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Wayback Wednesday: My 1998 Season in NBA Live 96 PC

Wayback Wednesday: My 1998 Season in NBA Live 96 PC

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 season in NBA Live 96 PC, playing with a 1998 roster update.

I’ll readily admit that sometimes it’s difficult to get my head around the fact that it’s been over 25 years since The Last Dance came to an end. To put it into perspective, in 1998, that would’ve been the equivalent of looking back at the New York Knicks’ 1973 championship season! It doesn’t feel like such ancient history when your own nostalgia is involved, and as a Chicago Bulls fan, the 1998 season is naturally quite memorable for me. Those memories also involve the virtual hardwood, as it was during the 1998 season that I made my first roster updates for NBA Live 96 PC.

It was also one of the first seasons that I tried to play along with in a video game. Not in NBA Live 98, mind you. Unfortunately, our family’s aging PC couldn’t handle that game, as I found out firsthand when I tried running the demo! Instead, I used NBA Live 96 PC and my aforementioned 1998 season roster update. Although it was ultimately another season that I didn’t complete, it’s nevertheless one of my favourite basketball gaming experiences, thanks to all of the effort that I put into it beyond simply playing the games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: New Game Bad, Old Game Good…Yes, Sometimes!

Monday Tip-Off: New Game Bad, Old Game Good...Yes, Sometimes!

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 response to the ironic use of “new game bad, old game good” that shills are using to shout down criticism.

It’s undoubtedly obvious from both my articles and commentary on the NLSC Podcast that I greatly dislike thought-terminating clichés. One that I’m seeing pop up rather frequently these days is a derisively sarcastic “new game bad, old game good”; an ironic echo intended to mock and dismiss a preference for a previous release. It’s being trotted out a lot in the Mortal Kombat subreddit in the wake of criticism of Mortal Kombat 1, and we’ve certainly seen it (or words to that effect) in the basketball gaming community. And yes, since I’m writing about it, it obviously grinds my gears!

That isn’t to say that there’s no credibility to the sentiment. It’s a phenomenon that I’ve discussed before, and as I acknowledged at the time, it is true that pretty much every NBA 2K game – at least over the past decade or so – has been labelled by some people as being the worst in the series when it was new, only to be effusively praised later. Of course, the key words here are “some people”. There are others who are far too quick to call every new game the best ever, so it goes both ways. The point is that there’s nuance and context that’s ignored when we defend games by dismissing valid criticism with “new game bad, old game good” sneering. It’s an oversimplification.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: November 18th, 2023

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.

The top spot in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays was taken by a most unlikely highlight – unless you’re familiar with MyTEAM shenanigans, of course – but that’s often what makes basketball gaming so fun! Variety is another thing that makes the virtual hardwood incredibly enjoyable, and once again we have plenty of that, with eight different games on display. Wild shots, unlikely putbacks, poster dunks, and historical players doing their thing…this stuff never gets old, especially when the community keeps coming through with such fantastic plays. 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 Best Shout Outs to Previous Games

The Friday Five: 5 Best Shout Outs to Previous Games

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 the five best shout outs that basketball games have made to previous entries in their series.

Who doesn’t appreciate a good callback? Whether it’s an Easter egg/fleeting reference or something more prominent, continuity never goes astray. This applies to video games as much as books, films, and television shows, especially as the medium has strived to improve its storytelling across various genres. Whether it’s a cameo like Harold’s appearance in Fallout 3, a peek at an era from a previous game as in the Monkey Island series, or the Elder Scrolls’ running gag about stolen sweetrolls, they’re an enjoyable part of video game lore and exploration.

Needless to say, basketball video games and other annual sports titles are a little different. By their very concept, they have numerous sequels and there are several similarities between games, right down to the players as long as they’re active or on a classic team. In other words, the ubiquitous aspects of the genre don’t count as shout outs to previous games. However, various basketball video games have found ways to celebrate their lineage, or feature a unique nod to their predecessors. These shout outs to previous games may be minor and we wouldn’t necessarily miss them if they weren’t there, but oftentimes they’re the fun details that make a game feel special.

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Wayback Wednesday: Keyboard Controls & PC Basketball Gaming

Wayback Wednesday: Keyboard Controls & PC Basketball 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 taking a look back at keyboard controls in basketball video games.

Believe it or not, keyboard controls are still supported as of NBA 2K24 PC! If you take a look at the system requirements, you’ll see that a dual analog gamepad is only “highly recommended” to play the game. Of course, this is probably underselling the importance of such a peripheral in modern releases. Gameplay is unquestionably designed around the use of a dual analog gamepad, and has been since NBA Live introduced Freestyle Control. On top of that, based on a couple of Forum posts, NBA 2K24 has some issues with configuring its limited keyboard controls.

