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Wayback Wednesday: Multiseason Play in NBA Live 99

League Development in NBA Live 99

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 continuing my retrospective on franchise modes with a look back at multiseason play in NBA Live 99’s Season mode.

NBA Live 98’s GM Mode was an interesting first step in changing up the approach to Season play, but it wasn’t quite what basketball gamers had wanted. It laid the groundwork for a variety of exciting new features however, and it was clear that gamers and EA Sports alike were committed to the idea of a deeper experience. A fully-fledged multiseason mode was once again something that gamers expressed their interest in through the NLSC’s NBA Live 99 Wishlist, submitted to the NBA Live development team at EA Canada on December 10th, 1997.

It would be another year before a few of those wishes were granted, but NBA Live 99 did take the next step by implementing multiseason play in its Season mode. Lacking many of the key elements of later franchise modes, but also introducing several important features as well, it’s arguably somewhat of a forgotten milestone on the road to the deep multiseason experience that we wanted to see in basketball video games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Goodwill, Greed, and NBA 2K18

The Neighborhood in NBA 2K18

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 current controversies surrounding NBA 2K18, and the goodwill that Visual Concepts has lost.

I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to write this column. I’ve already discussed the matter in Episode #223 of the NLSC Podcast and in the NLSC Forum, and I’d rather not sound like a broken record. Furthermore, it’s all too easy to come across like a hater, gleefully indulging in some opportunistic bashing simply because there’s a controversial issue that’s a hot topic at the moment. However, it is a big deal, and it’s something that we basketball gamers shouldn’t let slide. I am of course referring to the aggressive implementation of Virtual Currency in NBA 2K18.

By now, if you haven’t played NBA 2K18 and felt the sting of VC gouging, you’ve no doubt heard other basketball gamers expressing their outrage. Perhaps you’ve even read about 2K reaching out to a site that published a negative review, asking them to reconsider their score. These are disturbing and disheartening practices for a company that is the brand leader, with a vast majority of the market share. As a game, NBA 2K has gone from strength to strength in many aspects, stepping up to deliver great experiences on the virtual hardwood as the NBA Live series has faltered. That’s earned them the adoration of gamers, but right now, that goodwill lies in ruins.

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The Friday Five: 5 Favourite Basketball Games to Mod

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 my favourite games to mod over the years.

A combination of burnout, different priorities, and less free time has seen my modding efforts dwindle over the years. I do like to release some kind of mod every now and again when I can find the time though, because it’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing for the basketball gaming community. Although modding can be time-consuming and sometimes a chore – that is one of the reasons I became burned out on the hobby, after all – there is a lot of creative satisfaction in it. Whether it’s been the current rosters for NBA Live, dabbling in making some art updates, or finding other things to mod, it’s been great messing around with several different games.

Of course, when it comes to modding, not all games are alike. While the process may remain largely unchanged from game to game, and sometimes we’ve been fortunate enough to have a large amount of file compatibility to work with, each release has its own idiosyncrasies. Sometimes the files are easier to modify, other times there are limitations on what can be done with texture sizes or the roster databases. Just how much you enjoy modding a game can also depend on how much you like playing it in the first place. Looking back on all the games I’ve created mods for over the years, these five are the ones I’ve enjoyed tinkering with the most, in chronological order.

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Wayback Wednesday: GM Mode in NBA Live 98

Fantasy Draft Order in GM Mode

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 GM Mode in NBA Live 98.

Although I’ve gravitated towards MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am in recent years, I’ve traditionally been a franchise gamer. For those of us who remember playing basketball games with a single season mode, the ability to play multiple seasons while managing our roster through the Draft, free agency, and salary cap-restricted trades was something that we eagerly wanted to see. As basketball gaming approached the turn of the millennium, the demand for an in-depth, multi-season mode – what we would now refer to as a franchise mode – was steadily rising. Although we’ve come to see fantastic franchise modes, it’s been a long road to get to that point.

Since I’m looking to get back into some franchise gaming this year, it seems as good a time as any to tip off a multi-part feature I’ve been wanting to do for some time: a look back at the history and evolution of franchise modes. First up is NBA Live 98’s GM Mode. While not strictly an in-depth franchise mode, it stands as one of the forerunners to the concept. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Is It MyCAREER, or The Shammy Wells Show?

Shammy Wells in NBA 2K18's MyCAREER

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 Shammy Wells is shaping up to be the real protagonist in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER, at least in my game.

