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NBA Jam lead designer tweaked code against Chicago Bulls

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The lead designer of Midway's basketball arcade game, NBA Jam, Mark Turmell tweaked the game's code so close matches against the Chicago Bulls would favor his Detroit Pistons team, according to an interview with ESPN Magazine.

"It's true, but only when the Bulls played the Pistons," Turmell told ESPN, when asked if the ratings of player Scottie Pippen slipped under certain conditions. "If there was a close game and anyone on the Bulls took a last second shot, we wrote special code in the game so that they would average out to be bricks. There was the big competition back in the day between the Pistons and the Bulls, and since I was always a big Pistons fan, that was my opportunity to level the playing field."

NBA Jam was developed in 1993 and saw releases across numerous platforms in its lifetime, including arcades, SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Game Boy and Sega Game Gear. Gameplay consisted of 2-on-2 basketball and was one of the first sports games to feature NBA-licensed teams and players.

Turmell shared that even though Gary Payton didn't make the cut to be in the game and Michael Jordan had pulled out NBA licensing, both players were very keen to be in the game. A special version of the game was developed which gave the two players all-star, superstar stats. According to Turmell, "there are only a handful of machines" that include Jordan and Payton.

"Shaq actually bought two machines," he said. "He kept one at home and then, if you can believe this, they shipped the game with them on their road trips, setting up the machine in their hotel rooms as they traveled."