NBA Live

Monday Tip-Off: My Greatest Basketball Gaming Weakness

2015 NBA Finals Prediction: Warriors in 5

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.

“You run a basketball video game website. You must be pretty good at them!” I’ve heard that once or twice over the years, usually when people have invited me to play online. Uh, yeah, sure…I’m, like, the best at them. All those years playing basketball games, watching basketball, playing in the local league as a teenager…yeah, I’m amazing, definitely the best. Absolutely, no question at all…

Just in case my intended tone has been lost in writing…no, of course I don’t actually believe that. I do love basketball, and I’d like to think that I have a fairly good knowledge of the sport. I believe I have at least a basic understanding of all the ins and outs, and in turn, that makes me a little more than competent when it comes to playing basketball video games. I’m a lot better when it comes to playing against the CPU, as that’s mostly what I do. I’ve had some record-breaking seasons playing on harder difficulty levels, but when it comes to playing online, I’m probably just a little better than OK. As I’ve said many times before, online is not my mode of choice, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Still, I’ve won online games before, and I’ve definitely won a lot of games offline. I am, at the very least, competent, capable, and have knowledge of what I’m doing on the virtual hardwood. However, there’s one area in particular where I’ve often struggled in basketball video games. One weakness, one Achilles Heel, one aspect of the game where I’ve never really excelled…

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Wayback Wednesday: The NBA Live Domain

NBA Live 2001: Shaquille O'Neal

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.

For those who are unaware, I didn’t found the NLSC – then the NBA Live Series Center – way back in 1996. That was the work of Tim, Lutz, and Brien, and it was their efforts that inspired me to create my own NBA Live website: the NBA Live Domain, or NLD for short. Yes, I was definitely inspired by the NLSC in a lot of ways.

There were a lot more NBA Live fan sites back in the day, especially as everyone tended to host their own patches. Generally speaking, you don’t see a lot of sites like that anymore. We’re obviously still around…now covering NBA 2K and basketball games in general as well as NBA Live…and you’ve also got Operation Sports, with their excellent coverage of the entire genre of sports games. Beyond that, most sports gamers seem to provide content through YouTube and other social media platforms.

So, with this being Wayback Wednesday, and given our ongoing celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, I thought I’d offer up some reflections on my old site. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Things Every NBA Video Game Must Have

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.

Since NBA Live 16 and NBA 2K16 have been out for about a couple of months now, there’s been plenty of talk about the good and bad in each game, and what each series should look to do in the next release. While that’s a subject we can (and no doubt will) continue to discuss in great detail with lengthy Wishlists, there are some common themes in our feedback which can be summarised in a short list of must-haves. That’s what this week’s Five is all about: an overview of the things an NBA game must have, to be a great release. In my opinion, at any rate.

Before I begin, I should mention that I’m focusing more on core features than core mechanics, or presentation. Things such as life-like animations and player models, realistic performance and strategy, appealing presentation, good controls and so on…I’m taking that as read, because those are fundamental elements of a basketball video game’s foundation. These are the things that I believe NBA games must have on top of all that; I hope that explains where I’m coming from with my list. With that said, let’s tip things off with item number one…

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The Friday Five: 5 Unlucky Moments in Basketball Video 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 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.

Another Friday the 13th is upon us! For those of us who aren’t superstitious, it’s just a day like any other, perhaps even a day of good fortune since the weekend is right around the corner. For those who suffer paraskevidekatriaphobia, however, it’s a day of bad omens and misfortune, and we’ve had three of them in 2015. And yes, despite what my spell checker claims, that is in fact a real word that describes a fear of Friday the 13th. I Googled it.

In previous editions of the Five that have fallen on a Friday the 13th, I’ve discussed unlucky moments in NBA history, and some of my favourite players to have worn the number thirteen. This time, I’m going back to the theme of bad luck, as I examine some of the unluckiest things can happen to us when playing basketball video games. Of course, these things don’t require a supposedly cursed day to occur; unfortunately, they can strike at any time, on any given day.

