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The Friday Five: 5 Things We Need to Stop Saying In 2022

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 things we need to stop saying in 2022.

And so, we’ve come to the end of 2021! It’s been a challenging couple of years with a global pandemic and whatnot, so hopefully better times await us all in 2022. Around these parts, we’ve obviously had basketball video games to keep us occupied. We get a lot of joy out of our hobby, but there are obviously moments of frustration as well. As I’ve said before, it’s necessary to cover all aspects of basketball gaming. We should celebrate and enjoy our passion for the virtual hardwood, and at the same time, voice our criticisms and concerns. Positive or negative, it’s vital that we have our say.

However, there are some things that we should stop saying, and with 2022 upon us, it’s a prime opportunity to cut them from the discourse. I don’t say this as a way of impeding freedom of speech, and it certainly won’t be a rule enacted in our Forum. I just believe it’s in our best interests, because thought-terminating cliches ultimately pollute the conversation. They stifle discussion of important issues, and are needlessly divisive. As always, I’m under no delusion that one article will eradicate these tired and trite phrases from the basketball gaming community. Nevertheless, if we see less of them in 2022, the quality of conversations about virtual hoops should improve.

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NLSC Rewind 2021

NLSC Rewind 2021

Welcome to the NLSC Rewind for 2021! It’s been another challenging year for many of us around the world, but fortunately, we’ve had basketball gaming to provide some much-needed distractions. Here at the NLSC, it’s been another year of great mod releases and basketball gaming discussion. We’ve also aimed to cover a wide variety of topics in our original content.

As always, it’s been our goal to cover both the positive and negative aspects of the games we play. From holding publishers accountable and criticising practices that impact our enjoyment, to celebrating the fun we’re having and brainstorming new ideas for future games, we’ve strived to be fair, thorough, informative, and hopefully entertaining. Above all, we want our original content to share interesting facts, ways to enhance your basketball gaming experiences, and advocate for our fellow gamers. Whichever mode and game that we each prefer, we should all get the most out of it.

This NLSC Rewind is a collection of “editor’s picks” for our 2021 content. Obviously, I encourage everyone to dig through our entire archives if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, watching, and listening to with our articles, videos, and podcasts. However, these recommendations represent content that I’m particularly proud of, and believe are worth a second look or listen; or a first one, if you missed them when they were originally posted! Seeing as how we’re celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year, I decided that I’d make 25 picks for each of our weekly features. As we prepare for a brand new year of basketball gaming, join me as I rewind 2021 here at the NLSC!

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Wayback Wednesday: The Replacements

Wayback Wednesday: The Replacements

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 players that served as replacements for missing stars.

“Hold on a moment”, I hear you say. “Didn’t you already cover Roster Players in a previous Wayback Wednesday feature?” I did indeed, and I do also link back to that article whenever I mention them! However, I’m not actually focusing on those old roster players today, except to note that yes, they did serve as the replacements for a handful of real players that couldn’t be licensed back in the 90s. Not every game made use of placeholders to fill in for absent stars, however. So, what did they do when they couldn’t include the likes of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal?

Enter the replacements: other players on the team that were promoted to the starting lineup in order to fill the void. This produced some interesting results, such as career bench players getting the starting nod, and the occasional player being slotted in at a position they rarely played. It also resulted in other players taking on the role of the team’s de facto star. It’s not something we need to worry about these days, but back in the 90s, it was a recurring phenomenon. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Helping Hand of Default Assets

Monday Tip-Off: The Helping Hand of Default Assets

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 reminder of the importance of default assets in our modding endeavours.

Since the very beginning, one of the primary goals of our modding community has been to add content to games. When we were founded as the NBA Live Series Center, this usually meant adding players such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley to the rosters of NBA Live PC. Once Legends and historical teams became a staple of NBA video games, there were other missing players to add. We’ve also sought to expand the selection of classic teams, as well as create retro season and all-time rosters, NCAA and foreign league total conversions, and many other fantastic projects.

The biggest projects have generally required several new assets to be created, in particular year-specific jerseys and courts, and missing player faces. Needless to say, the workload is much lighter if several assets that we need are in the game by default. At the same time, it’s something that we can take for granted. Not only can the default assets facilitate a range of modding projects – both minimalist and large in scope – but we can use them to quickly assemble fun scenarios on the virtual hardwood. Modding has opened up a world of possibilities with basketball video games, but I can’t stress enough the importance of content being readily available within the default assets.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 25th, 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!

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings, basketball gamers! I hope you’re enjoying the holiday festivities, however you celebrate them. With the help of the community, our gift to you today is a special Christmas Edition of the NLSC Top 10 Plays! There’s more stuffing the ball in the basket than stuffing of stockings, but I’m sure you’ll agree that these highlights will get you in the mood to jump on the sticks and make some memorable plays of your own. You might even dust off an old favourite like NBA Live 99 PC, which makes it debut in this week’s countdown. Thank you to everyone who has contributed highlights this year; please keep them coming throughout 2022!

