Features

The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Appeared in More Video Games than NBA 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. This week’s Five is a list of five players who have appeared in more basketball video games than actual NBA games.

Simply getting drafted by an NBA team, or making it onto a Summer League or training camp roster, is an achievement in and of itself. It’s further than a lot of players will make it in their basketball careers, and for those who do get that far, it’s the first step towards realising their dream of playing in the NBA. Of course, there aren’t enough roster spots available for everyone, and a lot of players will end up getting cut before the regular season begins. Some may find their way back onto an NBA roster and finally debut at a later date, while many others will not.

However, while some players never get the opportunity to suit up and play in a real NBA game, they may still see themselves make it to the big time on the virtual hardwood. The default rosters in NBA videos game must be locked at a certain cut-off date, which often results in missing players out of the box, but can also ensure that players on the bubble actually end up being included. Should such a player never make it back to the league, they’ll end up appearing in more NBA video games than real life NBA games. Here are five players who did just that, whom you may or may not remember.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: Path to Greatness in NBA 2K14

LeBron James in NBA 2K14's LeBron: Path to Greatness

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at LeBron: Path to Greatness in NBA 2K14.

Being a launch title, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of NBA 2K14 was obviously the priority for Visual Concepts back in 2013. However, 2K did try to keep the prior gen version of the game relevant, by way of some new bonus content. Since adding features celebrating the cover player was in vogue, in NBA 2K14 we received LeBron: Path to Greatness, a story-driven challenge mode starring LeBron James. With two distinct storylines to follow and creative challenges along the way, it was certainly an interesting concept.

In fact, LeBron: Path to Greatness was arguably one of the most creative things that NBA 2K had done, prior to the implementation of the story-driven approach to MyCAREER on the current generation. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: Year One Done in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER

With the Larry O'Brien Trophy in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with an update on my first season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17.

Over the weekend, I finally wrapped up my first season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17. As much as I’ve been enjoying it, I was ready for it to be over and done with, mostly because I was really looking forward to my plans for the second season and beyond. Playing through every game on twelve minute quarters, only occasionally simulating to the end as the regular season reached its final weeks, turned out to be quite a grind. The postseason freshened up the experience a bit, but I was still eager to start the next chapter.

Playing through the Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals over the course of Saturday evening and afternoon, I was able to bring my rookie campaign to a fitting conclusion, and start looking ahead to new challenges. All in all, it’s been the most positive experience I’ve had in MyCAREER since NBA 2K13, so as I begin my sophomore campaign, I thought that I’d reflect on my rookie season and first foray into virtual free agency in this year’s game.

Read More

The Friday Five: 5 Roster Oddities 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. This week’s Five is a list of five oddities found in the rosters of various basketball games.

Whether you’re updating a basketball video game or simply playing it, the accuracy of the roster is probably going to be of great importance to you. Sometimes, that authenticity is limited or compromised by factors such as the roster cut-off date, lockouts, and a lack of licensing rights for specific players. Official roster updates have ultimately counteracted those first two issues, and unofficial updates can provide workarounds for the third. Furthermore, through consistent official updates and user customisation, questionable ratings don’t have to remain a problem for long, either.

Of course, even if certain issues can be easily resolved by official or unofficial means, basketball games have presented some unusual oddities in their default rosters over the years. Sometimes, unusual real life circumstances lead to inaccuracies, or create other interesting situations. In other cases, the game’s roster management functionality itself is cumbersome, or otherwise strange. Whatever the case may be, there have been a number of roster oddities in basketball video games over the years, and today I’m talking about what I feel are five of the most interesting and noteworthy examples.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: The Dream Team in NBA 2K13

Michael Jordan on the Dream Team in NBA 2K13

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at the Dream Team in NBA 2K13.

There have been several interesting (and heated) debates on the subject over the years, but for my money, the greatest squad of basketball players ever assembled was the 1992 United States men’s Olympic team, better known as the Dream Team. Featuring some of the greatest players to ever play the sport, the Dream Team breezed through the tournament, putting on a show as they won each game convincingly, never once calling a timeout. Their scrimmages are the stuff of legend, and it’s no surprise that they were enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a team in 2010.

With 2012 marking the 20th Anniversary of the Dream Team’s dominant showing in Barcelona, and Visual Concepts looking to expand the amount of historical content in NBA 2K13, adding the Dream Team was a no-brainer. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: Pro Stick vs. Shoot Button in NBA 2K (Part 3)

Shooting with the Pro Stick 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. This week, I’m tipping things off with another follow up to my previous commentary on the usage of the Pro Stick vs. the Shoot Button in NBA 2K.

