We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on people who dismiss the importance of realistically depicting basketball in an NBA game.
A few years back, I wrote an article questioning whether basketball gamers were still simheads. It’s one of those topics that I always want to approach carefully, so as not to fall victim to the same gatekeeping nonsense that I despise. While some games are for the “strictly hardcore” crowd, most genres should be welcoming to everyone. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a learning curve and competitive play, but they should be accessible to newcomers, and fun for all. Furthermore, it’s vital that a game like NBA 2K is able to cater to different tastes, within reason.
However, we’ve reached the stage where prominent voices in the community – and their fanbases – are actively pushing back on the realistic depiction of basketball in an NBA game. As someone who has been playing hoops games for decades and seen the rise of NBA 2K and the fall of NBA Live owing to their respective abilities to deliver sim titles that are both fun and realistic, it’s dismaying to see some truly terrible takes receive the amount of support that they do. The notion that an NBA sim game doesn’t need to strive for any sort of realism or basketball strategy is absurd. It speaks to the downside of NBA 2K’s broadening popularity, and catering to a wider audience.