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The Friday Five: 5 Wholesome Moments in Basketball Gaming

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 wholesome moments in basketball gaming.

Let’s face it: it’s easy to get bogged down in negativity. Sure, criticism is an important part of constructive feedback, but it shouldn’t be our only focus here in the basketball gaming community. Most online communities have their toxic elements and sadly we aren’t immune, especially when certain elements of the games cultivate and contribute to a toxic atmosphere at times. It’s therefore important that we take time to recognise the positive aspects of our hobby, and celebrate all of the fun that we have with it. After all, most of us do enjoy playing the games at least some of the time!

Beyond our enjoyment of all the things we do on the virtual hardwood, basketball gaming has been responsible for some wholesome moments throughout the years, and those should be celebrated as well. I know that it’s difficult not to be cynical and write off such gestures as nothing more than PR stunts, but the mere fact that there’s the prospect of positive press doesn’t mean that these wholesome gestures are insincere, or that they aren’t admirable. With that in mind, let’s wrap up the working week with some positivity, and take a look at five wholesome and heart-warming moments from various basketball video games, and give some credit where it’s due.

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The Friday Five: 5 Hot Takes on Basketball Gaming in 2019

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 features five of my hot takes on basketball gaming in 2019.

Another Friday the 13th is upon us, and I’ll be honest: I’m drawing a blank on fresh ideas related to good luck, bad luck, and the number thirteen. I suppose I could talk about having terrible luck with disconnections in NBA 2K, or how I lost my progress in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER when I accidentally overwrote it with an old backup from the cloud, and then access to the save file entirely because the server was shut down during a time when I’d uninstalled the game. I could look back at NBA 2K13, or even the ill-fated NBA Live 13, but that’s more suited to Wayback Wednesday.

Instead, I’m going to take us into the weekend by sharing five hot takes about hoops gaming in 2019. After all, does anyone want a fair and measured take anymore? I’d like to think so as that’s my preferred approach, but there’s no denying the popularity of hot takes. If you agree with them, they make you feel clever and self-righteous. If you disagree with them, you can enjoy getting fired up and firing back at the person tossing them out. I can’t quite bring myself to abandon all reason and give you some hot takes on the level of an obnoxious talking head on a panel show, but I’ll share a few thoughts regarding our beloved hobby that you may or may not agree with.

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The Friday Five: 5 New Basketball Games I’d Like to See

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 new basketball games that I’d like to see developed in the future.

Happy 2K Day everyone! NBA 2K20 is out today, which means a lot of gamers in our community will be spending time with it this weekend; I know I will be! While I hope I’ll enjoy NBA 2K20 as much as I did NBA 2K19, I’m also hoping that it won’t be the only release this year. We’re still waiting on any information about NBA Live 20, and the future of the NBA Live series. A release is slated for next quarter and various reps have said that EA Sports aren’t pulling the plug, so we can only wait and see what happens.

I still firmly believe that we need at least two viable choices when it comes to the sim-oriented NBA games on the market. Ideally, we’d also have some more arcade games and other titles to choose from, too. Obviously a lot of people are getting the virtual basketball experience they crave from NBA 2K, but competition, alternatives, and different takes on the sport are important to have. Beyond seeing NBA Live catch up to NBA 2K and be competitive again, there are other ideas for basketball games that I’d like to see come to fruition. Some of these ideas are easier said than done when you take licensing into account, but I’m throwing them out there anyway.

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Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games

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 some players that I remember because of video games.

In response to my retrospective of NBA Live 95 for our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations, our own Q noted that the game helped him form opinions about NBA players. I can certainly say that video games were one of my main resources for learning about the league and its players when I was first getting into basketball, and I know a lot of other 90s kids can say the same. I’ve wondered if that still applies to the younger gamers these days. NBA 2K’s success has unquestionably made the genre mainstream, but the Internet has also made the NBA itself more accessible than ever.

