Wayback Wednesday

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 95 Nintendo Power Articles

Anfernee Hardaway 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 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.

Beyond retrospective articles and videos – and of course, actually dusting off retro video games to play them – there’s another way for us gamers to get a nostalgia hit: old magazines and articles. To this day, I regret throwing out my entire collection of Nintendo Magazine System mags, as there are times when I’d love to look back on them and reminisce. With basketball video games coming as far as they have, it’s interesting to look back on old reviews and previews to see the things that once excited us, as they often seem mundane many years later.

Recently, Arcane stumbled across a couple of Nintendo Power articles on NBA Live 95, the first game in the NBA Live series and a title that’s widely considered to be a classic. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I thought I’d share them with everyone, and offer up a few thoughts on their contents. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Larry Bird in NBA Jam Tournament Edition

Larry Bird on the Boston Celtics in NBA Jam Tournament Edition

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 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 NBA Jam series is famous for its inclusion of secret players. From Will Smith in his Fresh Prince persona, to Mortal Kombat characters – excuse me, “kharacters” – Scorpion and Sub-Zero, a lot of special guests have hit the virtual hardwood for high-flying, arcade basketball action. Joining the cast of public figures, Midway developers, and NBA mascots in NBA Jam Tournament Edition was Boston Celtics great, Larry Bird.

Along with Hall of Famer Carol Blazejowski, Larry Legend is the only real former professional basketball player that is hidden and playable in NBA Jam TE. It’s actually something that I wasn’t aware of when I first got into the game all those years ago, as I never encountered him as an opponent after beating all of the NBA teams and seeing secret characters randomly appear as opponents. It wasn’t until my family got the Internet and I was able to look up some codes for the PC version that I discovered he was in the game, and playable. He’s also in the Super Nintendo version, though I wasn’t aware of that particular code, either.

Since tomorrow will be the 24th anniversary of his retirement from the NBA, I thought I’d reflect on Larry Bird’s presence in NBA Jam Tournament Edition. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Team USA Basketball (SEGA Genesis)

Team USA Basketball for the SEGA Genesis

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 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.

Whenever I’m deciding on what I want to talk about for Wayback Wednesday, it’s generally either a game I’ve been meaning to review or discuss for some time, or a topic that’s somehow related to the date or a current event. With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro underway, and Team USA seeking another gold medal in basketball, it seems like as good a time as any to talk about Team USA Basketball for the SEGA Genesis.

For those who have never heard of it, Team USA Basketball is actually a spinoff of the NBA Playoffs series – EA’s forerunner to NBA Live – and was the first game to feature the legendary Dream Team, long before NBA 2K13. Released exclusively for the SEGA Genesis in 1992, it’s obviously very primitive compared to its successors, but what was it like, and how does it hold up today? I offer up my thoughts on this arguably lesser known EA basketball game, in a new video retrospective.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. As I’ve said before, while I can’t always find the time to work on them, I do enjoy making video retrospectives, so hopefully you enjoyed watching it as well! Be sure to check in each and every Wednesday for more videos, articles, and other retro basketball video gaming content!

Wayback Wednesday: The 50s All-Stars in NBA Live 2000

50s All-Stars 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 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.

On this day in 1949, the Basketball Association of America merged with the National Basketball League to form what is now known as the National Basketball Association. While the NBA has gone from strength to strength in the decades that have followed, it often pays tribute to its heritage, from throwback jerseys to naming the 50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time in 1997. Of course, the players from those early years are made known to younger NBA fans not only through documentaries and old highlights, but also basketball video games. Some seventeen years ago, those early stars appeared as the 50s All-Stars in NBA Live 2000.

Seeing as how I grew up watching the NBA in the 90s, I must admit that I was more excited about the 90s All-Stars, in particular the addition of Michael Jordan, who was making his first official appearance in an NBA Live game. I also had an appreciation for the players who were big in the 80s, as there was a fair amount of overlap with the 90s in that regard. Nevertheless, it was cool to see the 50s, 60s, and 70s also represented in NBA Live 2000 by the best players of those eras; well, most of them, anyway. Since it’s the anniversary of the BAA-NBL merger, I thought I’d spotlight the 50s All-Stars team.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11

Michael Jordan 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 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.

