NBA Live

The Friday Five: 5 Ways We Mess Up Franchise Mode 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.

As I’ve mentioned in recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast, I’ve just started Dynasty and MyLEAGUE games with the Charlotte Hornets in NBA Live 16 and NBA 2K16 respectively. I’d like to have some fun with at least one of the franchise modes while I’m waiting for the release of next season’s games, and since I haven’t been able to get my previous attempts with the Chicago Bulls off the ground, I thought I’d try again with the Hornets. With any luck, one of these new attempts will pan out.

Of course, the success of a franchise game doesn’t just come down to luck. Good fortune is a factor to some extent, but I would suggest that we create our own luck, and there are ways that we shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to franchise gaming. I figure that if I discuss some of the ways that we mess up in those modes, I might just be able to avoid a few of those pitfalls. Without any further ado, here are five mistakes that can quickly ruin franchise games in NBA Live and NBA 2K.

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The Friday Five: 5 Trades You Make in Franchise Modes

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 appealing aspects of the franchise modes in NBA Live and NBA 2K is the ability to make the trades that you’d love to see happen in real life. Frustrated that your favourite team can never seem to pull off a blockbuster deal that lands them a superstar? In franchise modes, you can make it happen, and live out a few fantasy scenarios. Of course, just as in real life, you’ll need to deal with the restrictions of the salary cap, as well as convince other teams to agree to the trades that you offer. I’d suggest that a few of us have found out that building a great roster isn’t always easy.

When we don our virtual GM suits and start wheeling and dealing, there are some common types of trades that we end up making. Sometimes, we try to be realistic, while other times we’ll make unthinkable deals. Some trades are very good, some trades are very bad, and some trades work out very differently than how they looked on paper. Sometimes, they can make or break the franchise mode experience. In this week’s Friday Five, I’m looking at five types of trades we’ll make when we play through a franchise game in NBA Live or NBA 2K.

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Monday Tip-Off: Why Basketball Games Need Robust Modes

Dwyane Wade with the basketball 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.

I’d like to talk a little more about something that I touched upon in last week’s Friday Five. From time to time, I’ll see one of my fellow basketball gamers opine that game modes don’t really matter. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions and preferences, and I’ll always advocate that everyone should play basketball games in a way that they enjoy rather than how someone else insists they “should”, I have to be honest here: I’m definitely puzzled by that point of view.

When it comes down to it, basketball video games absolutely need to have robust depth modes. These days, that means a franchise mode, a single player career mode, a card collecting mode, and a mode that offers some sort of online league or squad play. I’m confident that a lot of people will agree with me here, but for those who don’t feel that modes are all that important, please allow me to explain why many of us believe that they’re vital to basketball games.

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Monday Tip-Off: An Ode to Disappointing Screenshots

Carmelo Anthony Jersey Glitch in NBA 2K13

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.

Today’s column has nothing to do with being disappointed in the screenshots that we see during the preview season. That does happen, of course, but it’s an entirely different issue. No, I’m talking about the times when we’re playing NBA Live or NBA 2K, something really exciting happens, and we immediately have to fire up Instant Replay to enjoy it again. Unfortunately, when we do, we discover that certain aspects of the play don’t look quite as good as they did the first time around. That’s when we end up with screenshots that can be pretty funny, but also disappointing when we’re after a cool shot.

The technology that’s used in basketball video games specifically (and gaming in general) has come a long way, and you can easily spotlight the improvements with side-by-side comparisons of screenshots and videos. There are still limitations of course, and while they aren’t always noticeable during gameplay, they can be painfully obvious when we watch the action again from a closer angle, and in slow motion. Today’s games look much more realistic than their predecessors, but you can still expect a few glitches to jump out and spoil your screenshots and videos now and again.

This week’s Monday Tip-Off is all about memorable basketball gaming moments that don’t end up looking so good. This is an ode to disappointing screenshots.

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Monday Tip-Off: Should Basketball Video Games Have DLC?

Alex English in the NBA 2K12 Legends Showcase DLC

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.

Let’s broach a controversial topic today: downloadable content. Downloadable content is a polarising aspect of modern gaming to say the least, as many gamers despise it, and believe that it’s ruining the hobby. At the same time, there are plenty of gamers who will enthusiastically tell developers to shut up and take their money when appealing DLC is announced. In my view, there are valid arguments on both sides.

DLC isn’t something we’ve had to deal with much when it comes to basketball video games. These days, sports games are expected to receive updates throughout the season, and those updates are included in the price of the game. While they do have bonus content that could feasibly be expanded with DLC, sports games generally don’t lend themselves to the concept as much as games that can receive new maps, weapons, missions, characters, and so on.

