Features

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 95 Nintendo Power Articles

Anfernee Hardaway in NBA Live 95

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 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.

Beyond retrospective articles and videos – and of course, actually dusting off retro video games to play them – there’s another way for us gamers to get a nostalgia hit: old magazines and articles. To this day, I regret throwing out my entire collection of Nintendo Magazine System mags, as there are times when I’d love to look back on them and reminisce. With basketball video games coming as far as they have, it’s interesting to look back on old reviews and previews to see the things that once excited us, as they often seem mundane many years later.

Recently, Arcane stumbled across a couple of Nintendo Power articles on NBA Live 95, the first game in the NBA Live series and a title that’s widely considered to be a classic. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I thought I’d share them with everyone, and offer up a few thoughts on their contents. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Clickbait & Basketball Gaming

Paul George in NBA 2K17

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.

At long last, we’re on the verge of getting trailers and substantial information on NBA 2K17! It’s been a quiet preview season, with gamer frustration coming to a head on social media last week following some ill-advised trolling by 2K community representatives. Many of us have been frustrated at the lack of news and previews, but with less than a month until the Early Tip-Off Weekend, it would seem that the wait is finally over, as the first gameplay trailer is reportedly set to be released this week.

Without much in the way of news, all we’ve been able to do is wish, want, and speculate. Even in the busier preview seasons of years gone by, a significant part of covering basketball video games has been wondering what if, and talking about what we want to see. When there is news, it’s going to be posted and analysed. Should anyone that’s producing basketball gaming content secure some kind of an exclusive – a tidbit of information, a developer interview – they’re obviously going to push and promote it, us included. All content creators want to build their audience and brand, but there’s an underhanded way of doing so.

It’s the bane of the Internet, and the basketball gaming community is certainly not immune from it. Today, we’re talking about clickbait.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K

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.

The NBA 2K series has done some fantastic things with historical content, beginning with the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11. Since then, we’ve seen several noteworthy teams added to the game, including twelve new retro squads last year in NBA 2K16. As of writing, there’s been no word about any new retro teams being added in NBA 2K17, but the league expansion blog did briefly mention the presence of historical teams, so we can rest assured that most (if not all) of the existing retro teams will be in this year’s release.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see which other historical teams will be added to NBA 2K. Needless to say, securing likeness rights for all the players – or at least the major ones – is always going to be a stumbling block that keeps certain squads out of the game. Of course, that doesn’t stop us from wanting, wishing, and wondering what if. Since I’ve previously talked about retro teams that are highly unlikely to make the cut (and for good reason), this week I’m listing five retro teams that I would actually like to see included in a future NBA 2K game.

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Wayback Wednesday: Larry Bird in NBA Jam Tournament Edition

Larry Bird on the Boston Celtics in NBA Jam Tournament Edition

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 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.

The NBA Jam series is famous for its inclusion of secret players. From Will Smith in his Fresh Prince persona, to Mortal Kombat characters – excuse me, “kharacters” – Scorpion and Sub-Zero, a lot of special guests have hit the virtual hardwood for high-flying, arcade basketball action. Joining the cast of public figures, Midway developers, and NBA mascots in NBA Jam Tournament Edition was Boston Celtics great, Larry Bird.

Along with Hall of Famer Carol Blazejowski, Larry Legend is the only real former professional basketball player that is hidden and playable in NBA Jam TE. It’s actually something that I wasn’t aware of when I first got into the game all those years ago, as I never encountered him as an opponent after beating all of the NBA teams and seeing secret characters randomly appear as opponents. It wasn’t until my family got the Internet and I was able to look up some codes for the PC version that I discovered he was in the game, and playable. He’s also in the Super Nintendo version, though I wasn’t aware of that particular code, either.

Since tomorrow will be the 24th anniversary of his retirement from the NBA, I thought I’d reflect on Larry Bird’s presence in NBA Jam Tournament Edition. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: When Is It Time To Shelve Basketball Games?

DeMarcus Cousins dunks 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.

Last Friday night, the regular NLSC 2K Pro-Am crew got online to play a few games, as we usually do. As we’ve mentioned on the NLSC Podcast, and in the Forum, our record isn’t exactly stellar across our three Pro-Am teams, but we still enjoy getting in some games each week, picking up the occasional win here and there, and joking around on the party chat. We started our most recent session in high spirits, but after only a few games, we were feeling disenchanted and ready to call it a night.

I’m sure that Arcane, Kenny, and I will discuss it in more detail on this week’s Podcast, but in short, it was one of our worst sessions of 2K Pro-Am. Aside from our own mistakes – and the usual MyPARK cheese that spills over into 2K Pro-Am – we really seemed to be battling some gameplay quirks in all three contests. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but when we decided to call it a night early, I found myself wondering if I wanted to keep playing 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16. Mulling that over led me to ponder another question: when is it time to shelve basketball games?

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The Friday Five: 5 Things That Would Help Modding

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.

In last week’s Friday Five, I discussed how our modding community could improve in terms of its attitude and practices. Having put that very important message out there, I wanted to cover more of a modder Wishlist in this week’s Five. These are the features and resources that I believe would really help facilitate modding, allowing us to create even better mods for the current generation of basketball video games.

