The Friday Five: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are Less Fun Now

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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Improve The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Fri May 11, 2018 9:11 pm

May 11th: 5 Ways to Improve The Neighborhood

Through articles, episodes of the NLSC Podcast, and posts in the Forum, I've made my opinion of The Neighborhood quite clear. In short, I like it about as much as I do MyCAREER stories, which is to say, not very much at all. To me, it's amounted to a lot of wasted time running around the same mini suburb, going back and forth and enduring long loading screens. Whether it's changing my animations, joining my friends in 2K Pro-Am or The Playground, or picking up my endorsement money, it's basically impossible to have a streamlined experience.

However, while I certainly have my criticisms of The Neighborhood, I'd prefer them to be constructive. Even though I'm not a fan of the concept, there are ways that The Neighborhood could be more appealing and user-friendly, not to mention fairer in terms of grinding and potential microtransactions. My guess is that the developers aren't going to give up on the concept after just one game, and if certain changes were made, I for one would probably find it at least a little more tolerable. With that said, here are five ways that the 2K team could improve on the whole experience of The Neighborhood in future games.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Hopes for NBA Playgrounds 2

Postby Andrew on Fri May 18, 2018 10:23 pm

May 18th: 5 Hopes for NBA Playgrounds 2

Originally set for release next week on May 22nd, NBA Playgrounds 2 has now been delayed to an unspecified date. While some basketball gamers have expressed their excitement about a follow up to last year's title, others aren't so thrilled. Some gamers feel that it's coming too soon after the original, and are unhappy that support for the first NBA Playgrounds is ending with a few unfulfilled promises. Others simply didn't care for the first game at all, and feel little incentive to give its sequel a chance. The indefinite postponement likely doesn't allay their concerns or scepticism.

Even if the delay turns out to be for the best as Saber Interactive are insisting, NBA Playgrounds 2 is going to be a tough sell for some gamers. It's going to take a quality release to win gamers over, with clear improvements that wouldn't be possible via a patch. Whatever has led to the delay will also have to be a big deal. The previews have been somewhat promising so far though, and I do believe that NBA Playgrounds 2 has a great opportunity to become the definitive arcade hoops game of the current generation. There are a few things that it must do in order to achieve that however, which I'm outlining in the form of five hopes ahead of its eventual release.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Options That Would Be Handy

Postby Andrew on Fri May 25, 2018 8:12 pm

May 25th: 5 Options That Would Be Handy

When we're compiling our Wishlists and sending feedback to EA Sports and Visual Concepts, it's important that we prioritise. For example, a major gameplay flaw is far more important to address than a largely inconsequential cosmetic feature. Likewise, the functionality and user-friendliness of the menus is more important than the colour (though legibility and presentation obviously counts for something). Nevertheless, it's also a good idea to point out features and options that aren't necessarily vital, but in their own way, add something to the overall experience.

After all, sometimes it's the little things that really make a game enjoyable. Some options are essential, such as difficulty settings, gameplay sliders, and controller configurations, but features such as atmosphere settings, an accelerated clock, stats normalisation, and other such options can really enhance the experience. We can still enjoy the games without them, and in the grand scheme of things, they probably don't have a huge effect on Metacritic scores and general reception, but they'd nevertheless be welcome additions. Future versions of NBA Live and NBA 2K could be enhanced with the addition of handy options such as these.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 4)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:34 pm

June 1st: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 4)

As the title of this week's column indicates, this is Part 4 in an ongoing series offering up suggestions for new retro teams to be added in future NBA 2K games. Reiterating a point I made in Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the series, with so many noteworthy teams in the game already - especially past champions, their opponents, and many other significant squads - the door is now open for some unorthodox but nevertheless interesting teams from years gone by. In some cases, the addition of these retro teams allows for a few more notable players to be included, enhancing MyTEAM and retro roster projects.

Once again, I'll state that my opinion still stands regarding the retro teams mentioned in the previous three articles. I would still like to see those teams included, so these five new squads aren't intended to replace my previous suggestions. Also, I'm making these suggestions under the assumption that most (if not all) of the major players can be licensed to appear, otherwise it would defeat the purpose of adding them to the game. Quite a few of the players from these teams are in the game already though, which means that some of these suggestions may indeed be feasible. Without any further ado, let's get to another five retro teams that'd be fun to have in NBA 2K.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Times Basketball Games Were Rude to Gamers

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:16 pm

June 8th: 5 Times Basketball Games Were Rude to Gamers

One of the great things about video games is that when they defeat or otherwise annoy you, you can tell them off without fear of repercussions. You can be as profane as you like - at least until your housemates or neighbours complain - and you won't hear a single retort from the game or system. Of course, there are times when a game might sling a rude remark your way, sometimes in response to the way you're playing, and other times almost completely unprovoked. That in turn might lead you to throw out a few more obscenities, though the game will take it all in stride.

