NBA 2K

The Friday Five: 5 Most Useless Features in Basketball Games

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. This week’s Five is a list of some of the most useless features and functions that we’ve seen in basketball games.

We’ve come to expect a significant amount of depth in basketball video games, not only in terms of the modes and gameplay, but also features and functionality. Be they big or small, glamorous or mundane, frequently used or just handy to have when we need them, there are numerous features and functions that go a long way in providing a well-rounded basketball gaming experience. And then, there are the features that aren’t so useful. Of course, usefulness can be subjective. If you enjoy outfitting your player in different clothing, for example, you’ll find that feature a lot more useful than someone who has no interest in that aspect of the career modes.

Taking a look at features of questionable usefulness, some are good ideas that just haven’t been executed well, while others are pointless at best. Certain features have seen their usefulness decline over time, either due to neglect or redundancy. Whatever the case may be, sometimes you’ll see a feature or function in a basketball video game, and wonder why the developers spent any time implementing it. Other times, you may wish that they spent a little more time on a feature, in order to make it more worthwhile. Without any further ado, here are five features that we’ve seen in basketball games – past and present – that I would rank among the most useless.

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Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Projects Fall Apart

Abandoned 1998 Season Modding Project (NBA Live 2003)

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at how modding projects fall apart, while discussing a recent personal example.

Although I’m not as involved with modding as I once was, I won’t deny the lure of working on roster updates. I’ve previously discussed some of the mods that I’d like to make, should I be able to put aside the free time and get sufficiently motivated. That certainly still holds true, and as previously mentioned, I do have a list of modding ideas, similar to my lists of topics for the Monday Tip-Off, Wayback Wednesday, and Friday Five features. Every so often, I might do a little bit of preliminary work on one of those ideas, but aside from one or two beta releases, a majority of them haven’t progressed any further than that.

I’ve really enjoyed producing my Wayback Wednesday content since I introduced the feature a couple of years ago, as it’s been a way to reminisce about old favourites, and talk about some interesting modes, community history, and basketball gaming trivia. It’s also provided an opportunity to indulge in some retro gaming, which I enjoy doing across a variety of genres. Of course, I sometimes find myself becoming drawn towards an old release, especially if it’s one that I’ve spent a considerable amount of time modding. Such was the case with NBA Live 2003, where I recently toyed with the idea of a mod, only to be reminded of how easily projects can fall apart.

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The Friday Five: 5 Quietest Additions in Basketball Games

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. This week’s Five is a list of some of the quietest additions that have been made in basketball games over the years.

Not all additions to basketball games receive a big announcement and a lot of fanfare, be they a brand new feature, or content pushed through during the season. As demonstrated just last week, new content in particular can be added very quietly. Of course, when it comes to the preview season, both EA Sports and Visual Concepts do tend to go to much greater lengths to inform us about new additions to NBA Live and NBA 2K. It stands to reason, as along with improvements to existing features, any exciting new additions are strong selling points that are likely to move units.

With that being said, even during the preview season, there are additions that seem to fly under the radar. There are a few reasons as to why this may happen. A long time ago, the preview season wasn’t as comprehensive and in-depth as it is now. There’s also oversight, and underestimation of a feature’s appeal. Alternatively, something may be kept under wraps to keep it a surprise, though this runs the risk of wasting a good selling point. Some additions may be kept quiet to avoid potential controversy. Whatever the case may be, there have been several additions to basketball games that have had little to no hype or promotion. Let’s look at five of them.

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Monday Tip-Off: Fans, Not Fanboys; Critics, Not Haters

Dwight Howard Dunks (NBA Live 18)

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how we can be better fans and critics, and avoid being haters and fanboys.

In one of the earliest Monday Tip-Off features that I posted, I discussed the issue of fanboys and haters in the basketball gaming community. Glancing back at a couple of the comments, I perhaps didn’t explain my point clearly enough. Needless to say, it’s virtually impossible for anyone to be completely impartial. We’re all going to have our own preferences, and a bias that’s tough to completely put aside. To a certain extent, a strong devotion or aversion to a brand is a justified reaction to continued enjoyment or disappointment. Taken to the extreme, however, we just end up getting on each other’s nerves, and ultimately doing ourselves a disservice.

