Features

The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Dynasty Mode in NBA Live

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.

Last week, I posted five suggestions for enhancing the gameplay in NBA Live 17 and beyond. While it’s important that the gameplay delivers a quality experience, basketball video games also need robust modes if they’re going to hold our interest for any length of time. After all, no matter how fun and realistic the gameplay, a string of meaningless exhibition games is going to get boring after a while. It’s therefore vital that NBA Live’s franchise, career, and card collecting modes are all deep and engaging experiences. The addition of a couple of other modes – such as All-Star Weekend – wouldn’t go astray, either.

For the moment, however, let’s focus on Dynasty Mode. It’s traditionally been my mode of choice in NBA Live, and it’s the mode with the longest heritage in the series. Right now, Dynasty is functional, but it’s also missing a lot of basic functions and features that could be found in its predecessors. Simply bringing back those elements would be a significant improvement for the mode, but I am hoping that future NBA Live games can go even further in fleshing out the franchise experience. Here are five suggestions that I believe would help achieve that goal.

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Wayback Wednesday: LeBron James’ Free Agency in NBA Live 10

LeBron James in NBA Live 10

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.

Since I’m still working on a few retrospectives for Wayback Wednesday (as well as our ongoing 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content), I’ve been looking through the archives for something fun and interesting to share with you this week. Combing through an old folder of images, I came across a collection of screenshots of LeBron James in NBA Live 10. I took them in May 2010 for an article that was looking ahead to his upcoming free agency, and speculating upon which jersey he might be wearing come the 2011 season. Since LeBron announced his number change prior to his free agency, he’s wearing number six in all of them.

As it happened, both LeBron James’ career and the fortunes of the NBA Live series took an infamous turn just a few months later. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Do We Still Have Fun with Basketball Games?

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.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fan of basketball video games. It’s what we cover here at the NLSC, so unless you’re a Forum veteran who’s mostly sticking around for the chatter in the off-topic sections, basketball gaming is probably why you’re (hopefully!) visiting us on a regular basis. And if content related to basketball video games is what you’re after, then it’s quite likely that you’re very much into the hobby. In short, it’s probably safe to say that most of us around these parts are having fun with basketball games, in one way or another.

Or are we? Discussions about a game’s problems seem to have more steam than topics talking about how much fun we’re having. There are times when it seems that most of the conversations that aren’t related to modding are concerned with troubleshooting and complaints. Those are obviously valid and important issues to talk about, of course, but I do wonder why we’re not as eager to talk about our more positive experiences with hoops titles. As such, there are times when I think it’s fair to ask: do we still have fun with basketball games?

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Gameplay in NBA Live

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.

2017 is upon us, which means it shouldn’t be too much longer before we start receiving news about NBA Live 17. It remains to be seen what EA Sports’ plans are for the NBA Live franchise; the next instalment is set to be released in the first quarter of this year, but what will it entail? Will it be a smaller, digital only release, with a fully-featured NBA Live 18 released later in the year? Or can we expect a full game? Only time will tell, but for now, I thought that I’d spend a few editions of The Friday Five discussing what I’d like to see in forthcoming NBA Live titles.

Late last year, I discussed my ideas for crafting NBA Live’s comeback in a Monday Tip-Off column. There’ll probably be a little bit of overlap with that feature, as I’m obviously still interested in seeing NBA Live make the improvements that I’ve already outlined. I’ll just be going into a few of the things that I previously discussed in more detail, since I’ll be spreading the discussion out over multiple columns. With that being said, let’s tip things off with what most of us would consider the most important aspect of any video game: the gameplay.

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Jordan’s 30,000th Point

Michael Jordan Pre-Game in NBA Live 2002

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.

On this day in 2002, Michael Jordan became the fourth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. His Airness did so as a member of the Washington Wizards – yes, I know I’m not supposed to mention that – but funnily enough, he set the mark in a win over the Chicago Bulls, the team with which he won six NBA championships and established himself as the greatest player of all-time. Although the career scoring feat is more historically significant, that game is perhaps more often remembered for a sequence which ended with Michael Jordan emphatically blocking Ron Mercer.

