Features

The Friday Five: 5 Memorable Basketball Game Characters

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 revealed in the deep-dive developer blog and subsequent trailer, we’ll be introduced to a new cast of characters in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER mode. Of course, the presence of fictional characters in basketball video games is nothing new, and goes back a long way before NBA 2K began taking a story-driven approach to MyCAREER. While we obviously remember and are familiar with the real players featured in basketball video games, new and old, those fictional players and other characters we encounter also have a tendency to stick in our minds.

For this week’s Friday Five, I’m compiling a list of some of the most memorable characters we’ve seen in basketball video games. Please note that I don’t necessarily mean memorable in a positive sense; just that we do remember them. Please also note that I’m excluding secret players in NBA Jam who are actors, politicians, or developers, as well as NBA mascots (who are obviously characters, but not ones created specifically for basketball video games). These are five fictional basketball video game characters that are all memorable for one reason or another.

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Wayback Wednesday: Courtside Comedy in NBA Live 2003

Rasheed Wallace argues with a referee 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.

Our (belated) 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content is on-going, and next up will be a retrospective of NBA Live 2003. Before we get to that, however, I wanted to profile one of the game’s most notorious features: its “Courtside Comedy” cutscenes. On top of gameplay that wasn’t quite as sim as most basketball gamers would’ve liked, NBA Live 2003 also took a more light-hearted approach to its atmosphere, with several cutscenes involving players joking around and goofing off.

While the comedic cutscenes weren’t universally disliked, I think it’s fair to say that most gamers were not sorry to see them gone in NBA Live 2004. For my part, I can see the humour, and I do have a certain amount of nostalgia for the sheer oddity of them, but they definitely didn’t create the atmosphere that I wanted for NBA Live. Nevertheless, they are fun to look back on, especially because some of them could be truly ridiculous. Ahead of my detailed retrospective of NBA Live 2003, here are some of the most memorable courtside comedy cutscenes.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Pro Stick vs. Shoot Button in NBA 2K

Dirk Nowitzki shoots the basketball in NBA 2K16

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.

By now, you’ve probably heard that NBA 2K17 will feature revamped shooting controls on the Pro Stick, with the angle of the stick now determining whether or not your attempt is on target. While many of the early impressions suggest that it’s not as complex as it may sound, it’s something that basketball gamers will ultimately decide for themselves upon getting their hands on the game. Fortunately, for gamers who prefer to use the Shoot button, Mike Wang made it clear in his developer blog that it’s still going to be a viable option in NBA 2K17.

One of the things that made it difficult for me to get into the NBA 2K series all those years ago was its controls. I was accustomed to dribbling controls on the right stick, I didn’t care for the original approach to Isomotion, and I felt like the Shot Stick was overkill. With the Shot Stick becoming the Pro Stick in recent editions of NBA 2K, combining dribbling and shooting controls, I’ve definitely warmed up to the concept. However, when it comes down to it, I still prefer using the Shoot Button. With the changes in NBA 2K17, I now find myself wondering if I’ll change my approach.

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Closure: The Unfinished NBA Live 2002 Franchise

Chris Webber in NBA Live 2002

As I said in my retrospective of NBA Live 2002, it’s a game that holds up a little better than I remembered. For all its flaws, for all the controversy that surrounded it as the first game in the NBA Live series not to be released on PC, it’s a game that I spent a lot of time with. Despite its problems, I can definitely say that I enjoyed playing it back in the day.

In fact, NBA Live 2002 actually produced one of my favourite basketball gaming experiences to date: a Franchise game with the Sacramento Kings. Unfortunately, as much fun as I was having playing through that first season – 82 games, twelve minutes quarters, of course – I never actually completed it. Needless to say, that save file is long gone, so there’s no chance of ever picking it up again. It’s a shame, because I was pretty close to the end of the regular season; close enough that it wouldn’t have hurt too much to sim through to the end, and then just play through the Playoffs.

When I went back and reflected upon my most memorable failed basketball gaming endeavours in The Friday Five, I mentioned that if I still had that save file for NBA Live 2002, I’d probably make some time to finish it off with a combination of simming and playing the remaining games. Well, the save file might be gone, but I still have NBA Live 2002, and an urge to do some fun stuff for the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live. You can probably see where this is going, so let’s not beat around the bush any longer. Join me as I gain some closure and finish what I started, with a helping hand from the simulation function!

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Teams of Interest in 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.

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the release of NBA 2K17, at least in terms of the Early Tip-Off Weekend. I’ve been planning on spending more time with MyLEAGUE this year, so needless to say, I was glad to read about some of the various additions and improvements that we can expect to see in the mode. Although I’m traditionally a franchise gamer, my attention has been drawn to other modes in recent years. From the sounds of things, NBA 2K17 will be a good year to get back into the franchise experience, offline and online.