It’s only been a few weeks since I revisited this topic, but there’s been a change in my approach, and a noticeable difference in the results. As you may recall from my previous articles, I’ve tended to stick to using the Shoot Button for jumpshots, while using the Pro Stick for dunks and layups, as well as free throw shooting and moves such as floaters. Given my long history with the NBA Live series, I’ve always felt more comfortable using the right stick for dribbling moves, and sliding my thumb across to the face buttons when it comes time to attempt a shot.

As I said though, my habits have changed over the course of the past month. After spending more time using the Pro Stick, I’ve found that I’m using it almost exclusively. Apart from the odd moment where old habits will break through, or when I trust the game to pick a contextually appropriate dunk or layup animation, I’m using the Pro Stick for almost all of my shot attempts. And you know something? Jumpshots in particular have never felt easier.

Read More

The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Ideas for 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. This week’s Five is a list of five unorthodox ideas for basketball video games.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, when it comes to suggestions for basketball video games, there are some ideas that probably don’t need to be explored. At the very least, certain suggestions probably shouldn’t be high up on the list of priorities. For example, I don’t really see the point of Create-a-Fan, and a Referee Mode would be better suited to a professional wrestling game (and even there, I’ve found that the novelty has worn off fairly quickly). That being said, there’s no harm in throwing out some off-the-wall ideas that certainly could be fun.

It’s important that we focus on the important issues with gameplay, game modes, and functionality, and as a gaming community, I believe that we do a good job with our feedback. We have laundry lists of serious and well-thought out constructive suggestions on how the games can improve, but there’s always room to throw out some more creative ideas for extra content and features. Some of these suggestions are a little out there, but could have merit if implemented properly. In the spirit of innovation and trying something different, here are five somewhat crazy (but still reasonably practical) ideas for future basketball video games.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 99’s 1998 Rosters

1998 Rosters in NBA Live 99

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at the 1998 rosters in NBA Live 99.

The 1999 NBA season isn’t considered a classic year for the league, but it’s certainly interesting and significant in its own right. It was the first season in which games were cancelled due to a lockout, and indeed, the first time it appeared as though an entire season may be lost due to a labour dispute. It was also something of a transitional season following Michael Jordan’s second retirement, with the defending champion Chicago Bulls being broken up, a lot of key players around the league moving on to new teams, and early signs of a new era beginning in the NBA.

In the midst of the turbulent offseason and prolonged labour dispute of 1998-99, EA Sports released NBA Live 99. Because of the lockout, the game couldn’t ship with the Class of 1998 rookies, but out of the box, it did actually feature updated 1998 season rosters. It’s an interesting and unusual situation, so let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: Got Next Gotta Go in MyPARK

Got Next in NBA 2K17's MyPARK

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with my thoughts on the “Got Next” approach in MyPARK.

Along with the other members of NLSC THRILLHO, I’ve been finding 2K Pro-Am a little more frustrating than usual lately. The most recent patch opened up matchmaking across different tiers, which results in more games, but also frequently matches us up against Elite level teams who are more serious about online gaming, or have achieved that status through cheesy builds. We’ve still had some enjoyable games, but a few tough nights, combined with rising frustration with some of NBA 2K17’s issues, have encouraged us to head to MyPARK instead. After an enjoyable experience with Park After Dark #3, it’s something we’ll probably do more often.

Even though I generally prefer five-on-five gameplay with NBA rules, the streetball approach of MyPARK is a fun change of pace. I like the more casual atmosphere, and when there’s only three of us online, a three-on-three game without AI players of questionable skill level feels like a more streamlined experience. I find that I’m less frustrated, perhaps because even though I do want to win and we do compete, losses don’t seem to sting as much in shorter games. However, there is one frustrating element of MyPARK, and it’s something that’s always bothered me about the mode: Got Next. For me, Got Next gotta go.

Read More

The Friday Five: 5 Tips to Endure a Long MyCAREER Season

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. This week’s Five is a list of tips for enduring a long season in MyCAREER.

I’m almost at the end of the regular season in my rookie campaign in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER. As much fun as I’ve had so far, it’s definitely been a grind, especially since I prefer to play twelve minute quarters. Even with shorter quarter lengths, 82 games is quite a marathon, and it’s difficult not to get impatient once you’re past the All-Star break, and the postseason is looming on the horizon. Of course, if you’re battling to qualify for the Playoffs, each game is going to have more meaning, and that should hold your interest. However, if you’ve already clinched a Playoff berth, a little bit of boredom might start to set in.

Fortunately, there are a few ideas that can make tedious stretches in MyCAREER a bit more fun. Some of these suggestions arguably apply to MyLEAGUE and MyGM as well, but I personally find that boredom during the regular season is more of a problem in MyCAREER, since you’re locked to a single player, and you obviously don’t have all the team management functions to change things up. With that being said, here are five ideas that have helped break up the boredom for me, and will hopefully help some of you make it through the regular season grind, whether you’re playing MyCAREER or another mode.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: Dynamic DNA in NBA Live 09

Dynamic DNA Tendencies for Ben Gordon in NBA Live 09

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at Dynamic DNA in NBA Live 09.