The motto I’ve adopted in regards to the NLSC is “fans, not fanboys; critics, not haters”. In other words, we should look to enjoy basketball gaming and celebrate our hobby, but at the same time, we shouldn’t shut down criticism and pretend that there aren’t any problems. Similarly, we should point out the things that we dislike and make constructive criticisms, but we shouldn’t blindly bash the games, nor tell our fellow gamers that they shouldn’t enjoy themselves. It’s easy to forget that enjoyment and criticism aren’t mutually exclusive, and that we’re not all divided into fanboys and haters. At least, we certainly shouldn’t be aiming to be in one of those two groups.

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The Friday Five: 5 Little Details Basketball Games Have Nailed

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. This week’s Five is a list of five concepts and little details that basketball games have captured extremely well.

It bears repeating that it’s alright to criticise basketball games. As I’ve previously discussed, and will no doubt touch upon again in the future, it’s something that gaming communities can easily forget. Any gaming community that censors and discourages criticism is doing a disservice to the games that they’re interested in, and ultimately, themselves as consumers. Constructive criticism should always be encouraged over nastiness and abuse, but we must remember that it’s OK to point out the things that we dislike, while also discussing the elements that we enjoy.

By the same token, of course, it’s also fine to take a break from criticising the aspects of basketball games that we don’t like, to marvel at the things we do enjoy about them. In that regard, it’s quite often the little things that really make the experience. Basketball games have come a long way, and while improvements to graphics, AI, controls, and so forth are often more readily apparent, there are a lot of concepts and smaller details that are very impressive in their own right. They may be subtle, but often contribute that extra bit of authenticity to the overall experience. Here are five examples of little details that basketball games have really nailed in recent years.

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The Friday Five: 5 Players & Their Forgotten Final Seasons

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. This week’s Five is a list of five NBA players whose careers petered out, with their final seasons being somewhat forgotten.

Not all NBA players get a big send-off, or season-long retirement tour. Even if they were big stars at one point, some players end up spending their latter part of their careers in relative obscurity. There are many causes of that phenomenon, from injuries and basketball-related reasons to unfortunate personal problems. Whatever the case may be, for some fallen stars, it’s easy to forget the brief stints they had with certain teams towards the end of their careers. Indeed, it sometimes comes as a surprise when you look back and realise how long their careers lasted, or how recently they retired.

You’ll often come to those realisations when you fire up old basketball video games. When I cover those older titles for features such as Wayback Wednesday, I’m not only reminded of the experiences I had with those games, but of what the league looked like at the time. Old games serve as a time capsule for seasons gone by, making them effective reminders of the often overlooked later seasons of many players’ careers. For this week’s Friday Five, I’m taking a look back at the forgotten final seasons of five players who were big names at one point, but became somewhat overlooked as their careers wound down.

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Still Active in Games After Their Careers Ended

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. This week’s Five is a list of players who remained active in basketball video games after their careers ended in real life.

The rosters in basketball video games are, quite obviously, affected by events that occur in the real NBA. With strange and unfortunate twists of fate, as well as other unusual circumstances, video game rosters can quickly become outdated, or contain other oddities. I discussed the unusual situation with Michael Redd in NBA Live 2003 in last week’s Wayback Wednesday, as it was a particularly rare curiosity. A more common phenomenon is the continued appearance of players in the active rosters of basketball games, a year or more after they’ve played their final game. That’s what I’m taking a look at today.

Keep in mind that I’m not talking about players who have simply remained playable in video games after their retirement. With all the historical content in Ultimate Team and MyTEAM, as well as the extensive roster of retro teams in NBA 2K, there are obviously a lot of retired players who are still in the games. I’m also not counting appearances on the previous season’s All-Star squads in the default rosters. This is a list of players who, for one reason or another, remained in the active rosters of video games after their careers came to an end in real life. These players facilitated a few “What If?” scenarios, and at times, made maintaining roster updates a little tricky.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Pet Peeves (I Can’t Justify)

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. This week’s Five is a list of basketball gaming pet peeves that I can’t really justify.

