Monday Tip-Off: A Week Playing in The Rec

Talk about the NLSC Podcast, Wiki and other site related issues and content here. Site and community announcements are also posted in this section.

Re: Monday Tip-Off: Hitting 90 Overall in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:52 pm

January 7th, 2019: Hitting 90 Overall in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

The Road to 99 in MyCAREER is a journey that can be incredibly tedious. It's hardly a stunning revelation that this is by design, a method of encouraging gamers to pay for VC in order to skip the long grind. As much as I dislike the practice, my desire to play online with my friends in the NLSC's 2K Pro-Am squad has seen me resort to buying VC in previous games in order to sufficiently boost my attributes on Day 1. I decided that after last year's unashamed money grab, I would avoid buying any VC in NBA 2K19. Instead, I'd try to grind up my player the long way.

Between Christmas and New Year's, I finally hit 90 Overall. Although it felt like a long road with a lot of grinding, it did actually happen a little quicker than I had first anticipated. Nevertheless, it was tremendously satisfying, and proof that it can be done within the first few months of owning the game (albeit with some good luck). As I consider how much further I'll travel down the Road to 99, I thought that I'd reflect on the journey so far, as well as some of the strategies that I found useful along the way. If you're still striving to hit 90 Overall or better and are determined not to spend any money on VC, hopefully I can offer up some encouragement and helpful pointers.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Our Modding Community

Postby Andrew on Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:07 pm

January 14th, 2019: The Future of Our Modding Community

2019 could be a great year for our modding community. Late last year, Vlad delivered a wonderful gift in the form of new versions of RED MC and REDitor II that are fully functional and completely free. The availability of these modding tools should allow for some great new releases for old favourites that are still being tinkered with. The community is also very active as far as updating NBA 2K19, with our most intuitive modders developing new techniques and resources. As far as the site is concerned, we anticipate being around for some time yet.

However, there are some disappointing trends and growing concerns. I've discussed a few of them before, but unfortunately, they persist (and in some cases, are just getting worse). In some respects, we're at the mercy of current trends and culture, and some issues are difficult to curb without setting inflexible rules that ultimately run the risk of driving people away from the hobby. Nevertheless, I'd like to take the opportunity to weigh in on those matters once again, and try to steer our modding community onto a better path. To be as productive and friendly as possible, we must avoid the pitfalls and toxicity that have sunk other modding websites and communities.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: What Actually Ruins Basketball Video Games?

Postby Andrew on Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:17 pm

January 21st, 2019: What Actually Ruins Basketball Video Games?

Having been a part of the online basketball gaming community for over twenty years and admin of the NLSC for going on eighteen, I've both seen and taken part in some spirited discussions about the hobby. Our conversations about basketball video games have run the gamut from excitedly positive to furiously negative, depending on the issue and the quality of any given title. Given that we all have different tastes and expectations of basketball video games, our opinions will differ when it comes what will ruin our experience on the virtual hardwood. That's fine, and to be encouraged!

Of course, it's easy to exaggerate, especially when a pet peeve is involved. I recall one Forum member fuming over the use of the word "City" on the team statistics menu in NBA Live 2001. As they correctly pointed out, teams such as the Warriors, Jazz, and Pacers all take their names from their state rather than their city, making that label inaccurate. It's a valid point, but a minor detail that was correct for most of the teams, and a criticism that paled in comparison with other issues in NBA Live 2001. Such issues are worth pointing out, but as we compile our Wishlists, it's important that we prioritise problems that can ruin basketball video games, ahead of minor annoyances.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: NBA Live's Identity & Longevity

Postby Andrew on Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:25 pm

January 28th, 2019: NBA Live's Identity & Longevity

There seems to be somewhat of a divide and a notable amount of unrest among NBA Live gamers at the moment. At a time when we should be consolidating out feedback - obligatory cheap plug for our NBA Live 20 Wishlist - there's a lot of argument about the future of the series. Many gamers are expressing concerns and frustration, while others are arguing that we must all be supportive and, to borrow a slogan, trust the process. Both sides have a point and are coming from a good place, though I do find myself agreeing more with the former group.