Early on in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER, I remember feeling like Justice Young was the real star of the story. He was getting more shots, he was levelling up a lot quicker than I was, and in terms of the narrative, he was the one driving the action. As the year progressed, I surpassed him in Overall Rating and on-court performance, and by the time we hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy, it was clear that The President of Basketball was indeed the protagonist of the story, and the star of the team. Despite my usual aversion to the story-driven approach in MyCAREER, I did enjoy last year’s tale. In terms of gameplay, I also liked having Justice as my teammate.

My reactions to the MyCAREER story in NBA 2K18 are…well, not so positive. I’ll go into that in greater detail at a later time, but suffice to say, I’m not a fan of the writing, characters, or the plot in general. As for the gameplay, I knew that I’d have to grind my way up again – it’s always the way – but I wasn’t counting on being outshone by a fictional player once again, and even more so than before. Through the early stages of MyCAREER in NBA 2K18, I have to admit that it doesn’t really feel like the story is actually about my career, at least on the court. Instead, it feels like D.J. is merely providing the soundtrack to The Shammy Wells Show.

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The Friday Five: 5 Hopes for the 2018 Basketball Gaming Season

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 discusses five hopes that I have for the 2018 basketball gaming season.

As I noted earlier today, with the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, a brand new season of basketball gaming is now underway! My pre-order of NBA Live 18 downloaded a couple of days ago and then unlocked at midnight Australian Eastern Time, so I stayed up quite late playing the game and sharing some initial impressions on Twitter. As of this writing, the day one patch for the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K18 has just finished installing, and I’ve almost finished downloading the PC version on Steam as well. I anticipate that I have a big weekend of basketball gaming ahead of me.

With any luck, we’re all in for twelve months filled with fun basketball gaming experiences. I’ve felt optimistic about this year’s releases through most of the preview season, and I came away from both the NBA Live 18 demo and The Prelude to NBA 2K18 with some positive impressions. I’d like to spend more time with the full versions of both games before I offer up some in-depth impressions (and eventually, comprehensive reviews), but as I look ahead to the 2018 season of basketball gaming, I do have a few hopes for the experiences that will be on offer in this year’s releases.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 & 08 Trivia

Roster Player dunks the basketball in NBA Live 98

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 offering up some trivia about NBA Live 98 and NBA 2K18.

NBA Live’s hiatus officially ends this week with the release of NBA Live 18. From playing the demo and reading a couple of the early reviews, I would have to say that the game definitely still has room for improvement, but has also made some pleasing strides since its reboot in 2013. I’m quite looking forward to playing NBA Live 18, but the title does make me reflect on how long I’ve been a part of the community. Before I took over the NLSC, I remember visiting it and checking out the news when NBA Live 98 was the upcoming game. By the time the preview season for NBA Live 08 rolled around, I was covering it myself here on the NLSC.

Since NBA Live 18 will be out in a couple of days, I thought it might be fun to look back at the previous two NBA Live games that were set in a season ending in eight. I’ve already posted an in-depth retrospective of NBA Live 98, and one is in the pipeline for NBA Live 08 as well, but these are some quick trivia notes about both games that I hope you will enjoy. With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: MyTEAM Packs vs. Real Card Packs

MyTEAM Lineup in NBA 2K17

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 video comparing the value of MyTEAM packs to real packs of basketball trading cards.

The odds and overall value of the packs in MyTEAM have been discussed at length since the mode debuted in the NBA 2K series. As someone who used to collect basketball trading cards, I’ve often wondered how MyTEAM’s virtual packs stack up against the real thing. Are the pack odds as unfairly weighted as they sometimes seem to be? How would a box of packs in NBA 2K17’s MyTEAM, featuring a total of twenty player cards, compare to a couple of real packs of basketball trading cards, which generally include ten to twelve cards apiece?

I decided to put those questions to the test. A while back, I bought a box of League packs in MyTEAM, and spent a few minutes opening them all. I also picked up a couple of brand new packs of Panini NBA Hoops trading cards off eBay, and opened them up as well. The results were certainly interesting, and since I’ve been sitting on the footage for a while now, I’m pleased to finally present to you my comparison of MyTEAM Packs vs. Real Card Packs!

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. Are you surprised by the results? What have your experiences been like when it comes to buying packs in MyTEAM? Let me know in the comments section below, and feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! With NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 coming out this week, I’ll be looking to do some more video features, hopefully on a more regular basis. Stay tuned, and be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube! In case you missed it, I also posted a video last week featuring some of NLSC THRILLHO’s best moments in NBA 2K17’s 2K Pro-Am. Catch it here if you haven’t seen it yet.

The Friday Five: 5 Teams to Rebuild in Franchise Modes This Year

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 teams that you might consider trying to rebuild in this year’s franchise modes.

