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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NLSC Podcast – Episode #203

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #203 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Kenny and I are your hosts this week, and our conversation covers the latest NBA Playgrounds news, Beluba’s plans for NBA 2K’s shooting mechanics, NBA Live 18’s direction, and the latest from the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Playgrounds has a confirmed release date of May 9th. Polygon’s preview provided us with some new info on the game, and we’re still very much looking forward to it.
  • Mike Wang (aka Beluba) posted an insight into his plans for shooting mechanics in future NBA 2K games, specifically his desire to wean gamers off automatic makes on Green releases. We give our thoughts on the matter.
  • Following on from this week’s Monday Tip-Off article, we discuss whether it would be a good idea for NBA Live 18 to take a more traditional approach, in order to capitalise on the dissatisfaction some gamers have with certain aspects of NBA 2K’s direction.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming includes a head-to-head showdown in MyTEAM, expanding collections, and a refreshingly enjoyable run in both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK.
  • The 2017 NBA Playoffs roll on into the second round. LeBron reaches a milestone, prompting thoughts from the (alleged) resident bitter insecure hater. Also, Paul Pierce’s retirement, Tony Parker’s injury, Isaiah Thomas’ big night, and some predictions.
  • We wrap up Episode #203 of the NLSC Podcast with some quick thoughts on the new BIG3 league, which recently completed its draft.

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 Playgrounds Coming May 9th; New Details

Kawhi Leonard in NBA Playgrounds

Saber Interactive have confirmed that NBA Playgrounds will be released on May 9th for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Polygon has posted an article featuring hands-on impressions, and additional details about the upcoming game.

Some of the key points of interest include:

  • There are over 300 dunks in the game.
  • Lottery Pick boosts include hot spots that multiply the point value of the shot, and debuffs for your opponent such as halving the length of their shot clock.
  • The shot clock is at 12 seconds, rather than the usual 24.
  • Four player local multiplayer is supported, along with two player head-to-head online. An early update will add four player online support. Post-release support will also include roster updates.
  • Players are unlocked with card packs, though there won’t be any microtransactions (at least initially).
  • Each team has at least three active players in addition to retired players. More players will be added later, though Charles Barkley and Kobe Bryant are two noteworthy players Saber doesn’t have access to.
  • A dunk contest and three-point shootout are planned to be added post-release.

Polygon has also posted some gameplay footage of NBA Playgrounds, which you can check out here. All in all, it sounds very promising, and we’ll be covering the game in more detail once it’s released. As mentioned previously, if the PC version is at all moddable, that’s something we’ll be exploring as a community.

Got any thoughts on NBA Playgrounds? Will you be picking it up? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

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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File Additions for NBA 2K14

NBA 2K14 Cover Art

The latest file additions for NBA 2K14 PC include face updates for Michael Porter Jr., Carmelo Anthony, and Jamal Murray. Check them all out at the links below!

Blang
Michael Porter Jr. Face

xyrho_44
Carmelo Anthony Face

Ivan the Terrible
Jamal Murray Face

Monday Tip-Off: Should NBA Live 18 Be More Traditional?

Derrick Rose on the New York Knicks in NBA Live 16

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 best direction for NBA Live 18.

EA Sports has their work cut out for them when it comes to NBA Live 18. The series hasn’t been the dominant brand in sim-oriented basketball games for more than a decade now, with cancellations and subpar releases combining to erode the trust of the fanbase. At the same time, it’s also shown potential and promise, and judging by some of the whispers from gamers who have been involved in recent playtesting sessions, there’s cause for optimism. NBA Live 18 obviously has a lot to prove, and as I’ve said many times before, it needs to be a well-rounded product. Improved gameplay is paramount, but deeper modes and roster customisation are also vital.

I think most of us agree on that, and we all have our own specific suggestions as to what we’d like to see out of future NBA Live releases. My first seven Friday Five articles of 2017 were dedicated to discussing ideas for this year’s game and beyond, and it’s been a recurring topic in the Forum and on the NLSC Podcast. For EA Sports to make a dent in Visual Concepts’ share of the market, their next game needs to be a quality release with an appealing hook, such as an All-Star Weekend mode. However, their overall approach and direction is also important, and that’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately.

