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Wayback Wednesday: Orange Juice in NBA 2K17

Wayback Wednesday: Orange Juice in NBA 2K17

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 story of Orange Juice in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER.

After NBA 2K14 brought us the first story-driven MyCAREER mode, and NBA 2K15’s story delivered us the gift of infamously bad acting from NBA players, NBA 2K16 tried taking the concept to the next level with Spike Lee’s “Livin Da’ Dream“. Although the production values and acting were a lot better, the story had its own issues, and didn’t gel with the RPG aspect of MyCAREER. As such, the story-driven approach would be retooled in NBA 2K17, increasing the amount of gameplay in our rookie seasons while also allowing for more flexibility with the player character.

2K would also bring in Aaron Covington, co-writer of Creed, to write and direct the story. Michael B. Jordan, who starred as Adonis Creed in the aforementioned film, was also signed on to play Justice Young. Together with the MyPLAYER character, The President of Basketball – aka Pres – he formed a duo known as Orange Juice. The name drew some scorn when it was revealed, but how does the story and its impact on NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER hold up today? Pausing for a moment to note that there will be spoilers, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Revenge of the Nerfs

Monday Tip-Off: Revenge of the Nerfs

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 thoughts on the recent nerfs to VC rewards in NBA 2K20, and the underlying issues with transparency that they represent.

By now, you’ve probably heard that a recent update for NBA 2K20 has nerfed the amount of VC for starting salaries and endorsements in MyCAREER. While the nerfs to salaries only apply to new games, several NBA 2K20 gamers have reported that the amount of VC they’ve already negotiated for endorsement deals has been retroactively reduced. On top of that, it’s now far more difficult to negotiate with teams and brands, as there’s very little wiggle room in the counteroffers that they will accept. In short, VC can no longer be earned as quickly as it could be at launch.

Nerfs to VC, Badge progression, and other aspects of NBA 2K games are nothing new. Changes like this are always going to be controversial and anger a portion of the userbase, but the main point of contention for most gamers is that we didn’t receive any notice. The nerfs weren’t listed among the laughably short list of patch notes for the most recent update, nor were they announced or explained via the game’s official social media accounts. While this particular issue only affects MyCAREER, it’s emblematic of a much bigger and recurring problem with NBA 2K, that being an overall lack of transparency, communication, and goodwill.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: Exploring the NBA Live 96 EXE File

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: • Exploring the NBA Live 96 EXE File

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, I’m exploring the exe file for NBA Live 96 PC.

It’s time to go Easter egg hunting! As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, modding the early NBA Live games on PC required editing the game’s executable (exe) files. The editors for NBA Live 96 were sufficient for the most part, but there were times when we needed to edit a text string – such as a team name or the years displayed for the previous season’s stats – or a pointer to an art file. That required opening the exe file with a Hex Editor, and searching for the data that we wanted to change. While making changes to text strings for NBA Live 96 mods, I’ve come across a few interesting and amusing things. Join me as I comb through the file and point them out!

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The Friday Five: 5 Steps To Setting Up A MyLEAGUE Game

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 tips for setting up a new MyLEAGUE game in NBA 2K20, or a new franchise mode game in general.

The 2020 NBA season tips off next week, and it’s set to be a very interesting one. There are several new duos around the league, and the path to the Larry O’Brien trophy seems as wide open as it’s been in quite some time. Excitement for the tip-off of the new NBA season is no doubt going to stir up some interest in MyLEAGUE in NBA 2K20. If you’re like me, you’re probably waiting for updated opening night rosters to get started in MyLEAGUE, and from there create your own reality as you take on the role of GM, coach, and every player on your roster.

As more than a coupled of failed threads in our Stories section have demonstrated however, it can be all too easy to lose interest in a franchise game. Sometimes, the idea is more fun on paper than it is in execution. If you make the wrong choices when you’re setting everything up or the wrong moves once you’ve begun, you can easily derail what should have been an extremely engaging and enjoyable experience. To that end, for this week’s Friday Five, I’m offering up five tips for setting up your MyLEAGUE game for success. You’ll ultimately have to make the decisions that work for you, but hopefully this will be a helpful guide to get you started.

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Wayback Wednesday: My NBA Live 96 Rosters

Wayback Wednesday: My NBA Live 96 Rosters

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 reminiscing about stumbling upon the modding community back in 1997, and the rosters I made for NBA Live 96 PC.

This week’s Wayback Wednesday happens to have fallen on my 35th birthday. As such, I feel like reminiscing about my history in the community, and my modding endeavours in particular. I haven’t been as active modding NBA Live PC in recent years, and apart from my current plans to update the rosters for NBA 2K11, I haven’t been too involved in NBA 2K modding either. There are a few reasons for that, but it mostly comes down to making a lot of updates for many years beginning in 1997, burning out on the hobby, and wanting to create different content.

