Features

Wayback Wednesday: Online Team Play in NBA Live 08

Gilbert Arenas dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 08

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at Online Team Play.

As the years have gone by, the online experience has become more and more significant in basketball video games. I personally didn’t have a lot of interest in online modes for many years; a slower connection didn’t help matters, and for the most part, I was simply more interested in the offline experience. That’s changed somewhat over the past couple of years, as I’ve come to enjoy regular games of 2K Pro-Am. However, there was another online mode that caught my attention almost a decade ago, and appropriately enough, it was the forerunner to the Pro-Am concept: Online Team Play in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of NBA Live 08.

At the time, it was something of a groundbreaking addition for basketball video games, and a concept that both EA Sports and Visual Concepts should perhaps think about implementing once more. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: MyCAREER’s Funniest Text Message

Checking the phone 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.

I realise that not everyone is fan of the virtual Twitter and text messaging in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER. For some people, it’s a pointless annoyance, an unnecessary addition that has nothing to do with gameplay or replicating the experience of being an NBA player. I can certainly understand that point of view, but I have to admit, I kind of like it. For me, it contributes to the immersive nature and world building aspects of MyCAREER, making the mode seem more alive with something that’s very prominent in the real world. Beyond that, of course, some of the messages and Tweets are actually pretty funny…though not always for the right reasons.

There’s unquestionably a lot of intentional humour in MyCAREER’s text messages and Tweets. Certain Tweets represent (with painful accuracy) some of the less intelligent things that we basketball fans are prone to putting out there on social media. There’s in-jokes, banter with other players, and texts that add minor plot points to the background storyline. There are supportive Tweets from Leftos, which I always enjoy. And then, there are the text messages that are just plain weird, and most likely glitched. That’s the type of message I’m sharing with you today.

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The Friday Five: 5 Miscellaneous Suggestions for 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.

I originally planned for last week’s Five to be the final instalment in my current series of articles discussing what I’d like to see in future NBA Live games, beginning with NBA Live 18 later this year. However, there are a few more ideas that I wanted to put out there, as they didn’t quite fit into any of the previous areas that I was focusing upon. While it’s crucial that core elements of the gameplay and existing game modes are fixed and enhanced, and that features such as roster editing return, there are a couple of other ideas that I believe would help make future NBA Live games even better.

These are the ideas that cater to specific needs and preferences, and contribute towards making NBA Live a deep and well-rounded game. Again, getting the gameplay right, enhancing the existing game modes, and implementing roster editing are all improvements that are absolutely vital, but once progress has been made on those fronts, it’s important that NBA Live innovates and expands upon its content, as the series once did so well. There are certainly more than five things that can be suggested here, but these are the ideas that either appeal the most to me, or I believe will have the biggest impact.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA All-Star Weekend in NBA Live

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 All-Star Weekend is almost upon us. While not everyone is a fan of the midseason classic, I’ve always enjoyed watching the pickup atmosphere of the Rising Stars game (in all its various formats), the drama of the Three-Point Shootout, the creativity of the Slam Dunk Contest, and the stars going head to head in the All-Star Game itself (though it’s sadly no longer as competitive as it used to be). I know that I’m not alone in my enjoyment of the All-Star Weekend’s main attractions, and for many years, a lot of us wished that those events were playable in basketball video games. Then, along came NBA Live 2005.

In featuring the All-Star Weekend, NBA Live 2005 boasted one of the most significant additions in the history of the series – not to mention basketball gaming in general – and the mode was a lot of fun to play back in the day. It’s well worth reminiscing about, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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

Shooting a jumpshot with the Pro Stick 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.

A few months back, I discussed the pros and cons of the Pro Stick and Shoot Button in NBA 2K, and my preference for using the button. Since the changes to the shooting mechanics in NBA 2K17 had just been announced, I noted that I’d be open to changing my approach, depending on the precision that was required when using the Pro Stick, and whether or not it offered a noticeable advantage. I also mentioned that I was more inclined to use the Pro Stick for shots in the paint, because of the ability to perform floaters and other elusive shots on cue, as well as have more control over dunk and layup animations.

NBA 2K17 has been out for about five months now, and has received eleven official patches, as well as several tuning updates. With all the gameplay tweaks, and having tried out more than a couple of different jumpshot animations for my MyPLAYER, there have been plenty of variables as I’ve experimented with both methods of shooting the basketball. I expect to be playing NBA 2K17 for several months yet, so the experiment is ongoing. As I look ahead to future NBA 2K releases, I must admit that my mind isn’t completely made up about which method I favour, and the direction that the controls and shooting mechanics should take.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Ultimate Team 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.

