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NBA Live 08 by EA Sports: History and Gameplay Essay (Review)

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2022

Introduction

NBA Live 08 is a simulation game of the National Basketball Association League. Players take on the role of controlling their favorite team as they play against other teams of the elite NBA league. NBA Live 08 succeeds NBA Live 07 as the 2007 release of EA games and is the 14th installation of the game since 1994.

The game was released on all three new-generation consoles, the Playstation3, the Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii. NBA Live 08 was also released for older consoles such as the Playstation2 and PlayStation Portable and, of course, it was also released for the PC. As the trademark of the NBA Live series; the featured graphic on the retail box is Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards.

History

NBA Live has initially named NBA playoffs and was launched in 1989 to MS DOS-compatible PCs with the title Celtics vs. Lakers. In 1991 the game was launched on other consoles like the Sega Genesis. Ten teams were featured in the game, including both All-Star teams but excluding 8 other teams that qualified for the playoffs that season. The 1992 and 1993 releases bore the title “Bulls vs Lakers” and “Bulls vs Blazers”, respectively. These two releases were the first to have their name come from the teams that made it to the finals on the year of release. The last “generation” game to be released prior to the NBA Live series was NBA Showdown which was released in 1994

NBA Live 95 was the first of the series to be released and appeared in the Sega Console SNES and Genesis. NBA Live 96 featured a new game mode, “Create a Player”, which, as the name suggests, allows people to create their own player in the game. The next major change to the series was in NBA Live 2000 with the addition of the NBA Live Legend All-Star teams, which included the best players in the NBA during the past decades.

When EA games released NBA Live 2005 they added features or modes which made the game all the more interesting. Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Shootout, and the Rookie Challenge were all added on this year.

NBA Live 07 scored another breakthrough when it was released to all major consoles including the Xbox 360 which was then the first new-generation console to be released.

NBA Live 08 was the first to be released on all major consoles, including the Nintendo Wii and the Playstation3. This stands to reason since, “Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft – are currently engaged in a titanic struggle to dominate our lives and make sure that we never leave our living rooms” (Taylor 1). With a game like this who says being a couch potato is a bad thing?

Game Features

There are the usual modes of the NBA Live series that the game continued, like the Play Now option which is the usual option for head-to-head games between friends or competitions. Other options have been maintained in the PC version that adds competition into the game like, Local area network gaming where players from a computer rental shop can play against each other and Online gaming where players from all around the world can play each other. Online gaming is available to the PC, Xbox360, and Playstation3 with internet connections.

Game features include modes like “1 on 1” wherein players are able to take roles in dream matchups that would never take place in the real world. They could take legends of old, like Larry Bird, or Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and play them against today’s upcoming stars, like Lebron James, or Kobe Bryant. Finally, players are given the chance to simulate what could have been the greatest matchups in history.

The main feature that NBA Live 08 is proud of is the Dynasty Mode, wherein players take the role of the General Manager of a team of their choice. In this mode, players take an active role in the management of their respective teams, Roster Management, Trading, and Releasing of players. Players also take control of the team schedules that affect how the team plays in the games. The most valuable thing about Dynasty mode is how players can take absolute control of winning games, and of course winning championships, making their title team’s championship reign last for a maximum of 25 years.

Then there are the traditional game modes of NBA Live, Season, and Playoffs, wherein players control their favorite teams and go through the season and playoffs to win championship Gold, these game modes are somewhat shorter, and less control of the team management is allowed.

The most sought-after game mode of this game is the NBA All-star weekend which was hosted by New Orleans, Louisiana, where players get to choose one of four scenarios they wish to participate in. The first game mode is Slam Dunk Competition where players are able to make different dunks to their liking, controlling the best dunkers in the NBA. The second event is the all-star three-point competition, where players control the best three-pointers in the NBA like Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, or Peja Soyakovich as they battle for the three-point championship. The third event of the all-star weekend is the Rookie challenge where players choose to control either the Rookies or the Sophomores to see which of the two is the better draft class. The last, but definitely not the least is the All-Star basketball game wherein players choose between controlling the best players of the East or the West as they battle to find out which is the more dominant side of the NBA.

