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The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Improve NBA 2K’s Retro Teams

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 ways that retro teams could be improved and better utilised in future NBA 2K games.

I know I’ve talked about retro teams a lot over the past few weeks in The Friday Five, but there are just so many intriguing possibilities. I’m taking a break from suggesting specific squads that I’d like to see added, and instead taking a look at how retro teams could be put to even better use in future iterations of NBA 2K. The current approach is certainly satisfactory for the most part, and in terms of providing extra content, it’s a long way ahead of what NBA Live is offering. Nevertheless, there are ways in which the retro teams could be handled better.

Obviously, there are other priorities to consider when it comes to the quality of future NBA 2K titles. Refining player movement and physics is important. Achieving a good balance between online and offline play is an ongoing challenge. Addressing issues with the amount of grinding and fairness of recurrent revenue mechanics is something that absolutely needs to be sorted out. However, there is room to discuss ideas for the bonus content, and indeed, the prevalence of retro teams in NBA 2K has more or less established them as a key part of the experience, year in and year out. To that end, here are five ways to improve NBA 2K’s retro teams!

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Wayback Wednesday: Livin’ Da Dream in NBA 2K16

Livin Da Dream Title Screen (NBA 2K16)

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 Livin’ Da Dream, the MyCAREER story in NBA 2K16.

Career modes have come a long way since they were essentially franchise modes with player lock. The concept has continued to evolve this generation, with MyCAREER pioneering the use of in-depth stories to accompany the gameplay experience. This hasn’t been to everyone’s liking – indeed, I’ve been critical of the approach on more than one occasion – but there’s no denying that a tremendous amount of work has gone into the production values of MyCAREER stories. 2K has also brought big names on board to bolster both the writing and performances of the tales told in MyCAREER.

After telling the story of competing with Jackson Ellis in NBA 2K14 and enlisting the help of several NBA players to voice themselves in cutscenes mentoring your player in NBA 2K15, 2K went all out in NBA 2K16. They brought in acclaimed (and now Academy Award-winning) director Spike Lee to develop a story for the mode that allows gamers to live out their dreams of playing in the NBA. That theme gave the story its title – Livin’ Da Dream – and it was a significant milestone in the continuing evolution of MyCAREER. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Putting the 2K in NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

Victory in NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

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 at how partnering with 2K has impacted the NBA Playgrounds series, both positively and negatively.

Since its release last October, our coverage of NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has been fairly light. I must admit to missing a few bulletins regarding official patches, something I’ve tried to remedy recently. One of the main reasons that our coverage has been so lax is that our community hasn’t really taken to the game. There was some support of the first NBA Playgrounds a couple of years ago, especially when we heard that it would be available for PC as well as consoles, but since then, there hasn’t been much enthusiasm around these parts. The lack of modding probably doesn’t help.

It’s unfortunate, as NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has made some pleasing improvements on its predecessor. It has its shortcomings, but overall, it’s a very solid arcade basketball game. The partnership between Saber Interactive and 2K has helped the game attain a higher profile, and also facilitated new content and features that are most welcome. At the same time, however, there have been some changes that definitely feel as though they’ve been influenced by the larger company. These changes incorporate some of the worst parts of recent NBA 2K titles, and are thus disappointing to see. Let’s go over some of the best and worst aspects of NBA Playgrounds joining the 2K family.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 11)

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 part eleven in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

It’s just about time for me to be moving on to some other topics with the Friday Five, as I’ve been covering retro teams I’d like to see in future NBA 2K games for a month now. However, I do have another five teams that I thought of while planning these features, so I figured I’d wrap things up for now and come back with new lists later on down the road. After all, this may be the last list for now, but I’m sure more teams will occur to me. As I’ve said, when you look beyond former champions, their opponents, and other noteworthy teams, you can come up with some fun and unorthodox ideas.

