Just wanted to drop by and update this thing. Not much going on around here. Been job hunting lately, photo editing gig didn't work out. Job Hunting's a bitch.

As for the "late to the party" title, I've recently picked up NBA 2k8. With the NCAA tournament and the NBA playoffs looming, I've caught the b-ball bug, and have been playing it non stop. I had wanted to pick this up when it came out at the start the the NBA season, but was a bit hesitant since I didn't play 2k7 much, as it didn't exactly thrill me.

This year's version is much more solid in gameplay. It feels like I'm in a real game, as the atmosphere has been ramped up. The crowds now walk between the aisles into or out of their seats, and the mascot and cheerleaders take to the floor during timeouts. The player models are adequate, although some players, like Farmar Jordan of the Lakers (my favorite team btw) looks kinda like a pygmy marmoset at certain angles. Fortunately, the bigger stars in the league look much better, but overall, the models still have very angular/polygonal shape to them.

Nonetheless, the gameplay is all that really matters. The player animations are really nice, each action seems to flow into another quite nicely, like posting up, then a spin to the basket, a quick pump, then an up-and-under for the score, all blend in really well. Even how the players reacts to each other is great, as your teammates will high-five you after a successful free throw, or keep you away from the officials when a questionable foul is called. I still find myself having a little problem with the passing, as I tend to throw a cross court pass instead of the player right in front of me at times. The passing icon, a faint gray circle around the intended players feet, seems a bit loose, as it switches from player to player a bit too fast. Maybe I just need to slow down and pay more attention, I guess.

This brings me to how the game plays as a whole. This is by no means an arcade b-ball game. At first I wanted to just run around and dunk the ball at every opportunity, but instead found myself getting pick-pocketed, getting charged for offensive fouls and generally looking like a meek little sapling among giant redwoods. I had to slow down and convince myself to think like a NBA basketball player, read the defense, recognize mismatches, and pass the rock when the shot isn't there. It's a basketball sim, and should be appreciated as such.

Right now I am 9-6 with the Lakers in season mode in All-Star difficulty. With help from some message board posters sharing gameplay settings, I have found as closest to a pro-ball experience as I have found. I like playing the full twelve minute quarters, with the game speed set a teensy bit higher, so now a full game duration runs at about an hour or so, with the scores averaging at 100 points, give or take.

The extras include some street ball type modes, a 3 point challenge, and the Sprite Dunk Contest, which is really an event unto itself, as Bobbitto, of the Rock-Steady Crew, emcee's the event. It's all really cool and fun. The music in the game is great too, which is really a collection of the StonesThrow Records crew, like of hip-hop artists , Madlib and J-Dilla, and Percy P lending their sounds, as well as groups like Devo, Stone Roses, and Breakestra rounding it out.

I forgot to mention the other reason I decided to buy this year's game. With EA trying to get their greasy, ugly paws on Take Two, the publisher of the 2k games, this might be the last year for the 2k sports franchise. Not being a big fan of EA's NBA Live, this might be the last b-ball game I'll buy in awhile.

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