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 Strange Glitches You May Have Missed

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 strange glitches in various basketball video games, which you may not be aware of.

As is the case with other genres, some glitches in basketball video games are well-known. In fact, some of them achieve infamy, such as the “Jesus Bynum” glitch in the NBA Elite 11 demo. Some glitches are helpful, and so we seek them out to gain additional XP or in-game currency. Other glitches are game-breaking; we hope we’ll never encounter those and are furious when we do, especially if we end up losing our save files with hours of progress (paid and No Money Spent). And of course, there are the harmless and amusing glitches that are just entertaining when they happen.

Not every glitch becomes common knowledge, of course. If you never experience something for yourself and you’re not particularly involved in online discourse, you may not know about a prominent bug in a popular title. Even when it comes to the most infamous glitches such as the aforementioned Bynum bug, not everyone who has seen them in action has experienced them in their own game. Sometimes it’s a rare and specific set of circumstances that causes the issue, which is why it’s so difficult for developers to fix them in patches. To that end, here are five strange glitches that I’ve encountered that might’ve flown under your radar, or you may have forgotten.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences

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 NBA players that made returns after extended absences from the league.

Yes, it’s another “interactive almanac” Wayback Wednesday feature, taking a look back at some historical NBA trivia through the lens of video games! This time, I’m focusing on players that made their way back to the NBA – and therefore the virtual hardwood as well – after at least two years away. There have been a handful of very notable names that have made NBA returns following extended absences, as well as some key role players and journeymen that reappeared after their time in the NBA had seemingly drawn to a close.

Indeed, that’s a common theme with most of these players. Whether they retired due to age or injury, they were no longer drawing interest from any teams, or they found a comfortable spot playing in another league, we didn’t expect these NBA returns. Of course, that’s what makes them so interesting, then and now. Incidentally, this topic was suggested by The BBall Pundit on Twitter, so shout out to you! With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Wasted Historical Players in NBA 2K

Monday Tip-Off: Wasted Historical Players in NBA 2K

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 my thoughts on how a large amount of the historical players in NBA 2K are going to waste.

I’ll admit that I feel slightly petty when I criticise the usage of historical players and teams in NBA 2K. Over the past decade, NBA 2K games have done what was once unthinkable, simply by including a huge range of historical players and retro teams. We may not have modes like the Jordan Challenge or NBA’s Greatest anymore, but we still have retro teams spanning from the 60s through to the 2010s, All-Time squads for every franchise, and several historical players to collect in MyTEAM. Of course, some players are exclusive to NBA 2K’s card collecting mode.

That’s a major point of contention, though. We have access to many historical players thanks to the individual retro teams and All-Time squads, but not all of them. There are several mid-tier players who don’t belong to any retro teams and aren’t big enough names for the All-Time squads, and are therefore more or less exclusive to MyTEAM. Their assets being in the game is still a tremendous help to modding projects, but the situation still isn’t as convenient as it could be. Now, MyTEAM is definitely a popular mode – despite some people’s bizarre claims to the contrary – but to me, it still feels as though a large number of historical players are being wasted by that exclusivity.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 18th, 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!

You can always count on some crazy dunks being included in the NLSC Top 10 Plays, and true to form, there are some exciting slams this week! From NBA in the Zone 99 – a game making its first appearance in the countdown – to NBA 2K22 Next Gen, gamers have had fun throwing it down, as we tend to do. There are also a couple of wild long bombs, including the top play from NBA Live 2001 which proves that an accidental button press needn’t be a disaster!

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 Worst Aspects of My Favourite Modes

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 lists the five worst aspects of my favourite modes across years of playing various basketball video games.

When it comes to the quality of basketball video games, gameplay is paramount, but modes are still crucial. Deep modes can’t be enjoyed without great gameplay, but the gameplay won’t be nearly as interesting and engaging long-term without modes that keep us hooked. Fortunately, the modes in basketball games have come a long way. They’ve gone from a basic single NBA season – or just three rounds of the Playoffs – to comprehensive multi-season franchise modes, career modes with connected online team play, and card-based team building modes.

Of course, whether you’re talking about gameplay or game modes, perfection is an impossible goal. As is the case with the experience on the sticks, ideally the franchise, career, card collecting, and other modes will be relatively bug-free and enjoyable, but for a few quirky issues or missing features here and there. Although I was a long-time franchise gamer after the concept was introduced, over the past decade I’ve branched out into other ways to play basketball video games. I’ve had literally thousands of hours of fun with my favourite NBA Live and NBA 2K titles, but reflecting on those fantastic experiences, these are some of the worst aspects of my modes of choice.

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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting Fantasy Teams & Quick Pick Play

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 second look back at Fantasy Teams in NBA Live, which debuted as Quick Pick Play.

