20th Anniversary of NBA Live

Wayback Wednesday: The NBA Live Domain

NBA Live 2001: Shaquille O'Neal

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

For those who are unaware, I didn’t found the NLSC – then the NBA Live Series Center – way back in 1996. That was the work of Tim, Lutz, and Brien, and it was their efforts that inspired me to create my own NBA Live website: the NBA Live Domain, or NLD for short. Yes, I was definitely inspired by the NLSC in a lot of ways.

There were a lot more NBA Live fan sites back in the day, especially as everyone tended to host their own patches. Generally speaking, you don’t see a lot of sites like that anymore. We’re obviously still around…now covering NBA 2K and basketball games in general as well as NBA Live…and you’ve also got Operation Sports, with their excellent coverage of the entire genre of sports games. Beyond that, most sports gamers seem to provide content through YouTube and other social media platforms.

So, with this being Wayback Wednesday, and given our ongoing celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, I thought I’d offer up some reflections on my old site. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: Sean O’Brien’s Reflections

Magic vs. Pistons in NBA Live 97

We’re picking up our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations once again with a clip from Episode #129 of the NLSC Podcast, in which I chatted to Sean O’Brien, Executive Producer of NBA Live. While the interview was mainly centred on NBA Live 16 – at the time, a couple of weeks away from its release – we also took some time out to talk about the history of the series, and Sean’s experience working on it, beginning with NBA Live 97. As noted in our chat, he was even featured as a cheat code in that game!

With such a long history working on the series, Sean definitely has some interesting stories to tell about how he got involved with the development of the game, and how things have changed over the years. He recalls his experiences providing motion capture back in 1996, and describes what it was like to develop a basketball game back in the 90s. In reminiscing about his experiences working on NBA Live, Sean also touches on the future of the series, mentioning that he’s excited about what he believes the team can do with the next couple of releases.

Catch it here on our YouTube channel if you’re having any issues with the embedded video. If you’d like to listen to the entire interview, you can tune in to Episode #129 of the NLSC Podcast here.

Stay tuned for more 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content!

File Additions for NBA Live 95: NBA Live 95 Demo

NBA Live 95 Demo

As we pick up our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations once more, we’re heading back to NBA Live 95 with another new file addition: the long lost NBA Live 95 demo for PC!

Yes, I was recently able to track down the NBA Live 95 demo, and upload it to our Downloads database for posterity. In the demo, you can play an exhibition game between the East All-Stars and the West All-Stars, with one minute quarters. Although the artwork for all 27 NBA teams from the 1995 season is included in the game, trying to select any of those teams will only lead to the game picking the two All-Star teams, East at West, on the 1995 All-Star court in Phoenix.

With the release of the NBA Live 16 demo, I thought it would be a good time to share the discovery, and offer up the opportunity for a (limited) hands-on look back on the first game in the NBA Live series. It also shows how far we’ve come with sports game demos: whereas the NBA Live 95 demo offers a very quick glimpse at what’s on offer, the NBA Live 16 demo features six playable teams in Tip Off (exhibition) play, LIVE Pro-Am, and the Learn LIVE tutorial and practice modes. While NBA Live still has a long road ahead of it, it’s come a long way, too.

Download the NBA Live 95 demo here! You’ll need to run it in DOSBox, so be sure to check out this guide if you need any assistance.

Stay tuned for more 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content!

20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 97 Retrospective

NBA Live 97 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC!

NBA Live 97 was another step up from NBA Live 96…depending on which platform you were playing on. If you were playing the game on Super Nintendo, you’d notice a couple of new features, and some new animations. On PC and PlayStation, however, the jump was a little bigger. Not quite NBA Showdown to NBA Live 95 big, but still fairly noticeable, especially in terms of the visuals. Let’s take a look back at the game that described itself as the “soul of hoops”, and proudly announced that it featured Shaq.

