Experiencing career highs and lows in NBA 2K16

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In Now Playing PC Gamer writers talk about the game currently dominating their spare time. Today, Ben launches a basketball career in 2K16.

In games, and hopefully someday in life, creating outrageous freaks is my thing. For NBA 2K16 I once again take it too far by ballooning brows and squashing noses until my avatar looks like a Cro Magnon man in Nikes. The result might not be as immediately appalling as my WWE 2K16 monstrosity who had Canadian flag nipple pasties and arrows pointing crotchward, but this is basketball we’re talking about here. It is a respected sport, and if you need convincing of that, please see the screenshot above.

Garbage Man, as I’ve called him, is to be my ugly surrogate (surruglygate? No) in NBA 2K16’s new MyCareer mode, a cutscene-stuffed campaign hijacked by American film director Spike Lee who insists on calling it his ‘joint’. It begins with you shooting hoops on a Harlem street court and sharing U-rated banter with your sister as close-ups reveal a gurning player who will not only break ankles, but hearts too.

Well, the hearts of college recruiters anyway. After some high school games for the Midtown Bulldogs—which my bearded 7ft 4 teenager predictably dominates as his bros cheer from the bleachers (at least, that’s what I assume “Get dem hunneds out for your boy” means), we cut to my house as a procession of suited men try to woo me. They come with stats and promises, but sadly no chocolates. I go with Georgetown as the scout they send has the kindest face, and my basketball career begins.

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It turns out there’s more to this game than squeaking around a shiny floor. I have to juggle relationships, sign endorsements, and most stressfully, go shopping for expensive watches. Have you ever had to buy an expensive watch? It’s like choosing your favourite pasta shape. I instead spend my first wage on a $750 baseball cap.

Between games Garbage Man has screaming feuds with jealous friends and loud meetings with slimey agents. After the team owner muses to me that “Our lives are like a pearl necklace of great moments, strung together with the finest silk thread of memories,” I lose faith in Jones’ overwritten joint and abandon my career to indulge my creative compulsion with the game’s various customisations.

I slap a big frowny face on the front, but I feel this glumness clashes with my player’s happy-go-lucky brand.

First I delve into the jersey maker and slap a big frowny face on the front, but I feel this glumness clashes with my player’s happy-go-lucky brand. I try the court creator next, and whip up a belter: a picture of a basketballing Benjamin Franklin on centre circle, the word ‘FEAR’ written under the basket in block capitals, and speakers set to blare out an evil laugh every time someone shoots wide in a hilarious effect that definitely won’t get annoying.

To cement my court’s status as the NBA’s most unnerving venue, there’s something of The Shining about its honeycomb wood flooring dyed blood red at one end. Red rum!

I started my NBA 2K16 journey with the noble intention of creating the ultimate freak, and I end with an arguably greater purpose: manically customising everything. Now I’m off to ramp up hot dog prices, bye!