Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

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Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:58 pm

Hey story enthusiasts! Just thought I'd run a few ideas by this section of our community, to see if we can reinvigorate our Stories forum.

As many people have pointed out, the Stories section isn't as popular as it once was. While we can attribute that in large part to changes in demographics and the kind of content basketball gamers are most interested in, that doesn't mean that we can't try a few things that might allow the Stories section to move with the times and remain relevant.

One of the important questions to ask at this point is whether we need a dedicated Stories section, or if it would be better to just have active stories posted in the section for the game they're using. The old topics would remain archived in a central section (this one) and topics that have concluded could be moved there for posterity, but any active topics would be part of the general discussion areas for their respective games. This has the potential to both make them stand out in sections that people are frequenting, and stimulate general gaming discussion.

Another idea would be renaming the section with a more up to date and eye-catching label that encourages participation. "Basketball Video Game Stories" is straightforward enough, but it's also admittedly rather plain. Aside from promoting it a little more through a weekly post (which is also something to consider), I'm open to suggestions on how to freshen up the Stories section and make it more appealing.

It's also worth considering that the heyday of story topics has come and gone, and while that's unfortunate, it is what it is. In that instance, we can just leave the section as is for anyone who wants to participate, and accept that it's not going to get used as much as when that particular hobby was popular. This may well be the reality of the situation, but it's worth tossing around a few ideas all the same.

The long and short of it is that I'm open to ideas to freshen up and reinvigorate the Stories section, or at least bring story topics more attention by allowing them to be posted in other sections. Sometimes the old forum layouts are outdated and it's time to try new things, other times it's just a matter of tweaking what we're already doing, and of course, it can be a case of realising a situation is what it is and leaving it be because it's no trouble to just do so. In any event, let me know your thoughts.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby TGsoGood on Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:31 am

I recently told someone that they should incorporate their video series into a story in this section of the NLSC and they had no idea about this section.
It could be that new users simply don't know about this section of the forums.

Also I think keeping all the stories in this section will better benefit those playing older games.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:46 pm

Great point about the older stories.

Sounds like this section is getting overlooked despite being fairly prominently displayed. Guess that comes down to new ideas on how to spotlight it and make it stand out.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Breems on Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:54 am

I think a dedicated section is better than spreading out the stories. I only play older games and many people only play newer games, so we'd miss out on each other's stories.

Renaming the section might help a bit. A few suggestions off the top of my head: Tell Your Stories, Storytime, NLSC Beat Writers, Community Stories.

Community involvement keeps people engaged. Running competitions might draw some interest, e.g. story of the month/quarter/year.

There are also technical hurdles for writing good stories. A good story typically requires screenshots, compiling stats, and decent writing skills. The sticky guide has great advice but could use some updates.

For me, the most time-consuming part is prepping all the screenshots, box scores, etc. A really ambitious idea is to develop some software that can read your game files and generate a forum-friendly recap of stats, box scores, league transactions, etc., leaving more time for us to focus on the story. It would only work on PC and comes with a plethora of challenges given the amount of games to support, but the software developer in me is interested.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:39 pm

Definitely. Let's shelve the idea of archiving this section in favour of posting in the individual sections, then.

It sounds like a rename might be in order at the very least. We used to have Story of the Year awards, but they fell out favour as the popularity waned. It also comes down to someone wanting to handle it. That doesn't mean we can't try to revive concepts like that, though.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby TGsoGood on Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:51 pm

Maybe we can have Story Spotlights, where a story or 2 is spotlighted on the home page once the author has made so many post in a specific story thread.
Or maybe once the story gets past the first offseason. This would require authors to keep going with their stories but also give them incentive.

In order to have your story spotlighted the author would need to be past their first season, provide a short summary of what is happening with out revealing all, and give some insight to how they came up with different ideas for the story (ie character names, plot, how they decided what team to select etc)
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:08 am

Something like that sounds pretty good. It'd definitely help me to have the summary provided.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby wdt92 on Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:16 am

TGsoGood wrote:Maybe we can have Story Spotlights, where a story or 2 is spotlighted on the home page once the author has made so many post in a specific story thread.
Or maybe once the story gets past the first offseason. This would require authors to keep going with their stories but also give them incentive.

