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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 29th, 2021

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

It’s time to enjoy some virtual hardwood highlights in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week! This is a weekly feature curated by Derek (aka Dee4Three) spotlighting the best plays from the basketball gaming community, which includes a few of our own memorable clips from time to time. Submit your clips in the Forum, or hit up Derek on Twitter!

As always, you can expect to see some big dunks, crafty plays, nifty passes, and other fun highlights in this week’s countdown. However, you’ll also see some mods being spotlighted, and some fun ideas for exhibition games. On top of that, you’ll see a variety of games being featured, including a couple of old favourites. Remember, it doesn’t need to be the latest NBA 2K to qualify; if it’s a great moment on the virtual hardwood, we want to showcase it in our Top 10 Plays!

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 spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood or blacktop. All basketball games are welcome, new and old! Also, be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Games with the Wrong Vibe

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 basketball video games that had the wrong vibe about them.

I wouldn’t blame you if you’re looking at this week’s topic and thinking that I’ve lost my mind, talking about a basketball game having the wrong kind of “vibe”. What kind of a metric is that? Allow me to explain myself, as I think many of you will actually be able to relate. I’m sure that at some point, we’ve all eagerly picked up a new hoops title, only to feel disappointed in it. However, that disappointment goes beyond our complaints about gameplay, modes, graphics, animations, and so on. Something about the game just feels…off. Some problems may be more conceptual than technical.

As such, this can be a very personal reaction, and thus highly subjective. Furthermore, although it’s more common for games with a lot of issues to have the wrong vibe, it can also happen with titles that are generally considered to be good, if something about them just doesn’t gel with you. To that end, while I expect I’m not alone on a couple of the examples I’m sharing here, I suspect that not everyone will agree with all of them. That’s fine; as I said, it’s highly subjective, and I’d be interested to hear other examples from my fellow basketball gamers. With that being said, for one reason or another, these five games just didn’t have the right vibe for me.

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Wayback Wednesday: Rookie Retro Jerseys in NBA Live 10

Wayback Wednesday: Rookie Retro Jerseys in NBA Live 10

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 sharing some screenshots of various players in NBA Live 10, sporting retro jerseys from their rookie seasons.

Among the many appealing features of NBA Live 10 was the reintroduction of retro jerseys. Every team had a home and away throwback from a significant era in their history (or a popular design as the case may be). It was a welcome sight after the jump to the seventh generation resulted in a loss of retro content, from jerseys to Legends teams. If you’re playing a season or franchise game, or even just an exhibition, it’s fun to be able to choose from a selection of uniforms past and present. To that end, NBA 2K currently does a great job in presenting a selection of retro jerseys.

NBA Live 10 has been my retro gaming jam as of late, and while browsing the game’s rosters, I had a fun idea. Although they were nearing the end of their career, a number of players from the 90s were still active as of NBA Live 10. Glancing at the selection of retro jerseys in the game, there are many that were sported by well-known 90s players in their rookie seasons. Almost all of those players had moved on to another team by the 2010 season, but I thought it’d be fun to place them back on their rookie teams, and outfit them in the relevant throwbacks. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Why I Love Basketball & Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: Why I Love Basketball & Basketball Gaming

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 celebration of my love of basketball and basketball gaming.

It’s important to be critical, even about the hobbies and interests that we love. We don’t need to pretend to enjoy something that isn’t to our tastes. As consumers, it doesn’t benefit us to keep quiet when there are problems, or we aren’t getting value for money. New isn’t always better, just as nostalgia can make us overlook issues of the past. There are plenty of valid reasons to speak out, or express a negative opinion. Of course, it isn’t healthy to be constantly mired in negativity, and it’s all too easy to forget that it’s OK to enjoy and celebrate our passions.

