Features

Wayback Wednesday: Remembering Roster Players

Roster Player dunks the basketball in NBA Live 98

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 issue of missing players isn’t as prominent as it was in the early days of basketball gaming. Video games have become a huge industry, authenticity is the name of the game, and the licensing agreement with the NBA Players Association ensures that all active players are represented in NBA Live and NBA 2K. These days, active players who aren’t included at launch are added via official roster updates, so most of the issues with missing players involve historical players that couldn’t be licensed. Fortunately, as the addition of Steve Nash in the latest NBA 2K17 roster update demonstrates, that doesn’t have to be a permanent problem either.

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, this wasn’t always the case. Due to certain players retaining full control over their likeness rights, and sometimes signing exclusive deals with specific developers, some of the biggest names in basketball have been missing from classic hoops games. In some cases, however, they didn’t leave a vacant spot on their team’s roster. Some games elected to include placeholder players, which many old school basketball gamers came to call Roster Players, after the name they were given in various editions of NBA Live.

Roster Players have an interesting legacy in basketball gaming, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How Danilo Gallinari Became My Least Favourite Teammate

Danilo Gallinari in a MyCAREER 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.

Playing through MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, I’ve learned a few things. One, never underestimate the importance of Badges; they really help give your player an extra boost. Two, when you’re a point guard playing for the Denver Nuggets and you’re looking to rack up a lot of assists, Justice Young and Kenneth Faried will happily oblige with baskets on catch-and-shoot and pick-and-roll opportunities respectively. And three, getting on the Italian cover of NBA 2K17 has clearly gone to Danilo Gallinari’s head…well, his virtual counterpart’s head, at any rate.

Halfway through my rookie season, the Nuggets are clearly the Orange Juice show. Yes, that still sounds a bit silly to say, but the point is, Justice and I have clearly taken over, and the team is thriving as a result. It seems that Danilo Gallinari didn’t get the memo though, because his play and attitude in practice and in games seems to suggest that he believes himself to be the star of the team. He still plays his role and he hasn’t cost us any games – yet, anyway – but there are times when it feels like he’s keen to impeach The President of Basketball. I have nothing against the real Gallo, but in MyCAREER, he’s become my least favourite teammate.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things You Learn Making Roster Updates

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.

It’s been a few years since I released my last roster update for NBA Live, and although I’ve tinkered a bit here and there, I’ve never really gotten into roster editing for NBA 2K. That being said, I’m certainly no stranger to making roster updates, having gotten into the hobby when I discovered the NLSC back in 1997, eventually taking over the NLSC rosters when I became webmaster and Lutz passed them over to me. Make no mistake: over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time creating players, moving players around, editing ratings, and updating games for a brand new season.

There are times when I miss making rosters, though remembering the more tedious and time-consuming aspects of their creation makes me realise that I probably made the right decision in moving on. Of course, I’ve also found that making roster updates can be an interesting and rewarding exercise. There are a few things that you learn when you’re making those updates, so I thought that I’d talk a little bit about that in this week’s Five. Whether you’re looking to make your own roster updates for NBA Live or NBA 2K, or you’d just like a little more insight into their creation, I hope you’ll find it informative.

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Wayback Wednesday: Jordan Challenge Highlight Reel

Michael Jordan vs. Shawn Kemp 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.

A few weeks ago, I ran a series of Wayback Wednesday articles documenting my attempt to complete the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11. I was ultimately successful, taking care of my unfinished business and unlocking MJ: Creating a Legend without resorting to the cheat code. Despite some frustrating moments, I ultimately enjoyed the experience, and felt a sense of accomplishment when I finally completed all ten challenges.

While playing through the Jordan Challenge, I captured several videos of moments that I really enjoyed. I didn’t want those clips to go to waste, so I’ve put together a highlight reel from the seven challenges I went back and completed for the feature. Check it out below, or catch it here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

In case you’re wondering, the music is from NBA Live 99, which seemed appropriate given that the game came out the year of Michael Jordan’s second retirement. I hope that you enjoyed the reel; stay tuned for more throwback content, each and every Wednesday here at the NLSC!

