While the mechanics of passing, rebounding, calling plays, and defending are constantly changing in the world of video game basketball, the act of shooting in the digital realm have only really been changed once. When basketball video games first came out, shooting a jump shot in a video game is to hold down a button, wait until the digital player reaches the peak of his jump, then let go of the button to release the shot. No matter who you were using, the shooting mechanic was the same.
That changed a decade ago when ESPN NBA Basketball (aka NBA 2K4, in the only year the game drifted apart from the “2K” name) introduced individual shooting animations for each player, with player-specific shot release.
Since then, gamers must figure out each digital player’s release point, for releasing at the top of the jump is no longer the “right” way. Players with quirky shots, like Kevin Martin’s flick shot, requires almost an instant release, while guys who really elevate, like Ray Allen, has a later-than-usual release point.
It’s a double-edged sword, these “realistic” shooting animations in 2K. While it’s refreshing that players each have a different shot -– just like in real life -– it also makes using a new team or player extremely frustrating, as players with quirky shots are extremely tough to learn, even if they are real-life elite shooters (I, for example, have never been able to shoot with Paul Pierce in 2K, because he has this one-leg-forward, fading, ball-behind-head shot).
Lots of gamers are having the same problem with Lakers point guard Kendall Marshall in NBA 2K14.
So many people have asked the real life Marshall how to shoot with the digital Marshall, that the real life Marshall had to tweet this:
stop askin me how to shoot with me in 2K, I don't know. I'm still tryin to figure it out in real life. lls
— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) January 28, 2014
It's refreshing to see an NBA player poke fun at himself on social media, but Marshall is shooting 48 percent from long distance this year, so he's actually a pretty good shooter... just not in this particular video game.
Maybe the trick is that he has to be sitting down in the game when he shoots?