Although I have many titles and aspects of old basketball games that I want to cover here in Wayback Wednesday, sometimes I do have to revisit topics. As much care and passion as I put into my features, there are times when I don’t do a topic justice, or my opinion changes after some further retro gaming sessions. It’s why I’ve seen fit to post new retrospectives of NBA Live 06 and NBA Live 10. Sometimes my opinion doesn’t change much – as was the case with NBA Live 07 – but another look with fresh eyes can yield something you didn’t notice before, and alter your perspective.

I would definitely say that that’s the case with Fantasy Teams and Quick Pick Play, a mode featured in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of NBA Live 08 through NBA Live 10. I don’t necessarily disagree with what I wrote when I covered Quick Pick Play four years ago, but I’ve developed more of an appreciation for it since then. With that in mind, let’s take another look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: So, What Do You Actually Dislike?

Monday Tip-Off: So, What Do You Actually Dislike?

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 my thoughts on a phenomenon that I’m sure bugs a lot of passionate content creators: a dislike on a carefully produced YouTube video.

One of the lessons that I’ve learned in the twenty years that I’ve been running the NLSC is that not everyone will like you, or the content that you produce. The reasons for this vary, and aren’t necessarily a reflection of your work. Maybe you had a heated discussion that resulted in perpetually simmering ill feelings. Perhaps an incident led to you blocking them or banning them from your platform, or they left, blocked, or unfollowed you in a huff. Alternatively, your style and presentation just isn’t for them, or they strongly disagree with your views and opinions.

It can be a tough pill to swallow. Unless it’s your intention to produce particularly provocative content that trolls or takes a contrarian stance for the sake of it, usually you hope that an audience will like your work and agree with you. This is especially true of opinion pieces, where it’s easy to assume that you’re not only speaking for yourself, but for many others who share your views and perhaps don’t have the words or platform to express them. It can be surprising to receive pushback in the form of a dislike or dissenting comment, even though it really shouldn’t be. What’s far more surprising – and frustrating – is when the content is not controversial, or poorly made.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 11th, 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!

Although the NLSC Top 10 Plays is open to highlights of all kinds, it’s tough to go past a great dunk. As I’ve said before, there’s something immensely satisfying about dunking on the virtual hardwood, especially as games have added more animations and better physics to set up jaw-dropping posters. This week’s countdown includes some tremendous high-flying moments, from merciless facial dunks to crazy alley-oops. As always, it’s great to see a variety of titles represented, and awesome mods being showcased. Also, it seems Dee4Three and I aren’t the only ones going back to NBA Live 06 on Xbox 360! Remember, the point is to have fun with basketball games, and this Top 10 is intended to celebrate that joy.

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 Predictable Moments 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 moments in basketball games that are very predictable.

In real basketball, there’s a phenomenon of knowing a shot is going in as soon as it leaves your hands. It just feels right, the arc looks perfect, and it’s almost like there’s a sixth sense about it. Of course, that confidence isn’t always well-founded, in which case you may end up looking like Nick Young! We can get a similar feeling when we see someone else shoot the basketball, either on TV or when we’re on the court. It’s why we’re so surprised to see the great shooters and clutch performers miss attempts that we were absolutely sure would splash through the net.

As an artificial representation of the sport, basketball video games naturally contain some telltale signs that make them far more predictable than real life. Predictability isn’t always a bad thing of course, particularly when it’s a favourable outcome. Even when it isn’t, you’re at least able to brace yourself for the outcome, perhaps avoiding getting your hopes up. However, like a spoiler for a film, TV show, or indeed a video game with an in-depth narrative, it can detract from the experience by removing a sense of anticipation, with certain actions feeling inconsequential. For better or worse, here are five of the most predictable moments found in basketball video games.

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Wayback Wednesday: 1998 Bulls vs Lakers in NBA Live 06 Xbox 360

Wayback Wednesday: 1998 Bulls vs Lakers in NBA Live 06 Xbox 360

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, it’s a highlight reel from a makeshift 1998 Bulls vs Lakers matchup in NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360.

Yes, the retro kick continues! Although I could easily play this matchup with proper faces and jerseys in NBA 2K22, there’s something really fun about makeshift rosters. Of course, given the lack of modding options for the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06, a minimalist approach to re-creating a 1998 Bulls vs Lakers game is the best I can do! It nevertheless resulted in an extremely enjoyable retro gaming experience. Even with animations that are showing their age and lack variety, there were a couple that felt “Jordanesque”! Since I had such a blast, I kept the recording and created another highlight reel. Join me as I take a look back…way back…

Although NBA Live 06 PC is the better all-around release, the Xbox 360 version is far more impressive than I once thought. It has its limitations, but it holds up as a fun game to revisit. Normally I’d use it to indulge my nostalgia for the mid 2000s, but on this occasion, I’m celebrating the late 90s and The Last Dance as well. It’s a shame that we can’t mod the Xbox 360 version, but as you can see, you can still have a great time with a little effort and imagination. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this reel, and may perhaps be inspired to give NBA Live 06 or another old game a second look. In the meantime, be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more video content!