When it comes to basketball gaming, we all have our major and minor complaints. Major complaints encompass issues that significantly affect our enjoyment of a game, and if it’s an obvious design flaw, a lot of gamers are probably going to share the same view. Minor complaints, on the other hand, may not be as broad. They tend to be more a matter of personal preference, and there’s likely to be more disagreement as to their importance. Beyond that, we have pet peeves, which tend to come across as being far pettier and nitpicky.

That is the nature of pet peeves, of course. They’re things that are that non-issues or mild annoyances at worst to most other people, but for whatever reason, greatly bother us personally. To that end, you might suggest that most pet peeves are difficult to justify, even though they can certainly be based upon understandable and logical reasoning. However, the pet peeves that I’m discussing today are tough to justify beyond my own personal preference, and in some cases, I would have to admit that they’re largely inconsequential. They do bug me all the same though, so without any further ado, here are five of my pettiest pet peeves in basketball gaming.

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Monday Tip-Off: Planning a Return to Franchise Modes

Starting a new Franchise Game (NBA 2K18)

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on making a return to franchise gaming this year.

My recent Wayback Wednesday series on franchise modes in NBA Live and NBA 2K served to remind me of just how much fun I’ve had with them over the years. I’ve wanted to return to franchise gaming for a while now, and writing those articles only added to my enthusiasm. I’ve gravitated towards MyCAREER and other modes in recent years, which is funny given that in MyLEAGUE and MyGM, we now have some of the deepest franchise experiences in the history of basketball video games. There are reasons why my habits have changed, of course, but I do feel like it’s time to make a return to franchise modes.

Now that NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 have been out for over a month, receiving multiple official patches and roster updates, it’s an opportune time to dive into the franchise experience. With the 2018 season tipping off, my interest in creating a fictional reality on the virtual hardwood has also been piqued. I do still have an interest in the card collecting modes, online team play experience, and MyCAREER, so I’ll have to ration my basketball gaming time accordingly. Beyond that, however, I do have a few other matters to consider as I plan a return to the franchise experience that I enjoyed so much as a younger basketball gamer.

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The Friday Five: Ranking the MyCAREER Stories

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. This week’s Five is another countdown, as I rank the MyCAREER stories from worst to best.

Through the course of many previous articles and episodes of the NLSC Podcast, I believe that I’ve made my stance on MyCAREER stories very clear. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with my view on the matter, while I can appreciate the effort that goes into them, I’m not a fan of the concept. To me, it’s felt more intrusive and annoying, rather than enhancing the experience. It’s obviously not going anywhere, so hopefully the approach can be improved upon in future games. To get an idea of how Visual Concepts may achieve that, it’s worth reflecting upon the approach they’ve taken to previous MyCAREER stories, and determining which has been the best.

We’ve had five MyCAREER stories in NBA 2K at this point, enough to rate and rank in a Friday Five countdown. In ranking the stories, I’m taking into account the overall quality of the narrative, the likeability of the characters (including the MyPLAYER protagonist), the impact on the gameplay experience, and how well the approach fits with the RPG elements of MyCAREER. As always, please keep in mind that this is just my take, and I certainly invite you to share your rankings in the comments section below. With that being said, let’s tip off the countdown with number five.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Association in NBA 2K

Headlines in The Association (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. This week, I’m concluding my retrospective on franchise modes with a look back at The Association in NBA 2K.

While NBA Live was offering multiseason management modes in the form of Franchise and Dynasty, NBA 2K was also providing basketball gamers with its own take on the franchise experience. The franchise modes in both games have had their ups and downs, but the 2K series has done a very commendable job from year to year, in many cases implementing features that have yet to be seen in EA’s game. For those of us who were mostly playing NBA Live back in the day, we looked on in envy as 2K implemented several of those much-desired features in its modes.

As of now, NBA 2K has featured the deepest and most advanced franchise modes in basketball gaming. For many years, that franchise experience went by the name of The Association, and it admirably paved the way for MyLEAGUE and MyGM in recent games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: My Top 5 Unluckiest Basketball Gaming Moments

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. This week’s Five is a top five countdown of my unluckiest moments in basketball gaming.

