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Wayback Wednesday: Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9

Wayback Wednesday: Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9

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 of the unusual Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9.

In the mailbag segment of Episode #354 of the NLSC Podcast, Dee4Three and I talked about bad ratings in basketball video games throughout the years. There are plenty of examples, from odd ratings in NBA Jam Tournament Edition, to the new ratings scale in NBA Live 2004 producing some weird results. Derek brought up the Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9, which is an example I wasn’t too familiar with. NBA 2K9 isn’t a game that I’ve spent too much time with over the years, and when I have fired it up, I haven’t paid too much attention to the Overall Ratings.

Once it was brought up, however, I figured I had to check it out and perhaps discuss it further in Wayback Wednesday. Now that I’ve gone through the rosters, I would agree that there are some weirdly overrated players, considering their performance during the 2009 season, and the way that Overall Ratings above 90 are usually treated (or at least were, several years ago). With so many questionably inflated Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9, it’s worth taking a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 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! Next up is a retrospective of NBA Live 15.

Although NBA Live 14 had been a rough comeback, the mere fact that it was actually released gave us hope that the series wasn’t done. There was a lot of work to be done, though: modes and features needed to be added, mechanics and animations needed to be enhanced, and more authenticity was required. NBA Live 15 took a few steps in the right direction, but it wasn’t a big enough jump. It was a better game than NBA Live 14, no doubt, but that was a low bar to clear. Interestingly, it also dropped a few ideas that were actually worth keeping. Let’s take a closer look at the second year in NBA Live’s comeback attempt, and see what went right, and what went wrong.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 14 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 14 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! Next up is a retrospective of NBA Live 14.

At long last, the NBA Live series returned in 2013 with NBA Live 14. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 had been left behind, with the game being a launch title for the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4. There were a lot of expectations heading into NBA Live 14, and there’s no point burying the lead here: it didn’t quite live up to them. There were bright spots and interesting ideas in the game though, so it wasn’t for a lack of effort. For better or worse, it’s still part of the series’ lineage, so it’s important that we reflect upon it; especially as we look to the future and hope that NBA Live can one day make a strong comeback. We’re on the home stretch now, so let’s get into it.

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Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look back at the year that was 2020 here at the NLSC.

I think it’s fair to say that 2020 has been one of the most unusual years that many of us have ever experienced. For me, it’s both flown by – as the years seem to do as you get older – yet it’s also dragged. The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously disrupted life as we know it in so many ways, and contributed to 2020 being somewhat miserable. On top of that, we’ve lost some beloved athletes and celebrities, including Kobe Bryant. Although the hardships of the pandemic are not over yet, it’s safe to say that a lot of people are looking forward to a fresh start in 2021.

At the same time, there have been bright spots. The Next Gen consoles launched, and while it hasn’t been easy getting hold of one, people who do own them generally seem to be happy with them. Here at the NLSC, we were able to keep doing our thing for another year as far as producing content and supporting the modding community, and we also officially added a new member to our team. 2020 is a year that I’m sure a lot of people would rather be done with and soon forget, but since this is the last Monday Tip-Off of the year – there will be a Wayback Wednesday this week, and then The Friday Five will open 2021 – I’m taking the opportunity to look back at 2020.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Elite 11 & NBA Live 13

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Elite 11 & NBA Live 13

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! Next up is a look back at NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13.

I was originally going to write separate articles for NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13, but they’re obviously closely connected, being back-to-back cancellations. Since I haven’t played the full version of NBA Elite 11, and have no hands-on experience with NBA Live 13 at all, it occurred to me that there isn’t really enough I can say about both games to fill two articles. Nevertheless, when we look back at the history of the NBA Live series, it’s important to cover these two titles. Needless to say, they played a significant role in the series being in the position that it’s in today. As such, there are cautionary tales to reflect upon, as well as a couple of “What Ifs”.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 10 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 10 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! Next up is a retrospective of NBA Live 10.

After NBA Live 09, EA Sports pulled the plug on further PlayStation 2 releases for the series. Given the state of NBA Live 09 on PS2, it was the right call. It allowed EA Sports to focus on the current generation, though there was a PlayStation Portable and iOS version. Did the decision pay off? Well, NBA Live 10 is often considered to be the last great (or at least, really good) NBA Live release, so their efforts weren’t for nothing. At the same time, it didn’t recapture the lead in sales from NBA 2K, leading to a disastrous decision the following year with NBA Elite 11. Before we get to that though, let’s take a look back at NBA Live 10, and how well it holds up.

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The Friday Five: 5 Traditions 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 looks at five traditions that you may have noticed in basketball video games.

Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings, basketball gamers! I’m sure that most folks around these parts are spending time with loved ones, as am I (I scheduled this a day in advance, so presumably that’s what I’m doing!). If you’ve decided to check in and read this week’s Friday Five, I definitely appreciate it! It’s always my intention to bring you features that entertain, spotlight, and advocate, and hopefully I’ve been able to achieve that goal throughout the year. Since it’s both Christmas Day and the last Five of the year, however, I’m opting for a lighter topic this week.

Given that it’s Christmas time, my thoughts have turned to traditions. Apart from spending time and eating Christmas lunch with my folks, one of the traditions that I’ve adopted for the holidays is pulling out old favourites for some retro gaming. Some of that is in aid of content for the NLSC, but I like to break out classics across a variety of genres: Donkey Kong Country, Sid Meier’s Pirates, Jazz Jackrabbit, Epic Pinball, and even a more recent favourite like Fallout 3, just to name a few. Basketball video games themselves have a few traditions, so in the spirit of familiar things that bring us warmth and joy – not just at Christmas, but all year round – here are five examples.

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Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

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 Europe Live jerseys in NBA Live 07.

A new season is now underway! Two games opened the 2021 NBA season, with the Nets defeating the Warriors, and the Clippers besting the defending champion Lakers. We’re obviously in for a lot of basketball, even with ten games being taken off the schedule to accommodate the later than usual tip-off. With the unveiling of this year’s City Edition jerseys, we’ll be seeing some creative (and divisive) uniform designs all season long. While alternate jerseys are far from a new concept, they’re definitely more prominent – and commonly worn – since Nike took over the NBA uniform deal.

Over a decade ago, alternate and special occasion jerseys were becoming far more common, but they weren’t worn as frequently. Indeed, some jerseys were only worn once a year, while a select few were only worn once. Some of these rare jerseys show up in video games, while many others have to be modded in. And then, there are the uniforms that are exclusive; not just to a single year, but a single title. Such is the case with the Europe Live jerseys that can be found in NBA Live 07. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 08 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 08 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 08.

After NBA Live 07 fell flat on all platforms, the development team had their work cut out for them with NBA Live 08. As it turned out, the series bounced back with a very respectable release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Naturally it had its issues and room for improvement, but after playing it again for this retrospective, I’d have to say that it was underappreciated, at least in our community. There is a reason for that, of course. The prior gen version – from which the PC version was ported – was far more underwhelming, and ended up carving out a dubious legacy with long-time NBA Live fans. Let’s take a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of a milestone game.

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K18 Legend Edition Gold Still Available

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K18 Legend Edition Gold Still Available

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at how both the Legend Edition and Legend Edition Gold versions of NBA 2K18 are still available in the PlayStation Store.

I have to say that thus far, I’ve been impressed with the PlayStation 5. I’ve generally been enjoying my time with NBA 2K21 Next Gen, and I love the faster loading times. In particular though, I’ve been impressed with its backwards compatibility with PS4, especially when it comes to my games library and saved content. As I noted in a Wayback Wednesday article, copying saved data across for PS4 games is a snap. I was also very pleased to be able to get a free upgrade for Mortal Kombat 11, complete with all of the DLC I’d purchased, just by inserting the PlayStation 4 disc.

The access to the PS4 library – on top of various media apps being readily compatible with PS5 – has made the console feel like a worthwhile upgrade, even if there aren’t a lot of new games that I’m interested in right now. While browsing the PlayStation Store, however, I came across another point of interest, albeit a far less positive one. During a search to see if the NBA League Pass app was available on PS5 (it’s not; at least, not in my region), I noticed that the Legend Edition and Legend Edition Gold versions of NBA 2K18 are still available to purchase. There are some major issues with that, and the digital availability of older NBA 2K titles in general.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Coincidences in Basketball Games

The Friday Five

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

Coincidences are everywhere in basketball gaming. As Thunder Shaq and Dee4Three pointed out, NBA 2K used very similar phrasing to my Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of Wayback Wednesday articles to describe a themed set in MyTEAM. Of course, there are only so many ways to phrase things, and similar ideas will end up with similar titles and terminology. As this 2015 post about joke stealing explains, the phenomenon of parallel development accounts for many similarities, especially when something is topical or a common point of interest.

Beyond that, a lot of coincidences are fun, owing to the way they seemingly predict the future. We’ve seen coincidences like that occur more than a couple of times in basketball video games over the years. It’s easy to call them predictions in hindsight, while conveniently ignoring a lot of things that aren’t…well, anything! The ones that do look like predictions and foreshadowing are merely coincidences, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. Today, I’m counting down my picks for the Top 5 coincidences in basketball gaming. There’s some overlap with my previous article on predictions, but there are also some new coincidences that you might find amusing.

