Wayback Wednesday

Wayback Wednesday: GM Mode in NBA Live 98

Fantasy Draft Order in GM Mode

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 GM Mode in NBA Live 98.

Although I’ve gravitated towards MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am in recent years, I’ve traditionally been a franchise gamer. For those of us who remember playing basketball games with a single season mode, the ability to play multiple seasons while managing our roster through the Draft, free agency, and salary cap-restricted trades was something that we eagerly wanted to see. As basketball gaming approached the turn of the millennium, the demand for an in-depth, multi-season mode – what we would now refer to as a franchise mode – was steadily rising. Although we’ve come to see fantastic franchise modes, it’s been a long road to get to that point.

Since I’m looking to get back into some franchise gaming this year, it seems as good a time as any to tip off a multi-part feature I’ve been wanting to do for some time: a look back at the history and evolution of franchise modes. First up is NBA Live 98’s GM Mode. While not strictly an in-depth franchise mode, it stands as one of the forerunners to the concept. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 & 08 Trivia

Roster Player dunks the basketball in NBA Live 98

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 offering up some trivia about NBA Live 98 and NBA 2K18.

NBA Live’s hiatus officially ends this week with the release of NBA Live 18. From playing the demo and reading a couple of the early reviews, I would have to say that the game definitely still has room for improvement, but has also made some pleasing strides since its reboot in 2013. I’m quite looking forward to playing NBA Live 18, but the title does make me reflect on how long I’ve been a part of the community. Before I took over the NLSC, I remember visiting it and checking out the news when NBA Live 98 was the upcoming game. By the time the preview season for NBA Live 08 rolled around, I was covering it myself here on the NLSC.

Since NBA Live 18 will be out in a couple of days, I thought it might be fun to look back at the previous two NBA Live games that were set in a season ending in eight. I’ve already posted an in-depth retrospective of NBA Live 98, and one is in the pipeline for NBA Live 08 as well, but these are some quick trivia notes about both games that I hope you will enjoy. With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 96 Complete Update

Kobe Bryant in the Complete Update for NBA Live 96

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 Complete Update mod I made for NBA Live 96 PC.

Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since I’ve worked on a major roster project, or perhaps it’s talking about old mods in recent editions of Wayback Wednesday, but recently I’ve been feeling somewhat nostalgic about the days when I was more active in the modding community. I’ve talked about my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004 (which will be receiving further updates, thanks to Murat) and the NBA Live PC project for NBA Live 06 (which I’d love to update if I had the time), but this time I’m going back even further, to the Complete Update that I made for NBA Live 96.

Even though it’s obviously been far surpassed by the numerous games that have followed it, the PC version of NBA Live 96 remains one of my all-time favourite basketball games. Indeed, it was for that very reason that I was still making updates for it as late as 2001, even though it was already becoming something of a relic. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Legends & Champs Rosters for NBA Live

Isiah Thomas in the Legends Roster for NBA Live 2000

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 Legends and Champs rosters for NBA Live on PC.

The announcement that NBA 2K18 will be receiving new historical content, not only in the form of additional classic teams but also All-Time squads, drew a lot of excitement from gamers who are also enthusiastic NBA history buffs. While there have been omissions and other issues, historical content is something that the 2K series has generally done a great job with since NBA 2K11. Of course, as more than a couple of people have pointed out here and on social media, All-Time Teams are not a completely original concept, as many fan-made rosters featuring such squads have been created in recent years.

However, the concept goes back a lot further than that. Rosters comprised of All-Time squads date all the way back to the early days of patching NBA Live on PC, as Lutz’s Legends rosters demonstrate. For that matter, the concept of classic teams was also utilised by his Champs rosters. It’s been a while and a lot of newer basketball gamers probably aren’t aware of those influential mods, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Quick Pick Play in NBA Live 08

Quick Pick Play Menu Option in NBA Live 08

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 Quick Pick Play in NBA Live 08.

Custom teams were once a staple of both NBA Live and NBA 2K, from the original four squads in NBA Live to the fully customisable teams in later games. Unfortunately, neither game currently features custom teams, at least in the traditional sense. NBA 2K has expansion team creation and team relocation and rebranding in MyLEAGUE and MyGM, but the old method of adding a new team to a roster is no longer available. NBA Live 2000 was the last Live to feature custom teams, and as such, they became a popular Wishlist item. In NBA Live 08 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, EA Sports tried to grant that wish by way of a new mode: Quick Pick Play.

