Features

The Friday Five: 5 Mods We Rarely See Anymore

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

As I mentioned in Episode #178 of the NLSC Podcast, and as you can see in the NBA 2K17 Releases & Previews section of the Forum, our community is already hard at work figuring out how to develop mods (and indeed, already releasing some) for this year’s game from Visual Concepts. Modding – or patching, to use the old name for the hobby – is something that our community has been doing a fantastic job of for over twenty years now. I expect that we’ll see many more great mods being released over the next year, and beyond.

Although I haven’t been extremely active in the NBA 2K modding scene, I do keep tabs on it, and I’ve been involved with NBA Live modding since before I was running the NLSC. Not only have several modders come and gone, but certain types of mods have also seemingly gone in and out of fashion over the years. For this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d create a list of five types of mods that we don’t see as often these days. That’s not to say that they don’t still get made from time to time, but for one reason or another, they’re not as popular as they once were. With that being said, perhaps we can bring a few of these mods back in NBA 2K17.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 3)

Michael Jordan celebrates title number four in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

With only three games left to complete, I’ve almost finished the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11. As you’ll know if you’ve caught the first two parts of this series, I haven’t been completing them sequentially. Instead, I’ve been playing through them according to how difficult and frustrating I expect them to be. My goal has been to avoid getting burned out on NBA 2K11 or the Jordan Challenge before I can finish it; to that end, I’ve tried to leave the harder games – or at least, what strikes me as the harder games – until last.

On one hand, mission accomplished, as I’ve been eager to keep playing through the Jordan Challenge even though NBA 2K17 is out now. On the other hand, the time has come to play through those final challenges, if I want to complete the mode. In Part 3, I’m taking on 69 Points (the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in which MJ scored his career high) and Father’s Day Victory (Game 6 of the 1996 NBA Finals). Read on to find out how they went down.

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: When EA Sports & Visual Concepts Can’t Win

John Wall dunks in NBA Live 16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

When it comes to basketball video games, we have a responsibility to ourselves as consumers to be honest in our feedback. While it’s important to be constructive and refrain from childish insults, we don’t do ourselves any favours if we hold back on all negative criticism. Visual Concepts has a quality product in NBA 2K, but there are still areas in which the game can improve. With NBA Live, EA Sports still has a long road ahead of them. In both cases, our suggestions and criticisms can help in the development of future games.

In a previous Monday Tip-Off article, I discussed what it means to give constructive feedback. It’s important to keep that in mind when we’re talking about what we want out of future releases from EA Sports and Visual Concepts, and I believe that for the most part, we do a great job of compiling useful feedback for both developers. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain issues, it’s hard for us to have a unified voice and reach a consensus, due to polarised opinions on certain features. When that happens, it’s tough for EA Sports or Visual Concepts to win with basketball gamers.

Read More

The Friday Five: 5 Things Old School Basketball Gamers Did

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

I’ve been playing basketball video games for a long time now, and I know that I’m far from the only person in our community with a long history on the virtual hardwood. If you go back a long way with basketball video games, chances are you have a healthy appreciation for how far they’ve come, while also harbouring a certain amount of nostalgia for the more primitive games from yesteryear. You probably remember many of their quirks, some of which you may miss, whereas others will definitely leave you feeling very grateful that they’re no longer an issue.

Of course, we gamers have plenty of quirks of our own, whether it’s some kind of superstitious ritual with the controls (“Yeah, tapping the button at that time totally works!”), or just something we do because it’s kind of fun, such as timing movements with the soundtrack. When it comes to basketball games, there are also certain things that we old school gamers did that probably seem a bit strange and amusing to younger gamers, because technology is so much better now. Just for fun, I thought I’d make a list of some of those quirky rituals and old fashioned activities that it seems many of us old school basketball gamers indulged in at one time or another.

Read More

20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2003 Retrospective

NBA Live 2003 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 2003 is neither one of my all-time favourites, nor one of the best games in the NBA Live series. It is, however, a very significant game in the series for a few reasons; some good, some bad. In certain aspects, it made some very important steps forward that ultimately benefitted the series, even to this day. At the same time, it made several missteps, providing a clear lesson in what not to do with a five-on-five, sim-oriented basketball title that most gamers wanted to be as realistic as possible. Having said all that, let’s take a look back at NBA Live 2003.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 2)

Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

NBA 2K17 is out now, so my retro gaming is temporarily on hold. However, before I got my hands on this year’s release, I did manage to complete another couple of games in NBA 2K11’s Jordan Challenge. I expect that I’ll mostly be playing NBA 2K17 over the next couple of weeks, but my inner completionist is definitely eager to once again pick up NBA 2K11 in the not too distant future, so that I may continue taking care of my unfinished business.

