The game puts the player in Shaquille O'Neal's Reeboks, challenging him to complete four qualifying Events and make it to the Finals. Win the Tip-Off, play HORSE, make the Alley-Oop, beat the Shot Clock, and Shatter the Backboard. Use the ramp to launch pinballs into the moving playfield basket, catch the rebounds from the spinning court disc, and collect Game Balls for even more rewards. Start the Shaq Attaq Multiball to rack up the baskets, go Slammin' Jammin' and build up the bonuses, but only the best will be able to uncover all the Hidden Features and prove themselves as MVPs.
Shaq Attaq is often derided by pinball buffs for its unbalanced scoring, lackluster artwork, and annoyingly repetitive callouts. Its fans enjoy it for its varying depth, where casual players can have fun shooting baskets and collecting multiball jackpots, while experts can challenge themselves by going for the harder goals and Hidden Features.
Shaq Attaq demonstrates the following tropes:
- Achievement System: The game has five "Hidden Features", each of which is awarded after performing a certain feat in the game. An end-of-game bonus is given for the number of Hidden Features found; getting all five awards an extra one billion points.
- Appeal to Novelty: The moving basketball hoop."A Real Slam Dunk!"
- Iconic Logo: The iconic silhouette of Shaquille O'Neal slamming a basketball into a hoop appears throughout the game, including on Shaq's own jersey.
- Our Giants Are Bigger: Shaq himself. On the playfield, he's five times larger than the other players. This is topped by the backglass, where he is 30 times larger than everyone else, crossing the court in two strides while holding a minuscule basketball between his thumb and forefinger.
- Square-Cube Law: Not surprisingly, Shaq violates this with impunity.
- Protagonist Title: "Shaq Attaq".
- Ramp Jump: The game's most notable gimmick is a moving basketball hoop on the playfield. Players must shoot a ramp with proper timing to launch pinballs into it.
- Spelling Bonus: Spell S-H-A-Q-U-I-L-L-E to enable Slammin' Jammin'.
- Undesirable Prize: Subverted with the 5,000 point award on Tip-Off. Selecting it twice is one of the Hidden Features.
- Weird Currency: The player can collect Game Balls, then trade them in at various times for extra points, additional features, or to start game modes.
- Welcome to Corneria: The game is notorious for its often-repeated shot callouts. Holding down both flipper buttons before launching the first ball will reduce their frequency.Coach: "Shoot the basket!"
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: "Attaq". 'nuff said.