We’re coming to the end of my series of Friday Five articles on the key improvements and additions I’d like to see in NBA Live 18 and beyond. Having covered gameplay, Dynasty, Rising Star, LIVE Pro-Am, and roster editing, it’s now time to talk about Ultimate Team. Ultimate Team has been a fairly solid mode since it was introduced to the series in NBA Live 14, and reasonably popular. There’s definitely still room for improvement though, and since the card collecting/team building modes are such a big part of sports games these days, I do have a few suggestions on how it can improve.

Before I begin, I want to give an honourable mention to pack odds. Fair odds and value are always an important issue when it comes to the team building modes, and although Ultimate Team’s packs aren’t too unfair, they could stand to be a little better. Whether it’s the packs bought from the store, or reward packs that are earned by completing a challenge, I’d like to see some guaranteed rare cards, especially when Legends are up for grabs. With that being said, here’s my list of five suggestions that I believe would enhance Ultimate Team in future NBA Live games.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live PC Mod

Shaquille O'Neal dunks in NBA Live PC for 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.

Inspired by last week’s dig through the archives, I went rummaging again to see what else I could find. My search yielded some preview screenshots for the NBA Live PC mod, which became the NLSC’s comprehensive roster update for the PC version of NBA Live 06 for several years. Since I enjoyed looking back at my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004 last week, I thought that I’d do the same for a current roster update that I maintained for one of my all-time favourite games in the series. With NBA Live 06 being next up in our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live retrospectives, it also seemed fitting.

So, why did the mod bear that name, and how did it come about? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Is the Future of Modding In-Game?

Team Designs, an example of in-game modding 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.

TGsoGood offered up an interesting question in the Forum a couple of weeks ago, concerning the current state of modding. He noted that while modding has always had its ups and downs, the hobby is not quite what it used to be, at least for the most recent releases. While modders have been a little more active so far this year, and the tools and resources at their disposal are the best they’ve been since the PC started receiving the same version of NBA 2K as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as TGsoGood alluded to, we’re not finding ourselves in a new golden era of modding.

With that being said, there are plenty of users who are customising NBA 2K17. As TGsoGood also pointed out, gamers are making great use of the team rebranding and roster customisation options to create a variety of modifications that are distributed through the in-game sharing facilities. Therefore, the question before us is this: is the future of modding in-game? Since Arcane and Kenny aren’t involved with the modding scene, I decided that I’d tackle the issue in this week’s Monday Tip-Off, rather than on the NLSC Podcast.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suggestions for Rising Star 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.

So, we now know that the next NBA Live game – presumably titled NBA Live 18 – will be released later this year, and is intended to be a fully-featured title. While there is understandably some disappointment and scepticism within the NBA Live community at the moment, there is also an opportunity for the development team to go all out in enhancing game modes, and adding features such as roster customisation. As I’ve outlined in recent editions of The Friday Five, those are some very important and overdue improvements that are vital to NBA Live getting to where it needs to be.

I’ve already covered Dynasty and LIVE Pro-Am, but there’s much work to be done with Rising Star as well. Career modes are extremely popular these days, therefore it’s crucial that Rising Star is brought up to speed, and given the depth that will make it a more engaging and enjoyable experience. From the action on the court to the features that make a career mode more immersive, there are a couple of key enhancements that Rising Star should receive in forthcoming NBA Live titles. This week, I’m discussing five of them.

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Wayback Wednesday: My 1996 Season Patch for NBA Live 2004

Shaquille O'Neal Cover Shot in the 1996 Season Roster for NBA Live 2004

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.

Last week, I wrote an article talking about the lure of roster modding. As I explained in that feature, while modding in general is something I don’t do as much as I used to, there’s always the temptation to get back into it. I really did enjoy making those current roster updates for so many years, as well as the occasional special project. One such project was my 1996 season patch for NBA Live 2004, which thanks to the contributions of some of our best art modders at the time, turned out to be reasonably comprehensive…at least compared to some of my previous retro season patches.

To this day, it remains one of my favourite patches that I’ve made for NBA Live 2004, or indeed, any other game. I recently came across some old preview images of the patch in my archives, and figured it would be fun to share them, along with a few reflections on the mod. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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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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