As many of you are probably aware, many of the file formats have changed since the PC version of NBA 2K became a port of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version. On top of that, NBA 2K’s roster files have never been particularly modder-friendly compared to the DBF files that the PC versions of NBA Live utilised. Of course, NBA Live itself doesn’t support modding right now, being a console-only release. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list of ideas that would help out the modding community – I only have the five points to work with, after all – but they are the first that come to mind for me, and are intended to tip off the conversation.

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Wayback Wednesday: Team USA Basketball (SEGA Genesis)

Team USA Basketball for the SEGA Genesis

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 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.

Whenever I’m deciding on what I want to talk about for Wayback Wednesday, it’s generally either a game I’ve been meaning to review or discuss for some time, or a topic that’s somehow related to the date or a current event. With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro underway, and Team USA seeking another gold medal in basketball, it seems like as good a time as any to talk about Team USA Basketball for the SEGA Genesis.

For those who have never heard of it, Team USA Basketball is actually a spinoff of the NBA Playoffs series – EA’s forerunner to NBA Live – and was the first game to feature the legendary Dream Team, long before NBA 2K13. Released exclusively for the SEGA Genesis in 1992, it’s obviously very primitive compared to its successors, but what was it like, and how does it hold up today? I offer up my thoughts on this arguably lesser known EA basketball game, in a new video retrospective.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. As I’ve said before, while I can’t always find the time to work on them, I do enjoy making video retrospectives, so hopefully you enjoyed watching it as well! Be sure to check in each and every Wednesday for more videos, articles, and other retro basketball video gaming content!

Monday Tip-Off: Pre-Order Bonuses & Basketball Video Games

Final NBA 2K17 Pre-Order Bonuses

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’re probably aware that the 1992 Dream Team will be among the pre-order bonuses for NBA 2K17. While a lot of the pre-order bonuses are more or less cosmetic, adding the Dream Team for the first time since NBA 2K13 is offering users an enticing expansion to the game’s historical content. For at least some basketball gamers who might have been on the fence about pre-ordering the game, it’s a genuine incentive to put their money down. To that end, it’s certainly a smart business decision on the part of Visual Concepts.

However, from the point of view of the consumer, it’s also a disheartening practice that is all too common with video games these days. Whenever content is restricted to being a pre-order bonus – particularly content that feels like it should be included out of the box, and especially if it’s been featured in a previous title – there’s going to be controversy, and goodwill is going to be tested. It does lead me to ask the question: should content like the 1992 Dream Team be pre-order exclusive? For that matter, should basketball video games have pre-order exclusive content at all?

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The Friday Five: 5 Things Modders Must Stop Doing

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.

Every online community has its own issues, but as I’ve said many times before, I truly believe that we have a good thing going here at the NLSC. While I’ve enjoyed expanding our content and relish the opportunity to both interview and provide feedback to developers at EA Sports and Visual Concepts, it’s probably fair to say that our enduring legacy is our modding community. Over the twenty years that the NLSC has been around, the talented modders in our community have produced some truly outstanding works.

For the most part, I do believe that our modders are largely helpful, and supportive towards one another. Like I said though, every online community has its own issues, and I believe there are areas in which we can improve. There are some troubling practices in our modding community, and for some of them, it’s well past time to nip them in the bud. While I may not be heavily involved in our NBA 2K modding scene at this time, I do keep tabs on it, and I’ve been involved in NBA Live modding for close to two decades now. As such, I do know what I’m talking about when I say that these are five things that modders should stop doing, to make our community better.

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Wayback Wednesday: The 50s All-Stars in NBA Live 2000

50s All-Stars in NBA Live 2000

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 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.

On this day in 1949, the Basketball Association of America merged with the National Basketball League to form what is now known as the National Basketball Association. While the NBA has gone from strength to strength in the decades that have followed, it often pays tribute to its heritage, from throwback jerseys to naming the 50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time in 1997. Of course, the players from those early years are made known to younger NBA fans not only through documentaries and old highlights, but also basketball video games. Some seventeen years ago, those early stars appeared as the 50s All-Stars in NBA Live 2000.

Seeing as how I grew up watching the NBA in the 90s, I must admit that I was more excited about the 90s All-Stars, in particular the addition of Michael Jordan, who was making his first official appearance in an NBA Live game. I also had an appreciation for the players who were big in the 80s, as there was a fair amount of overlap with the 90s in that regard. Nevertheless, it was cool to see the 50s, 60s, and 70s also represented in NBA Live 2000 by the best players of those eras; well, most of them, anyway. Since it’s the anniversary of the BAA-NBL merger, I thought I’d spotlight the 50s All-Stars team.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Fun with Basketball Video Game Glitches

Headless Utah Jazz Players in NBA 2K11

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.