That's probably because the group that's most frustrated tend to be gamers my age. We remember a time when NBA Live was the dominant brand in 5v5 sim-oriented NBA games, and all the things that made it successful. Needless to say, that's led to a bit of sneering at us allegedly out of touch "old heads"; a term that's quickly come to highlight the toxicity in today's basketball gaming community. At the same time, it is certainly easy to get caught up in the past, and we do need to have some patience, but it's getting tougher for a lot of NBA Live loyalists to remain patient. Ultimately, NBA Live needs to forge an appealing identity that results in longevity and a deeper game.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Online vs. Offline in Basketball Gaming

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:56 pm

February 4th, 2019: Online vs. Offline in Basketball Gaming

By definition, fanatics are not always logical, with measured, reasonable opinions. It's a rare fanbase that doesn't have some sort of schism, if not a multitude of factions that hold differing opinions. I touched on one such example in last week's feature, noting that there's often dissonance when it comes to younger gamers, and those who have been playing basketball games for a long time (in some cases, more than a couple of decades). There are a lot of things that most basketball gamers want and can agree on, but also some very different ideas about features, identity, and overall direction.

The most noticeable schism within the basketball gaming community would have to be between online and offline gamers. The rise of online gaming in general, and the expansion of multiplayer modes in basketball games specifically, has led to a faction of hoops gamers who play exclusively online, with little interest in the offline modes. At the same time, there are a lot of gamers who prefer the single player experience. In the middle of the Venn diagram are gamers who play both online and offline to some extent, sitting in the crossfire of two passionate factions who are not only taking shots at developers, but also each other. Unfortunately, it makes us a hard group to please.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How We React When Developers Deliver

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:48 pm

February 11th, 2019: How We React When Developers Deliver

The number of patches required by modern video games is a sore point, especially when it comes to the matter of day one title updates. Even if you're fine with the prospect of multiple patches post-release, there's the possibility that the updates will end up doing more harm than good; a phenomenon we've seen on more than one occasion. However, there have also been times when patches have greatly enhanced basketball video games, fulfilling long-standing requests, addressing persistent legacy issues, or just adding something really cool. It's better to have them than not.

Over the past couple of years, we've received such updates for both NBA Live 18 and NBA Live 19. For NBA Live 18, it was the addition of roster editing in a patch. This past week, NBA Live 19 received a significant update that added the City Edition courts, and - quite unexpectedly - in-game injuries. You would expect most gamers to react positively to the news, and indeed, most did. At the same time, there are people within the community that have reacted more cynically, suggesting that we shouldn't offer up too much praise to the developers for what are overdue additions. This is an understandable view, but I'd like to examine the differing reactions in greater detail.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Year One Complete in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:51 pm

February 18th, 2019: Year One Complete in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

A couple of weeks ago, I completed my first season in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER. It's the third time I've finished a season in MyCAREER playing every game on twelve minutes quarters, joining my NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K17 games. With that in mind, I've have to say that it ranks up there as one of my all-time favourite experiences on the virtual hardwood, considering how it's kept me hooked and ahead of the real NBA season. As I've mentioned before, I was all ready to skip the career modes entirely this year, so it's not a bad effort at all.

NBA 2K19's MyCAREER was a refreshing change of pace after the approach that 2K took with the mode last year. The story has been less intrusive, the characters far less annoying (for the most part), and the Badges have been easier to grind. A few changes to the shooting mechanics and other aspects of gameplay have also meant that I'm enjoying NBA 2K19 far more than I did NBA 2K18. My first NBA season - or really my second, as the commentary observes at one point - turned out to be quite a ride, and a very successful campaign. As my sophomore season gets underway, I'd like to reflect on what has turned out to be an enjoyable MyCAREER experience so far.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: (Still) Shak'n The Floor - NBA Live 19 Mix

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:54 pm

February 25th, 2019: (Still) Shak'n The Floor - NBA Live 19 Mix

If you're connected with us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen that I recently compiled an All-Star themed NBA Live 19 mix. I've wanted to try my hand at a mix for NBA Live or NBA 2K for some time now, and after playing a game with the 2019 All-Stars in NBA Live 19, I found myself with a bunch of fun highlight clips. I've put them to use in a mix set to the main track from NBA Live 2000: "Shak'n The Floor", by Rahzel and the NBA Live Orchestra. Since I've been playing NBA Live for a long time now and it's been almost twenty years since NBA Live 2000 came out, it only made sense to call the mix "(Still) Shak'n The Floor". Check it out!


