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Playstation PS1 NBA 2Ball

I`m glad to finally see one of these go up for an open sale, as I was actually one of the first people to locate a copy of this disc. More on that in a second.

NBA 2Ball is one of the rarest PS1 Demo CDs out there. While in theory there was a reasonable amount of them produced, very few have surfaced. Part of this is the way they were made available

Jason aka Dangerboy of Game-Rave.com is one of the de factor PS1 collectors out there, not only owning a complete collection, but attempting to document and obtain every possible variant that was released. Here`s what he has to say on the game:

Rumors of this game began somewhere around the time he had achieved the complete PSX retail library of full games; and was just starting on the demos, Lightspan, and variants.

From interviews with the programmer, it appears that the game was given away as a promotional item at the 1998 All-Star game. No word on if it was to attendees, players, staff, etc – just that it was given out. There is currently no concept of how many were printed; most likely it would have been a a small print run. Current theories point to whatever the absolute minimum Sony would have allowed at the time, probably somewhere between 500 to 1000. Sadly, Sony does not share distribution numbers.

Eventually one would rise up in Canada, of all places. Cue a few random encounters and incidents later, and one my best friends and fellow collector’s would end up sending it to me as a Best Man’s gift. Besides ruining any future gifts I’d get for such duties, a known issue with the disc deepened the mystery – it was cracked in one quadrant, with a smaller crack peeking out from the original.

This was actually the copy I found at my local flea market. Sad part is, I have a feeling it wasn`t cracked when I bought it (for $0.50), but it somehow happened during one of my many moves. At the time I had no idea what it was, and it was treated like a crappy worthless PS1 demo.

At some point, I saw a post on DP that DB was looking for it. I swore that I had a copy, and after much searching, I was right. Being the only confirmed copy aside from the one owned by the programmer at the time, I wasn`t interested in selling it. A year or two later I decided I was willing to part with it for the right price. After a $500 BIN Or Best Offer eBay auction with no bites, I sold it privately for an amount that was admittedly overpriced for a cracked cd.

Initial tests with the demo disc proved fruitless – it would simply hang at the Sony boot screen. Not even swapping the discs using the original Import Game trick worked. So with nothing working on the legitimate side, it was theorized that maybe a CDR of the disc could work, using an ISO checking program to possibly fix any errors. The reason for this is that the data can be clearly seen on the topside of the disc. The crack had not reached that portion yet.

Upon placing the disc in my original computer’s CD-drive, I opened up Explorer, only seconds later to hear the most gut wrenching, heart stopping, soul crushing sound I ever heard. The speed of the CD-Rom drive caused the disc to rip itself apart. I now had a demo disc in 2 pieces, not 1. A lot of alcohol was consumed that night. Trust me.

Eventually a lucky break occurred – I was able to contact the original programmer across the globe, and after a lot of e-mails, humor, and drama, an ISO was finally presented.

Sadly, with realization of the Swap Trick working for our ISO, we went back to the real disc and tried the swap trick. Sure enough the game hung at the boot screen. Which means there is still only one known working copy in the world.

One thing that DB hasn’t updated on his page, nor most of the recent articles have mentioned, is that he actually (and recently) managed to secure a SEALED copy of the game.

Because of the concern with the game actually being playable, he decided to open it. Check out the videos he posted on YouTube below.

So what is the demo itself?

NBA 2 Ball is a mini-game that was popular around the time of its release, and has actually been featured in some newer games. Game play is as follows: Two players take alternate shots from specific points on the basketball half court. You are required to shoot from at least three of the six locations, plus have the option of lay-ups. One minute is all you are allowed, and at the end of play the team with the most points wins.

The game engine is taken from the PlayStation / Saturn release NBA Jam Extreme. Interestingly, many of the game’s elements are still present in the demo. The most obvious being the ball’s physical properties: if you happen to ‘brick’ a shot, the basketball will actually become a giant spinning brick until picked up again. The court has been cut off at the half-way point, with any signs of team specific marks removed. The 2 Ball number locations have been added to the floor, as well as the logo at half court.

All 29 teams are represented, and each team has 3 playable members. All name entry and other menus have been removed from the source, so this is literally just a 2 Ball game.

Several announcer clips still remain from Extreme. Oddly enough, there’s only one song or background track in the entire game. It plays at the beginning title screen, and then acts as the timer music in game.

Control is probably the demo’s only real downfall, all things considered. It doesn’t support Analog, so trying to get the players into position can sometimes be harder then it should be. In NBA 2 Ball, the game is only 2 Players, so for this review I basically played by myself alternating controllers, hence why the video looks goofy. It also doesn’t help that I suck at sports games. 🙂

Once the 60 seconds are over, you are shown the score, and can simply restart the game. That’s all there really is to it.

Anyways, the current seller came across an old article and realized he had a copy of the game. Since then, it has got press on a variety of sites, and at least one other person has realized they also have a copy in their possession. Similar to what has happened lately with several other high profile games, all this press will definitely build the hype (and price) and help to bring more copies out of the woodwork.


Auction here.

Already at $500 with seven days to go. With the love of rare games lately, this could break a grand easily, or even surprise me totally. It’s good timing too, as PS1 collecting is just starting to hit its stride. Plus, technically this might be the rare variant of the rare game. The white case being given out as a prize as opposed to the regular black case. Then again, the black copy could be the rare variant!

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