NBA Jam

Wayback Wednesday: Charles Barkley in Basketball Video Games

Charles Barkley celebrates in NBA Live 2000

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

With this being May the 4th, the iconic Star Wars franchise is what a lot of people around the world are talking about and celebrating today. It’s a little difficult to tie that into basketball – though Chewbacca’s size would probably make him pretty dominant in the paint – so I decided to take a look back at this day in NBA history for inspiration. In doing so, I was reminded of Charles Barkley’s 56 point, 14 rebound game on May 4th 1994, which helped his Phoenix Suns to eliminate then-rookie Chris Webber’s Golden State Warriors 3-0 in the first round of the Playoffs.

When it comes to elusive figures in basketball video games, the first player that we tend to think of is Michael Jordan. As I’ve discussed in a couple of previous articles, MJ was missing from the various NBA sim games during his second run with the Chicago Bulls, and aside from some rare, specially produced arcade cabinets, he’s never been featured in NBA Jam. However, while Charles Barkley did appear in NBA Live towards the end of his career, he was similarly absent – or replaced by a Roster Player – in a number of releases.

It’s one of those things from basketball gaming history that’s interesting to revisit, because it just doesn’t happen with today’s stars and modern releases. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #156

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #156 of the NLSC Podcast is out now, so tune in for your weekly dose of basketball and basketball video game chatter! It’s a three man booth once again as Arcane, Kenny, and I discuss our past week in basketball gaming, the 2016 NBA Playoffs, and more.

On this week’s show…

  • We’ll be holding a big NBA Live giveaway soon, including copies of NBA Live 16 for PS4 and X1, and retro NBA Live games for PC. Stay tuned for more details, and check out our Facebook and Twitter for a teaser!
  • Rocket League’s Hoops add-on has arrived. It’s a bit tricky, but definitely fun.
  • In Our Week in Basketball Gaming: Tips for getting into MyTEAM, new MyLEAGUE games, and NBA Jam for the PlayStation 2, and more.
  • With the 2016 NBA Playoffs underway, are we inclined to start any new seasons in NBA Live or NBA 2K?
  • Turning our attention to some other gaming news, the Nintendo NX has been announced for March 2017. We discuss whether we’ll be inclined to get Nintendo’s next console when it comes out.
  • We run down the past week of action in the 2016 NBA Playoffs, which has seen injuries to major players, and a couple of teams on the cusp of upsets.
  • In other news, the Los Angeles Lakers have permission to interview Luke Walton, and the Sacramento Kings have updated their logos for the first time since 1994.
  • We wrap up Episode #156 of the NLSC Podcast with this week’s Bold Predictions. Last week, we got two out of three. Can we go three for three this time around?

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Games I’d Like to See

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 it stands, basketball gamers don’t have a lot of choice year-to-year. You can either buy NBA Live, NBA 2K, or both, or stick with an older release. Alternatively, you could not play basketball video games at all, but if that’s the case, you’re not exactly relevant to this discussion; no offense. While I wouldn’t be against another developer throwing their hat into the ring with a sim-oriented NBA game, I’m not sure that we necessarily need that to happen. I think that we basketball gamers will be alright as long as NBA 2K continues to do its thing, and NBA Live makes some big strides this year.

Of course, there’s always room in the market for other types of basketball video games. This includes full-blown arcade basketball titles, or perhaps sim-oriented games that focus on different leagues. Cheaper digital releases that focus on mini-games and the like. Resurrections of popular old properties, as controversial as that practice can sometimes be. As you can probably guess, I have a few possibilities in mind; without any further ado, here are five basketball video games that I’d like to see developed.

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Wayback Wednesday: Old School Basketball Video Game Music

Definitive NBA Live 96

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

Sometimes, I’m surprised at the outrage over the soundtracks in basketball video games. Sure, not everyone has the same taste in music, but suggestions that a soundtrack completely ruins the game feel like an exaggeration. After all, if the gameplay and game modes are more than satisfactory, isn’t that what should matter the most? You might as well suggest that the colouring and details on the main menu spoil the game…and yes, we’ve done that too.

