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NLSC Podcast – Episode #245

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Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we catch up on an eventful week of basketball gaming news, discuss what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood, and give our thoughts on the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • EA’s chief design officer Patrick Söderlund recently spoke out about the company’s reputation, and their intent to rehabilitate their image in the wake of the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 controversy. We discuss how continuing to adopt a consumer-friendly model with NBA Live will surely benefit the brand moving forward.
  • A deal has been struck to broadcast the NBA 2K League exclusively on Twitch, which certainly seems like a good fit. Once again, we consider the League’s potential impact on the rest of us as we look ahead to NBA 2K19.
  • Saber Interactive has announced NBA Playgrounds 2 for a Summer 2018 release. We’re excited and hopeful for the sequel, but there are some key areas where it must show improvement.
  • Namo Gamo has released Basketball Classics on Steam Early Access. This new retro-inspired basketball gaming experience has a lot of potential, and is already quite impressive.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included taking on more challenges in NBA Live 18’s Ultimate Team, and a return to NBA 2K17. NLSC GrindTime may have also played its last session of 2K Pro-Am, at least for a while.
  • We wrap up Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast with some discussion of real basketball, including Andrew Bogut heading home to play in the NBL, the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and Ben Simmons’ Rookie of the Year credentials.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Worst Pass in Playground History

Andrew & Arcane at The Playground (NBA 2K18)

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a video of what might just be the worst pass in the history of The Playground and MyPARK, and a few thoughts on the circumstances surrounding it.

As discussed in Episode #230 of the NLSC Podcast, Arcane and I have been heading to The Playground for a few games after wrapping up our sessions of 2K Pro-Am with the NLSC squad. We’ve enjoyed a victory over a couple of Playground veterans, and after donning our Gatorade t-shirts, also managed to rack up five wins to earn some bonus VC. In some respects, our time on the online virtual blacktop in NBA 2K18 has been more enjoyable than our recent Pro-Am games, which have been rather rough. However, there was a moment of particular frustration after the ball was checked to Arcane, and his pass to me went completely awry.

I now present to you what may be the worst pass in the history of The Playground, and indeed, any mode of basketball gaming.

While miscues like that do make basketball games more realistic, I’m not sure that any NBA player would mess up a pass that badly, in that particular situation. It’s one of my main gripes with NBA 2K18’s gameplay, and something that often happens in our online games. In an effort to inject more realism into the experience, errors like that will happen at random, often feeling very artificial and predetermined as a result. Notice how my player doesn’t even try reaching out to catch the pass! We’ve had similar experiences in 2K Pro-Am with players being unable to catch or accurately throw what should be easy passes, time after time.

There is merit in having mistakes and sloppy moments in basketball video games, in order to make them feel more dynamic and realistic. However, in a situation like this, you just end up feeling cheated by the game. Moving forward, I’d like to see miscues and mess-ups handled in a way that feels less canned, and more in tune with both a player’s abilities and the action on the court. The Winner’s Outs rule in 2v2 on The Playground can make things tough enough when you’re facing a couple of cheesy players, without the game being against you as well. As it stands, we definitely found ourselves having a Shaqtin’ a Fool moment on this particular occasion.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #221

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Episode #221 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! We’re in the final countdown to the release of this year’s games from EA Sports and 2K Sports, and Arcane and I have plenty to talk about with a big update to the NBA Live 18 Demo, as well as the release of The Prelude to NBA 2K18.