Michael Jordan is the greatest player in the history of basketball. There, that’s a suitably controversial statement to open an article with, these days. For a long time, that was an acceptable assertion to make, but now it seems you’re a bitter old hater if you dare to suggest that there are arguments in favour of teams and players from older eras being superior. Well, contrary to some of the comments that I’ve read on YouTube lately, I would disagree that LeBron James is “clearly better than Michael Jordan”, and that the upcoming season will establish that “fact” once and for all. That’s not a knock on LeBron, by the way; MJ just happened to be pretty good.

Anyway, that’s a debate for another time. At the very least, most fans and analysts would agree that Michael Jordan is one of the best players we’ve ever seen, and one of the most significant and influential people in the history of basketball. During his career, he dazzled fans with his play, and his combination of highlights and success on the hardwood in turn sold a lot of merchandise. In retirement, his brand has remained just as strong. It’s no surprise that Visual Concepts made him the first retired player to appear on the cover of their game, when he became the face of NBA 2K11.

Michael Jordan’s appearance in NBA 2K11 was certainly a big deal, and definitely worth reflecting upon. So, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Yao Ming in Basketball Video Games

Yao Ming in NBA 2K16

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.

On this day in 2011, Hall of Famer Yao Ming announced his retirement from the Houston Rockets and the NBA. It brought an end to a career that was unfortunately marred by injuries, but was nevertheless successful, and marvellous to watch. While he wasn’t the first player over 7’3″ to find a home and make a legitimate contribution in the NBA, he remains the only one to achieve true superstar status. Only Rik Smits comes close, and that comparison still greatly favours Yao, to say the least. On the court, he was so much more than just an attraction, an oddity, or another very tall player.

Just as Yao Ming was a star on the court, so too did his digital counterpart find success on the virtual hardwood. Yao was a handy player to have in a Dynasty or Association game, with his combination of height and skill making him a very formidable opponent in the paint. Since it’s the anniversary of his retirement, I thought I’d take a look back at Yao Ming’s history in basketball video games, offering up a few tidbits about his virtual counterpart, and providing a few screenshots through the years.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Yinka Dare Dominates NBA Jam TE

Yinka Dare's Ratings in NBA Jam Tournament Edition on PC

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 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.

Today, I present you with a game of NBA Jam Tournament Edition on PC, featuring Yinka Dare. Now, NBA Jam TE is one of my all-time favourite basketball video games, and in my opinion, one of the best arcade hoops games ever made. Conversely, and with all due respect, the late Yinka Dare’s ranking among NBA alumni isn’t quite as stellar. As I’ve mentioned before, his ratings in the PC version of NBA Jam TE are some of the most insulting you’ll ever find in a basketball video game, having been severely nerfed from the Super Nintendo version. Outside of his Dunking, Blocking, and Power ratings, there isn’t a lot to work with.

However, despite ratings that are mostly made up of ones and zeroes, it’s possible to dominate with Yinka Dare in NBA Jam TE. In fact, not even a Clutch rating of zero can prevent Dare from getting the job done in crunch time! Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. While it’s a little easier to accomplish feats like this in arcade basketball games, even in sim titles it can be a lot of fun to have big games with players whose ratings shouldn’t normally allow it. In that respect, it’s kind of like watching an unlikely player erupt for 50 points in real life. In any case, I hope you enjoyed the video; be sure to check in each and every Wednesday for more videos, retrospectives, stuff from the archives, and other Wayback content!

Wayback Wednesday: Free Agency in NBA Live 2004

Jason Kidd dribbles 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 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 first couple of weeks of free agency tend to be the most exciting part of the offseason. Twenty years ago, Shaquille O’Neal departed the Orlando Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers, signing one of the first $100 million dollar contracts. Six years ago, it was LeBron James’ turn to shock the basketball world, when he took his talents to South Beach. Just this week, Kevin Durant has just stirred up a mix of excitement and controversy with his announcement that he’ll join the Golden State Warriors. Of course, we’ve been able to make our own shocking signings in video games since Franchise Mode in NBA Live 2000, which became Dynasty Mode in NBA Live 2004.

