I am a little confused on how to approach this post. I understand it is more analytical than a review, but I feel I have a good understanding on how to get my thought of the game across on a more academic level.
Here we go!
I am a huge basketball fan, and when I say a huge basketball fan I mean it! I have played the sport ever since I was little, starting in my driveway with my father, playing in leagues, middle school, Junior Varsity, Varsity and now multiple Men’s Leagues. Besides my love of playing the sport, I love watching it, and any form of basketball is game to me. I watch the NBA, WNBA, College Basketball, High School Basketball, but mostly I focus on the NBA. I am a die hard Celtics fan, GO C’s!
I’m a basketball nut, I love reading about it, coaching it, and playing video games of it. Most presently that means any 2K game, I have annually purchased each edition 2K has put out the past five to six years, and since NBA Live has failed to put out a quality game in years my choice to stick with 2K was not that hard. Yes, I know they just released a next gen game this year. But if 2K14 is Kobe Bryant, NBA Live 14 is Smush Parker. I hope someone gets that reference.
Let’s get to the point! I tried to look at NBA2K14 with more of a Bogost perspective. His book was very intriguing to me, I love how he looked at video games as more than games, and that is what I’m going to try to do for NBA 2K14. I should specify, I am analyzing the next-gen version of 2K14, not the Xbox360/PS3 version. I owned both and although the next gen plays a little differently, it is leaps ahead of the old-gen version.
I just purchased the PS4 after being an Xbox Boy for years. I crossed over to the dark side! The first and only game I have for the PS4 is 2K14, for those that are not familiar with the game 2K14 is a basketball simulation game that allows the player to play with almost any NBA team of now and past time. Also, players are given the opportunity to take the seat of a General Manager in MyGM and fully direct a team in all aspects of management, whilst playing the season themselves. In another mode you can create an Avatar of yourself and take on the NBA in MyCareer, in my opinion this year’s edition of this game mode is one of the most ambitious of the series.
After spending countless hours sending Devin Chavanne the 6′ 3″ shooting guard from the University of Buffalo, through the ranks of the NBA, managing the Boston Celtics to a 2015-2016 NBA championship, and soundly defeating all of my friends and family in Quick Games time after time, I felt that I had a real grasp of the game as a whole. I began looking past the game itself, and looking at how it could be used as something more. How could 2K be used out of the world of gaming? Could it be considered as less of a game and more as a tool?
The game does a great job of simulating the sport of basketball played at the highest level, the NBA. The next-gen version looks beautiful, players almost look real. Sweat glistens of their bodies, jerseys sway as the cut to the basket, and player’s expressions and tendencies put the cherry on top to make it feel almost real. Though I do have an issue with some of the gameplay mechanics, sometimes you can get caught up in a preset animation that is unavoidable. It stops the flow of the game, and does not give any control to the player to counteract such animation. Otherwise, I think the game is wonderful. But how could a simulator of this kind be used as something besides a simulation. I began to think of how a coach would use this game, how would a coach utilize this tool to explain a play to a player? Then it hit me, what’s better then drawing X’s and O’s on a dry erase board? An actual real life looking simulation, adjustable to your liking. This is what essentially 2K is, a coach could use it to explain a play to a player, they could boot up the game and they could actually run through the set with 10 people on the court. They could simulate all possible actions and counter actions of the defense, and even possibly come up with new sets . A coach could literally run through a team’s whole Offensive scheme and have a player experience it right then and there, without having to wait for a practice, scrimmage, or game to test out their understanding a player could prepare themselves mentally better and quicker.
What makes this use even more plausible is that the NBA is integrating technology into their practices, coaching, recruiting, game plans now more than ever. Players review film on tablets in practice and sometimes in games on the bench. Player movement is tracked and recorded digitally, along with experts now practicing an Analytical approach to game planning, basing play style and personnel decisions on statistical probabilites. All of these advancements made possible by different forms of technology. So why not incorporate video games, add a high end simulator into their association.
After all competitive video gaming is now considered a sport. With professional events begin held all over the world and even some colleges creating their own teams to compete against other universities. If I’m and NBA head, why not be the next pioneer in the sport. Why not bring in a great tool, that not only works but is obviously fun and refreshing to millions of people. I am sure a NBA player who constantly pounds through playbook after playbook, film session after film session would love to learn a new play through NBA 2K14, also while getting to beat his Assistant Coach in a Quick Game. Who wouldn’t want those bragging rights?