Features

Recreating My NBA Live 2004 Dynasty

Kevin Garnett on the Chicago Bulls in NBA Live 2004

My NBA Live 2004 Dynasty with the Chicago Bulls remains one of my absolute favourite experiences with a basketball video game. I maintained a story thread (which you can check out here in our Hall of Fame), and played through the entire first season: every single regular season and Playoff game, on twelve minute quarters. I won the championship, then simulated through most of the second season, ultimately winning back-to-back titles.

In some respects, my NBA Live 2004 Dynasty is something of an oddity for me. I double-dipped with the PC and PlayStation 2 version of NBA Live that year, and because the PS2 version came out first, I ended up starting a Dynasty game on that platform. Even though I did spend a lot of time with the PC version of NBA Live 2004, I was so hooked on my PS2 Dynasty that it’s one of the rare times I spent as much time (if not slightly more) with the console version of NBA Live, at least when a PC version was also available.

Aside from winning 64 games and capturing the NBA championship in the first season, one of the most memorable aspects of my NBA Live 2004 Dynasty was my trade for Kevin Garnett, in a highly unlikely deal. Just for fun, and as part of our celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, I thought that I’d recreate my NBA Live 2004 Dynasty on the PC, and see what kind of results I got upon simulating the games. Let’s take a look!

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The Friday Five: Best Arcade Basketball Game of Each Generation

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.

Since I offered up my picks for the five best sim basketball games of their generation in last week’s Friday Five, this week I thought I’d focus on the arcade games. While there are sim heads who won’t touch arcade basketball games, and conversely more casual sports gamers who greatly prefer them to the sim titles, there are a lot of people who have a healthy appreciation for both styles. I definitely count myself as someone who has enjoyed both types of basketball games over the years, and as such, I have my own picks for the best arcade hoops title in five distinct generations/eras.

As with last week’s list, I’ll emphasise that these picks are only my opinion, and it’s not my intention to present them as infallible, definitive, or indisputable. I’d like to think that I have an informed and reasonable take on the subject, of course, but lists like this are intended to start the discussion, not end it. I’m certainly interested to see if some of you have a different take, and if so, what your picks are. With that being said, let’s once again tip things off with the basketball video games of the 16-Bit era and earlier, and take it right through until the current generation.

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2004 Retrospective

NBA Live 2004 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!

After NBA Live 2003 was skewed too much towards an arcade style of gameplay, NBA Live 2004 was a very welcome course correction towards being a far more realistic sim game. It was also the beginning of a very solid three year run for NBA Live on the PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, before the series began to struggle with its transition to the next generation. NBA Live 2004 was generally well-received in its day, and remains a favourite for many long-time basketball gamers. Read on to find out how the game was a return to form for the NBA Live series.

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Wayback Wednesday: 1000 People Online in NBA Live 07

Allen Iverson in NBA Live 07 (Xbox 360)

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 Live 07 is ten years old now. If you’ve been around the community for a long time and remember playing it back in the day, don’t worry; I feel old too. As I’ll be discussing in some upcoming features for our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content, whether you’re talking about the PC/PlayStation 2 or Xbox 360 version, NBA Live 07 was a release that had quite a lot of issues. It was around this time that the NBA Live series really began to falter, allowing the NBA 2K series to not only establish itself as a superior product, but also close the gap in sales across all platforms. But that’s something I’ll cover in those upcoming articles.

Today, I’m talking about something that I feel is an interesting footnote about the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 07. One of NBA Live 07’s Xbox Live Achievements was awarded for being one of at least a thousand people online and in the game at the same time. It’s a somewhat unique idea for an Achievement or Trophy in a basketball video game, and it’s safe to say that there weren’t a lot of gamers who ended up attaining it.

What was the deal with this somewhat unusual Achievement? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Nothing’s Coming Up THRILLHO

NLSC Thrillho in a 2K Pro-Am game 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.

Yes, I’m going to talk about 2K Pro-Am again, and the ongoing attempts of NLSC THRILLHO to unlock logo importing. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles and on the NLSC Podcast, we’ve been enjoying the mode enough to get online for several sessions per week, but we’ve also had our fair share of frustrating moments. While we have to take responsibility for some of them – we’ve definitely made our fair share of mistakes, after all – there have been times when it’s felt like the game is out to get us. Maybe it’s the “NBA Live Series Center” text on our court; perhaps we should change that, if we want fairer treatment?

In all seriousness, I’ve made a point of saving clips of many of those moments, usually for the purposes of bug reports and Wishlist feedback. However, it’s gotten to the point where I can put together a “Shaqtin’ a Fool” type of reel, showcasing the times where NBA 2K17 made our jaws drop for all the wrong reasons. Since THRILLHO is a blatant reference to The Simpsons, it only made sense to title it after another memorable Milhouse quote. Without any further ado, please enjoy a highlight reel of the best of our worst, from bloopers to bugs, and several other frustrating and bizarre moments in between!