There are certainly some teams in Part 11 that fit that description! With the current decade drawing to a close, I’ve also looked to include a couple more retro teams from the past ten years, as some of them are becoming nostalgic in their own right. If I can talk about NBA 2K17 in Wayback Wednesday, then I can surely include a few teams from the early 2010s on these lists! As with my previous features, I’m making these suggestions in addition to the teams I’ve already mentioned; I’d still like to see those teams in NBA 2K as well. I’m also assuming that enough of the necessary players will be licensed, if they’re not in the game already. With that said, let’s get to the list!

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Wayback Wednesday: A Mistake Unnoticed in Over 20 Years

Kevin Edwards Credit in Attract Mode (NBA Jam TE PC)

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 a mistake in the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition that I haven’t noticed in over twenty years.

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, NBA Jam Tournament Edition is one of my all-time favourite basketball games. While I own the game on both Super Nintendo and PC, I’ve always been partial to the latter. It’s the version that I played the most, and I have many fond memories of playing the game with my cousin. One school holidays, we spent a lot of time playing with and against every single team, beating everyone to unlock all the secret players, and challenging ourselves to hit statistical milestones. For a while, it was a fixture of our basketball gaming rotation.

That’s why it’s so strange that I’ve never noticed a certain mistake in the game in over twenty years of playing it. While playing as the New Jersey Nets for the No Threes Challenge, I noticed that Kevin Edwards actually has Blue Edwards’ portrait. I knew about both players and what they looked like, basically from the time I started playing NBA Jam TE, so it’s really odd that it’s never clicked until now. I thought that I’d see if I could delve into the issue further, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Experiments in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER

Retiring in MyCAREER (NBA 2K19)

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 experiments in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER, and the discoveries about the mode that they’ve yielded.

Once again, despite my belief that I was over the career experience on the virtual hardwood, I’ve ended up playing MyCAREER extensively in NBA 2K19. It’s been a fun and rewarding experience this year, and I’ve enjoyed grinding my way up to 90 Overall without buying any VC, completing the first season and bringing another virtual championship to Chicago, and more recently, hitting 92 Overall and maxing out all my Badges. The online experience hasn’t been stellar this year, but I can say that I’ve enjoyed much of what the single player portion of MyCAREER has to offer.

Spending so much time with MyCAREER has piqued my interest in finding out more about the mode. In addition to the observations I’ve made over the course of playing my main game, I’ve also run a few experiments with additional saves. I’ve wondered whether certain events are scripted and consistent, if there’s a game over should you play or sim long enough, the mechanics of the Daily Prize Wheel, and even the speed of the bikes. Through those experiments, and a thorough playthrough of the mode, I’ve compiled some information about MyCAREER that I hope will be both helpful and interesting to gamers who may have similar questions about all of its ins and outs.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 10)

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 part ten in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

With this list of retro teams, I’ve reached a total of fifty throwback squads that I feel would make fun additions to NBA 2K! Although I’ve already covered many of the obvious choices in previous lists, thinking back through over seventy years of NBA history offers up a continuous stream of possibilities. As I’ve noted in my previous articles, some of the recently added retro teams open the door for squads beyond former champions, their opponents, and other great teams of note. Just because a team didn’t achieve great success in real life doesn’t mean that they aren’t fun to play with.

To that end, here are five more retro teams that would be fun to have in NBA 2K by default! Once again, these squads don’t override my previous suggestions; they’re all teams that I’d be interested in seeing included in future games. These suggestions are also assuming that all of the key players (or at least most of them) can be licensed, if they’re not in the game already. After all, it would defeat the purpose of adding new retro teams if they can’t even field five real players, preferably their actual starting five (though NBA 2K does currently include retro teams that are missing one of their regular starters). With all that being said, let’s get to the list!

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam TE No Threes Challenge

No Threes Challenge in NBA Jam TE PC

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 on another challenge in NBA Jam TE for PC, namely the No Threes Challenge.