On this week’s show…

  • The NBA Live 18 Demo has received another update. On top of making some further gameplay tweaks, it also added updated rosters, and two additional teams to Play Now: the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets.
  • EA Access subscribers on Xbox One are currently enjoying a ten hour trial of the full version of NBA Live 18. Their streams and impressions suggest further improvement over the demo, which is great news.
  • A Game Informer article provided us with a few details on this year’s MyCAREER story ahead of the release of The Prelude, and some further information about The Neighborhood.
  • In the wake of a somewhat flat trailer, The Prelude has been released, along with the MyNBA2K18 companion app. We tip off our impressions with a few thoughts on face scanning.
  • We’re not impressed by the lack of customisation options, nor the decision to put more content behind a VC paywall. It’s a continuation of a disheartening trend that began in NBA 2K17.
  • The story in this year’s MyCAREER mode leaves something to be desired. Although we like the general idea of being able to pick our team, the plot, acting, and characters are rather corny, with one character in particular being a bit uncomfortable.
  • Although the brevity of The Prelude was disappointing, the gameplay was a highlight, and demonstrates some pleasing improvements that have us looking forward to the full version of NBA 2K18.
  • We wrap up Episode #221 of the NLSC Podcast with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which featured NLSC THRILLHO’s final 2K Pro-Am game for NBA 2K17, and the acquisition of a long-coveted MyPARK trophy.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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Details on The Neighborhood in NBA 2K18

NBA 2K18: Run The Neighborhood Event Poster

As previously announced, 2K held a live stream event for NBA 2K18 titled Run The Neighborhood. As it turns out, The Neighborhood is the name of a new experience in this year’s game that combines MyCAREER, MyPARK, and 2K Pro-Am. The three popular modes are now connected in an open world setting, where MyPLAYERs live in the titular Neighborhood. There will be several locations to visit, including stores and The Playground. Some of the key points include:

  • Players will be able to level up no matter which mode they play, whereas in previous games this was primarily achieved through grinding in MyCAREER.
  • There is an over-arching meta game called Road to 99, which rewards players for improving their Overall Rating. A unified Badge system across MyCAREER, Park, and 2K Pro-Am has also been implemented.
  • There are primary and secondary MyPLAYER Archetypes, including pure and hybrid styles. There are 189 Archetypes in all, each of which have their own assortment of attainable Bronze, Silver, and Gold Badges.
  • While the traditional MyPARK experience is gone, it’s still available in the form of pickup games that you can find in the open world of The Neighborhood.

Check out the trailer for Run The Neighborhood below, or catch it here on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded video.

We’ll be able to get a preview of NBA 2K18 via The Prelude, which will be released on September 8th. The MyNBA2K18 companion app with face scanning functionality will be released a day earlier on September 7th. What are your thoughts on the new open world career mode? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion taking place here in the NBA 2K18 section of the NLSC Forum!

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EB Games Australia Leaks New NBA 2K18 Details

NBA 2K18: Kobe Bryant

As reported by The Gaming Tailgate and Operation Sports, the listing for NBA 2K18 on EB Games Australia has leaked a few new details about this year’s game. The information has since been removed from the listing, but a screenshot has preserved the details that were revealed, which are as follows:

MyPLAYER. Build your career in NBA games, hit the courts in the Playground or join the Pro-Am circuit. Featuring new MyPLAYER upgrade and endorsement systems and so much more.

MyTEAM. Collect and compete with player cards featuring NBA legends from yesterday and today. Construct a salary-capped team for the all-new Super Max season mode, or draft cards for a 5v5 tournament in the new Pack & Playoffs mode.

ELITE GAMEPLAY. The new motion system engine brings player control to a new level of realism. Now, dribbling and off the ball movement are no longer driven by animations. This groundbreaking technology dynamically creates animations to deliver the best gameplay experience possible. You are now in complete control.

SPECIAL GUEST COMMENTARY. The biggest roster of broadcasting talent in sports videogame history gets even bigger. Legends Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett join the booth on a rotating basis to lend their expertise to the broadcast.

LEGENDARY TEAMS. The greatest players in NBA history from all 30 teams, together on all-time franchise rosters for the very first time. Compete in Play Now to decide once and for all which franchise’s all-time greats reign supreme.

In addition to Kobe and KG joining the NBA 2K18 broadcasting team, it’s interesting to note that MyPARK appears to have been renamed to Playground. Alternatively, that may simply be a mistake, similar to an earlier hands-on impression article that erroneously referred to MyTEAM as “MyDYNASTY”, leading to speculation of a new mode.

