The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Design Choices in Basketball Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

It’s stating the obvious, but we’re pretty fond of our basketball video games around these parts. We may get frustrated and grumble when we encounter a bug or some other quirk in a game, but I’d like to think that for the most part, a majority of us are enjoying our time on the virtual hardwood. No game is ever going to be perfect or completely bug-free, and new gaming tech is always being developed and refined. All the same, we generally find a way to enjoy basketball games, especially if they receive official patches that are able to stamp out some of the most troubling issues.

Of course, bugs aren’t the only issues that cause us to become frustrated with basketball video games. Sometimes, our complaints are with the design choices that are made when developing hoops titles; the approach to certain features. While there may be a rhyme and reason to some of those choices, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t annoying, or problematic. In this week’s Friday Five, I’m taking a look at five design choices that cause their fair share of frustration for basketball gamers.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #161

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #161 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane, Kenny, and myself as we discuss the reveal of the NBA 2K17 cover, a promising tidbit regarding NBA Live 17, the upcoming 2016 NBA Finals, and our week in basketball gaming.

On this week’s show…

  • Paul George has been officially revealed as the cover player for NBA 2K17. A good choice, but was he our pick? We also discuss the pre-order bonuses.
  • It seems that former NBA player Jamario Moon is providing motion capture for NBA Live 17, suggesting that a fully featured console release is definitely still in development.
  • Speaking of NBA Live 17, a recent report by GameInformer has revealed that all EA Sports titles will apparently be making the transition from the Ignite engine to the Frostbite engine. We discuss what this might mean for the NBA Live series moving forward.
  • We remind PlayStation Plus subscribers to pick up the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K16 via June’s Instant Game Collection, if they don’t already own it, or would like to double-dip.
  • In Our Week in Basketball Gaming: 2K Pro-Am frustration, Stephen Curry in NBA Live 95, and more MyLEAGUE plans.
  • Moving on to the real NBA, we recap the end of the Golden State Warriors/Oklahoma City Thunder clash, and look ahead to the NBA Finals.
  • Do we think that Kevin Durant will be moving on from the Thunder, following their collapse and disappointing elimination in the Western Conference Finals?
  • We briefly touch on the fatal shooting of Bryce Dejean-Jones.
  • Episode #161 of the NLSC Podcast ends with this week’s Bold Predictions.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

Paul George Announced as NBA 2K17 Cover Player

NBA 2K17 Cover Art

As previously advertised, 2K Sports has officially revealed the cover player for NBA 2K17, coinciding with the grand finale of the Road To The Finals tournament in NBA 2K16 Pro-Am. As it turns out, Indiana Pacers’ All-Star Paul George will grace the cover of this year’s game from 2K, after serving as the cover player for the MyNBA2K16 app. It looks like we have our hashtag for the year, too: #THISISNOTAGAME

George also appeared in the reveal trailer for the Legend Edition of NBA 2K17 featuring Kobe Bryant on the cover, which led many gamers to speculate that he would be announced as the main cover player. Now that the cover has been revealed, the speculation continues as one of the background images of George features him wearing a Team USA jersey, perhaps suggesting that FIBA teams or even the Olympic tournament will be featured in this year’s games.

You can check out the full size image of the cover below. Any thoughts on the NBA 2K17 cover announcement? Do you think we’ll be getting FIBA teams in this year’s game? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion in this thread in the NLSC Forum. The preview season is almost upon us, and we’ll naturally be covering all of the developments, so stay tuned for more details in the near future!

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File Additions for NBA 2K13

NBA 2K13 Cover Art

Not a lot of folks are still releasing regular updates for NBA 2K13, but PatTheHead continues to maintain his retro season roster pack for the game. If you’d like to play with some old season rosters spanning from 1947 to 1985, check it out at the link below!

PatTheHead
1946/47 to 1984/85 NBA Seasons (Updated to v3.7)

Incidentally, if you’d like to check out some screenshots of the mod in action, Ballaboi has posted some here in the Forum.

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!