It’s another mode that probably isn’t too well-remembered, even among hardcore NBA Live gamers. However, like a lot of long-forgotten features in basketball video games, it’s worth another glance all these years later. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2004 Print Ad & Trailer

Vince Carter dunks the basketball in NBA Live 2004

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 an old print ad and trailer for NBA Live 2004.

A few weeks ago, I was using the Wayback Machine at Archive.org to try and find a downloadable version of the official patch for NBA Live 2003. As I mentioned in a recent Friday Five feature, it’s a file that’s no longer available, and I was hoping that I could retrieve it via an archived copy of the game’s official website. Unfortunately I didn’t have any luck in that regard, but I did manage to find some old preview media for NBA Live 2004 and NBA Live 2005. Among them was a print ad featuring cover player Vince Carter, and a gameplay trailer.

NBA Live 2004 is definitely a classic, and I’m sure that long-time members of our community have many fond memories of it. Since we’re also in the thick of the preview seasons for NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, I thought it’d be fun to take a look back at how games used to be promoted in the lead up to their release. With that in mind, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K12 Promotional Copy Opening

Promotional Copy of NBA 2K12

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 opening up a sealed promotional copy of NBA 2K12 for Xbox 360 that I found on eBay.

In recent years I’ve continued to expand my collection of basketball video games, not only buying the latest releases, but also picking up older games that I’ve found on eBay at an affordable price. Some of those games I’ve previously owned and sold, while others I’ve never owned or even played before. I’ve also bought different versions of games that I already own, in order to experience them on other platforms. While browsing eBay looking for deals, I found a sealed, promotional copy of NBA 2K12 for the Xbox 360. Intrigued as to what might be in the box – perhaps a code for the 2002 Sacramento Kings and 1991 Golden State Warriors? – I decided to pick it up.

Since I was going to have to tear open the seal anyway in order to check it out, I figured that I might as well make a sort of unboxing video feature out of it. For your entertainment, let’s open up this sealed promotional copy of NBA 2K12 for Xbox 360, and take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on the NLSC’s YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. I’ll be looking to create video content a bit more often moving forward, so be sure to subscribe! If you’d like to check out more Wayback Wednesday content related to NBA 2K12, be sure to read this retrospective of NBA’s Greatest.

Wayback Wednesday: Freestyle Control in NBA Live 2003

Freestyle Control Dribbling in NBA Live 2003

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 Freestyle Control in NBA Live 2003.

It’s funny that it’s taken me this long to do a Wayback Wednesday feature on Freestyle Control, especially since I talked about Freestyle Superstars just a few weeks ago. I did talk about it in my retrospective of NBA Live 2003, but being such an important development in terms of controls, it definitely deserves its own article. Although the name has changed a couple of times over the years, taking on monikers such as “Quick Strike Ballhandling” and “Quick Strike Ankle Breakers”, the basic concept of Freestyle’s right stick control has remained essentially the same. It’s since gone back to its original name, and we’ll be seeing more of it in NBA Live 18.

Freestyle Control changed the game, and for those of us playing on PC, it also meant picking up a dual analog gamepad to take full advantage of it. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Tweaked Roster Updates

Cover player Jason Kidd dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 2003

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 tweaked roster updates for NBA Live.

One of the key elements of roster updates, be they official updates or community-made rosters, is tweaking player ratings for more realistic performance. Whether it’s correcting the guesswork that’s originally needed when assigning ratings for a rookie player, or accounting for a drastic change in performance compared to the previous season, adjusting player attributes is an important part of creating a desirable gameplay experience. In some cases, gamers have ended up making major adjustments to all players, in order to counteract gameplay quirks and try to inject a little more realism into the game. These were known as tweaked roster updates.

It’s an outdated practice now, but many years ago, creating a tweaked version of a roster was considered a necessity if you wanted to try and enhance the experience for your fellow NBA Live gamers. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Creating a Legend in NBA 2K11

MJ: Creating a Legend in NBA 2K11

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 MJ: Creating a Legend in NBA 2K11.

NBA 2K11 remains a very highly regarded basketball video game, and for good reason. It was a milestone release in terms of its historical content, and for many gamers, its gameplay still holds up. I’ve talked about it a couple of times in previous Wayback Wednesday features, specifically discussing the inclusion of Michael Jordan, and my efforts to finally complete the Jordan Challenge. In passing, I’ve also mentioned the mode that could be unlocked either by completing the Jordan Challenge, or by punching in the code icanbe23; namely, MJ: Creating a Legend.

