It's video game season right now. New games are coming out in the end of Q3, mainly sports games. The new Madden came out. There are a few soccer titles on the horizon. The only way NHL fans are going to get to see NHL action this year is through their consoles. And, especially for us basketball fans, we get a new NBA game. Well, originally it was supposed to be two, but EA Sports can't get their homework in on time. (I don't count NBA Baller Beats as an NBA game, it's a rhythm game) The one legit fix for NBA fans who play video games is the yearly offering by 2k Games. And well, I guess the monopoly has made them lazy.
Or if they aren't lazy, it just makes it look like they hate the Utah Jazz.
Where do I start? Well, let's start at the beginning. I love the NBA. And I love video games. My first NBA game was Lakers vs. Celtics for the IBM clone on 5 1/4" discs. (1988 playoff rosters, btw) And I love 2k Games. I've lost hours and hours into their amazing Civilization 4 for the PC. And I've lost years to their basketball franchise (the closest I ever got to failing a class in medschool was because of their NBA 2k5 on the PS2). But, as a Utah Jazz fan, it really looks like we're getting the short end of the stick, even from video game perception / bias.
How likely is this, or is this another case of Jazz fans looking for external slights, real and/or imagined?
Well, forget about the ratings. Our players always suck, no matter what. The only player with accurate ratings is Jeremy Evans, and the only reason why is because he won the dunk contest and the NBA likes to hype their winners. (So he's an accurately rated bench warmer - the most accurate rating we have) Let's even look beyond not even having Jamaal Tinsley in any of the updated rosters from last year - a dude who was one of our best bench players down the stretch to the playoffs. I expect all video game companies to get those two things wrong.
Let's talk bout legends though. A big part of NBA 2k11 was having accurate oldschool teams - teams that Jordan played against. They included the two Jazz finals teams, but also filled those teams up with imaginary players, and make the Jazz very inferior. (I understand the legal issue, but starting Adam Keefe at center is a joke, a big part of the Jazz defense then was having a 7'2 shot blocker starting. You guys didn't even make a generic 7' guy for the team to start) Karl Malone, for example, had a 50 dunk rating. Is this accurate? That's the minimum value to have to even dunk in the game I believe. I seem to remember some hammer dunks in traffic in the NBA finals though.
In NBA 2k12, a game which moved beyond Jordan and his conquests towards giving shine to a lot of legends, they HAD TO include both a special game challenge for both Stockton and Malone. Instead of doing something FUN like featuring one team when they were young, and one when they were old they used the same team twice. Well, 2k11 had 10 different Chicago Bulls teams, including 2 Jazz teams. 2k12 should have had 2 Jazz teams, but only had 1. (It still had, I think, 3 different Bulls teams - but that's what winning championships does). I thought it would have been FUN for other players to see a young Jazz team, back when Malone was a hard dunker, or when Stockton was young, or when Mark Eaton was in the paint blocking 5 shots a game. It would have been a lot of fun to re-create that 1988 7 game series between the Showtime Lakers in their peak vs. the pesky up-and-coming Jazz. Not interesting enough to include them in the game, according to the developers though. (Let's not even get into pricing Karl's sig dunk package to be overpriced for just ONE dunk - a dunk that they used LeBron James to model after, and not actually use footage of Karl doing his own dunk... watch LeBron's dunk here, and see it in game. It's the same one. Not the one Karl actually used to do. Karl's hammer dunk should have been in there too, the half windmill one hander where his left hand is out horizontal. We've seen that tons of times.)
Well, in NBA 2k13 we see that the 1992 dream team is in that game. That's awesome!! I thought that would be a really fun mode, especially since it FORCES 2k to include younger versions of Stockton and Malone. Welp. According to the new video they released it seems like we have an ancient Stockton running around with the '99 version of Karl Malone. Really. Watch the video.
Does that look like Stockton and Malone from 1992? I don't think so.
It just looks lazy to use the player face of the OLD Malone from 1997-98 for a game that is SUPPOSED to reflect who he was as a player in 1992. I see that he also plays like an old guy in that game, not being able to back in LeBron James, and getting his hook shot blocked as well.
Is this just a product of a fan being upset that a big company doesn't love his favorite player as much as he does? Clearly not. It is a situation where the guys who has scored the 2nd most points in NBA history is being disrespected. And if I don't speak up, as the guy running the most popular Utah Jazz blog on the internet, then who will? No one. So it really has to be me.
It's lazy to use the same player face (the old balding one) for the Old Karl with the '92 Karl. Especially since if ANYONE who did the player models actually was a bball fan in '92 would know -- back in '92 Karl wasn't bald like that.
And it looks like outright bias to give Karl and "old man game". Make Barkley of '92 play like Barkley of '98 too -- if you're making Karl play like himself 6 years in the future. No, they wouldn't do that -- Barkley was and is more popular than Karl.
Well, Karl wasn't chopped liver either. According to the actual data from those Olympic games he was #3 on the Dream Team in PPG in the and #1 on the Dream Team in RPG (tied for #1 but still). Really. We always hear about Magic and Larry passing the torch to Michael; and Charles leading the team in one thing (FGA -> PPG). Malone was also #3 in total minutes played. He was a big part of that team -- but -- he's being disrespected here.
Either by laziness or by bias.
Maybe the people at 2k can salvage this by actually giving him ACCURATE ratings at the very least - we know they'll never want to give Karl the head of hair he actually had in 1992. Maybe they can start by actually re-watching what Karl did as an NBA player.
- 1992 Karl vs. Angola, Lithuania
- 1992 Karl vs. Croatia, Germany, Spain
- 1992 Karl vs. Brazil, Puerto Rico, Croatia
Karl Malone did a lot more than just go around getting blocked by 6'8 guys in the Olympics. (He did also get blocked by some dude on Angola!) But he was such a great NBA player he was selected for this team. He's a Hall of Famer who was also on the 1996 Olympic team, and selected by USA Basketball for the 2000 team and practiced with them -- but declined to go to the Olympics after his mother got ill. (His spot was then filled by Kenyon Martin) Yes, lots of people forget that, Karl was so excellent for so long that he was supposed to be on 3 of USA's Olympic teams.
I bet 97% of everyone working at 2k Games for their NBA 2k series did not know that. Why would they? They didn't even know what Karl Malone look or played like when he was a younger guy back in '92.
Watch and learn, Blake Griffin fan-boys...
Anyway, I already pre-ordered 2k13. So they HAVE my money. At the very least, I'd love for them to either be less lazy or less biased about one of the best players All-Time. I'd love to know which it is though . . . being lazy, or hating the Jazz / Karl?