I am critical of certain aspects of basketball gaming, even though I love the hobby. I’ve got forthcoming articles where I examine problems and consider solutions, but today, I want to talk about why I love basketball, and video games based on it. The reason I’m taking time to do this is that last week, I encountered a miserable, mean-spirited article about film that was pure bait for rage clicks. It was snobby and snarky, essentially bashing a popular old film under the guise of “I’m smart enough to see that it sucks“. I never want to be that kind of sad sack in my basketball gaming coverage, so today I’m talking about why I love the sport of basketball, both real and virtual.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 22nd, 2021

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

It’s time to enjoy some virtual hardwood highlights in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week! This is a weekly feature curated by Derek (aka Dee4Three) spotlighting the best plays from the basketball gaming community, which includes a few of our own memorable clips from time to time. Submit your clips in the Forum, or hit up Derek on Twitter!

The NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week is back after a lengthy hiatus! This week’s countdown is a little belated, but it will be coming out on Saturdays moving forward. We’ve got some fun highlights in the return episode, from recent titles and some beloved classics alike. From big dunks to buzzer beaters and everything in between, there’s a little bit of everything this week. Some great mods are also on display. Catch the countdown below, or watch it here over on our YouTube channel.

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 spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood or blacktop! All basketball games are welcome, new and old. Also, be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Jerseys Appearing in Games Once

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 jerseys appearing only once in basketball video games.

We’re accustomed to seeing a wide variety of jerseys in the 5v5 sim titles. Ever since the introduction of retro uniforms and the jersey selection screen, we expect to have plenty of choices to outfit the team we’re controlling on the virtual hardwood. The variety has fluctuated throughout the years, and recently, NBA Live and NBA 2K have taken very different approaches. NBA Live only includes the selection of current jerseys and specific throwbacks that will be worn during a season, whereas NBA 2K – in part thanks to its bevy of retro content – features a more comprehensive selection.

Of course, there are some jerseys that you won’t find among the retro uniforms in the recent NBA 2K titles. A few teams have gaps in their selection of historical primary uniforms, but there are also some alternate and special jerseys that can’t be found. This isn’t necessarily surprising though, especially when some of those jerseys have only ever appeared in games once over the years. Indeed, to the best of my research, the jerseys I’m listing here have only ever appeared in one game. Note that I’m talking about official appearances, which excludes mods and unused files. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the rarest uniforms on the virtual hardwood!

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Wayback Wednesday: CPU Assistance in Old Games

Wayback Wednesday: CPU Assistance in Old 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 the CPU Assistance setting found in several old basketball games.

When we look back at old basketball games, it jogs our memories in so many ways. There are the graphical and gameplay improvements that have come with evolving technology. There are the soundtracks which capture the zeitgeist of the time a game was released, whether they’re made up of original music or popular licensed songs. As I’ve discussed on many occasions, there’s the “interactive almanac” aspect of the sim games in particular, capturing a snapshot of what the league was like back then. And of course, there’s the depth, scope, and variety of the modes.

Beyond the depth and quality of modes and features though, what we find in an old basketball title is indicative of what was necessary and/or expected at the time. For example, the original approach to custom teams in the early NBA Live games was fun for the time, but seems downright quaint compared to the concept of Ultimate Team and MyTEAM. An option like Slow Motion Dunks also no longer seems necessary. In that vein, a once-common setting that we no longer see is CPU Assistance (or Computer Assist, as NBA Live originally labelled it). It’s no longer deemed to be a necessity, but it used to be quite important. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Canned Moments & The Myth of the Skill Gap

Monday Tip-Off: Canned Moments & The Myth of the Skill Gap

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 discussion of canned moments, and how they play into the myth of the skill gap in NBA 2K.

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about NBA 2K implementing a “skill gap”. It seems that every year, we get a gameplay blog in which a new or tweaked mechanic is touted as bringing a proper skill gap to the forthcoming game. By and large, this is a promise that games have failed to deliver upon. That’s not to say that the changes aren’t improvements in their own right, or that there isn’t any skill involved in playing NBA 2K. Furthermore, gamers definitely do demonstrate different levels of skill – such as it is – especially in the online arena.