In order to have your story spotlighted the author would need to be past their first season, provide a short summary of what is happening with out revealing all, and give some insight to how they came up with different ideas for the story (ie character names, plot, how they decided what team to select etc)


I think this is a great idea to promote the stories! I definitely want to back this idea.

Just to give my two cents on the overall state of things: I think the tedious nature of writing and most people having to catch up changes things now as alternatives gain popularity. For example, I look at what I used to watch often on YouTube NBA 2K related vs. what is promoted and watched now. It is almost entirely different. When I started watching (just to use an example) AFunkyDiabetic was on the rise and was doing full storied franchises. I'm not saying that style is completely gone, but now most things go towards rebuilds or utilizing the medium to talk about real-life basketball. Both of these alternatives are great for their part, but the actual Franchise story has become more and more elusive for fans of that content to find. Going from what has been said already here about stories and relating to them, this is due to the total watch time (or read time) being more than any other content basketball related. From AFunkyDiabetic, he has said on his channel the 2K franchises actually get fewer views than his other content. This is, in my opinion, due to how much time it takes to watch them in order from a fan's perspective. Also added, with how much time it takes to make them, it gives poor motivation for a creator to make.

When using this example, I think it matches very cleanly with the stories on the forum. I'm a big fan of them, but it's obvious to everyone they're becoming more and more passed by time and will need either more activity inside the decision making as the story goes on or will need a more creative hook to get back going again when it comes to popularity growth. One idea would be to begin promoting more mixed content. For example, the Kobe Bryant "What If" video on YouTube is brilliant in the fact it is a more hybrid style between a rebuild and a franchise story. It cuts the fat but places a realistic and linear narrative that makes it fun to follow. It's an easily digestible video series (though it took me 2 weeks to finish it). I think TGsoGood's idea of promoting video series is also a great one for the story section. Begin encouraging users to promote their ideas via the medium. Unfortunately, it's hard to implement, and I've seen stories like that fail from the lack of following. However, perhaps, having some hybrid writing styles too to switch things up would help?

In the end, I don't know if any one person has the answers here on how to reinvigorate life into the section. An idea I have from reading TGsoGood's "Story Spotlight" idea is to use that as a means to also promote up and coming stories as well. I think the established stories need traffic, but I think the new ones need it more. So, for example, have a couple of stories being promoted as "legendary" or "must read." It gives them necessary and earned traffic for the fact they passed the first season and are trucking through the story. It encourages them rightfully so. Added, I also think it would be good then to have a single story as a "hot new story" that can be updated weekly to biweekly to help get traffic for that new story. I think, from my observation, it is hard for writers to get out of the gates without people reacting to them. Unfortunately, while I think this is done for fun, it has led to deaths for many stories as the returns aren't worth the time invested. That becomes hard to fight through and in my opinion, all the new stories then quick deaths kills momentum for the section.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby TGsoGood on Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:13 pm

wdt92
I like your thoughts on the subject. I began following afunkydiabetic because of his franchise story videos but they died off about two months after I really began following him.
It is hard as a viewer to stay invested and it is hard as a creator to remain motivated to continue the story.

I think, from my observation, it is hard for writers to get out of the gates without people reacting to them. Unfortunately, while I think this is done for fun, it has led to deaths for many stories as the returns aren't worth the time invested. That becomes hard to fight through and in my opinion, all the new stories then quick deaths kills momentum for the section.


I agree. Maybe what we really need is suggestions on how to motivate ourselves to keep our stories going.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:27 pm

Great perspective, wdt92!

Keeping people motivated to both create and engage is obviously the key. My advice has always been to create stories because they come from your enjoyment of the game and you want to share that experience with your fellow gamers. Of course, the audience also has to want to engage, and I think these days, people are looking for content that talks about the best builds, unstoppable jumpshot animations, that sort of thing. The rise of the career modes and their connected experiences is a factor here. If it's entertaining, though, I think people will give it a chance.

Going back to something Breems suggested, software that generates recaps and so forth might be a little too ambitious at this point, but if nothing else we could perhaps whip up some templates with BBCode that people could use to easily format recaps and the like. It would be a bit generic, even with a few different styles to choose from, but it'd be a time saver and help people get started. Updating the tips topic could be helpful as well. Even if the layout is a bit stock standard, the content itself could make up for that.

