Wayback Wednesday

Wayback Wednesday: ESPN Integration in NBA Live 07

ESPN Menu in NBA Live 07

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 ESPN Integration in NBA Live 07.

If I’m being completely honest, then I’ll have to admit that for a variety of reasons, I’m not the biggest fan of ESPN’s coverage of the NBA these days. They are obviously one of the league’s biggest partners though, and through ABC, their presenters have the call for the NBA Finals. Their branding is instantly recognisable to basketball fans, and it makes sense that EA Sports would also want to partner with them to bring authentic television presentation to NBA Live. It’s a relationship that began over a decade ago, with the implementation of ESPN Integration in NBA Live 07.

Although ESPN branding is now very prominent in NBA Live, it was a few games before it truly took over. It was a gradual transition in some respects, but as the original fifteen year agreement between the companies demonstrated, they were both in it for the long haul. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Mysterious 2K Insider

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 infamous 2K Insider.

When I discussed some of the most memorable characters in basketball video games, it was pointed out to me that I’d forgotten about one of the most noteworthy individuals to appear in the NBA 2K series: the 2K Insider. A mysterious person behind the scenes and in the community, the 2K Insider – known only as “Sy” – was responsible for maintaining the rosters for NBA 2K. Within the games themselves, their avatar appeared as an advisor and mentor, providing basketball insights and offering up words of encouragement, as well as critique.

The 2K Insider hasn’t been a part of the more recent NBA 2K games, as he no longer fits the tone of MyCAREER. 2K has also taken the approach of recognising all the developers, ensuring that we know who is responsible for different aspects of the games, and opening up the channels of communication for constructive feedback. The Insider was a notable figure that led to a fair amount of speculation though, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: My NBA 2K13 MyCAREER

Finals MVP in NBA 2K13's MyCAREER

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 my memorable MyCAREER game in NBA 2K13.

I’ve been playing basketball video games for more than two decades now. There are two main reasons that I remain a fan of the genre: I’m passionate about the sport, and I’ve had so many fun experiences with both sim and arcade basketball games over the years. I’ve previously compiled a list of some of my favourite experiences, one of them being my MyCAREER game in NBA 2K13 PC, in which I played for the Denver Nuggets. An enjoyably successful rookie season with some interesting twists and turns set the bar high for future games, and indeed, it hasn’t been until this past year with NBA 2K17 that I’ve had a similarly great experience with MyCAREER.

It was the first time that I played MyCAREER almost exclusively, so NBA 2K13 stands as the game that really got me hooked on the mode, while developing a genuine interest in the single player career experience. Join me as I take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Referee in NBA Live 2000

Referee at Tip-Off 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 the addition of a referee in NBA Live 2000.

On this day in 1988, the NBA decided to add a third referee to officiating crews, a change that went into effect the following season. Referees are often unpopular figures in any sport, and the NBA has seen its fair share of officiating controversies over the years. Whether it’s some of Joey Crawford’s antics, free throw discrepancies, or other bewildering calls, I’m sure we can all name an incident involving a referee that makes our blood boil. The officiating in basketball video games tends to be more consistent – that’s how it’s programmed, after all – but until NBA Live 2000, EA’s games lacked an actual referee on the sidelines.

It probably doesn’t sound like a big deal now, as we obviously expect to see more than one referee on the sidelines of contemporary basketball video games. At the time however, it was a significant addition to the presentation in NBA Live. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The ’91 Warriors & ’02 Kings in NBA 2K12

The '91 Warriors vs. the '02 Kings in 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 taking a look back at the 1991 Golden State Warriors and 2002 Sacramento Kings in NBA 2K12.

As I discussed in a previous Wayback Wednesday retrospective, the success of the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11 and the looming lockout in 2011 gave Visual Concepts plenty of incentive to expand upon the historical content in the game. The result of course was NBA’s Greatest, which cut down on the specifics of the challenges (just win the games), but provided us with a larger roster of historical teams and NBA Legends. Deciding to take things one step further, 2K also provided basketball gamers with a couple of other historical teams to play with: the 1991 Golden State Warriors, and the 2002 Sacramento Kings.

Given the popularity and reputation of those two teams, the announcement of their inclusion was greeted with enthusiasm. However, their presence in the game wasn’t without controversy. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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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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Wayback Wednesday: FIBA Teams in NBA Live 08

Team USA, one of the FIBA Teams 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 the FIBA teams in NBA Live 08.

Bonus teams and content are something that we arguably take for granted in basketball video games these days. Both NBA Live and NBA 2K used to feature Decade All-Star teams, and of course, 2K has boasted an impressive selection of historical teams in recent years. Euroleague teams have also been featured in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, as well as the past few NBA 2K titles. However, the interest in bonus teams really picked up after a selection of national squads was added in NBA Live 08, along with a mode representing the FIBA World Championship (now the FIBA World Cup).

The FIBA teams were a popular choice for bonus content in a few NBA Live titles, and I’m sure that many gamers would like to see them return. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Hidden Content in NBA Live 2004

Pau Gasol playing for Spain 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 some hidden content in NBA Live 2004.

