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Hear the True Story of How 'NBA Jam' Almost Didn't Get Made

The '90s arcade game NBA Jam brought the word boomshakalaka into the world (it's defined in The Dictionary of American Slang as "an impudent exclamation similar to 'in your face'"), but that's only one of its many contributions. The arcade fixture, created by the Midway Games company, was a massive success back in the day. It earned the company over $2 billion in quarters (a figure that does not include cartridge sales for home consoles). But according to lead designer Mark Turmell, the game almost didn't happen.

As Turmell told Great Big Story, "We put together a demo—a videotape via VHS. We sent it to the NBA and said, 'Hey, we're making this cool game,' and they immediately shut it down and said, 'No, we don't want the NBA logo in the arcades.'"

After a second reel and some persuading, the company finally gave Turmell and his team the license, and a classic was born. In a 1993 article in Vibe magazineNBA Jam was called the "biggest money-making game in arcade history," and it still ranks high on the list more than 20 years later.

For more on the iconic game's history, and to see Turmell hack into his own game, check out the video above.

[h/t Great Big Story

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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