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Monday Tip-Off: Ego & The Modding Community

MJ and Pip in the He's on Fire 2K14 mod for NBA 2K14 PC

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.

As you’re no doubt aware from our regular file additions bulletins, we have a very talented and enthusiastic modding community here at the NLSC. We’ve been able to do some great things throughout the years, not only keeping games up to date, but creating new experiences, and even fixing some annoying problems. We can be proud of what we’ve accomplished in our community in terms of modding, and I’m sure we can look forward to many more fantastic releases in the future.

However, while I’ll gladly sing the praises of our community, and I truly believe that we have a good thing going here, there is a darker, more unpleasant side to modding culture. There’s a lot of talent and creativity in our community, which is great, but unfortunately where there’s talent and creativity, there’s often ego. While there’s nothing wrong with having a healthy ego, there are some people who take it too far. That’s when it becomes a problem, and people become difficult to deal with.

Sometimes, the problem simply lies with the individual. Some people are arrogant, rude, and difficult. There’s not a whole lot that you can do about that. However, there are also ingrained aspects of the modding culture we’ve cultivated which contribute to the problem. Difficult individuals are unlikely to change their ways, but as a community, we can work together to develop new attitudes and fresh approaches that benefit the modding community. That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

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Monday Tip-Off: My Basketball Video Game Collection

Derrick Rose dribbling in NBA Live 16

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.

So, for the first few weeks of Monday Tip-Off, I’ve been posting my opinions on a variety of subjects. There’ll be plenty more opinion pieces coming your way in the Mondays ahead, but for this week, I wanted to do something a little different. This week, I wanted to talk a little about my basketball video game collection.

When it comes to the hobby of game collecting, I can’t imagine a lot of people are stocking up on basketball titles; after all, basketball gaming is a niche demographic to begin with. Also, as I understand it, when it comes to sports games, a lot of people trade in the previous season’s release when they pick up the current title. For the most part, however, I’ve kept my older basketball games – at least on one platform, when I’ve double-dipped – and more recently, I’ve been expanding my collection with a few bargains on eBay.

As I’ve mentioned a few times on the NLSC Podcast, I’m intending to put them to use for features here on the NLSC in the coming weeks and months. Obviously, we’ve tipped off our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content – incidentally, more of that stuff is on the way – but there have been quite a few basketball games over the years, good, bad, and just plain interesting. I’m looking forward to talking about them a little more, revealing a few old gems, as well as some not-so-fantastic releases you may have forgotten about.

For now, though, I wanted to give you all a current catalogue of my collection. I’ve been meaning to take a photo with all the boxes, discs, and cartridges, but for the moment, a simple list will have to suffice.

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The Friday Five: My Birthday Five

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.

Yes, October 16th is my birthday. Today, I’m no longer an old man of 30, but an older man of 31. Appropriately enough, I’m eating cake as I write this Five; Boston Mudcake, despite the fact I’m a Chicago Bulls fan. All in all, I’ve had a pretty relaxed day today, not quite as productive as I’d normally like to be, but hey, I had the opportunity to take a day off, and it’s my birthday.

I hadn’t really prepared a topic for this week’s Five, beyond the fact that I knew that I was going to call it my Birthday Five, and talk about something that was somehow related to my birthday, while still tying it in to the stuff we cover here at the NLSC. So, what I’ve decided to do is talk about some of the ways I feel that we change as we get older, as it pertains to being a basketball fan, and a player of basketball video games. These are my reflections, on my 31st birthday, about growing up. Well, growing older, at any rate.

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A Starting Guide for Being a Better Teammate in NBA Live Pro-Am

When it comes to NBA Live Pro-Am, I’m not the greatest. I shoot just over 30% from beyond the arc and I’m pretty bad at defending the perimeter. However, I take pride in the fact that I’m a low maintenance teammate. On offence, I always look for good shots and generally pass the ball when they’re not there for me, and I always run back on defence and contest shots to the best of my ability. I might not be the most skilled, but I like to think my general awareness of my surroundings makes up for that. The same cannot be said about some of the people I’ve had to share a team with.