These details are obviously still subject to official confirmation, though we’ll likely know more after the upcoming “Run the Neighborhood” Facebook event on August 31st. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as in our NBA 2K18 Forum.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #217

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Episode #217 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we provide our impressions of the NBA Live 18 Demo and Companion App, share our thoughts on some other NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 news items from the past week, and talk about our recent activities on the virtual hardwood.

On this week’s show…

  • Shortly after we finished recording last week’s NLSC Podcast, the Companion App for NBA Live 18 was released. How does it compare to the NBA Live 16 app, and how did our face scans turn out?
  • The NBA Live 18 Demo is out now. In one of our longest segments to date, we provide some in-depth initial impressions of our first hands-on look at this year’s game from EA Sports.
  • NBA Live 18 is now available to pre-order, with a 33% discount on offer. There also appears to be a Deluxe edition of the game, though no further details are available at this time.
  • Wrapping up the NBA Live 18 news, the full soundtrack has been released. Notably, some big names have contributed tracks this year.
  • The second Developer Diary for NBA 2K18 provided us with a look at the gameplay, as well as an insight into the aesthetic improvements in this year’s game. We also have some hands-on impressions from the community, more screenshots, and mention of amiibo compatibility.
  • We’ll be getting another edition of The Prelude before the release of NBA 2K18, but it’s reportedly different to last year’s demo. Naturally, that news invites speculation.
  • Episode #217 of the NLSC Podcast wraps up with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which included a troubleshooting fail (albeit with a happy ending), a brewing rivalry for NLSC THRILLHO, and an elusive PlayStation Trophy.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #216

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Episode #216 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss the news of the past week, including the NBA Live 18 demo and WNBA teams, the NBA Playgrounds Roster Unlock DLC, and a couple of NBA 2K18 snippets. And as always, we tell a few stories about our past week in basketball gaming.

On this week’s show…

  • The NBA Live 18 demo will be coming out next week, August 11th. We’ve also found out a little more about The Streets portion of The One.
  • EA Sports has also announced that all twelve WNBA teams will be included in NBA Live 18. We feel it’s a pretty good idea, and speculate on the future of additional content in NBA Live.
  • The latest NBA 2K18 screenshots are looking very good, with some noticeable improvements to a couple of players. For what it’s worth, we’ve also found out a few more player ratings.
  • A couple of interviews have provided us with some snippets of information regarding improvements to gameplay and MyPLAYER Archetypes in NBA 2K18, as well a few additional details on the new story in MyGM.
  • Saber Interactive has released a Roster Unlock for NBA Playgrounds. The idea definitely has merit and it’s something gamers have been asking for, but not everyone is happy about it.
  • NBA 2K17 is the highest selling Take Two sports title to date. It’s also raking in higher than expected revenue from microtransactions.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has included some fun moments and satisfying victories in 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK, and more enjoyment out of an old school fantasy approach in Play Now.
  • We wrap up Episode #216 of the NLSC Podcast with some NBL talk. Yes, really!

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #215

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Episode #215 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Arcane and I have plenty to talk about this week with the first proper previews for NBA 2K18 coming out, along with the latest content update for NBA Playgrounds. There’s also Kyrie Irving’s trade demand, a short article on shoes in NBA Live 18, and more.