I’ve previously joked that you know you’re a long-time hardcore NBA fan when you can name benchwarmers from over a decade ago. Trading cards and video games are also a reason that I remember a lot of lesser-known players from the 90s and 2000s, and a few of them will often spring to mind thanks to the virtual hardwood. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I’m recalling some of those players who stuck in my mind due to their video game counterparts. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Aussies in Basketball Games

Wayback Wednesdays: Aussies in Basketball Games

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 history of Aussies in basketball games.

If you listen to the NLSC Podcast or pay close attention to the way I spell certain words, you’ll know that I’m an Aussie. Being a basketball fan in Australia hasn’t always been easy, even with the NBA’s explosion in popularity in the 90s, as well as the heyday of our own local league, the NBL. Sadly, the sport hasn’t always had the most favourable reputation with many of my fellow Aussies. While those of us who love hoops do so passionately, it’s always battled cricket, tennis, and at least three different codes of football (rugby, Australian Rules, and soccer) for popularity.

I’ve always felt that our struggles on the world stage have contributed to the game’s up-and-down popularity down under. The Boomers are yet to win an Olympic medal, but just this past week, they scored a huge win over the USA in the second exhibition game played in Melbourne; the first time they’ve ever defeated the US. It helps that we have a few more Aussies in the NBA these days, which also means that we see them on the virtual hardwood. In honour of the Boomers’ big win, I’m reflecting on the history of Aussies in basketball games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Odd Mistakes in Old 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. This week’s Five is a list of five odd mistakes that could be found in old basketball games.

Authenticity is the name of the game, especially for sim titles. Over the years, eagle-eyed hoops gamers have proven adept at spotting mistakes, big or small. Whether it’s an inaccuracy in a court or jersey, a rating that is way off, or some other error, you can be sure that someone with an eye for detail will point it out. Some mistakes are easy to fix ourselves, while others require some modding skill (and for that matter, a game that is easily moddable). Official updates have also become far more detailed over the years, correcting many minor (and sometimes major) mistakes post-release.

As for why these mistakes occur, the simple answer is that the developers are human, and it’s easy to overlook a detail here and there. There are also times when mistakes and inaccuracies are the result of technical limitations, licensing issues, or some other factor. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that older hoops games have featured some odd mistakes through the years. We still see inaccuracies in modern games, many of which are addressed by official updates, but they’re generally not as weird and quirky as the mistakes in old titles. Here are five of my picks for the oddest mistakes that we’ve seen in various classic basketball video games.

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Monday Tip-Off: An Open Letter from An Old Head

Monday Tip-Off: An Open Letter from An Old Head

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 an open letter to younger basketball gamers and fans from an admitted old head of 34.

Hey there, younger fans of basketball and basketball gaming! Do people still say hey for hello? I’m trying to avoid a “How do you do, fellow kids?” type of scenario here. Because let’s face it, there is a generational gap between some of us, and I’d rather not condescend to you, or look foolish with some ill-fitting slang. I’ll just stick with hey. Anyway, I’m Andrew, and to a lot of people who are into basketball and basketball video games, I would definitely qualify as an old head. At least, that’s the term I’m seeing used in a lot of online conversations to describe someone like me.

I’ll admit that at the age of 34, I still feel too young to be classified as an old head. It’s probably a fitting term, though. My all-time favourite band and television show are both only slightly younger than I am. My nostalgia is rooted in entertainment and events from well over a decade ago, and my opinions on sports, movies, television, and gaming no doubt reflect that. I’m at that odd stage where I still feel a bit rebellious towards the generations older than me, while at the same time starting to feel like a grumpy old man. Before I completely devolve into yelling at clouds however, I’d like to try bridging the gap between an old head like me and the younger generation.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Theories

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 suggests five basketball gaming theories that are as yet unproven, but I believe are certainly plausible.

Video games are full of mysteries, usually thanks to cut or unfinished content, or some other aspect that is left unexplained. Sports games generally don’t hold quite as many of these secrets or causes for speculation compared to other genres, but they do still have their points of interest. Over the years, basketball games have contained traces of planned features, or other signs of interesting development back stories that have been left untold. It’s led to a lot of speculation and guessing in our community, but hey, they’re just theories; basketball gaming theories!