NBA 2K16 Available Through PlayStation Plus in June

Stephen Curry shoots the basketball in NBA 2K16

If you have a PlayStation 4 and have been holding out on picking up NBA 2K16, or you’ve been playing the PC version and would just like to double-dip on PS4, now’s your chance. PlayStation Plus subscribers will soon be able to pick up the game at no extra cost, as it will be available in June’s Instant Game Collection lineup.

Note that NBA 2K16 is a 40+ GB download, so make sure that you have sufficient hard drive space, and if you’re on a capped Internet plan, enough data. As with all games that are made available to PlayStation Plus subscribers, you can also choose to simply add the game to your collection, and download it at a later time. It will remain in your collection and available to play, as long as you have an active PlayStation Plus subscription.

If you do decide to pick up NBA 2K16 through this offer, feel free to share your impressions and experiences here in the NLSC Forum. Please note that the PS4 version does not support any external modding, though there are quite a few custom rosters available through 2K Share. If you’d like to play with the special roster in which Stephen Curry is rated 99 Overall, I’ve shared it under the names “Curry 99 – Official” (the main official roster) and “Curry 99 – Injury-Free” (an injury-free version). If you’re on PC and missed out on that roster, I’ve shared it there as well.

File Additions for NBA 2K14

NBA 2K14 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K14 PC include a face update for Elfrid Payton, and an updated version of the WNBA 2K14 Alpha Roster. Check them both out at the links below!

SUPERSUB47
Elfrid Payton Face

TGsoGood
WNBA 2K14 Alpha Roster (Updated to v1.1)

Monday Tip-Off: Why Do We Care About Cover Players?

LeBron James dribbles the basketball 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.

The reveal of the cover player for NBA 2K17 is just a couple of days away, set to coincide with the grand final of the Road To The Finals Pro-Am tournament in NBA 2K16. Stephen Curry seems like a good bet to appear on the cover for the second year in a row, perhaps joined by Klay Thompson, or maybe even the Golden State Warriors’ entire starting five. Paul George also seems like a distinct possibility, seeing as how he was the cover player of the MyNBA2K16 app, and appeared in the trailer announcing the Legend Edition of NBA 2K17 featuring Kobe Bryant on the cover.

Admittedly, for a lot of gamers, the player that appears on the cover of NBA Live and NBA 2K is largely unimportant. In the grand scheme of things, it has no bearing on the quality of the game, and is mostly only significant in terms of marketing. I imagine that under normal circumstances, very few people would flat out refuse to buy a game if a certain player was on the cover, and anyone who does was probably looking for an excuse not to buy it anyway. Yet, as often as it’s dismissed as an irrelevant topic of discussion, it’s something that we inevitably end up talking about every year.

So, why do basketball gamers care about who’s on the cover of NBA Live and NBA 2K?

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File Additions for NBA Live 08

NBA Live 08 Cover Art

Here are a couple of file additions for NBA Live 08 PC to tip off a new week here at the NLSC. Today’s uploads include the Charlotte Hornets’ Pride jersey, and a re-upload of an old release, the ILT Mod; check them both out at the links below.

mervie16
2015/2016 Charlotte Hornets Pride Jersey

ignatus/Kris/clydeli
ILT Mod

File Additions for NBA 2K14

NBA 2K14 Cover Art

We’ve had a couple of new uploads for NBA 2K14 PC recently, namely a pack of NBA Finals courts, and a HD face update for Russell Westbrook. Check out both of the latest file additions at the links below.

Dwadeflash03
NBA Finals Courts (2004-2014)

Infinity2K
Russell Westbrook HD Face

NBA 2K17 Cover Player Announcement on June 1st

Could NBA 2K16 cover player Stephen Curry also appear on the NBA 2K17 cover?

Visual Concepts has announced that the NBA 2K17 cover player will be revealed on June 1st. The announcement will coincide with the grand final of the NBA 2K16 Road to the Finals tournament between the Drewkerbockers and GFG, and will also see the release of new Locker Codes.

Back in April, a special Legend Edition of NBA 2K17 featuring Kobe Bryant on the cover was announced, along with its pre-order bonuses. I’ve also speculated on a few future cover players in a Friday Five column back in March, and I still feel that there’s a strong possibility that Stephen Curry will be on the cover for the second year in a row. It would certainly make sense, given the Golden State Warriors’ historic season, but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out. With 2K’s Tweet promising “much more”, I would also expect that some information about further pre-order bonuses will be revealed.

