The Friday Five: 2016 Year in Review

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.

We do have one more Friday left in 2016, and I expect that I’ll post a column as usual next week, but just in case I do have to skip it, I thought that I’d post my Year in Review edition of The Friday Five this week instead. As the year draws to a close, it’s obviously a time to celebrate the holiday season and spend time with loved ones, but we also can’t help but reflect upon the past twelve months. For one reason or another, it seems that a lot of people had a rough time in 2016, and if you can say the same, then I hope we were able to lift your spirits at times.

Of course, it was something of an up and down year in our community, too. There was some big news about NBA Live, a new NBA 2K release, and a lot of activity in terms of discussion and modding releases. There was also some stress and uncertainty back in June as we searched for a new home, and ultimately were able to move to a new host. I’ll no doubt have some final reflections in my annual New Year’s Eve post, but for now, please join me as I take a quick look back at the year that was, and ahead to the year to come.

1. The NLSC Move

LeBron James dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 16

Since I already brought it up, let’s begin with our big move back in June 2016. Our previous host informed me that he was looking to move on and discontinue his hosting services, which he’d provided to us since 2008. He’d been very generously providing free dedicated hosting for those eight years, in return for advertising space. Originally, he’d arranged for another network to take us on under a similar agreement, but the deal unfortunately fell through when they felt that they would not be able to meet our needs with such an arrangement. I therefore had to find new hosting, and come up with the funding to pay for it, before the server was shut down.

Without going into all the details, it was a pretty stressful turn of events, at a time when I was dealing with some personal matters. There was a real possibility that we’d have to either shut down completely, or scale back operations as far as file hosting and the like. Fortunately, our former host helped us find a new solution that we’ve been able to fund (though contributions through Patreon and GoFundMe are definitely still appreciated). We expect to be around for a while yet, and the move has turned out very well after some initial problems with the transfer and setup, but it definitely was a challenging time, so I’m glad to say that we ultimately came through it.

2. The Big Stories

Cover player Paul George dunks the basketball in NBA 2K17

Just to be clear, I’m talking about the big stories in the basketball gaming community. I’ll leave the obituaries, social and political commentary, and other such topics to different sites. One of the big stories was EA Sports’ announcement that NBA Live 17 would be delayed until the first quarter of 2017. This has led to a lot of concern and scepticism, which is natural given some of the struggles of the NBA Live series over the past decade. However, it’s also resulted in some optimism about the series. A lot of gamers seem to feel that the extra time will be well-spent and the delay ultimately worthwhile. In the meantime, NBA Live Mobile has been well-received.

2K Sports did release a game, and while it’s not perfect, I do think that NBA 2K17 is the best basketball title of the current generation. It’s not been without controversy, however. It took a long time for previews to start coming out, with most of the preview season dedicated to hyping pre-order bonuses. There were also times when 2K reps showed an astonishingly arrogant and disrespectful attitude towards the fanbase, and gamers have been unfairly banned in MyTEAM. On one hand, we have a great game to play, but at the same time, I don’t know that the basketball gaming community has ever been as frustrated and cynical as we are right now. Hopefully, it’s something that we can rebound from.

3. Five Favourite NLSC Podcast Episodes

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

Arcane and I ended up missing a lot of weeks with the NLSC Podcast in 2015, due to a combination of illness, personal issues, and scheduling conflicts. We resolved to do better in 2016, and while some shows have come out later in the week than others, we didn’t miss a single week since the first show of the year on January 7th. Kenny has also joined us on the show this year, and it’s been great to have a three-man booth again. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any special guests this year, but we’ll certainly see what we can do in 2017. Here are my picks for five of our best episodes, along with some of the key discussion topics in those shows.

Support for the NLSC Podcast has increased this year with more people tuning in and sending in topic suggestions, and we’re certainly very grateful! We hope that you’ll continue to tune in throughout 2017.

4. Five Favourite Friday Fives, Monday Tip-Offs, & Wayback Wednesdays

Michael Jordan dunks the basketball against the Sonics in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

While I didn’t miss nearly as many weeks with my other features as we did with the NLSC Podcast, last year I did end up skipping a few columns for one reason or another. To that end, I also resolved to keep up a regular schedule throughout 2016, and I’ve been able to do that. Some I’m very pleased with, some I feel could’ve been better, and some turned out better than I expected, but I think that’s the way it goes with all creative works. Hopefully, most of you found them to be entertaining and informative. I invite you to browse the archives, but here are some of my favourite editions of The Friday Five, Monday Tip-Off, and Wayback Wednesday in 2016.

Monday Tip-Off
Wayback Wednesday
The Friday Five

Why do these features in particular stand out to me? Generally speaking, I’m happy with the way they turned out, and feel that they were fun and/or important topics to cover. With some of them, I had to do some research that turned up some interesting trivia that I didn’t know, or had forgotten. As we look to continue our original content in 2017, don’t forget about Kenny’s Sunday Substitute column, or our ongoing 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content. The latter is a little belated and extended, but something I’m still enjoying creating all the same. Once again, stay tuned for more columns and videos next year!

5. Summing Up 2016, Looking Ahead to 2017

Kobe Bryant shoots the basketball in NBA 2K16

As I look back at the list of things I wanted to do this year, I feel that 2016 was, in many respects, another successful year for the NLSC. We did pick up our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content again, we regularly posted original content (and tried a few new things along the way), I released a few mods, and I’ve done some work with the Wiki as well. That being said, I’d be lying if I said I was completely satisfied. We’re running into double overtime with the 20th Anniversary content (though I’m glad people are enjoying it), there’s still work to be done with the Wiki, and I’d like to see more discussion taking place in our community.

2016 marked our 20th Anniversary, and I’m generally pleased with how everything turned out with our hosting situation and our content, but there’s so much more that I want to do in 2017. I want to line up some interviews again. I want to finish our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content, and continue to produce original content that people enjoy. I’d like keep modding here and there, and I definitely want to encourage a lot more activity in the Forum and in the comments section of articles. Let’s enjoy our basketball video games, get some fun conversations started, and keep them going. 2016 turned out alright in the end, but I know we can be even better in 2017.

Let me close by thanking everyone for their support throughout 2016. I hope you’ll stay with us through next year and beyond, as we continue to cover, critique, and celebrate basketball video games. We’ll have NBA Live 17 and NBA 2K18 to look forward to (and perhaps NBA Live 18 as well?), in addition to the work of our modding community, and the rest of the 2017 NBA season. Personally, I’m looking forward to a clean slate, and getting creative in the New Year. That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in; have a great weekend, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and please join me again next week for another Five.

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