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Monday Tip-Off: 2019 Year in Review

Monday Tip-Off: 2019 Year in Review

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 look back at the year that was 2019 in basketball gaming, and our community here at the NLSC.

We’re at the start of a new week, but a couple of days away from the end of the year, not to mention a decade. Given the timing, I’ve decided to use this week’s Monday Tip-Off to reflect on the past twelve months, just as I did last year. Although this isn’t The Friday Five, I will be using a similar format on this occasion, as I’d like to take the opportunity to spotlight some of my favourite content from the past year, and discuss various aspects of the hobby under their own subheadings. If you’ve missed out on any of these features, I’ll be linking to them so that you can check them out.

Overall, it’s been another successful year here at the NLSC. Our modding community is still productive, and we’ve been able to do some fun things with our content. We expect to be around for some time yet, and basketball gaming itself is still thriving. There have been some ups and downs as there always are, and that does leave us with a few issues that we need to deal with moving forward. However, I’m confident that we can come together as a community and work out appropriate solutions. Without any further ado, here are my reflections on the final year of the 2010s, and an editor’s pick of articles, podcasts, and other features that I’m particularly proud of.

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Monday Tip-Off: A Crossroads in the Modding Community

Monday Tip-Off: A Crossroads in the Modding Community

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 by addressing some recent concerns and issues in our modding community.

I’ve often spoken of how proud I am of our modding community, how I truly believe we have a good thing going here. I stand by that statement, but it’s a remark that I’ve often made before offering up criticism of troubling practices within our community. I’ll admit that I’m doing the same thing today, as the last couple of weeks have been an unusually turbulent time. There are a number of issues that have reached a boiling point, and troubling attitudes have been on display. It’s culminated in at least one ban, and an unhealthy amount of tension for what is meant to be a fun hobby.

At the same time, it’s led to a productive discussion about the path that our modding community is on, and the kind of community we want to be. It’s allowed us to raise these issues and find out that many of us are on the same page. I’d like to continue that discussion here today. Yes, I have some criticisms that may seem blunt, but I would ultimately like something positive to come out of the messy situation that has arisen. As I’ve said in the Forum, it’s getting to the point where we may have to amend our rules and policies, to ensure that we’re maintaining the standard we’ve set and culture we’ve established. If nothing else, we want to make sure unwritten rules are written.

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NLSC Podcast #300: Hunters & Collectors

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #300 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Dee4Three and myself as we mark the 300th episode of the NLSC Podcast with a conversation about some recent controversies in the community, the thought-terminating cliches that bother us, Basketball Classics, and the joy of collecting basketball video games, new and old.

As we celebrate 300 episodes, we reflect on one of our favourite shows: our interview with Tim Kitzrow back in Episode #280. Recalling his passion for NBA Jam, we’re reminded of how it’s too easy to be dismissive of what came before as pure nostalgia – on the real and virtual hardwood alike – and resort to cliched buzzwords to shut down criticism of newer things. That leads us to note the fantastic fusion of the old and new with Basketball Classics, as we share some more impressions of the game. After touching on the recent hack of NBA 2K accounts and issues with ad links in our modding community, we finally get to our featured discussion topic: collecting basketball video games. We talk about our collections, the process of tracking down older titles, the problems that digital content and releases present for collectors, and the fun of playing our old favourites and checking out games we missed out on the first time around.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on the recent controversies? Do you consider yourself a collector of basketball video games? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ways We Can Be Less Toxic

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 describes five ways that the basketball gaming community can be less toxic towards each other.

Toxic behaviour and video game communities: name a more iconic duo, right? I’ve talked about toxicity in our community before, and the situation hasn’t improved in the past twelve months. That’s not unexpected of course, because unfortunately it’s something that’s rather ingrained in online culture. However, with some of the issues that basketball gaming is facing at the moment, it’s a shame that we can’t all get on the same page more often. We’ve never been in complete agreement and we never will be, but it does feel like we’re more divided these days.

