NBA Video Games

Monday Tip-Off: My Ultimate NBA Video Game

Anthony Davis dunks in NBA 2K16

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.

‘Tis the season to make Wishlists…both in the sense that development is well under way for both NBA Live 17 and NBA 2K17, and the fact that for those who celebrate it, Christmas is almost upon us. For some of you, one or both of this year’s games might be in your stocking, but at this point, you probably know what to expect when you get a hold of them. The visions of the NBA video games that dance in our heads – not unlike the sugar-plums that Clement Clarke Moore wrote about – likely won’t be coming to fruition just yet.

In interviews with us and other websites, NBA Live Executive Producer Sean O’Brien has talked about wishing he could take the game he sees in his mind, and immediately give it to us. At the same time, I have to imagine that for Leftos and the rest of the guys at Visual Concepts, the gears in their heads are always turning, as they think of ways to make NBA 2K even bigger and better. And of course, we basketball gamers can come up with some creative ideas as well.

To that end, for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I wanted to talk about my vision of the ultimate NBA video game. I want to keep things as practical as possible, but for the sake of fantasy and what-ifs, I’m also going to assume that the available technology can handle all of the concepts competently, and that licensing, likeness rights and so on would not be an issue. With that said, what would my ultimate NBA video game be like?

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA All-Star Challenge Video Retrospective (Super NES)

NBA All-Star Challenge on Super Nintendo

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.

If you enjoyed my look back at NBA Jam Tournament Edition on PC, good news! I’ve got another video retrospective for you this week. This time, I’m taking a look at NBA All-Star Challenge, developed by Beam Software and published by LJN back in 1992 for the Super Nintendo. It’s a game that I picked up for a few bucks when searching for old NBA games on eBay; it piqued my interest as it’s a game I never played in the 90s, so I wanted to check it out. Since playing it, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times in the Friday Five and on the NLSC Podcast, as I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to discuss it in more detail.

Is NBA All-Star Challenge an all-time classic? Well…not exactly. Nevertheless, it is an interesting game to look back on. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. I’m definitely enjoying getting some video content out there, so stay tuned for more game retrospectives, and other features!

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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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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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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The Friday Five: Michael Jordan In Basketball Video Games

The Friday Five

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

This week marked the 20th Anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first comeback, one of the most significant events for basketball fans like myself who grew up watching the NBA in the 90s. There was no hour long special, no social media and thus no hashtags, and no lengthy speeches. No, His Airness’ return to the hardwood was simply announced in two words: “I’m Back”.

Michael Jordan’s history with basketball video games is kind of interesting to look back upon, as it’s a situation that must seem very foreign to younger gamers. The idea that the league’s best player and one of its marquee attractions would not be featured in an NBA licensed game is quite unusual, and thankfully no longer an issue we have to deal with. So, in honour of a milestone that makes me feel old, and in the interest of indulging my nostalgia for both Michael Jordan and basketball video games, this week’s Friday Five is taking a look back at MJ’s presence on the virtual hardwood.

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The Friday Five: 5 Teams Built for Basketball Video Games

The Friday Five

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

As we all know, while some teams that look great on paper do indeed go on to win a lot of games and even championships, plenty of others do not live up to their potential and find themselves broken up sooner rather than later. Regardless of how they fare in the real world, teams that are stacked with talent usually become powerhouses and fun squads to play with in basketball video games.

In fact, some stacked teams can even look like they were put together in a video game. With rosters so deep, assembled with moves so shrewd, it’s as though a gamer has taken advantage of the CPU many times over. In this week’s Friday Five, I’m taking a look at five teams that were seemingly built for the enjoyment of basketball gamers, while reflecting upon how they fared in reality.

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The Friday Five: 5 More Basketball Games You May Have Forgotten

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.

The NLSC was founded as a fansite for NBA Live, a series that we still cover to this day. In recent years, we’ve also expanded our coverage to the NBA 2K series, as well as NBA Jam (primarily the recent releases from EA Sports). However, there have been several other NBA and basketball video games released over the years, some of which I covered in a previous Friday Five.

This week, I’m taking a look at five more basketball video games that you may have forgotten, or indeed never knew about. If nothing else, they haven’t been talked about in a while, so let’s go back through basketball gaming history and reflect on some titles that aren’t quite as well-known or popular as NBA Live, NBA 2K, or NBA Jam, but are interesting to look back on nevertheless.

