Basketball is among the most widely-viewed sports in the world, with North America’s National Basketball Association by far the most prestigious league. Like just about every other popular sport, it’s spawned a steady stream of video games, each of which replicate the on-court action in an arcade or home console.The sport we all know today was first developed more than 100 years ago, in Massachusetts. It was designed to be a safer alternative to football, but over time it gradually grew to be popular in its own right, earning a competitive status in colleges, and then in professional circles. To begin with, basketball used peach baskets and soccer balls, until the players got sick of having to retrieve the ball after each basket, and switched to metal hoops with nets and backboards.Basketball was popular largely because it could be played in a small space. It spread across the world during World War I, when the US Army was fighting on mainland Europe, playing the game during spare moments.Basketball video games have ranged from the realistic, such as the popular NBA2K series, to the arcade-style, cartoon-like NBA Jam.With basketball being such a popular sport, it’s no wonder that it’s found its way into such a wide range of games – from simple, elegant puzzlers to more involved arcade-style action. If you’d like a slice of basketball action on your mobile device or desktop computer, then Gamepix’s range of unlocked basketball games provides a fantastic way to do it. Whatever your taste, HTML5 allows you to enjoy a few moments of basketball-driven gameplay, whether you’re playing on your mobile phone or desktop PC. There’s no software to install or stores to navigate: simply select your preferred game and get on the court! Things you always find in Basketball games Basketball games require a combination of moving around the court and shooting the ball into the basket. Some games emphasise different elements than others, and some games will take the sport in an entirely different direction, incorporating little bits of the basketball court into experiences that have more to do with carnival games and puzzlers than a real sport. Most of the time, you’ll be using either the mouse or keyboard, or a combination of both. In games where precision shooting is called for, it’s generally the mouse or touchscreen you’ll be using to control the angle of the shot. If it’s back-and-forth action, then keyboard controls are the norm – and the actual aiming of the ball becomes automatic, just like it is in major sports titles on home consoles. In some basketball games, there’s a 3D court to navigate, and there’s the possibility of going around other players rather than shooting over the top of them. In others, there’s just a two-dimensional plane to worry about, and blocking opponents’ shots becomes even more important. While they’re all based on the real sport, each of these games offers something a little bit different, both in terms of the actual gameplay and the graphical packaging it comes in. There’s something here for basketball fans of every persuasion – and even for people who don’t know a great deal about the sport. GamePix’s Collection of Basketball games Among the best-loved titles here is Basketball Stars – a game in which big-headed versions of the most popular players in the sport face off against one another in a 1-v-1 setting. Following the same colorful, out-there style is Basket Champs, a game where miniature basketball stars take turns in a penalty shootout. This is one of those games where you use the mouse to select the angle of your shot, with a green line indicating the upward motion and a blue one showing where the ball will come down. Aim true and practise hard and you’ll attract massive crowds, and eventually win the international tournament. If you manage to tie the game, sudden death mode will activate, and a single slip-up will see you eliminated – that’s some added pressure right there! In Bouncy Dunk, things get even simpler and quicker. Rather than competing to score points on a basketball court, you’re playing with the basic elements of the sport in a more arcade-style setting. You’ll have a few seconds to tap the ball into the net before it changes position. The more baskets you can string together, the longer that play will go on for. The same rules apply in Tap-Tap, except the time limit is brought way down, ramping up the difficulty. Drop Dunks is another basketball-inspired arcade game, but it’s even wackier – balls are fired out of cannons at the top of the screen, and you must move the paddle along the bottom to redirect them into the baskets at either side. Stripping things back even further is Dunk Up Basketball, a fast-paced action-puzzler where you aim the ball up a succession of springy hoops. Just one slip-up and the ball falls to the bottom of the screen and your run is wiped out, so there’s extra pressure to keep up the standard. Street Ball Jam brings things back into the realms of reality, with the action taking place on a roadside basketball where your character is practicing his craft. Finally, let’s mention Basketball Master, and its sequel, Basketball Master 2. You use the mouse or touchscreen to drag away from the ball, generating power for a shot. On the way to the basket, you’ll find little stars suspended in mid-air that need to be collected on the way to the basket. Avoid the hazards, including other players and giant planks of wood, and collect stars to earn points. There are loads of levels to get through, making this a great way to kill a few minutes with some basketball-based action – or to settle in for a little bit longer!