Teammates in Pro-Am can make or break a game. Sometimes you can get a good mix of people who are both skilled and are willing to play the game in the right spirit. Then you get those who may be one, but not necessarily the other. In light of this, I’ve decided to come up with a few suggestions on how to be a better teammate in NBA Live Pro-Am.

Please note that while I’m having a rant against people who are generally bad teammates, I’m by no means perfect. I’ve been guilty of all these annoyances at least once, and it’s okay to slip up every now and then. These suggestions are directed to those who are repeat offenders.

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The Friday Five: 5 Most Significant Patches & Mods

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.

I make a habit of mentioning it in our file additions bulletins, and it’s absolutely true: we have a really talented community here at the NLSC, when it comes to our patches and mods. I’ve usually shied away from compiling “best of” lists, or handing out community awards for patching, as it can easily lead to tension and bad blood. Furthermore, everyone’s hard work deserves recognition, and there have been a lot of great patches and mods throughout the years, all of which are significant in their own right.

However, there are a handful of releases that stand out from the pack, being patches that were particularly popular and well-crafted, and in some cases, drew a lot of interest from outside of our community. To that end, in this week’s Friday Five, I’ve selected what I feel are the five most significant patches and mods to come along so far. Without any further ado, let’s take a look.

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The Friday Five: My Top 5 Favourite NBA Live 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.

As you may have seen, our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations are underway. We’ve got lot of fun stuff lined up, including complete retrospectives for every single game in the series, feature articles, analysis, patches, and more. As this is the first Friday Five since our 20th Anniversary content tipped off, it seems like a good time for a countdown that’s been on my list for some time now: My Top 5 Favourite Games in the NBA Live series.

Please keep in mind that these aren’t objectively the best games in the NBA Live series, though I do believe they rank up there. As part of our celebrations, I’ll also be collaborating with the rest of the NLSC Team to pick the Top 10 Games in the NBA Live series, which I believe will reflect popular opinion, not just my own preferences. As for this list however, I’m just briefly reflecting on my personal Top 5 favourite NBA Live games, sentimental picks included; again, full retrospectives will be coming for each game. With that said, let’s get to the countdown!

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live Content Tips Off This Week

It’s been a long time coming, and it’s arguably a year too late (though NBA Live 95 PC was actually released in 1995), but we’re finally ready to tip off our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here at the NLSC! Obviously, we’re still looking to the future and the NBA Live 16 coverage will keep on coming, but at the same time, we’ll be taking the opportunity to look back at 20 years of the NBA Live series.

Our content will be tipping off within the next few days, and will continue to run alongside our NBA Live 16 content, most likely through to the end of the year. We’ve got some fun stuff planned, including:

  • Retrospectives on all of the games in the NBA Live series
  • Roundtable discussions about the series’ past and future
  • A release (of some kind) for every single NBA Live on PC
  • Feature articles, analysis, and fun stuff from the archives
  • A couple of other surprises we really think you’ll enjoy

It’s going to be a lot of fun, so stay tuned!

On a related note, today marks my 14th Anniversary as the webmaster of the NLSC (or NBA Live Series Center, as was our full name at the time). On August 26th 2001, a couple of months shy of turning 17, I was entrusted to take over one of my favourite websites, and while it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, for the most part it’s been a fantastic experience. It’s something that I enjoy doing to this day, and I’m looking forward to running the site for years to come. As always, a huge thanks to everyone for your continued support!

Several NBA 2K14 Downloads Removed; Reminder About Our Upload Facilities

Please be advised that I’ve unfortunately had to remove around 40 files from the NBA 2K14 section of our Downloads database, that were added by NBAModder. There’s no controversial reason for this, just an unfortunate one: NBAModder is no longer around, nor is his website, where he was hosting his work. As such, all that was left were the dead links, which were recently pointed out to me via the “Report Broken Download” function.

