Monday Tip-Off: Do We Take Basketball Gaming Too Seriously?

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rest in Peace, Kobe Bryant

Postby Andrew on Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:08 am

(Y)
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rest in Peace, Kobe Bryant

Postby KEEEN on Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:36 am

:evil: :evil: :evil: I fucking love January 2020 :evil: :evil: :evil:
David Stern now Kobe?!?! BRUV.

Huge sympathy for his grieving die hard fans, relatives, friends, and of course his family.

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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rest in Peace, Kobe Bryant

Postby Andrew on Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:16 pm

No doubt, a couple of very sad losses to begin the year/decade. He's perhaps not of great interest/renown to a lot of people in this community, particularly younger people, but we also lost Terry Jones of Monty Python fame last week.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:34 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

One of the more disappointing trends in our community in recent years is the drop-off in discussion about the games we play. We certainly do talk about them, but there's much less discussion about sliders, strategies, positive and negative impressions, and the general gaming experience on the virtual hardwood. This definitely wasn't always the case in the NLSC Forum. If you dig through the archives, you'll find plenty of topics discussing gameplay and game modes, sharing everything from suggestions and tips to criticism and praise. Within those topics, you'll see lively discussion.

Not so much anymore, however. Conversely, activity in our modding community is still at a high level. From releases and previews to modding advice and requests for mods, there's plenty of chatter. It's a puzzling phenomenon, and an imbalance that I'd love to see corrected. Obviously we're known as a modding community, but we've always been much more than that, in both our original content and the conversations we have about basketball gaming. In trying to determine how this trend began and what's changed in our community, I can't help wondering: are we actually playing basketball video games, or are we just modding them?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

Postby [Q] on Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:09 am

The ultimate team thread for Live 18 was really helpful for figuring out what to go for next and which legends were coming out

The problem is I don't play 2k so I don't think I have much to contribute as far as basketball gaming anymore
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

Postby Andrew on Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:31 pm

That's something I hadn't really considered, that not everyone made the switch to 2K.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

Postby [Q] on Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:43 pm

Yeah I remember when 2k16 was free and I played it and it was so time consuming but with not much pay off. It literally felt like a 2nd job
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Are We Gaming Or Are We Modding?

Postby Andrew on Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:52 pm

MyCAREER is very much that way, paying for VC not withstanding.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist Modding

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:33 pm

Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist Modding

With all the tools and techniques that our modding community has developed for NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years, we've been able to produce some fantastic projects. From detailed current rosters and multi-season packs to NCAA mods and other total conversions, we've been able to re-skin the game and create brand new experiences. These projects can take a long time to complete, but it's very satisfying to see them come together, for both the creator and the community. I can attest to that, having been involved in quite a few large roster projects over the years.

Of course, these fantastic projects do have their drawbacks. They can be incredibly time-consuming, so even if you have the skills to create all the necessary assets, it's much easier if you have a few other people helping out. To that point, not everyone can do it all when it comes to modding, so it's usually necessary to assemble a team or rely on some community contributions to get everything done. As you can imagine, the amount of time and effort required can lead to multiple delays, or projects falling through. It's why I've become intrigued with the idea of creating larger projects that don't require as much external effort; something I'm calling minimalist modding.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:49 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

I get the impression that The Cages in The Neighborhood are a love-them-or-hate-them aspect of MyCAREER in NBA 2K. Introduced in NBA 2K19, they provide an alternative to the streetball experience of The Playground. It's not quite Slamball, but it's a similar concept, being a rougher style of basketball involving trampolines. I have mixed feelings about The Cages, but as with any mode you're not that interested in, it's easy enough to simply ignore them and play something else. Not everything is going to appeal to everyone, after all.

Nevertheless, the concept of The Cages is an interesting one that's worth a closer look. It stands as an example of creativity on 2K's part, but also underscores one of the recurring problems with MyCAREER and its connected modes: too much focus on bells and whistles, or "flavour content", over the core experience. The Cages are far from a vital part of the game, yet they're not entirely unwelcome either. It's a mode that could be better, but at the same time, it definitely shouldn't be a priority. I'm not sure how popular it is, but it's an aspect of MyCAREER that I haven't really talked about much, so let's delve into NBA 2K's Slamball stand-in.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

Postby cavs4872 on Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:28 am

"I'm not sure how popular it is"... that pretty much sums it up. :lol: I personally feel that the Cages are underrated.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:12 pm

Well, let me put it this way. When the Daily Bonus for playing five games in The Cages (which is actually just one game) comes around and I go there to farm the VC, there are usually more people there. I've also gone there out of interest to see how busy it is at other times, and it's been empty. On PC, it's usually been deserted whenever I've checked it out. However, I can only speak for the Australasian servers.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

Postby cavs4872 on Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:27 pm

More people would probably play it if it weren't separated by a loading screen.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:48 am

That's a possibility too.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Gaming Twitter

Postby Andrew on Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:27 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Gaming Twitter

A common online refrain is that social media is one of the best and worst things to happen to the Internet. Of course, that same statement is made of the Internet itself, in regards to society at large. There's truth in both cases, as the Internet and social media in particular have allowed people with similar interests to connect with one another, but the interactions aren't always pleasant. Twitter gives everyone a voice, but not everyone uses that voice wisely, or responsibly. As Owen Good once noted, there's a difference between having an opinion, and having a point.

