In recent years, sports video games, in particular, have usually been dominated by one company having a monopoly over the individual sport. EA’s FIFA series, MLB’s The Show series, NFL Madden, and of course NBA 2K17. Looking back in time, we as consumers used to be able to go to Gamestop or EB games in October and buy either NBA 2K or NBA Live. Back then, there used to be a debate between these two games. Some of us “go hard in the paint” hoop-gamers used to cop both. (I don’t know if you guys remember NBA 2K being 20 cash one year, just to compete with Live. And honestly, it was the better game.) Back when I moved to my Grandfather’s house in New York, my cousins and I used to love playing NBA Live. It was the first game we had for PS2. It was a fast-paced simulation we used to get busy on. One day, however, I was reading a review on game informer about NBA 2K. I used to play 2K back on Dreamcast with my cousin in Baltimore and decided to go ahead and scoop a copy of 2K that year. Needless to say, I think me and my cousins can agree 2K was easily the better game out of the two (or three if you count NBA Inside Drive on Xbox) and it was worth the pickup. We probably forgot all about NBA Live.
I forgot a huge piece of this story on purpose. The NBA used to have a deal between both EA and Midway to do non-simulation or arcade style basketball games every other year. In 2001, a new smash hit game hit PS2. That game is probably one of my favorite game series of all time. Enter NBA Street.
EA Sports coined NBA Street and created something that was a 3-on-3 masterpiece that my cousins and I used to go ham on every chance we got. We played that game super hard body. NBA Street was just too lit. I mean, we always played the Live’s and 2K’s, (More so 2K, but I’m getting there) but when we finally got a hold on NBA Street, we realized this shit is just too much fun, yo. NBA Street Vol 2 was probably some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game. I pretty much got it the first day and saved up my lunch money to go pick it up. Good times.
Fast forward to 2017. NBA Street is a dead franchise. Why? I guess it didn’t make it to modern day gaming. However, I’m starting to realize that it DID make it to modern day gaming, just not the way we thought. NBA Street is now in NBA 2K as “My Park.” Incredibly dope popular mode in NBA 2K. I always have a good time playing my park. (for the most part, sometimes I get stuck with a bum ass team, or I play like a bum myself.) There’s 4-on-4, 3-on-3, 2-on-2, game to 21. You can leave and go to another court, upgrade your my player, change your clothes, rock J's, get your rep up, do tricks (somewhat), etc. I mean it’s NBA 2K regulation style, just in a street setting. I got to thinking one day while I saw NBA Live 16 trying to make a comeback and just realized there’s simply no way in blue hell that NBA Live can compete with NBA 2K. None. Why keep trying? NBA Live was so bad at one point; they sought to recreate NBA Live and call it “Elite.” (That’s a fact.) The game ultimately ended up getting canceled. NBA 2K is now the dominant force in video game basketball, and it’s not up for debate. (Shameless plug.)
NBA Street Vol 2. may be one of the best basketball games of all time. I mean it’s probably literally out of that, NBA 2K11, and NBA Jam. Speaking of NBA Jam, though, EA Sports snatched up the license and made a new NBA Jam which was dope. They even put in NBA Street legend “Stretch.” But yo, it’s just not NBA Street. The game breakers, the tricks, the game controls, everything. EA could introduce NBA Street to a new generation that didn’t get a chance to live in a world where arcade basketball games gave video games a different culture. Imagine making your own My Player and joining up with other players online to play NBA Street and having similar components that NBA 2K has for my park. The possibilities would be crazy. They could even jack the whole “create your own team” with the card packs that the sports games have now. Take some of the NBA Live simulation ideas, and throw them in a new NBA Street with simulation basketball game qualities. A “my team” mode in NBA Street, a fully customizable my player, all that good stuff. I also think it would be incredibly dope for players to play in cities kind of like how NBA 2K does in my park with the ballers, flyers, and rough riders. How about when you start out you play on the local courts, but then once your rep is up you can play at Rucker Park, Dyckman, Venice Beach, etc. Maybe even get brand licenses, and have the Yeezy’s in the game or something. (They probably CAN’T get Jordan, but whatever. Make a customizable sneaker option.) I just would love to see an NBA Street game with all of these dope ideas incorporated. NBA Live more than likely won’t get a chance to compete with NBA 2K again. But what they can do, is take a classic throwback game, and rework it with some new swag.
If you grew up on NBA Street like I did, and you love NBA 2K’s modes, just imagine a game where they could pull some of the same modes in NBA Street Vol. 2. Personally, I would love to see a “create a trick” mode. Create your own sneakers. Create your own dunk. Anything to add to your created player’s street personality. Get your game right, and then hop on the massive Rucker Park online lobby and dunk on somebody’s stupid face with a custom dinner’s served. Smarten up, EA. 1 dope game in 15 years, yo, I can divide. NBA Live got to the point where they wanted to put a game out in 2017, but they want to drop it mid-season. (smh.) By then, NBA 2K will, as it has always done for the past ten years possibly, dominate sales. Make that new NBA Street happen. Once you’re done, make a new Def Jam Vendetta game, too.