NBA Live

The Friday Five: 5 Preferable Pre-Order Bonuses

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 pre-order bonuses that I believe would be preferable to offer gamers every year.

Yes, I know. The whole concept of pre-ordering is one of the biggest problems with video games these days, right up there with always online connectivity, and the need for day one patches. Ideally, we’d all band together and refuse to pre-order, in an effort to curb the practice. However, that’s not going to happen. Developers obviously want to move their product, which means providing gamers with an incentive to put their money down as soon as possible. That incentive comes in the form of a variety of pre-order bonuses, which in theory reward gamers for having faith in a title.

In practice, pre-order bonuses can be a little underwhelming. If you’re not into “ultimate collector’s editions”, the physical extras such as hats and posters aren’t going to offer much incentive, but even if we just focus on the in-game items, certain pre-order bonuses can leave something to be desired. The “Early Tip-Off Weekend” bonus for pre-ordering the last couple of NBA 2K games is a great idea that should be retained, but there are a few other things that both Visual Concepts and EA Sports could be doing to reward loyal customers who pre-order. In some cases, that simply involves a slightly different approach to what they’re already doing.

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Monday Tip-Off: Some More Thoughts on Constructive Feedback

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 more thoughts on how we can give better feedback as a gaming community.

If you haven’t yet checked out the interview that our friends over at Operation Sports conducted with the NBA 2K team, I highly recommend giving it a look. I obviously got a kick out of seeing JaoSming and Leftos taking part, and hearing the NLSC receive some flattering mentions, but those were far from the only parts that I enjoyed. All the guys participating in the interview provided an interesting insight into how they came to join the team at 2K, what it’s like to work in the industry, and how their perception of video game development changed from when they were members of the community. It’s a four part series, and you can begin with Part 1 here.

The interview also discusses the importance of community feedback, noting that even when the developers aren’t replying to comments, they are reading them. There were some good tips on how to get noticed, whether you’re seeking employment at Visual Concepts, or simply want to provide the developers with feedback for official patches and future games. Some of their comments got me thinking once again about the way we give feedback – not only to 2K, but also EA – and how we can do a better job in that regard. Personally, it’s also made me reflect a little on the way that I’ve critiqued the game and offered up feedback in recent years.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 PR Disasters 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 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 countdown of the Top 5 PR Disasters in Basketball Gaming.

Video games are serious business…well, just about as serious as a hobby can get, anyway. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry with passionate consumers who naturally want value for money, and to be valued by the companies making the products they’re buying. The relationship between gamers and developers can be contentious at times, and while our behaviour admittedly hasn’t always been exemplary, there are certainly times when EA Sports and Visual Concepts have made disappointing decisions, or acted in a way that left a lot of basketball gamers feeling unappreciated or ripped off.

There have been several unfortunate incidents over the years, so as with any Top 5, I can’t account for all of them, and even if you do agree with my picks, you may not agree with the ranking. I’ve tried to base my selections on a combination of the severity of the incident, the long-term impact it’s had, and the general level of outrage that I’ve observed within the community. Finally, as always, these lists are intended to offer up my take on a subject while beginning the conversation, not ending it. With that being said, let’s tip off the countdown with number five.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live’s Classic Custom Teams

Custom Teams in NBA Live 95

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

If you asked me to name a popular Wishlist item regarding roster management in the past decade or so, custom teams would have to be at the top of the list. When it comes to NBA Live, we haven’t had an in-built Create-a-Team function since NBA Live 2000. The option has also been absent from NBA 2K on the current generation, making it a more recent addition to the Wishlists sent in to Visual Concepts. Although you could argue that there are more pressing issues with both NBA Live and NBA 2K, it’s something that still bugs basketball gamers as it’s a feature that’s fallen by the wayside, and one that could be found in very old titles.

Of course, the custom teams that could be found in the first few iterations of NBA Live were a little different to the functionality that we want to see return. They do have their own nostalgic charm of course, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Andrew's 1997/1998 Roster for NBA Live 96

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 has changed over the years.