Monday Tip-Off: You’ve Said That Already, We Get It

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.

I have a revelation that’ll probably make a lot of music fans in our community chuckle. My favourite band is the Barenaked Ladies. What can I say? I was a teenager in the late 90s, “One Week” was a hit, and to this day, I like the stuff they’re putting out. Anyway, on the same album as “One Week” was another song that charted: “It’s All Been Done“. The lyrics deconstruct and critique clichéd romantic gestures, framed in the context of a relationship that spans across reincarnation (or possibly immortality), literally or metaphorically depending on your interpretation. Its conclusion is right there in the title: it’s all been done.

What’s the point I’m ham-fistedly trying to get at here? Well, when a community or fandom has been around for a while, long-time members are bound to suffer a touch of déjà vu when certain topics arise. The current NLSC Forum has been open since November 2002, so naturally there are going to be some recurring topics. That’s to be expected, and to be fair, they’re often given a new spin. Unfortunately, some of us do get carried away when it comes to certain subjects, and if we’ve been around for a while, chances are other people have grown weary of our beating the same drum over and over again. To borrow BnL’s lyrics, it’s all been done – or rather, said – before.

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The Friday Five: 5 Tips for Building Your MyPLAYER 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.

I’ve really been enjoying MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17, as you probably know if you’ve read my last two Friday Five columns, or regularly tune in to the NLSC Podcast. With the less intrusive story and increased amount of gameplay in the first season compared to last year, I’ve been able to steadily build up my MyPLAYER and have some memorable games in my rookie campaign. As such, I thought that I’d share a few tips on how to build your MyPLAYER in NBA 2K17, based on my experiences with the game so far.

Now, I must disclose that I did invest in some Virtual Currency on Day 1 (on top of my pre-order bonus), so I have been able to accelerate the process somewhat. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to engage in microtransactions, though since you will need to keep the VC flowing in, I would recommend getting the MyNBA2K17 app and playing the daily games for extra VC. Aside from that, strong performances and endorsement deals will help build up your VC reserves. With that being said, here are five tips for building your MyPLAYER in NBA 2K17.

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Wayback Wednesday: October 26th NBA Debuts

Michael Jordan palms the basketball 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.

The 2017 NBA season has just tipped off, with a couple of big names making their first appearances for new teams, and a few rookies making their league debut. While the start of a new season is a time to look forward to what will hopefully be another great year of basketball, it’s not uncommon to take the opportunity to look back on the debuts of all-time greats. If you look up “On This Date” lists for October and November, you’ll usually see the debuts of some of the biggest names in basketball history among the dates that are noted.

On this particular date – October 26th – Hall of Famers and 1992 Dream Team members Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and Patrick Ewing all made their NBA debut; Jordan, Barkley, and Stockton in 1984, and Ewing in 1985. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I thought I’d share some screenshots of those players’ first appearances in basketball video games, as well as their last appearances as active NBA players. Of course, all four players appear in NBA 2K17, as members of the aforementioned Dream Team.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: MyCAREER (So Far) in Pictures

Orange Juice Billboard 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 discussed in a recent Friday Five column, despite my resolution to return to my roots as a franchise gamer in NBA 2K17, I’ve been drawn into MyCAREER once again. I’m definitely enjoying the less intrusive storyline, getting to spend more time on the virtual hardwood instead of in cutscenes, and improving my MyPLAYER for use in 2K Pro-Am. With the 2017 season looming, I am looking forward to starting a MyLEAGUE game soon, but I expect that I’ll also continue to play MyCAREER over the next several months.

On top of the endorsement deals that result in billboards, advertisements, and so forth, MyCAREER includes opportunities to develop connections with NBA players and other personalities. Following the completion of your social and business obligations, photographs of magazine covers, advertisements, and certain events you’ve attended can be accessed through the in-game phone. Some of them are pretty funny, while others are somewhat terrifying. Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos so far, with a disclaimer that what is seen cannot be unseen.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Features of 2K Pro-Am 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.

