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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m revisiting the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC.

Have I mentioned that old basketball video games can be interactive almanacs? I believe I have, once or twice! It’s one of the things that I enjoy the most about retro basketball gaming, on top of the nostalgic throwback gameplay of course. As I’ve noted on several occasions, sim titles capture a snapshot of the league at the time they were released. This includes interesting trivia such as phantom stints, familiar faces in unfamiliar places, and familiar faces back in familiar places, to name just some of the examples that I enjoy keeping my eye out for.

I’ve previously revisited the rosters in NBA Live 2002, NBA Live 95 (both PC and Super Nintendo), and NBA Live 99 PC (with the official update). Those were fun trips down memory lane, but I’m even more excited to revisit the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC. It’s one of my all-time favourite basketball games, and while I sunk countless hours into it playing with my 1998 season roster, I also spent a considerable amount of time with the default lineups. It’s also helped me out with modding, and even in answering trivia all these years later! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Harsh Reality of PC Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: The Harsh Reality of PC Basketball Gaming

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a frank discussion of the harsh reality of PC basketball gaming.

I won’t say that I’ve never been one to engage in tribalism with my various fandoms. Back in the 90s, I was a Nintendo kid. That meant in my mind, Nintendo ruled, Sega sucked, and all of the blast processing in the world couldn’t convince me otherwise. In the Monday Night Wars, I was Team WWF, and outside of local indie promotions here in Australia, WWE is still my wrestling company of choice. When it comes to basketball, my allegiance is to the Chicago Bulls. While that doesn’t mean I hate every other team, there are absolutely a few that I’ve actively cheered against!

In short, while I believe tribalism makes fandoms incredibly toxic, I can’t claim that I’ve always been above it. However, one war that I’ve never taken a side in is the whole Console vs. PC debate among gamers. That’s because I’ve always played games on both, going right back to my introduction to console and PC gaming, the Mattel Intellivision and TI Basic respectively. Some of my favourite games only came out on consoles, some only came out on PC, and some – including basketball games – came out on both. PC basketball gaming is what our community was built upon, and I’m obviously a big fan of it, but there’s a harsh reality with the platform we must face.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 13th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

This week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays features an impressive re-creation of one of Allen Iverson’s most iconic ankle breakers, which long-time basketball gamers may recognise from his highlight reel in the menu of NBA Live 07 PC. It’s a timely submission given the recent unveiling of AI’s statue, but the rest of the countdown is packed with evergreen highlights including wild alley-oops, vicious poster dunks, and ankle breaking moves that would earn The Answer’s stamp of approval. Seven games are featured this week, from NBA Live 96 through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Modes to Play When You’re Short on Time

The Friday Five: 5 Modes to Play When You're Short on Time

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five modes to consider playing when you’re short on time.

Look, we all love basketball video games. That’s why we’re in this community, whether we’re creating or consuming content. Most of us enjoy hitting the virtual hardwood as often as we can, but the fact of the matter is that we all have other responsibilities. Work, school, family, friends, partners, chores…there are times when we need to put the controller down, if sometimes reluctantly! When our gaming time is limited, we need to manage our minutes carefully. That includes everything from playing on shorter quarters, to sticking with a viable mode.

When you don’t have a ton of time throughout the week to play basketball games, then you may find yourself opting for modes that don’t require lengthy sessions to have fun and achieve a sense of completion. Similarly, there may be occasions where you have a small window of time – perhaps at the end of a long session – and feel like messing around on the virtual hardwood a little longer, without getting sucked into another full-length game. Fortunately, over the years we’ve had modes and mini-games alike that are appealing to dabble with when we’re short on time. Whether you’re a retro gamer or playing the latest release, consider trying out these modes!

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Wayback Wednesday: Alternate Jerseys & Retro Gaming

Wayback Wednesday: Alternate Jerseys & Retro Gaming

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m reflecting on using the alternate jerseys from yesteryear whenever I’m retro gaming.

One of my pet peeves with the modern NBA is the new approach to jerseys that was adopted when Nike got the uniform contract back in 2017. Sure, we saw the end of those terrible sleeved jerseys that adidas brought in, but it also resulted in a major shakeup to uniform designation and nomenclature. Instead of dedicated home and away jerseys, we have Icon and Association uniforms, with teams choosing which to wear at home and on the road. There are so many alternate jerseys these days from City to Earned Edition uniforms, with designs of varying quality.

What bugs me the most about the current approach to alternate jerseys is that they’re often worn as frequently as the Icon and Association uniforms; or at least, it certainly feels that way. That makes them less special than when they were Sunday uniforms, or otherwise only worn for a handful of games as a change of pace. Given how often some teams wear their City or classic jerseys, it makes you think that maybe those should be the primary uniforms! Grumpy grumbling aside, this approach has given me more of an appreciation for some of those old alternate jerseys, to the point where I’ll frequently use them when I’m retro gaming. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Low-Stakes Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: Low-Stakes Basketball Gaming

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on how much I’m enjoying low-stakes basketball gaming.