It would be feasible for EA Sports and 2K Sports to offer that kind of content for NBA Live and NBA 2K though, so I ask the question: should basketball video games have DLC?

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live Championship Celebrations

NBA Live 96 Championship Video featuring the Chicago Bulls

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, digging into the archives to indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, reflections on big announcements from years gone by, and other flashback content.

A little while back, a visitor requested that we upload the championship celebration videos for NBA Live 95 through NBA Live 2000 to our YouTube channel. I finally got around to doing that last week, capturing the videos from the PC versions of those games while using the correct champions for each season. If you’ve subscribed to our channel then you may have already seen them, but I thought I’d also talk about them a little bit for this week’s Wayback Wednesday.

When CD-ROM became the popular format for video games back in the 90s, replacing floppy discs and cartridges, titles of all genres began making use of bigger and better quality media files, especially full motion video. In the PC and PlayStation versions of NBA Live, real NBA footage was used in both the introduction and championship celebration sequences. These days, it’s preferable to have elaborate cutscenes that utilise in-game assets, but back in the day, these videos were both a novelty and a fitting way to cap off a virtual championship.

Fancy a trip down memory lane? Then let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: No Such Thing as Too Much Content

Dwyane Wade with the basketball 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.

Ask most basketball gamers, and they’ll likely agree that there’s no way that you can have too many options, or too much content, in the games they play. However, there is a vocal contingent of fans who seem to grumble about being presented with too much customisation, or game modes that they aren’t interested in. Words like “overkill” may be used, as well as more self-centred declarations like “I don’t care about that”, and its even more presumptuous cousin, “Nobody cares about that”.

The fact of the matter is, when it comes to basketball games like NBA Live and NBA 2K, you really can’t have too many options. There’s really no such thing as having too much content. After all, if you’re happy with the default settings, there’s no need to worry about changing them. Likewise, if you’re satisfied with one or two of the modes that a game offers, you can simply ignore the ones that you have no interest in playing.

So why do some basketball gamers get up in arms about having too many options made available to them, or content that they’re not interested in?

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Monday Tip-Off: What Is Constructive Feedback?

NBA Live 14: Patch - Basketball at the Rim

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 NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

In case you’re unaware, we’re currently in the midst of compiling our Wishlists for NBA Live 17 and NBA 2K17. As always, our goal is to put together comprehensive lists of constructive feedback for the development teams at EA Tiburon and Visual Concepts, spotlighting the additions we want to see, issues that need to be addressed, and improvements that would make the things we like even better. If you take a look at the two threads, you’ll see that some great suggestions and feedback have already been posted.

The fact that we’re aiming to be constructive in our feedback is something that I make a point of mentioning whenever we tip-off our annual Wishlist threads. It’s also a reminder that I like to put out there for everyone involved in our modding community. After all, whether you’re talking about the people developing basketball video games, or the people who are making unofficial add-ons and modifications for them, it’s important to give them the kind of feedback that they can put to good use.

So, what do we really mean when we say “constructive feedback”?

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Monday Tip-Off: Modding Old Basketball Video Games

NBA Live 15 adidas Basketball Practice Court Patch for NBA Live 15

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 NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

A couple of months ago, I talked about why we enjoy going back and playing old basketball video games. Dusting off an old favourite is almost always an enjoyably nostalgic experience; however, the further back you go, the more aware you’ll be of how much basketball games have improved over the years. Some games are fun to revisit, but you can’t always spend too much time with them as they’re just too outdated, too primitive compared to what we’re used to now. While that may mean a simpler experience with an appealing “pick up and play” factor, it can also feel a bit shallow after a while.

Of course, there are some gamers who still prefer playing older titles to newer ones, for various reasons. Whether you’re still actively playing an older basketball game, or you’re going back and playing an old favourite for a change of pace, the experience can be greatly enhanced by mods and patches. We still have quite a few people making updates for older titles, as we even had some uploads for NBA Live 2000 as recently as August last year. In terms of newer games, there’s still a thriving modding community for NBA 2K14 PC, even though a lot of gamers moved on to NBA 2K15, and subsequently NBA 2K16.

So, why do we still enjoy modding older basketball games, long after their popularity has started to fade?

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The Friday Five: 5 Predictions for Future Cover Players

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 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.

The cover players for NBA Live and NBA 2K are admittedly an insignificant detail in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, it’s a subject that still manages to capture our attention every year, before the official announcements are made. In between talking about what we want to see out of NBA Live and NBA 2K, and speculating on each game’s features and improvements as we learn about them, we usually find ourselves asking: who’s going to be on the cover?

It’s a fun talking point, even if it does have little bearing on the games themselves. Throughout the years, we’ve seen some huge names lend their likenesses to the cover art of NBA Live and NBA 2K, as well as a few unorthodox choices for cover players. Since it’ll be a few months until the preview season really gets underway, I thought that for this week’s Five, I’d throw out some predictions as to who we might see on the covers of NBA Live and NBA 2K…perhaps as soon as this year.