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File Additions for NBA Live 96: Definitive NBA Live 96

Definitive NBA Live 96

As previously mentioned, we’re not just posting feature articles and retrospectives as part of our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations. We’re also releasing a little something for every PC game in the series, for anyone who wants to dust off old favourites.

Continuing on from the Definitive NBA Live 95, we have the Definitive NBA Live 96! This is a final 1995/1996 roster patch for NBA Live 96 that adds missing players, accounts for all the trades and signings that took place during that memorable season, contains a few fixes, and adjusts some ratings. Once again, this is something that I’ve gone back and crafted having had years of experience making roster updates, to create what I feel is a “director’s cut” patch for NBA Live 96.

There aren’t any issues with compatibility when it comes to NBA Live 96 rosters, so this update can be used in any game mode you choose. Please note that it also updates the portrait files, or at least, blanks out the portraits for players I’ve overwritten…just in case you’re wondering why it’s a slightly larger download than usual, for a roster update for such an old game.

Download Definitive NBA Live 96 here! If you need help getting NBA Live 96 to run under DOSBox, be sure to check out this guide in our Wiki.

Stay tuned for more 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content!

20th Anniversary of NBA Live: Exploring the NBA Live 96 Executable

Gary Payton dribbles up court in NBA Live 96

It’s time to go Easter Egg hunting in the executable file of NBA Live 96 PC! While the editor that Tim and Brien made for NBA Live 96 was sufficient for most of our needs when creating roster updates, at other times, we needed to open the exe file with a Hex Editor. Doing so allowed us to change things like the year of the previous season’s statistics (for example, from the default 94/95 to 95/96), edit team names, or watermark a patch by adding a message to the credits and copyright screens.

This was all done quite easily, as all you had to do was search for the appropriate text strings in the Hex Editor of your choice. As long as you didn’t try to make any team names longer than they already were, or touch anything that you really shouldn’t, you couldn’t really go wrong.

While poking around in the NBA96.exe file, you can find a few interesting and amusing Easter Eggs. As part of our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations, I thought it’d be fun to fire up HxD, comb through the NBA Live 96 executable file once again, and share some of my discoveries. Let’s get started!

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 96 Retrospective

20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 96 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC!

NBA Live 96 on PC was the first game in the series that I actually owned – I used to regularly rent the Super Nintendo version of NBA Live 95 from the local video store – and it’s also the game that I was looking up content for when I first discovered the NLSC way back in 1997. As such, it’s fair to say that I have something of a sentimental attachment to it, and it’s one of my favourite games in the series. Beyond that, though, was the game any good? Let’s take a look back at the game that proudly proclaimed itself a “Back-to-Back Champion” on the back of its box.

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File Additions for NBA Live 95: Definitive NBA Live 95

Yes, really! It’s been a long, long time since we had a new file addition for NBA Live 95, but as part of our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations, we’re releasing a little something for every PC title in the series.

We’re tipping off those releases with a roster patch for NBA Live 95, which I’ve titled “Definitive NBA Live 95”. In a nutshell, it contains final 1994/1995 rosters with several missing players added, adjusted ratings, and various fixes. I’ve used all my experience from years of working on roster updates for NBA Live, as well as all the resources that are now available online, to put together what I feel is the best possible NBA Live 95 experience, with accurate 12-man 1995 season rosters.

You’ll find a season-compatible version of the rosters that uses incorrect portraits, and an exhibition-compatible version that removes the portraits of overwritten players, so you won’t see Larry Krystkowiak smiling at you whenever Michael Jordan goes to the free throw line. Please see the included readme file for full details.

Download Definitive NBA Live 95 here! And, if you need help getting NBA Live 95 to run under DOSBox, be sure to check out this guide in our Wiki.

Stay tuned for more 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content!

20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live DOSBox Guide

Chicago Bulls in NBA Live 97 - 20th Anniversary of NBA Live

Over the past few days, we’ve been sharing some memories of NBA Live 95, plus a couple of fun things from the archives. But what if you want to play NBA Live 95 PC yourself? Or the PC version of NBA Live 96, or NBA Live 97 for that matter?