Ham-fisted references to a popular YouTube channel aside, I’ve been thinking about a few unusual occurrences and unexplained content in a handful of basketball games. I wanted to offer up some explanations, and since I can’t definitively prove them, I was originally going to title this article “5 Wild Basketball Gaming Theories”. However, I decided to drop the “wild”; not only because it was a bit clickbait-y, but also because I believe at least a couple of these theories are quite plausible. It would be nice to get definitive answers about these matters one day, but for now, here are five basketball gaming theories for your consideration.

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The Friday Five: 5 Planned Features That Fell Through

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 features that were planned for basketball video games, but ultimately fell through.

We’re in the midst of another preview season, waiting to hear about all the changes, additions, and improvements in this year’s games. Of course, one of the perennial worries in our community is that popular features will be ruined by changes or, worse yet, removed altogether. It’s particularly frustrating when we look back at some of our favourite games and see features that are no longer available. It especially stings when they were originally implemented in the early days of basketball gaming, yet have been missing for several years.

That’s a tough enough pill to swallow, but it’s arguably even worse when we hear about great features and content during the preview season, only for it to ultimately fall through. Hearing about plans that didn’t come to fruition after the fact also leaves us wondering what might have been, as does discovering the remnants of scrapped features in game files. Features are never axed for malicious reasons; rather, factors such as time constraints, licensing issues, and other unfortunate circumstances are what cause them to fall through. They’re interesting trivia notes and What Ifs though, so let’s take a look at five of them, including one you won’t have heard before.

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Wayback Wednesday: Old School Season Modes

Old School Season Modes (NBA Live 96)

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 old school Season modes.

Modern basketball games have their issues which are important to discuss, but one thing we can’t say is that they don’t offer a variety of experiences. Even though NBA Live’s modes are still in need of fleshing out, by including Franchise, Ultimate Team, and The One with its connected experiences, we’re presented with a few choices. One of NBA 2K’s strengths for many years has been its deep modes, with MyLEAGUE, MyGM, MyTEAM, and MyCAREER’s online and offline modes keeping us hooked year after year. We’re provided several different ways of playing virtual basketball.

As much as the controls, graphics, physics, and any other aspect of modern titles, it’s the modes that make old basketball video games look primitive. The most in-depth experience on offer was generally the single Season mode, with minimal GM options and no independent action by the CPU teams. Nevertheless, we made the most of those old school Season modes, until they evolved into the multi-faceted, multi-season experiences that they would eventually become. They’re an important step in the evolution of basketball gaming, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Modes I Haven’t Played Much

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 takes a look at five game modes that I haven’t played much of over the years.

There’s almost too much to do in basketball video games these days. The amount of modes in NBA 2K in particular caters to a wide variety of tastes; whether you prefer competitive online play, card collecting and team building, living the life of an NBA player, or sitting in the GM’s seat, you can find something to play. Needless to say, this is a good problem to have. It makes older titles look even more primitive, and as we move forward, stresses the importance of NBA Live being able to improve upon the depth and variety of its modes.

While it’s a good problem to have, a bevy of deep modes can leave us struggling to get the most out of a title before the next game is released. As I’ve discussed, it’s a problem that’s further exacerbated when there are multiple hoops titles that you want to play. I’ve spent many hours playing basketball games over the years, and I’ve built up a substantial collection of titles. However, I can’t say that I’ve been able to get the most out of all them, or spent as much time with some of the modes as I would have liked. Glancing at the modes in recent games, or looking back at older titles, I can think of at least five modes that I feel I’ve neglected.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Next Big Innovation in Basketball Games

Online modes have demonstrated significant innovation

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 what the next big innovation in basketball games might be.

June is upon us, which means we’re drawing closer and closer to the beginning of a new preview season for NBA Live and NBA 2K. A few rumours are already starting to swirl, and it hopefully won’t be too long before we get a few teasers and tidbits to sink our teeth into. In the meantime, we’re left to speculate, and talk about what we want to see in this year’s games. I’m hoping that NBA Live 20 will prove to be a big step forward for EA Sports’ series; conversely, I expect NBA 2K20 to be another fine release, though I am hoping it won’t mark a return to NBA 2K18’s greedy approach.