There was a time when keyboard controls were more than sufficient for PC basketball gaming; even in titles that recommended a gamepad. As a long-time PC gamer, I’m no stranger to using keyboard controls in a variety of titles, including basketball games. There have even been times when I’ve opted for the keyboard on the virtual hardwood despite having a gamepad, including retro gaming sessions nowadays. They have had their advantages, but also their share of drawbacks, even long before hoops games were designed for a controller with dual joysticks. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Old Favourites Deserve Love…And Mods

Monday Tip-Off: Old Favourites Deserve Love...And Mods

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 by once again advocating for retro basketball gaming, as I believe old favourites deserve love…and also mods.

Retro gaming is hardly an obscure interest, no matter what the genre. Of course, the newest and most popular titles will always get the most attention, and annual sports releases are often left in the past by a majority of the fanbase. As such, there’s always risk in producing content based around old favourites, at least as far as getting more eyes on what you’re doing. Nevertheless, it’s something that I’ve had an interest in doing, going right back to when I joined the community and created the NBA Live Domain. As I’ve said before, I’ve realised that I was born to be a retro gamer!

That’s why I’ll always advocate for dusting off old favourites, if only every now and again. The clips and highlight reels of older basketball games that Dee and I have shared over the past few years have clearly resonated with the community. To that point, we’ve had comments along the lines of “I wish I could still play this”. Here’s the thing: there’s no reason you can’t! As long as you still have the games and hardware to run them, let nothing stop you from hooking up a console! Furthermore, as far as PC releases are concerned, recent ones readily work, while older titles can still run with minimal fuss. With that in mind, why shouldn’t we look to mod old favourites?

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: November 11th, 2023

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.

From NBA Live 10 to NBA 2K24 to the recently-released Hoop Land, this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays covers a variety of titles. That’s how the countdown usually goes, but as always, the highlights themselves are anything but ordinary! Ambitious halfcourt lobs and self-alley-oops, putbacks and other poster dunks, playmakers deftly doing their thing in traffic, circus shots, full court threes…if you like any of these things – and I’m sure that you do – then you’ll find something to get hyped about in this week’s Top 10. 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 Frustrating Presentation Design Choices

The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Presentation Design Choices

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 presentation design choices in basketball video games that are rather frustrating.

I’m not the harshest critic when it comes to presentation and visuals. That’s not to say that I don’t have any standards, or that I don’t recognise inaccuracies and other issues when I see them. If I’m enjoying the on-court experience and am hooked on a mode however, that’ll factor more heavily into my overall opinion than a face that looks off, or a lack of bells and whistles in the presentation. As long as the game has that NBA vibe and TV-style presentation that mimics a real broadcast to some extent, that’s all I need. I certainly appreciate more detail, but it isn’t necessary for me to enjoy a game.

What I am bothered by are design choices with presentation that ruin the vibe, or interfere with the gameplay. There have definitely been basketball video games that have erred in this way over the years! In the best case scenario, it’s an annoyance that you can ultimately overlook, though it’s still quite apparent. In other cases however, those presentation design choices have a major impact on the gameplay, rendering a game virtually impossible to enjoy despite its positive attributes. If the presentation is lacking authentic TV branding or interviews with real player voices, I don’t mind that. These five frustrating presentation design choices, on the other hand, are problematic!

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Wayback Wednesday: Re-Playing the 1995 Season in NBA Live 95 PC

Wayback Wednesday: Re-Playing the 1995 Season in NBA Live 95 PC

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 reminiscing about re-playing the 1995 season in NBA Live 95 PC, a few years after it had concluded.

As I’ve said, I was born to be a retro gamer. My introduction to gaming was through a console that was already outdated, and even in the late 90s I was sticking with and going back to old favourites. The family’s aging 486 PC and the Nintendo 64 being the console I owned were also factors, especially when it came to basketball gaming. I didn’t have much choice without the hardware to play the newest NBA Live, nor could I convince my folks that I needed yet another basketball video game (“you’ve already got plenty!”). Nevertheless, my collection began when I was a teenager.

One of the most exciting pickups was NBA Live 95 PC. The Super Nintendo version of NBA Live 95 had been my introduction to 5v5 sim basketball games, but it was a frequent video store rental. NBA Live 96 was the first game I owned on PC, and also one of the first basketball video games that I actually owned, period. It was by chance that I happened across a copy of NBA Live 95 PC one school holidays, and as soon as I had it, it entered the rotation of games that my cousin Clinton and I played as often as we could. We eventually decided to re-play the 1995 season, and it became one of my all-time favourite hoops gaming experiences. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: A Viable Roster of What Ifs

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 thoughts on whether it would be viable to create a single season roster mod that’s based on What Ifs.

Hypothetical situations invite thought-provoking discussions, no matter what the topic. To that end, like all sports, basketball has provided us with countless What Ifs. Granted, too many fanboys believe that their imaginary scenarios prove a point, as theoretical accomplishments are used to enhance a legacy. Tribalistic discourse aside however, NBA What Ifs are fun and interesting to ponder. They’re also a tantalising idea for roster mods, since those hypothetical situations can be made tangible, thus allowing various debates to be played out on the virtual hardwood.