Among Game modes present are Dunk School, and Practice wherein players take control of a player of their choice and they have free reign over what they want to practice.

As was added in NBA live 95, this game also features the “Create a Player” mode now with a wider selection of faces and attributes that gamers can choose from.

Narratives

The game’s narrative is somewhat comic as it is serious. Traditional fiction games like the Final Fantasy series or the Halo series from Microsoft all have one thing in common; their narratives tell the story of the game in one way or the other, and that is what narratives are supposed to do. In the game NBA Live 08 however, the narration comes from real-life people talking commentating about the game they are watching. This makes the game excellent in the sense that it was developed so as to make narrations come as events controlled by the players happen, it does not come out at random and ridiculous times where events happen. The game was made in such a way that the game being played really sounds like it is being commentated live. For example, when the game being played is a “blowout” game where the losing team is down by 20 or more points, the narrative was programmed to make it seem like the commentators have actually analyzed the reason for the loss of the game.

The narratives also describe events that happen in-game and how it affects player morale, for example, a seemingly impossible alley-oop is done coming from the winning team in a blowout game, the narrative gives out comments like “there is a certain code between players” making the game send out messages that there is a certain conduct player should show on the court which should be applied in real life.

One other thing commendable about the game is the effort EA games give on placing background music in-game called the EA Trax™. The nice background music while playing the game adds a nice touch to the gaming experience.

Playability

As soon as a gamer enters the game everything is in order so finding the right game mode or the correct option is easy. Navigating through all the options and making the game’s parameters to the liking of gamers is easy and well thought of. Rules can be turned on or off, fouls can be set to a minimum or to the maximum level, and foul-outs can be nonexistent. The game has been made to adapt to any mode that gamers have thought of.

The game’s playability is really not an issue, like all simulation games, players get to control an NBA team how they want to. The good thing about the game is the player moves when you want it and how you want it. Giving gamers the feeling like they themselves are the ones moving. This is generally felt in the new generation consoles, especially in the Wii. With the addition of the shot stick in the Xbox360 and the PS3, gamers are given the chance to choose how they want the player to shoot the ball. Whether it is an alley-oop dunk or a 360 dunk the developers of the game have thought of it all.

Aesthetics

When it comes to judging the Aesthetics of NBA Live 08 it becomes relative. Relative on the basis of which gaming platform the game is played on. A player can play the game on the PS3 or the Xbox 360 and say it has the best graphics at the time. Yet a gamer playing on the PC, or PS2, or a PSP may say the game the game’s graphics are the same as the previous versions with hexagon-shaped heads and fake crowds. For this reason, this paper takes into consideration judging the game from the new generation console view with regards to Aesthetics, as these consoles are where the game was officially released too. Only later were versions for the PC, PSP, and PS2 released.

As generally known, the Playstation3, the Xbox360, and the Wii are the latest and most advanced platforms released to date. The game is judged on these three platforms is graded A excellent. The game itself features NBA players looking extremely lifelike, and as the game progresses the look of fatigue is painted on the faces of the NBA players. Sweat all over the face and sweat marks on the jerseys of the players make the game so real to the eyes of gamers. What has captivated patrons of the game is how developers worked on such detailed character movements making the game so real. Unlike predecessors, NBA Live 08 was developed in such a way that movements and actions are done by the characters in-game are life-like and not superhuman. The movements of the characters are so life-like that gamers feel like they are watching the real live players themselves. Running at a smooth 60 frames per second, NBA LIVE 08 is as close as you can get to the court, without dropping a dime for courtside seats. (NBA 1)

Of course like the predecessors of NBA Live 08, the crowd has not been given justice yet, they still look like faded lego figures in the background but other than that the game has flawless graphics when it comes to the players and the basketball game which is the main concern anyway.

Gamer Culture

The game NBA Live 08 can be described by any normal person and say that it is just another Sports game where you pick a team and get to play against a friend, which is pretty much it. But if a gamer and patron of the game is asked, replies would be very different. The game caters to players who wish to leave their lives behind and play as much as they want to relieve stress, which is what all games are about. NBA Live 08 was made different and EA games made sure of that.