The more I think about it though, the more I realise that the music in basketball video games is significant in its own way. An appealing soundtrack clearly resonates with basketball gamers, and that’s evident by how much it’s tied into our nostalgia for older titles. Whether you’re firing up an old game to play it again, or you’re looking up old video game music on YouTube, as soon as you hear those opening bars, you’re taken back to a time when you loved that game, and played it for hours on end.

We all have our own favourites, both in terms of soundtracks and the games they’re attached to, so for this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I wanted to talk about some old school basketball game music that always make me feel nostalgic. So let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Playing Old Basketball Video Games

Allen Iverson with the layup in NBA Live 2004

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

Based on past polls, mod releases, and general discussion, a majority of basketball gamers move on to the latest game in the series they play, usually within a couple of months of its release, if not immediately. While retro gaming is a popular hobby, sports games generally aren’t an ideal genre for it. After all, most fans prefer to play with the latest rosters, and take advantage of the improvements and additions that are made year-to-year. As a result, sports games don’t move well in the second hand market, with lower trade-in prices owing to the annual releases, and less interest in playing them once they’re outdated.

Of course, sometimes we do go back and play older basketball games. I’m sure we all have some old favourites that we can dust off and nostalgically enjoy despite their age, and certain titles do become classics. Arcade-oriented basketball games such as NBA Jam and NBA Street also tend to age a little better, since they’re adopting a more casual and less realistic approach to the sport in the first place. However, some of the best sim-oriented titles in the past decade or so also hold up respectably well. As such, if you have a new roster patch or an old season save game, an older title might still hold a lot of appeal.

But then you’ve got basketball gamers who aren’t going back to older games; they haven’t stopped playing them in the first place. Whether it’s because they’re unable to upgrade, or don’t wish to upgrade, they shun the latest releases in favour of an older game. So, for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I wanted to take a look at some of the reasons why we play old basketball video games.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #141

NLSC Podcast Logo

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for another episode of the NLSC Podcast! In Episode #141, Arcane and I discuss the future of NBA Live and NBA 2K, NBA Jam trivia, and the latest NBA news and results as we find ourselves at the midway point of the 2016 season.

On this week’s show…

  • Has EA Sports done enough to create interest in NBA Live 17, or will the plug be pulled? Do they need to be doing more with NBA Live 16 to drum up interest for this year’s game?
  • What’s holding EA back from releasing a game that can compete with 2K?
  • We discuss some of the issues with animations in both NBA Live 16 and NBA 2K16.
  • With the NBA All-Star festivities not too far away, we reminisce about All-Star Weekend in NBA Live. Do we want EA to bring it back? You can probably guess our answer to that one!
  • Fox Sports Australia recently posted some NBA Jam trivia, which we quickly recap and reflect upon.
  • Which mode do we prefer in NBA 2K: MyLEAGUE, or MyGM?
  • Moving on to this week’s NBA discussion, we mention a couple of notes from the past week, and run through a few midseason surprises and disappointments.
  • The second returns for this year’s All-Star balloting have been released. The likely starters are becoming clearer, so we talk about some candidates for the reserves.
  • Which Chicago Bulls player is most likely to be traded: Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, or Jimmy Butler?
  • We revisit the question of which number the Los Angeles Lakers should retire for Kobe Bryant.
  • Should Kevin Garnett receive a similar send-off to Kobe?
  • In this week’s Bold Predictions for Next Week: Andrew still isn’t on the scoreboard. Will his latest prediction break the drought?
  • We wrap up Episode #141 of the NLSC Podcast by naming the team we’d buy if we won this week’s big Powerball jackpot.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

The Friday Five: 5 Modes I Enjoyed More Than I Thought I Would

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

Well! It’s certainly shaping up to be an interesting – and somewhat controversial – offseason so far. Some big names are staying put, a few significant players are moving on, and at least one key free agent has completely changed his mind. I was considering writing about a topic related to the offseason for this week’s Friday Five, with the DeAndre Jordan situation being an obvious frontrunner. However, I can pretty much sum up my thoughts on that in ten words: it was a situation that was handled very, very badly.