Naturally, Play Now/exhibition mode is a necessary staple in basketball video games, as it is in all sports titles. It’s important to be able to just jump into a game where the result doesn’t have to count, especially while we’re getting acclimated to a new title. However, historically speaking, I generally haven’t played too many exhibition games once I’m hooked on a release. More often than not, I’ve just used Play Now to grab screenshots for an article or news post, immediately quitting after getting what I need. If I was going to settle down to play a full game, I wanted it to count for something.

Over the past few years though, my habits have drastically changed. I’m still eager to play games that count, as my ongoing NBA 2K14 MyCAREER and other preserved save files demonstrate. At the same time, I’ve become far more open to – and keen on – low-stakes basketball gaming. Even putting aside sessions where I’ve just fired up a game to capture screenshots or video for a feature, I’ve probably played more Play Now and exhibition mode games in the past couple of years than I have in a long time; perhaps ever in my decades of hitting the virtual hardwood! I must say that it’s been incredibly refreshing, and as such, it’s something that I intend to keep doing.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 6th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Buzzer beaters are fun and they’ll always be welcome in the NLSC Top 10 Plays, but this week’s countdown is all about the dunk…well, for the most part! There’s also a play featuring some fancy footwork in the post that embarrasses two defenders before knocking down a silky jumper, but apart from that, it’s a spectacular barrage of putbacks, posters, and alley-oops! Of course, while all dunks are fun, it’s the moves that set them up that really take them to the next level, as these highlights demonstrate. Once again, the countdown features a variety of titles from NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 right through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five reasons why NBA 2K17 has been the best game in the NBA 2K series so far.

Since I’ve already declared my pick for the best game in the NBA Live series – NBA Live 06 PC, incidentally – I figured that I should do the same for the NBA 2K series. As you can see, I’m giving the nod to NBA 2K17. As with my nomination of NBA Live 06 PC as the best NBA Live we’ve ever seen, my choice of NBA 2K17 isn’t exactly objective. I have plenty of affection for the game, as it’s one of my all-time favourite basketball titles, irrespective of series. Of course, there’s really no such thing as unbiased opinion, though there are well-reasoned and poorly-reasoned ones.

I believe I can present a fair and hopefully compelling case for NBA 2K17 being the best NBA 2K. You can definitely make valid arguments for other games in the series, and indeed, NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 has risen up my personal rankings over the past three years. As was the case with the best of the NBA Live series, it’s a close race between the top NBA 2K releases, and personal preference does come into play. With that being said, while my first four points could also apply to some of NBA 2K17’s predecessors, the fifth point is what puts it above all of its successors, at least in my view. And so, without further ado, here’s why I say NBA 2K17 was the best NBA 2K!

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Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Game Manuals

Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Game Manuals

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at basketball video game manuals.

It’s getting harder to reminisce about physical media without sounding incredibly out of touch, and far older than I am. However, as consumers battle corporate giants over digital ownership and bemoan the disappearance of content from streaming services, I believe that more and more people are beginning to understand why many of us have been clinging to physical media for as long as we can. It’s not simply a case of wistful nostalgia, or a refusal or inability to get with the times. While digital media has the advantage of convenience, physical media offers posterity, and tangible ownership.

But yes, there’s also undeniable nostalgia with physical media, particularly video games. There was something special about going to the video store, browsing the shelves for a game to rent, and choosing one that would be yours to play…at least temporarily! Needless to say, it was even better when you bought a game. Not only was there no time limit to the fun, but you also had the box or case to admire. And inside the box or case, depending on the game, there were manuals, maps, charts, and so on. We’d enthusiastically pore over these materials well before we even dove into gameplay, including hitting the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: C’mon Take-Two…CTC

Monday Tip-Off: C'mon Take-Two...CTC

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a clear message for Take-Two: when it comes to historical players, CTC; cut the cheque!

Browse the classic teams or the lineups in MyNBA Eras, and you’ll be able to compile a lengthy list of players who are missing. Now, getting everyone into the historical rosters in NBA 2K is easier said than done, and it’s unlikely we’ll ever see complete lineups outside of community-made projects. It should also be noted that 2K has made significant strides here, working diligently with Kenny Gattison – former NBA player and now Vice President of membership and Player Programming for the NBRPA – to get more alumni onto the virtual hardwood.

