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I have never been good at video games.

Maybe it's because my parents never bought me a console. I didn't get one until my dad's friend gave us a PlayStation - a year or two after PlayStation 2 came out. Maybe it's because I just suck. Either way, video games and I had never had the most unbreakable of relationships.

But now there's an Xbox 360 in my apartment, a 42-inch TV and, most importantly, a copy of NBA 2K11. And believe me, I would rather be playing that right now then writing this. (And I would rather be writing this than reading for class, which is why my books sits sadly unread. Actually, I'm going to take a short break from writing this for a quick game.)

Now, I realize that I'm a little late on the bandwagon. This thing was released five months ago, so half of you reading this have probably already played it. Sorry about that, but just bear with me. (Or go play it. That's fine too.) Again, not exactly hip to the gamer scene.

This game is realistic. Really realistic. Like, oh-what-game-is-on-right-now? realistic.

More so than any past basketball video game - or any sports game, for that matter - players move like they do in real life.

This, of course, affects gameplay. You can't just jack up running threes or barrel down the lane. Pick-up iso isn't going to work here (unless you're playing pick-up mode, which is an option). You get punished for taking dumb shots or even close, contested layups.

Players also play more like their actual selves, which means that J.J. Redick is usually ice cold from the arc and that Sasha Vujacic will miss the occasional point-blank dunk. (This actually happened.)

The only thing that really misses the mark are faces, which mostly look like mishmashed versions of their real-life counterparts. But when there are faces like Chris Kaman and D.J. Mbenga, maybe realism would have been a bad thing.

If anything, this is more a basketball simulation than a casual game. Sometimes, parts of it are frustrating. Going 1-for-6 from the charity stripe, for example. (It was a goddamn OK release!! Why can't you sink that, Derrick Rose?!) But the struggles push you to keep working rather than put down the controller - and successful players feel so much sweeter.

Let's be clear; I'm not good at this game either. I still don't have icon passing down, and stick passing gets iffy sometimes. I can't make an open three to save my life. But I don't think have ever had this much fun sucking at a game.

But the entertainment isn't limited to those holding the controllers. This is a full on communal experience.

When you're sitting on the couch, it's practically like watching a real game. Shit gets exciting for the people around you too. (Did Blake Griffin really make a layup after the defender got all ball on that!)

There are only so many NBA games on TV, and most of them will be over by 10 or 11 p.m. With All-Star Weekend coming up, what else is a sports fiend to do? When you're scrounging around your apartment for snacks at 2 a.m., this is your only viable option.

And there's still franchise mode, Barack Obama and a whole bunch of Jordan Challenges I haven't tried out yet.

God, I need to do my reading.


Help Jack find the ugliest player in the NBA at [email protected]

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