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A graduate of Sports Studies at Paisley University, which is about as rewarding as being the best dancer in the Spinal Unit.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

SHIT JUST GOT REAL: The evolution of basketball video games

If you’re anything like me, you love basketball video games and were once arrested in Mexico for the illegal trafficking of exotic cats.
When I was about 16, I remember purchasing NBA Live 95 on the Sega Megadrive and sitting playing it until 4am. It had been at least 7 or 8 hours straight, I hadn’t eaten anything and at this stage in my lobotomised delirium it became a real struggle to retain saliva. I was deep in the playoffs when one of the players in my Bulls team went up for a dunk and without warning, shattered the backboard, sending the crowd wild and sent shards of graphical glass all over the court.
Up till this point in my life I had never experienced something so utterly awesome. With the crippling brain-fatigue I had experienced in the last 24 hours I honestly thought I was part of some Inception-style dream infiltration. Instead, it was simply a very rare instance in the game that the developers decided to include for the purposes of freaking out particularly awkward teenagers.

Since the blocky days of the Atari 2600 where basketball games (in fact, all games) were reminiscent of animated crossword puzzles, the genre has come a long way.
 Proceedings kicked off in 1991 with EA’s Lakers versus Celtics where (basic as it was) you could perform Jordan’s “Air Reverse Lay-Up”, a Barkley “Gorilla Dunk” and laugh at Kareem’s dorky goggles.

 After a few years of products named after the finals match-up of that year, they took on the mantle of the now famous NBA Live series. This brought with it every player and team in the league, (as well as a create a player option) NBA All-Star Weekend which includes the Rookie Challenge, Three Point Shootout, Slam Dunk Contest, and the NBA All-Star Game. Naturally, graphics improved to an eerie level, capturing not just the likeness of the players and coaches, but everything including the on-court reflections brought on by the likes of the Staples Centre. 

With all these advances, the majority of these games left behind one vital aspect: Michael Jordan. The greatest of all time cost serious money to licence and as a result was omitted from most of the series. However, this year a different developer, 2K, has changed all of this. As well as everything EA has ever done, they have extended the virtual basketball player experience to a whole new level. Michael Jordan IS included and playable in ten of his most famous games, unlocking many famous moments.

How so...? Well, for instance, scoring threes in the first half against Portland in the finals means Jordan will turn to the scorer’s table and shrug as he did in 1992. If you don’t think that’s awesome, I think it’s time you and me called it a day.
Oh yeah, If your team win the championship you get to go to the White House and meet Barack Obama.

If I played for the Clippers, I’d look like this too.

For NBA 2k12, the developer is planning to refine the pro-player experience by including a post-career mode where your must battle failed marriages and business ventures, a crippling drink/drug problem and manslaughter charges before your eventual death in a motel room at age 39.
Jamie Barr

Sunday, 5 September 2010


True story, Ron Ron.
Lunatics get a bad rep. Thankfully, someone somewhere is attempting to remedy the issue by mixing them with children. Yes, everyone’s favourite nutjob, Ron Artest, is taking timeout from fist fighting fans in order to head into the community.
“Gemini. Likes long walks in the park, socialising. No time wasters pls...”

From the Associated Press: Next week, Lakers forward Ron Artest and Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano will join forces (TOGETHER! AT LAST! - Ed) to combat mental health problems and promote the Mental Health in Schools Act. The two will head to Eastmont Intermediate School in Montebello and talk to the students about the stigma of mental illness and encourage them to seek assistance. They hope to raise awareness and call for the passage of federal legislation HR 2531, which would establish mental health programs across the country.”
Personally, I wouldn’t want the man who once said, “Sure, I killed three guys in da hood one night. But they stole my twinkies. That ain't happening”, anywhere near my kids no more than I’d want Cat Dunker Mary Bale looking after my pets. He also was arrested for beating his wife in 2007, although it is with crippling disappointment I reveal there are no plans for him and OJ Simpson to open a marriage counselling service.

Here's a great interview from Artest on the infamous brawl in Detroit, along with some sage advice on the dangers of beer: 



There’s only one way to find out! In what could be viewed as the cheapest (albeit, most entertaining) opening ceremony to a major sporting event, Serbia and Greece had themselves a throwdown last week to mark the start of the FIBA Basketball World Championships.
    Chair loved to photobomb.
In this “friendly”, that showcased more punching and kicking than featured in a regular basketball games, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Nenad Krstic topped off the whole affair very nicely with a flying chair just as things were calming down. Krstic was detained by police overnight, and has since been released. It should also be noted that Greece's "sports violence squad" is examining the footage and deciding whether or not to press charges. The fact one even exists means that watching ESPN in Greece is 400% more entertaining than in the UK.
"I believe he acted in self-defence and grabbed a chair after some half-naked (Greek) fans rushed into the court," Greece coach Ivkovic said. "The chair fell from his hand and grazed Bouroussis."
Ah, the old ‘half-naked Greek’ card. If I had a penny for every time I’ve played that one...
Kristic will miss the first three games of the FIBA World Championship, while his teammate Milos Teodosic will be out the first two. On the Greek side, both Antonis Fotsis and Sofoklis Schortsanitis are suspended for Greece's first two games. In related news, Greek parents name their kids by getting drunk and throwing fridge magnets at each other.