With that being said, there’s no reason that we can’t try to bridge the gap and strive to change the culture. If nothing else, we can set ourselves up to have more positive experiences, and simply avoid some of the more toxic aspects of the hobby. To that end, in addition to pointing out ways that we can be toxic, I’m proposing solutions to make the basketball gaming community a nicer scene. Considering how certain toxic behaviours not only cultivate an unfriendly atmosphere, but actively work against our best interests as consumers, it’s a matter of cutting off our nose to spite our face if we don’t at least try to change the way we think and interact.

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Monday Tip-Off: Hopping On The Banned Wagon

Monday Tip-Off: Hopping On The Banned Wagon

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 insights into our approach to banning people in our community, as well as the potential fallout when users do get banned.

Many years ago, we used to have a public “Banned List” in the NLSC Forum. It was started and maintained for a few reasons. First of all, it let people know that someone had been banned, pre-emptively answering questions as to where they had gone. The second reason was to emphasise the rules that had been broken, as we also listed the reason that the person had been banned. And, because we were all a bit younger and less mature then, the third reason was the humiliation factor involved. In other words, act up, and you go on the naughty list for everyone else to see.

Because of the third reason in particular, I was generally uneasy with the idea, and so we eventually put the kibosh on the Banned List. I also feel that if someone is acting up so badly that we feel compelled to show them the door, they shouldn’t be glorified or given any further attention, and the list did offer some measure of notoriety. I still feel that way, which is why I don’t like to talk about people who have been banned, even when they post inflammatory remarks about the site, me, or other NLSC staff. It’s sometimes awfully tempting to respond though, even if it’s only in general terms. To that end, I’d like to talk a little about those who hop aboard the banned wagon.

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Monday Tip-Off: 18 Years Running the NLSC

NLSC Court in NBA 2K17

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 some reflections as I celebrate 18 years of running the NLSC.

Today, I’m not just tipping off a new week here at the NLSC, but the start of another year of my tenure as the site’s webmaster, administrator, and primary content creator. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was an excited young basketball gamer of almost 17, accepting the offer to take over the biggest and best NBA Live fansite. That was August 26th 2001 however, which means it was quite some time ago: 18 years, to be precise. To say that basketball video games have come a long way, and that the NBA itself has changed a lot during that time, would be an understatement.

I always get reflective around the time of my NLSC anniversary. Maybe that’s part of being a so-called old head, or maybe I’m just the sentimental type. This year feels like a particularly big milestone as at this point, I’ve been running the NLSC longer than I haven’t; literally more than half my life! I’ve mentioned it in previous reflections, but I do sometimes wonder how long I’ll end up running the site for. Presumably until it’s no longer an enjoyable creative outlet for me, and honestly, that time hasn’t come yet. I still plan on being around and keeping the NLSC going for a while yet, especially when some of its most rewarding experiences have come this past decade.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Our Modding Community

RED Modding Center for NBA 2K14

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 current state and future of our modding community.

2019 could be a great year for our modding community. Late last year, Vlad delivered a wonderful gift in the form of new versions of RED MC and REDitor II that are fully functional and completely free. The availability of these modding tools should allow for some great new releases for old favourites that are still being tinkered with. The community is also very active as far as updating NBA 2K19, with our most intuitive modders developing new techniques and resources. As far as the site is concerned, we anticipate being around for some time yet.

However, there are some disappointing trends and growing concerns. I’ve discussed a few of them before, but unfortunately, they persist (and in some cases, are just getting worse). In some respects, we’re at the mercy of current trends and culture, and some issues are difficult to curb without setting inflexible rules that ultimately run the risk of driving people away from the hobby. Nevertheless, I’d like to take the opportunity to weigh in on those matters once again, and try to steer our modding community onto a better path. To be as productive and friendly as possible, we must avoid the pitfalls and toxicity that have sunk other modding websites and communities.

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Monday Tip-Off: Toxicity in the Basketball Gaming Community

LeBron James dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 19

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 toxicity that we unfortunately so often encounter in the basketball gaming community.