I like the idea of promoting up-and-coming stories as well as established ones. The established ones can stand as an example, whereas getting featured every now and again as an up-and-coming story will hopefully bring some exposure and incentive to keep creating.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby seaboh13 on Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:10 am

Some great points here guys. Yes I think spotlighting some stories on the homepage is great. I for one love checking in your blogs Andrew. Some nice stories going right now. Maybe story of the month/ year things would be good to get going again. Possibly a link to this section in the other game sections, like 2k19, 2k18 etc to stories. I think the dedicated section is important. I like the suggested name NLSC Beat Writers for the section. Something new and fresh like that. I for one have only followed a few stories through fully. Some over on Operation Sports too. Time is a major factor for me. I would love to compile 82 game recaps but never keep it up. Something to help with that would be great. I love seeing people photoshop layouts and templates.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby cavs4872 on Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:51 am

I was literally just thinking about reviving all three of my stories this weekend (Live 10, 2K19 and 09: The Inside), but at the end of the day I just don't have time for it: it's just like a tertiary thing in my life. There's work > video games > dynasty stories. But I don't think the passion ever dies for anyone: I come back, Lamrock comes back, Thierry comes back, Kevin comes back, etc.

When would you actually say was the peak for this section? When I joined the forum in '09?

As Breems said, I think it would actually be messy and a disservice to post them in the section of their game (my two cents)... more likely to just get buried. But yeah, with the heyday of online gaming, stories are pretty much a throwback novelty at this point -- does anyone even play franchise on its own anymore? I think that window has passed as well.

Andrew wrote:Of course, the audience also has to want to engage, and I think these days, people are looking for content that talks about the best builds, unstoppable jumpshot animations, that sort of thing.

lmao! And budget MyTEAM ballers (at least when the game launched).
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:32 am

A permanent link along with the other features is definitely worth a try, and won't take up much space in the menu. Good suggestion! I'm not sure about NLSC Beat Writers as it might imply feature article writers (and we do have a spot for guest posts as it happens: The Soapbox), but definitely appreciate the suggestions. Let's keep brainstorming some alternative names that'll make the section stand out!

I'd say the golden age of the stories section ran from around 2003-2012, with a few lulls here and there as we transitioned from being an NBA Live fansite with a bit of 2K content to a site that covered basketball gaming in general. At this point I'd definitely agree about keeping the section as it is as far as being a catch-all for story topics; too many downsides have been pointed out, so let's not change that.

Another idea along the lines of providing templates and the like would be to open the section up to advice as well. For example, tips on how to best utilise player development functions, players to trade for, how to approach a career, and so on. The potential downside there is it doubles up on conversations that could just go in the general discussion areas for each game, but I think if there was some conversation here that was about trading advice for both story topics and the franchise/career gaming experience, it could bring more attention to the section (and by extension, the stories). Anyway, just a thought how the section could possibly evolve with the times, since gaming habits are changing.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby spiderxx7 on Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:02 am

cavs4872 wrote:I was literally just thinking about reviving all three of my stories this weekend (Live 10, 2K19 and 09: The Inside), but at the end of the day I just don't have time for it: it's just like a tertiary thing in my life. There's work > video games > dynasty stories. But I don't think the passion ever dies for anyone: I come back, Lamrock comes back, Thierry comes back, Kevin comes back, etc.


What a coincidence. :lol:

I think this is my fourth or fifth "comeback". Last night that passion came crawling back. I was thinking of doing something with the Knicks, but not with this 19/20 roster, probably a retro story, some new scenarios or What If?s... but as you said, it's now a tertiary thing. I got a job last February, and I've been on a relationship for the past two months (first time for me) and I couldn't be any happier. It would be a matter of finding some free time and if I do, probably monthly recaps.

Changing the name of the section is probably a great first step to inject some new blood, I'd say. Sticky this too!
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby cavs4872 on Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:02 am

I've actually been so desperate to do a story without the time that I actually thought of just pure simming without playing games, so it sounds like we're all in the same boat.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby wdt92 on Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:28 am

cavs4872 wrote:I've actually been so desperate to do a story without the time that I actually thought of just pure simming without playing games, so it sounds like we're all in the same boat.


