Just because there’s an NBA lockout doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy heart-dribbling basketball action. Just turn on your video game consoles and show the bigwigs a thing or two.

‘NBA JAM: On Fire

Edition’

Console: 360/PS3

Company: EA

Grade: 4

The NBA Jam series isn’t a basketball sim. It’s a crazy, and often absurd, dunking contest populated by bobble heads. Any game that allows you to play as Sarah Palin or the Beastie Boys surely isn’t too concerned with realism. Still, there is plenty of great arcade fun to go around, and this latest installment is no different.

‘NBA 2K12’

Console: 360/PS3

Company: 2K Games

Grade: 5

Gamers weaned on “Madden” have learned to expect only minor changes to each year’s iteration of their favorite sports titles. With that logic, “NBA 2K” has done enough work to last through 2015.

2K Games must have given their laurels to Marv Alpert, because while “2K11” was great, “2K12” is pretty much the best basketball game ever made.

Every fiber of this game is exponentially better than “2K11.” Last year’s edition let you complete challenges as Michael Jordan. Now you can complete challenges as Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and tons more classic dribblers. The attention to detail shines in the franchise mode, the many online challenges and, obviously, the game play itself. You’ll be hard pressed (get it?) to play a better hoops sim in the foreseeable future.

 
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