NBA 2K

Monday Tip-Off: Rethinking Basketball Game Reviews

Andre Drummond shoots the basketball in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Welcome to a new year of columns and other original content here at the NLSC! There should be plenty to talk about when it comes to basketball video games in 2017 as we continue to play NBA 2K17, await the release of NBA Live 17, and dust off old favourites from time to time. Whether it’s sharing advice or tales of our basketball gaming experiences, discussing ideas for upcoming releases, or critiquing certain aspects of the games, there should be no shortage of topics of conversation in our community and elsewhere.

I’d like to tip things off this year by talking a little about one of those topics: critiquing basketball video games. As consumers who want to get value for our money and the most enjoyment possible out of basketball games, we do need to be able to look at them with a critical eye to identify issues that we want to see fixed, and aspects that we’d like to see improvement in. However, I also think that we should always try to improve the way that we critique basketball games, so that we can make the most of the contact we have with the developers at EA Sports and Visual Concepts. Of course, I’d like to see professional reviews improve as well.

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The Friday Five: 2016 Year in Review

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 do have one more Friday left in 2016, and I expect that I’ll post a column as usual next week, but just in case I do have to skip it, I thought that I’d post my Year in Review edition of The Friday Five this week instead. As the year draws to a close, it’s obviously a time to celebrate the holiday season and spend time with loved ones, but we also can’t help but reflect upon the past twelve months. For one reason or another, it seems that a lot of people had a rough time in 2016, and if you can say the same, then I hope we were able to lift your spirits at times.

Of course, it was something of an up and down year in our community, too. There was some big news about NBA Live, a new NBA 2K release, and a lot of activity in terms of discussion and modding releases. There was also some stress and uncertainty back in June as we searched for a new home, and ultimately were able to move to a new host. I’ll no doubt have some final reflections in my annual New Year’s Eve post, but for now, please join me as I take a quick look back at the year that was, and ahead to the year to come.

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Monday Tip-Off: Enjoy Basketball Games the Way You Want

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.

Well, the holiday season is well and truly upon us! We’re just six days away from Christmas, and for many of us, the season brings us a chance to kick back and relax with friends and family. Being gamers, I’d suggest that many of us will also be spending a bit of time in front of a PC or console, enjoying some new releases and old favourites alike. In this community, that probably means playing a basketball title or two. I’ll be spending a few days away with friends over New Year’s, but when I do have some time to myself, you can be bet that I’ll be playing some virtual hoops.

As we gear up to play basketball video games during this holiday season, and in the year ahead, I want to put something out there for the community to consider. It may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but considering how passionate we gamers can get about the hobby, I feel it’s worth mentioning from time to time. No matter what your skill level, preferred style of gameplay, or game mode of choice, please keep this in mind: you should enjoy basketball games the way that you want.

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The Sunday Substitute: Getting Sucked Into MyTEAM…Again

The week is in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, which means it’s time for the Sunday Substitute! It’s the article where I get some valuable minutes while the star is resting on the bench. I might not have the time to do this every week, but I like to think I’m still making a contribution to the team. Today’s subject is MyTEAM in NBA 2K17 and why I’ve become addicted to the mode once again.

After my experience with NBA 2K16, I constantly told myself I wouldn’t get sucked into MyTEAM in NBA 2K17. The amount of money I spent buying packs (yes, I spent real money), the lack of value in those packs, and the amount of times I drew Jarnell Stokes deterred me. I was resolute; MyTEAM would not get me in NBA 2K17!

Sure, I played the mode casually here and there, completing Domination and the odd challenge, but I thought I was doing okay. I wasn’t hooked. But in the past week and a half, MyTEAM has consumed my 2K experience once again. I completed every Weekly Challenge and every Moments Challenge I was eligible for, as well finishing Historic Domination.

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The Friday Five: Best Sim Basketball Game of Each Generation

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.

When we look back to rank and rate basketball video games throughout the years, it’s important that we keep a few things in perspective, such as the technology of the time, and a game’s improvement over its immediate predecessors. With the way that basketball titles and other sports video games have improved, it’s not always a fair comparison once a few years have passed, to say nothing of a generation or two. Even though they’ve been surpassed, certain basketball games definitely deserve to be recognised as the best sim title of their day. As such, today I’m picking the best sim basketball games in five distinct generations, or eras if you prefer.

I must emphasise that these are my personal picks, and that I’m not presenting this list as infallible, definitive, or above question. There are several worthy candidates that you might prefer, and I obviously reserve the right to change my opinion in the future as well. However, as it stands today, these are my selections for the best sim-oriented basketball video games in each generation, starting from the early days of basketball gaming and going right through until today. Without any further ado, let’s tip things off with basketball games from the 16-Bit era and earlier.

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The Friday Five: 5 More Patches I Always Wanted to Make

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.

A little over two years ago, I wrote a Friday Five column about five patches that I always wanted to make, but never did. Since then, I’ve given a couple of them a try, releasing beta/demo versions of an Ultimate Jordan Roster, and a fictional league roster inspired by World League Basketball. They’re a couple of projects that I’d like to return to when I have the opportunity, as I do like to get back to my roots and make some patches from time to time. It’s been a while since my last release, so I must admit that I am getting the itch to work on something beyond my regular columns and other features (although I certainly do enjoy creating that content, too).

