Closure: The Unfinished NBA Live 2002 Franchise
I think all of us have had games in various franchise modes over the years that just haven't panned out, sometimes with a story thread that comes to abrupt ending. This particular game, an NBA Live 2002 Franchise with the Sacramento Kings, is one that I maintained long before we were making story threads here at the NLSC. I originally wrote about it in a Friday Five column a couple of years ago:
If you’re a younger NBA fan, you may only know the Sacramento Kings as a perennial lottery contender that recently came very close to relocating and becoming the new Seattle Supersonics. A little over a decade ago however, they were an up and coming contender in the West and were one very controversial Playoff series away from toppling the then two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and advancing to the 2002 NBA Finals.
In my hands, they fell short in NBA Live 2002 as well. I rank this as my number one failed basketball video game endeavour because I was really into this Franchise, playing over sixty games of the regular season with 12 minute quarters and obviously beginning to close in on the Playoffs. The rivalry with the Lakers was even there, as they were very tough opponents and Shaq had a couple of huge games against me, scoring 71 and 56 points. Yes, Shaq was simply a beast in NBA Live 2002 and the AI had no qualms about exploiting that. I actually wasn’t sure that I’d be able to get by them in the Playoffs, playing on Superstar difficulty. Sadly, I’d never get to find out.
Why did I call it quits? As with my Timberwolves franchise the following year, my interest in the game unfortunately waned before I could complete one full season and I ultimately put it aside as frustration with various gameplay issues sapped my enthusiasm. Time went on and then NBA Live 2003 came out, so I started playing that instead. I deleted the save file from my Memory Card a long time ago, though if I hadn’t I’d probably be tempted to go back and simulate the rest of the season and play a few of the Playoff games one lazy afternoon. As it stands though, I’ll stop short of calling it a waste of time as I did have a good amount of fun playing the game as much as I did. It’s just a shame that it ended so abruptly, not too far away from some semblance of completion.
I selected the Kings because they were a fun, elite team at that time. Also, the Bulls were bottoming out back then, and because they hadn't been signed by the roster cut-off date, their two lottery picks - Tyson Chandler and Eddy Curry - weren't even in the game. So, the Kings were the team I chose. I resolved to play every single game with 12 minute quarters, and as I mentioned in the Five, I did actually make it through most of the regular season.
I remember going on a long winning streak, somewhere in the vicinity of twenty or so in a row. The rivalry with the Lakers was in full effect, as I'd lost to them a couple of times, and Shaq - who was pretty much unstoppable in NBA Live 2002 - absolutely destroyed me in both games. It seemed like we were on a collision course in the postseason - just as in the real 2002 season - and I wasn't sure if I'd actually be able to beat them. I didn't get a chance to, as I stopped playing NBA Live 2002 before I finished the regular season. Unfortunately, at some point I deleted the save file, a pain I've also discussed in a previous Friday Five.
When I was planning the content I wanted to produce for our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations (which are belatedly ongoing, as you can see), I had the idea to try and re-create this NBA Live 2002 Franchise, in order to get a little bit of closure with it. I found that I enjoyed NBA Live 2002 a little more than I remembered when I went back to play it to write my retrospective on it, so I was keen to give it a go.
I did end up simming a bit more than I originally intended, partly due to time constraints, but also because of the game itself. NBA Live 2002 holds up better than I remembered, but it's obviously pretty dated, it has its own issues, and you can only play it for so long these days before it's too frustrating, and you want to play something more current. Nevertheless, I did sim through to the end of the season, and played several Playoff games, as I made a run at the 2002 NBA Championship.
For the rest of the story on how that turned out, check out the article over on the main site: Closure: The Unfinished NBA Live 2002 Franchise
I definitely wouldn't mind talking about this one a little more while we wait for NBA 2K17 and new story threads, so I thought I'd go ahead and create a topic here. Hope you enjoy reading about it!