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The Friday Five: 5 Satisfying Moments in Basketball Gaming

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 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.

There are a lot of things that feel good when you’re playing a basketball video game. Knocking down a three-pointer, whether it’s a wide open shot or you’re drilling it right in the face of a defender. Throwing down a dunk, especially when you see a brand new animation, or when the slam caps off a big scoring run. Great defensive plays that end with a crafty steal, intimidating block, or an embarrassing shot clock violation for your opponent, also feel pretty good. When you’re playing a basketball video game, you can sometimes get just as excited as you do when you’re watching or playing the real sport.

That’s what makes basketball video games such a satisfying experience. I mean, we wouldn’t be playing them, talking about them, modding them, and yes, even complaining about them, if we weren’t getting something out of them, and they didn’t hold any value to us. In this week’s Friday Five, I wanted to talk about some of the specific moments in basketball video games that I find to be the most satisfying. These are the moments that go beyond the thrill of simply nailing a triple, or rocking the rim.

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Monday Tip-Off: Sportsmanship & Online Basketball Gaming

Kevin Durant dunking in NBA Live 16

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.

If you caught Episode #144 of the NLSC Podcast, you’ll know that I went on a bit of a rant about a recent experience I had while playing NBA Live 16 online. In a nutshell, I had an opponent who was losing quit with a couple of seconds left in the fourth quarter, to avoid the loss and rob me of the win. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly pleased by that turn of events. The word I used on the Podcast was “scumbag”, and I stand by that description. It was not the sporting thing to do, plain and simple.

The matter of sportsmanship in online basketball gaming is an important one, and since podcasts aren’t everyone’s favourite medium, I’ve decided to write about it in this week’s Monday Tip-Off. Of course, the issue isn’t exclusive to basketball games, but when it comes to both major hoops titles, unfortunately there aren’t really any measures in place to prevent or at least discourage it. Don’t like the way things are going? Want to avoid picking up a loss? Then just quit, or cause a disconnection. Or preferably, don’t. To put it bluntly, it’s incredibly poor form, and shouldn’t be allowed.

You may feel that it isn’t a big deal, that it’s just the way it goes with online play. I would strongly disagree with that assertion, however. This is something that both EA Sports and 2K Sports need to find a way to address, and behaviour that certain basketball gamers need to cut out.

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The Friday Five: 5 Annoying Basketball Gaming Moments That Are Realistic

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 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.

When it comes to basketball video games, it’s fair to say that most of us tend to be after a realistic experience…at least when it comes to the five-on-five games. The level of commitment to the sim style varies from gamer to gamer, but unless you’re playing a game like NBA Jam or NBA Street, you probably want to see at least some amount of realism in your virtual hoops. When NBA Live or NBA 2K fall short of our expectations in that regard, you can be certain that there’ll be loud cries of “That’s not sim!” Our desires can be succinctly summed up with Da_Czar’s catchy creed: Don’t play video games, play basketball!

As I’ve discussed before, however, while most of us have a good understanding of the elements that make a basketball video game realistic, we don’t always appreciate what realism truly means. In the real world, there are mistakes and imperfections, annoyances and disappointments, risks that don’t yield rewards. Whether we like it or not, negative outcomes are a part of basketball – at least for one team on every play, and ultimately, the game – and when it comes to video games, it’s important that those unpleasant realities are represented. They’re frustrating of course, but it’s important to remember that the five annoyances I’m discussing today are, in fact, realistic.

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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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Monday Tip-Off: A Look at Basketball Video Game Story Threads

Ben Gordon dunks in NBA Live 06's Dynasty Mode

We’re at midcourt, 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.

If you’ve browsed the NLSC Forum, chances are you’ve noticed our Basketball Video Game Stories section. It’s a place where you can entertain your fellow basketball gamers with ongoing coverage of your exploits in NBA Live and NBA 2K, whether you’re playing through the franchise or single player career modes. Over the years, we’ve had some very creative and popular story threads, many of which are now enshrined in our two Story Hall of Fame subsections, so that we can easily go back and enjoy them all over again.

However, story threads have somewhat fallen out of fashion. While we still have gamers posting in the Basketball Video Game Stories section – and we certainly encourage everyone to make use of it, if they feel so inclined – it sadly seems that we’re past the heyday of the story thread. There are a few reasons for this, which I thought I’d explore in today’s Monday Tip-Off, in addition to shining a spotlight on the section and the practice of maintaining story threads in general.

So, what are story threads all about, what was so enthralling about them, and why are they kind of becoming a thing of the past?

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