Even with his assistance, it’s not an easy task. Some players are difficult to track down, while others may not be interested in participating. If they’ve passed away, their family may be understandably reluctant to sign over their likeness rights. And of course, other players may simply be unimpressed by the offer Take-Two has made to them. In fact, three of the biggest names who remain absent – Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Rasheed Wallace – have been pretty clear that they’re dissatisfied with 2K’s pitch to be in the games. Indeed, when Sheed was asked about his absence, his response was CTC; cut the cheque! As such, I believe Take-Two should cough up.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: March 30th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

“Spectacular dunks” is a recurring motif in the NLSC Top 10 Plays – and for very good reason – but this week’s countdown is more of a celebration of clutch performances! You’ll find some long bombs that are on target, and thrilling game-winning shots, including one that secures a championship for the Los Angeles Clippers…in NBA Elite 11! And yes, there are still some awesome dunks as well, because it never gets old seeing players slamming it home with power and style, in real life or on the virtual hardwood. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Weird Bugs & Design Errors in Modes

The Friday Five: 5 Weird Bugs & Design Errors in Modes

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five weird bugs and design errors that I’ve encountered in the modes of basketball video games.

It bears repeating that no video game, basketball or otherwise, is going to be perfect. If it were possible to design games and software that were completely bug-free, it would’ve happened a long time ago! As basketball games and their modes have become deeper and more sophisticated, the chances of there being a few bugs here and there has only increased. Likewise, while there have been some very smart and passionate people working on basketball video games past and present, not all ideas pan out as well as hoped, leading to what we could reasonably call design errors.

Needless to say, it’s frustrating for everyone when bugs and design errors stand in the way of modes being as fun as they could and should be. In the best case scenario, a patch can fix the problem, or the issue will be resolved in next year’s release at the latest. Sadly that isn’t always the case, and there are times when we’ve been stuck with bugs and design errors for a few games running (and sometimes, even longer). Even when bugs and design errors don’t completely ruin a mode, they still have an impact on the experience, and they become one of the things that we remember most about a title. Here are five weird bugs and design errors that I’ve encountered in modes I play.

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Wayback Wednesday: Timberwolves Franchise in NBA Live 2003

Wayback Wednesday: Timberwolves Franchise in NBA Live 2003

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at my Franchise game with the Minnesota Timberwolves in NBA Live 2003.

I’ve had a number of memorable franchise and career mode games over the years. My Dynasty games with the Chicago Bulls in NBA Live 2004 and NBA Live 06 are among my all-time favourite basketball gaming experiences. Likewise, I had a blast with MyCAREER in NBA 2K13, NBA 2K17, and NBA 2K19, and I’m still playing through the mode in NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4. At the same time, I’ve had some games where I haven’t achieved completion or closure, such as my 1998 season in NBA Live 96 PC, and my Sacramento Kings Franchise in NBA Live 2002.

My Franchise with the Minnesota Timberwolves in NBA Live 2003 PC is another example of a “failed” game. Of course, labelling such games as “failures” probably isn’t the right way of looking at things. I’d actually like to delve into that topic in more depth sometime, but my Timberwolves Franchise does stand as an example of how completion is what we make it. Or, to put it another way, as long as it was fun while it lasted, it’s ultimately neither a failure nor wasted time. That Franchise was certainly memorable for me even if it wasn’t successful, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Video Game Teams

Monday Tip-Off: Video Game Teams

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at the concept of Video Game Teams.

Dee and I have mentioned “Video Game Teams” and “Virtual Hardwood Legends” on several episodes of the NLSC Podcast. That’s because they’re part of some of our favourite basketball gaming memories, and I know that we’re definitely not alone in that regard. There have been many articles and posts from basketball and other sports gamers who fondly recall players and teams that were dominant in video games – even unstoppable – irrespective of their real life performance. Indeed, video games are undoubtedly responsible for gamers becoming fans of certain teams and players!

At the same time, enthusiasm for the real sport frequently determines our choices in video games. For example, we’re more likely to use our favourite players and teams – if we have them – because there’s already some degree of emotional investment. We’ll also seek out a change of pace though, and if we’re passionate about the sport and its history, we’ll recreate interesting scenarios and historical showdowns. Over the years, we’ve seen many busts that become superstars on the virtual hardwood, and teams that fared much better in games. They’re often a blast to play with, but as the term “Video Game Teams” might be somewhat ambiguous, I figured I’d take a shot at defining it.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: March 23rd, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

As always, this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays is bringing you a variety of basketball’s most exciting highlights, in real life or on the virtual hardwood! You’ll find an Eddie Jones gamewinner, a strong putback during a Rec game in NBA 2K24, poster dunks courtesy of MyTEAM and MyNBA Eras games, a signature Vince Carter 360 in NBA 09, and other spectacular moves. Eight different titles are on display, once again demonstrating that it’s not just about the latest release when it comes to having fun with basketball video games. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.