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DAR Games: 7 NBA Basketball Games Of The 2000s

By @TrueGodImmortal

The NBA has been notorious for their output in video gaming, with the 90's being a successful period. The 2010s have been lucrative as well, as 2K had dominated the field, but once upon a time, there were multiple games out there to choose from. We spoke about the impact of the games in the 90's for basketball, but today, we wanted to look back at the decade after. The 2000s were an interesting decade for basketball as a whole, but for video gaming, it would become the pivotal time for change, as Live fizzled out slowly, 2K took over, and the other games faltered hard. Let's take a look back however at that time period when Courtside, Street, Inside Drive, Live, and 2K all existed in harmony.... well maybe not harmony, but you get the picture. Here are 7 NBA games from the 2000s.

*NBA 2K2

-Choosing one of the early 2K games is never actually easy because they were all entertaining, but it seemed as though 2002 was the year for basketball games all across the board. The Lakers were riding high, Iverson was popular, the Spurs had come of age, and Vince Carter was inmensely popular along with Tracy McGrady. This game captures a moment in time, with the best graphics we had seen in the series and perhaps the greatest gameplay and mechanics seen thus far in a basketball game. When this game released initially, so many people praised it as the best basketball game yet, and that praise wasn't unwarranted. With Iverson on the cover yet again, this game hit new strides in terms of realism, gameplay engine, and just overall pace and flow of the game. Everything about this game was amazing, and while this game doesn't get mentioned as much today due to advancements in the gaming world, it is still one of the absolute best basketball games of the decade and perhaps ever.

*NBA Street Vol. 2

-One of the most engaging sports games ever, NBA Street Vol. 2 was immensely popular amongst the gaming community. The concept of playing street basketball in a game was always intriguing, and the gameplay here was 10 times better than the first one honestly. Well, maybe that number is an exaggeration, but regardless, NBA Street Vol. 2 was a much better game than the first and quite possibly a top 5 basketball game of all time. The gameplay, the style, the music, the overall execution made this game ahead of the pack, and the culture included in this game made it so special. It felt like a game that understood the audience it was looking to reach, and it did NOT disappoint one bit. For me, the sounds including the music was an impactful part of the game and with this game now turning 15 this year, it was only right that we pay homage to one of the most engaging and enjoyable games of all time. It was easily no. 1 or 2 during this decade and there hasn't been a game to replicate this level of greatness since.

*NBA Courtside 2002

-When we look at the forgotten games of the decade, this is probably one of the most slept on. Courtside wasn't an elite series by any stretch, but there were a lot of gamers who could appreciate elements of this game. With the legendary Kobe Bryant on the cover (fro Kobe), the game featured crisper animations than some of its counterparts and was touted for the graphics, but the gameplay does leave a bit to be desired. The shooting mechanics had a tendency to be a bit spotty, and like many NBA games, the passing was an issue. Still, if you could overlook those issues, playing these games were fun, and it was almost on par with Live and 2K that year, ending up just a notch below them in terms of overall quality. It is a shame we don't get more games like this in the current era, as the opportunity for choices and options in video gaming was always fun and made every series have to step it up. Courtside was far from classic, but it definitely had some fun elements to it.

*NBA Live 2005

-I personally loved NBA Live 2002 the most, but I think the best game of the decade for NBA Live was their 2005 edition. With cover star Carmelo Anthony on the front, this game received rave reviews for the gameplay and the graphics, which definitely saw some improvement over the years prior. The mechanics were what you expected from the NBA Live series, but for the most part, there were other huge selling points for the game including the All Star Weekend. The slam dunk contest is a surprisingly fun mode to play in the game, even if it can be annoying control wise at times. Aside from that, the tempo and flow of the game vastly improved from the previous two editions and there was also a pivotal element of realism that made the game that much better to play. Simply put, NBA Live 2005 was the last truly great edition before they started their slow and hard fall.

*ESPN NBA 2Night 2002

-A game that was not nearly as well received as some of the others, and for good reason. The game made for an uneven experience, with the emphasis being placed more so on the gameplay, which was average itself instead of the addition features that make the games of today so special. Couple that with the lack of real difference in the arcade and simulation modes, and you have a lazy but still fun game. The Create-A-Player feature was nice, and was a highlight, and the shooting actually was solid from a mechanics standpoint, so those are more positives, but rebounding is probably the most frustrating thing on the game with passing coming in a close second. When compared to the other games of the moment, NBA Live 2002 and NBA 2K2, this game falls very short of that standard, but still was enjoyable in small spurts for your basketball gaming needs.

*NBA 2K8

-Look at the first game on my list. 2K2. Years prior to this game. I decided to include these games on here because they are worlds apart, yet still in the same series. NBA 2K8 was the moment that Live became obsolete to me, even though I had enjoyed the 2K6 and 2K7 editions of the game. 2K9 was solid as well, but when I got my hands on 2K8 with Chris Paul on the cover, I never stopped playing it. The reviews for 2K8 were glowing, as most people would crown it the best 2K game since 2K2, and perhaps even better. I wouldn't go that far, but 2K8 does set the standard for the next generation of 2K games very nicely. The Blacktop is improved in terms of gaming modes, the fluidity of the movements in the players is improved, and the graphics once again improve. It felt like an entirely different game from 2K7, which is a feat in itself, and of course, the online play was top shelf. It isn't a perfect game by far and does have some of the lagging issues that plagued 2K in the past, but if I had to choose the best next gen NBA game of the 2000s, this would be the one hands down.

*NBA Inside Drive 2002

-A slept on game, this Xbox exclusive wasn't nearly as big as the Live and 2K series, but it definitely had something that brought fans to it. When you look back at the video game series of the 2000s, this one rarely gets mentioned, but if I had to pick my personal favorite, it would be the 2002 edition with Vince Carter on the cover. Microsoft seemingly wanted to throw their name into the NBA gaming race and surprisingly, this game was touted as one of the better games for basketball at the time of release. The game however, is a bit behind the games that were the top sellers, and the mechanics would leave a hardcore sports gamer slightly annoyed. The game has a few fun elements like shooting jump shots, but I'll be honest, there is a bit of an issue with posting up and hitting fadeaway shots or special spots in general. Regardless, this was an interesting foray into basketball gaming for Microsoft and probably a learning experience at the same time for multiple reasons. The 2000s weren't the greatest time for basketball gaming, but there were still some enjoyable games for sure.


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