Features

Monday Tip-Off: All-Star Disappointment in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER

Three-Point Shootout Intro 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.

As I briefly described here in the Forum, I had a rather unfortunate experience in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER game last week. The All-Star Weekend didn’t exactly finish with a bang, thanks to a rather nasty glitch that I feared might have messed up my MyCAREER save in more ways than I originally anticipated. Combined with some disappointment in the Slam Dunk Contest, it’s fair to say that the All-Star Weekend didn’t turn out to be one of the highlights of my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER thus far. As such, I thought that I’d talk a little bit more about it in this week’s Monday Tip-Off.

Spoiler alert: I will be talking about a development in the story that happens a considerable way into MyCAREER. It’s not exactly a plot point on the level of Tyler Durden, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, or even Luke Skywalker’s parentage – though I guess those twists are actually all common knowledge now, anyway – but out of respect to those who’d like to let the story reveal itself, I figure it’s only appropriate to offer a heads up. It’s also something else that kind of bugged me, so I definitely wanted to touch upon it. With that said, here’s how the 2017 All-Star Weekend went down for me in MyCAREER.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for LIVE Pro-Am 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.

As you may know from previous articles and the NLSC Podcast, I’ve become a big fan of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17. I was originally sceptical of 2K’s approach, and after playing LIVE Pro-Am at an NBA Live 16 community event, I figured that its quicker games would be more fun. However, I’ve come to like the 2K Pro-Am concept a lot more, and find myself wishing that LIVE Pro-Am could find a way to cater to those tastes as well. There are definitely aspects of 2K Pro-Am that NBA Live could stand to borrow, while implementing them in its own style.

Of course, I don’t want to see LIVE Pro-Am simply become a clone of 2K Pro-Am. While I think there are features it should look to borrow, it has its own concepts that are worth building upon. It has the potential to cater to fans of the 2K Pro-Am approach, while also offering a different experience with its own appeal. In fact, by combining a few concepts that we’ve seen in both games so far, NBA Live could potentially end up with the deeper and more varied Pro-Am mode. Here are five suggestions that I believe would help achieve that.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Hangar in NBA Live 10

The Hangar 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 took a look back at The Temple in NBA Live 06 and NBA Live 07 last week, I thought that for week’s Wayback Wednesday, I’d reminisce about The Hangar in NBA Live 10. While The Hangar wasn’t as quite as revolutionary as The Temple – it was a continuation of the same concept, after all – it was nevertheless one of NBA Live’s most memorable practice arenas. It was a pretty cool design to say the least, and it also included a few nifty features that I remembered when I recently fired up NBA Live 10 on Xbox 360 to test out my new capture card.

The Hangar is certainly one of my favourite practice arenas in the NBA Live series, so join me as I take a look back…way back.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Lure of Roster Modding

Kawhi Leonard in the 2012/2013 Roster for NBA Live 08

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.

It’s been almost four years since I released my last current roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through 08. Although I’ve dabbled with beta versions of a fictional league roster and an Ultimate Jordan roster – and I would like to return to those projects at some point – it would seem that my days of working on the rosters and other big modding projects are getting further and further behind me. That’s not to say that I won’t continue to release work here and there, or that I’m completely done with modding, but right now, I’d have to say that I think I’m done with regular current season roster updates.

I’m phrasing it that way because I wouldn’t want to say that I’m definitely, unquestionably done, at least until I get to a point in my life where being involved in modding simply isn’t feasible. While I don’t want to give the impression that any announcements or releases are imminent, doing some more work with rosters is something that I wouldn’t want to rule out completely. As tiresome as the process can be, as much as it can become a chore, I can’t deny that as someone who has worked on such projects for many years, the lure of roster modding is often strong.

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The Friday Five: 5 Roster Editing Needs 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.

Great gameplay is paramount, deep game modes keep us hooked, but another essential element of any basketball video game is customisation. It’s an area where NBA Live has been lacking since its comeback in 2013, and although NBA Live 16 did see the return of gameplay sliders, roster editing was still missing. It’s an issue that many of us have grown impatient about, and to that end, it’s vital that roster customisation returns to NBA Live in the next full release. If what’s coming in the first quarter of this year is a stripped down release or demo as currently speculated, it would be understandable if there isn’t any roster editing in that.

But yes, the next full version of NBA Live absolutely needs to provide us with roster editing functionality. As I’ve said many times before when discussing this topic, it’s nice to have the official roster updates, but there are times when we want (and need) to make our own changes, and we should be able to do that. Roster editing has been a staple of basketball video games for a long time now, and there are a few functions in particular that we need to have. Without any further ado, here are five roster customisation features that I believe NBA Live needs moving forward.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Temple in NBA Live 06 & 07

Dwyane Wade in The Temple in NBA Live 06

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.

Whenever a basketball video game makes the leap to a new generation of gaming hardware, there’s usually some sort of feature or gimmick that underlines the fact that it’s a new era. The jump to the Xbox 360 marked the start of a difficult time for the NBA Live series, with the 360 version of NBA Live 06 being something of a disappointment. I’ll go into more details about the game in my forthcoming retrospective for our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content, but one very cool feature that the game did boast was its practice gym: The Temple.

The Temple – which also appeared in NBA Live 07 – wasn’t just eye-catching in design, but also a somewhat revolutionary take on the existing practice mode. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Would I Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo Switch Logo

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, the gaming community learned more about the Nintendo Switch, which is scheduled for release worldwide on March 3rd, 2017. Of particular interest to those of us in the basketball gaming community, we learned that Visual Concepts will be releasing NBA 2K18 for the console in September this year. The announcement reflects the general increase in third party support that has been pledged for the Switch, after several developers abandoned the Wii U very quickly. As you may recall, NBA 2K13 was the first and only basketball game Visual Concepts released for the Wii U, and the last NBA 2K title released on the original Wii.

With the Nintendo Switch being a hybrid portable and home console, and gaining the support of third party developers, it’s certainly generating a lot of interest and discussion ahead of its launch. With the confirmation that NBA 2K18 will be released for the Switch, it might be a viable option for basketball gamers who haven’t yet invested in a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, and don’t have a suitable gaming PC. With that in mind, is the Nintendo Switch something that I’m personally interested in, either instead of or in addition to the gaming platforms that I currently own?

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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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