The basketball gaming community obviously has a presence on Twitter, serving as a connection between hoops gamers who frequent a variety of platforms, including our site and Forum, Operation Sports, Reddit, and various publications that cover video games. It's therefore an effective way of keeping up to date with the latest news, as well as sharing content of your own. When it comes to discussion and feedback, in my observation, it's a mixed bag. There are knowledgeable people who post good ideas and advocate for games to get better, and there are others who add very little of value to the conversation. Mind you, that's usually how it goes with Twitter.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Axing MyCAREER Stories & The Neighborhood

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:42 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Axing MyCAREER Stories & The Neighborhood

There's a rather poignant analogy in Fallout 3, courtesy of Moira Brown. Discussing the post-apocalyptic world and her pet project (and the Lone Wanderer's quest) of compiling the Wasteland Survival Guide, she compares the situation to putting broken glass back together. She notes that it'll never be whole in the same way it used to be, but you can use the pieces to make something else, like a mosaic. As an analogy, it's a good way of describing the inability to go back to the way things used to be, but still making the best of the situation and building something new.

We can apply this metaphor to two concepts in NBA 2K's MyCAREER: the story-driven approach, and the game world of The Neighborhood. At this point they're established staples of MyCAREER, but they aren't universally liked. That's not unusual, of course; you can't please everyone in everything that you do. However, those two concepts do present some recurring problems, and frustration with them has been building since they were introduced. It seems that a lot of gamers would prefer MyCAREER to return to the way it used to be, but again, axing those features seems highly unlikely. Calling back to Moira Brown's analogy, has the glass been broken?
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: What Toxic Rec Players Don't Understand

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:53 pm

Monday Tip-Off: What Toxic Rec Players Don't Understand

You might think that my week in The Rec would've discouraged me from playing the mode. Well, it's certainly dissuaded me from jumping on every single night, but I will venture in there from time to time. I've actually had a few satisfying sessions, usually only playing one game before jumping off again. A game takes about half an hour, which is a good distraction if I haven't been able to do any other cardio and want to get on my stationary bike. Of course, there have also been some frustrating sessions, particularly the one from last Tuesday which inspired this article.

Consider this an open letter, not only to the toxic Rec players I was squadded up with the other night, but anyone else who doesn't understand how online team play works. Consider this a list of things not to do, and things that you should do instead. Consider this a critique of the online scene, and yet another argument as to why team Pro-Am should be as open to everyone as it used to be. And yes, consider this me using my platform here at the NLSC to blow off some steam after a ghastly game that made me far less likely to want to play in The Rec. These are the things that toxic Rec players don't understand, and I'm going to break them down. Fair warning, it's quite a lot.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Not Worth an Angry Rant

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:05 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Not Worth an Angry Rant

I had a rough session in The Rec last Friday. In fact, that's been a trend whenever I've felt like jumping online as of late, but this was a particularly bad outing. It was the kind of unpleasant experience we talked about a lot on the NLSC Podcast, until it occurred to us how often we were repeating ourselves, and that it was getting as dull to talk about as I'm sure it was to listen to. Nevertheless, after I was done, I was all ready to have an angry rant about it. I figured a vicious spray on Twitter might be a fitting prelude to an article in which I'd elaborate upon my displeasure.

Except, I didn't go on that angry rant on Twitter, and I didn't write a similarly furious article. I cleansed my palate with a game in The Cages - one I didn't care about and only played to farm the Daily Bonus VC - and then I put the game aside. Funnily enough, I found myself recalling a line from Dinotopia, a book I haven't read in many years: "Breathe Deep, Seek Peace". And so, that's what I did. My thoughts on my recent experiences in The Rec and the criticisms I have of NBA 2K's online scene haven't changed. It's just that expressing them via the angry rant that I was composing in my head simply wasn't worth the time and effort to post.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Trying to Quit MyCAREER

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 23, 2020 4:42 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Trying to Quit MyCAREER

I'm having a problem in NBA 2K20: I can't quit MyCAREER. I mean, I can exit the mode. I can find the menu option just fine and there's no bug that's preventing it from working as intended. No, I'm having trouble leaving the mode alone. I was all ready to quit this year. I reached the Hall of Fame in NBA 2K19, and felt closure. I felt the lure of MyLEAGUE and MyTEAM. Yes, I've set up a MyLEAGUE that I'd like to get stuck into at some point. Yes, I've played quite a bit of MyTEAM this year, and built a decent lineup without spending any money.