Although glitches are generally seen as a problem in gaming – and for good reason – they’re not always a bad thing. Sure, they aren’t a lot of fun when they cause games to crash and lock up, or ruin features and functionality, but when glitches are relatively harmless, they can be pretty funny. I wouldn’t say that it’s as common in basketball video games as it is in other genres, but there are even times when bugs and glitches can be advantageous, making certain tasks easier, or even completely bypassing difficult and tedious sections of a game. TV Tropes calls them Good Bad Bugs, and the speedrunning community obviously knows them very well.

A lot of people are probably familiar with the “Jesus Bynum” glitch that drew a lot of negative attention to the NBA Elite 11 demo. Although most people probably never experienced the glitch for themselves, it became a symbol of the game’s problems. While NBA Elite 11 was shaping up to be a disappointing game for other reasons before it was ultimately cancelled, the Bynum issue is really more of an example of a glitch that is fun and amusing; something weird that obviously shouldn’t be happening, but certainly funny when it does. With that in mind, I thought I’d talk a little about some amusing glitches today, and share a few of my favourites.

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The Friday Five: 5 Gripes with Current Gen Basketball Games

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.

In many ways, basketball video games are better than they’ve ever been. While there are still quirks with the AI, it’s much smarter than it used to be, with players thinking for themselves and getting into position instead of just standing around. Scanning in faces, jerseys, shoes, and other details ensures that the games look a lot better than their predecessors from a couple of generations ago. We have some really fun and deep modes to play, both offline and online. In short, basketball video games have done some really cool things in recent years.

On the other hand, there is definitely still room for improvement. More to the point, while recent basketball games have delivered some really impressive modes and very enjoyable moments on the virtual hardwood, they do have some aspects that I’m not so thrilled about. I know I’ve discussed some of these issues before, but with new titles on the horizon, they’re once again on my mind. With that being said, here are five gripes that I have with the current generation of basketball video games.

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11

Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11

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 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.

Michael Jordan is the greatest player in the history of basketball. There, that’s a suitably controversial statement to open an article with, these days. For a long time, that was an acceptable assertion to make, but now it seems you’re a bitter old hater if you dare to suggest that there are arguments in favour of teams and players from older eras being superior. Well, contrary to some of the comments that I’ve read on YouTube lately, I would disagree that LeBron James is “clearly better than Michael Jordan”, and that the upcoming season will establish that “fact” once and for all. That’s not a knock on LeBron, by the way; MJ just happened to be pretty good.

Anyway, that’s a debate for another time. At the very least, most fans and analysts would agree that Michael Jordan is one of the best players we’ve ever seen, and one of the most significant and influential people in the history of basketball. During his career, he dazzled fans with his play, and his combination of highlights and success on the hardwood in turn sold a lot of merchandise. In retirement, his brand has remained just as strong. It’s no surprise that Visual Concepts made him the first retired player to appear on the cover of their game, when he became the face of NBA 2K11.

Michael Jordan’s appearance in NBA 2K11 was certainly a big deal, and definitely worth reflecting upon. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Reflections on NBA Live Community Events

At EA Tiburon for the NBA Live 16 Community Event

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 I logged into Facebook this morning, “On This Day” presented me with a look back at previous posts that I’d made on July 25th. As it happens, on this day last year, I made a post letting my friends and family know that I’d be heading to the United States in the near future. The trip was for an NBA Live 16 community event that was being held at EA Tiburon in Orlando, but as I didn’t have clearance to talk about it openly just yet, I held back on the details and simply posted a teaser photo. I also had to be very coy on the NLSC Podcast, when discussing upcoming playtesting sessions and expressing a desire to be a part of them.

The NBA Live 16 event was one of the best that I’ve ever attended. While the game still had a ways to go – then and now – it was fun to get some early hands-on time with it, and experience the improvements. I also really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet with the developers and provide feedback to them directly. On top of all that, the whole event was extremely well-organised, with every detail taken care of, and maximum time allotted for gaming. Past events were fun and productive, but several years of organising them have definitely given EA Sports’ community managers the opportunity to make them better and better.

Since it’s been almost a year since the last one I attended, I thought that I’d reflect a little upon the NBA Live community events that I’ve been a part of. Hopefully, last year’s won’t be the last.

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The Friday Five: 5 Most Missed Modes in Basketball Games

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.

Earlier this week, we received some exciting news about upgrades to the franchise modes in NBA 2K17. MyGM and MyLEAGUE will include league expansion, both modes will feature all kinds of customisation options, and a standalone Playoffs mode is also being added to the game. After expressing my frustration at the prospect of a quiet preview season in this week’s Monday Tip-Off, it was definitely satisfying to see the previews for NBA 2K17 get underway with some very welcome news about the franchise modes, which I’ve traditionally been quite interested in.

While we’re still yet to learn anything about MyCAREER, 2K Pro-Am, or much else about NBA 2K17, I’m expecting another very solid release as far as game modes are concerned. Meanwhile, NBA Live has struggled to provide deep modes since its comeback with NBA Live 14. While LIVE Pro-Am was well-made with a lot of potential for further growth, generally speaking, modes remain a weakness for NBA Live. As I look ahead and hope for improvements in both titles, I can’t help but think about some of the modes that are greatly missed. I would suggest that many basketball gamers would welcome the return of these five modes.

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