Before starting a franchise game, it’s important to decide which team you’re going to use. Unless you decide to control all thirty teams in MyLEAGUE, you’ll need to choose carefully, as picking a team that you don’t enjoy playing with is a good way of putting a quick end to a franchise game. Each year, offseason player movement results in new lineups that not only seem like they’ll be fun to watch in real life, but also fun to play with in basketball video games. For this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d pick my top five teams of interest in NBA 2K17; in other words, the most interesting and appealing teams to choose for a MyLEAGUE or MyGM game.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12

NBA's Greatest Menu in NBA 2K12

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.

I’ve been watching some classic NBA games recently, and it got me in the mood to play with some retro teams in NBA 2K. I can do that in NBA 2K16 of course, but only NBA 2K11 and NBA 2K12 have dedicated modes for the historic squads, namely the Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest respectively. After catching Michael Jordan’s 63 point game against Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics, I originally opted for NBA 2K11, with an eye towards finishing the Jordan Challenge games I never completed. When that didn’t go so well, I turned my attention towards NBA 2K12, and my unfinished challenges in NBA’s Greatest.

I’d ultimately complete my unfinished business, clearing all of the remaining challenges over the weekend. I found myself having a lot of fun, and the experience certainly made me appreciate NBA’s Greatest all over again. In fact, it had me wishing that we still had some sort of mode for the classic teams in the newer games. Since I’ve finally completed all fifteen games and unlocked all of the included retro teams at long last, it only made sense to profile NBA’s Greatest for this week’s Wayback Wednesday feature.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2002 Retrospective

NBA Live 2002 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 2002 was an interesting game for me to revisit. While I did play it a lot when it came out, and I definitely did enjoy my time with it, I also remember it being very frustrating at times. Upon replaying NBA Live 2002 to write this retrospective, I found myself encountering a lot of the issues that bugged me back in the day – and a couple that I’d forgotten about – but I also discovered that it held up a little better than I remembered. Let’s take a look back at one of the more controversial releases in the NBA Live series.

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Monday Tip-Off: Stephen Curry Layup Glitch in NBA 2K16

Stephen Curry with the layup in NBA 2K16

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.

A few weeks ago, I talked about having fun with glitches in basketball video games. I posted a video of an amusing glitch that occurred while performing a mid-air adjustment with Stephen Curry’s layup package, which saw the ball zoom off the screen before dropping straight back down and through the hoop for two. Since then, I’ve been able to trigger the glitch on more than one occasion. Quite often, the result is just an unrealistically high arcing adjusted shot, but a few times the ball has once again rocketed off the screen, presumably into the rafters.

To date, I’ve only encountered and tried to trigger the glitch while shooting around on Arcane’s MyCOURT, but I’d love to make it happen in a game of 2K Pro-Am, just to see if it does occur elsewhere. Whenever it has happened while shooting around in MyCOURT, I’ve made sure to capture a clip, which has allowed me to put together a short reel that I’d like to share with you today. Watch the compilation below, or check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

If you’d like to try and trigger the glitch yourself, I’ve had the most success pushing straight up on the right stick to execute one of Stephen Curry’s high arcing layups, and then hitting the Shoot button to perform the mid-air adjustment. However, simply using the Shoot button and pressing it again to adjust the shot has also worked. While glitches like this aren’t exactly what we or the developers are hoping to see, they’re certainly amusing, and fun to try out. As I said, I’d love to make the glitch happen in actual game of 2K Pro-Am. I have to imagine that doing so and making the shot would likely induce a ragequit; perhaps a justified response, in this particular instance.

The Friday Five: 20th Anniversary of the NLSC

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.

If you’ve connected with us on Facebook or Twitter, you might have seen that this August marks the 20th Anniversary of the NLSC. As it happens, today also marks my 15th Anniversary as the NLSC’s Webmaster/Administrator. Time certainly flies; it seems like only yesterday that I was in high school, a couple of months short of turning seventeen, and being handed control of my favourite website. I’d like to think that for the most part, I’ve done a pretty good job in the role. While there have been some tough moments, I’ve certainly enjoyed running the NLSC, from creating mods and content to all of the discussions in the Forum. Well, most of the discussions!

I take pride in the work that I and the rest of the NLSC Team put into the site, as well as what our community has been able to achieve with modding and other ventures. Even though the NLSC is not my day job, my aim is to always approach it with professionalism and dedication, because I truly believe that we are a site with a great heritage. For twenty years – beginning as an NBA Live fansite, and in time expanding to cover NBA 2K and other basketball games – we’ve always been by basketball gamers, for basketball gamers. For this week’s Friday Five, I’d like to reflect a little on that heritage, and my involvement with it.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 95 Nintendo Power Articles

Anfernee Hardaway in NBA Live 95

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 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.

Beyond retrospective articles and videos – and of course, actually dusting off retro video games to play them – there’s another way for us gamers to get a nostalgia hit: old magazines and articles. To this day, I regret throwing out my entire collection of Nintendo Magazine System mags, as there are times when I’d love to look back on them and reminisce. With basketball video games coming as far as they have, it’s interesting to look back on old reviews and previews to see the things that once excited us, as they often seem mundane many years later.