Yes, cranky old Andrew has something else to complain about today! I mean, the last four Monday Tip-Off articles were all about having fun with basketball video games, so it’s about time I grumble again, right? In all seriousness, this is a topic that I feel needs to be addressed, because I believe it’s an area where collectively, we can do a lot better: toxicity among basketball gamers. Now, there is a certain amount of irony in discussing the matter in that it’s being negative about negativity, but it’s important that we do take a look at what’s happening, and aim for a constructive solution.

Before we begin, let’s address the obvious point: the situation is hardly unique to the basketball gaming community, or the World Wide Web at large. Many blogs, videos, comics, and social media posts have been made about the toxicity that all too often permeates online culture. That in itself doesn’t make it right or a desirable state of affairs however, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps to change our attitudes and behaviour. I’ve been a content creator and part of the online basketball gaming community for over twenty years now, and I’ve noticed an increased amount of toxicity in that time. Worst of all, in some ways, developers are pandering to it.

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Spotlighting Our Stories Section; Join in the Fun!

Enter the Dragan is one of the most active Stories in the NLSC Forum

The Stories section in the NLSC Forum isn’t as popular as it once was, in part due to changing demographics and basketball gaming habits. However, there has been some renewed interest in sharing franchise and career mode stories in recent months. To that end, I’d like to spotlight some of the tales that are currently being told on the virtual hardwood.

  • NLSC 2K Pro-Am team member Valor has been running with an expansion franchise – the Chicago Sharks – in NBA 2K17. Currently in the second season, they’ve been able to make some noteworthy free agent signings.
  • Speaking of NBA 2K17 stories, Phil89 is running one titled “Enter the Dragan“. It features the Phoenix Suns, who are currently squaring off with the Chicago Bulls in the 2019 NBA Finals.
  • A rather unique NBA 2K14 story is being told by truefaith0826. Set in the 1996 season using a combination of Ultimate Base Roster and U R Basketball assets, it features some fantastic presentation including video recaps and artwork from NBA Live 96.
  • Speaking of throwback stories, Kevin is running an NBA 2K17 story currently set in the 1997 season. Notably, he’s using an expansion team: the Montreal Hyenas.
  • Jumping over to NBA Live 06, Breems is attempting to re-write history with the 2006 Washington Wizards. The story already features a noteworthy trade, and is approaching the All-Star Weekend.
  • We’ve seen some great NBA Live 10 stories over the years, and cavs4872 is looking to recapture that with a new tale featuring the Houston Rockets. A couple of offseason moves have been reversed, and Allen Iverson has ended up in an unexpected destination.
  • Contributor Dee4Three has taken a fantasy approach to an NBA 2K17 story, pitting historical teams against each other with injuries disabled. It’s resulting in some interesting match-ups to say the least.

With NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 on the horizon, I hope that we can see further activity in our Stories section. As our interviews with various members of the community hopefully demonstrate, a lot of people have had fun sharing their franchise and career experiences with their fellow basketball gamers over the years, and it’d be great to see that trend return.

Whether it’s through written recaps or video content, franchise or career modes, a new game or old, I invite everyone to join in the fun! In the meantime, be sure to check out the aforementioned stories, the other active topics, and of course, the Story Hall of Fame for both NBA Live and NBA 2K.

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Monday Tip-Off: To Be, Or Not To Be, A Developer

NBA Elite 11: A tough game to be a developer on

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 appeal of being a developer working on basketball video games, and a story about an opportunity that I had some ten years ago.

For those of us who have grown up playing video games of any genre, the prospect of one day being able to work on them ourselves is very appealing. From what we’ve heard from people in the industry – including former community members who have been hired by EA Sports and Visual Concepts – it is indeed an amazing and exciting career, in many ways a dream job. It does come at a price, however: long hours, harsh deadlines, and intense scrutiny from a target audience that can often be extremely toxic. Much is demanded of a video game developer, and it’s clear that you need to be all in on the job, as well as willing and able to weather the tough aspects of the gig.