Because I don’t have as much free time as I used to, these days I prefer to focus on making smaller patches that fill a particular need, or works that are creatively satisfying, rather than the regular roster updates that I used to create. When I’m trying to come up with some fun ideas for patches, I still tend to think back to projects that I’ve envisioned in the past, but never got around to making. Following on from my previous Five, here are some more patches that I didn’t end up creating, some of which I might take a shot at sometime in the future.

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The Sunday Substitute: Badges in NBA 2K17

The week is in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, which means it’s time for the Sunday Substitute! It’s the article where I get some valuable minutes while the star is resting on the bench. I might not have the time to do this every week, but I like to think I’m still contributing to the team effort. I have been gaining a few splinters on the bench for the last few months, but today I’m ready to get back into it and talk about badges in NBA 2K17.

Over the past few 2K PRO-AM sessions I have had with fellow NLSC team members, I have learned that badges are vital in online play. Both mine and Andrew’s numbers have gone up considerably since we’ve unlocked significant badges for our respective archetypes. In some games, my shooting has been off the charts because of my Hall of Fame Corner Specialist and Catch and Shoot Badges, and Andrew’s passes have been more on point with the Gold Dimer badge.

Despite how NLSC THRILLHO have improved after acquiring badges, there are still a number of issues that badges seem to be creating online. It seems like lesser-rated players are becoming more overpowered because of outside shooting badges. People are still zigzagging and hitting those perfect jump shots, and corner threes are almost automatic unless you practically foul the shooter.

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The Friday Five: 5 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.

One of the most common complaints about the current approach to MyCAREER mode is that the story is basically on rails, and the player character’s back story is predetermined and not always “one size fits all”. Although we can customise our MyPLAYER’s appearance and make a few decisions along the way, the impact those choices have on the plot is minimal at best. When it comes down to it, taglines like NBA 2K16’s “Be the Story” ring a little hollow, since they suggest a deeper connection to the character than we might have, and more influence over our destiny than the games actually allow.

Of course, while we may not be able to change a lot of what we see in the cutscenes, there’s still room for some imagination as we play the games. If fan fiction and ambiguous endings have taught us anything, it’s that we can interpret stories in differing and creative ways, and make up our own minds about certain plot points. To that end, I thought I’d have a little fun and throw out five theories – or if you prefer, five alternate interpretations – for the MyCAREER stories we’ve seen so far. Needless to say, there are some spoilers here (both for the games and other media), so proceed at your own risk.

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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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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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Monday Tip-Off: How To Choose Teams in Franchise Modes

Selecting when you want to start your franchise experience in NBA 2K17's MyLEAGUE & MyGM

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’ve been away camping over the weekend, so it’s been a few days since I played NBA 2K17. However, I can guarantee that it won’t be long before I’m picking up the controller once more, and returning to the virtual hardwood. So far, I’ve been playing a lot of MyCAREER and meeting up with the guys to play 2K Pro-Am, but I’m still very keen to return to my roots as a franchise gamer and begin a MyLEAGUE game. Of course, that’s something I might still hold off on until the opening night rosters have been pushed through.

In the meantime, I’m still mulling over a few ideas for what I’d like to do with MyLEAGUE. My first choice is always the Chicago Bulls, and their offseason acquisitions have made them an interesting option. I’m intrigued by the possibility of taking control of the Philadelphia 76ers, and I also really like the Charlotte Hornets’ branding. The team you choose to play a franchise game with obviously plays a huge role in how much you enjoy the experience, so I thought that for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I’d discuss the selection process and offer up a few tips.

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The Friday Five: 5 Mods We Rarely See Anymore

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 mentioned in Episode #178 of the NLSC Podcast, and as you can see in the NBA 2K17 Releases & Previews section of the Forum, our community is already hard at work figuring out how to develop mods (and indeed, already releasing some) for this year’s game from Visual Concepts. Modding – or patching, to use the old name for the hobby – is something that our community has been doing a fantastic job of for over twenty years now. I expect that we’ll see many more great mods being released over the next year, and beyond.

Although I haven’t been extremely active in the NBA 2K modding scene, I do keep tabs on it, and I’ve been involved with NBA Live modding since before I was running the NLSC. Not only have several modders come and gone, but certain types of mods have also seemingly gone in and out of fashion over the years. For this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d create a list of five types of mods that we don’t see as often these days. That’s not to say that they don’t still get made from time to time, but for one reason or another, they’re not as popular as they once were. With that being said, perhaps we can bring a few of these mods back in NBA 2K17.

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Monday Tip-Off: When EA Sports & Visual Concepts Can’t Win

John Wall dunks in NBA Live 16

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.

When it comes to basketball video games, we have a responsibility to ourselves as consumers to be honest in our feedback. While it’s important to be constructive and refrain from childish insults, we don’t do ourselves any favours if we hold back on all negative criticism. Visual Concepts has a quality product in NBA 2K, but there are still areas in which the game can improve. With NBA Live, EA Sports still has a long road ahead of them. In both cases, our suggestions and criticisms can help in the development of future games.

In a previous Monday Tip-Off article, I discussed what it means to give constructive feedback. It’s important to keep that in mind when we’re talking about what we want out of future releases from EA Sports and Visual Concepts, and I believe that for the most part, we do a great job of compiling useful feedback for both developers. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain issues, it’s hard for us to have a unified voice and reach a consensus, due to polarised opinions on certain features. When that happens, it’s tough for EA Sports or Visual Concepts to win with basketball gamers.

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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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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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