It's quite crazy to think that 25 years since the last Space Jam film, we're not only getting a standalone sequel this July, but Xbox is also getting an exclusive game - albeit pretty different to the official tie-in that released back in 1996. The developer isn't the same, the expectation isn't the same, and even the style of gameplay isn't the same.
That original game was created by developer Sculptured Software for the Sony PlayStation, SEGA Saturn and MS-DOS, and published by Acclaim Entertainment. Acclaim, as you might remember, ended up going out of business in 2004, missing out on the Xbox 360 generation and beyond, and Sculptured Software sadly went with them.
As you can see from the footage above, the game did actually take the form of a basketball title in which the TuneSquad would take on the Monstars in 3-on-3 matches, complete with the ability to use Michael Jordan if you wanted to. The gameplay could be described as somewhat of an NBA Jam replica, although admittedly it was considered by critics to be much weaker overall, too basic and targeted too heavily at children, and ultimately just a bit easy.
That said, the original Space Jam game still had its charm, including a variety of mini-games in which Daffy Duck would have to find parts of Michael Jordan's uniform, for example, and if you look hard enough, you'll still find fans of the game who have plenty of nostalgia for this unique 1996 Space Jam experience on the original PlayStation.
The upcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy game on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, however, will be a very different prospect to that of the 1996 title. It's the culmination of two fans' ideas who won a competition to design the game earlier this year, and the result is a "wacky basketball beat ‘em up" reminiscent of classic arcade games of the 1990s.
It's going to be difficult to draw any parallels between the two, then, but it's still interesting to look back at how Space Jam began its videogame journey ahead of the 2021 game's release later this week. And regardless of whether you like the new one or not, you can rest assured that it won't cost you a thing to play. Welcome to the jam!
"Space Jam: A New Legacy – The Game is launching globally on July 1 exclusively into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Perks for a limited time. On July 15, the game will be available free-to-play for all fans through the Microsoft Store on Xbox."
Do you remember the 1996 Space Jam game? Will you be trying out the new game? Tell us down below.