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Wayback Wednesday: 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16

Wayback Wednesday: 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16

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 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16, as well as how the mode has changed since then.

There was a time when I was very reluctant to play online. Technically that refers to the present day as well, as I no longer find the scene appealing in NBA 2K. To that point though, for a while I was far more enthusiastic about online play. I’d dabbled with it in the past, but was generally content to play franchise modes, or stick to the NBA side of MyCAREER. However, when Kenny invited Arcane and I to play 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16 along with community members The X, Valor, and zzcoolj21, we were hooked. NLSC THRILLHO was born!

Although some improvements were made to 2K Pro-Am following its introduction in NBA 2K16, I’d still say that the original incarnation of the mode is one of the best. The novelty of it being a fresh new experience certainly contributes to my nostalgia for it, but many of the changes to MyCAREER and the online scene since then have taken it in a disappointing direction. Once again though, that first version of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16 was a blast, and that also carried over into NBA 2K17. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Getting Into Basketball Game Collecting

Monday Tip-Off: Getting Into Basketball Game Collecting

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 tips on how to get into basketball game collecting.

So, you say you want to get into collecting basketball video games? I’ve seen some people express interest in the hobby, especially with how often that Dee and I have talked about our collections on the NLSC Podcast! We’re admittedly at the crazier end of the hobby, doubling up on different platforms, picking up spare copies if we see them for ridiculously low prices, and seeking out some more expensive titles. One doesn’t have to be a completionist to collect though, especially when it comes to video games. It’s fine to just amass a collection of favourites that you want to have on hand.

We’ve received a couple of strange YouTube comments in regards to our collections, which seem to imply that we’re somehow doing something nefarious, or that we’re in some exclusive hobby that requires great wealth. To put it bluntly, neither is true! I believe the former comment mistook our discussion of shared experiences using Parsec as somehow hoarding games, while the latter is assuming that collecting needs to be an expensive hobby. We did respond to those comments and provided some tips on basketball game collecting way back in Episode #436 of the Podcast, but I’d like to offer some further advice, including a summary of key tips at the end of this article.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: January 7th, 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.

It’s a new year, but the first NLSC Top 10 Plays of 2023 is tipping things off in familiar fashion: a countdown of exciting plays from seven different basketball video games, both recent and classic. There are poster dunks galore, breathtaking moves in the paint, and an entry that would rightfully score 50 in any Dunk Contest. The NBA 2K2 soundtrack provides the music on this occasion, and appropriately, cover player Allen Iverson makes an appearance in the countdown. Keep those highlights coming, and strap in for another spectacular year of the Top 10!

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 Activities to Freshen Up Your Gaming

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 suggests five activities to help you freshen up your basketball gaming experiences.

I’m the last person who’ll scold you about stubbornly sticking with what you like. I’m absolutely a creature of habit, prone to returning to my old favourites rather than try something new. And hey, as long as you’re having fun, that’s the most important part of all recreational activities! There’s a reason I go on those long kicks such as playing through multiple seasons in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER, assembling makeshift retro teams in NBA Live 10, or going back to my NBA Live 06 Dynasty if I’m not feeling the latest game. Indeed, it’s why I’ve stuck with franchise and career modes for years.

Of course, it’s nice to change things up when you’re weary of what you’re playing. This is why I advocate for a variety of deep modes in basketball games, and if they’re there, giving them a look whenever you’re getting bored. However, if you’re looking for a change of pace without diving into a whole new mode, there are many activities that you can do in basketball games that are, at the very least, fun palate cleansers. If you enjoy them, then you may want to make them a regular part of your basketball gaming, combining them with a mode if possible. Otherwise, these activities are ideas to keep in mind if you’re in a rut, and want to mess around on the virtual hardwood.

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Wayback Wednesday: The First Friday Five

Wayback Wednesday: The First Friday Five

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 very first Friday Five, published ten years ago today.

As I always note in my introduction for Wayback Wednesday, one of the intended purposes of this weekly feature is to republish old articles, usually with some added commentary. Funnily enough, that was actually the subject of the very first Wayback Wednesday, as I posted an article that was no longer available on the site due to us switching content management systems. However, much like Jerry West winning the first NBA Finals MVP despite losing the series, this didn’t set a precedent! I’ve mostly opted for retrospectives and other game-oriented features over republishing articles.

Honestly, I do think that’s the right call, as it’s the optimal use of a weekly feature such as Wayback Wednesday. It’s handy to leave the door open to republishing lost articles and generally digging into our own archives, but I believe that basketball video games should always be the star of the show, so to speak. With that being said, since it is ten years to the day that I posted my first edition of The Friday Five, I’m reflecting on the beginning of my longest-running NLSC feature, as well as the topic that it covered. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Improving NBA 2K Discourse in 2023

Monday Tip-Off: Improving NBA 2K Discourse in 2023

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 how we can improve the discourse around NBA 2K in 2023 (and beyond).