Another Friday the 13th is upon us, which is bad news for anyone who suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia. I’m not a particularly superstitious person myself, and no Friday the 13th has given me reason to be wary of the date. In fact, given that one of my weekly features comes out every Friday, it’s conveniently provided me with a ready-made topic that can be easily tied into our interests as a community that loves basketball and basketball gaming. I’ve previously written about some of the unluckiest moments in NBA history, unlucky moments in basketball gaming, and even my favourite players who have worn number thirteen.

For this Friday the 13th, I thought that I’d revisit that second topic with a few personal anecdotes. We’ve all had our unlucky moments on the virtual hardwood, and since we tend to get somewhat invested in the video games that we play, those moments can certainly be rage-inducing. I feel as though I don’t do enough top five countdowns for the Friday Five, so I’ve decided to rank these moments according to the amount of frustration they caused me, and how unlucky they felt. Without any further ado, these are my top five unluckiest moments in basketball gaming.

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The Friday Five: 5 More MyCAREER Story Theories

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 this week’s Five, I’m offering up some more theories and alternative interpretations for the stories in MyCAREER.

It’s time once again to indulge in a bit of creative writing and fun speculation! Last November, I wrote a Friday Five that took the stories that NBA 2K has implemented in MyCAREER, and twisted them around with some theories and interpretations that somewhat altered their tone. It’s still one of my favourite articles that I’ve written, as reimagining the MyCAREER stories in a darker or more dramatic light turned out to be a fun exercise. NBA 2K18 has provided us with another story to pick apart, and I have a few more ideas, so it seems like an opportune time for a follow-up article.

Once again, I do have to stress that I don’t actually believe these interpretations and theories, even though I do feel that a couple of them actually fit quite well. In fact, if you told me that the first theory was indeed intentional and what’s actually going on, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised. This is all meant to be in fun though, so don’t take it too seriously. With that being said, you may find that a couple of these theories make a little too much sense. At the very least, I hope it’ll be an amusing read to take you into the weekend. Let’s once again go tumbling down the rabbit hole; tinfoil hats are of course welcome, but completely optional.

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Monday Tip-Off: Recreating Game Covers in NBA 2K18

NBA Live 06 Cover in NBA 2K18

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with some recreations of past video game covers in NBA 2K18.

I’d like to tip this week off with something fun. It’s not that I don’t enjoy tackling more serious topics related to basketball gaming, as last week’s feature demonstrates. After all, it’s important that we critique, and share constructive ideas about our hobby. At the same time, we should also celebrate our passion for basketball gaming, and there’s always room for some levity. Although I have my criticisms, I’ve been having fun with both NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 so far. As I mentioned in Episode #224 of the NLSC Podcast, I’ve enjoyed playing some games with the classic teams in NBA 2K18.

While I was messing around with the retro squads, an idea came to mind. The huge amount of historical content in NBA 2K18 means that the game includes many former basketball video game cover players, spanning as far back as the mid 90s. With that in mind, I thought that it might be fun to try to recreate some of those old covers, using NBA 2K18’s classic teams. The results are a little mixed as some were definitely easier to recreate than others, but hopefully you’ll enjoy seeing what I’ve managed to put together. Let’s tip things off with a classic.

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Monday Tip-Off: Metacritic Scores & Basketball Games

Giannis Antetolounmpo dunks the basketball in NBA Live 18.

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on Metacritic scores, and how they relate to basketball games.

We’re less than three weeks away from the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18. It won’t be long before publications are getting their hands on the finished games, and vying to be the first to post their reviews. The most glowing reviews will be shared by the games’ official social media accounts, while we basketball gamers discuss the merits of each reviewer’s critique. At the end of the day, however, their approval or disapproval of each game will contribute to their respective Metacritic scores. Like all developers, both EA Sports and Visual Concepts will be hoping for the best result possible, as Metacritic scores are the yardstick for successful releases.

Generally speaking, that’s an understandable approach. While there can certainly be a disconnect between the opinions of professional reviewers and the general public, along with sales, Metacritic scores are a reasonable barometer for a game’s success. At the same time, when it comes to basketball games, and sports games in general for that matter, I’d argue that they’re not always accurate or fair. I’m not a huge fan of awarding numerical scores to games of any genre, and as far as basketball games are concerned, the extent to which the importance of Metacritic scores can be overblown is comparable to the overemphasis on overall ratings in the games themselves.

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