For some of the more positive moments we’ve had with NLSC THRILLHO, be sure to check out this thread in the NBA 2K17 section of the Forum. We’ll be posting more highlights there as soon as possible. Stay tuned for other video content as well, including Wayback Wednesday retrospectives, commentary in Monday Tip-Off, and a few other features that I hope you’ll enjoy.

The Friday Five: Best Sim Basketball Game of Each Generation

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.

When we look back to rank and rate basketball video games throughout the years, it’s important that we keep a few things in perspective, such as the technology of the time, and a game’s improvement over its immediate predecessors. With the way that basketball titles and other sports video games have improved, it’s not always a fair comparison once a few years have passed, to say nothing of a generation or two. Even though they’ve been surpassed, certain basketball games definitely deserve to be recognised as the best sim title of their day. As such, today I’m picking the best sim basketball games in five distinct generations, or eras if you prefer.

I must emphasise that these are my personal picks, and that I’m not presenting this list as infallible, definitive, or above question. There are several worthy candidates that you might prefer, and I obviously reserve the right to change my opinion in the future as well. However, as it stands today, these are my selections for the best sim-oriented basketball video games in each generation, starting from the early days of basketball gaming and going right through until today. Without any further ado, let’s tip things off with basketball games from the 16-Bit era and earlier.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Legends in NBA Live 2000

Michael Jordan in One-on-One 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 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.

Today, December 7th 2016, is Larry Bird’s 60th birthday; Happy Birthday, Larry Legend! To mark the occasion, I’ve been trying to think of basketball video gaming topics that are related to the Boston Celtics great. Since I’ve already talked about Bird’s presence in NBA Jam Tournament Edition as a secret player, that idea is out. Glancing at the list of topics that I’ve compiled for future Wayback Wednesday features, I noticed one that’s probably overdue, and certainly has ties to Bird: NBA Legends in NBA Live 2000.

I remember that many of us were very excited to hear that a selection of NBA Legends from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s would be featured in NBA Live 2000. The long-awaited addition of Michael Jordan was obviously a huge selling point, but the inclusion of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, and other all-time greats, also came as very welcome news for basketball gamers who wanted to see some historical content in NBA Live.

It’s the kind of content in basketball video games that helps us reminisce, so it’s only appropriate that we take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Fixing NBA 2K’s MyPLAYER Archetypes

Choosing MyPLAYER Archetypes 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.

When the concept of MyPLAYER Archetypes was first announced for NBA 2K17, it struck me as being a very good idea. It seemed like a great solution to the issue of gamers creating maxed out 7’3″ players, a practice that frequently upset the competitive balance in modes such as MyPARK and 2K Pro-Am. On top of injecting a little more realism into MyCAREER, MyPLAYER Archetypes seemed to be a logical answer to egregious min-maxing and gaming of the upgrade system in order to create overpowered players.

I maintain that it was a very good idea in theory, and something that should remain in future NBA 2K games. However, MyPLAYER Archetypes haven’t been quite as effective in preserving competitive balance as I would have hoped, as some gamers are still creating cheesy players. Conversely, in other ways they’re too restrictive, allowing for little variation between certain playing styles. Since we’re in the thick of Wishlist season, I thought that I’d throw out a few ideas that could possibly improve MyPLAYER Archetypes in NBA 2K18 and beyond.

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The Friday Five: 5 More Patches I Always Wanted to Make

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.

A little over two years ago, I wrote a Friday Five column about five patches that I always wanted to make, but never did. Since then, I’ve given a couple of them a try, releasing beta/demo versions of an Ultimate Jordan Roster, and a fictional league roster inspired by World League Basketball. They’re a couple of projects that I’d like to return to when I have the opportunity, as I do like to get back to my roots and make some patches from time to time. It’s been a while since my last release, so I must admit that I am getting the itch to work on something beyond my regular columns and other features (although I certainly do enjoy creating that content, too).

Because I don’t have as much free time as I used to, these days I prefer to focus on making smaller patches that fill a particular need, or works that are creatively satisfying, rather than the regular roster updates that I used to create. When I’m trying to come up with some fun ideas for patches, I still tend to think back to projects that I’ve envisioned in the past, but never got around to making. Following on from my previous Five, here are some more patches that I didn’t end up creating, some of which I might take a shot at sometime in the future.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Original NLSC Roster Updates

1998 Bulls in the NLSC Roster Updates for NBA Live 97

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.

Years before I was maintaining the NLSC roster updates for NBA Live, Tim and Lutz were creating the site’s original patches. We’ve seen a lot of fantastic roster updates over the years that have brought attention to the NLSC and been very popular in the community, and that great work certainly continues to this day. However, when you’re talking about the roster updates that made this site what it’s become and inspired so many other people to get into the hobby, you can’t go past those original releases by Tim and Lutz.

Those roster updates are still available in our Downloads section, and if you’re ever in the mood for some retro basketball gaming, I’d definitely recommend downloading them. If you’re newer to the NLSC community though – and especially if you’ve mostly been involved with the NBA 2K modding scene – it might be difficult to appreciate how important and influential those original NLSC rosters were. While I do encourage you to experience them for yourself if you can, I feel it’s important that those early roster updates get their due, especially in light of 2016 marking our 20th Anniversary.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Crafting NBA Live’s Comeback

Derrick Rose on the New York Knicks 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.