As I noted in my retrospective of NBA Live 2002, and a few other articles, it was the first game in the NBA Live series in which Michael Jordan appeared as an active player. He’d appeared in EA’s earlier basketball titles, but apart from his Roster Player stand-in, he was absent from NBA Live during his second run with the Bulls. To mark the fifteenth anniversary of MJ’s milestone game, I thought that I’d dust off NBA Live 2002 once more, and try to replicate it. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Rethinking Basketball Game Reviews

Andre Drummond shoots the basketball 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.

Welcome to a new year of columns and other original content here at the NLSC! There should be plenty to talk about when it comes to basketball video games in 2017 as we continue to play NBA 2K17, await the release of NBA Live 17, and dust off old favourites from time to time. Whether it’s sharing advice or tales of our basketball gaming experiences, discussing ideas for upcoming releases, or critiquing certain aspects of the games, there should be no shortage of topics of conversation in our community and elsewhere.

I’d like to tip things off this year by talking a little about one of those topics: critiquing basketball video games. As consumers who want to get value for our money and the most enjoyment possible out of basketball games, we do need to be able to look at them with a critical eye to identify issues that we want to see fixed, and aspects that we’d like to see improvement in. However, I also think that we should always try to improve the way that we critique basketball games, so that we can make the most of the contact we have with the developers at EA Sports and Visual Concepts. Of course, I’d like to see professional reviews improve as well.

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The Friday Five: How I Write The Friday Five

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.

Well, here we are at the end of 2016! As I said last week, the prevailing thought for many of us seems to be that it’s been a tough year, and in the last seven days alone, we’ve lost some beloved entertainers. Looking ahead to 2017, we can only hope for better times, and resolve to do all that we can to be productive, happy, and healthy, and to look out for one another. I was originally going to look ahead and make plans for next year in this week’s Friday Five, but looking back at the column I wrote last year, I realised that many of my goals are similar. To that end, I’d prefer to simply focus on putting in the work to move closer to achieving those goals in 2017.

Instead, I thought that I’d end 2016 on a somewhat meta note with a Friday Five about how I write The Friday Five. Yes, really! After missing a couple of columns here and there last year, I resolved to make sure that I posted a Five each and every week in 2016, a resolution that I also made with the NLSC Podcast, Monday Tip-Off, and Wayback Wednesday. I hope to continue that trend next year, and look forward to providing you all with more opinions, trivia, retrospectives, and other original content. In the meantime, here’s an “inside look” at how I write my weekly Friday feature!

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Wayback Wednesday: Coaches in NBA Live 2003

Phil Jackson 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.

As I mentioned in my retrospective of the game, NBA Live 2003 was the first release in the NBA Live series to feature real coaches on the sidelines. It may seem like a trivial thing these days, but back then, it was a big deal to finally get that kind of detail in basketball video games. Of course, when we look back on a game like NBA Live 2003, it not only provides a snapshot of what basketball gaming was like at the time, but also serves as a time capsule of the real NBA. Fire up the game today, and you might find yourself saying “I remember him!”, or “I forgot he played for them!”

Needless to say, the same goes for coaches. Looking back at the coaches roaming the sidelines in the default rosters of NBA Live 2003, there are some familiar names, and a couple of others who probably haven’t been in the consciousness of most NBA fans for some time. As such, I thought it might be fun to see how the sidelines have changed since head coaches first appeared in NBA Live. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2005 Retrospective

NBA Live 2005 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 2005 is considered by many long-time basketball gamers to be the best game in the NBA Live series, or at the very least, somewhere in the top five. Personally, I’d fall into the latter category. It was a great game in its time and definitely a high point in the series, but it has a few issues that are glossed over a little. It’s still capable of providing a fun sim-oriented experience however, and is obviously significant as the first game in the series to feature All-Star Weekend mode. Let’s take a look back at the second game in a trilogy of strong releases for NBA Live.

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Monday Tip-Off: 30 Shots from Mid-Court in NBA 2K17

Shooting from mid-court on 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.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season, and managed to catch a couple of the Christmas Day games! As we wrap up the year here at the NLSC, I thought that I’d have some fun with this week’s Monday Tip-Off, and set myself a challenge in NBA 2K17. While shooting around in MyCOURT, I attempted three sets of thirty three-pointers from mid-court: thirty using the Shoot Button, thirty with the Shot Stick down, and thirty with the Shot Stick up. With the relatively low three-point ratings of a Playmaker point guard, and no Limitless Range Badge to help me out, would I be able to knock down some really long bombs with any kind of consistency?

