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Travelling back to the days of the Dream Team.

The 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball team.
The 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball team.
Electronic Arts, Mobygames.com

In 1992 Electronic Arts released the only Olympic basketball game ever. It was released in the same year as another consecutive installment of the popular series of games based on the NBA playoffs (Bulls vs. Blazers). Team USA Basketball featured the 1992 rosters for all teams that qualified for the Barcelona Olympics, along with a world all-star team. The all-star team was comprised of a selection of the best players from the non-American national teams in the game. Another very strong aspect of the game was the presence of international rules as they existed in 1992. The trapezoid lane was present and the length of the first and second half could be changed from as low as two minutes to as high as twenty minutes, which was standard at the time.
As relates to gameplay the game utilized a marquee shot system, which gave certain players an increased chance at making a shot during the game as long as the shot was initiated from a specific spot on the court. For example, if the player took control of Charles Barkley and dribbled anywhere near the free-throw line before initiating an offensive maneuver, Barkley would unleash what was referred to as the Gorilla dunk. The Olympic tournament itself was automatically set to run on the “Showtime” difficulty setting. This forced the player to bring their best and further created a world-class challenge for the player to overcome. As relates to the strategic options alterations to team strategy could be made. Specifically these pertained to whether to press half-court or pick up full defensively. Some of the keys to success in the game were very similar to principles found in the real game of basketball. Pacing, and shooting a high percentage would generally lead to a win. Proper team management, playing to the strengths of one team while forcing the other to reveal their weaknesses would generally lead to a strong showing on the court.
Finally, after playing through eight action-packed games if the player was fortunate to win the gold medal, the game would salute the player with a full rendition of that country’s national anthem. It is arguably the main reason why Olympians compete. For a 1992 side-scrolling basketball game, the spirit of the competition and the opportunity for success was presented quite nicely. It provided access to the greatest basketball team of all time.

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