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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Monday Tip-Off: Basketball Games SHOULD Borrow Ideas

NBA Live 16: Basketball

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on the issue of NBA Live and NBA 2K borrowing ideas from one another.

Fact: NBA Live has borrowed ideas from NBA 2K. Fact: NBA 2K has borrowed ideas from NBA Live. A lot of basketball gamers may be inclined to sneer and suggest that it isn’t the case, but there are numerous examples in both games that prove it to be true. Right stick dribbling controls, face scanning, temporary player cards in the team building modes…a lot of features and concepts have been adopted by one game after first appearing in another. There may be differences in the way the ideas are implemented, with each game putting their own spin on them, but the basic concept is similar to the original feature.

You might suggest that NBA Live and NBA 2K need to have something unique about the experiences they offer, or take different approaches to certain common features. That’s a fair comment, and something that I generally agree with. However, both games ultimately have the same goal: to realistically portray the sport of basketball, specifically the style we see in the NBA, and provide gamers with experiences that accurately replicate aspects of the league in detail. With a common goal and audience, it only makes sense that there’s some overlap in what both games are doing. To that end, basketball video games absolutely should borrow ideas from one another.

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The Sunday Substitute: First Impressions of NBA Playgrounds

The week is in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, which means it’s time for the Sunday Substitute! It’s the article where I get some valuable minutes while the star is resting on the bench. I might not have the time to do this every week, but I like to think I’m still making a contribution to the team. It’s been a long time on the pine for me, but today I felt like I had to share my first impressions of NBA Playgrounds.

After mistakenly releasing a beta early, NBA Playgrounds was officially released on the 9th. If you have listened to the last few NLSC Podcasts, you would know that Andrew and I were keeping close tabs on the game, as it was looking to be the spiritual successor of games like NBA Jam and NBA Street. Fast forward to now and I have played the game for several hours. I have completed all circuits, and have leveled up Bill Laimbeer, Luis Scola and Thon Maker to the Gold level. But the question remains: with all this play I have logged, what do I actually think of the game?

I must state now that I haven’t experienced the online mode in NBA Playgrounds, so my impressions are based purely on the offline content. I’m doing this initially since online experiences have tended to skew my perceptions of other video games. I don’t want to potentially give NBA Playgrounds a bad rap because of some cheese a brat online may have exploited constantly. Ultimately, the game itself is the most important thing…at least for my initial impressions. With that out of the way, let me discuss what I have liked and haven’t liked about the game so far.

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File Additions for NBA Live 06

NBA Live 06 Cover Art

Today’s lone file addition for NBA Live 06 PC is a new and final version of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2017 court. Download it at the link below!

magiciangirl06
2016/2017 Cleveland Cavaliers Court (Final Version)

File Additions for NBA 2K14

NBA 2K14 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K14 PC include a new face for LeBron James, as well as a pack of future Draft prospect faces. Check them both out at the links below!

Blang
2017/2018 Prospects Faces (7 Players)

xyrho_44
LeBron James Face

The Friday Five: 5 Misguided Things Basketball Gamers Say

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. This week’s Five is a list of five misguided statements that we basketball gamers are prone to making.

It’s a rare fanbase indeed that isn’t outspoken in some regard, and basketball gamers are no exception. That certainly isn’t a bad thing, of course. Whether it’s positive or negative, constructive or snarky, there’s satisfaction and catharsis in expressing yourself and sharing experiences with your fellow basketball gamers. With open lines of communication to the people creating the games, we also have an opportunity to influence their development for the better. Bottom line, a passionate and enthusiastic fanbase is always going to have something to talk about, and an assortment of strong opinions.

As a community, we have a lot of insight into basketball games, and some great ideas about the experiences that we’d like to get out of them. However, that doesn’t mean that our opinions are above the influence of bias, cynicism, or occasionally even selfishness. Logic and reason gives way to passion and emotion, and we make declarations that are definitely wide of the mark. Whether we’re criticising a game, defending a game, advocating a particular gaming style, or making sweeping declarations about the hobby, we basketball gamers are prone to making some misguided statements from time to time. Statements such as…

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #204

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we discuss the NBA 2K18 Legend Edition cover reveal, give our initial impressions of NBA Playgrounds, and talk about the burnout and cynicism we sometimes feel when it comes to giving constructive feedback.

On this week’s show…

  • Shaquille O’Neal has been revealed as the cover player for the Legend Edition of NBA 2K18. We also know the release date and the pre-order bonuses. Does all that VC suggest another tough grind this year?
  • Charles Barkley has revealed what it will take for him to appear in NBA 2K18.
  • NBA Playgrounds has been released, and we have some initial impressions to share. One of us is a little more positive than the other.
  • Referring back to a Monday Tip-Off article from a few weeks ago, we discuss the burnout and cynicism that can arise after years of talking about improvements to basketball video games, and compiling feedback for developers.
  • It pains us to say it as long-time NBA fans, but we’re just not feeling this year’s Playoffs.
  • We wrap up Episode #204 of the NLSC Podcast with Our Week in Basketball Gaming, which included another brief but enjoyable session of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17.

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.

File Additions for NBA 2K17

NBA 2K17 Cover Art

Today’s selection of file additions for NBA 2K17 PC include a concept court for the Golden State Warriors, an arena update for the Washington Wizards, jersey updates for the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic, and new CP3 shoes. Download them all at the links below!

