We certainly love our basketball games here at the NLSC, so when it comes to modes like Dynasty, Association, and MyCAREER, some of us like to share the experience with our fellow gamers. In the Basketball Video Game Stories section of the NLSC Forum, several gamers maintain story threads chronicling their adventures and achievements in the virtual NBA. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be running a series of interviews with some of our most prominent storytellers, to get an insight into their experiences and discover why they enjoy maintaining story threads.
In this week’s interview we chat to Axel., whose Houston Rockets Dynasty thread for NBA Live 10 featured some interesting subplots and ultimately garnered an induction into the NBA Live wing of our Story Thread Hall of Fame. Find out who inspired Axel. to begin maintaining a story thread, what he’s enjoyed most about the experience, and his advice for anyone looking to start a story thread of their own.
For those who haven’t checked them out yet – and for those who have followed them, for that matter – please tell us a little about your story thread(s).
I have started three threads; one is in the Hall of Fame, one was abandoned right before I finished it, and the last one was abandoned before I even began the season. I did all three of them with the Houston Rockets, but each was with a different game. My first one was on NBA Live 10, the second one on NBA 2K11, and the third one on NBA 2K13.
What motivated you to begin and maintain a story thread?
When I first joined the NLSC Forum, Kenny’s Denver Nuggets Dynasty was among the first stories I read. The way he presented his story and its simplicity really stood out to me; I could tell that he was enjoying what he was doing. Kenny was an inspiration to me, so I thought I’d have a go at writing a story myself. As it turns out, my very first story, “Houston, We Have A Dynasty,” was successful, spanned 30 pages, and ended up making it into the Hall of Fame.
With a successful first story, I thought I’d give another one a try on the then most recent game, NBA 2K11. If you were to ask me, that story has been even more successful than my first due to my acquired experience. I believe it has spanned about 35 pages, and I myself would consider it a worthy Hall of Fame candidate. However, I just could never muster up the motivation to finish it. At some point this summer, I will make an attempt to finish it, and hopefully get a second story in the Hall of Fame under my name. Don’t even ask me about my third story…
What drew you to the mode you chose to play?
Ever since I’ve played sports games, I have always loved to take my favorite teams and try to take them to the championship. I am a realist, but at some point, one needs to deviate from what goes on in real life. There is no better way to do that than with a Dynasty/Association story. Through this mode, I made the 2009-10 Rockets a powerful team with Yao Ming fully healthy. Dynasty/Association was the mode where I was able to escape the fact that the Rockets, up until last season, were an injury-riddled, mediocre team that was always the best team to miss the playoffs since the loss of Yao Ming.
Has maintaining a story thread enhanced your enjoyment of the games? If so, how?
Yes, very much. I love writing, so writing a summary of the games I played was certainly enjoyable. It was like being a writer for my very own NBA. It is fun to compare what goes on in your own story and in real life. There are things that are extremely different, and there are things that are eerily similar. In the end, this adds to the experience of writing stories and playing the game.
How did you decide on the style that you use for your story thread?
I didn’t necessarily decide on a style beforehand, I made it up as I went along. In retrospect, I probably should’ve brainstormed and researched styles used by others and came up with my own, but at that point, I was just happy to be running my own story. I liked what I came up with, and thus went along with it. One of the most important things in writing story threads is consistency, and I know I’ve been consistent (for the most part) throughout my threads.
I did, however, make changes to my posting style as I went along. Though minor changes, they were definitely significant in terms of quality.
What’s your favourite part of running a story thread?
The writing and basketball components. I get to run a virtual counterpart of the Houston Rockets and report on my results. Not only that, I can make whoever I want a stud. See: Kevin Martin in my first two stories.
When running a story thread, you are essentially the writer, general manager, and coach all in one. In addition, I also enjoy writing “behind-the-scenes” side stories to go along with the basketball component of my story. It adds personality to your players, and if taken to the extreme (i.e. killing off a player), can definitely differentiate your story from all the others.
What’s your least favourite part of running a story thread?
The amount of time it takes to continuously update a story can be tedious sometimes. I would spend an hour playing the games, and at least another thirty minutes writing the game recap, uploading pictures, and any other things involved with updates. Sure, 90 minutes is not a lot of time out of my day, but it adds up day after day after day. However, it only gets tedious when I’ve done update after update after update, so that is when I decide to take a break. The positives of running a story thread far outweigh the negatives, so this is something I’ve easily been able to overlook.
Tell us about some of your favourite moments from your story thread(s).
Apart from winning two championships in my first story, I have some game-winners, triple-doubles, and broken records to brag about. In both of my first stories, Kevin Martin had a streak of 30 points or more in a span of 18 (first story) and 19 games (second story). In addition, he scored 58 points against the Denver Nuggets in my first story, and I also netted him a triple-double against the New Orleans Hornets in my second story.
In my second story, there was this one, which was in a Playoffs series against the San Antonio Spurs. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Kevin Martin is my favorite player from my story threads.
Which other story threads do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy reading Lamrock’s stories because they are always good for a laugh. As I mentioned, Kenny was my inspiration to write stories, so I’m always keeping up with his stories.
To name a few others, stories from Martti., Valor, Sit, Phil89, and Mr. Interviewer himself, Andrew, are also great reads.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own story thread?
Go for it, it’s a great experience. Do not be discouraged at the lack of readers early on. One important thing that makes a story successful is consistent updates. A story that has spanned four, five pages, and counting, is bound to attract readers.
Pick a team that will keep you interested for a long time. If you have a favorite team, great! That makes it easy. If not, then try out a few teams that pique your interest in Exhibition Mode and pick the team that most adheres to your basketball philosophies or liking.
The last two things I would stress are: don’t get discouraged, and have fun!
Thanks again to Axel. for taking part in this series of storyteller profiles! Don’t forget to check out his Hall of Fame thread, and stay tuned for a new Story Thread Interview, coming next week.