Doing so can be difficult in recent versions of Windows, unless you use DOSBox. And if it’s been a while since you used DOS – or if you’ve just picked up the games off eBay, and have never used DOS before – that can feel like a daunting task. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered with a new addition to our Wiki resources: a step-by-step guide to running NBA Live 95, NBA Live 96, and NBA Live 97 in DOSBox!

In case you haven’t felt inclined to dust off those old games just yet, you may want to keep that page bookmarked, as I’ll be releasing some patches for the PC versions of Live 95-97 as part of our ongoing 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations. Working on them has certainly been a nostalgic experience for me, so I hope that at least a few of you will feel inclined to fire up those old games, and give the new releases a spin once they’re available.

Stay tuned for more 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content!

20th Anniversary of NBA Live: A Game of NBA Live 95, Play-By-Play

Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets in NBA Live 95

If you can’t catch NBA games live on TV, you might be familiar with the play-by-play live scores on NBA.com, as well as ESPN.com and Yahoo! NBA. Well, you really should look into NBA League Pass Broadband if you can, but if a subscription is too expensive, or just not feasible for whatever reason, the live scores are pretty much your best (legal) option for following along with NBA games.

Many, many years ago, there was a period in my NBA fanaticism when I didn’t have the opportunity to watch a lot of games live. My cousin, who had pay TV, recorded games for me to watch later on VHS, and I also made use of PonTel. However, when I wanted to keep up to date with a big game, I’d have to jump online – dialup Internet, no less – and fire up the live scores. Incidentally, the first game I followed along with online was Game 5 of the 1999 NBA Finals. At the time, I thought it was pretty cool, though it obviously has nothing on League Pass Broadband.

As I’ve previously mentioned, back in high school, my cousin would always come to stay with us in the holidays, and we’d spend a lot of time playing NBA Live and NBA Jam. You know, in between watching NBA videos, and trying to emulate our favourite players on my hoop in the backyard. Since we loved NBA Live 95 on PC – even though it was a few years old at that point – we were playing through a season with the Houston Rockets. We had a lot of fun with that season: as may have seen, we brought Larry Bird out of retirement, and we once held Shaquille O’Neal to just 17 points (1 point in the second half!) in a full length game.

We also documented one of the games we played, play-by-play, on audio cassette. VHS, audio cassette, dial-up Internet…be sure to look up these ancient technologies on Wikipedia kids, you’ll get a kick out of it! Anyway, we documented the entire game, and then transcribed it to post on the NBA Live Domain, which I was running at the time. For your enjoyment, and indeed, for posterity, here is the play-by-play from that game, documented in the style of the NBA.com live scores back then.

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: Bird Flies With The Rockets in NBA Live 95

Larry Bird on the Houston Rockets in NBA Live 95

I’ve never been a big online basketball gamer, but that doesn’t mean I’ve always played them alone. Back in high school, my cousin – also a huge basketball fan and hoops gamer – would come to stay with us every school holidays. Whenever we weren’t watching basketball, or out in the backyard emulating the moves of our favourite players, we were playing basketball video games. NBA Live and NBA Jam were our titles of choice, and as the years rolled by and my collection grew, we had a few different versions of NBA Live to choose from. At one point, we started replaying the 1995 season in NBA Live 95 PC, with the Houston Rockets.

We always used to play co-op, because we preferred being on the same team and trying to win as many games as we could, together. Of course, when it’s two human users vs. the CPU, you need to find ways to keep things fresh, challenging, and interesting. In our NBA Live 95 season, we did that in the usual manner: making a few trades, aiming for certain statistical marks and records, and trying to blow out the CPU by the largest margin possible.

Oh, and Larry Bird made a comeback for our Houston Rockets, part of the way through the season.