On this week’s show…

  • The first NBA 2K18 screenshots have been released. What do we think of this year’s aesthetics?
  • We received a ton of information about MyLEAGUE and MyGM by way of the first developer blog. This year’s franchise modes sound awesome!
  • Did the 2K TV finale drop a hint about additional retro teams in NBA 2K18? We believe it’s a possibility.
  • Sole Collector published a short article about shoes in NBA Live 18, which also went into the history of EA Sports getting authentic shoes into their game.
  • The next big content update for NBA Playgrounds has come through. While there are still a few issues with the game, it continues to get better and better.
  • Not surprisingly, the five copies of NBA Elite 11 listed on eBay for $30,000 USD didn’t sell. They haven’t been re-listed, but another copy is still available…for $4,000 USD.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included some of the most enjoyable sessions of online play we’ve ever had, in both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK. Also, grinding for packs in NBA Playgrounds, MyTEAM Domination, and fantasy exhibitions.
  • Kyrie Irving has surprisingly demanded a trade. We wonder where he’ll end up, and whether Visual Concepts will do anything about the NBA 2K18 cover if he’s dealt.
  • We wrap up Episode #215 of the NLSC Podcast with some information on the latest NLSC merch by Arcane Apparel.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #210

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Episode #210 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! We’re coming at you a little later this week as we wanted to talk about the results of the 2017 NBA Draft, as well as the most recent NBA Live 18 gameplay videos, and a couple of other recent news stories.

On this week’s show…

  • EA Play attendees have released new gameplay videos of NBA Live 18, while offering up further hands-on impressions. We share our thoughts on what we’ve been shown, from the animations to the new Shot Meter.
  • Oddly, NBA 2K18 Legend Edition cover player Shaquille O’Neal was photographed wearing an NBA Live 18 barber’s smock. Probably not the promotion that Visual Concepts wanted.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included a somewhat backwards session of 2K Pro-Am, a very brief trip to MyPARK, and some great card pulls in NBA Playgrounds.
  • We wrap up Episode #210 of the NLSC Podcast with some thoughts on the 2017 NBA Draft, and a couple of big trades. #FireGarPax

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #204

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Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss the NBA 2K18 Legend Edition cover reveal, give our initial impressions of NBA Playgrounds, and talk about the burnout and cynicism we sometimes feel when it comes to giving constructive feedback.

On this week’s show…

  • Shaquille O’Neal has been revealed as the cover player for the Legend Edition of NBA 2K18. We also know the release date and the pre-order bonuses. Does all that VC suggest another tough grind this year?
  • Charles Barkley has revealed what it will take for him to appear in NBA 2K18.
  • NBA Playgrounds has been released, and we have some initial impressions to share. One of us is a little more positive than the other.
  • Referring back to a Monday Tip-Off article from a few weeks ago, we discuss the burnout and cynicism that can arise after years of talking about improvements to basketball video games, and compiling feedback for developers.
  • It pains us to say it as long-time NBA fans, but we’re just not feeling this year’s Playoffs.
  • We wrap up Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which included another brief but enjoyable session of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #203

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Episode #203 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Kenny and I are your hosts this week, and our conversation covers the latest NBA Playgrounds news, Beluba’s plans for NBA 2K’s shooting mechanics, NBA Live 18’s direction, and the latest from the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Playgrounds has a confirmed release date of May 9th. Polygon’s preview provided us with some new info on the game, and we’re still very much looking forward to it.
  • Mike Wang (aka Beluba) posted an insight into his plans for shooting mechanics in future NBA 2K games, specifically his desire to wean gamers off automatic makes on Green releases. We give our thoughts on the matter.
  • Following on from this week’s Monday Tip-Off article, we discuss whether it would be a good idea for NBA Live 18 to take a more traditional approach, in order to capitalise on the dissatisfaction some gamers have with certain aspects of NBA 2K’s direction.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming includes a head-to-head showdown in MyTEAM, expanding collections, and a refreshingly enjoyable run in both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK.
  • The 2017 NBA Playoffs roll on into the second round. LeBron reaches a milestone, prompting thoughts from the (alleged) resident bitter insecure hater. Also, Paul Pierce’s retirement, Tony Parker’s injury, Isaiah Thomas’ big night, and some predictions.
  • We wrap up Episode #203 of the NLSC Podcast with some quick thoughts on the new BIG3 league, which recently completed its draft.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Great NBA 2K Camera Angle Debate

2K Camera Angle in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some opinions on the camera angle settings in NBA 2K.