Since I enjoyed dusting off the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition to take on last week’s All Threes Challenge, I decided to immediately follow it up with the complete opposite: the No Threes Challenge! This time, the goal is to win a game without hitting a single three-pointer; an easier task than in most of the sim titles, but potentially tough because of the way the CPU prevents inside shots with blocks and shoves. This won’t be a hit with analytics enthusiasts, but I’m going to give it a try anyway, using the New Jersey Nets. Let’s go back for a challenge…way back…

Once again, I’m open to suggestions for further retro basketball gaming challenges, be they for NBA Jam TE or another title (provided of course I have access to the game in question). I’m also open to ideas for Wayback Wednesday retrospectives, so if you’ve got a challenge in mind or something you’d like me to cover in this nostalgic weekly feature, let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to share any stories of your own self-imposed challenges on the virtual hardwood! I hope you enjoyed going Wayback with me, and a reminder to please subscribe to the NLSC YouTube channel for more video content.

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Monday Tip-Off: Music in Basketball Video Games

NBA Live 19 Mixtape

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 role that music plays in the basketball gaming experience.

One of the most recent patches for NBA Live 19 added a new song featuring Jadakiss, further demonstrating that all kinds of new content can be added post-release these days. Reactions to the new song can basically be broken up into three main responses. If you dig the track, it’s cool to see and hear it in the game. If it’s not your sound, you might grumble about the lack of “real music” among the tracks. If you don’t have any strong feelings about the song, you’ll likely be largely indifferent, except perhaps for some frustration that it didn’t constitute a more significant addition or update.

For most basketball gamers, the soundtrack ultimately doesn’t make or break a title. The action on the virtual hardwood is of much greater importance; you can always mute the soundtrack and put on your own music, but you can’t always find a way to enjoy the experience when there are significant gameplay flaws, or the modes are lacking. Nevertheless, in its own way, music has been an important part of basketball gaming over the years. It’s easy to think of it as nothing but background noise, but it does subtly influence our opinions of games, and shapes our nostalgia for them. In some cases, it can even affect us beyond our view of the games themselves.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 9)

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 part nine in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

While I was mulling over ideas for Part 8 of this series on retro teams I’d like to see in future NBA 2K games, I ended up with enough squads for Parts 9, 10, and 11 as well. Originally, I intended to space those articles out over the next few months so as not to run the topic into the ground, but since we’re on the heels of submitting our Wishlists for NBA 2K20 and NBA Live 20, I’m still in the mood to talk about content that I’d like to see. Besides, I had fun capturing the necessary screenshots and I’m eager to put them to use, so for this week at least, I’m going back to back with Part 9.

As with the previous lists, I’m exploring some unorthodox ideas for retro teams, as the squads that have been added in recent years go beyond the obvious choices of former champions, their opponents, and other teams with notable success. Once again, I must also emphasise that the latest list of suggestions doesn’t override or cancel out any of my previous suggestions; they’re just more teams that I’d like to see included in future games. As always, these suggestions are being made under the assumption that all of the necessary players, or at least an ample amount of them, will be licensed. Without any further ado, here are five more retro teams to consider!

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam TE All Threes Challenge

NBA Jam TE All Threes Challenge

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 on another retro basketball gaming challenge, namely an All Threes Challenge in NBA Jam TE on PC.

I enjoyed trying to win a game of NBA Jam Tournament Edition without scoring any points myself in a previous edition of Wayback Wednesday, so I thought that I’d try my hand at another challenge. This time, it’s the All Threes Challenge. The goal is to win a game in NBA Jam TE while only shooting three-pointers; neither I nor my CPU teammate can score a basket from within the three-point arc. Analytics say that taking a lot of threes is the most efficient strategy and the way to win basketball games, but does that apply to the virtual hardwood as well? Let’s find out as we go back…way back…

Once again, it was fun to take on the challenge! At some point, I expect I’ll attempt a No Threes Challenge, so look out for that in the near future. I’m open to suggestions for other retro basketball gaming challenges as well, provided of course that I can get my hands on the game. Post any suggestions in the comments below, and feel free to share stories of self-imposed challenges that you’ve tried! Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe to the NLSC’s YouTube channel for more video content.

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Monday Tip-Off: (Still) Shak’n The Floor – NBA Live 19 Mix

All-Star Joel Embiid dunks 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 an NBA Live 19 mix that I’ve titled “(Still) Shak’n The Floor”.