In Part 2 of this feature, I’m tackling the challenges from Michael Jordan’s second year in the league, and second-to-last year with the Chicago Bulls: The Arrival, and The Flu Game. Both contests were defining moments in the career of His Airness, with statistical marks that are tough to match. Needless to say, the eight minute quarters of the Jordan Challenge make them even tougher, especially The Arrival. Join me as I continue my quest to finally complete the Jordan Challenge, and unlock MJ: Creating a Legend without the cheat code!

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: Realism in Franchise Modes

MyLEAGUE & MyGM, NBA 2K17's Franchise Modes

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

As I mentioned in last week’s Friday Five, one of my goals for NBA 2K17 is to return to my roots as a franchise gamer, and spend a lot more time in MyLEAGUE. I’m still deciding which team (or teams) I’ll control, what kind of moves I might make, and whether or not I’ll experiment with league expansion and relocation in my primary MyLEAGUE game. As I mentioned in this thread, I generally prefer to maintain a certain level of realism when I play franchise modes, as I’ve discovered that making too many trades or using the fantasy draft options quickly leads to boredom, due to the more rapid departure from reality.

Of course, the very nature of franchise modes means that there will generally be some deviation from reality. Whether it’s a player’s stats, a team’s record, or the odd trade here and there, most of our franchise games are not going to be one hundred percent realistic. For many of us, it’s those small changes – or if we so choose, big changes – that make franchise modes so fun and enjoyable. At the same time, however, many of us do believe that franchise modes should be as realistic as possible, and are frustrated when our desired level of realism isn’t achieved. The question is: what actually constitutes realism in a franchise mode?

Read More

The Friday Five: My 5 Goals for NBA 2K17

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

As I write this, I’ve finished pre-loading NBA 2K17 PC, and am waiting for the Day One patch for the PlayStation 4 version to finish downloading. With any luck, it won’t be long before I’m playing one or the other (most likely the PS4 version), and getting the ball into the air for the Early Tip-Off Weekend. I spent some time playing through The Prelude last weekend, and I’m feeling very optimistic that I have an enjoyable year of NBA 2K gaming ahead of me.

While I’m preparing to get my hands on the full version of NBA 2K17, I’ve been thinking about some of the things that I want to do with this year’s game. With so many deep and robust game modes, there should be something for every basketball gamer, and perhaps more than any of us can truly sink our teeth into in the space of a year. Of course, with NBA Live 17 not coming out until early 2017, I won’t be splitting my time between EA and 2K on the virtual hardwood, at least for a few more months. With that in mind, here are five goals that I have for NBA 2K17.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 1)

Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Going back to NBA 2K12 and completing the games of NBA’s Greatest that I never finished has inspired me to revisit NBA 2K11, and take care of some unfinished business in the Jordan Challenge. I’d actually made a couple of attempts to play the Jordan Challenge games before going back to NBA 2K12, but found the gameplay too frustrating. Having spent a little more time with both games and reacquainted myself with the controls – while also avoiding doing the things that only work in more recent NBA 2K titles – I’m finding that I’m far better on the sticks, and the games are less frustrating…for the most part.

When I first bought NBA 2K11, I was still making the transition from NBA Live, and NBA 2K’s controls felt very foreign. As such, I only completed three out of the ten challenges back in the day. Clearing the remaining challenges by hitting all of the necessary statistical marks was beyond my abilities as a relative newcomer to the series, and after some frustrating attempts, I ended up leaving them uncompleted. Now that I have some more experience with the series, and I’ve brushed up on NBA 2K11’s controls, I’m giving the Jordan Challenge another try. In Part 1 of this challenge, I’m attempting The Shrug and the 1991 NBA Finals.

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: Why We Don’t Charge For Mods

Modding the 2016 NCAA Tournament into NBA 2K14

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We have a good thing going here at the NLSC, especially when it comes to our modding community. Although the changes to the file formats beginning with NBA 2K15 PC have presented some challenges, our community remains dedicated to creating some outstanding mods. Fantastic work is also being done to keep old favourites up to date, and breathe new life into the retro basketball gaming experience. We can be proud of the work we do here.

Of course, every hobby or “scene” has its issues, and modding is no different. I’ve written about some of those issues in previous Monday Tip-Off and Friday Five articles, because I do want to see our community continue to get better and better. With the release of NBA 2K17 and a brand new season of modding looming on the horizon, I thought that I’d dive deeper into the reasons behind some of the rules and procedures in our modding community. This week, I’d like to discuss an issue that came up just the other day, which I realised we’ve never really explained in detail: why we don’t charge for mods.

Read More

The Friday Five: 5 Memorable Basketball Game Characters

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

As revealed in the deep-dive developer blog and subsequent trailer, we’ll be introduced to a new cast of characters in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER mode. Of course, the presence of fictional characters in basketball video games is nothing new, and goes back a long way before NBA 2K began taking a story-driven approach to MyCAREER. While we obviously remember and are familiar with the real players featured in basketball video games, new and old, those fictional players and other characters we encounter also have a tendency to stick in our minds.