I don't have the longevity you guys have, but I did try that with a full sim and brief monthly recaps. In my experience, it just made everything less connected. I was rushing through trying to get to the "fun" part, and it just felt lifeless. Keep in mind also, I'm not a sim guy or a sandbox guy. The storytelling then reflected my disconnect and it became a hard act to continue. Eventually, it just left me not wanting to do it anymore as I made it a boring chore. :lol:

However, I think SimCast helps a lot with these, and allows you to write per game but also not use hours of time. I have been using it for my story and with my more limited time now, I think it is more of the middle ground that I found to be ideal. I found controlling the rotation of the game on 6x speed completes the game fairly quickly, and I jump in generally to play key moments. Usually, I can complete an entire game in about 15-30 minutes. That may help both of you guys to get back into it if you want to go down that route. :)
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby cavs4872 on Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:02 pm

I've kind of really been interested in bringing life back to my NBA 09: The Inside Cavs story I started last year because that's a unique game that I can't remember anyone trying a story for that seemed to generate decent buzz and interest people, but there's a couple key things holding that game back: you can't choose your jerseys (it just always defaults to the default home/away -- not a huge gripe, but if you knew the amount of jerseys in this game you would be astounded), no injuries and every player is a RFA so hardly any stars hit the market and only change teams via trades, but at least the sim engine is better than NBA Live 10 and you can look at your own playoff box scores... I might try it down the road; as Andrew said, primitivity leads to great storytelling which made this section thrive in the first place.

A bit more of an arcade-style game as well so I could get away without playing the full 48.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 05, 2019 11:57 pm

So, any more suggestions for new names for the section? Thought we could brainstorm a few as a group.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby spiderxx7 on Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:15 am

TGsoGood wrote:I think keeping all the stories in this section will better benefit those playing older games.


I'm with this. Hypothetically, a thread of someone posting a Live 2000 dynasty would be completely lost on the Vintage section. I think they should all be here and mention in the title, which game you're playing.

Andrew wrote:So, any more suggestions for new names for the section? Thought we could brainstorm a few as a group.


This is tough... Share Your Story? Share Your Universe?
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Breems on Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:04 pm

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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Andrew on Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:23 pm

Definitely some creative ideas so far, keep them coming! (Y)

I think the challenge here is getting something that's suitably eye-catching, but also clear and self-explanatory about the purpose and content of the section.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby [Q] on Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:47 am

Fan Fiction might be a good descriptor to make it more visible
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby seaboh13 on Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:23 am

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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby cavs4872 on Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:32 am

[Q] wrote:Fan Fiction might be a good descriptor to make it more visible

I second this.
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Re: Ideas to Reinvigorate our Stories Section

Postby Lamrock on Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:46 am

Rambly post, but anyway

About once a year, I come back and attempt to make a new story, but I usually lose interest pretty quick. I like having a creative outlet and remain obsessed with the NBA but due to the lack of activity in the section, and more importantly, the reality of being an adult, I don't find it to be a very good use of my time.

While I'll probably make more myLeague threads in the future, I think that YouTube videos have replaced forum threads when it comes to this kind of thing. Even those he's abandoned his 2K series for mediocre NBA commentary (if you can make a living doing that, more power to you), AFunkyDiabetic's video series on his myLeague games in 2K16 were leagues ahead of everything I've seen in this section, save for SIt's A Legend Is Born series.

That's not to disparage the hobby. I've had a lot of fun at times making my threads, and people who weren't lazy fucks like me were able to develop and hone their writing and Photoshop skills. However, I just see it as largely obsolete. If they were to add a feature to 2K that tracks and uploads stats and screenshots to a server (perhaps a mod for the PC version is possible?), kind of like what they had for 2K10, perhaps people would be more inclined to post this kind of stuff. As it is, I think that story threads have become obsolete.

Of course, there will always be some kind of following for niche 00's era internet hobbies. www.thpsx.com is a website dedicated to the long-dead Tony Hawk series, mainly its THUG Pro mod. Though it's a small community, they still run create-a-park contests and host showcase gameplay videos. I like the idea of renaming the section (myStories is probably my favorite - perhaps we can change it to include Live if their franchise mode catches up to where it was 15 years ago) and bringing back things like Story of the Year. Not sure if this section can ever be as popular as it was in the day, but I certainly would miss it if it went away.
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