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Killing the NBA All Over Again. [Dec. 9th, 2011|06:00 am]
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[Current Location |Detroit, MI, USA]
[Special Music |Project Lionheart - They Come Back]

It took about 3 hours after ratifying the new collective bargaining agreement before the National Basketball Association returned to chaos with a veto of a trade involving one of its best players.

I should not expect better from the NBA, but I do. Why must they let personal issues get in the way of .... business ... so often? It's not just the NBA. The NFL, the NHL, the MLB, the NCAA, FIFA, it's literally everyone.

It's a shame, because NBA 2k12 just got me to reconsider writing off basketball this year. Steam had a sale with 2k12 for 20 bucks, and since I was getting tired of running the same franchises starting from several years ago, I decided that it was the right time to modernize.

A lot of people have not only panned this game, but they're not buying it in droves. I can understand that. The console version is usually on 'sale' for $54.99 US, as opposed to a normal selling price of $59.99 US, new. That's pretty steep for a genre that usually adds 1 branch of code, pares another, applies a roster update for the new season, and adds a few lines of new animations and updated graphical presentation, and calls it a whole new tree, every year.

But mostly I see complaints about the online modes ... the yearly person vs. person battles, and those options in general have been mauled in some way. I rarely play online multiplayer modes, and when I do, it's GTA, so my critique is completely missing from this department.

Outside of the cries about pricing and online, people have largely complained that most of the features that make the yearly sale are currently disabled in the game. There are literally no rookies on the rosters, in fact, the roster file features the teams as they were at the end of last season. Almost all of the rookies couldn't be in the game because they hadn't signed contracts yet, due to the 2011 NBA Lockout.

As internet connectivity becomes more and more merged with gaming, consumers expect producers to tweak things like rosters at a continuous rate. Gone are the days where you bought a console game and were stuck with default roster from pre-season of that year. They want roster updates right down to consensus skill upgrades/downgrades in certain players, any trades that may occur, and the like. Because of the lockout, none of that 'living roster' functionality was happening.

However, despite all of this, I already earned my 20 bucks back in entertainment from one big addition. They have an "NBA's Greatest" mode in which you take control of classic teams from the past. Early legendary clubs play with retro rules, such as no 3-point line, as well as a retro look to the presentation. A 1964-1965 match between the Celtics and Lakers plays in standard definition, in black and white. This mode is simply amazing.

I spent the last couple weeks playing a game here and there, starting with the 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons vs. the 1988-1989 Chicago Bulls, working my way to a final match with the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics vs. the 1985-1986 Atlanta Hawks. Isiah. Jordan. Dr. J. Jerry West. Kareem. Wilt. Russell. Malone. Dominique. Ewing. Olajuwon. Stockton. Magic. Bird. The memories came flooding back, just like the ad promised. This was the video game that I wished was possible when I was 10 years old.

Shortly after the last Greatest game, I realized that I felt far more satisfied with NBA's history than its present state. Yes, the memories, they come back, but in this case, the NBA's powers show their ugliness as often as Kareem hoisted another 2 points. I remember the NBA's work stoppage in 1998. Very little has changed outside of players and financial statements. And it's not just in the NBA. It feels like every sport is falling apart.

I am unsure if the state of sporting currently approaches new lows, or if, like humanity, the same problems keep occurring again and again. I would assume it's the same as it ever was. Regardless, I don't like where sporting is, right now. It's a despicable time.

So I will cling to my memories, in electronic form. I will hope for a better day while playing with what once was, rather than focusing on the awfulness of what currently is. Maybe some future day, sporting will heal itself. I hope. I wish I was sure about this.

[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2011-12-10 11:01 pm (UTC)

An Update That Doesn't Fit in the Body

I picked up the My Player mode in 2k12.

I really don't go for these modes, in other games. It's a common mode these days. Name your player, make his face, his accessories, then unleash him into the land of professional sport. Try to build him up to be the greatest.

The reason I don't like modes like these is because I spend primarily my whole gaming life using teams with overall great rosters. I don't like being limited to one guy, and when I am, I sure as hell don't want to play multiple games as a guy with a scrub skill-set.

This My Player, however, reminds me a lot of the one I enjoyed in NHL 10. Your scrub isn't incapable of doing great things. You can play far over your head, which is a good thing. I'm still blocking shots and making successful steals manually, despite mediocre ratings in both those skills, plus I can drive the lane and occasionally beat good post defense with a really weak skill doing just that. So it's a good thing that your manual controls will override your skill set.

The only thing it won't let me do is dunk (for some reason I got a 55 vertical with a 6'5 point guard). I'm sure if I build that up and buy a 'dunk package' ... that will change.

While playing these games, you can fast forward to when you're back on the court, so you don't have to sit there doing nothing when you're on the bench. Also, the grading system is pretty easy to understand. You get small upticks and downticks for good plays and mistakes made. You can do a fair number of good things to avoid outweighing the bad, but the perfectionist in me resets a game if I start off bad, and because the player is still a weakling, I find I finish 1 out of every 4 games, which means I waste an awful lot of time in My Player mode.

My player, Devin Jones, had a decent rookie tryout, which consisted of a pickup game with about 14 other lottery hopefuls. He got drafted 19th? overall, by the Washington Wizards. It's actually a situation where I'm a point guard, but John Wall also is, but it all works out because I often end up subbing into the first team early, as a 6th man, playing the 2 alongside John. At this point, Jones is literally hogging the shooting guard minutes more than he is a direct sub for John.

The highlight so far was a blowout loss to the Warriors. My guy went crazy ... I scored 43 points (about half the team's total for the game) while nobody around me played D, or shot the ball with any kind of success. It wasn't a perfect statement game, considering the loss and my 5 turnovers, but it was a good start into moving up the ladder on the Wiz. If there's some sort of decision point in the future where they ask me to move over to the 2, I'll totally do that. 6'5 is decent height for a 2, and once my dunks become possible, it'll be showtime in DC.
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