Besides, as I mentioned in last week’s Five, I want to concentrate on putting out some articles about basketball video games, since that is the focus of the NLSC after all. The Finals and Playoffs offered an incentive to talk about real basketball, but as we find ourselves in the offseason and waiting for more news on both NBA Live 16 and NBA 2K16, I feel some game related topics are in order. To that end, this week I’m talking about five game modes in basketball video games that I ended up enjoying more than I thought I would. Let’s tip things off with a mode from NBA 2K!

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #113

NLSC Podcast Logo

After yet another brief hiatus last week, we’re looking to resume our regular broadcasts starting with Episode #113 of the NLSC Podcast! Join Arcane and myself as we catch up on all the latest NBA Live 15 and NBA 2K15 news, discuss what’s going on in the NBA right now, and even get a little nostalgic. This week’s topics include:

  • Patch #4 for NBA 2K15 is finally out on Xbox One. Since we’ve had the patch since March 12th, we offer up some overdue impressions.
  • We also give our latest thoughts on NBA Live 15 following all of its patches, and catch up on some other NBA Live and NBA 2K news.
  • The official website of the Phoenix Suns recently ran retrospectives on NBA Live 95 and NBA Jam. We react to their Live vs. Jam debate, and provide our own perspective and recollections.
  • It’s been 20 years since Michael Jordan declared “I’m Back”. We discuss a special project for NBA Live 2005-08 PC that’s somewhat related to the occasion.
  • What are our three favourite Michael Jordan games?
  • Steve Nash has announced his retirement, leading us to reflect on his career.
  • With Kevin Durant out for the season, Russell Westbrook keeps putting up big numbers. Will he win the scoring race with James Harden?
  • We mention a couple of interesting tidbits concerning the Los Angeles Lakers: one a dubious distinction, the other a somewhat surprising fact.
  • As the Spurs make history with their sixteenth consecutive 50+ win season, we reflect on their success in the past couple of decades.
  • We wrap up the show with some interesting features of the PlayStation 4, and some more Michael Jordan trivia.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Mailbag submissions and topic suggestions are also welcome, so feel free to hit us up in this thread.

Suns.com Retrospectives: NBA Live 95 & NBA Live 95 vs. NBA Jam

San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Hornets in NBA Live 95

The official website of the Phoenix Suns has posted a retrospective of NBA Live 95, with author Ben York remembering it fondly as “the greatest basketball video game of all-time”. He talks about playing the Super Nintendo version of the game with his brother for hours upon hours from May to August 1995, and discusses just how impressive NBA Live 95 was for its time; an assessment that I for one certainly agree with.

In another piece, York debates Greg Esposito as to which 90s basketball game was better: the sim-oriented NBA Live 95, or the arcade-oriented NBA Jam. For those who of us who remember playing both games back in the day, it’s a fun trip down memory lane. For younger basketball gamers, it will hopefully prove to be an interesting look back at a time when basketball games really started to improve.

I highly recommend checking out both retrospectives when you have a moment; feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below, and join in the discussion in the NBA Live Vintage section of the NLSC Forum. Don’t forget that we’re also preparing our own 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content, in which I and other members of the NLSC Team will be giving our thoughts on the past, present, and future of the NBA Live series, as well as providing a few other surprises that you’ll hopefully enjoy.

NBA Jam on Android Receives Another Roster Update

NBA Jam on Android 2014/2015 Roster Update

The Android version of NBA Jam has received a new roster update for the 2014/2015 season. A couple of rookies have been added and players have been moved to their new teams (LeBron James is on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul Pierce is on the Washington Wizards, and Pau Gasol is on the Chicago Bulls, to name a few), but Andray Blatche still appears on the Brooklyn Nets’ roster, and recent moves such as the Rajon Rondo trade and the Houston Rockets’ signing of Josh Smith aren’t included.

New audio updates are also included, as long-time NBA Jam announcer Tim Kitzrow now announces the names of the New Orleans Pelicans, Brooklyn Nets, and Charlotte Hornets. In the previous update, the newly renamed Nets and Pelicans were announced in a different voice, but Kitrow has obviously been brought back into the booth to provide the new audio this time around. Team logos have also been updated, though the Phoenix Suns still have their old logo.