That’s not to say that I haven’t enjoyed my time messing around with mods over the past 22 years. Even though rosters in particular can feel like a chore, it’s tremendously satisfying when a project comes together. Rosters have been my bread and butter for the most part, and I’ve updated several iterations of NBA Live, right through to the final PC release with NBA Live 08. For me it all started back in 1997 with one of my all-time favourite games, NBA Live 96. Since I’m up to NBA Live 96 in our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations and I touched upon the subject of modding the rosters in my retrospective, let’s take a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 96 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 96 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 96.

While NBA Live 95 tipped everything off, it could be said that the release of NBA Live 96 is what established NBA Live as a series. The NBA Playoffs series had seen annual releases and the reuse of the NBA Playoffs branding in its early titles, but they also stood apart with distinct names: Lakers vs Celtics, Bulls vs Lakers, and Bulls vs Blazers. NBA Live 96 ensured that NBA Live 95 wouldn’t be a once-off branding in the lineage, as NBA Live 95 itself was originally intended to do for NBA Showdown. The question is, was NBA Live 96 a worthy successor to an undisputed classic? Did it deserve its back of the box tagline of “Back-to-Back Champion”?

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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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The Friday Five: Top 5 Worst Announcers 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 countdown of the Top 5 worst announcers in basketball video games.

Two Top 5 countdowns in a row? Yes indeed! Last week we took a look at my picks for the five best announcers in basketball games, so it seems only right that this week, we count down the five worst. Once again, this is all subjective and down to personal preference to some extent, and I don’t want to come across as mean-spirited with this countdown. After all, I’m sure that everyone I’ve named here did try their best in the booth. Nevertheless, these are my picks, and reading comments from other basketball gamers, I know that I’m not alone in some of these selections.

Since I outlined what makes a great hoops game announcer last week, I suppose I should set out my criteria for the worst announcers. Essentially, it’s the opposite. The performance may be stilted and boring, or inauthentic. In some cases, it may be a bad fit for the style of basketball game in question. Other times, the performance isn’t the problem, but the things the announcer is saying are annoying or distracting, and take you out of the experience. In short, commentary that is flat, uninspiring, ill-fitting, or annoying will make the action on the virtual hardwood seem far less fun and exciting, and that’s one of the main problems that I (and others) have with these announcers.

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Wayback Wednesday: Retro Team Additions in NBA 2K16

Wayback Wednesday: Retro Team Additions in 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 the additions to the roster of retro teams that were made in NBA 2K16.

After The Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest established retro teams as a staple of NBA 2K’s content, a few years went by before we saw any new additions. A handful of players disappeared from and later reappeared in the rosters as 2K lost and regained the rights to their likenesses, but the selection of historical squads remained the same, outside of the 1992 Dream Team appearing in NBA 2K13. Without a dedicated mode, it seemed as though we weren’t going to see any new additions to the roster of retro NBA teams anytime soon.

Fortunately, we were proven wrong. As the preview season for NBA 2K16 loomed, an episode of NBA 2KTV revealed three of the twelve new retro teams that would be featured in the game. Not only was it a promising sign that retro content wouldn’t be abandoned moving forward, but the choice of teams set a precedent that allowed it to expand beyond the scope of the squads added for The Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The In-Universe Value of VC (NBA 2K20 Edition)

Monday Tip-Off: The In-Universe Value of VC (NBA 2K20 Edition)

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 the in-universe value of VC in NBA 2K20’s MyCAREER, and some of the issues that it underscores.

Even though I’ve decided to move away from MyCAREER this year – a decision that I feel even more comfortable with having played a few games – my long tenure with the mode means that I still have some residual interest in what goes on with it. At the very least, I want MyCAREER, its connected modes, and The Neighborhood, all to be as good as they can be for the people who are interested in them. To that end, VC is still one of the most troubling issues: how much you earn, the prices of upgrades and cosmetic items, and the discrepancy between in-universe and real world value of VC.

The last couple of years, I’ve calculated the in-universe value of Virtual Currency in NBA 2K18 and NBA 2K19‘s Neighborhoods. Last year’s “exchange rate” was simply ridiculous, as 1 VC was equivalent to at least $105 in-universe, based on a salary of 500 VC representing a dollar amount of $4.29 million per year (and thus $52,317 per game). The exchange rate wasn’t consistent, as 1000 VC equated to an annual salary of $25.23 million ($307,682 per game), placing the value of 1 VC at around $308 in-universe. Needless to say, this made the in-universe price tags on clothing items truly insane. What’s the situation like this year? Let’s take a look and find out.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Announcers 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 countdown of the Top 5 announcers in basketball video games.

It’s been almost a year since I did a Top 5 countdown in The Friday Five. Seeing as how it’s one of the reasons this feature is The Friday Five, it’s time to remedy that. This time, I’m counting down the Top 5 Announcers in all of basketball video games, meaning both sim and arcade titles. I’m also featuring announcers who call real NBA games and voice actors who have provided commentary over the years. If that isn’t already a spoiler, yes, legendary voice of NBA Jam Tim Kitzrow is on the list. The question is: who are the other four announcers?

