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NBA Jam Book Author, Reyan Ali

I first interacted with Reyan Ali over Twitter just about a year ago. I’d just partnered with Microsoft to do a series of podcasts at GDC which was a total blast, but it caused me to miss the Classic Game Postmortem on the legendary NBA Jam. I tweeted out the presentation with great entusiasm once it hit YouTube, and Reyan and I became fast friends, vowing to do a podcast segment together before the launch of his book. Since that time, I’ve followed with great interest as we inch ever closer to the release of his definitive telling of the game’s incredible story, which will be published by Boss Fight Books.

Reyan’s promotional Twitter account (linked below) is full of incredible memorabilia and history, and that’s no coincidence–in the process of writing NBA Jam, he’s amassed nearly 70 interviews with the developers, motion capture actors, celebrities appearing in the game, and a woman with a less-than-timely (though damn respectable) tattoo. If you grew up playing NBA Jam, Reyan Ali and his book are the closest things you have to a time machine.

Reyan’s career has included fantastic writing and interviews across a wide variety of topics, and you can read his coverage in many great publications. The history of one of the greatest video games of all time is in highly capable hands.

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By Todd Mitchell

Todd Mitchell is an independent game developer and industry commentator. He is the founder of CodeWritePlay and owner of Artistry Master Systems, Inc. Follow him @Mechatodzilla.

3 replies on “NBA Jam Book Author, Reyan Ali”

Hello friends,

I am leaving a general comment for you and John with the podcast, not specific to this episode. I just wanted to say that I have gained so much invaluable knowledge about the industry and indie world for gaming from listening to you guys. I’ve been working with Unity/programming for just over a year and will be releasing my first commercial game near the end of 2019. I only recent found out about your podcast in the beginning of 2019, but have listened to almost every episode since. Not only is it inspiring to listen to your podcast, but very refreshing. It is refreshing in the way that the episodes are varied on topic, but also fun. I can tell you two enjoy making these podcasts and playing games together which is contagious to me as a listener. Some of the other game dev podcasts are either too silly or too serious and I think y’all have a great balance and flow going on. Anyways, I’m rambling. Thank you guys for releasing a great podcast product that is so informational and down to Earth. Your podcast makes game development seem very real for indie devs to actually turn the hobby into a business, all while having fun at the same time. I haven’t seen a new episode come out in a while so I hope everything is going well in your lives! Note: If y’all ever come across the state to KC, I’ll treat ya to some delicious BBQ.

Peace out

Hi Charlie,

Wow. I’m so humbled by this. I love hearing that you’ve enjoyed our content and that it’s kept you company during a time, if you’re anything like me, that you’ll always remember very fondly. The time leading up to your first game launch is something special, because it’s the product of so much work, so many things lining up just right, and you pushing your way across the finish line no matter what comes your way.

Your ears do not deceive you: John and I have a great time with this. We’ve both managed to stay really excited about games and game development. John’s a great friend and an insightful gamer and having a line of communication open with this community means a great deal to both of us. Part of keeping that magic alive, as you’ve noticed, has meant occasionally keeping an irregular schedule when life gets in the way. I’m happy to say we’re both doing well, but I’m going through a transition out of a long-term contract in my day job (actually about to go indie again for a while, technically) and John is gearing up to become much more public-facing when it comes to social media. He’s a versatile guy with a lot of expertise, and I think he’s finally ready to “get out there” more, and I think it’s great.

We’re going to put together more content, podcast included, site posts included! While it’s hard to predict schedules, I can say with total certainty that awesome feedback like this is always more gas in the tank. It’s a lot easier to fire up the mics when we’re convinced people are out there looking forward to checking in with us. So thank you, thank you from both of us. Please don’t be a stranger.

Also, get your game over here to St. Louis PixelPop when it’s ready to demo! I can put you in touch with the right people.

You guys are the bomb. I come up to St. Louis a couple times a year to visit college friends so I’ll holler when my game is done. Glad to hear everything is going well! Keep up the great work gents.

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