Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five gimmicks in basketball gaming that didn’t last very long.
A common complaint about features, mechanics, or modes in basketball games is that they’re “gimmicky”. Of course, it’s possible to describe the more positive attributes of basketball games as “gimmicks”, in the sense that they’re selling points. However, we usually reserve the terms “gimmicks” and “gimmicky” for features and mechanics that we feel deserve the negative connotation. They’re the aspects of basketball games that add little value, and perhaps even detract from the overall experience. It’s why we say we want to see real improvements and great additions, and not just gimmicks.
Unfortunately, basketball games have experimented with ideas that turned out to be more gimmicky than beneficial. They’re not alone in that regard, though. Other genres of video games, television shows, films, social media platforms…not every idea will be a winner, particularly if the concept wasn’t necessarily intended to be beneficial to the audience. Some ideas are certainly creative and merited a try, but didn’t pan out as well as hoped. The good news is that although we’ve seen a number of questionable gimmicks in basketball games, many of them didn’t last too long. They either evolved into a better concept, or were dropped very soon afterwards, as in these five examples.