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File Additions for NBA 2K11

NBA 2K11 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K11 PC feature a couple of retro faces for Manu Ginobili and Latrell Sprewell, giving them their appearances from the 2005 season. Download them both at the links below!

twnlove & JuicyShaqMeat
Manu Ginobili Face (2005 Version)

MGX & JuicyShaqMeat
Latrell Sprewell Face (2005 Version)

File Additions for NBA 2K17

NBA 2K17 Cover Art

Today’s batch of file additions for NBA 2K17 includes jersey, court, tattoo, and shoe updates, as well as the demo version of the College Hoops 2K17 mod. Check out all the latest releases at the links below!

pinoy21
Memphis Grizzlies Jersey
Utah Jazz Jersey
Atlanta Hawks Jersey
Boston Celtics Pride Jersey
Charlotte Hornets Jersey

Daemon
Tim Hardaway Jr. Tattoo
DeAndre Jordan Tattoo
David West Tattoo
Dion Waiters Tattoo

Manni Live, Shuajota, TBM & Onegreatrace
College Hoops 2K17 16 Team Demo

TGsoGood
Adidas YEEZY 350 Boost

Manni Live
Cleveland Cavaliers National TV Arena

The Friday Five: 5 Preferable Pre-Order Bonuses

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 pre-order bonuses that I believe would be preferable to offer gamers every year.

Yes, I know. The whole concept of pre-ordering is one of the biggest problems with video games these days, right up there with always online connectivity, and the need for day one patches. Ideally, we’d all band together and refuse to pre-order, in an effort to curb the practice. However, that’s not going to happen. Developers obviously want to move their product, which means providing gamers with an incentive to put their money down as soon as possible. That incentive comes in the form of a variety of pre-order bonuses, which in theory reward gamers for having faith in a title.

In practice, pre-order bonuses can be a little underwhelming. If you’re not into “ultimate collector’s editions”, the physical extras such as hats and posters aren’t going to offer much incentive, but even if we just focus on the in-game items, certain pre-order bonuses can leave something to be desired. The “Early Tip-Off Weekend” bonus for pre-ordering the last couple of NBA 2K games is a great idea that should be retained, but there are a few other things that both Visual Concepts and EA Sports could be doing to reward loyal customers who pre-order. In some cases, that simply involves a slightly different approach to what they’re already doing.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #202

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #202 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we talk about the NBA Playgrounds roster reveal, Hassan Whiteside’s dissatisfaction with his ratings in NBA 2K17, insights into MyTEAM pack odds, and the latest action from the 2017 NBA Playoffs. And as always, we recap our past week in basketball gaming!

On this week’s show…

  • The roster for NBA Playgrounds has been revealed. Some of the inclusions and omissions were rather surprising, but we’re still looking forward to the game.
  • Hassan Whiteside isn’t exactly satisfied with his ratings in NBA 2K17, and he wasn’t shy about letting his feelings be known on Twitter. We wonder whether other players have felt similarly insulted over the years.
  • A post over on Reddit has shed some interesting insights into pack odds in MyTEAM. We once again give our thoughts on the fairness of packs in NBA 2K17.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has featured disappointment over the lack of a 2K TV screenshot in MyCAREER, new MyCOURT digs in the woods, and MyTEAM challenges. A discussion of Freestyle2: Street Basketball also leads us to reminisce about the days when the market was awash with hoops titles.
  • We wrap up Episode #202 of the NLSC Podcast with a recap of the recent action from the 2017 Playoffs, as well as our thoughts on three point guards: Rajon Rondo, Damian Lillard, and Chris Paul.

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.

Ultimate Classic Teams Roster by Dee4Three Released

Ultimate Classic Teams Roster for NBA 2K17

Something I’d like to do moving forward is to shine more of a spotlight on some of the big modding projects in our community. I’d like to begin with a recent release by Dee4Three, namely the Ultimate Classic Teams Roster. The mod adds 18 new classic teams to NBA 2K17 PC, and is suitable for both MyLEAGUE mode and Play Now games.

A lot of work has gone into the project, which includes accurate rosters for all the new teams, as well as all the appropriate faces (with some lookalikes), portraits, jerseys, courts, and logos. You’ll even find the correct head and assistant coaches for every team. Painstaking attention has been paid to the ratings and tendencies for all the retro players, for the most authentic experience possible.

The Ultimate Classic Teams Roster can be downloaded through the in-game roster sharing function; you’ll find it under the name UCTRD43. You can download all the required art assets in this thread in the Forum. You’ll also find plenty of previews and more information about the mod there.

Congratulations again to Dee4Three on the release of such a comprehensive retro mod! If you like the Ultimate Classic Teams Roster, you might also want to check out his other releases: the Ultimate All Time Teams Roster, and Ultimate Fantasy Draft Roster. For more great work from our community, stay tuned for further bulletins, and keep it locked to the Releases & Previews sections in the Forum!

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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