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.
We’re tipping off a new year of Story Thread Interviews as we chat to Ezio Auditore, formerly known as Thierry. Ezio/Thierry has created a fair few story threads over the years – infamously so! – and definitely has some interesting things to say about his experiences. Read on for some insight and advice!
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 became famous around the Forum for the wrong reasons! I think at one point I had started 50 Dynasties, using, if I recall, at least 20 of the 30 teams, always going back and forth with different players and stories. If I remember correctly, my first one came in 2004, I was 14 years old and I started it just after the Auburn Hills brawl; I picked the Pacers, with Jermaine O’Neal, Artest, Stojakovic; trying to take them back to the elite. Of course, it never panned out for me, I was just finishing school and I was in a busy schedule; it was a long (very long) time, for me and everyone who was checking my stories, losing interest in them pretty fast (both me and them) until a couple of years ago.
One day I decided to pick my favourite team, to make justice for me for once and for all; one of the two teams that made me love basketball: the San Antonio Spurs. Small background: I’m from Argentina and I was 14, as I just said, and with Manu Ginobili coming to the league, I started to cut reports from newspapers here in and saving a little notebook with everything and I started supporting them. The other team was the one I’m using today, the Chicago Bulls; DVDs of the 91-93 and 96-98 three-peats were the first real footage of NBA history I found here.
What motivated you to begin and maintain a story thread?
All those small cuts from the newspapers – and as a frustrated player myself – made me want to play NBA Live more and more every day. A demo of NBA Live 2001 was the first game I had, and when Live 2005 came out, I found the motivation to start with all the new options. Why I didn’t pick the Spurs back then, I really don’t know! Guess I was just beginning to fully understand the game and all the modes.
What drew you to the mode you chose to play?
I never played the game online; that’s just not for me. It was in 2005, too, when I entered Franchise Mode (I just played separate seasons until that year) and was able to draft new players into the league.
Has maintaining a story thread enhanced your enjoyment of the games? If so, how?
When I was starting a thread almost every two weeks…I became more and more frustrated! With the success I had with my Spurs, despite it lasted just a little more than one season, I began to enjoy the game a lot. I had a couple of hiatuses from the Forum in the middle, with jobs and college on my shoulders. But 2K14 and next-gen on PC for 2K15, gave me more happiness with every game I played…the enjoyment was complete after I posted here and got all the comments from the rest of the members.
How did you decide on the style that you use for your story thread?
For my layouts, again, it was the newspapers and also sports websites like ESPN and Sportscenter; I did use a Sportscenter template a few times. I’m also quite handy on Photoshop and PhotoImpact and all those kind of programs, and I love to write recaps, so I used it to my stories every single time. I also messed around with the games’ video settings a lot of times, that gave me the chance to record highlights for every game in my Spurs Association.
What’s your favourite part of running a story thread?
I just like to read the comments and opinions from everyone after a great (or terrible) night from one of my players. The story section has a lot of great posters, and there’s a great community around here.
What’s your least favourite part of running a story thread?
I wouldn’t say I have a least favourite part. It was just my frustration back then when I had to start everything again…
Tell us about some of your favourite moments from your story thread(s).
I think my best moment, my summit, came when I finished playing all 82 games, recapped and with video highlights, from my Spurs Association, with a heart-breaking loss to the Lakers in the Conference Finals. That season started with the acquisition of Corey Maggette – not very well liked in the Forum – but proved everyone wrong with a couple of games finishing perfect from the field (12/12 and 14/14, if I remember correctly). Ginobili had his share of triple-doubles, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan led the team and also were able to rest at some parts of the schedule. I rescued some veterans, forgotten players like Larry Hughes and Stromile Swift to play their part. I also used the Austin Toros to help me with players like Marcus Cousin and James Gist. And with the help of the NCAA mod in 2K13, I was able to add everyone from the Forum into the game, then Drafted them into my Spurs save. I had a nice offseason, adding Michael Redd and Lamar Odom to the roster – at that time, two of my favourite players, and great locker room figures – and I had a nice record going in my second season, but again, school and jobs clashed with everything. I’m still pretty happy to remember that year. Hopefully, my 2K15 Bulls will resemble that success.
Which other story threads do you enjoy reading?
I think Sit’s Stealth, X’s Bobcats and Kenny’s Nuggets are a level above everyone else’s, while I also found stories from Martti (Wizards and Heat), Lamrock (Blazers), Andrew (Bulls) and Axel (Rockets) to be huge sources of inspirations to start my stories. I also remember some Hall of Fame stories, classics like Micchyboy’s Lakers, Mafia’s Sixers, Clutch’s Rockets or Valor’s Nets, stories I still check today to find some ideas and bring them back to life, with my own personal twist.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own story thread?
The first and most important advice from someone like me would be stick around, even when things are not going your way or you are not getting enough replies and comments (that happened to me more than once). Don’t trade your whole team away at the beginning, you may find a niche with one of your players. Personally, I’m not a fan of the Fantasy Drafts, but that could make an interesting story if you stick with it. Try to give your players a nice background and develop them as the thread goes, not just in a “ratings” kind of way, but into the life of your Association. I like to write articles about them and see how it pans out.
At the end of the day, just be grateful to able to participate and be part of an incredible community like this.
Thanks again to Ezio Auditore/Thierry for chatting with us; be sure to check out his current threads, Breaking Bull and Blue Strobe Light. We’ll be looking to post more Story Thread Interviews in the future, so stay tuned!