Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Michael Jordan License

For the longest time, hardcore NBA gamers have been deprived of Michael Jordan in basketball video games. The NBA LIVE series, except for a handful of versions, then the best NBA game series, had to content its fans with an unnamed player in the Chicago Bulls roster. That unnamed player happens to play guard, is black, and has exceptional skill level. Gamers, of course, assumed that that is Michael Jordan. The reason stems back from 1992 when Michael Jordan did not take part in the collective licensing agreement between the NBA and its active players. Jordan from then on controlled the licensing of his image and likeness.

Trading card manufacturers and game manufacturers had to get Jordan’s consent before they could put his name and image in their products. With the other active players’ name and image, the manufacturers simply had to deal with the NBA. This resulted in very rare appearances of Michael Jordan in NBA video games which, in turn, diminished the “reality” aspect of the games. Beating the Chicago Bulls of the nineties would not be as gratifying if it does not include Michael Jordan in the lineup.

In 2010, the NBA 2K game series proudly released its NBA 2K11 with, you guessed it, Michael Jordan on the cover. After holding out for so many years, Michael Jordan once again gave his consent to the use of his image in a basketball video game. Jordan says it is his way of introducing himself to the younger generation who only remembers him from Space Jam. Though I am a fan, I also happen to think that maybe, just maybe, the developers of the NBA 2K11 named the right price.

In any case, this is still a welcome development since 2K11 definitely captured the glory days of the Chicago Bulls of the nineties. Game play, needless to say, is excellent. The AI is the best to date and players are lifelike. On top of that, you also get to play other teams that rivaled the Chicago Bulls during its years with Jordan. The game is simply packed with different game modes and challenges. With the developments in gaming technology, Michael Jordan could not have picked a better time to appear on the cover of a video game. And, true to his competitive spirit, there are no cheats available, so far, for the Jordan Challenge mode in the game.

*post no. 7

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