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9OXwfwIyI4
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Music in Basketball Video Games

Postby Andrew on Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:04 am

March 4th, 2019: Music in Basketball Video Games

One of the most recent patches for NBA Live 19 added a new song featuring Jadakiss, further demonstrating that all kinds of new content can be added post-release these days. Reactions to the new song can basically be broken up into three main responses. If you dig the track, it's cool to see and hear it in the game. If it's not your sound, you might grumble about the lack of "real music" among the tracks. If you don't have any strong feelings about the song, you'll likely be largely indifferent, except perhaps for some frustration that it didn't constitute a more significant addition or update.

For most basketball gamers, the soundtrack ultimately doesn't make or break a title. The action on the virtual hardwood is of much greater importance; you can always mute the soundtrack and put on your own music, but you can't always find a way to enjoy the experience when there are significant gameplay flaws, or the modes are lacking. Nevertheless, in its own way, music has been an important part of basketball gaming over the years. It's easy to think of it as nothing but background noise, but it does subtly influence our opinions of games, and shapes our nostalgia for them. In some cases, it can even affect us beyond our view of the games themselves.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Experiments in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 11, 2019 10:47 pm

March 11th, 2019: Experiments in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER

Once again, despite my belief that I was over the career experience on the virtual hardwood, I've ended up playing MyCAREER extensively in NBA 2K19. It's been a fun and rewarding experience this year, and I've enjoyed grinding my way up to 90 Overall without buying any VC, completing the first season and bringing another virtual championship to Chicago, and more recently, hitting 92 Overall and maxing out all my Badges. The online experience hasn't been stellar this year, but I can say that I've enjoyed much of what the single player portion of MyCAREER has to offer.

Spending so much time with MyCAREER has piqued my interest in finding out more about the mode. In addition to the observations I've made over the course of playing my main game, I've also run a few experiments with additional saves. I've wondered whether certain events are scripted and consistent, if there's a game over should you play or sim long enough, the mechanics of the Daily Prize Wheel, and even the speed of the bikes. Through those experiments, and a thorough playthrough of the mode, I've compiled some information about MyCAREER that I hope will be both helpful and interesting to gamers who may have similar questions about all of its ins and outs.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Putting the 2K in NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:46 pm

March 18th, 2019: Putting the 2K in NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

Since its release last October, our coverage of NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has been fairly light. I must admit to missing a few bulletins regarding official patches, something I've tried to remedy recently. One of the main reasons that our coverage has been so lax is that our community hasn't really taken to the game. There was some support of the first NBA Playgrounds a couple of years ago, especially when we heard that it would be available for PC as well as consoles, but since then, there hasn't been much enthusiasm around these parts. The lack of modding probably doesn't help.

It's unfortunate, as NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has made some pleasing improvements on its predecessor. It has its shortcomings, but overall, it's a very solid arcade basketball game. The partnership between Saber Interactive and 2K has helped the game attain a higher profile, and also facilitated new content and features that are most welcome. At the same time, however, there have been some changes that definitely feel as though they've been influenced by the larger company. These changes incorporate some of the worst parts of recent NBA 2K titles, and are thus disappointing to see. Let's go over some of the best and worst aspects of NBA Playgrounds joining the 2K family.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: 2019 Free Agency According to MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:14 pm

March 25th, 2019: 2019 Free Agency According to MyCAREER

Right now, the talk of the NBA is the rapidly approaching 2019 Playoffs (and the fact that LeBron James won't be partaking in them), but it won't be long before attention turns to the offseason. Glancing at RealGM's list of players who will be unrestricted free agents come July, the 2019 free agency period has the potential to be a wild one. Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, Hassan Whiteside, Julius Randle, and Tobias Harris, are just some of the many significant names who will be available.

History suggests that for every big name that changes uniforms, another will stay put. In many cases, those players will make their decision contrary to all the speculation that they were definitely out the door, or a lock to re-sign. Sheepish admissions of being completely wrong aside, the speculation is still fun while it lasts. With the rise of basketball video games, it's become quite fashionable to use their simulated results to generate predictions for the real NBA, whether it's award winners, champions, or free agency signings. Having reached my second year in NBA 2K19's MyCAREER, I've seen some rather interesting moves take place. Let's take a look!
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Annual Return to Square One

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:55 pm

April 1st, 2019: The Annual Return to Square One

Being that I'm a content creator within the basketball gaming community, I have an obligation to pick up the new games every year. Of course, the whole reason that I create content for basketball games is that I have a keen interest in the genre, so even if I wasn't running the NLSC, I'm sure that I'd be buying them every year anyway; it's not just content creators that are getting the games on an annual basis, after all. NBA 2K in particular continues to sell an impressive number of copies year in and year out, due to loyal gamers making an annual investment in the brand.

