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What is in a Sim? 
Posted on June 30, 2009 at 10:55 AM.
The age old question has been what is sim? I have been pondering the question myself for quite a few years now and have come up with the simplest definition I could come up with. Although this is simple, it still has a very complex nature due to the fact that it is opinion based. I hope that you will all be able to understand and agree with the insight I have to offer.

To Sim or Not to Sim, That is the Question!!!!

After playing video games since I was 8 years old, I'm 36 now; I can say that I'm an authority on sports gaming. Many of you aren't even 28 let alone playing games that long. My list of basketball games played starts with Atari Basketball where you were playing one on one with a square ball and two hang man poles to represent a hoop. My first game of EA's was Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs on the IBM (basically the very first one). EA has come a long way from Kareem and his goggles to Dynamic DNA. I preface this to let you know, I know what I'm talking about.

Let's get to it, what is sim?

Sim: Short for Simulation.

SIMULATION:[sim-yuh-ley-shuhn] the representation of the behavior or characteristics of one system through the use of another system, esp. a computer program designed for the purpose.

I would have to start by giving the assumption that there are two main types of players, sim style and arcade style. Arcade style players generally know very little about basketball other than the names of the stars, dunks, and three pointers. For the most part, this style gamer is under the age of 18. Sim Style players want the game and gaming experience to represent the real thing.

We will be looking at the Sim Style player in this blog. This is where it gets tricky but very interesting. What I have found is that there are two different types of sim players, Baller Sim Style (BSS) and Fan Sim Style (FSS). Let's look at these styles a little closer, shall we?

Baller Sim Style (BSS)
This style of sim head has played organized basketball on at least the AAU level. Most have played High School and the heavier BSS has played college, semi pro, or coached. When a BSS player grabs the sticks, he is looking for a replication of things he would do on the court or strategies that would work in a real game. Physics, attributes, fatigue, and consistency are the most important features of a game for them. Coaching features, play calling, and the absence of super human abilities make him/her happy.

A sim league started or run by a BSS will have rules geared toward creating this realistic environment. They will be looking for realistic stats and scores and generally don’t want to police others, and want them to play it like it was real life. BSS players will drive an Arcade Style player up the wall with their slow, intelligent, chess-like gaming style or the BSS will get blown out because they refuse to play in an arcade manner. FSS players will have a tendency to frustrate some BSS players.

Fan Sim Style (FSS)
This style of sim head typically has a favorite team he/she follows and really likes basketball. They are very familiar with the sport, the rules, the players, and watches games on TV or attend them regularly. While FSS players like for a video game to be as realistic as possible, they are looking for a representation of what they normally see on television. The game must have a degree of grandness and excitement just like a television broadcast. While this casual sim player may have played a few pick up game at the Local Park or community center, they don’t really have a true concept of disciplined organized basketball. When they see Kobe light a team up for 50, they don’t understand how much work his teammates had to put in to get Kobe those open looks. They don’t know that Kobe isn’t just taking someone off the dribble and firing jumpers all game and that those are generally set plays out of the free flowing Triangle Offense.

FSS Players are looking for the “Fun Factor” as long as it resembles what they see on the NBA on TNT. They know what is real and what isn’t but can’t really appreciate that those NBA players know the fundamentals so well that they do them effortlessly. Something simple like Lebron going baseline, splitting three defenders, doing a spin move away from the goal, then lifting off one foot for a two hand dunk over Yao Ming is a spectacular play for a FSS player while it is some Bull**** for a BSS player. Many FSS players can fit with a group of BSS players but will always be “that guy” with questionable game play. A BSS player can fit with a group of FSS players but will always be “that guy” that cries about everything.

Overall, sim style is what most of the gaming developers are after but where 2K and EA are different is that 2K is starting to lean more toward FSS Players and EA toward BSS players. That is where 2K lost me because I am a BSS player. I finally traded in 2K9 after a major controller throwing moment and started a Dynasty in Live 09. I have always liked Live 09 over 2K9 and will be playing Live 10 this year. Dynamic DNA is a BSS player dream come true along with the foot planting and physics Live has to offer. Live 09 missed on defense, rebounding, and coaching features but Mike “Beluba” Wang has assured me that all of those issues have been addressed. After a few conversations with him, I am very excited about what he and the crew are doing to make the game, in Beluba’s words, “the best balance of offense and defense he has seen in all the years he has been making basketball sims”.

I hope this clears things up for many of you.

Look for my review of NCAA Football 10 coming soon.
# 1 SageInfinite @ Jun 30
Very nice blog. I agree with mostly everything you wrote. I also think it depends on the game, that decides what category I fall into. Sometimes it depends on the mood I'm in. The 1 thing I can say to developers is just give everyone options.
# 2 rockchisler @ Jun 30
very good, u hit it right on the head.
# 3 Sovartus @ Jun 30
Thanks Gentlemen.
# 4 superstarshad @ Oct 4
Honestly, back when Live implemented the freestyle joystick (I think it was Live 04) EA's game was geared toward the BSS, and that same year's 2k was heavily FSS. What happened..... the consumer spoke and EA was forced the next two years to make their game more FSS like. At the same time, 2k plateued, and the only way they were left to improve was to transition their play to more BSS. But here's the kicker- 2k's game engine is extremely loose and this style of play doesn't mesh well with their game engine. That's why gamers are able to heavily exploit 2k's engine year in and out. At its core.......its an arcade sim. Also, keep in mind- when mike took over for Live he mentioned he was impressed with Live's game engine. Just my opinion..
# 5 JkA3 @ Oct 8
Yo - this blog was fire!
# 6 BuckDown @ Oct 18
You ' re right buddy there's a great difference between knowledgeable bball fans who read stat sheets and understand team tactics and chemistry and played competitive ball and people who think that the NBA ain't nothin but a playground Deluxe i looooooooved that blog
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