Notably different from the incarnations of Creating a Legend that appeared in subsequent NBA 2K games, it’s a mode that a lot of gamers probably didn’t spend too much time with. Indeed, some have probably forgotten about it, if they even realised it was in NBA 2K11 in the first place. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Freestyle Superstars in NBA Live 06

Kevin Garnett with the Freestyle Superstars shot in NBA Live 06

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 Freestyle Superstars in NBA Live 06.

As basketball video games have improved along with gaming technology in general, our expectations have also grown. When it comes to aspects such as realism, advanced or flashy moves, signature styles, and player differentiation, the bar has been raised higher and higher. Signature moves were present in EA Sports’ NBA Playoffs series, and skill levels were more defined beginning with the implementation of player ratings in NBA Live 95. However, star players still didn’t quite stand out from the pack. Freestyle Superstars was arguably EA’s first major effort to incorporate individual playing styles, and properly represent differing skill levels.

It was a concept that had its drawbacks, but I also believe that it was innovative and reasonably successful. Although the criticisms of Freestyle Superstars are fair, it’s a little underrated in terms of being an important stepping stone in the progression of basketball video games. How so? Well, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: A Look Back at DSTATS in NBA Live

Shaquille O'Neal dunks in NBA Live 2000

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 DSTATS in old NBA Live games.

For an enthusiastic franchise mode gamer, detail is paramount. On top of having a quality gameplay experience throughout the schedule, our enjoyment of a franchise mode is driven by the depth of the features, as well as the accuracy and realism of trades, free agency, and player performance. Simulated player stats that are wildly inaccurate can really detract from the franchise experience, especially during the first couple of seasons which are usually expected to somewhat resemble reality. The sim engine is an area where basketball games have greatly improved over the years, but in earlier NBA Live titles, realistic stats were achieved through the use of DSTATS.

DSTATS data provided the development team and modders alike with greater control over simulated player stats, but the approach also had a few noteworthy drawbacks. It’s an outmoded concept, but one that’s interesting to revisit, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 95 in NBA Live 06

NBA Live 95 in NBA Live 06 PS2

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 presence of NBA Live 95 in the PlayStation 2 version of NBA Live 06.

Generally speaking, sim-oriented sports titles aren’t what most people think of, or indeed reach for, when it comes to retro gaming. They don’t always age well, mostly because they appeal to a demographic that wants to see more and more realism, as well as play with current season rosters. As such, they’re not as popular among retro gamers, to play or collect. That being said, there is a contingent of basketball gamers who do enjoy playing and modding older titles, so it’s certainly not unheard of. Finding a way to keep playing old favourites, or at least fire them up every once in a while, is something that people in our community do have an interest in.

When it came to the PlayStation 2 version of NBA Live 06, EA Sports made that a little easier by including an emulated version of NBA Live 95. It was a rather unusual example of bonus content, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Generated Rookie Names in NBA Live

Generated Rookie in NBA Live 2000

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 generated rookie names in NBA Live.

Now that the 2017 NBA Finals are in the books, everyone’s attention has turned to free agency and this year’s Draft. In a couple of days we’ll find out where all the top prospects will end up, but with custom Draft Classes, basketball gamers have already been creating their own scenarios in NBA 2K17. Of course, without a custom Draft Class in place, the new rookie crop will be completely fictional, with generated names, ratings, and attributes. In the early days of franchise modes, fictional rookies with generated names were the only option, barring any editing of the DBF files for NBA Live on PC.

As a result, there were some very weird and wonderful results with the randomly generated rookie names in NBA Live, as well as a few Easter Eggs here and there. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Freestyle Challenge in NBA Live

Freestyle Challenge Menu in NBA Live 2005

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 Freestyle Challenge in NBA Live.

EA Play 2017 introduced us to The One, the new single player career mode that is set to debut in NBA Live 18. The depth of game modes has been a problem for the NBA Live series since its reboot in 2013, but as I’ve discussed in various 20th Anniversary of NBA Live retrospectives and Wayback Wednesday articles, there was a time when EA were consistently doing some very innovative things with their basketball games. I’ve already talked about the much-missed All-Star Weekend mode that was introduced in NBA Live 2005, but the addition of the Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout also led to the inclusion of another mode: Freestyle Challenge.

A spinoff of the All-Star Weekend, Freestyle Challenge provided basketball gamers with something else to play in between the deeper game modes. It’s a mode that doesn’t get mentioned very often, but it was definitely an interesting concept, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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