As a community, we do this because we generally get enjoyment out of the games. We want to be able to play in the current NBA season with up to date rosters, enjoy new content in the team building and career modes, and reap all the other benefits that the annual releases have to offer. However, there are drawbacks to the games coming out annually, with one issue in particular being guaranteed. Even if we put aside the possibility of a new game being inferior to its predecessor, even if we like the latest game just as much or better than the one that came before it, there's no getting around the fact that we lose all of our progress when we go back to square one every year.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Repaving the Road to 99

Postby Andrew on Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:50 am

April 8th, 2019: Repaving the Road to 99

The Road to 99 is a smart concept. From our point of view, it's a good incentive to keep playing and levelling up in MyCAREER, providing both rewards and a feeling of accomplishment. Not unlike the Trophies and Achievements, we can get a high from unlocking new rewards, and seeing our Overall Rating climb higher and higher. From 2K's perspective, it's a brilliant way of encouraging engagement, and of course, microtransactions. After all, the quickest way to level up and get all that cool stuff is to buy VC for some quick boosts!

All cynicism over recurrent revenue mechanics aside, it is a fun concept, providing some added purpose to levelling up as high as you can. It gives the Overall Rating more meaning, and with some of the abilities that we can unlock, aptly represents the kind of influence players can have as they become stars and franchise cornerstones. Of course, while the Road to 99 is a great idea, it could be better implemented. Some milestones could be placed elsewhere on the Road to 99, while other logical rewards aren't on offer at all. To that end, I'm taking a shot at repaving the Road to 99, with a few suggestions on how to handle the milestones and their rewards moving forward.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Empty Neighborhoods of NBA 2K PC

Postby Andrew on Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:19 am

April 15th, 2019: The Empty Neighborhoods of NBA 2K PC

Since the launch of the current console generation, I've been picking up NBA 2K on both PC and PlayStation 4. This has led to a balancing act that usually results in one of the platforms being largely neglected. Because I've played a lot of 2K Pro-Am with the rest of the NLSC squad on PS4, the copy that's usually gone to waste for me is the PC version. This year, I've made a better effort to play both of my copies, and had a lot of fun doing so. I'm almost at the point where I have a second MyPLAYER on PC at 90 Overall, and I've built up decent MyTEAM squads on both platforms.

However, while both platforms have been viable in terms of providing an enjoyable single player experience, it's a different matter when it comes to online play. In short, if it's a multiplayer experience I'm after, I'm choosing the PS4 over the PC every time. The simple reason for that is with the way The Neighborhood in particular functions, I've found it impossible to get a game. Firing up MyCAREER and loading into The Neighborhood drops you into an eerily empty and quiet game world, with no one in sight to play with or against. It's not quite the same on the US servers, but for those of us in other regions, NBA 2K PC is a ghost town online.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are Basketball Gamers Still Sim?

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:37 pm

April 22nd, 2019: Are Basketball Gamers Still Sim?

For many years, we basketball gamers would talk about how we wanted to see the five-on-five games become more realistic. As technology improved, we saw a steady and pleasing increase in the level of simulation basketball, with NBA 2K in particular achieving some fantastic results in developing sim gameplay. Sim gameplay is what we always emphasised in our Wishlists, and the cause was likewise championed by Da_Czar, the President of Sim Nation who now puts his knowledge and enthusiasm for realistic virtual basketball to use as a developer on the NBA 2K team.

However, despite the influence of Da_Czar, as well as other sim-oriented developers such as Scott O'Gallagher and Gameplay Director Mike Wang, NBA 2K has been drifting towards a more casual style. The change is definitely not due to a lack of knowledge, dedication, talent, or resources, as we've seen what NBA 2K is capable of in terms of being an outstanding basketball sim. NBA Live, despite having its roots in a sim style, has also been focusing more on the streetball side of things in The One. These changes in style are obviously being done to appease the core demographic. As such, it's not just about whether or not the games are sim, but if we gamers are, too.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: What NBA 2K Can Learn From Mortal Kombat 11

Postby Andrew on Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:09 am

April 29th, 2019: What NBA 2K Can Learn From Mortal Kombat 11

The fact that I've been running a site dedicated to basketball gaming for eighteen years may lead you to believe that hoops games are all that I play, but in fact, I do enjoy quite a few other genres. As a gamer growing up in the 90s, there weren't many games as cool (or should I say, kool) as Mortal Kombat. The MK series has obviously been very popular and successful through the years, and like many other gamers, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Mortal Kombat 11 last week. My copy arrived, I finished story mode in a single sitting, and am now looking forward to new kontent.

