Digital Competition: Players reveal how sports video games simplify many parts of sport

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Digital Competition: Players reveal how sports video games simplify many parts of sport

BALLING HARD: 
Cole Brady, varsity basketball player and senior, goes for a lay up during practice.  
Brady said even though many of the skills gained through practice are automated in NBA 2K and reflect the team chemistry of professional teams, the game still gives the sense of playing basketball with friends.

BALLING HARD: Cole Brady, varsity basketball player and senior, goes for a lay up during practice. Brady said even though many of the skills gained through practice are automated in NBA 2K and reflect the team chemistry of professional teams, the game still gives the sense of playing basketball with friends.

Veronica Teeter

BALLING HARD: Cole Brady, varsity basketball player and senior, goes for a lay up during practice. Brady said even though many of the skills gained through practice are automated in NBA 2K and reflect the team chemistry of professional teams, the game still gives the sense of playing basketball with friends.

Veronica Teeter

Veronica Teeter

BALLING HARD: Cole Brady, varsity basketball player and senior, goes for a lay up during practice. Brady said even though many of the skills gained through practice are automated in NBA 2K and reflect the team chemistry of professional teams, the game still gives the sense of playing basketball with friends.

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American basketball has been played worldwide for over a century, and while the video game version of the sport is relatively new, it has quickly gained a following from gamers and basketball players alike. At this school, students like Cole Brady, basketball player and senior, often play the latest installment of the “NBA 2K” series, “NBA 2K19”. But while he enjoys the video game version of many of these sports, Brady said there are still a few key differences between “NBA 2K” and real-life basketball besides the obvious physical nature of the sport.

Brady said, “In ‘2K’, as you pass the ball around, shoot good shots and make good plays, your team chemistry automatically gets better. In real basketball, however, it requires skill and consistency to be able to make plays consistently. In ‘2K’, however, they are imitating the real-life attributes of NBA players.”

In the “NBA 2K” game, which was originally developed in 1999, the players’ ratings in the game are an indicator of how talented they are. For example Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors point guard, has a 96/100 overall rating in “NBA 2K19.” That rating ranks him as the highest-rated point guard in the game, which means according to the algorithms that are designed within the game, and an evaluation of Curry’s real performance in basketball games, Curry is the best point guard in the NBA currently.

Vonta Blackburn, competitive “NBA 2K” gamer and junior, is a member of the “2K” gaming group G1GB. He said the game brings out his competitive side, which is similar in nature to a player in an actual basketball game.

Blackburn said, “The game really gets intense between my teammates and I because of how competitive we can be; we do anything we can to win and try to constantly communicate during games so we can always put ourselves in the best position to win.”

Veronica Teeter
BALLING HARD:
Cole Brady, varsity basketball player and senior, goes for a lay up during practice.
Brady said even though many of the skills gained through practice are automated in NBA 2K and reflect the team chemistry of professional teams, the game still gives the sense of playing basketball with friends.

Blackburn and his group G1GB compete in NBA 2K Pro-Am, a competitive game mode within “NBA 2K” which debuted in the game “NBA 2K16”. In the Pro-Am game mode, players can join games with their friends and play competitively against other people around the world. If they play well enough, they can enter a tournament called “Road to the Finals”. In “NBA 2K17”, the team that won the tournament won a cash prize of $250,000 and a trip to the NBA Finals.

Blackburn said, “In Pro-Am, the goal is to always try our hardest to get the win every time. We play some really good competition, and just like you need to communicate well and play hard in real sports, you have to apply the same concepts to the video game, too.”

Still Brady said there are some differences between “NBA 2K” and real basketball that are pretty noticeable.

“In ‘NBA 2K’ it’s easier to do things like run the fast break and shoot the ball repetitively and not get tired, when in real life if you do those things on the court you can become exhausted. Due to things like that, the games in ‘2K’ can tend to be more high-scoring as opposed to the games in real life, which have more of a realistic aspect to it,” Brady said.

Schuyler Bradley, “NBA 2K” gamer and junior, is a casual video game player, but he said he loves to play “NBA 2K.”

Bradley said, “I love dominating the competition at all costs because that’s just who I am as a person. I used to play basketball and my competitiveness in that just transferred over into the video game.”

Despite the game’s flaws, Bradley said he likes how the ratings system is tailored to real NBA players’ performances within that year.

Bradley said, “Stephen Curry is considered one of the best shooters of all time, and LeBron James is widely considered as one of the most dominant NBA players ever in real life, and I think that shows when you play with those players in the game.”

Xavon Breland, a former CHS basketball player, “2K” gamer and senior, said the difficulty of “NBA 2K”, especially on the game’s “Hall of Fame” mode, is not realistic compared to playing basketball in real life. He said the game’s relative consistency is much different from reality.

Breland said, “If you’re a really good player in ‘NBA 2K’, making shots and making plays comes pretty easy to you, but if you play basketball in real life you never know what you’re going to get when you’re out on the court.”

Breland said even though he struggles to win games at times in ‘NBA 2K’, he’s always trying to compete hard when he plays against his friends.

Breland said, “I feel like if you’re a really good player you can always find open shots. When you play against the computer in ‘2K’, they make a majority of their shots and it’s hard to get good shots against the computer, too. The teams in the game are designed to find the best way to beat you and that can be pretty tough sometimes.”

“NBA 2K19” released on Sept. 7, 2018 and is available on the Xbox, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch.Marvin Fan

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