Sam Hinkie, the man who failed to understand the game design of the NBA

True to form, Sam Hinkie was not wrong when he wrote “the NBA can be a league of desperation” in a letter to the Philadelphia 76ers’ equity partners last week. Hinkie, having quit his position with that letter, is now the former president and general manager of the 76ers. And more importantly, he made a career out of not being wrong. Hinkie was not wrong in noting that the design of the league offered scant rewards for mediocrity; a team on the margins of the playoffs can easily become trapped in that unsatisfying range. Hinkie was not wrong to observe that…


How Stephen Curry is changing the game design of basketball

How do you solve a problem like basketball pro Stephen Curry—the guy breaking records for consistently scoring three-pointers? Note that the question here is not how to defend Curry. That’s a problem for other people, and we wish them the best of luck with that! But how do you write about a player with Curry’s peculiar skillset? Badly, for the most part. At some point over the last year, the phrase “it’s a cliché to call these video-game numbers” appeared on an NBC Sports page. Like primeval ooze, the phrase spread across NBC-affiliated sites, hidden in alt-text and metadata. Though…


The tragic tale of rugby as a sports game

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. After the 34-17 loss at the Rugby World Cup semi-finals last October, Australian fans could do with some escapism. But if they’re looking to relieve their broken hearts and reclaim the cup through a videogame fantasy, they’ll find that the medium is still working to catch up to the excitement of real life matches. While annual soccer video games like FIFA plow ahead with authentic ball physics and a realistic facial rendering of Lionel Messi, rugby videogames are admirable mostly for their refusal to quit. Judging from the opinions…


Kasketball does for basketball what Rocket League did for soccer

Let’s say you’re at a party with three friends. You’ve had a couple drinks and are looking for something fun to do. Should that fun activity involve a car? Full marks to those who said no. Drinking and driving—never the twain shall mix. But let’s carve out an exception to that rule for Kasketball, a party game in which you and three other players hop into cars and drift about while playing basketball. It’s safe because the cars are virtual and so is everything else in the game, which can be played on either OSX or PC. Again: Drinking and…