Fighting games and basketball games don't have a whole lot in common - the cameos by Mortal Kombat characters in NBA Jam aside - but as I was going through all of the advanced tutorials in MK11, I was struck by their depth compared to NBA 2K's 2KU. In addition to explaining the basic controls, Mortal Kombat 11's tutorials provide a deep dive into the game's mechanics, teaching gamers the fundamentals for playing competitively online and offline. With NBA 2K leaning so heavily on meta-gaming and mastering the minutia of its mechanics, there's much that it could - and should - take from NetherRealm Studios' latest release.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Masking the Inner Workings of Gameplay

Postby Andrew on Tue May 07, 2019 12:41 am

May 6th, 2019: Masking the Inner Workings of Gameplay

Game development isn't easy. It's something that is all too easy to forget when we're grumbling and making snide remarks about a game we're unhappy with. That's not to say that we cannot and should not be critical, and then channel that into constructive feedback. After all, that's how we can take an active role in the development of the games that we play. However, we do need to keep in mind that creating a realistic and enjoyable basketball game isn't as simple as typing plain English into a file, and then saving it as a program. Unfortunately, coding just doesn't work that way.

Indeed, there is a certain amount of trickery when it comes to designing video games. Like a magic act, various techniques are used to create illusions and cover up how it's done. Of course, a magic trick is ruined if you spot wires, gimmicks, or the moves that make it happen. Similarly, the special effects in older movies can be very distracting, whether it's the strings holding up puppets, or primitive CGI. The analogy here is that sometimes when we're playing a basketball game such as NBA Live or NBA 2K, we can spot the strings, see through the sleight of hand, or notice the shortcomings in the special effects. Masking those tricks is an important challenge in future games.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Unexpected on the Virtual Hardwood

Postby Andrew on Tue May 14, 2019 12:50 am

Monday Tip-Off: The Unexpected on the Virtual Hardwood

It's been quite an eventful twenty-four hours. With its final episode airing next week, Game of Thrones fans (of which I'm one) have experienced a major development that isn't entirely unexpected, but unquestionably impactful (to say nothing of divisive). At the same time, two Game 7s concluded the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. The Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Denver Nuggets in a close contest, while the series between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers was even more dramatic, ending on Kawhi Leonard's incredible gamewinning shot.

While I'd normally advocate for letting the dust settle before we proclaim anyone or anything to be among the greatest ever, Leonard's jumper that seemingly touched every part of the rim before dropping in has to be considered an instant classic. No matter what happens with the Raptors this year, that amazing shot that had everyone holding their breath has secured its place among the great gamewinning buckets in NBA Playoffs history. It's the kind of excitement that we want to see in the real NBA and on the virtual hardwood alike, but it's difficult to achieve the latter in a way that feels satisfactory. In video games, the reality of the unexpected often feels unrealistic.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Brown Shirt & Grey Sweatpants

Postby Andrew on Tue May 21, 2019 1:16 am

Monday Tip-Off: Brown Shirt & Grey Sweatpants

Am I really supposed to talk about basketball video games in the wake of the Game of Thrones finale? Well, that is what we're all about here at the NLSC, so yes; I'll keep my focus on the virtual hardwood! After the heaviness of that finale however, I feel like tackling a lighter subject to tip things off this week. I'm usually not one to talk about fashion - these are not Barbie dress-up games, as we've been reliably informed - but I am going to talk about clothes this week. More specifically, I'm talking about the outfit that our MyPLAYER wears at the beginning of every MyCAREER game.

The brown shirt and grey sweatpants that we continue to sport at the beginning of our journey on the Road to 99 has become a staple of the MyCAREER experience. As a default outfit, it's visually unremarkable, yet still full of meaning as far as the whole experience is concerned. Interestingly, it's a look that more than a handful of gamers are actively choosing for themselves, at a point where a majority of MyCAREER and Playground devotees are opting for more outlandish outfits. Humble attire as it may be, those brown shirts and grey sweatpants are something of a running gag, a clever gimmick, and a deceptive tactic all rolled into one.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Aiming for the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Mon May 27, 2019 10:08 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Aiming for the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER

As the 2019 NBA Finals loom in real life, I'm already twenty games away from the 2020 Playoffs in my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER game. My enthusiasm has continued into a sophomore campaign, and with the regular season winding down, I've got a few milestones in my sights. Within the next few games, I'll break Wilt Chamberlain's record for most points, and my own record for most assists. I've already set a new steals record, and ensured that I'll average a triple-double for the entire season. I'm feeling quite confident that I'll guide the Bulls to a second straight championship.