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The Tuesday Triple x3: More NBA Video Game Commercials

This is The Tuesday Triple, where I attempt to break down random topics into three points, and maybe an “and one” if I need it. Similar to the established Friday Five by Andrew, the topics will be related to basketball video games and their communities as a whole.

Andrew featured his favorite non-gameplay NBA video game commercials in his latest Friday Five, I was a bit disappointed. I liked three of the seven he linked in his article, specifically the 2K14 next gen commercial with LeBron, and 2K11’s MJ’s Greatest Moments and Signature Moves. The rest, including Jordan showing off his many rings, just, I don’t know, didn’t resonate with me. So in response, I am going to triple the content of this Tuesday Triple with the following 9 great NBA video game commercials.

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The Friday Five: 5 Old School Basketball Video Game Oddities

It’s Friday once again, so welcome one and all to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! If you’re not familiar with The Friday Five and you’re wondering what it’s all about, 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.

Many of us have been playing basketball video games for a long time and we’ve seen them come a long way over the years. Although those old games may appear to be quite primitive now, the best of them were actually quite good for their day. Should you go back and play them today, you’ll be reminded why you spent so much time with them all those years ago. However, you’ll also be reminded of a lot of odd, quirky things that you wouldn’t expect to see in one of today’s basketball games. So, this week I’m getting nostalgic once again and taking a look back at some oddities that I remember from old school basketball titles.

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Ranking The Best & Worst Jordan Video Games (MJALLDAY)

NLSC Forum member MJALLDAY has posted a thread in The Virtual Hardwood section of the NLSC Forum, providing a personal ranking of all the basketball video games to feature Michael Jordan. The list includes both sim and arcade titles, as well as spin-off games such as Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, a side-scrolling platform game developed by Electronic Arts for the Super Nintendo.

What do you make of the rankings? What are your favourite and least favourite games to feature Michael Jordan? Join in the discussion that’s taking place here in the Forum and as always, feel free to also post your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Friday Five: 5 Fun Things To Do in Basketball Games

It’s Friday once again, so it’s time for a new edition of The Friday Five! For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Friday Five and are wondering what it’s all about, this is a feature that I post every Friday in which I pick a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, then either give my thoughts on the topic in five points or compile a Top 5 countdown.

As basketball fans and basketball gamers, we’re in a somewhat uneventful part of the year. The big names in free agency have signed on the dotted line and there aren’t too many exciting rumours making the rounds as we currently sit a couple of months out from the start of the 2014 season. NBA Live 14 and NBA 2K14 news is still at a trickle, so the conversation right now is more about speculation than analysis of any in-depth previews. Therefore, today I present five fun things to do in basketball games, to pass the time until more news starts to come in and the new season begins.

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NBA Live 14 playtests at EA Canada this Friday, July 5th

EA Canada is having playtests for NBA Live 14 at their Burnaby campus in Canada. They will last for 1 hour each throughout this Friday, July 5th.  If you are interested in joining and are within the Vancouver area, sign up by taking this survey here. Selected participants will also receive one free EA game as compensation.

As with most playtests, you will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits you from revealing details about the game.  However, if you are selected, please take the time to post your optimism or skepticism in this thread in the NLSC Forum.

The Friday Five: Top 5 Underrated Features in Basketball Games

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! For the uninitiated, 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.

It’s been fun counting down my top five best and worst songs in basketball video games over the past couple of weeks, but this week I felt like talking about something with a little more substance. As such, I’m counting down my Top 5 Underrated Features in Basketball Games. These are elements of gameplay, game modes and other aspects of basketball games that I feel are overlooked, underappreciated or in some cases, simply get a bad rap.

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The Friday Five: 5 Best Songs in Basketball Video Games

Welcome to another Friday here at the NLSC and another edition of The Friday Five! If you’re new to the site or simply haven’t come across the Five before, this is a weekly feature that I post on Fridays in which I give my thoughts on a variety of topics that are 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.

We’re back to the world of virtual hoops this week, as I take a look at what I feel are the five best songs in basketball video games. Good soundtracks in basketball titles feature songs that are a good fit with the sport itself, get you hyped to play the game or at the very least are enjoyable to listen to while you’re navigating the menus and setting things up. I don’t exactly fancy myself a music critic or expert but when it comes to basketball games, these songs have stood out to me.

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