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.
Well, the holiday season is well and truly upon us! We’re just six days away from Christmas, and for many of us, the season brings us a chance to kick back and relax with friends and family. Being gamers, I’d suggest that many of us will also be spending a bit of time in front of a PC or console, enjoying some new releases and old favourites alike. In this community, that probably means playing a basketball title or two. I’ll be spending a few days away with friends over New Year’s, but when I do have some time to myself, you can be bet that I’ll be playing some virtual hoops.
As we gear up to play basketball video games during this holiday season, and in the year ahead, I want to put something out there for the community to consider. It may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but considering how passionate we gamers can get about the hobby, I feel it’s worth mentioning from time to time. No matter what your skill level, preferred style of gameplay, or game mode of choice, please keep this in mind: you should enjoy basketball games the way that you want.
What do I mean by this, and why is it worth mentioning? Well, like I said, we gamers tend to be a passionate bunch. Basketball gamers also tend to be sports fans as well, so we’re fanatical in more ways than one, and accustomed to being very passionate about our opinions, preferences, and choices. The same way we staunchly support our favourite teams and players, we also stand firmly behind our approach to playing basketball video games, and our opinion as to which mode is the best experience on offer. In short, we can be a bit myopic, and judgemental.
To give you an example, not too long ago, I saw someone in our Forum sneering at MyCAREER. Basically, they criticised the premise, and kind of mocked gamers for playing a mode with “fake text messages”, “pretend practice drills”, and so on. This person’s choice of mode was MyPARK, which is absolutely fine. However, MyPARK is no more or less real than MyCAREER, or any other mode in any other basketball video game. If we’re playing a video game, then we’re all pretending to some extent, whether it’s assuming the role of an NBA player, going to a virtual park to play pick up ball, or living out our front office fantasies in MyLEAGUE or MyGM.
And that’s OK! That’s what video games are for! We shouldn’t be telling other people which modes to play, or how to play the game. Certain modes and approaches to the game may be more popular than others, but none are more or less valid than one another. They’re all part of the experience that’s on offer. What someone else is playing should not affect your experience, as their preference does not diminish yours. The same goes for slider and difficulty settings. What provides an enjoyable experience for someone else is all that should matter to them…though if you are playing on an easy difficulty, perhaps don’t brag about being an elite player!
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek out and listen to advice, or consider another point of view. The goal here is not to be close-minded, but firm in your convictions, and not susceptible to changing your opinion or preference just because someone else insists that their approach to basketball video gaming is the only “correct” way to play. At the end of the day, you need to decide what kind of experience is right for you; while the advice of your fellow basketball gamers can be helpful, it ultimately comes down to your tastes. And if those tastes are unique, or a bit off-the-wall, so be it! Enjoy, have fun!
Now, in saying that you should enjoy basketball video games the way that you want, there is a caveat when it comes to online play. What you do in single player/offline play is your business, but when there are other gamers involved, everyone should play fair. That doesn’t mean that anyone should hold back or let the other side win – competition is the name of the game, after all – but when it comes to hacking and cheating, don’t be that person. And if you are intent on being that person who competes online with a hacked player or team, keep in mind that you do so at your own risk of running afoul of the ban hammer.
The bottom line here is that you should enjoy your basketball gaming experience. That doesn’t mean you can’t be critical, or frustrated at times; that’s inevitable. But if you’re not having fun, try another game, maybe an old favourite if a newer release isn’t giving you the experience that you want. Find the game, the mode, and the settings that suit you, and have a blast! By all means keep an open mind about other opinions, but don’t let them dissuade you from a certain title or mode, or worry about impressing anyone else. Remember, you’re playing for your own enjoyment. Do what works for you, and don’t subject yourself to something that you don’t enjoy.
As for me, I’m looking forward to finally starting a MyLEAGUE game over the holidays. I’m leaning towards using my beloved Chicago Bulls, but seeing how much fun other people are having with the expansion team feature, that’s certainly a tempting option as well. Either way, I’ll be sure to go with what feels right for me, and share my experiences in the Forum and on the NLSC Podcast. I certainly invite you to share your experiences with us as well, whatever you’re playing. Let’s be a community that shares in our enjoyment of basketball games and offers friendly advice, while refraining from judgement and elitism.