NBA Live 08 is not just any game; a gamer can not compare this game to Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell or Assassin’s Creed because of the added realism in it. Games like the latter are fictional and will only happen in games, a gamer would never become an assassin and start stabbing people with a disappearing knife. On this account, the NBA Live series makes a mark. Gamers who play the game are mostly basketball players themselves, who hope that one day they can be as good a player as those they are controlling.

One thing this game does is inspire people. People who play the game often come to a frenzy after playing the game, trying to imitate movements and patterns the characters in the game do. In this sense as stated before the game is ahead of fiction games because what the gamer sees in the game can be practiced and eventually done in real life.

Gamers who play NBA Live 08 come from different walks of life and of all ages too. Haddock said games provide a visual language instantly understandable to younger audiences. (Saltzman 1) meaning whether a person is a kid or an adult games NBA Live 08 allows them to bridge the generation gap. Another thing NBA Live 08 bridges is the gender gap, people always stereotype gamers as fat bulky men sitting on a couch for 48 hours straight playing video games but according to Katie Cray, public relations manager of Nintendo for America “The expanded audience of women joining the gaming community is very exciting,”… (Lee 1) Women are actually playing the game, just like the WNBA, most people are mislead thinking that the market of the gaming industry is limited to boys.

Some people would say that video games are a crime and that they rot away at the minds of the youth a perfectly good example is this line from an article by James Hart of the Knight Tribune. A few years ago, the strip’s creators read a newspaper opinion piece stating that people who play video games are bad people. “It was so false…. We took it as an attack on our community,” Fehlauer said. (1) This same article describes how games like these can bring happiness to children who are sick or those who need distractions when it came to their daily lives.

Industry

The market for NBA Live 08 is not isolated to one or two people in a community.

…nearly everyone plays. The number of U. S. households with at least one game console grew from 42.7 million in 2005 to 44.9 million in early 2008, according to Parks Associates; more than half of all adults and 97 percent of teens play games, three-fourths of U. S. consumers overall. (Snider 1) It is an entire nation playing games like NBA Live 08. Whether people agree or not… gamers are becoming a very relevant segment of the population, both economically and culturally (Business Wire 1).

…demographic profile of gamers is interesting. It seems to attract people of all ages and young working professionals in particular (Aishwarya 1) A game like NBA Live 08 does not have a limited market, the same goes for the entire gaming community. It is not only played by kids, It is not only played by adults, it is not played only by men, It is played by everyone. And for this reason, NBA Live 08 is a complete success in the gaming industry as it covers all markets, bridging all the gaps that a game should.

Summary

Overall the game is the closest anyone can ever come to the hardcourt within the comfort of their own living room. The game has surpassed the expectations of all patrons around the world. Excellent graphics, a relative narrative, and adaptive game feature place the game ahead of all competition. Taking the gaming community by storm NBA Live has captivated all players who have craved a touch of reality in their gaming life. Breaking all boundaries the game has made a mark in the gaming industry.

References

  1. Aishwarya, S. “All game for video game consoles. ” The Hindu, 2009, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest.
  2. Hart, James. “Charity pushes buttons to get video games to young patients.” Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, 2006 ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest.
  3. Jian Lee, Deborah. “Girl gamers new target; Industry aims to snag new demographic with video games that appeal to females.” Nanaimo Daily News, 2008, Canadian Newsstand Complete, ProQuest.
  4. Saltzman, Marc. “Scenes From a Memory; An artist uses the video game aesthetic to create new perspectives on some indelible pictures from the last half- century. The viewer is no longer just a spectator, he says :[Home Edition]. ” Los Angeles Times, 2001, Los Angeles Times, ProQuest.
  5. Snider, M. “Will 2009 be a game changer? Variety makes industry soar.” Calgary Herald, 2009,Canadian Newsstand Complete, ProQuest.
  6. Taylor, Jerome. “Why are game consoles the focus of the battle between computer giants?” The Independent, 2009, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest.
  7. “Themis Group Launches “The Escapist”; A New Online Magazine Geared Toward Gamer Culture. ” Business Wire, 2005 ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest.
  8. “Video Games.” NBA Media Ventures. 2009.
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