Dumb Mondays: We Need a Generic Basketball Game

This is Dumb Mondays, starting the workweek off with silly facts or some of my opinions and predictions that you may or may not find interesting. This week I am sharing a dumb rant and will be looking for and responding to your comments throughout the week.

It is never too late to publish a wishlist article and this is something I have been meaning to get off my chest. We, the basketball video game playing community, need a gameplay-focused alternative to the yearly NBA games. It can be from some other company, an indie game, or from EA or 2K themselves using their NBA engine, but we need some kind of customizable sandbox based around this sport. All that we do with the PC versions of the NBA games is great, but we need something designed to be customized, rather than something simply made more customizable than intended.

This is a bit of a strange request coming from me, I mean we as a community have come so far with our modding ability and quality. We can update any 2K or EA released game to the current NBA, we can take animations from different EA basketball games and mesh them into a single PC game, and we can create a single roster with hundreds of teams in it along with dozens of full retro seasons.

We can do so much, but we are still so limited. We can not break away from the 30 (or 29) team limits in franchise modes or even change our MyPlayer’s shoe brand after making that decision in MyCareer. We can not play 2 halves instead of 4 quarters, or change the length of the shot clock without resorting to trainers and other external trickery that requires more effort than it’s worth.

I guess the main question is why would anyone want to do those things? Well, it is unfortunately common for video game consumers to not care about options or non-visual customization, to the point where NBA 2K has removed fairly significant features year after year and is receiving little financial backlash for it. I miss coach mode being an option, I liked crews the way they were, and I loved having the NBA Development League being integrated into Association mode almost as much as I loved choosing rules and which court to play on in Blacktop mode.

APB 2K12 Mod - Kobe to Shaq

For some reason I feel this is all alleviated with a generic basketball video game. No license to prevent technicals or suspensions, no regulated league structure to limit a franchise mode, just pure customization bliss. To be clear, I would not want this to be a gimmick game either like All Pro Football 2K8 with NFL legends, I mean pure Backbreaker levels of generic but customization.

I know that there are basketball manager games, and the existence of FreeStyle basketball, but I want something that lets me run a dozen leagues at once while still giving me something worth playing for hours upon hours. I want to be able to take a high school player and experience every minute of his, or her, career through college, the pros, international play, and even pickup games during the off-season or after their career has concluded. I want to scout a random country  for some unknown streetballer and throw them in with the world’s best professional league just as much as I want to draft the best college prospects.

I want the world from these games, and it irks me to feel like this is all possible. 2K and EA both have the assets in place to make all of this happy. Both have created NCAA games with multiple leagues, NBA 2K used to have street courts with differing dimensions to play on, EA made FIFA Street which did an amazing job creating atmosphere in a wide variety of locations and crowd sizes, and both companies have the ability to make engaging franchise modes with a plethora of options to make no 2 experiences the same.

But on the other hand, this $400 console sitting next to me somehow prevents either NBA 2K14 or NBA Live 14 from letting me play with post-draft rosters or easily customize rosters. There are so many things that I want, there are so many things I could complain about. With EA in rebuild mode for the next few years and 2K obviously focusing on MyCareer and MyTeam based on their social media handlers…maybe we should just make our own game.

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July 23, 2014 8:28 pm

I’d be all for it. I can even rattle off five reasons why. 😉

But yeah, it’d be cool.