Codex Gamicus

Arch Rivals is a basketball arcade game created by Midway in 1989. The game billed itself as a "Basket Brawl." It was also included on Midway Arcade Treasures 2 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube and Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition for the PC.


A full game consists of four quarters, with four minutes each. Each team has two players, and the objective of the game is to outscore the opponent until the final buzzer sounds.

If the game results in a tie after four quarters, a sudden death overtime period is added, in which case the next basket to go in will win the game for the team who scored it. The overtime period is one minute long. A player can call for his teammate to pass him the ball or to shoot it in this battle royale.

There are eight characters that the player can play as, each with a unique characteristic. They are:

  • Blade: A crowd pleaser
  • Hammer: Rebound king
  • Lewis: Top shooter
  • Mohawk: Tough & mean
  • Moose: A real champ
  • Reggie: All-American
  • Tyrone: Defensive giant
  • Vinnie: A great player


The big drawing point of Arch Rivals is the ability to punch the opposing player (which the player is encouraged to do), after which they can steal the ball. Sometimes, soda cans and candy wrappers are thrown onto the floor. If a ballhandler steps on those, he falls onto the floor, and his opponent can then steal the ball from him. Since there are no fouls called in Arch Rivals (the referee is very nearsighted), players can punch their opponents as many times as they want. Players could also fall over by referee and take his trousers down.

Whenever a basket is scored (for either two or three points), there are many random scenes that may be played. One scene has the coach yelling at his players, another features players from the other team groaning in disgust, and two scenes have cheerleaders shouting: "Go team go!"

Sometimes, the backboard can be shattered with a rim-rattling slam dunk. This effect was later carried over to the much better-known NBA Jam, which is often said to be a spin-off of Arch Rivals.

The TV studio depicted in the game is that of the fictional WIDB-TV. It is shown after the end of each quarter and also at halftime. In addition, after the first and third quarters, a "Coaches Corner" screen also appears, providing tips on how to become a better player. The cheerleading squad performs the halftime show. The final stats are shown at the end of the game, showing how many points the human-controlled player scored, and also the number of steals and rebounds, and even his shooting percentage.

The teams in Arch Rivals are selected at random, with Player 1 playing as the home team and Player 2 (or the computer) as the away team. The teams in the arcade version are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Natural High whose jerseys are colored like the Boston Celtics and Brawl State which references the Golden State Warriors. Some versions feature the names of actual NBA teams, like the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons. Also, the game could be set up to show the teams of local high school or college teams.


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