My intention here isn't to brag; everyone puts up awesome numbers in MyCAREER, after all. I'm just enjoying the challenge of trying to get triple-doubles, break a few records, and complete two full seasons while playing on twelve minute quarters. I do have another goal, however. I've been keeping an eye on the requirements for making the Hall of Fame, and it's my intention to achieve that before I put NBA 2K19 aside. Despite spending a lot of time with MyCAREER in both NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K17, it's something that I haven't been able to accomplish. With all of the time that I've put into NBA 2K19's MyCAREER, I feel like this is the year.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Next Big Innovation in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Tue Jun 04, 2019 1:01 am

Monday Tip-Off: The Next Big Innovation in Basketball Games

June is upon us, which means we're drawing closer and closer to the beginning of a new preview season for NBA Live and NBA 2K. A few rumours are already starting to swirl, and it hopefully won't be too long before we get a few teasers and tidbits to sink our teeth into. In the meantime, we're left to speculate, and talk about what we want to see in this year's games. I'm hoping that NBA Live 20 will prove to be a big step forward for EA Sports' series; conversely, I expect NBA 2K20 to be another fine release, though I am hoping it won't mark a return to NBA 2K18's greedy approach.

A new console generation also looms, so beyond this year's releases, I've begun to wonder about what the future holds for basketball games. Apart from concerns about the direction (and whether I've started to slip out of the core audience), I've also been wondering about the next step in terms of innovation. After all, we've already seen the games become more and more realistic, incorporate a variety of deep modes, and provide new experiences through online play. New hardware will naturally facilitate a jump in graphics and animations, but as far as features are concerned, what else can be done to innovate on the virtual hardwood?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Always Online Means Servers, Too

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:33 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Always Online Means Servers, Too

There's an Australian idiom that goes "mad as a cut snake". It can either mean very angry, or crazy and eccentric; in other words, playing off the two main definitions of "mad". On this occasion, when I talk about being mad as a cut snake, I'm using it in the "angry" context and in reference to NBA 2K. Last week, I expressed my disgust on Twitter after issues with the MyTEAM servers caused me to waste a Locker Code following a disconnection. I usually prefer to keep my commentary constructive but sometimes, you just have to let off steam.

Look, I can keep things in perspective here. At the end of the day, basketball video games are just that: games. If the worst thing that happens to you in any given week is missing out on some free content in a basketball game, it's been a pretty good week. Of course, this is a site dedicated to basketball gaming, so those are the matters that we concern ourselves with around these parts. As far as the issues that rank among the most concerning, online stability is undoubtedly up there. For all of the great things that NBA 2K has done with innovative modes and connected experiences, problems with the games' servers continue to be a major letdown.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Online Modes Are Killing Retro Gaming

Postby Andrew on Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:50 pm

Monday Tip-Off: How Online Modes Are Killing Retro Gaming

Unless you're talking about beloved classics, sports games - and in particular, the ones that see a new release every year - tend not to be very popular in retro gaming circles. Because they're attempting to capture reality in both their gameplay and aesthetics, they tend to age worse than other genres. Sports gamers want the latest release, set in the most recent season. As a result, sports games don't make second-hand retailers a lot of money, resulting in their trade-in value being very low. If you've ever tried to trade in your old basketball titles, you'll know that all too well.

This phenomenon predates the more recent approach to designing basketball games, though it used to be easier to stick with an older title, or go back to one. One could have a lot of fun dusting off an old favourite, and indeed, that's a major factor for my Wayback Wednesday features. However, the games of the current generation don't have the same retro gaming appeal. The heavy focus on online modes and content mean that titles are far more limited than they used to be once the servers have been shut down and support has ceased. It's not just online multiplayer that's been cut off, but access to major parts of the single player retro gaming experience, too.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: How Online Modes Are Killing Retro Gaming

Postby [Q] on Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:23 am

Hmm that's an interesting point that we obviously haven't run into much but will be a widespread problem when the games of today become retro
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