A new console generation also looms, so beyond this year’s releases, I’ve begun to wonder about what the future holds for basketball games. Apart from concerns about the direction (and whether I’ve started to slip out of the core audience), I’ve also been wondering about the next step in terms of innovation. After all, we’ve already seen the games become more and more realistic, incorporate a variety of deep modes, and provide new experiences through online play. New hardware will naturally facilitate a jump in graphics and animations, but as far as features are concerned, what else can be done to innovate on the virtual hardwood?

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The Friday Five: 5 What If Scenarios in Basketball Gaming

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 gets hypothetical, as I consider five “What If” scenarios in basketball gaming.

Even though we shouldn’t tie ourselves up in knots dwelling on the past, it’s hard to resist the allure of a fascinating “What If” scenario. What if Michael Jordan didn’t retire in 1993? What if he never returned in 1995, or in 2001? What if the Boston Celtics had won the Draft lottery in 1997? What if the Oklahoma City Thunder had never traded James Harden, or remained the Seattle SuperSonics? What if LeBron James had never taken his talents to South Beach? For each of these scenarios, we can debate and speculate as to how history would differ in both outcomes and perspective.

The real NBA provides us with plenty of “What If” scenarios, as there are so many events that have the potential to be pivotal: trades, free agent signings, lottery results, injuries, clutch shots, and fateful decisions in crunch time of the biggest games. For the most part, the history of the virtual hardwood goes hand in hand with the general improvements and progression of video games as a whole, but a few big moments – as well as a few things that didn’t happen – have shaped the hobby as we know it. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the twists and turns that basketball gaming may possibly have taken, but they are five “What If” scenarios that I find interesting.

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The Friday Five: 5 Times PC Gamers Missed Out 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. This week’s Five is a list of five times that PC gamers have missed out when it comes to the virtual hardwood.

Due to the popularity of the PC platform in our community, it’s all too easy to forget that it isn’t a priority for sports video game developers. Consoles account for a bulk of the annual sales, making PC sports gamers a niche within a niche. That hasn’t stopped us from having a lot of fun with the games that have come out on PC though, thanks in no small part to what our modding community has been capable of throughout the years. Furthermore, if you go back and look at the history of NBA Live on PC, there was a time when those releases could be considered the definitive version.

Unfortunately, playing on PC has sometimes led to missing out on content, or certain games altogether. From a developer’s perspective, consoles provide the convenience of standard hardware and digital platforms, as well as more security when it comes to piracy. Developing for the PC is more challenging due to differing hardware, as well as distribution methods. Even when the former hasn’t been a barrier to getting a PC release, the latter has prevented it from receiving the same level of support, including downloadable content. We’re fortunate enough to still get basketball games on PC, but here are five times that we weren’t so lucky on the platform.

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The Friday Five: 5 Toxic Behaviours of Online Basketball Gamers

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 discusses five toxic behaviours that are all too frequently encountered in online basketball gaming.

If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t had a whole lot of fun playing NBA Live or NBA 2K online this year. I have taken part in some very enjoyable games, and that’s kept me from giving up on the online modes altogether, but it’s felt like the experience has taken another step backwards. The lack of deep matchmaking and proper balance, gatekeeping measures such as requiring five users per side in Pro-Am, and increased focus on meta-gaming, have made online play a lot less fun in NBA 2K. Meanwhile, input lag and other gameplay issues have afflicted NBA Live’s online experience.

It’s not just issues with modes and mechanics, however. We gamers also bear much of the responsibility here, as there is a lot of toxicity among those who like to play NBA 2K and NBA Live online. I’ve discussed toxic behaviour in the community before, and since writing that Monday Tip-Off article, the situation hasn’t improved. Various aspects of the games do cultivate a toxic atmosphere and attitudes, as evident by other online gaming communities that are friendlier or more sporting, but ultimately we’re responsible for our own actions. To that end, curbing these five toxic behaviours will require a combination of changes to the games, and improvements in our attitudes.

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