A couple of people have made What If roster mods over the years. In fact, it’s an idea that I keep in the back of my mind as a project that I’d be open to tackling at some point. However, those What If rosters are usually comprised of standalone teams, and maybe an opponent for them. In other words, it’s a mixture of What Ifs: Tim Duncan on the 2001 Orlando Magic, Kobe Bryant on the 2005 Los Angeles Clippers, and so on. Such a mod is still fun to play with of course, but I’ve been wondering if it would actually be possible to make a single season roster that accounts for multiple What Ifs. If so, what would be the ideal season for it, and how much history would we change?

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: November 4th, 2023

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.

Decades of NBA history are represented in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays; not just in the array of games, but also courtesy of highlights featuring classic teams and MyNBA Eras! Tecmo NBA Basketball – the little brother of Tecmo Super NBA Basketball that has some interesting inaccuracies – makes its first appearance in the countdown, while one of the best plays from Dee and wiscard_rush’s Parsec game of NBA Live 10 is also featured. The NBA Live 2001 Legends have meanwhile branched out with an unexpected title, as the community has come through with the goods once again. 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 MyCAREER Habits I Can’t Break

The Friday Five: 5 MyCAREER Habits I Can't Break

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 habits that I can’t break when I play MyCAREER.

Without a doubt, I’m a creature of habit. If I’m comfortable and there’s no need to switch things up, I’m not going to change for change’s sake. I have my go-to orders at my favourite fast food restaurants, as well as my preferred dishes if I’m eating at a more upscale establishment. I enjoy having a routine, and while I am open to new interests and experiences, I also know what I like, and what I can reliably stick with. This carries over into my gaming, basketball or otherwise. I’ve established preferences and habits that work for me in the games that I regularly play.

Needless to say, once I developed a taste for MyCAREER, I soon developed habits that are now extremely difficult to break. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as those habits have allowed me to enjoy MyCAREER in a number of games; as well they should, seeing as how they’re formed by my preferences and the experiences I want out of the virtual hardwood! However, some of those habits come from how I play other genres of video games. Being a creature of habit can also have its drawbacks, eschewing change and variety in favour of the familiar. With that being said, here are five MyCAREER habits that I can’t – or at least, very seldom – manage to break.

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Wayback Wednesday: Investigating NBA Live 2002 Codes

Wayback Wednesday: Investigating NBA Live 2002 Codes

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 investigating some alleged cheat codes for NBA Live 2002 that are listed on various websites.

Here’s a statement that will blow your mind: you can’t believe everything that you read on the internet. I’ll give you a moment to recover from the utter shock of that revelation! In all seriousness, it’s hardly a secret that the internet is as convenient a means of spreading misinformation as it is researching verifiable facts and figures. I’m not going to delve into the Big Issues here, because that’s beyond our scope as a site dedicated to basketball gaming, and I’m not looking to court controversy. Of course, there’s plenty of hoaxes and misinformation when it comes to video games.

All genres of games are subject to what TV Tropes creatively dubs an “Urban Legend of Zelda“. Indeed, the Zelda series itself has one of the all-time famous video game hoaxes, namely the claim that the Triforce was obtainable in Ocarina of Time. Hoops titles have their own urban legends, from claims of certain players being hidden in NBA Jam when they weren’t, to supposedly unlockable modes that in reality would be too big of a selling point to tuck away as an obscure secret. And of course, like other genres, there have been fake cheat codes. I’ve discovered some questionable codes for NBA Live 2002 that bear investigating, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Set Trends, Don’t Follow Them

Monday Tip-Off: Set Trends, Don't Follow Them

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 thoughts on basketball video games chasing trends in gaming, rather than doing their own thing.

I’m going to make a comparison here. Although I’m not a fan of Adam Silver and I have some gripes with his NBA, I won’t pretend that the late David Stern always got it right, either. Like many older fans, I rolled my eyes whenever he talked about the pipe dream of expanding into Europe; an idea that seemed like a logistical nightmare for a league in which teams play four to five games per week, and players can get traded wherever and whenever, whether they like it or not. In particular, I remember cringing when he once used the word “friendlies” when referring to exhibition games.

Obviously, those two words do mean the same thing in terms of sports. Of course, “friendlies” is commonly used in football (that is, association football, or soccer if you prefer) to describe a match that doesn’t count, and is more of a British/European term. Conversely, American leagues such as the NBA tend to use the word “exhibition” for such games. As an Australian, they’re interchangeable terms for me. As for Stern, he was clearly trying to sell the NBA to the European market and ingratiate himself by using a familiar term. I understood that, but I still cringed because it felt inauthentic. Basketball video games chasing trends instead of setting them reminds me of that.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: October 28th, 2023

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.

Alright, so it isn’t officially Halloween until Tuesday, but since it’s already the Spooky Season, we’ve got a frighteningly good NLSC Top 10 Plays this week! From an out-of-the-box entry from Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City and the Skeleton Crew doing their thing in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, to amazing arcade action in NBA Street Vol. 2 and historical highlights in NBA 2K24, it’s scary how the community keeps coming through with fantastic plays. There’s also another glimpse of my fixed official roster for NBA 2K10, which Dee and I discussed in Episode #500 of the NLSC Podcast. 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.