NLSC Forum Story Thread Interviews: The X

"That Guy" in The X's Charlotte Bobcats Dynasty, NBA Live 2005

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 fourth installment of our series of Story Thread Interviews, we’re talking to The X, a longtime participant in the Stories section of the NLSC Forum with threads enshrined in both the Dynasty and Association Hall of Fame. Read on to get an insight into his experiences, some of his favourite moments, and his advice for anyone who wants 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).

Most of my story threads originated in the golden era of NBA Live on PC (’05/’06), although I did make a comeback to the section for a couple of years with NBA 2K10/2k11 on PS3. I had a few story threads over the years with the most well known probably being my Live 2005 Bobcats Dynasty, which involved me taking an expansion team and the trials and tribulations of trying to build it up.

A few years ago I had a Timberwolves Association on NBA 2K11, which looking back on was one of my favourites as I took over a young lottery team with some nice pieces to eventually turn into a contender.

Floyd Bradley in The X's NBA 2K11 Minnesota Timberwolves Association

What motivated you to begin and maintain a story thread?

I came to NLSC to get some of the great rosters and patches on offer and I stumbled across the Dynasty story forum. I spotted some excellent Dynasty story threads from cocobee and Donatello which inspired me to create my own. I thought I could offer something different to what everybody else was doing. I already played Dynasty Mode anyways and enjoyed sports journalism/columns, so I guess I channelled that passion.

What drew you to the mode you chose to play?

I’ve always gravitated towards Franchise/Dynasty/Association modes in basketball (NBA or college) or football (EPL) games. I’m a Dynasty Head through and through. I think we all like to think about what we would do if we controlled/managed a sporting team and playing those types of mode is the best way to do that.

Has maintaining a story thread enhanced your enjoyment of the games? If so, how?

I would say it has, otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. Firstly, it allowed me a way to keep a record/”save” the legacy of my Dynasty progress as previously the Dynasty modes didn’t maintain the history once you moved forward through the years. Secondly, having independent people interested in how your Dynasty/Association is going also has the effect of making you want to continue to play and have longevity with it which you otherwise might not have had, or you would have moved onto different game or game mode.

How did you decide on the style that you use for your story thread?

Originally I looked at other member’s story threads and just duplicated what worked but I quickly realised I had to incorporate my own style. I’d call my presentation style as clean, organised and simple with nothing too spectacular, but the reader can easily access all relevant information at a snapshot.

What’s your favourite part of running a story thread?

It would have to be the interaction with other Forum members. For all the great content you may put into a story thread, it’s actually the interaction that leads it into unexpected directions (e.g. the Darko Challenges). I call the other Forum members who read story threads Dynasty Heads. We’re all a like bunch and funnily enough real friendships have and do come out of it.

What’s your least favourite part of running a story thread?

That’s easy, the sheer time it takes to not only maintain a quality story thread but to keep it current and active. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so that can be a double edged sword when running a story thread, which is why it’s important to find a format that works for you and doesn’t impact too much on the main premise of the story, actually playing the game.

Tell us about some of your favourite moments from your story thread(s).

Surely it would have to be all those 20 win seasons I somehow played through. Not really, of course. Winning title at the end of year three of my 2K11 Timberwolves Association was great. I also enjoyed creating the off-season coverage for each story thread, especially in regards to the NBA Draft. Finally, the characterisation of the generics like “That Guy” and Dwight Woolridge.

Brevin Knight steals the ball in The X's NBA Live 2005 Dynasty

Which other story threads do you enjoy reading?

In the past I have enjoyed Lamrock’s story threads for his self deprecating humour and his style/format, Sit for his ESPN/journalism quality player articles and Kenny for the longevity of his stories and his ability to embrace and characterise the generics.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own story thread?
  • Don’t ask other members what team they would like a story thread for, just create one that interests you (either a favourite team or an interesting situation). If your story thread is interesting and has longevity, the readers will come.
  • Be unique and find your own style, which should directly reflect both your personality and what you like/love in the game/basketball.
  • I personally don’t think Dynasty stories should be too unrealistic to start with, so I recommend avoiding trying to make any major trades or signings in your first season.
  • Read other member’s story threads. Not only will you get a general idea of what works and what doesn’t, by posting you are also supporting other member’s story threads.
  • Finally, don’t give up and try to start a new story if you don’t get support straight away.

Thanks again to The X for taking part in this series of storyteller profiles! Be sure to check out his Bobcats, Trail Blazers, and Timberwolves threads in the Hall of Fame, and stay tuned for a new Story Thread Interview, coming next week.

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