Generally speaking, most of us want five-on-five basketball games to be realistic; “sim”, as we usually put it. One of the key elements of delivering realism in NBA Live and NBA 2K is to ensure that the players resemble their real life counterparts, not just in appearance, but in the way that they play and perform. As the years have gone by, both games have introduced new ratings, tendencies, and other attributes that are intended to make the action on the virtual hardwood more closely resemble what we see during an NBA broadcast. While there’s still room for improvement, basketball video games have also come a long way in that regard.

EA Sports took a big step towards making NBA Live more realistic with the implementation of Dynamic DNA in NBA Live 09. Not only was it an improvement in player AI and differentiation, it was also a step forward in terms of the official roster updates. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: The Mixed Bag of CPU Teammates in 2K Pro-Am

Tip-Off in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on the quality of CPU-controlled teammates in NBA 2K17’s 2K Pro-Am.

As the artificial intelligence in basketball video games has become more sophisticated, CPU-controlled teammates have thankfully become much more reliable. That’s not to say that there aren’t any frustrating moments where they seemingly forget how to play basketball, but compared to early hoops titles, there’s less of a need to frantically switch control of players and take charge of everything yourself. Needless to say, if you’re locked to controlling a single player – as is the basis of modes such as MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am – it’s even more important that CPU-controlled teammates are competent.

Barring a connection problem, you’ll never start a game of 2K Pro-Am with more than two AI players. If you consistently run with a full squad of five players, they’ll seldom be an issue at all unless someone fouls out, or is booted due to a low teammate grade. However, if you frequently jump online to play 2K Pro-Am, chances are you’ll deal with a CPU-controlled teammate at some point. It’s at that point you’ll discover that although AI in basketball games has come a long way, the quality of your CPU teammates is still very much a mixed bag.

Read More

The Friday Five: 5 Ideas for MyCAREER Stories

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. This week’s Five is a list of five story ideas for MyCAREER.

The story-driven approach to MyCAREER appears to be here to stay. Fortunately, as of NBA 2K17, it’s not quite as intrusive as it once was. In the absence of an option to skip the story altogether, keeping the narrative to the background is definitely for the best. It would also be preferable if the gameplay experience drives the story, rather than the other way around. In any event, there are some basketball gamers who do enjoy the story aspect of MyCAREER, and as such, I expect it’s something that Visual Concepts will double down on in future NBA 2K titles.

With that in mind, what kind of stories should MyCAREER try to tell? We’ve seen a rivalry with Jackson Ellis, an undrafted player battling for a place in the league, a Spike Lee joint, and the tale of a dynamic duo. I believe that the next step would be to introduce more than one story, preferably with branching plot points and impactful decisions that underscore the RPG aspect of MyCAREER. To that end, I have five ideas for stories that would provide gamers with a varied career mode experience, and more replay value than what is currently offered.

Read More

Wayback Wednesday: Online Team Play in NBA Live 08

Gilbert Arenas dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 08

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at Online Team Play.

As the years have gone by, the online experience has become more and more significant in basketball video games. I personally didn’t have a lot of interest in online modes for many years; a slower connection didn’t help matters, and for the most part, I was simply more interested in the offline experience. That’s changed somewhat over the past couple of years, as I’ve come to enjoy regular games of 2K Pro-Am. However, there was another online mode that caught my attention almost a decade ago, and appropriately enough, it was the forerunner to the Pro-Am concept: Online Team Play in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of NBA Live 08.

At the time, it was something of a groundbreaking addition for basketball video games, and a concept that both EA Sports and Visual Concepts should perhaps think about implementing once more. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More

Monday Tip-Off: MyCAREER’s Funniest Text Message

Checking the phone in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

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 realise that not everyone is fan of the virtual Twitter and text messaging in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER. For some people, it’s a pointless annoyance, an unnecessary addition that has nothing to do with gameplay or replicating the experience of being an NBA player. I can certainly understand that point of view, but I have to admit, I kind of like it. For me, it contributes to the immersive nature and world building aspects of MyCAREER, making the mode seem more alive with something that’s very prominent in the real world. Beyond that, of course, some of the messages and Tweets are actually pretty funny…though not always for the right reasons.

There’s unquestionably a lot of intentional humour in MyCAREER’s text messages and Tweets. Certain Tweets represent (with painful accuracy) some of the less intelligent things that we basketball fans are prone to putting out there on social media. There’s in-jokes, banter with other players, and texts that add minor plot points to the background storyline. There are supportive Tweets from Leftos, which I always enjoy. And then, there are the text messages that are just plain weird, and most likely glitched. That’s the type of message I’m sharing with you today.

Read More