NBA Action ’95 Starring David Robinson

There are many NBA licensed retro videogames. Which one is the most fun to play as the Spurs? We’ll play, journal, rate and sort until we find the Top of the Heap.

[last update July 26, 2019]

segaretro.org

Did Vlade Divac approve of this opening screen? After playing 17 games as the Spurs, I’m 5 – 12. I’m usually good at basketball videogames but very little success in this one. In fact, I may be getting worse after winning only 1 of my last 8. So Vlade, I feel your pain.

This game has a vertical orientation that took a few games to get used to. The controls are simple and the Spurs should be a good team so why am I so bad? No idea but until the last few games I was having a great time playing. There are a ton of features and ways to tinker with your team. And the stats! The game saves team and player stats for each game and compiles them as you go through a season. There’s a lot here to be excited about.

Minor issues: Rather than turn off, the shot clock stays at 24 seconds when the game clock is less than that which can be confusing. Marv does announce when time is running out, if you have him turned on; the rebound button is the same as shot button so you will sometimes accidentally shoot the ball from the opposite end of the court.

Play Session 1

NBA Action ’95 Starring David Robinson

Season Mode, Veteran Difficulty, 4 min. periods

Game 1: Warriors 77, Spurs 56; Assists 17, 3; Rebounds 13, 17; Steals 9, 4; Blocks 11, 4; Turnovers 6, 12; Fouls 9, 7; FTs 5/7, 8/11; FG% 71.4, 47.1; Trey 2/7, 0/0; Run 11, 12; Spurs Most Pts. Scored – W. Anderson 19, D. Robinson 14, D. Rodman 10

Spurs 0 – 1 Trying to get used to controls and vertical orientation. There are three difficulty levels so I chose the middle one, “Veteran.” I got clobbered in the first period, then mostly held my own the other three periods. I subbed some players in the second half but I think that was a negative. Perhaps I don’t need to sub with 4 minute periods.

Game 2: Nets 85, Spurs 50; Assists 21, 4; Rebounds 13, 6; Steals 18, 5; Blocks 13, 5; Turnovers 5, 21; Fouls 10, 7; FTs 5/7, 6/10; FG% 72.2, 52.4; Trey 2/6, 0/1; Run 10, 7; Spurs Most Pts. Scored – D. Robinson 21, W. Anderson 15, A. Johnson 10

Spurs 0 – 2 If it seems like I played even worse in Game 2, then I’d say that’s accurate. It was very sloppy. I can’t get Elliott going and Rodman is very mistake prone so far. I was trying to be aggressive but I think it was just out of control. Next game, I’m starting Chuck Person instead of Rodman.

Game 3: Jazz 68, Spurs 57; Assists 16, 5; Rebounds 11, 12; Steals 7, 4; Blocks 10, 4; Turnovers 7, 10; Fouls 8, 8; FTs 0/0, 7/12; FG% 64.2, 61.0; Trey 0/11, 0/0; Run 8, 6; Spurs Most Pts. Scored – W. Anderson 25, D. Robinson 19, S. Elliott 6

Spurs 0 – 3 Much better. Actually tied 16 – 16 after the first period. Person didn’t do much but also didn’t make a lot of mistakes. I moved Elliott to the 2 spot for a few minutes and got him a couple of buckets but he still wasn’t impressive. It’s an Anderson/Robinson show on offense. Maybe I caught a break since the Jazz were 0 – 11 on three pointers but even that wasn’t enough for a win.

Game 4: Knicks 64, Spurs 71; Assists 17, 2; Rebounds 19, 16; Steals 5, 5; Blocks 3, 1; Turnovers 6, 11; Fouls 12, 8; FTs 2/3, 12/15; FG% 52.5, 69.0; Trey 0/6, 1/2; Run 8, 7; Spurs Most Pts. Scored – D. Robinson 24, W. Anderson 16, C. Person 16

Spurs 1 – 3 Wow. We got one. Elliott scored in double figures and played the 2 spot some. Moved Anderson to 1 spot for awhile. Person was fantastic. Rodman came in for a spell in the second half and grabbed some critical rebounds. We played better defense and relaxed on offense. For the first time it felt like we had some smooth sub rotations forming. I’m not really getting assists. I have a feeling that may be more important when I decide to increase the difficulty level.

Play Session 2

Game 5: Nuggets 73, Spurs 74 OT; Assists 18, 3; Rebounds 15, 24; Steals 15, 6; Blocks 12, 4; Turnovers 8, 17; Fouls 18, 8; FTs 1/5, 14/20; FG% 58.1, 56.6; Trey 0/13, 0/2; Run 6, 7; Spurs Most Pts. Scored – D. Robinson 34, W. Anderson 18, S. Elliott 11

Spurs 2 – 3 It’s been a week since the first play session so I was bit rusty. Mutombo was blocking everything but fouling too so I kept going into the paint until he fouled out in the 3rd period. I was down one point with two seconds left in the game, Willie Anderson on the line for two shots. It felt kind of real so I got nervous and missed the first. Then with the pressure really on, I sank the second free throw sending us into overtime. My team was a little sluggish in OT but we pulled it out.

Game 6: Bulls 88, Spurs 73; Assists 20, 2; Rebounds 19, 8; Steals 8, 3; Blocks 10, 5; Turnovers 5, 12; Fouls 13, 7; FTs 9/9, 15/19; FG% 63.3, 64.4; Trey 3/7, 0/1; Run 8, 6; Spurs Most Pts. D. Robinson 26, W. Anderson 18, J.R. Reid 9

Spurs 2 – 4 This Bulls team has no Jordan but they didn’t need him. They have Luc Longley (22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 3 steals). I started game with Robinson and Johnson on Tight Coverage but I fell behind 15 – 9 and changed both back to Normal. I subbed J.R. Reid for Robinson and he did a nice job. Otherwise, this was a pathetic game for the Spurs.