Speaking of NBA Live 2004’s Dynasty Mode, it featured a couple of quirks when it came to free agency. While the mode added some nifty features that its predecessor lacked, it was afflicted by a couple of issues that did detract from the experience…or enhanced it, depending on how much you cared about realism and challenge. Thankfully, those issues were resolved in NBA Live 2005, but while we were all still playing NBA Live 2004, they were something that Dynasty gamers would consistently encounter.

Which issues am I referring to? Well, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Three Team Trades in NBA Live 2001

Shawn Kemp in NBA Live 2001

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 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.

I’m still overseeing our ongoing server move, so as I mentioned in the Monday Tip-Off, I haven’t been able to set aside a lot of time to prepare new original content this week. My hope is that everything will be in place and back to normal soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to get something out there for Wayback Wednesday, to give everyone something to either check out while they wait, or catch up on when the site is back up to speed. Specifically, I thought I’d write up a quick piece on three team trades in NBA Live 2001.

If you caught the first instalment of “Trivia Time” on the NLSC Podcast, you might have heard that NBA Live 2001 is, to date, the only game in the NBA Live series to feature three-team trade functionality. It’s something that I think a lot of us would like to see return along with other roster editing functions, and since it is such a rare feature in the NBA Live series, it’s worth looking back on.

So, let us indeed take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: I Cannot Believe My Starting Five

Kevin Garnett dunks in NBA Live 2001

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 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 current NLSC Forum has been open since November 2002, archiving almost all of the discussion that’s taken place in this community for just about as long as we’ve had a message board. It’s seen its fair share of memorable and amusing threads, including users who believe modders owe them releases, unorthodox story threads, and one-sided conversations. It would also be remiss of me if I didn’t mention this thread, which gave our community a meme that is proudly displayed in the Joel Anthony Arena, home court of the NLSC Greatness in 2K Pro-Am.

However, for those of you who have been around the NLSC since the early days, you’ll remember that we used to have another Forum. It was closed when we elected to switch to different message board software, but I’m confident that it lives on in the fond memories of our longest tenured veterans. It was a smaller group of regulars who came together on those old boards, had a lot of fun discussions, and basically established our community of NLSC Forum denizens.

For those veterans, when it comes to memorable discussions, one thread probably stands out above all others: “I Cannot Believe My Starting Five”. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live Halftime Shows

Midwest Division Halftime Video 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 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.

As basketball video games have continued to harness the power of improving gaming technology, we’ve expected more and more of them. While most of our desires have been centred on gameplay and game modes, presentation is an area that a lot of basketball gamers have wanted to see enhancements in over the years. While slick presentation will only briefly mask gameplay and game mode deficiencies, it’s nevertheless important in terms of creating atmosphere, and adding those extra touches of reality that we tend to enjoy so much.

In the past few years, basketball video games have come to include very detailed and realistic TV-style presentation. Whether it’s NBA Live 16’s NBA on ESPN segments hosted by Jalen Rose, or NBA 2K16’s pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows featuring digital versions of Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith, we’ve come to expect great production values that mimic a real NBA broadcast. Back in the day, of course, breaks in the action were spiced up in a far more modest manner.

Today, we’re talking about the halftime shows that appeared in the early versions of NBA Live. Without any further ado, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 95 Patching

1997/1998 Rosters from Lutz's NBA Live 95 Roster Patches

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in 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.

For as long as the NLSC has been around, so has the NBA Live patching community. In 2008, patching – or modding, as it’s more frequently called these days – finally came to NBA 2K, when NBA 2K9 became the first game in the series to be released on PC. As a community, we’ve been able to do some amazing things for both NBA Live and NBA 2K: comprehensive multi-season roster mods, enhanced textures for team and player art, and even changes to the animation files, to name but a few. We’ve hit some roadblocks along the way – as NBA 2K15 and NBA 2K16 modders can attest – but it was pretty difficult back in the days of NBA Live 95, too.

