NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC was a sequel to the popular 1993 arcade game NBA Jam. Originally released for the Arcade, later ported for many domestic hardware, among them are the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. It featured only some of the original game's features. Many of the special effects were sacrificed in favor of making the game feel more like an NBC telecast (although the game still plays like the original game including having no back button).
The home versions have retired star Shaquille O'Neal as the cover athlete after the contract mismanagement lawsuit was handled for his exclusion from hangtime.
The game features gameplay similar to its predecessors NBA Jam and NBA Hangtime. Rather than typical 5 on 5 action, this game features 2 on 2 play with the ability to pick two players from any NBA team's starting line-up for the first half and can choose again for the second. The game introduces personal fouls for each shove on another player; after a certain number of fouls the opposing team gets a free throw. The game retains the series standard "on fire" feature. After a player makes three consecutive shots he becomes "on fire", which allows him to easily make shots from almost anywhere, as well as goaltend without penalty and push opponents without being charged a foul. Play otherwise is similar to NBA rules. The arcade version accommodates up to four players, as do the home versions produced for the Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast.
The players featured in the game include many of the most popular players of the particular year and era of the NBA season, but like the previous games in the arcade-style basketball series, many players were left out and each team has a limited number of players per position to choose from.
As with the previous NBA Jam and NBA Hangtime games, the game contains many secret characters. The arcade version features the Universal Monsters, Frankenstein's monster, Bride of Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, and Creature from the Black Lagoon as secret characters. Many Midway Games staff are also secret playable characters.
The game-time commentary is particularly varied and colorful for basketball games of that period, featuring such phrases as "The dejection of the rejection!", "He just flat-out leveled him!", as well as "With the silky smooth move!" and "Look Ma, no rim!"
The original announcer from NBA Jam, Tim Kitzrow, returned, after Midway used the Bulls radio announcer Neil Funk in NBA Hangtime. Jon Hey produced all the sound, music, and script save for the NBC basketball theme "Roundball Rock" by John Tesh. At the time, the music was influenced by 2Pac and Dr. Dre's "California Love" and Master P's "Make 'Em Say Uhh!" and previous NBA Themes written by Jon Hey for NBA Jam and NBA Hangtime.
The N64 version does not feature a "back" button, having every button advance through the menus.
Doug Trueman reviewed the Nintendo 64 version of the game for Next Generation, rating it three stars out of five, and stated that "Arcade-style basketball action captured remarkably well on Nintendo 64".
The Dreamcast version received "favorable" reviews, and the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation versions received mixed or average reviews, while the Game Boy Color version received "unfavorable" reviews according to video game review aggregator GameRankings.