For that matter, what makes a great announcer in a basketball video game? In a sim game, it usually means authenticity in replicating a broadcast, from play-by-play to colour commentary. Conversely, arcade games benefit from commentary that isn’t as focused on play-by-play, but rather exaggerated reactions and catchphrases. The announcers play a key role in establishing the overall atmosphere and vibe of a hoops title, which goes a long way in getting us hooked and keeping us engaged. Obviously countdowns like this are always subjective, but I’d suggest that thanks to these five announcers, our experiences on the virtual hardwood have been greatly enhanced.

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Wayback Wednesday: Affiliations in MyPARK

Wayback Wednesday: Affiliations in MyPARK

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 affiliations in MyPARK.

The Playground has never been my main mode of choice – Pro-Am is more my speed when it comes to NBA 2K online – but I’ve had some fun with it over the years. More to the point, it has become one of the most popular modes in the game, and through the introduction of The Neighborhood, a major part of the main MyCAREER hub. From its introduction as The Park in NBA 2K14 to its rebranding as MyPARK and subsequently The Playground, the mode has gone from an online offshoot of NBA 2K’s career mode to its own fully fleshed out and immersive experience.

As much focus as it receives and as popular as it is, however, not all Playground gamers are completely satisfied with its evolution. One aspect that was left behind in the MyPARK era is affiliations. It’s not uncommon to see Playground gamers asking for the return of MyPARK affiliations in response to 2K’s Tweets, though as of NBA 2K20, it’s yet to make a return. What was it, and why was it so popular? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Entering the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER

Monday Tip-Off: Entering the Hall of Fame in 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 finally entering the Hall of Fame in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER.

Back in May, I talked about my aim of making it into the Hall of Fame before I put MyCAREER aside; not just in NBA 2K19, but for the foreseeable future. I knew it would be a satisfying way to cap off years of being a MyCAREER gamer, and also provide some closure as I made the switch to MyLEAGUE and MyTEAM. I met the requirements for induction into the Hall of Fame as I concluded my second regular season, and it was a great feeling. However, with a new-look lineup and a chance at a threepeat, I didn’t immediately retire in order to get the Hall of Fame cutscene.

I played a few games in the third year and did have some fun with them, but it was clear that I was done with the mode. I waited for a few weeks after NBA 2K20 came out, at which point I was certain that I didn’t have any desire to continue playing my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER. Knowing that there wasn’t any turning back, I hooked up my capture card, retired my player, and recorded the cutscene for posterity. I realise that many of you may have already watched that cutscene – either in your own games or on YouTube – but I wanted to share it with everyone today, as well as reflect on my journey to enshrinement in the virtual Springfield (and again, not that one).

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The Friday Five: 5 Unsolved Modding Mysteries

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 unsolved modding mysteries…at least as far as I’m aware.

In many ways, modding is about unravelling the mysteries of video games. It involves digging through the game files to find out how they work, and how we can alter them to improve a title, or create brand new experiences. Modding has allowed us to find and utilise hidden and leftover content, put assets to use in new ways, and with a bit of trial and error, swap files between games to add missing content and even rig up some unofficial fixes. In short, modding helps us to become familiar with the inner workings of the basketball games that we play.

Of course, for all the creative minds we’ve had in our modding community over the years, there are times when we’ve been stumped. For all our digging, tinkering, and experimenting with all the techniques that we know, there are a few things that we just haven’t been able to figure out. Although these unsolved modding mysteries haven’t prevented us from creating several amazing projects year in and year out, they have meant that some ambitious and creative ideas have been left on the drawing board, or necessitated workarounds. Join me as I take a look at five mysteries in NBA Live and NBA 2K modding that, as far as I know, remain unsolved.

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Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen in Basketball Games

Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen 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 Scottie Pippen and his legacy in basketball video games.

Chicago Bulls legend and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen turns 54 today. Incidentally, September 25th is a birthday that he shares with Mark Hamill, Will Smith, and my friend Courtney (Happy 30th Birthday, Courtney!). As you may know, my all-time favourite player is Michael Jordan, but Scottie Pippen is a close second, being MJ’s teammate on six Bulls championship squads in the 90s. I have many fond memories of that dynamic duo – dubbed “The Dobermans” by Johnny Bach due to their tenacity at both ends of the court – which could fill several Wayback Wednesday articles.

However, we obviously focus on basketball video games here at the NLSC. To that end, as it’s Pip’s birthday and he’s one of my all-time favourite players – as well as one of the greatest players in the history of basketball – it seems only appropriate that I take a look back at his legacy on the virtual hardwood. In my opinion, he has a rather interesting history in that regard, given how basketball video games were developed during his prime, and considering his standing among the NBA greats. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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