Wayback Wednesday

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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Wayback Wednesday: Thoughts on EA’s Next NBA Sim Game

LeBron James in NBA Live 13

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.

It’s been revealed that NBA Live 17 won’t be shipping in the Fall of 2016 as expected, as a new console version of NBA Live will instead be dropping in early 2017. Naturally, this has led to disappointment and speculation that the series will be moving in a completely new direction, abandoning the AAA model in favour of being a mobile-only game. At this point, those of us who are interested in seeing NBA Live improve and succeed are anxious to hear more concrete details about the future of the series.

NBA Live’s hardships and setbacks over the past six years are well-documented. They include the cancellation of NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13, poor reception of NBA Live 14, and a postponed release for NBA Live 15, to say nothing of Metacritic scores. As we find ourselves in familiar territory, I’ve dug into the archives and found an article that I wrote about the future of the series back in April 2011, when we discovered the series would attempt a relaunch with a game that would eventually be the cancelled NBA Live 13. As with previous articles I’ve revisited, I’m presenting it as-is (aside from a couple of images), and following it up with some commentary.

So, what was my take back then, and have my thoughts changed? Well, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Charles Barkley in Basketball Video Games

Charles Barkley celebrates in NBA Live 2000

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.

With this being May the 4th, the iconic Star Wars franchise is what a lot of people around the world are talking about and celebrating today. It’s a little difficult to tie that into basketball – though Chewbacca’s size would probably make him pretty dominant in the paint – so I decided to take a look back at this day in NBA history for inspiration. In doing so, I was reminded of Charles Barkley’s 56 point, 14 rebound game on May 4th 1994, which helped his Phoenix Suns to eliminate then-rookie Chris Webber’s Golden State Warriors 3-0 in the first round of the Playoffs.

When it comes to elusive figures in basketball video games, the first player that we tend to think of is Michael Jordan. As I’ve discussed in a couple of previous articles, MJ was missing from the various NBA sim games during his second run with the Chicago Bulls, and aside from some rare, specially produced arcade cabinets, he’s never been featured in NBA Jam. However, while Charles Barkley did appear in NBA Live towards the end of his career, he was similarly absent – or replaced by a Roster Player – in a number of releases.

It’s one of those things from basketball gaming history that’s interesting to revisit, because it just doesn’t happen with today’s stars and modern releases. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Hidden Players in NBA Live 96 SNES

Roster Setup in NBA Live 96 SNES

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 inclusion of several hidden players in the Super Nintendo version of NBA Live 96 is a trivia note that I’ve mentioned in a few previous columns, including my look back at the game’s Expansion Draft feature. I’ve also mentioned my intention to talk a little more about those hidden players, and this week’s Wayback Wednesday seems as good a time as any.

Hidden players have been found in several basketball video games over the years. A few rookies were hidden in the default rosters of NBA Live 2004, and were unlockable via a code (or DBF editing on PC). Poking around in NBA Live 08’s database uncovered some unused historical teams. The NBA Jam series famously features several secret players that you can play with, and against. And, if you use RED MC to open up the rosters for recent NBA 2K games, you’ll find a few players that have been deactivated and removed from the active roster.

However, NBA Live 96 on SNES features one of the largest selections of unlockable hidden players that we’ve seen in a basketball game. How did that come about? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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