In the meantime, we have a few days to speculate. Who do you think will be appearing on the NBA 2K17 cover? Stephen Curry? The Warriors’ starting five? Perhaps Russell Westbrook will be jumping ship? Have your say in the comments section below, as well as in this thread in the Forum. Thanks to zzcoolj21 for the heads up!

The Friday Five: 5 Ways We Mess Up Franchise Mode Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

As I’ve mentioned in recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast, I’ve just started Dynasty and MyLEAGUE games with the Charlotte Hornets in NBA Live 16 and NBA 2K16 respectively. I’d like to have some fun with at least one of the franchise modes while I’m waiting for the release of next season’s games, and since I haven’t been able to get my previous attempts with the Chicago Bulls off the ground, I thought I’d try again with the Hornets. With any luck, one of these new attempts will pan out.

Of course, the success of a franchise game doesn’t just come down to luck. Good fortune is a factor to some extent, but I would suggest that we create our own luck, and there are ways that we shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to franchise gaming. I figure that if I discuss some of the ways that we mess up in those modes, I might just be able to avoid a few of those pitfalls. Without any further ado, here are five mistakes that can quickly ruin franchise games in NBA Live and NBA 2K.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #160

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #160 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join, Arcane, Kenny, and I as we recap some recent NBA Live and NBA 2K news, answer a handful of mailbag questions, and react to the latest results from the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Live 16 has been added to The Vault for EA Access members. Xbox One users will also be able to play NBA 2K16 for free this weekend.
  • Patch V6 has been released for the PC version of NBA 2K16, and not everyone is happy about it. We personally have no complaints.
  • A couple of tidbits about NBA 2K17 were revealed over the past week, specifically some of the talent who are mo-capping dunks for this year’s game from Visual Concepts.
  • Do we think footplanting is too exaggerated in NBA 2K16? What are our thoughts on “body blocks/steals”?
  • Will NBA 2K17 expand upon the features in MyLEAGUE Online?
  • We discuss some features that have gone missing from basketball games over the years, and out of a list of three, we pick which one we’d like to see return.
  • Similarly, we’re presented with a choice of three old basketball games to remake: NBA Fastbreak ’98, NBA In the Zone 2, and ESPN NBA 2K5. Which would we each choose?
  • How do we choose a team for franchise modes when we want a change from controlling our favourite NBA team?
  • In Our Week in Basketball Gaming: Dusting off an old favourite, reviewing a very old game, and more 2K Pro-Am action.
  • Moving on to the 2016 NBA Playoffs, we talk about the Conference Finals, and share a few thoughts on Draymond Green’s controversial kick.
  • We wrap up Episode #160 of the NLSC Podcast with this week’s round of Bold Predictions.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Sound off in the comments below, or here in the Forum. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss on the next episode of the NLSC Podcast, feel free to hit us up in this thread.

NBA Live 16 Now Available in The Vault

Derrick Rose with the layup in NBA Live 16

NBA Live 16 is now available in The Vault, a library of games that is available to Xbox One users who have an EA Access subscription. If you’re on Xbox One and you have an active EA Access subscription, now is your chance to check out NBA Live 16 if you haven’t already.

For those who are unaware, EA Access is a subscription service that costs $4.99 US per month, and includes early access to games, an instant game collection as new titles are added to its library (“The Vault”), and a 10% discount on digital purchases from EA, including full games, pre-orders, and downloadable content.

There is no equivalent program for PlayStation 4 users, as EA Access is a partnership between EA and Microsoft, but the NBA Live 16 demo is still available to download from the PlayStation Store. It includes access to LIVE Pro-Am, and allows you to level your player up to an 80 Overall, which carries over to the full game if you decide to pick it up.

If you do use EA Access to give NBA Live 16 a try, we of course invite you to share your impressions and join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum! We’d also welcome your contributions to the NBA Live 17 Wishlist, which you can find in this thread.

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!