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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

1 comment:

G Hart Montgomery said...

Maybe the developer could add in gambling addictions and rape charges, then it'd be a complete post-nba scenario.