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Box artwork for Double Dribble.
Box artwork for Double Dribble.
Double Dribble
Year released1987
System(s)Family Computer Disk System, NES, Commodore 64/128, Commodore Amiga, DOS, Wii
ModesSingle player, multiplayer
LinksDouble Dribble (NES) at PCGamingWikiDouble Dribble (NES) ChannelSearchSearch
This guide is for the home version release. For the arcade release, see Double Dribble.

When Konami brought Double Dribble home for the first time, they released the game on the Famicom Disk System in Japan under the name Exciting Basket (エキサイティング バスケット?), to make it part of Konami's Exciting Sports series. The game featured background music that would not be included in the American release of the game, which was released on the NES in September 1987. These home versions introduced four different teams (Boston Frogs, New York Eagles, Chicago Ox, L.A. Breakers), three levels of single-play difficulty, and four different choices of quarter lengths. Double Dribble was among the first games to feature cut scenes, which depicted a mid-air player completing a slam dunk, and one of the first to use computer generated speech, though in a limited quantity (such as announcing the game title, the game's beginning jump ball, and some foul calls).

In 1990, the game was ported to three home computers: the Commodore 64, the Commodore Amiga and MS-DOS operated PCs, and was based on the Famicom/NES versions more than the Arcade version. In 1991, a Game Boy version was released titled Double Dribble 5-on-5. A Sega Genesis version was released in 1994 titled Double Dribble: The Playoff Edition (known as Hyperdunk in Japan and Europe). The NES version was ported to the Wii's Virtual Console in Europe and in North America in November 2007. A remake titled Double Dribble Fast Break was released as an online exclusive, which is based mostly on the NES version; however, the animation sequences were taken from the arcade version.


  • Neutral dpad: Use the direction pad to control the player on your team who is currently in possession of the ball, or the player who is outlined in a blinking light while on defense. Every player can be directed to run in eight different directions on the court, including the four cardinal directions and the four diagonal direction.
  • A button: Press the A button to pass to a nearby teammate. Use the control pad to designate between more than one potential teammate. On defense, press the A button to attempt to steal the ball, or to jump up and block a shot when the opponent shoots.
  • B button: Press and hold the B button to shoot the ball to the hoop. Release the B button at the height of your jump to release the ball. On defense, press the B button to switch the controlled defensive player to the teammate which is closest to the ball.
  • Start button: Press the Start button to begin a new game, or to pause the action mid-game.
  • Select button: Press the Select button to bypass the opening scene where the national anthem is played (in the American version. In the Japanese version, only the cheer of the crowd is heard.)


Team 3 point shot Close shot Defense Description
Boston Frogs ♦♦♦♦ ♦♦ ♦♦♦ This team is characterized by its jumping ability and intelligent offensive plays. Like a frog, the players have tremendous jumping abilities and rarely miss a rebound.
Chicago Ox ♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ ♦♦ This is a team with guts; they play aggressively and overpower their opponents. Just like an Ox, their aggressive play stands out whenever they drive the ball to the hoop.
L.A. Breakers ♦♦ ♦♦ ♦♦♦♦ This team overwhelms the opponent like a giant wave. They are impressive because of their team play. And like a wave, once they gain momentum, they overpower any team in their way.
N.Y. Eagles ♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦ This is characterized by quick moves and accurate shooting. Like their mascot, the eagle, they play by cutting through the opponent's defense to create shooting opportunities.


Double Dribble NES settings.png

Before the game begins, you have control over several settings, including how many minutes each period lasts, what team you would like to use, and the level of difficulty.

  • Time: You may choose between 5, 10, 20, and 30 minute periods. Each game contains 4 periods. So the total game will last four times as long as your choice.
  • Team: There are four different teams to choose from. In a one player game, the computer will always select the Boston Frogs, so that selection will be unavailable to the player. The Boston Frogs can only be chosen in a two player game.
  • Level: Choose which level of difficulty to play at. At level 1, the opponent won't try to steal as much and may take longer to set up their shots, as you compete for a Bronze trophy. At level 2, the opponents get a little more aggressive and steal the ball away more frequently, in their quest to win the Silver trophy. At level 3, the ball will get stolen away from you at ever opportunity, and they opponent won't hesitate to drive the ball to the hoop as quickly as possible, while you compete for the number one position and the Gold trophy.
    • In a two player game, you do not choose the level of difficulty. In its place, you will choose the second player's team, which does not necessarily have to be the Boston Frogs.
  • End: Accept the current settings and begin your game.


Double Dribble NES screen.png

Gameplay in the home conversions is nearly identical to the arcade version except for the obvious omission of the dribble button. Dribbling occurs automatically, and does not stop until the ball is passed or shot. Thus it is impossible to get a double dribble violation, despite the irony of the game's title. All the other violations are still possible. While the arcade has five different slam dunk "movies", the home versions only have three: the Dunk Shot, the Back Dunk Shot, and the One-Hand Dunk Shot.

Defense is considerably more difficult than offense, so it is important to build up your shooting skills to keep the score high, and take away a few opportunities from the computer to succeed. Good use of passing is a must at higher levels to avoid having the ball stolen from you. Worry less about getting dramatic 3 pointers or being presented with a dunk movie, and focus on solid scoring opportunities. At the same time, it's a good idea to know where the 3-pointer sweet spots are on the court in case you need to close the gap in score between you and your opponent.

Few differences exist between the American and Japanese versions of the game. Apart from the change in media (from disk in Japan to cartridge in America), the Japanese version features driving back ground music during game play that is not present in the American version (where most of what you hear is the ball bouncing off the floor.) However, in the introduction of the American version, the national anthem is played, concluded with three balloons hoisting the American flag. In the Japanese version, only the sound of a cheering crowd is heard, and the last three balloons only contain streamers.