I don’t believe that I’ve ever told this story publicly, but around ten years ago, I had an opportunity to join the team at EA Canada as a developer on the NBA Live series. As my continued presence here and lack of in-game credits would indicate, I didn’t take the job. It was a difficult decision for reasons I’ll get into shortly, but beyond any personal issues or possible concerns about the direction of NBA Live, I had to ask myself one rather pertinent question: did I really want to do it? Would it truly be a dream job for me, one worth moving to the other wide of the world for? In short, and with apologies to William Shakespeare: to be, or not to be, a developer?

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, basketball gamers! I’m glad to have you back at the NLSC as we tip off 2018, and gear up for another year of hitting the virtual hardwood. In that spirit, a new Monday Tip-Off article will be out shortly, but before that, I wanted to lay out some of our plans for a new year of basketball gaming.

I’m actually currently out of town, but as soon as I’m back, I’ll start catching up on any files that have been added to our Downloads section. It’s my hope that our modding community will continue to make good use of our hosting facilities, so that we may avoid losing mods that have been uploaded to hosts that routinely delete files after a period of inactivity. In any event, I’m sure that we’ll see many great releases this year.

On a personal note, I’d like to be a bit more active in the modding community this year, if possible. I had grand plans to do that last year, but unfortunately, things kept getting in the way. I do have a list of ideas for mods that I’d love to make if I can find the time, and with a couple of them already out there as beta/demo releases, I’m eager to give that a try. I can’t make any promises, but it’s certainly my intention to try to release some work here and there.

If nothing else, I’ll continue creating original content in the form of my weekly features. In addition to Monday Tip-Off, I’ll continue to post Wayback Wednesday and The Friday Five features every week. The NLSC Podcast will be back on the air – hopefully as soon as this Sunday – and we’ll do our best not to miss weeks as we unfortunately ended up doing last year. I’m eager to get some more video content out there on a regular basis, possibly in the form of a revamped Tuesday Triple. We may also be looking to finally add a few new content creators to the NLSC Team, so stay tuned for more details.

As always, I encourage everyone to make good use of our Forum, as I’d love to see lots of great discussion taking place throughout the new year. Our Wiki could always use a few extra helping hands as well, so if you have the knowledge, the time, and the enthusiasm, please feel free to pitch in and help keep our resources up to date.

Since it’s a new year, I will mention our Patreon and GoFundMe campaign once again. As I’ve said before, I don’t want to push them too aggressively or more than a few times a year, but if you are able to help out with our hosting fund in any way, we’re grateful for any and all contributions. A big thanks to everyone who has already dug deep and lent a hand in that regard. I hope we’ll continue to justify your generosity with our content and facilities.

With all that being said, let’s get Year 22 here at the NLSC underway! Thanks for being a part of our community!

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New Year’s Eve 2017

New Year's Eve Fireworks

And so, 2017 is all but in the books. I know I reflected on the year that was in my most recent Friday Five article, but I’ve generally made it a tradition to post a few final thoughts on New Year’s Eve. With that in mind, here goes!

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to run the NLSC for another year, its 21st in operation. It’s been great to see all the talented modders sharing their work with the community, and I’ve enjoyed releasing my own work here and there when I’ve found the time. As I mentioned in my Year in Review in the Friday Five, I’ve enjoyed creating original content throughout 2017, and in particular, covering some topics that have been on my To Do list for some time.

Something that I forgot to mention in last year’s New Year’s Eve message is that we’ve managed to post a daily update of some kind every day without fail since December 31st, 2006. Our archives currently don’t go back that far as we changed to a new content management system in 2011, but I promise you, the streak is indeed intact. One of my goals with the NLSC is to bring basketball gamers something new every day, be it a round-up of the latest additions to our Downloads section, news from the preview season, one of our regular features, or other information of interest to basketball gamers. I’m proud of the fact we’ve been able to do that for over ten years running.

This was our first full year with our current host, and I would have to say that for the most part, it’s been smooth sailing. Thanks to a combination of donations, our Patreon supporters, and advertising revenue, we’ve been able to cover the monthly hosting costs, and expect to be around for a while yet. As such, I’m hoping to do more fun things as we enter our 22nd year covering basketball video games.