Thanks to the efforts of our founders, Tim, Lutz, and Brien, it was possible to create custom rosters for NBA Live 95, and eventually, custom art files as well. Compared to what they were able to achieve with the editing tools for NBA Live 96 onwards, creating rosters for NBA Live 95 was much trickier, and a lot more finicky. Through going back and creating the Definitive roster patch for NBA Live 95 as part of our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content, as well as putting Stephen Curry into the game for last week’s feature, I was reminded of both the fun and the frustration of patching NBA Live 95.

With patching/modding being such a big part of what we do here at the NLSC, I thought it’d be interesting to look back at what the community had to work with in the early days. So let’s indeed take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Stephen Curry in NBA Live 95

Viewing Stephen Curry 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 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.

With Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors advancing to the NBA Finals, the MVP and his team are obviously looking forward to the prospect of repeating as NBA Champions. Topping off their 73-9 season with the Larry O’Brien trophy will certainly add to their claim of being the best team of all-time, though any match-ups with great teams of the past can obviously only happen in basketball video games. Various simulations in NBA 2K16 have tried to judge how Michael Jordan and the 1996 Chicago Bulls would fare in 2016, but how would Curry perform in the mid 90s? Say, if he were patched into NBA Live 95, taking the place of his father, Dell?

As it happens, I’ve done just that, and put together a video recapping the results. So, how does Stephen Curry fare when he’s dropped into NBA Live 95, with the Golden State Warriors of 1995? Let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. This was certainly a fun thing to try, so I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I enjoyed putting it all together. If you’d like to dust off NBA Live 95 and play with Stephen Curry yourself, download the mod I created here. Stay tuned for more video features, retrospectives, and other Wayback Wednesday content, coming your way every week here at the NLSC!

Wayback Wednesday: Double Dribble Video Retrospective

Double Dribble Title Screen

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 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.

I’m long overdue to do another video retrospective for Wayback Wednesday, and a recent incident involving Family Guy inspired me to cover a game that’s been on my list for a while: Double Dribble, for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Double Dribble is a game by Konami that a lot of you have probably heard of, and it’s a hoops title that I wanted as a kid, but never actually played until many years later. Having played the game since as an adult, I certainly have a few thoughts on it that I’d like to share with my fellow basketball gamers. Since it’s recently come up in gaming news and been thrust back into the public eye, now seems like an opportune time.

It’s a significant basketball video game in its own right, one that’s worth revisiting if only for its memorable animated dunking cutscenes. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

Catch the retrospective here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. Making another video retrospective has certainly got me in the mood to get back to creating them, so stay tuned for further video content, as well as other Wayback Wednesday features, coming your way every week here at the NLSC!

Wayback Wednesday: Long-Lost NBA Live 2002 Preview Screens

Steve Francis in NBA Live 2002

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in 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 next game that I’ll be looking back at as part of our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations is NBA Live 2002. As I’ll discuss in more detail in my retrospective, NBA Live 2002 was a controversial release, as it was the first game in the series to be console exclusive and also had its fair share of issues. At the same time, it’s also a game that I managed to have a considerable amount of fun with back in the day, and I kind of have a sentimental attachment to it, as it was the first new NBA Live game that came out after I took over the NLSC in August 2001.

On a recent dig through my archives, I uncovered a collection of NBA Live 2002 preview screenshots that were posted on the NLSC all those years ago, but had since gone missing following a couple of hosting and design changes. I’d previously searched high and low for them, but I just couldn’t seem to find them anywhere. Now that they’ve turned up, I thought it might be fun to exhibit them again, especially with NBA Live 2002 being the next game I’m posting a retrospective on. It’s also a reminder that NBA Live’s graphics have indeed improved over the years.

So, what did basketball video games look like in 2001? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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