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Wayback Wednesday: Kidz Sports Basketball

Wayback Wednesday: Kidz Sports Basketball

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 Kidz Sports Basketball, specifically the PlayStation 2 version.

There have been a lot of basketball games released over the years, with many of them flying under the radar. We all know NBA Live and NBA 2K, and older basketball gamers may recall other NBA licensed series such as Inside Drive, ShootOut, and In the Zone. Arcade games such as NBA Jam and NBA Street are familiar classics, and in recent years, NBA Playgrounds has gained traction. We remember the College Hoops and March Madness/NCAA Basketball games, EA’s NBA Playoffs series, Double Dribble, and a variety of other hoops titles of varying age and quality.

And then, there’s a title like Kidz Sports Basketball. Released in 2004, it’s not a game that would attract much attention in our community, as we’re not in the demographic. It’s meant for a much younger audience that isn’t quite ready for other hoops games, especially the sim titles. It’s one of those games that you might discover on Wikipedia – or indeed, in our Wiki – and wonder just what it was all about. I snagged a copy of the PS2 version cheap on eBay, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Rec Is Garbage, But Who’s To Blame?

Monday Tip-Off: The Rec Is Garbage, But Who's To Blame?

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 who’s to blame for The Rec being utter garbage in NBA 2K21, and how – or if – the problems can be fixed.

I have to blunt: The Rec is absolutely woeful this year. Walk-On play has always been a hit-and-miss alternative to team Pro-Am, owing to the all the issues that arise when you play with randoms. It’s been particularly toxic and unenjoyable in NBA 2K21, though. Admittedly, I can only speak to my experiences playing on the Australasian server, and I’ve yet to create a MyPLAYER on Next Gen and jump online. The scene may be a lot better on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, at least in North America. It’d be a low bar to clear, as the mode seems to have hit rock bottom.

While the issues are familiar, the continued decline of The Rec – and it’s felt like it’s grown even worse since NBA 2K21 Current Gen’s launch – raises a few questions. The two most pertinent are “who’s to blame”, and “how can it be fixed”. As you might imagine, the first issue has a significant impact on the second. The answer is quite complicated, and that naturally means the solution isn’t easy either. Still, I’ve been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks. While I am taking a moment to grumble here, I want to turn that into something constructive. If we as a community can identify these issues and suggest solutions, perhaps we can help improve the scene.

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The Friday Five: 5 Worst Daily Spin Prizes

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 the five worst prizes that you can get on the Daily Spin in MyCAREER.

We’ve taken a look at the best, so now it’s time to check out the worst! Last week, I listed my picks for the best Daily Spin prizes; the most desirable freebies that the wheel had to offer. This week, it’s all about the prizes that feel like a slap in the face. You’d almost rather win nothing than see the wheel land on these prizes, and when your player pumps their fist at seeing the result, it’s like it’s rubbing it in. Sure, free is free and we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but in our disappointment, it’s difficult to even call these “prizes”.

Once again, these are my personal picks, and at least a couple of them are subjective. The usefulness of certain prizes does depend on your choice of modes, and what’s useful to one gamer may be utterly useless to another. There’s certainly room for discussion and disagreement, just as there was when it came to the best prizes to get on the Daily Spin. However, based on my experiences and habits in MyCAREER, as well as taking into account how appropriate certain prizes are for different gamers, these are my picks. By all means feel free to disagree and suggest your own picks in the comments. With that being said, here are the worst Daily Spin prizes, in my view.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 5

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 5

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 revisiting NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4, on my PlayStation 5.

Ahead of the new generation of consoles launching and the release of NBA 2K21 Next Gen, I posted a retrospective of NBA 2K14; the launch title for the previous generation. Normally I wouldn’t revisit a game so soon – especially after writing what was intended to be an in-depth retrospective – but the idea of testing out the PS5’s backwards compatibility with a PS4 launch title is too tempting to pass up. There’s something poetic about it, on top of the usual appeal of firing up old releases on new tech; a certain novelty in addition to the curiosity.

Obviously, the PlayStation 5 isn’t going to enhance the gameplay of NBA 2K14. It won’t address bugs or AI quirks, and it’s not going to add the depth and features that were sorely missed. Nevertheless, I’m interested to see how the game performs on the new console, as well as run a general compatibility test for the PS5. I’ve got the console, I’ve got the game, so let’s combine them to take a look back…way back…

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