If you’re connected with us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen that I recently compiled an All-Star themed NBA Live 19 mix. I’ve wanted to try my hand at a mix for NBA Live or NBA 2K for some time now, and after playing a game with the 2019 All-Stars in NBA Live 19, I found myself with a bunch of fun highlight clips. I’ve put them to use in a mix set to the main track from NBA Live 2000: “Shak’n The Floor”, by Rahzel and the NBA Live Orchestra. Since I’ve been playing NBA Live for a long time now and it’s been almost twenty years since NBA Live 2000 came out, it only made sense to call the mix “(Still) Shak’n The Floor”. Check it out!

I like to dabble with video content every now and again, from game retrospectives to challenges and other fun stuff, so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel! I hope you enjoyed this mix for NBA Live 19; if you did, I might try my hand at a few others down the line. If you’ve got any mixes or cool highlight videos from basketball video games new or old, feel free to share them with our community over in our Forum. Here’s to another fun-filled week on the virtual hardwood!

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 8)

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 part eight in a series of lists of retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

It’s been six months since my last five suggestions for retro teams that I’d like to see added in future NBA 2K games. I’ve covered a lot of obvious squads among the 35 mentioned so far, but new suggestions still spring to mind. As I noted in my previous articles, some of the retro teams that have been added in recent years have opened the door for more unorthodox choices. Past champions, their opponents, and other teams that had a significant amount of success are always candidates for inclusion, but there are also less distinguished squads that are interesting for other reasons.

Whatever it is that made them interesting and significant in their own right, they strike me as being fun teams to play with in NBA 2K. Once again, these suggestions do not override the squads I mentioned in previous parts of this series; they’re all retro teams that I believe would be great additions to NBA 2K’s roster of historical content. Also, these lists are based on the idea that the necessary players can be licensed, assuming of course that they aren’t in the game already. It would be rather pointless to add these teams if the major players aren’t represented, after all. With that being said, here are my latest suggestions for additional retro teams!

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Wayback Wednesday: Barkley Shut Up and Jam!

Barkley Shut Up and Jam! Title Screen

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 Barkley Shut Up and Jam (officially titled Barkley Shut Up and Jam!).

Whenever someone or something is successful, you can be certain that a bunch of imitators will spring up. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but from the standpoint of a consumer, it usually leaves us with a marketplace full of knock-off products that don’t match the original in quality. This phenomenon occurs quite often in video gaming, whenever a revolutionary title bursts onto the scene. In basketball gaming, few titles have had the same impact as NBA Jam, and the game that defined the subgenre of arcade hoops has inspired many imitators over the years.

These NBA Jam-style games have varied in quality. None have matched the games that inspired them, but a few have been solid in their own right. Others fell well short of replicating the fun arcade basketball action that NBA Jam pioneered. Since today is Charles Barkley’s 56th Birthday, I’m profiling an NBA Jam clone that he endorsed: the more aggressively titled Barkley Shut Up and Jam! It’s a game that you may be familiar with if you grew up in the 90s, but does it hold up as the original NBA Jam games do? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Year One Complete in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER

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 upon completing my first season in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER mode.

A couple of weeks ago, I completed my first season in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER. It’s the third time I’ve finished a season in MyCAREER playing every game on twelve minutes quarters, joining my NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K17 games. With that in mind, I’ve have to say that it ranks up there as one of my all-time favourite experiences on the virtual hardwood, considering how it’s kept me hooked and ahead of the real NBA season. As I’ve mentioned before, I was all ready to skip the career modes entirely this year, so it’s not a bad effort at all.

NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER was a refreshing change of pace after the approach that 2K took with the mode last year. The story has been less intrusive, the characters far less annoying (for the most part), and the Badges have been easier to grind. A few changes to the shooting mechanics and other aspects of gameplay have also meant that I’m enjoying NBA 2K19 far more than I did NBA 2K18. My first NBA season – or really my second, as the commentary observes at one point – turned out to be quite a ride, and a very successful campaign. As my sophomore season gets underway, I’d like to reflect on what has turned out to be an enjoyable MyCAREER experience so far.

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