Last week, we received a very small snippet of news about NBA Live 17, courtesy of a brief interview with Senior Producer Mike Mahar. While we still don’t know a lot about what’s happening with NBA Live, we do know that the development team is still working on a console version of the game, and that a release is slated for the first quarter of 2017. We also know that there’s a different team working on NBA Live Mobile (thus its development does not affect the console version), and thanks to Mike’s interview, we’ve discovered that gameplay, animations, and new ways to play certain game modes have been a focus.

Of course, when it comes to future NBA Live releases, the proof will be in the pudding. After all, we’ve heard those promises before, and while the series has made progress since its rocky return with NBA Live 14, there’s still plenty of untapped potential and room for improvement. I would really like to see NBA Live get back to where it once was, and I hope that whatever EA Sports is working on right now will be a big step in the right direction. What do I consider the “right direction”? Well, here’s how I would craft NBA Live’s comeback.

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The Friday Five: The NLSC 2K Pro-Am Squad

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.

Between some of my recent columns and the weekly “Our Week in Basketball Gaming” segment on the NLSC Podcast, I talk about 2K Pro-Am a fair bit. There are other topics that I’ll be touching upon in upcoming articles, but The X suggested this topic to me on Twitter, and it was too fun of an idea to put off for another week. Since this is the Friday Five, and there are five regulars in our 2K Pro-Am squad (NLSC THRILLHO), the format lends itself quite nicely to putting together a fun write-up about our crew.

The five of us started playing 2K Pro-Am together about six months ago, ultimately creating a couple of squads in NBA 2K16. Arcane and I were a little late to the party, but once the two of us joined in and we were getting in games with all five regulars, we had a lot of fun, and a few very satisfying victories. We’ve been doing a little better this year, though we’ve still got a long road ahead of us if we want to reach the Elite tier, and unlock logo importing (which shouldn’t be necessary, but that’s a topic for another time). Without any further ado, let me introduce you to the key members of NLSC THRILLHO!

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live Championship Screenshots

Boston Celtics Championship 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.

When posting bulletins about the NBA Champions around ten years ago, I included screenshots of the winning team taken from the current NBA Live game. With the standalone Playoffs mode, it was easy enough to fire up the PC version, load up the latest NLSC roster update, and sim through a postseason. Because NBA Live’s simulation engine could be unpredictable, I usually had to place star players on the injured reserve so that the appropriate teams could make it through to the NBA Finals, and the correct team then win the championship.

I usually held off on capturing the screenshots until the series was close to being decided, so that I could make sure the teams were playing in the correct venue (and in one instance, wearing the correct jerseys). I came across those old NBA Live championship screenshots while digging through my archives recently, and I thought that they’d be fun to share for this week’s Wayback Wednesday.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Decorating MyCOURT & Mulling MyCAREER

Shooting around on a Chicago Bulls MyCOURT 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.

My NBA 2K17 MyPLAYER is currently sitting at 92 Overall, which means I’m getting close to hitting all the level caps and maxing out my ratings (at least without levelling up MyPARK rep, anyway). This also means that it takes several sessions of Doin’ Work to unlock the next upgrade. With only one Playmaker Badge left to unlock and upgrade through the MyPLAYER Store, and new ratings upgrades only becoming available every other in-game week or so, I’m currently earning more VC than I can spend on improving my abilities.

As such, I can spare more VC to spend on frivolities such as MyPLAYER clothing, and decorating MyCOURT. Having purchased a few of my favourite jerseys and outfitted MyPLAYER with Michael Jordan’s shoes and uniform, I decided that MyCOURT could use some rebranding. I definitely like the changes I’ve made and I’m enjoying MyCAREER a lot, though I have to admit that I’ve been thinking about my future. Normally, I’d prefer to stay put with the team that drafted me, but as of late, I can’t help thinking that I should keep my options open.

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The Sunday Substitute: Badges in NBA 2K17

The week is in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, which means it’s time for the Sunday Substitute! It’s the article where I get some valuable minutes while the star is resting on the bench. I might not have the time to do this every week, but I like to think I’m still contributing to the team effort. I have been gaining a few splinters on the bench for the last few months, but today I’m ready to get back into it and talk about badges in NBA 2K17.

Over the past few 2K PRO-AM sessions I have had with fellow NLSC team members, I have learned that badges are vital in online play. Both mine and Andrew’s numbers have gone up considerably since we’ve unlocked significant badges for our respective archetypes. In some games, my shooting has been off the charts because of my Hall of Fame Corner Specialist and Catch and Shoot Badges, and Andrew’s passes have been more on point with the Gold Dimer badge.

Despite how NLSC THRILLHO have improved after acquiring badges, there are still a number of issues that badges seem to be creating online. It seems like lesser-rated players are becoming more overpowered because of outside shooting badges. People are still zigzagging and hitting those perfect jump shots, and corner threes are almost automatic unless you practically foul the shooter.

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