Dummied out content and unused assets are hardly uncommon in all genres of video games. It usually takes the form of levels, animations, gameplay functions, and other features that were scrapped due to time constraints, dissatisfaction, or a myriad of other reasons. While such content can often be restored or otherwise put to use by modders, it’s not unusual for it to be in a mostly unfinished state. I’ve covered an example of this in a previous Wayback Wednesday article, specifically the hidden historical teams in NBA Live 08. Only the player data remained in players.dbf, and even then it was clear that it was a rough draft of a feature that was axed early on.

While I was working on an update for my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004, I was reminded that it was game that had a fair amount of usable hidden content. There are some interesting Easter eggs among that data, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Path to Greatness in NBA 2K14

LeBron James in NBA 2K14's LeBron: Path to Greatness

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 LeBron: Path to Greatness in NBA 2K14.

Being a launch title, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of NBA 2K14 was obviously the priority for Visual Concepts back in 2013. However, 2K did try to keep the prior gen version of the game relevant, by way of some new bonus content. Since adding features celebrating the cover player was in vogue, in NBA 2K14 we received LeBron: Path to Greatness, a story-driven challenge mode starring LeBron James. With two distinct storylines to follow and creative challenges along the way, it was certainly an interesting concept.

In fact, LeBron: Path to Greatness was arguably one of the most creative things that NBA 2K had done, prior to the implementation of the story-driven approach to MyCAREER on the current generation. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Dream Team in NBA 2K13

Michael Jordan on the Dream Team in NBA 2K13

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 Dream Team in NBA 2K13.

There have been several interesting (and heated) debates on the subject over the years, but for my money, the greatest squad of basketball players ever assembled was the 1992 United States men’s Olympic team, better known as the Dream Team. Featuring some of the greatest players to ever play the sport, the Dream Team breezed through the tournament, putting on a show as they won each game convincingly, never once calling a timeout. Their scrimmages are the stuff of legend, and it’s no surprise that they were enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a team in 2010.

With 2012 marking the 20th Anniversary of the Dream Team’s dominant showing in Barcelona, and Visual Concepts looking to expand the amount of historical content in NBA 2K13, adding the Dream Team was a no-brainer. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 99’s 1998 Rosters

1998 Rosters in NBA Live 99

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 1998 rosters in NBA Live 99.

The 1999 NBA season isn’t considered a classic year for the league, but it’s certainly interesting and significant in its own right. It was the first season in which games were cancelled due to a lockout, and indeed, the first time it appeared as though an entire season may be lost due to a labour dispute. It was also something of a transitional season following Michael Jordan’s second retirement, with the defending champion Chicago Bulls being broken up, a lot of key players around the league moving on to new teams, and early signs of a new era beginning in the NBA.

In the midst of the turbulent offseason and prolonged labour dispute of 1998-99, EA Sports released NBA Live 99. Because of the lockout, the game couldn’t ship with the Class of 1998 rookies, but out of the box, it did actually feature updated 1998 season rosters. It’s an interesting and unusual situation, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Dynamic DNA in NBA Live 09

Dynamic DNA Tendencies for Ben Gordon in NBA Live 09

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 Dynamic DNA in NBA Live 09.

Generally speaking, most of us want five-on-five basketball games to be realistic; “sim”, as we usually put it. One of the key elements of delivering realism in NBA Live and NBA 2K is to ensure that the players resemble their real life counterparts, not just in appearance, but in the way that they play and perform. As the years have gone by, both games have introduced new ratings, tendencies, and other attributes that are intended to make the action on the virtual hardwood more closely resemble what we see during an NBA broadcast. While there’s still room for improvement, basketball video games have also come a long way in that regard.

EA Sports took a big step towards making NBA Live more realistic with the implementation of Dynamic DNA in NBA Live 09. Not only was it an improvement in player AI and differentiation, it was also a step forward in terms of the official roster updates. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Online Team Play in NBA Live 08

Gilbert Arenas dribbles the basketball 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 Online Team Play.

As the years have gone by, the online experience has become more and more significant in basketball video games. I personally didn’t have a lot of interest in online modes for many years; a slower connection didn’t help matters, and for the most part, I was simply more interested in the offline experience. That’s changed somewhat over the past couple of years, as I’ve come to enjoy regular games of 2K Pro-Am. However, there was another online mode that caught my attention almost a decade ago, and appropriately enough, it was the forerunner to the Pro-Am concept: Online Team Play in the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 version of NBA Live 08.

At the time, it was something of a groundbreaking addition for basketball video games, and a concept that both EA Sports and Visual Concepts should perhaps think about implementing once more. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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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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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live PC Mod

Shaquille O'Neal dunks in NBA Live PC for 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.

Inspired by last week’s dig through the archives, I went rummaging again to see what else I could find. My search yielded some preview screenshots for the NBA Live PC mod, which became the NLSC’s comprehensive roster update for the PC version of NBA Live 06 for several years. Since I enjoyed looking back at my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004 last week, I thought that I’d do the same for a current roster update that I maintained for one of my all-time favourite games in the series. With NBA Live 06 being next up in our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live retrospectives, it also seemed fitting.

So, why did the mod bear that name, and how did it come about? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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