Features

Wayback Wednesday: Recreating Magic & Bird’s NBA Debuts

Moses Malone and Larry Bird in the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K14

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 1979, NBA history was made on opening night. In a 114-106 victory over the Houston Rockets, the Boston Celtics’ Chris Ford made the very first three-pointer in league history with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter. In that same game, the legendary Larry Bird made his professional debut, scoring 14 points to go along with ten rebounds and five assists. Elsewhere, Bird’s rival Magic Johnson also made his NBA debut, scoring 26 points and enjoying a 103-102 victory over the San Diego Clippers, courtesy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s gamewinning skyhook.

The arrival of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, along with the debut of Michael Jordan five years later, propelled the NBA into a new golden age. All three legends appeared on separate covers for NBA 2K12, but since I’ve already talked about NBA’s Greatest in a previous Wayback Wednesday feature, I thought I’d do something a little different to mark the occasion. Using HAWK23’s amazing Ultimate Base Roster, I replayed the NBA debuts of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird using NBA 2K14 PC. Could I replicate their numbers and success?

With the help of UBR, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Why We Give Credit & Ask Permission When Modding

Charles Barkley & Hakeem Olajuwon on the 1997 Houston Rockets in the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K14

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

In the twenty years that the NLSC has been around, we’ve developed our own sense of etiquette in our modding community. For a long time, many of these rules were unwritten, the “done thing” that everyone was expected to know about. That’s not really the best approach however, so in my most recent revision to our Forum Rules, I made sure to include information about procedures and etiquette when it comes to modding. To be honest, those unwritten rules were long overdue to be written, in order to cut down on any ambiguity and ensure new modders know about them.

Two of the most important rules in our modding community are giving credit where it’s due, and asking permission before using work that isn’t open source. Most people seem to agree with the spirit of these rules, but others are occasionally puzzled by our adherence to them, especially if they’ve been a part of other modding communities that have approached the matter differently. Continuing my series of articles on our modding community here at the NLSC, I’d like to explain why we place so much emphasis on asking for permission and giving appropriate credit when using someone else’s work.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Game Features Ahead of Their Time

The Friday Five

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

As I’ve said many times before, when you go back and compare an old basketball video game to more recent releases, it’s obvious how far the genre has come. At the same time, you’ll often be surprised at some of the features and functionality that can be found in vintage basketball games, especially when they’re no longer present in newer titles. Advances in gaming technology have made a lot of our Wishlist items come true, but it’s impressive to see what developers were able to accomplish while working with more primitive tech.

On the other hand, it’s also interesting to see how some really good ideas fell by the wayside. In some cases, it took many years for those features to make it back into one of the basketball games, whereas other features are still absent in today’s releases. For this week’s Friday Five, I’m taking a look at five features that may not necessarily be the pinnacle of technology in basketball gaming, but they’re nevertheless ideas that were ahead of their time. Let’s tip things off with number five.

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 4)

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

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

Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals came down to one final shot by Michael Jordan, so it seems only appropriate that my attempts to go back and finish the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11 come down to that same game. The last challenge standing between me and finally finishing the mode (and unlocking MJ: Creating a Legend) all these years later is Michael’s Last Dance, which involves re-creating the performance that clinched MJ’s sixth NBA title.

Now, the outcome of my game probably isn’t going to come down to one final shot, but out of all the games in the Jordan Challenge, this is the one that I expect I’ll need to attempt at least a few times before I complete it. I’ve tried it a few times in the past, and have always come up short on one statistical mark. However, it’s time to give it another try, in order to finally finish the Jordan Challenge. Join me as I re-live Michael’s Last Dance with the Chicago Bulls…most likely more than once.

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Monday Tip-Off: How To Choose Teams in Franchise Modes

Selecting when you want to start your franchise experience in NBA 2K17's MyLEAGUE & MyGM

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

I’ve been away camping over the weekend, so it’s been a few days since I played NBA 2K17. However, I can guarantee that it won’t be long before I’m picking up the controller once more, and returning to the virtual hardwood. So far, I’ve been playing a lot of MyCAREER and meeting up with the guys to play 2K Pro-Am, but I’m still very keen to return to my roots as a franchise gamer and begin a MyLEAGUE game. Of course, that’s something I might still hold off on until the opening night rosters have been pushed through.

In the meantime, I’m still mulling over a few ideas for what I’d like to do with MyLEAGUE. My first choice is always the Chicago Bulls, and their offseason acquisitions have made them an interesting option. I’m intrigued by the possibility of taking control of the Philadelphia 76ers, and I also really like the Charlotte Hornets’ branding. The team you choose to play a franchise game with obviously plays a huge role in how much you enjoy the experience, so I thought that for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I’d discuss the selection process and offer up a few tips.

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The Friday Five: 5 Mods We Rarely See Anymore

The Friday Five

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

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

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

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 3)

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

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

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

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

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

John Wall dunks in NBA Live 16

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

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

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

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The Friday Five: 5 Things Old School Basketball Gamers Did

The Friday Five

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

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

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

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2003 Retrospective

NBA Live 2003 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC!

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

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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Monday Tip-Off: Realism in Franchise Modes

MyLEAGUE & MyGM, NBA 2K17's Franchise Modes

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

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

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

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The Friday Five: My 5 Goals for NBA 2K17

The Friday Five

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

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

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

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 1)

Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

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

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

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

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

Modding the 2016 NCAA Tournament into NBA 2K14

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

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

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

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