If you’re a long-time basketball gamer, you’ll probably remember a time when changing the camera angle simply wasn’t an option. Whether it was a broadcast-style sideline view, an isometric angle, or a perspective from behind the player you were controlling, most games didn’t give you a lot of choice when it came to the camera. In the mid 90s, however, a choice of camera angles and various zoom options began to make their way into basketball games. In recent times, there’s been a focus on authentically replicating the broadcast angles for all 30 NBA teams.

This wider variety of camera angles has sparked some passionate debates over the years, specifically over which is the best camera angle to use. In NBA 2K, the discussion has pretty much boiled down to the broadcast camera – either the authentic angles, or ones inspired by them – and the 2K camera and its variants. Basketball gamers certainly seem to have some strong opinions about which camera is the best, or for that matter, which is the “correct” setting to use. As I’m a passionate basketball gamer myself, I obviously have a few thoughts on the subject.

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Monday Tip-Off: Giving NBA 2K17 Online One More Try

Post Game Stats in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on my recent experience playing NBA 2K17 online.

Along with my co-hosts Arcane and Kenny, I’ve mentioned in various episodes of the NLSC Podcast that I’ve recently grown weary of playing NBA 2K17 online. After really getting into 2K Pro-Am last year with NBA 2K16, and constantly playing it for the first few months after NBA 2K17 came out, our interest in and enjoyment of the mode took a sudden downturn. After some frustrating sessions of both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK – including one where we dejectedly called it a night after only one game – we all decided to take a break from the online modes in NBA 2K17, at least for a little while, but possibly until NBA 2K18 was released.

For the next couple of weeks, we stuck to the single player modes in NBA 2K17, or indeed, played other games altogether. However, I did find myself wanting to give 2K Pro-Am at least one more try, and I’ve taken part in a couple of sessions with the guys each of the past two Fridays. There was familiar frustration, but also the same recognisable fun and enjoyment from more positive sessions in the past. As a result, I may not be finished with the online experience in NBA 2K17 just yet. For other basketball gamers who have grown tired of online play, you can probably relate to the following reflections.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #199

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Episode #199 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and I as we get together to talk about some recent NBA Live 18 news, reflect on our past in week in basketball gaming, and react to a huge performance by Devin Booker.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Live 18 will be on display and playable at EA Play 2017. Are we optimistic, and what kind of details are we expecting to come out of the event?
  • In Our Week in Basketball Gaming: a return to 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK in NBA 2K17 yields unexpectedly enjoyable results. Also, strange player movement in MyCAREER, MyTEAM challenges, and a new MyLEAGUE game.
  • An itch to mod an old favourite has resulted in the release of an updated 1996 season roster for NBA Live 2004.
  • The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker turned heads and set records when he scored 70 points against the Boston Celtics. We react to the performance, and some of the things that have been said about it.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Basketball Gaming Grind

Playing basketball on MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how basketball gaming can be a bit of a grind.

As much as we enjoy basketball gaming around these parts, I don’t think many of us would argue that it isn’t a grind at times. Whether it’s playing through a full NBA season, building a collection of quality cards in the team building modes, or turning our avatars into superstars, it’s a lengthy process. This is especially true if you’re playing with full length quarters. The obvious solution is to set shorter quarter lengths, and make use of the simulation function in modes where it’s available, but for various reasons, those options aren’t always desirable. Even if you do streamline the experience, the chances of burnout are high.

That’s because we pack so much basketball gaming into a single year, in order to get the most out of a title before the next one is released. With other genres of video games, you can generally take your time, and discover the replay value at your leisure. Most games can easily be finished in a much shorter time than it takes to complete one full season playing on twelve minute quarters. Even if you do feel as though you’ve had a full and satisfactory experience with a basketball game, within a year you’ll be starting from scratch and having to do it all over again. The question is: what changes could be made so that basketball games feel like less of a grind?

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