As of last August, the NLSC has been around for twenty years. I’ve had the privilege of running the site for fifteen of those twenty years, and suffice to say quite a few things have changed during that span. It’s been interesting to observe those changes, and of course, crucial to adapt to them. As you might expect, that’s sometimes been a challenging task. While we’ve expanded our content and commitment to covering basketball games during their development, a big part of what we do here in our community still revolves around modding. I expect that will always be the case, and as I’ve said before, we can be proud of the work we’ve done in that regard.

Of course, there have been changes to modding, too. For a start, instead of “modding” and “mods”, in years gone by we mostly used the words “patching” and “patches”. Once we started covering NBA 2K in greater depth and creating content for it, the word “modding” came to be used more frequently, either to distinguish it from NBA Live patching, or simply because the term was more common in other gaming communities. Whichever term you prefer, the changes to modding in our community extend well beyond the name for the hobby.

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The Friday Five: 5 Times Basketball Games Predicted The Future

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 interesting coincidences where basketball games seemingly predicted the future.

With a bit of creative thinking and hindsight, it’s not too difficult to find “correct predictions” everywhere. Take Michael Jordan’s “Total D” basketball trading card from 1995, for example. Noting that the one-time Defensive Player of the Year is still generally known more for his dunks and scoring outbursts than lockdown D, the back of the card refers to him as an “Aerial Wizard”. A reference to his high flying exploits, or a prediction of his second comeback with Washington, as well as the team’s name change a year before it was even announced? I’ll let you be the judge.

If you’re thinking rationally, you’ll have correctly written off the above suggestion as nothing more than a couple of fun coincidences. As I said though, it isn’t too difficult to take those coincidences and spin a story about them eerily predicting the future. To that end, this week’s Five is all about basketball video games that predicted one thing or another…or so it would seem. And no, the inclusion of the Charlotte Bobcats in NBA Live 2004 doesn’t count; they’d already been unveiled, and we all knew they would be making their debut the following season.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Basketball Gaming Grind

Playing basketball on MyCOURT 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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how basketball gaming can be a bit of a grind.

As much as we enjoy basketball gaming around these parts, I don’t think many of us would argue that it isn’t a grind at times. Whether it’s playing through a full NBA season, building a collection of quality cards in the team building modes, or turning our avatars into superstars, it’s a lengthy process. This is especially true if you’re playing with full length quarters. The obvious solution is to set shorter quarter lengths, and make use of the simulation function in modes where it’s available, but for various reasons, those options aren’t always desirable. Even if you do streamline the experience, the chances of burnout are high.

That’s because we pack so much basketball gaming into a single year, in order to get the most out of a title before the next one is released. With other genres of video games, you can generally take your time, and discover the replay value at your leisure. Most games can easily be finished in a much shorter time than it takes to complete one full season playing on twelve minute quarters. Even if you do feel as though you’ve had a full and satisfactory experience with a basketball game, within a year you’ll be starting from scratch and having to do it all over again. The question is: what changes could be made so that basketball games feel like less of a grind?

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Appeared in More Video Games than NBA 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 five players who have appeared in more basketball video games than actual NBA games.

Simply getting drafted by an NBA team, or making it onto a Summer League or training camp roster, is an achievement in and of itself. It’s further than a lot of players will make it in their basketball careers, and for those who do get that far, it’s the first step towards realising their dream of playing in the NBA. Of course, there aren’t enough roster spots available for everyone, and a lot of players will end up getting cut before the regular season begins. Some may find their way back onto an NBA roster and finally debut at a later date, while many others will not.

However, while some players never get the opportunity to suit up and play in a real NBA game, they may still see themselves make it to the big time on the virtual hardwood. The default rosters in NBA videos game must be locked at a certain cut-off date, which often results in missing players out of the box, but can also ensure that players on the bubble actually end up being included. Should such a player never make it back to the league, they’ll end up appearing in more NBA video games than real life NBA games. Here are five players who did just that, whom you may or may not remember.

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The Friday Five: 5 Roster Oddities 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 five oddities found in the rosters of various basketball games.