TBM
Golden State Warriors 2019 Concept Court

pinoy21
Phoenix Suns Jersey
Orlando Magic Jersey (Updated to v2.0)

Manni Live
Washington Wizards Verizon Center

TGsoGood
CP3 X AE

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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Shaquille O’Neal Announced for Legend Edition of NBA 2K18

Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA 2K17 Legend Edition Gold Cover

2K Sports has announced that Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal will grace the cover of the Legend Edition of NBA 2K18. Shaq previously appeared on the covers of NBA 2K6 and NBA 2K7, and has remained in the game as a playable Legend following his retirement in 2011. He’s also had a presence in recent games as part of the pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows, alongside his NBA on TNT colleagues Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith.

Just as they did with Kobe Bryant’s special editions of NBA 2K17, there will be a Legend Edition and Legend Edition Gold for NBA 2K18. Interestingly, the cover of the standard Legend Edition will feature Shaquille O’Neal on the Miami Heat, while the cover of the Legend Edition Gold (appropriately enough) features him on the Los Angeles Lakers. The cover player for the standard edition of NBA 2K18 is yet to be announced. You can check out shots of both Legend Edition covers below.

The release date and pre-order bonuses for all three editions have also been revealed. The Early Tip-Off Weekend is in effect again, giving gamers the opportunity to play the game on September 15th (four days ahead of the September 19th street date). Pre-order bonuses for the standard edition include 5,000 VC, 10 weekly MyTEAM packs, and MyPLAYER apparel. The Legend Edition includes 100,000 VC, Shaq Attaq shoes and other Shaq-themed apparel, 20 weekly MyTEAM packs, and some collectables. The Legend Edition Gold includes an additional 150,000 VC, more in-game apparel, another 20 weekly MyTEAM packs, and additional collectables. See below for the full breakdown.

Gamers can expect to pay $99.99 for the Legend Edition, and $149.99 for the Legend Edition Gold. A brief announcement trailer has been released, featuring Shaquille O’Neal at a press conference that gets hijacked by Kobe Bryant. Watch it below, or check it out here if you can’t see the embedded video.

We’ll continue to cover NBA 2K18 throughout the preview season, so stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to leave your reactions and speculation in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

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Monday Tip-Off: Are Two Sim NBA Video Games Enough?

Damian Lillard in NBA Live 16, a game in one of the oldest NBA video games

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on the number of NBA video games that are available to us.

Something that’s come up on a few times on the NLSC Podcast when we’ve been reminiscing about the old days of basketball gaming is the dwindling number of NBA video games. Although no other series has enjoyed the same longevity as NBA Live or NBA 2K, several other developers have released NBA licensed sim games over the years. Some series ran for two or three years, some skipped a year, and others didn’t get off the ground after the first game. In any case, while EA Sports and Visual Concepts remained the biggest names in the genre, some years have seen the release of several sim-oriented titles, along with the occasional arcade title here and there.

These days, NBA Live and NBA 2K stand as the only two five-on-five, sim-oriented NBA video games that are still being developed, and only 2K has an unbroken streak of annual releases over the past decade. With 2K’s dominance of the marketplace, Live’s struggles, and the lack of any other developers throwing their hat into the ring, basketball gamers are left with little choice. Saber Interactive are joining the picture with the promising NBA Playgrounds, but that’s an arcade-oriented game. As far as the sim experience is concerned, it’s fair to wonder, are two sim NBA video games enough?

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File Additions for NBA Live 08

NBA Live 08 Cover Art

We have a couple of new file additions for NBA Live 08 PC today, as S_Brat has returned with a couple of face update packs for the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors. Check them out at the links below!

S_Brat
2015/2016 Toronto Raptors Team Update
2015/2016 Chicago Bulls Team Update

File Additions for NBA 2K17

NBA 2K17 Cover Art

Here are the latest file additions for NBA 2K17 PC! Today’s new releases include jerseys for the Mavericks, Nuggets, and Magic, a couple of tattoo updates, and an updated TD Garden Arena for the Celtics. Download them all at the links below.

pinoy21
Dallas Mavericks Jersey
Denver Nuggets Jersey
Orlando Magic Jersey

Daemon
Isaiah Thomas Tattoo
John Wall Tattoo (Updated to v2.0)

Manni Live
Boston Celtics TD Garden Arena

The Friday Five: 5 Best 2K Pro-Am Team Names

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. This week’s Five is a list of some of the best names I’ve come across while playing 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17.

I’ll be honest with you, fellow basketball gamers. A couple of things made me grumble today, and I was all ready to scathingly vent about them in this week’s Friday Five, since I didn’t already have a column prepared. However, I decided that I didn’t want to do that. It’s not because I’m afraid to share my opinions, or reluctant to stand by them. No, I simply decided that I’d grumbled enough over matters that are very trivial compared to other things that are going on in the world right now, and felt it would be better to write something more positive. Venting can be cathartic and I like covering more serious topics, but there’s a time and place for lighter discussion, too.

So, I read through my list of topic ideas, and came across one that I’d previously done a little preparation for: the five best 2K Pro-Am team names that I’ve encountered in NBA 2K17. As you may know, the official NLSC squad’s name is THRILLHO, which is a reference to a classic episode of The Simpsons. We’ve often wondered if our opponents get a kick out of seeing the name, especially given some of the dornas Arcane has created for our arena. There have definitely been a couple of team names that made us chuckle; some are quite creative, some are witty references, and a few have found a way around the profanity filter. However, these five are my favourites.

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