For the first time in almost five years, I have pre-ordered an NBA 2k game. It’s even pre-loaded on my PC, waiting for me to unlock it when I return home from work tomorrow.
I’d been a staunch supporter of Visual Concepts and their 2k games, going back to importing NBA 2k and a boot disc from the US for the Dreamcast in 2000. Despite brief dalliances with Inside Drive on Xbox and NBA Live 2006, I’d been a dedicated 2k player for over a decade.
Short aside – I still miss Inside Drive to this day. At the time, being able to choose how to play a pick and roll/fade/slip in 2004 blew my mind. It took years for EA and VC to catch up with their in game play-calling. Competition is a wonderful thing for consumers.
My falling out with 2k happened around 2k11 or 2k12, with the removal of some basic online features. Around that time I was playing in a reasonably serious 2k keeper league with salary caps. The 2k website would give you live updates of games in your league, allow highlights and photos to be uploaded and really enhanced being a part of a thriving league. It also created a lot of tense moments in close, important games. To whoever it was I called “bush league” for fouling me with 0.6 seconds left up by 3, preventing a game tying three point shot, I apologise.
The removal of their robust online season mode resulted in the end of our league. There was growing disatisfaction with how easy it was to cheese (exploit parts of the game, like players getting stuck in animations) and the overall sameness of how individual players felt. My free time declined as well with a wedding to plan and other work/life issues, meaning it was probably good time to take a step away.
It probably was no coincidence that around this time my Golden State Warriors finally started to put things together, meaning I no longer had to vicariously live their success through a video game. Plus there was no game that could recreate the sort of things Steph Curry was doing.
MyPlayer brought me back, as well as a full featured release on PC for 2k15. The ability to jump in for short game burts was a fantastic use of my limited free time, as I wasn’t able to dedicate the hour needed to play a 48 minute game (I’m incredibly pedantic about accurate stats, hence the 12 minute quarter games). My aim was to create a 6’11” brusier with a grey beard who tried to blocked every shot as if his life depended on it. Carlos ZeDwarf may not have ever won an NBA title, but he certainly blocked his fair share of shots.
The additions to the game like branching animations, increased player control and improved individuality resulted in keeping the game fresh for longer. Being able to pick it up for under $30 a few months after release also helped me feel like I got my moneys worth.
And now they’ve sucked me back in at launch. There’s a good chance I’ll probably be disappointed after consuming all of this hype for 2k16. I understand the aim of Spike Lee’s involvement with MyPlayer but I’m fearful of it becoming someone else’s story that I play a supporting role in. Hopefully with the amount of changes to MyTeam and MyGM, plus a decent online community on PC there will be enough to keep me interested for a while and not immediately contract a horrible case of buyers remorse.
If not, at least the Warriors season will be starting at the end of October. #fullsquad