However, it isn’t a true skill gap as such, because the way one wins and loses in NBA 2K doesn’t necessarily come down to skill; or at least, not pure stick skills. There are factors such as meta-gaming in MyCAREER and its connected modes, and pay-for-advantage mechanics in terms of quick MyPLAYER upgrades and pack openings in MyTEAM. I’ve discussed those issues at length before, so I won’t be going into them today. Instead, I want to talk about core mechanics that stand in the way of NBA 2K truly having a skill gap. One of the most pressing issues in that regard, as I’m sure many NBA 2K gamers are all too aware, is the prominence of canned moments.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Make The Rec Friendlier

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 suggestions to make The Rec a friendlier and more positive experience.

After years of playing 2K Pro-Am and The Rec as part of the connected experience in MyCAREER, I’ve mostly moved on as of NBA 2K21. Sure, I won’t rule out playing online every now and again, but too many negative experiences combined with a desire to play other modes has led to little to no desire to jump on as often as I once did. In a way that’s a shame, as when The Rec and Pro-Am were fun, they were a lot of fun. The worst games were tough to endure though, and believe me, I did all I could to stomach some truly wretched virtual basketball in pursuit of good games.

With that being said, I want the online experience in NBA 2K to improve. Whether or not I ever regularly partake in the scene again, I’d like to see it become as good as it possibly can be, so that the people who do want to play online have an enjoyable time. This applies to all of the connected modes in MyCAREER – as well as online play in MyTEAM – but The Rec’s purpose as an arena for impromptu, makeshift squads means that it invites a specific brand of toxic play. From the comments I’ve seen on Twitter and Reddit, The Rec could stand to be a friendlier and more cooperative place. Here are five ways that it could possibly achieve that goal moving forward.

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Wayback Wednesday: Signature Songs of Classic Games

Wayback Wednesday: Signature Songs of Classic 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 what we might consider the signature songs of some classic games (including a few recent classics).

There are many aspects to our nostalgia for video games, some of which don’t have anything to do with the gameplay itself. Music is a strong nostalgic trigger in general, and when it comes to basketball games, hearing a song from its soundtrack will take you back to all the time you spent with it. This includes both the original tracks that were created for very old games, and licensed music that began appearing in titles around the early 2000s. This is particularly true if a title ended up including a remixed version of the song referencing basketball and gaming.

With that in mind, what are some of the signature songs in the games we’ve loved over the years? Sometimes it’s difficult to pick just one, as certain soundtracks have been full of hits and bangers. Nevertheless, I believe it’s possible to pick one stand out track that you instantly remember when you fire up a game again. Alternatively, you’ll think of the game when you hear the song elsewhere. From the golden oldies to some more recent favourites, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Rookieville Was A Terrible Idea

Monday Tip-Off: Rookieville Was A Terrible Idea

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 the not-so-controversial declaration that Rookieville in NBA 2K21 Next Gen’s MyCAREER was a terrible idea.

I don’t want to say I told you so, but my track record with predictions is hit and miss, so I’ll take the opportunity to say: I told you so. Well, maybe not you, specifically. Perhaps like me, you saw the concept of Rookieville in NBA 2K21 Next Gen’s MyCAREER, and realised it was terrible idea. Perhaps you saw it for the gatekeeping measure that it is, instantly giving The City an air of elitism. If so, you looked past all the bells and whistles, and the admittedly impressive loading times, to see the issues with the approach. As such, you won’t be surprised that it’s drawing criticism.

Of course, fanboys and shills couldn’t see the drawbacks; or at the very least, didn’t want to acknowledge them. To actually take a deep dive into the problems with The City, and Rookieville in particular, is to be a spoilsport in their eyes. Why are we daring to hate on such a cool idea? Don’t we like fun? Aren’t we good enough to get past Rookieville and into The City? As I pointed out in my previous article, it’s not that getting past Rookieville is difficult; it’s that it’s unnecessary and problematic. It’s not surprising that fanboys and shills are ignoring the issue and bleating defensively, but it’s concerning that no one at Visual Concepts was thinking ahead here.

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The Friday Five: 5 Details That Aged Quickly

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 details found in various basketball games that aged rather quickly.