Thank you for your support throughout 2017, I hope to see you all back with us in 2018. Until then, as is the tradition around these parts, I’ll leave you with Lutz’s words of wisdom for the occasion: Remember the safest order of things on New Year’s Eve: 1. Fireworks, 2. Drink, and not vice versa!

See you in 2018!

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Monday Tip-Off: The NLSC’s Biggest Move, One Year Later

NLSC 20th Anniversary Logo

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 some reflections on the NLSC’s big move last year, which was one of the most significant in the history of our site.

Around this time last year, I was in the process of moving the NLSC from our old host to our current home. It wasn’t the first time that we’d had to move to a new host, but it was definitely the most stressful move we’d undertaken. On top of the usual downtime and teething problems, there was also an air of uncertainty. For the first time since I took over the NLSC, we’d be footing the bill for our hosting costs, rather than getting free hosting in exchange for advertising space. We also had a deadline, as our old host was discontinuing their services as of July 7th 2016, which meant if we hadn’t moved or at least backed up everything by then, everything would be lost.

Fortunately, it all turned out for the best. We found a new home, nothing was lost, and in terms of covering our expenses, we’re confident that we’ll be around for a while yet. Needless to say though, until everything was transferred and running smoothly, and the financial side of things had been sorted out, I was under a lot of stress. There were a few moments where it looked very bleak, and I found myself trying to prepare for the worst and figure out how to announce the unfortunate news. With our future now looking much brighter, I thought that I’d reflect a little on that time, and offer a little more of the back story.

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Operation Sports Visiting 2K; Send Them Questions!

NBA 2K17: John Wall

Our friends over at Operation Sports will be visiting 2K Sports next week, where they’ll have an opportunity to chat to former community members who are now working on NBA 2K. As such, they’re inviting the community to submit questions for them to ask. If there’s something you’d like Chris to ask, be sure to let him know here over on OS.

Please note however, as clarified here by the one and only Leftos, this interview won’t be touching on any issues related to NBA 2K17, or providing any information about NBA 2K18. The conversation will be focusing on what it’s like to make the transition from a gaming community to the development team, what it’s like to work in the industry, and other developer stories.

I’m also happy to pass along questions that get posted here at the NLSC, either in the comments below, or in this thread that I’ve set up in our Forum. Post them ASAP, and I’ll be sure to shoot them across to Chris.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, basketball gamers, and welcome to 2017! Hopefully, you’ve made it through the holiday season and New Year’s Eve celebrations safe and sound, and you’re ready for another twelve months of fun with basketball video games. We certainly are!

In addition to hosting our talented modding community for NBA Live and NBA 2K, we also aim to keep bringing you coverage of the latest basketball gaming news, and fresh original content. Last year, we were able to keep a fairly consistent schedule with our features, and we’re aiming to do the same this year. Be sure to check in every week for Monday Tip-Off, Wayback Wednesday, the NLSC Podcast, and The Friday Five. Our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content is also ongoing, Kenny has The Sunday Substitute, and we’ll be looking at introducing some other new content as well.

A couple of other things I want to promote at the start of another new year here at the NLSC are our Forum, and the Wiki. I’d definitely like to see more discussion taking place in the Forum in 2017, whether it’s our reaction to the games, our recent experiences, or sharing tips and advice with one another. I’d also like to see more discussion in the comments sections of our feature articles; remember, they’re intended to start conversations, not be the final word! As for the Wiki, I’d like to see it continue to expand, and become a definitive resource of information for basketball video games.

I’d also like to mention our Patreon and GoFundMe campaign once again. I don’t want to push them too aggressively, but if you are able to help out with our hosting fund in any way, we’re grateful for any and all contributions. We’re hoping that we can also use some of those funds for some more contests and giveaways in 2017.

I’m looking forward to working on original content, recording more podcasts (hopefully with some interviews this year!), seeing what our modding community comes up with, and getting involved in some modding myself when I can. And of course, I’m looking forward to another year of basketball gaming. I hope you’re all looking forward to that too, and will join us for the ride throughout 2017.

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