And yet, I haven't let MyCAREER go as I intended to do. I tried out the new Player Builder in the demo, played through the story so that I could see what it's like this year, and gave online a try. I thought that would be enough, but I kept getting drawn back in. I've played past the All-Star Weekend, and am just about at the point where the real 2020 season shut down. I've maxed out all my ratings and Badges, and am at the point where I can level up to 99 Overall with consistently great performances. My player is viable for online play, even if online play isn't always viable. I've put quality time into MyCAREER...and I want to quit.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Basketball Gaming Nostalgia

Postby Andrew on Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:26 pm

Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Basketball Gaming Nostalgia

In recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast, we've been discussing old basketball games and reflecting on our nostalgia. We've talked about the different nostalgic phases that we go through, as well as some of the games that influenced the way we approach the virtual hardwood. We also recorded a big two part episode for the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, which was a lot of fun. As much as I enjoy playing the latest game and other recent releases, I also like to revisit old favourites and reflect on the history of the genre. It's one of the reasons I do Wayback Wednesday every week.

However, I've recently been wondering what basketball gaming nostalgia is going to be like for recent titles as they get older. Will they inspire the same kind of fondness that we older gamers have for an NBA Jam or NBA Live 95, or will they be discarded and dismissed? Will we, and especially the younger gamers who are growing up with these titles, see fit to revisit them the same way we like to dust off the old titles that we love? Perhaps most importantly, will it even be viable to revisit those games and their experiences that captivated us for hours on end? My feeling is that nostalgia for basketball games is going to look and play out somewhat differently moving forward.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: What I Learned From Uninstalling Games

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:51 pm

Monday Tip-Off: What I Learned From Uninstalling Games

I'm a collector of basketball games, both for my own enjoyment and to create content for the NLSC. To that end, there are some games that I own on multiple platforms, which allows for interesting comparisons; especially when it comes to older titles. With the current generation of NBA 2K games, I've made a point of buying them on both PC and PlayStation 4. The PC version has been there for single player gaming, as well as dabbling with mods if and when I so choose. The PS4 version has been for online gaming, as that's where my friends (and a larger portion of the userbase) are.

Aside from differences such as the online scene and modding capabilities, the PC and PS4 versions - and the Xbox One release for that matter - are identical. Of course, my PC offers another advantage over my PS4: more storage space. It wasn't until I picked up an external drive for my PS4 that I was able to maintain a much bigger library of installed games. Before that, I'd been uninstalling games as they went on the shelf, in order to play titles that were currently in my rotation. Once I added that extra storage, I was able to reinstall every NBA 2K title that I own for PS4. Unfortunately, I found out that uninstalling those games had a few drawbacks.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Going Digital (Before I Had To)

Postby Andrew on Mon Apr 13, 2020 3:46 pm

Monday Tip-Off: Going Digital (Before I Had To)

These days, the PC version of NBA 2K is exclusively available as a digital release. Even if you happen to find a physical copy - and they do exist in some regions - it just amounts to a card with a Steam key. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. On the plus side, digital games save shelf space, and because developers don't need to press discs, distribution is quicker and cheaper. In a niche demographic such as PC basketball gaming, that's an important factor in companies seeing the platform as viable and less of a hassle to release on.

The downside is that we need to download everything when we want to install the game. Depending on the quality of our connection and the size of any data limits on our Internet plan, that may not be an ideal scenario. Digital releases are also at risk of being removed from platforms like Steam, whereas physical copies obviously remain in circulation. Beyond convenience and availability, there's just something satisfying about having a physical copy that you can hold in your hands or display on a shelf. We don't always have a lot of choice, especially on PC these days, but I actually found myself going digital with basketball games before it was necessary.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Free Content in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:05 am

Monday Tip-Off: Free Content in Basketball Games

There are many maxims about appreciating generosity and accepting gifts with grace and gratitude that may seem well-worn and trite, but are nevertheless apt. Sayings such as "the price is right" in reference to something that's free, or "never look a gift horse in the mouth" and "beggars can't be choosers" in regards to something that is given generously, are a few that come to mind. They're all relevant, of course. When something is free, we're not only expected to be grateful, but also make allowances as far as quality, promptness of delivery, and so on.

However, does that still apply to free content in basketball games, such as the Locker Codes and login bonuses in NBA 2K's MyTEAM? Criticism of disappointing rewards is often met with derision. It's understandable, because we are rightfully conditioned to be gracious and appreciative of gifts, but it's also myopic. I would suggest that there is still room to be critical of free content in NBA 2K and NBA Live, and to hold certain expectations as far as its overall quality. After all, it can be the difference between an empty gesture and a genuine act of goodwill. Unfortunately, some of the free content that we receive definitely trends towards being the former.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Free Content in Basketball Games

Postby [Q] on Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:22 am

That's why a game like Overwatch was so mind-blowing to me that for years Blizzard would continue to add new game modes, characters, and maps all for free with no strings attached. I'm so used to stuff like this where companies are looking to gouge and nickel & dime their consumers.
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Re: Monday Tip-Off: Free Content in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:12 pm

Same with some of the stuff they've added in Rocket League including new modes, though they did go the loot box route. On the other hand, none of it affected gameplay.
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