Let’s take a look and find out just how many threes I was able to make from mid-court, and which method seemed to work best for me. Watch below, or tune in here over on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

Want to try out this challenge yourself? If you do give it a shot, be sure to post your results (and a link, if you make a video) in the comments section below, or join in the discussion in this thread over in the NBA 2K17 section of the NLSC Forum. I’m interested to see how much of an impact higher ratings have on mid-court heaves, and just how “limitless” the Limitless Range Badge really is! Have fun with the challenge, and thanks for checking out Monday Tip-Off throughout 2016; more columns, videos, and other fun stuff will be coming your way every Monday in 2017!

The Friday Five: 2016 Year in Review

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 do have one more Friday left in 2016, and I expect that I’ll post a column as usual next week, but just in case I do have to skip it, I thought that I’d post my Year in Review edition of The Friday Five this week instead. As the year draws to a close, it’s obviously a time to celebrate the holiday season and spend time with loved ones, but we also can’t help but reflect upon the past twelve months. For one reason or another, it seems that a lot of people had a rough time in 2016, and if you can say the same, then I hope we were able to lift your spirits at times.

Of course, it was something of an up and down year in our community, too. There was some big news about NBA Live, a new NBA 2K release, and a lot of activity in terms of discussion and modding releases. There was also some stress and uncertainty back in June as we searched for a new home, and ultimately were able to move to a new host. I’ll no doubt have some final reflections in my annual New Year’s Eve post, but for now, please join me as I take a quick look back at the year that was, and ahead to the year to come.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2005 GamePro Preview

Carmelo Anthony dunks the basketball in NBA Live 2005

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.

The next retrospective that I’ll be posting as part of our ongoing 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content will take a look back at NBA Live 2005. The second release during a strong three year run for the series, NBA Live 2005 is still considered to be one of EA Sports’ best basketball titles. That’s something I’ll obviously be examining in greater detail in my retrospective, but for now, I wanted to share something that I came across in my archives: a scan of a GamePro magazine article from way back in April of 2004, which offered up a quick preview of NBA Live 2005.

It’s always interesting to reflect on previews of basketball video games and our reactions to them, and then compare to them how the games actually turned out and how we felt once we got to play them ourselves. There’s obviously been plenty of time for the dust to settle on NBA Live 2005, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Enjoy Basketball Games the Way You Want

Kyrie Irving dribbles the basketball 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.

Well, the holiday season is well and truly upon us! We’re just six days away from Christmas, and for many of us, the season brings us a chance to kick back and relax with friends and family. Being gamers, I’d suggest that many of us will also be spending a bit of time in front of a PC or console, enjoying some new releases and old favourites alike. In this community, that probably means playing a basketball title or two. I’ll be spending a few days away with friends over New Year’s, but when I do have some time to myself, you can be bet that I’ll be playing some virtual hoops.

As we gear up to play basketball video games during this holiday season, and in the year ahead, I want to put something out there for the community to consider. It may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but considering how passionate we gamers can get about the hobby, I feel it’s worth mentioning from time to time. No matter what your skill level, preferred style of gameplay, or game mode of choice, please keep this in mind: you should enjoy basketball games the way that you want.

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The Sunday Substitute: Getting Sucked Into MyTEAM…Again

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 making a contribution to the team. Today’s subject is MyTEAM in NBA 2K17 and why I’ve become addicted to the mode once again.

After my experience with NBA 2K16, I constantly told myself I wouldn’t get sucked into MyTEAM in NBA 2K17. The amount of money I spent buying packs (yes, I spent real money), the lack of value in those packs, and the amount of times I drew Jarnell Stokes deterred me. I was resolute; MyTEAM would not get me in NBA 2K17!

Sure, I played the mode casually here and there, completing Domination and the odd challenge, but I thought I was doing okay. I wasn’t hooked. But in the past week and a half, MyTEAM has consumed my 2K experience once again. I completed every Weekly Challenge and every Moments Challenge I was eligible for, as well finishing Historic Domination.

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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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