling Commodore 64 game, as of late 1987.[4]

InfoWorld in 1984 called One on One "perhaps the most talked-about sports game of the new year". The magazine praised its portrayal of the two players' individual styles, backboard shattering, crowd noise, and instant replay, concluded that "One On One delivers the goods: a realistic simulation of a lively sports matchup".[5] Computer Gaming World in 1984 called One on One "incredibly realistic" and predicted that it would be one of the year's best sports games. The magazine cited the "absolutely fantastic" graphics, simple controls, and the instant replay as positives, only criticizing the lack of clarity of ball possession under the basket and lack of overtime.[6] St.Game stated "This is the sports game of 1984", noting the realistic feel of the two players' playing styles. While noting the inability to stop dribbling to fake out the other player, the magazine concluded that "Highly addictive, thrilling, sometimes frustrating, and always involving are ways to describe One-on-One. It's a winner".[7] Ahoy! in 1986 called the Commodore 64 version "a must-have", praising its graphics and gameplay.[8] Compute! in 1986 approved of the Amiga version's improved graphics and sound but noted that the gameplay was the same as on 8-bit computers, stating that this was "a testament to careful research and clever programming" of the original version.[9]

Sequels and "revisions"[edit]

In 1988, the sequel Jordan vs Bird was created for the IBM PC, Sega Genesis, Commodore 64, and the Nintendo Entertainment System, featuring more detailed and realistic graphics, and chance of playing slam dunk contest (with Michael Jordan) or 3-point shootout (with Bird).

In 1993, Electronic Arts published Michael Jordan in Flight for MS-DOS. Jordan in Flight can be considered[according to whom?] as a "revision" of the concept and gameplay of the One on One series, revamped with a new 3-on-3 team formula, featuring a 3D basketball court environment and players (including Jordan himself) presented as digitized sprites.


  1. ^ Long, Dave (January 1984), "Micro-Reviews: One on One", Computer Gaming World, pp. 42–43 
  2. ^ Campbell, Colin (14 July 2015). "How EA lost its soul, chapter 8". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Best and the Rest". St.Game. March–April 1984. p. 49. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Ferrell, Keith (December 1987). "The Commodore Games That Live On And On". Compute's Gazette. pp. 18–22. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Mace, Scott (27 February 1984). "Olympic games on the way". InfoWorld. p. 66. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Long, Dave (April 1984). "One On One". Computer Gaming World (review). pp. 42–43. 
  7. ^ Yuen, Mike (March–April 1984). "Call Him Dr. Joystick". St.Game. pp. 37–38. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Kunkel, Bill; Katz, Arnie (January 1986). "Calling Computer Coaches / Team Sports Simulations for the Commodore 64". Ahoy!. pp. 47–50. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Brannan, Charles (May 1986). "One-On-One For Amiga". Compute!. p. 53. Retrieved 29 July 2014. 

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