Game 7: Kings 76, Spurs 61; Assists 17, 4; Rebounds 13, 14; Steals 12, 6; Blocks 4, 4; Turnovers 6, 16; Fouls 12, 5; FTs 1/4, 7/18; FG% 65.5, 71.1; Trey 3/11, 0/1; Run 8, 4; Spurs Most Pts. D. Robinson 21, W. Anderson 15, D. Rodman 6

Spurs 2 – 5 Sad. Tried Press and Tight Coverage late in the game when losing by double digits to no avail.

Game 8: Knicks 58, Spurs 62; Assists 17, 0; Rebounds 9, 14; Steals 12, 7; Blocks 6, 10; Turnovers 8, 16; Fouls 8, 4; FTs 4/4, 4/8; FG% 52.9, 70.7; Trey 0/2, 0/0; Run 6, 10; Spurs Most Pts. D. Robinson 19, S. Elliott 19, J.R. Reid 10

Spurs 3 – 5 Patrick Ewing had a monster game for this 16 minute game format (28 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, 2 steals). I rested Robinson during the third period and J.R. Reid played outstanding scoring 10 in the period. Sean Elliott was the star though with his 19, mostly from the 2 spot as Anderson played point. We are finally out of the Midwest Division cellar with the Timberwolves slipping to last place with a record of 3 – 6.

Play Session 3

Game 9: Blazers 53, Spurs 70; Assists 10, 4; Rebounds 13, 15; Steals 5, 11; Blocks 10, 7; Turnovers 12, 13; Fouls 10, 4; FTs 5/5, 8/12; FG% 46.2, 66.0; Trey 0/6, 0/1; Run 8, 9; Spurs Most Pts. D. Robinson 23, S. Elliott 10, A. Johnson 10

Spurs 4 – 5 This is the first game I’ve felt dominate from beginning to end. I’m still starting the game with Robinson, Person, Elliott, Anderson, Johnson. Then I make some spot adjustments in 2nd period, usually trying to get Person and Elliott a bit of rest with Rodman. I rest Robinson and Johnson in the 3rd, playing Reid, Rodman, Person moving Elliott to 2 spot, Anderson to point and subbing with Cummings as needed for Person.

Game 10: Supersonics 77, Spurs 52; Not worth the trouble to copy all stats. Most Pts. D. Robinson 12, S. Elliott 10, J.R. Reid 8, J. Haley 8

Spurs 4 – 6 How quickly things change. After being down 20 in the third, I emptied the bench.

Game 11: Suns 74, Spurs 67; Most Pts. D. Robinson 33, W. Anderson 17, J.R. Reid 7; Avery Johnson had 4 turnovers

Spurs 4 – 7 Only Robinson could find the basket early and we fell too far behind. Anderson eventually started hitting but defense wasn’t strong enough to catch up.

Play Session 4

Game 12: Timberwolves 68, Spurs 64

Spurs 4 – 8 Well I’m clueless at this point and feel like I need to start from scratch. I’m not improving and I’m not even playing at the highest difficulty setting. Ugh.

Game 13: Supersonics 83, Spurs 84; Robinson 47, Elliott 11, Anderson 10

Spurs 5 – 8 Started the game with Robinson, Rodman, Cummings, Person, Anderson to change things up. It took 47 points from Robinson, a clutch “and one” from Terry Cummings and double overtime to get this win.

Game 14: Blazers 47, Spurs 46; Robinson 23

Spurs 5 – 9 Slow, defensive struggle. I had the game in hand, just needed to run out the clock to a few seconds and throw up a shot. Instead, Johnson threw the ball away and they had a fast break to win it. My fault for passing in that situation.

Game 15: Mavericks 78, Spurs 47

Spurs 5 – 10 Elliott hit a three pointer. Otherwise…

Game 16: Jazz 63, Spurs 54; Robinson 23

Spurs 5 – 11 Third period – Reid, Haley, Cummings, Del Negro, Whitney held their own and each player scored. Whitney was injured (bruised foot). First injury of the season. I felt outmatched the entire game even though it was a close game until I jacked up some three point attempts at the end.

Game 17: Rockets 71, Spurs 47; Robinson 26, J.R. Reid 9

Spurs 5 – 12 I expected to be much better at this game by this point. I’ve lost 7 of the last 8 games. Time to take a break!

Play Session 5

Game 18: Bullets 55, Spurs 51; Robinson 20

Spurs 5 – 13 Decided to jump back into this game after a long break only to lose to the lowly Bullets. That leaves me tied with the Bucks for last in the entire NBA.

Game 19: Celtics 75, Spurs 76 OT; Robinson 40

Spurs 6 – 13 I only made 6 of 19 free throws and had some poor clock management but was still able to pull this one out by giving Robinson the ball each time he was open down the stretch.

Game 20: Lakers 61, Spurs 66; Robinson 35

Spurs 7 – 13 We got behind early but stayed calm and made some minor adjustments until the game came to us.

Game 21: Nuggets 59, Spurs 44 OT; Robinson 22

Spurs 7 – 14 Based on the score it might be difficult to believe this was an overtime game but it was a strange overtime. Mutombo, who I had been avoiding all game because of his blocking ability, fouled out early in OT so I decided to be more aggressive offensively. But turnovers, missed shots and Robinson fouling out put us significantly behind. So I threw up 8 three pointers off the dribble, missing them all and losing by 15 in an otherwise intensely close game.