I’m counting down another Top 5 for NBA 2K17 this week, as I’m taking a look at what I feel are the five best features in 2K Pro-Am in this year’s game. Aside from MyCAREER, 2K Pro-Am has been my mode of choice so far. I’ve enjoyed getting online with the guys to play a few games each week, and although we’ve had some tough sessions, we’ve also enjoyed some very satisfying wins as well. To that end, you can expect us to continue sharing stories of what’s going on with the NLSC squad over the next several months, both in the Forum and on the Podcast.

I will say that I’m not a fan of some of the changes that have been made to 2K Pro-Am this year. In particular, forcing teams to level up before they can make significant branding changes and import custom logos feels like a big mistake. Information on how the different tiers work is also difficult to come by, and 2K themselves have not been particularly forthcoming with those details. All the same, I am enjoying my time with 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17 – for the most part – and these five features in particular are going a long way in enhancing the experience.

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Wayback Wednesday: Dynasty Cutscenes in NBA Live 2004

Training Cutscene in NBA Live 2004's Dynasty Mode

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 game that I’ll be looking back on as part of our ongoing (and belated) 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations is NBA Live 2004. It’s one of my all-time favourite games in the series, and a title that I know a lot of other long-time basketball gamers also remember fondly. As I’ll discuss in my forthcoming retrospective, NBA Live 2004 did a great job in correcting course after NBA Live 2003 was skewed too much towards a casual style, with more realistic gameplay and the inclusion of sliders for the first time in the NBA Live series.

If there’s one thing that most people remember about NBA Live 2004 though, it’s the cutscenes in the newly rebranded Dynasty Mode. Whereas reactions to the “Courtside Comedy” cutscenes in NBA Live 2003 were mixed at best, it seemed like most of us felt that the Dynasty Cutscenes really added to the atmosphere, bringing life to events that were taking place in the menus. Given that it’s such a memorable part of the game, I thought I’d talk a little bit about it, ahead of my full NBA Live 2004 retrospective.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K17’s Virtual Currency Problem

MyPLAYER Store in NBA 2K17, with prominent button to purchase Virtual Currency

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.

Since the release of NBA 2K17, an issue that’s come up a couple of times on the NLSC Podcast is the general reduction in the amount of Virtual Currency that can be earned in a single game. Having spent most of my time so far playing MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am, this is certainly a problem that I’m very familiar with. Although the MyNBA2K17 app offers additional opportunities to earn Virtual Currency, it doesn’t do much to contribute towards the cost of the various in-game items that are purchased with VC.

We’re not the only ones complaining about Virtual Currency in NBA 2K17, either. A petition is currently circulating in an effort to get Visual Concepts to re-work or eliminate the VC system in NBA 2K. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see the complete removal of Virtual Currency in future iterations of NBA 2K, but given the issues with VC in this year’s game, I’d definitely agree that some changes need to be made. While I do have a lot of good things to say about NBA 2K17, the problems with Virtual Currency absolutely need to be highlighted.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Features of MyCAREER 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.

One of my resolutions for NBA 2K17 was to finally get stuck into a MyLEAGUE game. I’m still keen to do that, but I’m thinking that I might wait until the opening night rosters are pushed through. In the meantime, I’ve been playing MyCAREER with an enthusiasm I haven’t had for the mode since NBA 2K13. I’m partly playing it so that I can boost my MyPLAYER for 2K Pro-Am, but I am finding myself really enjoying the single player experience as well. It’s actually getting to the point where I want to get some closure on MyCAREER before I launch into the MyLEAGUE experience in NBA 2K17.

Over the next few editions of The Friday Five, I’m planning on posting some top five countdowns for various aspects of NBA 2K17. Since I’ve been hooked on MyCAREER, I’ve decided that that’s where I’ll begin. Needless to say, not everything is perfect, and I still have my criticisms, but I feel that NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER is the best incarnation of the mode since the game adopted the story-driven approach back in NBA 2K14. Without any further ado, here are my top five features in this year’s MyCAREER mode.

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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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