I realise there’s a certain futility in articles such as this. The people who read them are likely already in agreement with the message, while those who really need to heed such suggestions are unlikely to do so. In other words, I’m preaching to the choir while simultaneously yelling into the wind. Still, it never hurts to try! I don’t pretend that I have the reach or the words to eliminate toxicity from the discourse surrounding the NBA 2K series. Nevertheless, if it makes a few people think, or encourages a more positive example, it’s a worthwhile endeavour.

And yes, the word “toxic” gets thrown around a lot these days, but it’s not inaccurate. Mind you, because it’s so ubiquitous, it’s undoubtedly an uphill battle to change the culture of online discourse, whether it’s NBA 2K, real hoops, or basically anything else that we care to discuss with each other. As I said though, if it gets a few people thinking differently about NBA 2K discourse and critique, then in my view it’s worth a try. These are things that I believe we should keep in mind when we’re discussing the issues with NBA 2K and their possible solutions, and pretty much all discourse regarding the series. I promise that they’re not all phrased as stuffy “Do Nots”!

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 31st, 2022

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.

We’re closing out 2022 in style with another edition of the NLSC Top 10 Plays! It’s fair to say that last week’s holiday special is tough to top, but I think you’ll agree that this week’s countdown holds its own in the jaw-dropping department. Vicious poster dunks, incredible putbacks, and flashy moves, spanning three different games and multiple eras of the NBA…once again, the community has come up with the goods! Shout out to Dee for producing the Top 10 every week, and to everyone who keeps sending in their best plays. Let’s keep the fun going in 2023!

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 Additions to NBA MyCAREER

The Friday Five: 5 Best Additions to NBA MyCAREER

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 additions to NBA MyCAREER.

These days, it’s not fashionable to play NBA MyCAREER. It’s usually seen as a means to an end; a way of familiarising yourself with the mechanics, and grinding for VC and Badge XP to level up your player in preparation for the online scene. This is unfortunate, as MyCAREER once provided an extremely enjoyable alternative to franchise play, placing gamers in the shoes of an aspiring NBA player. Sure, the story-driven approach has been hit and miss, but some of the better tales were well-told, with impressive production values and fun mini-games.

Those aspects are still there as of NBA 2K23, though there’s been a detrimental shift in focus. The downfall began last generation, and swiftly progressed following the introduction of The Neighborhood and later The City. Still, NBA MyCAREER does remain a fairly robust mode; at least until the servers are shut down and it disappears forever! Reflecting on the history of NBA MyCAREER and the days when it was more than just a legacy mode that most use as a stepping stone to the online scene, there have been some great additions that benefitted the traditional career experience. Having played the mode extensively over the years, I’m picking these as the five best.

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Wayback Wednesday: Portraits in NBA Live 95 & 96 PC

Wayback Wednesday: Portraits in NBA Live 95 & 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 the player portraits in NBA Live 95 and NBA Live 96 PC.

Although our fondest basketball gaming memories come from what we accomplished on the virtual hardwood, our nostalgia encompasses everything about a title: graphics, sound effects, music, and the overall style. We fondly recall the smallest details, from the authenticity of Steve Nash lying on the floor in NBA Live 10 to Terry Mills and Oliver Miller having the same ratings in the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition. When you’ve spent enough time with an old favourite to know it back to front, the most obscure details and trivia are embedded in your memories.

I’m not just trying to wax poetic with navel-gazing fluff here. I do honestly believe that, and it’s why I not only revisit games to produce Wayback Wednesday content, but also for my own enjoyment. It’s also why I don’t just do retrospective reviews, but also cover specific features and concepts in-depth. However, I’ll admit that it might seem like a flimsy justification to talk about – of all things – the portraits in NBA Live 95 and 96 PC! They are indeed an aesthetic element that are part and parcel of my nostalgia for those titles though, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Finishing Seasons On The Virtual Hardwood

Monday Tip-Off: Finishing Seasons On The Virtual Hardwood

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 the rewarding feeling of finishing seasons in basketball video games.

I’ve previously said that completion is what we make it when it comes to the virtual hardwood. Indeed, I dedicated an entire article to exploring that notion. I still stand by that. While it can be extremely fulfilling to be a completionist when it comes to the games we play, it isn’t a necessity to have fun. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t collect all of the cards in MyTEAM, reach the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER, or play through to a championship in a mode representing the NBA season. As you long as you enjoyed your time with a game and feel like you got your money’s worth, that’s what counts.

