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Monday Tip-Off: Revisiting My NBA 2K18 Dunking Issue

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 revisiting my issue with dunking back in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER.

From the first iteration of MyPLAYER Archetypes to NBA 2K20’s pie charts, player builds have been a contentious aspect of MyCAREER and its connected modes. The approach is intended to balance the game and allow us to create the type of player that best suits us, but in reality, it’s proven to be very restrictive. Only a handful of builds are viable – especially when it comes to online play – and those tend to be noticeably overpowered. Conversely, a lot of the builds that aren’t as viable are often outright broken, and not enjoyable to play with.

I encountered a very strange issue with dunking back in NBA 2K18, playing as a Sharpshooting Playmaker. Despite increasing my ratings, equipping the appropriate animations, and being very familiar with the advanced shooting controls, I was rarely able to get my player to dunk. Hearing that there might be an issue with tendencies for point guards created in The Prelude, I contacted 2K Support. Predictably, they were no help whatsoever. I’ve since made a few observations when creating similar builds in NBA 2K19 and NBA 2K20, and so this week, I’m briefly revisiting NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER to see if I can actually resolve my dunking issue.

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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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Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 2)

Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 2)

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at some more players that I remember because of video games.

Back in September, I listed ten players that I remember in large part because of basketball video games. I could have easily listed many more, but I didn’t want the article to be too long. I also figured that it was a topic I could revisit from time to time, much as I’ve done with my series of Friday Five articles on retro teams that I’d like to see in NBA 2K. Furthermore, it’s something I enjoyed doing the first time around, as the players we used to play with and against in old basketball games make up a big part of our nostalgia for them.

Although I may also remember these players from watching real games, or collecting basketball trading cards, video games tend to be the main reason that I recall their names and faces. Through playing with and against them on the virtual hardwood, they remain familiar to me all these years later, even though they weren’t NBA All-Stars or future Hall of Famers. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: 2K’s Overlooked Gambling Mechanic

Monday Tip-Off: Overlooked Gambling Mechanic

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 an often overlooked gambling mechanic in NBA 2K.

When rating and reviewing the last few NBA 2K games, a common sentiment is that the core gameplay delivers, the modes are deep and engaging, and there’s a lot of fun to be had, but the recurrent revenue and gambling mechanics are off-putting. In other words, there are a lot great things about NBA 2K on this generation, but there’s also a distinct lack of goodwill and an undeniably predatory business model. Notably, these complaints haven’t yet hurt 2K’s bottom line as sales and recurrent revenue are at an all-time high, though user scores and trust in the brand are considerably down.

There have been several articles, videos, and social media posts discussing the most problematic aspects of current gen NBA 2K. Progression in MyCAREER and a lack of matchmaking online has created a more forceful push towards spending money on VC in order to level up quicker. MyTEAM is arguably more controversial as its packs can be compared to loot boxes, which are widely considered gambling mechanics and thus inappropriate in games rated for minors. Both issues are concerning, but there’s an even more brazen gambling mechanic present in NBA 2K, and for some reason, it never seems to get any attention despite its overt nature.

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The Friday Five: 5 Suspended Players in NBA Video Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five players who have appeared in basketball video games after being suspended from the league, either permanently or temporarily.

The Phoenix Suns have won three of their first five games to open the 2020 season. If they’re to keep racking up wins for the foreseeable future, they’ll be doing so without last year’s number one overall pick Deandre Ayton, who was suspended for 25 games after testing positive for a diuretic. Although no other banned substances were found in his system, the use of a potential masking agent nevertheless triggered an automatic ban under the league’s anti-drug policy. The NBPA is currently appealing the ruling, but even if they’re successful, Ayton will likely still miss several games.

That means that he’ll be on the inactive list in forthcoming roster updates for NBA 2K20, but still available in the game. Of course, getting suspended or banned from the NBA doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be missing from the virtual hardwood. A handful of players have remained active in video games after they were suspended in real life, often in the free agents pool where they can be signed in a franchise game at affordable rates. A noteworthy exception is Chris Andersen, who didn’t appear in any games during his suspension in the mid 2000s. The following five players, however, were not removed after the league prohibited them from playing.

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Wayback Wednesday: EA Sports World

Wayback Wednesday: EA Sports World

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 EA Sports World.

I’ve taken a look back at some very old basketball video games in my Wayback Wednesday features, and it’s impossible not to marvel at how far the genre has come. Of course, even in the last ten years or so, we’ve seen some big leaps and changes. The improvements in graphics and the depth of modes are obvious talking points, but the concepts that became outdated and left behind are also quite interesting. I suppose it can be said of technology in general, but it’s funny to look back at ideas that once seemed revolutionary and the way of the future, but instead quickly became obsolete.

A prime example of that is the subject of this week’s Wayback Wednesday: EA Sports World. Supporting EA Sports’ lineup of titles including NBA Live 09 and NBA Live 10, it was designed as a hub for sharing content and utilising various online features. Today however, it’s long defunct. So, what was EA Sports World, and what happened to it? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Why NBA 2K Needs Matchmaking

Monday Tip-Off: Why NBA 2K Needs Matchmaking

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 outline of why it’s important that future NBA 2K games implement proper matchmaking.

When NBA Live 08 implemented Online Team Play post-release, we were seeing the future of online basketball gaming. Although subsequent NBA Live titles would build upon that first iteration of the concept, it’s ultimately been NBA 2K that has taken the experience to new heights. The idea of creating your own player and joining up with other gamers to play multiplayer games where every player is user-controlled has become the most popular experience in NBA 2K. It’s even led to the founding of a professional eSports league, run in conjunction with the NBA itself.

Given the popularity that online play now enjoys, it’s both puzzling and disappointing that NBA 2K is lacking such a critical component of the experience: matchmaking. It’s kind of implemented in that there’s a rep system (albeit one that’s problematic), position logic behind teaming up players in the Rec Center, and a rough ranking system in team Pro-Am. However, it’s nowhere near as deep or effective as it needs to be, and in the case of The Playground, it’s completely non-existent. Simply put, if NBA 2K is going to cater to its large paying audience and establish a respectable competitive scene, it needs to have proper matchmaking.

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The Friday Five: 5 False Memories in Basketball Gaming

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five examples of false memories we have of basketball games, and how they came about.

False memories are recollections of something that didn’t actually happen or exist, or of something happening in a way that differs greatly from reality. There are plenty of examples such as misquoted lines from TV, film, music, and literature, not to mention recollections of completely non-existent works. False memories can also involve commonly held, yet erroneous beliefs. The latter phenomenon has been labelled the “Mandela Effect”, after the belief that Nelson Mandela had actually passed away in the 1980s. The spelling of the Berenstain Bears is another famous example.

Needless to say, video games provide us with plenty of examples of false memories and the Mandela Effect. This is usually due to rumours and urban legends that are perpetuated despite being debunked time and time again, or simply an incorrect recollection of a game you haven’t played in a long time. Other times, the memory may be accurate in that it’s something that was experienced, but inaccurate in that it was the result of a mod, or something seen in an early preview. As is often the case, basketball gaming provides us with its own examples of false memories, and today I’m taking a look at five of them, along with some possible explanations.

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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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