Recently, Arcane stumbled across a couple of Nintendo Power articles on NBA Live 95, the first game in the NBA Live series and a title that’s widely considered to be a classic. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I thought I’d share them with everyone, and offer up a few thoughts on their contents. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Clickbait & Basketball Gaming

Paul George 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.

At long last, we’re on the verge of getting trailers and substantial information on NBA 2K17! It’s been a quiet preview season, with gamer frustration coming to a head on social media last week following some ill-advised trolling by 2K community representatives. Many of us have been frustrated at the lack of news and previews, but with less than a month until the Early Tip-Off Weekend, it would seem that the wait is finally over, as the first gameplay trailer is reportedly set to be released this week.

Without much in the way of news, all we’ve been able to do is wish, want, and speculate. Even in the busier preview seasons of years gone by, a significant part of covering basketball video games has been wondering what if, and talking about what we want to see. When there is news, it’s going to be posted and analysed. Should anyone that’s producing basketball gaming content secure some kind of an exclusive – a tidbit of information, a developer interview – they’re obviously going to push and promote it, us included. All content creators want to build their audience and brand, but there’s an underhanded way of doing so.

It’s the bane of the Internet, and the basketball gaming community is certainly not immune from it. Today, we’re talking about clickbait.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K

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.

The NBA 2K series has done some fantastic things with historical content, beginning with the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11. Since then, we’ve seen several noteworthy teams added to the game, including twelve new retro squads last year in NBA 2K16. As of writing, there’s been no word about any new retro teams being added in NBA 2K17, but the league expansion blog did briefly mention the presence of historical teams, so we can rest assured that most (if not all) of the existing retro teams will be in this year’s release.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see which other historical teams will be added to NBA 2K. Needless to say, securing likeness rights for all the players – or at least the major ones – is always going to be a stumbling block that keeps certain squads out of the game. Of course, that doesn’t stop us from wanting, wishing, and wondering what if. Since I’ve previously talked about retro teams that are highly unlikely to make the cut (and for good reason), this week I’m listing five retro teams that I would actually like to see included in a future NBA 2K game.

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Wayback Wednesday: Larry Bird in NBA Jam Tournament Edition

Larry Bird on the Boston Celtics in NBA Jam Tournament Edition

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 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 NBA Jam series is famous for its inclusion of secret players. From Will Smith in his Fresh Prince persona, to Mortal Kombat characters – excuse me, “kharacters” – Scorpion and Sub-Zero, a lot of special guests have hit the virtual hardwood for high-flying, arcade basketball action. Joining the cast of public figures, Midway developers, and NBA mascots in NBA Jam Tournament Edition was Boston Celtics great, Larry Bird.

Along with Hall of Famer Carol Blazejowski, Larry Legend is the only real former professional basketball player that is hidden and playable in NBA Jam TE. It’s actually something that I wasn’t aware of when I first got into the game all those years ago, as I never encountered him as an opponent after beating all of the NBA teams and seeing secret characters randomly appear as opponents. It wasn’t until my family got the Internet and I was able to look up some codes for the PC version that I discovered he was in the game, and playable. He’s also in the Super Nintendo version, though I wasn’t aware of that particular code, either.

Since tomorrow will be the 24th anniversary of his retirement from the NBA, I thought I’d reflect on Larry Bird’s presence in NBA Jam Tournament Edition. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: When Is It Time To Shelve Basketball Games?

DeMarcus Cousins dunks the basketball in NBA 2K16

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 Friday night, the regular NLSC 2K Pro-Am crew got online to play a few games, as we usually do. As we’ve mentioned on the NLSC Podcast, and in the Forum, our record isn’t exactly stellar across our three Pro-Am teams, but we still enjoy getting in some games each week, picking up the occasional win here and there, and joking around on the party chat. We started our most recent session in high spirits, but after only a few games, we were feeling disenchanted and ready to call it a night.

I’m sure that Arcane, Kenny, and I will discuss it in more detail on this week’s Podcast, but in short, it was one of our worst sessions of 2K Pro-Am. Aside from our own mistakes – and the usual MyPARK cheese that spills over into 2K Pro-Am – we really seemed to be battling some gameplay quirks in all three contests. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but when we decided to call it a night early, I found myself wondering if I wanted to keep playing 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16. Mulling that over led me to ponder another question: when is it time to shelve basketball games?

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The Friday Five: 5 Things That Would Help Modding

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.

In last week’s Friday Five, I discussed how our modding community could improve in terms of its attitude and practices. Having put that very important message out there, I wanted to cover more of a modder Wishlist in this week’s Five. These are the features and resources that I believe would really help facilitate modding, allowing us to create even better mods for the current generation of basketball video games.

As many of you are probably aware, many of the file formats have changed since the PC version of NBA 2K became a port of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version. On top of that, NBA 2K’s roster files have never been particularly modder-friendly compared to the DBF files that the PC versions of NBA Live utilised. Of course, NBA Live itself doesn’t support modding right now, being a console-only release. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list of ideas that would help out the modding community – I only have the five points to work with, after all – but they are the first that come to mind for me, and are intended to tip off the conversation.

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