Whether you’re updating a basketball video game or simply playing it, the accuracy of the roster is probably going to be of great importance to you. Sometimes, that authenticity is limited or compromised by factors such as the roster cut-off date, lockouts, and a lack of licensing rights for specific players. Official roster updates have ultimately counteracted those first two issues, and unofficial updates can provide workarounds for the third. Furthermore, through consistent official updates and user customisation, questionable ratings don’t have to remain a problem for long, either.

Of course, even if certain issues can be easily resolved by official or unofficial means, basketball games have presented some unusual oddities in their default rosters over the years. Sometimes, unusual real life circumstances lead to inaccuracies, or create other interesting situations. In other cases, the game’s roster management functionality itself is cumbersome, or otherwise strange. Whatever the case may be, there have been a number of roster oddities in basketball video games over the years, and today I’m talking about what I feel are five of the most interesting and noteworthy examples.

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The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Ideas for 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 five unorthodox ideas for basketball video games.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, when it comes to suggestions for basketball video games, there are some ideas that probably don’t need to be explored. At the very least, certain suggestions probably shouldn’t be high up on the list of priorities. For example, I don’t really see the point of Create-a-Fan, and a Referee Mode would be better suited to a professional wrestling game (and even there, I’ve found that the novelty has worn off fairly quickly). That being said, there’s no harm in throwing out some off-the-wall ideas that certainly could be fun.

It’s important that we focus on the important issues with gameplay, game modes, and functionality, and as a gaming community, I believe that we do a good job with our feedback. We have laundry lists of serious and well-thought out constructive suggestions on how the games can improve, but there’s always room to throw out some more creative ideas for extra content and features. Some of these suggestions are a little out there, but could have merit if implemented properly. In the spirit of innovation and trying something different, here are five somewhat crazy (but still reasonably practical) ideas for future basketball video games.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA All-Star Weekend in NBA Live

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

The 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend is almost upon us. While not everyone is a fan of the midseason classic, I’ve always enjoyed watching the pickup atmosphere of the Rising Stars game (in all its various formats), the drama of the Three-Point Shootout, the creativity of the Slam Dunk Contest, and the stars going head to head in the All-Star Game itself (though it’s sadly no longer as competitive as it used to be). I know that I’m not alone in my enjoyment of the All-Star Weekend’s main attractions, and for many years, a lot of us wished that those events were playable in basketball video games. Then, along came NBA Live 2005.

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

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Monday Tip-Off: The Lure of Roster Modding

Kawhi Leonard in the 2012/2013 Roster for NBA Live 08

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

It’s been almost four years since I released my last current roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through 08. Although I’ve dabbled with beta versions of a fictional league roster and an Ultimate Jordan roster – and I would like to return to those projects at some point – it would seem that my days of working on the rosters and other big modding projects are getting further and further behind me. That’s not to say that I won’t continue to release work here and there, or that I’m completely done with modding, but right now, I’d have to say that I think I’m done with regular current season roster updates.

I’m phrasing it that way because I wouldn’t want to say that I’m definitely, unquestionably done, at least until I get to a point in my life where being involved in modding simply isn’t feasible. While I don’t want to give the impression that any announcements or releases are imminent, doing some more work with rosters is something that I wouldn’t want to rule out completely. As tiresome as the process can be, as much as it can become a chore, I can’t deny that as someone who has worked on such projects for many years, the lure of roster modding is often strong.

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Monday Tip-Off: Do We Still Have Fun with Basketball Games?

NLSC Thrillho in a 2K Pro-Am game 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.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fan of basketball video games. It’s what we cover here at the NLSC, so unless you’re a Forum veteran who’s mostly sticking around for the chatter in the off-topic sections, basketball gaming is probably why you’re (hopefully!) visiting us on a regular basis. And if content related to basketball video games is what you’re after, then it’s quite likely that you’re very much into the hobby. In short, it’s probably safe to say that most of us around these parts are having fun with basketball games, in one way or another.

Or are we? Discussions about a game’s problems seem to have more steam than topics talking about how much fun we’re having. There are times when it seems that most of the conversations that aren’t related to modding are concerned with troubleshooting and complaints. Those are obviously valid and important issues to talk about, of course, but I do wonder why we’re not as eager to talk about our more positive experiences with hoops titles. As such, there are times when I think it’s fair to ask: do we still have fun with basketball games?

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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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