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Atari 7800 box cover
Developer(s)Atari Corporation
Publisher(s)Atari Corporation
Platform(s)Atari 7800, Lynx
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Basketbrawl is a sports video game released for the Atari 7800 in 1990,[1] then for the Atari Lynx in 1992. It is a basketball simulation which allows hitting and fighting with other players. The name is a portmanteau of basketball and brawl. It is similar to the 1989 Midway arcade game Arch Rivals which had the tagline "A basket brawl!"

Atari released another sports/fighting combo for the Atari 7800 in 1990 as Ninja Golf. Both were in the final 11 games published by Atari for that system in 1990-91 before dropping support.


The main objective in Basketbrawl is to become the baddest gang in town by winning the tournament known as “Basketbrawl.” The tournament is composed of three separate games or levels against the opposing city gangs. The difficulty increases by adding stronger weapons and additional players to the other gang. The games are six minutes long and you win by outscoring your opponent, similar to real-life basketball. One major scoring change is that every basket is two points regardless of the shot’s length. If time expires with the score tied, overtime will be the first team to score wins.[2]


The game can be played by up to two players simultaneously, where the additional player plays as a teammate. When it comes to strategy there truly is none as the game acts as a free-for-all with the only goal being to outscore the other team. In terms of game controls, the user solely uses the A and B button.[3]

Boosts & Weapons[edit]

Within the game there will be a plethora of objects that can assist the user in a variety of ways: increasing health, shooting, overall power, stamina, or speed. These boosts are labeled by milk, lightning bolt, fist, heart, and a sneaker. These boosts stay in effect for the whole six minute game and are erased after. Weapons also appear on the court, which gives this game its “brawl” aspect. These weapons can be used to injure opposing players by throwing it at them, including throwing the basketball itself. Once a player’s health is decimated he lies on the ground where his body then acts as an obstacle for players for the remainder of the game.[4]


The graphics accompanying this game are very similar to other games released on the Atari 7800 at this time. The background used within this game emulates a basketball court in the middle of a city with graffitied walls, demonstrating the presence of gangs to the user’s mind.[5]


The evaluation for this game is extremely negative. The aspect of fighting and combat within a basketball game doesn’t match or mesh with the overall outcome of the game. Produces a gameplay style that can best be described as random. A poor attempt to be unique and different. In terms of positivity, the game does offer a great comedic aspect into the history of games and a great leisure play when accompanied with another user.[6]


In a 1992 review, Robert Jung gave the Lynx version a 4 out of 10, concluding that "Basketbrawl takes an idea loaded with potential, then removes most of the excitement by combining weak sports action and weak combat action."[7]

In a non-contemporaneous review, Atari 7800 Forever gave Basketbrawl a 4 out of 5: "Although not a pure blooded sports game, Basketbrawl without question is the best sports title for the 7800."[8]


  1. ^ "Atari 7800 Basketbrawl". AtariAge.
  2. ^ Basketbrawl (1992). Accessed March 21, 2023. http://archive.org/details/Basketbrawl_1992.
  3. ^ Basketbrawl (1992). Accessed March 21, 2023. http://archive.org/details/Basketbrawl_1992.
  4. ^ Basketbrawl (1992). Accessed March 21, 2023. http://archive.org/details/Basketbrawl_1992.
  5. ^ "Basketbrawl (USA, Europe)." Accessed March 21, 2023. http://archive.org/details/Basketbrawl_USA_Europe.
  6. ^ Slaven, Andy. Video Game Bible, 1985-2002. Trafford Publishing, 2002.
  7. ^ Jung, Robert. "LYNX: Basketbrawl". atariarchives.org.
  8. ^ Funkmaster V. "REVIEW: Basketbrawl". Atari 78800 Forever.

External links[edit]