Monday Tip-Off: Reviving the Retro Modding Scene

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Padding & Politics in Player Ratings

Postby Andrew on Mon May 20, 2024 1:35 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Padding & Politics in Player Ratings

Although the discussion has seemingly turned to MyPLAYER builds and figuring out the meta, I’d suggest that real player ratings will always be a point of interest. They’re still vital in accurately representing the players’ abilities and skill levels, and if you play franchise modes or with retro teams, you’ll notice mistakes and inconsistencies. There’s also still an interest in which players are top-rated in key categories such as dunking and three-point shooting, as well as where everyone ranks with their Overall Ratings. Again, it may not be as much of a focus now, but there’s still a discussion.

To that point, it’s clear that personal opinions and politics do play a role in both our view of the ratings, as well as how they’re assigned in the first place. Lest I sound like a grumpy old head grumbling about modern games, let’s make it clear that this has been going on for many, many years! Indeed, I’d suggest that as long as basketball video games have had visible ratings – and in some cases, where there have been some sneaky hidden mechanics – player abilities have been subject to padding and politics. There are times when it’s been fairly benign or even enhanced the experience, but it can certainly be problematic and damaging when it leads to widespread inaccuracies.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Black Plates & The Big Picture

Postby Andrew on Mon May 27, 2024 12:45 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Black Plates & The Big Picture

After several years of grinding to level up a MyPLAYER so that I could partake in MyCAREER’s connected online modes, I gave up shortly into the life cycle of NBA 2K21. It’s simply not fun to repeat that journey every year, especially as the mode has become pushier and pushier with its recurrent revenue mechanics, and the scene has only grown increasingly toxic. With that being said, I do keep tabs on what’s going on with NBA 2K’s online scene, paying attention to what my fellow basketball gamers are saying about it on social media and Reddit.

Sadly, from the sounds of things, not much has changed. Well, it might’ve grown even worse if anything, but it certainly hasn’t improved! It seems that one of the biggest issues in NBA 2K24 – at least according to discussions over on the official NBA 2K subreddit – has been the matter of “black plates”. For those who are unaware, this is referring to a rep system in MyCAREER’s connected modes, which displays different colours behind a MyPLAYER’s overall depending on their online performance. As the players with the lowest rep, “black plates” are generally avoided. While this is understandable, it exemplifies an ongoing issue with the design of 2K’s online modes.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: A Requiem for ICQ

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 03, 2024 12:15 pm

Monday Tip-Off: A Requiem for ICQ

Alright, so this topic isn't strictly related to basketball gaming, but hey, it's my column and I'm essentially the editor-in-chief here, so who's going to stop me? Besides, ICQ is certainly relevant in the history of our community, as plenty of people who were around in the early days - me included - used it to chat with each other. Indeed, for those of us who were online in the late 90s, ICQ was likely one of our first instant messaging clients along with AOL Instant Messenger, aka AIM. I'm guessing that most of us haven't used the program in years, but ICQ has remained active as of 2024.

Until now, that is. On May 24th 2024, it was announced on ICQ's official website that the service will be shut down on June 26th, after almost 30 years. As someone who used ICQ back in the day, I'm compelled to become the latest person to eulogise this vestige of 1990s internet. Considering that we've also been around since 1996 and will now outlast ICQ, it also has me thinking about the passage of time; what's come and gone, and what the internet has gained and lost over the years. I realise that this isn't Wayback Wednesday, but nevertheless, I wanted to reminisce about ICQ and reflect on its impressive longevity, as well as my nostalgia as an Elder Millennial.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: I Bought VC For The First Time In Years (And I Hate That)

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 10, 2024 1:11 pm

Monday Tip-Off: I Bought VC For The First Time In Years (And I Hate That)

The first time I spent real money on VC was in the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K14. Intrigued by my first look at MyTEAM, I figured I'd drop a few bucks on it and try my luck. I had one very lucky pull - a 1993 Michael Jordan card - but it was quite clear that generally speaking, it'd be a poor investment. I also splurged on some VC in NBA 2K16, 2K17, and 2K18 in order to upgrade my MyPLAYER to be ready for the online scene sooner. Beginning with NBA 2K19 however, I began adhering to a strict No Money Spent policy. I found great satisfaction in not giving in to the pressure.

I continued that approach in future games, while encouraging my fellow gamers to do the same. That hasn't changed: I despise the pushiness of microtransactions in NBA 2K, and how the quality of the on-court experience suffers if you want to take the long road. However, I must admit that as far as buying VC myself, after abstaining for several years, I gave in. While it isn't one of the most embarrassing things I've ever done in my life - I'll keep those stories to myself, thank you very much! - I certainly wasn't pleased that I did it. There was a reason for it, but even so, I do regret my lack of patience, and participation in a practice that continues to ruin the NBA 2K series.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Reviving the Retro Modding Scene

Postby Andrew on Tue Jun 18, 2024 3:26 am

Monday Tip-Off: Reviving the Retro Modding Scene

Given that my dissatisfaction with the most recent releases in the NBA 2K series has pushed me towards retro basketball gaming – however you want to define that – I’m obviously intrigued by the prospect of reviving the retro modding scene. To reiterate a point I made when I discussed the definition of retro gaming, retro modding means different things to different people, but broadly speaking, I’d suggest that it refers to nostalgic favourites that the community has largely moved on from, but a dedicated contingent of people still revisit and have interest in modding and using mods for.

As far as the specific titles, we can name some popular examples here. NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K14 are two of the most modded games of their generation, and they hold up well. There’s a ton of nostalgia for the later NBA Live releases on PC, especially NBA Live 2005 and NBA Live 06, with NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004 being up there as well. NBA 2K11 has some untapped potential, and is a game I’ve seen gamers cite as one they’d like to see benefit from more retro modding. NBA 2K17 and NBA 2K19 are two recent classics that gamers want to keep alive. I love the idea and support the initiative, but to make it happen, we must keep a few things in mind.
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