For this week’s Friday Five, I’m compiling a list of some of the most memorable characters we’ve seen in basketball video games. Please note that I don’t necessarily mean memorable in a positive sense; just that we do remember them. Please also note that I’m excluding secret players in NBA Jam who are actors, politicians, or developers, as well as NBA mascots (who are obviously characters, but not ones created specifically for basketball video games). These are five fictional basketball video game characters that are all memorable for one reason or another.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: Courtside Comedy in NBA Live 2003

Rasheed Wallace argues with a referee in NBA Live 2003

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Our (belated) 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content is on-going, and next up will be a retrospective of NBA Live 2003. Before we get to that, however, I wanted to profile one of the game’s most notorious features: its “Courtside Comedy” cutscenes. On top of gameplay that wasn’t quite as sim as most basketball gamers would’ve liked, NBA Live 2003 also took a more light-hearted approach to its atmosphere, with several cutscenes involving players joking around and goofing off.

While the comedic cutscenes weren’t universally disliked, I think it’s fair to say that most gamers were not sorry to see them gone in NBA Live 2004. For my part, I can see the humour, and I do have a certain amount of nostalgia for the sheer oddity of them, but they definitely didn’t create the atmosphere that I wanted for NBA Live. Nevertheless, they are fun to look back on, especially because some of them could be truly ridiculous. Ahead of my detailed retrospective of NBA Live 2003, here are some of the most memorable courtside comedy cutscenes.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: Pro Stick vs. Shoot Button in NBA 2K

Dirk Nowitzki shoots the basketball in NBA 2K16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

By now, you’ve probably heard that NBA 2K17 will feature revamped shooting controls on the Pro Stick, with the angle of the stick now determining whether or not your attempt is on target. While many of the early impressions suggest that it’s not as complex as it may sound, it’s something that basketball gamers will ultimately decide for themselves upon getting their hands on the game. Fortunately, for gamers who prefer to use the Shoot button, Mike Wang made it clear in his developer blog that it’s still going to be a viable option in NBA 2K17.

One of the things that made it difficult for me to get into the NBA 2K series all those years ago was its controls. I was accustomed to dribbling controls on the right stick, I didn’t care for the original approach to Isomotion, and I felt like the Shot Stick was overkill. With the Shot Stick becoming the Pro Stick in recent editions of NBA 2K, combining dribbling and shooting controls, I’ve definitely warmed up to the concept. However, when it comes down to it, I still prefer using the Shoot Button. With the changes in NBA 2K17, I now find myself wondering if I’ll change my approach.

Read More

Closure: The Unfinished NBA Live 2002 Franchise

Chris Webber in NBA Live 2002

As I said in my retrospective of NBA Live 2002, it’s a game that holds up a little better than I remembered. For all its flaws, for all the controversy that surrounded it as the first game in the NBA Live series not to be released on PC, it’s a game that I spent a lot of time with. Despite its problems, I can definitely say that I enjoyed playing it back in the day.

In fact, NBA Live 2002 actually produced one of my favourite basketball gaming experiences to date: a Franchise game with the Sacramento Kings. Unfortunately, as much fun as I was having playing through that first season – 82 games, twelve minutes quarters, of course – I never actually completed it. Needless to say, that save file is long gone, so there’s no chance of ever picking it up again. It’s a shame, because I was pretty close to the end of the regular season; close enough that it wouldn’t have hurt too much to sim through to the end, and then just play through the Playoffs.

When I went back and reflected upon my most memorable failed basketball gaming endeavours in The Friday Five, I mentioned that if I still had that save file for NBA Live 2002, I’d probably make some time to finish it off with a combination of simming and playing the remaining games. Well, the save file might be gone, but I still have NBA Live 2002, and an urge to do some fun stuff for the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live. You can probably see where this is going, so let’s not beat around the bush any longer. Join me as I gain some closure and finish what I started, with a helping hand from the simulation function!

Read More

The Friday Five: Top 5 Teams of Interest in NBA 2K17

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the release of NBA 2K17, at least in terms of the Early Tip-Off Weekend. I’ve been planning on spending more time with MyLEAGUE this year, so needless to say, I was glad to read about some of the various additions and improvements that we can expect to see in the mode. Although I’m traditionally a franchise gamer, my attention has been drawn to other modes in recent years. From the sounds of things, NBA 2K17 will be a good year to get back into the franchise experience, offline and online.

Before starting a franchise game, it’s important to decide which team you’re going to use. Unless you decide to control all thirty teams in MyLEAGUE, you’ll need to choose carefully, as picking a team that you don’t enjoy playing with is a good way of putting a quick end to a franchise game. Each year, offseason player movement results in new lineups that not only seem like they’ll be fun to watch in real life, but also fun to play with in basketball video games. For this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d pick my top five teams of interest in NBA 2K17; in other words, the most interesting and appealing teams to choose for a MyLEAGUE or MyGM game.

Read More

Page 1 of 3212345678...Last »