NBA Live

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?

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

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

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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Monday Tip-Off: Why Modders Stop Modding

Ultimate Jordan Beta for NBA Live 08 Screenshot

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.

In my first Friday Five of 2016, I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to do this year was get back into modding (or patching, to use the term that was originally popular in our community). While I’ve shifted towards creating other types of content in recent years, the lure of modding as a creative outlet can be relatively strong at times. As I said in the Five, I don’t think I’ll ever be as prolific as I once was, or sometimes wish that I could be, but I’d like to try and get a little more involved with modding once again.

Of course, there are several reasons that I’ve stepped away from modding in recent years. They’re the same reasons that most modders come and go as the years pass in our community, though since I’m running the NLSC and have found other content that I enjoy producing, I’m obviously still around. With my intention of getting back into modding every now and again, I wanted to talk a little about some of those reasons why modders stop modding. Aside from answering a few questions about why I’m not making roster updates anymore, I’m hoping that it can facilitate a little more understanding in the community, and make the modding scene a friendlier place.

So…why do modders call it quits?

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Monday Tip-Off: My Ultimate Fantasy Team for NBA Live & NBA 2K

90s Lineup in NBA Live 15 Ultimate Team

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 I’ve mentioned in previous editions of The Friday Five and on the NLSC Podcast, I’ve become a fan of Ultimate Team since it finally made its debut in the NBA Live series in NBA Live 14. With Dynasty Mode and Rising Star still needing to be fleshed out into deeper experiences, Ultimate Team has pretty much been my mode of choice in NBA Live these past few years. I’ve also taken an interest in MyTEAM in NBA 2K, but I do prefer EA’s approach to the concept, and 2K has a lot more to offer in its other modes. Of course, MyTEAM does have one distinct advantage over Ultimate Team, for me at least: Michael Jordan.

Needless to say, when I drew a Michael Jordan card in NBA 2K14’s MyTEAM, I was pretty happy. With my nostalgia for the players of the 1990s – the era I grew up watching – I also had a lot of fun putting together a 90s squad for my Ultimate Team in NBA Live 15. However, I’ve yet to construct my ultimate fantasy team in either game, though it would currently only be feasible in NBA 2K. I thought I’d tip things off this week by sharing that lineup with you all.

Before we get going…just in case it isn’t clear, this isn’t a squad of the players that I believe to be the greatest of all-time (though there certainly is some overlap with that list). This is simply a fantasy lineup that I’d love to be able to put together to play with in Ultimate Team or MyTEAM, assuming that every player was available in both games. Having said that, let’s begin with my starting five…

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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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