It’s impossible for basketball video games to completely avoid being outdated in their content. Obviously there are benefits to this – as I’ve discussed on many occasions, I love the way hoops games can act as interactive NBA almanacs – but the point is that certain aspects of basketball titles will have already aged by the time we get our hands on them. If nothing else, the rosters need to be locked by a certain date, which gives us fun oddities such as players only appearing on a particular team in video games, players who ultimately never played in the NBA being included in games, and so on.

Of course, now that official roster updates are the norm, it doesn’t matter that a game’s roster has aged by its release. An abundance of content updates and patches ensure that modern games can evolve and stay current far more easily than their much older predecessors could. Of course, there are elements that aren’t updated, and although their outdated nature may not ruin a game, they nevertheless stand out. Some of the examples I’m discussing today aged quickly because of events that occurred after their release, while others were already outdated before the game hit shelves. Either way they’re fun to look back at, especially when a major event is involved.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC Retrospective

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 PlayStation version of NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC.

Although I grew up playing both simulation and arcade basketball games, by the late 90s I’d lost interest in the new arcade titles. This was partly due to finding the sim games more appealing, but the arcade genre also seemed to be losing steam. I still loved NBA Jam Tournament Edition and NBA Hangtime, but Acclaim’s NBA Jam games weren’t impressive, and I didn’t keep up with Midway’s titles. It’s unfortunate, because there were some good arcade basketball games being released in between the original classics by Midway, and the launch of EA Sports’ NBA Street series.

The good news is that running Wayback Wednesday features gives me an excuse to track down some old games and check them out all these years later. As I’ve said before, some games are gems, while others were worth skipping the first time around. They’re all fun and interesting to sample though, but the better games always make for more exciting additions to the collection. This week I’m covering a game that I would have liked to have played more of when it was released: Midway’s NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Broadcast Views; As Good As It Gets?

Monday Tip-Off: Broadcast Views; As Good As It Gets?

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 broadcast camera angles, and the apparent controversy and ridiculous shaming involved with using them.

Fans are fanatical; it’s in the name! It’s fun to passionately enjoy things, but it doesn’t take much for those strong feelings to turn to tribalism and toxicity. That attitude isn’t just directed at people outside the fandom, either. There are all kinds of schisms in just about every fanbase you can imagine. Just because you like the same things, it doesn’t mean you have the same opinions, and we’re all convinced that our point of view is correct. When it comes to basketball video games, we can be really snobby about our preferences, from gameplay settings to the modes that we choose to play.

That’s why we see absurd statements like “Who even plays MyTEAM?”, when in fact it’s one of the most popular modes in NBA 2K. It’s why we see exclusively online gamers sneering at people who prefer single player experiences. “What difficulty are you playing on?” is a valid question if someone is bragging about their abilities on the virtual hardwood, but can easily turn into gatekeeping when someone is just talking about having fun with the game, which is the point of it after all. And then, there’s the mocking of choice in camera angles, particularly the broadcast cameras. I’ll just say it: it’s one of the weirdest, dumbest forms of gatekeeping I’ve seen in basketball gaming.

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The Friday Five: 5 Incorrect Jerseys 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 list of five times that various basketball video games featured incorrect jerseys.

In sim basketball titles, accuracy down to the last detail is the name of the game. An arcade title usually has more wiggle room for inaccurate, exaggerated, and stylised details, but we still expect a certain degree of faithfulness in NBA-licensed products. Some inaccuracies are admittedly only apparent to the most eagle-eyed gamers who are particularly attuned to minute details on jerseys, courts, and shoes. However, other inaccuracies are blatantly obvious to everyone, leaving one to wonder just what the developers and artists were thinking (or what sources they were working from).

Case in point: the five incorrect jerseys that I’ll be spotlighting today. Now, I’ve decided not to include any jerseys with incorrect colour palettes, such as the Chicago Bulls jerseys that were more pink than red for so many years. My reason is that they tend to be well-known examples too numerous to mention, and we can assume that they’re the result of developers working from official colour palettes that didn’t yield the proper results in-game. Instead, I’m focusing on jerseys that were incorrect due to weird mistakes in their design, or some other oddity. Some of these incorrect jerseys are noticeable right away, while others do require being something of a uniform buff.

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