Once again, it doesn’t appear as though the iOS version of the game has been updated. You can check out my review of NBA Jam on Android here, and discuss the game in The Virtual Hardwood section of the NLSC Forum.

The Friday Five: Weird Player Ratings in Basketball Video Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

From the moment that basketball video games began getting deeper and more sophisticated, properly representing a player’s abilities, skill level, and playing style through their ratings and other attributes became an important area of focus. Both EA and 2K invest a lot of time and effort – and in the case of EA’s partnership with Synergy Sports, money – in making sure that their official updates are detailed, and that player ratings are kept up to date and accurate throughout the entire league.

In years gone by however, and especially before regular official roster updates became a thing, it wasn’t uncommon to see some unusual ratings in the default rosters. Even games like NBA Jam, with its simplified and boosted player ratings, produced some noteworthy oddities. So, for this week’s Friday Five, I’m taking a look at some of the weirdest player ratings that I can recall in various basketball video games.

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Help Wanted with the NLSC Wiki

NLSC Wiki

Once again, I’d like to put out a call for any volunteers who are willing to lend a hand in updating and maintaining the NLSC Wiki. We’d like to make the Wiki an informative, and indeed definitive source of information for basketball gamers, so if you have experience patching NBA Live or NBA 2K, have a good knowledge of the history of basketball games, or are interested in adding more information about Dynasty Mode, MyGM, MyCAREER, game controls and the like, your contributions would be most welcome!

A reminder that you don’t need to register to contribute, but as with all Wikis, your IP address will be publicly displayed if you make anonymous edits. If you’re planning on making regular contributions, we certainly encourage you to register an account (please note that at present, that account is not linked to your Forum login). If you’re willing and able to help out, feel free to dive right in and start editing articles! Please note that you must be logged in and be registered for at least four days before you can create new articles. If you have any further questions, or suggestions, please let me know!

The Friday Five: Top 5 Frustrating Moments in Basketball Video Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you love basketball video games. If you don’t, then the NLSC probably isn’t the website for you, because that’s pretty much what we’re all about. However, no matter how much you love getting into some virtual hoops, there will be times when you find yourself getting really frustrated with basketball video games.

These are the moments where you have to fight the urge to toss the controller across the room. These are the moments where you shut down the game and don’t touch it again until the next day. These are the moments where you switch to a first person shooter or a button mashing beat ’em up to blow off some steam. These are the Top 5 Frustrating Moments in Basketball Video Games.

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The Friday Five: 5 Random Basketball Video Game Facts

Creating Michael Jordan in NBA Live 96

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

Now that JaoSming has changed the focus of Dumb Mondays from random trivia to a random assortment of facts, opinions and discussion topics, I don’t feel quite as guilty about borrowing the original concept for a Friday Five topic. This week, I’m trying my hand at serving up some trivia about a few of my all-time favourite basketball video games.

Basically, this is a collection of facts and trivia that I’ve wanted to talk about, but haven’t been able to work into any of my Friday Fives so far. Chances are I’ll revisit them if the right topics present themselves, but just in case I don’t find a way to bring them up again, here are 5 Random Basketball Video Game Facts that I hope you’ll enjoy reading about.

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons I Want Another NBA Jam Game

Blake Griffin in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

As JaoSming noted in the Tuesday Triple, it’s been a while since an arcade basketball title was released. A little while ago, we were teased by the prospect of a new NBA Jam on the game’s official Twitter page, by way of an “unauthorised” Tweet that has since been deleted. While EA Sports currently has no announcements regarding the future of the NBA Jam series, I’m hoping that we will indeed see a new NBA Jam game sooner rather than later.

The overarching reason of course is that I’m a big fan of NBA Jam from way back in the day and as long as I’m gaming, I’m interested in seeing new releases from my favourite series (incidentally, I’m still waiting on that Fallout 4 announcement, Bethesda). I do have a few specific thoughts on the matter though, so without any further ado, here are five reasons why I want another NBA Jam game.

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