As basketball video games have sought to incorporate more personality, and a bit of humour on some occasions, developers have slipped in a few rude messages. Now, these messages aren't profane or obscene, but their blunt or taunting nature can leave you muttering a few choice words in response. Other times, the game isn't trying to be rude, but whichever developer was responsible for writing the messages has ended up adopting a tone that they possibly didn't intend. Whatever the case may be, I'm listing five times that basketball video games ended up being rude to gamers. Your opinion may vary as to whether or not they actually enhance the experience!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Reasons Not to Ragequit

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:01 pm

June 15th: 5 Reasons Not to Ragequit

We've all been there. Whether it's the CPU not playing fair, or an embarrassing deficit to an online opponent, we suddenly find ourselves wanting to ragequit a basketball video game. While it's almost universally considered poor form to ragequit an online game you're losing, it can be a healthy decision when you're playing offline. It's much better than breaking a controller (or anything else in the vicinity), and if you're really not having any fun, you're better off taking a break and trying again later. Generally speaking, it's best not to try forcing yourself to endure unenjoyable experiences.

However, there are times when you should try to persevere. Beyond showing good sportsmanship in online play, there are incentives to gut out a game that isn't going your way. You may be missing out on a potentially rewarding experience, as well as a few valuable lessons that may help you to improve your play on the virtual hardwood. No one likes to lose, and losing badly is a bitter pill to swallow, but strength in the face of adversity builds character; so does good sportsmanship, for that matter. Before you let your frustration get the better of you, here are five reasons not to ragequit when playing basketball video games.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 5)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:37 pm

June 22nd: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 5)

Even with all the retro teams that are already in NBA 2K, I can't stop thinking of new squads that would be fun to play with. As I've previously noted, some of the additions in recent years have opened the door to teams outside of previous champions, NBA Finalists, and perennial title contenders. There have been plenty of squads throughout the years that have been memorable for one reason or another, if only for a season or two. It'd be great to get them into future NBA 2K games, not only to play with, but also to boost the ranks of historical players in MyTEAM and the All-Time squads.

Once again, this is part five in an ongoing series of suggestions for new retro teams. I'd still like to see the teams I mentioned in parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 included at some point, but with another five squads coming to mind, it was time for another list. As always, please note that these suggestions assume that most of the significant players (if not all of them) can be licensed to appear in the game, since it would be rather pointless to add these retro teams otherwise. Some are probably more feasible than others, while a few have the advantage of several players already appearing in the game. With that being said, let's get to the list!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Examples of Content That Should Return

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:12 pm

June 29th: 5 Examples of Content That Should Return

Basketball video games have come a long way when it comes to additional content. In the very early days, simply including every single NBA team (rather than a selection of the previous year's postseason teams) was a big deal. Once it became standard to include every team, extra content was basically limited to the custom teams and a few secret unlockable teams usually comprised of the game's developers. NBA Live 2000 would see the arrival of Legends, and then 2K would take historical content even further beginning in NBA 2K11, with the inclusion of Michael Jordan's Bulls squads.

Indeed, much of what we might have once called bonus content is now considered to be essential. It's difficult to imagine Visual Concepts removing the historical teams from NBA 2K; if it were to happen, the backlash would be tremendous. The removal of content is a sore point for basketball gamers because we have seen certain features disappear from both NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years. While content such as the historical and WNBA teams nicely round out recent games, there are things that a lot of gamers would like to see return. I obviously have my own list of content that I'd like to see again, which I present for everyone's consideration (including EA and 2K).
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are More Fun Now

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:16 pm

July 6th: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are More Fun Now

We tend to enjoy basketball video games around these parts. It may not always seem like that, but a hardcore fanbase is always going to be passionate, and criticism always comes across louder than praise. We have our complaints, and there are things that we want to see improve, but generally speaking, we do have fun with basketball games. Whether we prefer franchise gaming, team building modes, the single player career experience, or online play, there's usually at least been a handful of games that have given us memorable and enjoyable moments on the virtual hardwood.

Of course, basketball games have been fun for a long time, and if you've been playing them for many years, then it's likely that you have many fond memories of older titles. It's often fun to revisit an old favourite, but other times, it's best to leave the memories alone. After all, technology and design concepts have come a long way over the past couple of decades, and there have been many improvements that make more modern basketball games more fun to play than their predecessors. It's not always apparent until you go back and play an old game, and there are always exceptions, but if you're feeling sceptical, here are five ways that basketball games are more fun now.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are Less Fun Now

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:41 pm

July 13th: 5 Ways Basketball Games Are Less Fun Now

Basketball video games have improved in leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades, but it hasn't always been a smooth journey. There have been missteps along the way, and moving forward, there's obviously still room for improvement in both NBA Live and NBA 2K. Despite that, it's fair to say that in many ways, basketball games are better than they've ever been, providing extremely fun experiences thanks to the factors I discussed in last week's Friday Five. At the same time, there are a few aspects of today's games that make them less fun than their predecessors.

It's difficult to say that without sounding like a grumpy old man being held hostage by his own nostalgia, but it's true. While design concepts and technology have come a long way, there are certain trends - some specific to basketball games, others common to video gaming in general - that make us yearn for the good old days. In some cases, the good old days aren't even that long ago, with some of these issues infiltrating our favourite basketball games within the past few years. It's not that basketball games aren't fun anymore, or necessarily worse than the titles that came before them, but the particular elements I'm about to discuss have come to affect our enjoyment.
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