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The Friday Five: My Top 5 Favourite NBA Live Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

As you may have seen, our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations are underway. We’ve got lot of fun stuff lined up, including complete retrospectives for every single game in the series, feature articles, analysis, patches, and more. As this is the first Friday Five since our 20th Anniversary content tipped off, it seems like a good time for a countdown that’s been on my list for some time now: My Top 5 Favourite Games in the NBA Live series.

Please keep in mind that these aren’t objectively the best games in the NBA Live series, though I do believe they rank up there. As part of our celebrations, I’ll also be collaborating with the rest of the NLSC Team to pick the Top 10 Games in the NBA Live series, which I believe will reflect popular opinion, not just my own preferences. As for this list however, I’m just briefly reflecting on my personal Top 5 favourite NBA Live games, sentimental picks included; again, full retrospectives will be coming for each game. With that said, let’s get to the countdown!

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 95 Retrospective

20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 95 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC!

We’re tipping off our series of retrospectives with a look at the game that started it all: NBA Live 95. The game is often remembered fondly by long-time basketball gamers; beyond its significance as the first game in the NBA Live series, it’s also generally considered to be a classic. However, looking back on it twenty years later, it’s certainly fair to wonder…is that reputation justified? Just how well does NBA Live 95 hold up today? Let’s find out.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #126

NLSC Podcast Logo

We’re in good health, good spirits, and have some exciting stuff to talk about, so it’s time for another episode of the NLSC Podcast! In Episode #126, Arcane and I recap the week in NBA Live 16 and NBA 2K16 news, preview some upcoming features here at the NLSC, and discuss a couple of NBA-related topics.

On this week’s show…

  • At long last, we’re launching our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content! On a similar note, Andrew is celebrating his 14th Anniversary as NLSC Webmaster.
  • We also have interviews with Sean O’Brien, and Leftos & JaoSming coming up. Get your questions in ASAP!
  • Recapping the week in NBA Live 16 news, we give our thoughts on the latest preview media, and information on this year’s pre-order bonuses.
  • The first proper gameplay trailer for NBA 2K16 has dropped. Do we feel hyped?
  • Last week delivered us a huge amount of information on MyLEAGUE, MyLEAGUE Online, and MyGM. Naturally, it all came through after we wrapped up last week’s episode, but we’re happy to get it nevertheless.
  • We discuss a few other NBA 2K16 news and notes, including changes to ratings, and the latest retro teams to be confirmed.
  • With gamers looking forward to both NBA Live 16 and NBA 2K16, shots are being fired by both companies. We weigh in on the situation.
  • Metta World Peace could be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers. What do we think of that move?
  • Michael Jordan makes more in endorsements than any current NBA player. We reflect on the brand power of His Airness.
  • We wrap up Episode #126 of the NLSC Podcast with Nick Young’s desire to play for the Boomers, and Andrew Bogut’s response.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

20th Anniversary of NBA Live Content Tips Off This Week

It’s been a long time coming, and it’s arguably a year too late (though NBA Live 95 PC was actually released in 1995), but we’re finally ready to tip off our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here at the NLSC! Obviously, we’re still looking to the future and the NBA Live 16 coverage will keep on coming, but at the same time, we’ll be taking the opportunity to look back at 20 years of the NBA Live series.

Our content will be tipping off within the next few days, and will continue to run alongside our NBA Live 16 content, most likely through to the end of the year. We’ve got some fun stuff planned, including:

  • Retrospectives on all of the games in the NBA Live series
  • Roundtable discussions about the series’ past and future
  • A release (of some kind) for every single NBA Live on PC
  • Feature articles, analysis, and fun stuff from the archives
  • A couple of other surprises we really think you’ll enjoy

It’s going to be a lot of fun, so stay tuned!

On a related note, today marks my 14th Anniversary as the webmaster of the NLSC (or NBA Live Series Center, as was our full name at the time). On August 26th 2001, a couple of months shy of turning 17, I was entrusted to take over one of my favourite websites, and while it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, for the most part it’s been a fantastic experience. It’s something that I enjoy doing to this day, and I’m looking forward to running the site for years to come. As always, a huge thanks to everyone for your continued support!

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