With that being said, there’s great joy to be had in playing through seasons from start to finish. If you manage to play multiple seasons – either before the next game comes out, or by returning to an old favourite – it can be an even more rewarding experience. It’s a tall order, especially with a full 82-game season on twelve minute quarters with no simulation, as I’ve often aimed to achieve. No matter which settings you prefer however, there’s a feeling of accomplishment when a season is in the books, and your team is standing at midcourt raising the Larry O’Brien trophy. Even before that, of course, there’s a journey that I strongly advise everyone to savour along the way.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 24th, 2022

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.

‘Tis the season and the night before Christmas, which means it’s time for this year’s holiday edition of the NLSC Top 10 Plays! Santa and Boom the Elf tip off the proceedings with some glass-shattering action in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, and the highlights only get better from there! On top of the usual countdown, Dee has also included a bonus highlight reel of submissions that may not have made the Top 10, but will still bring you plenty of holiday cheer. Season’s Greetings, and stay tuned for a new episode of the NLSC Podcast tomorrow!

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 Retro Gaming Technical Frustrations

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Gaming Technical Frustrations

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 technical frustrations that one might encounter when retro gaming.

I love retro gaming! As I’ve said before, when I think back, I was probably born to be a retro gamer. The first console I ever played was one that came out before I was even born, and part of the 1983 video game crash. It’s not that I don’t enjoy playing new games and all the technological advances the medium has made, but my early forays into gaming have undoubtedly influenced my ability to overlook dated aspects if I still enjoy the gameplay. Some games hold up better than others – especially basketball and other sports titles – but bottom line, I can still have a blast with the classics.

Of course, over the years, that hasn’t always been easy to do. This is particularly true of older PC basketball games following upgrades to a new system. At the end of the day, retro gaming (basketball or otherwise) is still something of a niche interest within the hobby, with technical frustrations arising because it’s not kept in mind when new hardware and operating systems are being developed. Fortunately, there are usually workarounds, though they can be intimidating if you’re not technically savvy. I’ve been able to find ways to get all of my old games running for my retro gaming and content creation purposes, but there have definitely been some technical frustrations.

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Wayback Wednesday: Playing With Defunct & Relocated Teams

Wayback Wednesday: Playing With Defunct & Relocated Teams

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 the defunct and relocated teams that are fun to play with in older games.

If it isn’t obvious from producing a weekly Wayback Wednesday feature, as well as playing old favourites with Dee4Three on Parsec and discussing them on the NLSC Podcast, I love revisiting basketball games from multiple eras, and bringing them back into my gaming rotation. Sometimes I get on an extended kick with a game, as is the case with NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4, while other titles I just like to throw on for an exhibition or two. Whether I’m playing solo or with Dee, those exhibition games always raise an important question: who to play with, and against?

Obviously, our favourite teams – the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics – will always be an option. Of course, there are some Bulls and Celtics teams throughout time that aren’t as fun to play with, while other teams are far more intriguing. However, more and more, I find myself being drawn to the defunct, relocated, or re-branded teams in older basketball video games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Forgetting The Community You Came From

Monday Tip-Off: Forgetting The Community You Came From

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 frank thoughts on poor community managers, and community hires forgetting where they came from.

This is one of those articles that are difficult to write without sounding bitter, grinding an axe over sour grapes. And, to be fair, there is a touch of bitterness when it comes to this topic. However, while “you sound bitter” is a tired yet effective ad hominem, it doesn’t disprove a point; particularly when someone has a legitimate grievance. As someone who has tried to represent the community to the best of my ability whenever I’ve had the opportunity to do so, I have strong feelings about the way company reps handle themselves…especially if they were once “one of us”.

Things have unquestionably changed in the community since I took over the NLSC in August 2001. Companies are more selective about whom they work with, but not in a way that benefits gamers. Instead of connecting with people dedicated to constructive and honest feedback on behalf of gamers, they grant access to content creators who are willing to promote – or indeed, shill – and have a big enough audience to make it worthwhile. It makes sense from a business standpoint, but it’s eroded the goodwill that community programs once fostered. When it’s someone you used to know as a member of the community, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve been stabbed in the back.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 17th, 2022

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.

This week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays isn’t just about dunks, but don’t worry; there are plenty of incredible slams to get you hyped up for a weekend of basketball gaming! However, you’ll also find defenders being left in the dust in The Rec, big defensive plays being made at the other end, and cold-blooded clutch performances. Additionally, five different games are represented in this week’s countdown, ranging from the original NBA Street on PlayStation 2 right through to NBA 2K23 Next Gen. If you’re hitting the virtual hardwood this holiday season, make sure you’re capturing your best moments so that you too can give the gift of highlights!

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.