As these files are no longer available and the author is no longer around to provide them, it’s left me with little choice but to remove those entries from our Downloads database. This is a situation we’d like to avoid as much as possible, and it’s why we encourage people to make use of the upload facilities provided in our Downloads section. While we do have a 100 MB upload limit, we can make special arrangements for larger files if you contact us. If you do wish to use external hosting for whatever reason, please ensure that you’re uploading your work to a place where it can be preserved, and is unlikely to disappear within a year or so of its release.

If you’re not sure how the upload facilities in our Downloads section work, please check out this video tutorial:

Any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with me so that I can help you out, especially if you do have a larger file you want to share. One final word on problematic files in our Downloads section: if you do come across a file that isn’t what it’s advertised to be, or cannot be downloaded, please report it using the “Report Broken Download” function, located towards the bottom of the file page. Please don’t use that function if you’re having trouble getting a file to work in your game, or simply because you don’t like it. We also get some reports about files that are definitely available to download, so please make absolute sure the issue isn’t at your end.

As always, a huge thanks to our community of patchers who contribute their work to our database! Remember, whether it’s NBA Live, NBA 2K, or another basketball game, whether it’s PC or console, we welcome your mods! Want to start contributing? Be sure to check out that video above, register an account in the Forum, and start adding your work to the Downloads section!

Generated Players: The Ultimate Blank Canvas

When I was playing NBA Live 10, I saw a lot of generated players. In fact, by the time it was season 18, Dwight Howard was the only real life player left in the league. Even though it’s not as aesthetically pleasing to see a league full of computer-generated characters with porn moustaches, it can provide an excellent opportunity to exercise your creative flair and go far beyond what you think is possible as a sim gamer.

If you’re anything like me, you love chasing achievements like triple-doubles, five-by-fives, and 50-point games. Sometimes these achievements can be the only thing keeping your Dynasty or Association mode interesting if you’re constantly winning championships. But there’s always one problem with real life players – they’re often limited by our own expectations. After all, you have to be pretty liberal with your sim gaming if you can justify someone like J.R. Smith winning the MVP trophy, or someone like Kwame Brown becoming a productive player.

With generated players, there’s no overachieving or underachieving, because they don’t exist outside of the video game. They’re a blank canvas for your imagination and the ultimate vehicle for your achievement hunting. No other player in my basketball video game experiences has embodied this more than a generated player named Borislav Perko in my NBA Live 10 Nuggets Dynasty.

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Five Players I Have Disliked Because of NBA Video Games

Remember how I stated that positive experiences in basketball video games can make you like particular NBA players? It can also work the other way.

It may seem completely irrational to dislike an NBA player because of their video game likeness, but it’s something I have found hard to control. A player like Kevin Durant could be the most humble guy in real life, but you could still dislike him because he dropped 50 points on you in NBA 2K15.

Sometimes a player can be annoying in one game, but be slightly neutralised in the next due to updated game mechanics or more modest ratings. In any case, the memory of one particular player terrorising your beloved franchise can be enough for you to dislike them over their entire career.

This is a list dedicated to players who I either dislike now or disliked at one stage of my life because of basketball video games.

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The Friday Five: Previewing Our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live Content

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’ve been listening to the NLSC Podcast for a while, you may have heard me mention that we’re looking to do some content for the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live. We originally intended to run these features last year – which was indeed the 20th anniversary of the game’s original release – but a few things ultimately got in the way, not the least of which was covering the latest games (which of course remains our priority). However, this year marks the 20th anniversary of NBA Live 95’s PC release, and seeing how PC coverage has been a big part of what we do here at the NLSC, the timing still feels right.

The content, which will start rolling out pretty soon, will be running for a few months alongside our other updates, including coverage of the NBA Live 16 (and NBA 2K16) preview season. While the NBA Live series has fallen on hard times in recent years, a lot of us did grow up playing the games and have fond memories of them, so I’m looking forward to reflecting on the good times, as well as exploring the mishaps, and discussing what the series needs to do moving forward. So, what kind of content can you expect to see? Read on to find out!

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