Last week, I discussed some of the most appealing options in terms of teams to use in this year’s franchise modes. This week, I’m looking at some of the more challenging options, in the form of teams that are currently rebuilding. Admittedly a couple of the teams that I mentioned last week are in rebuilding phases themselves, but they also happen to have a bit more talent on their rosters, including players with definite superstar potential. The teams I’m focusing on this time around generally aren’t quite as talented, but still present some interesting scenarios for franchise gamers.

Assuming control of a rebuilding team in a franchise mode can be an unusual experience. Depending on your skill on the sticks, lottery-bound teams can greatly overachieve, even pulling off unlikely championship victories in year one. Of course, you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you, and the rosters of teams who are bottoming out or trying to claw their way back to respectability aren’t always fun to play with. At the same time, the challenge they present can be an enjoyable change of pace. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five teams that you can try to rebuild in the franchise modes of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 96 Complete Update

Kobe Bryant in the Complete Update Patch for NBA Live 96

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 Complete Update mod I made for NBA Live 96 PC.

Maybe it’s because it’s been a while since I’ve worked on a major roster project, or perhaps it’s talking about old mods in recent editions of Wayback Wednesday, but recently I’ve been feeling somewhat nostalgic about the days when I was more active in the modding community. I’ve talked about my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004 (which will be receiving further updates, thanks to Murat) and the NBA Live PC project for NBA Live 06 (which I’d love to update if I had the time), but this time I’m going back even further, to the Complete Update that I made for NBA Live 96.

Even though it’s obviously been far surpassed by the numerous games that have followed it, the PC version of NBA Live 96 remains one of my all-time favourite basketball games. Indeed, it was for that very reason that I was still making updates for it as late as 2001, even though it was already becoming something of a relic. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Everything’s Coming Up THRILLHO!

NLSC THRILLHO in 2K Pro-Am (NBA 2K17)

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 highlight reel from NLSC THRILLHO’s season of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17.

When NBA 2K17 was released, the very first thing that Arcane, Kenny, The X, Valor, and I did was to play a game of 2K Pro-Am. We’d had a lot of fun with the mode in NBA 2K16, and having created our players in last year’s Prelude, we decided to jump right into the 2K Pro-Am experience. With the exception of a short break earlier this year, we’ve been enjoying some regular sessions over the past twelve months. However, as we discussed in last week’s Podcast, with this year’s Prelude and NBA 2K18 both right around the corner, we’ve been rapidly approaching the end of our season. On Saturday, we enjoyed a win that felt like a great game to end on.

Through all the ups and downs, we’ve had some really fun times running with our NLSC THRILLHO squad in 2K Pro-Am. We’re still deciding whether we’ll keep the name for NBA 2K18, but in the meantime, I’ve put together an extended highlight reel of memorable moments where everything was definitely coming up THRILLHO! Check it out below, or catch it here on our YouTube channel.

I hope you enjoyed the reel! If you’d care to check out some of our less spectacular moments, last December I put together a reel where it definitely seemed like nothing was coming up THRILLHO. Thanks to Arcane, Kenny, The X, Valor, and zzcoolj21 for being great teammates and a lot of fun to chat to and joke around with as we play. Here’s to more fun times NBA 2K18’s 2K Pro-Am, which of course is now part of The Neighborhood. Hopefully, the mode will be great from the moment we enter our name, THRILLHO or otherwise.

The Friday Five: 5 Teams To Use in Franchise Modes This Year

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 teams that are appealing prospects to play with in this year’s franchise modes.

We’re just a couple of weeks away from the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18! Although I anticipate spending time with modes like MyCAREER, The One, 2K Pro-Am, MyTEAM, and Ultimate Team, I’m also looking forward to returning to my roots as a franchise gamer. Given its incredible depth, MyLEAGUE will likely be my mode of choice, but I’m still undecided as to which team I’ll use. My beloved Chicago Bulls are naturally always an option, but with the team entering a rebuilding phase, they’re not exactly the most appealing squad. I can’t help but think back to my attempts to play Franchise Mode with the Ron Mercer-led Bulls in NBA Live 2001!

MyLEAGUE does offer the flexibility of controlling multiple teams, switching control of teams, and of course, creating a brand new expansion team. However, I must admit that I’d personally prefer to take control of one franchise, and a real NBA team at that. I can’t rule out trying to make things work with the Bulls, but there are quite a few interesting possibilities heading into the 2018 season. If you’re looking for a team that can be competitive out of the gate, but also provide options in terms of wheeling and dealing, here are five teams that you may want to consider using in the franchise modes of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18.

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Wayback Wednesday: Legends & Champs Rosters for NBA Live

Isiah Thomas in the Legends Roster for NBA Live 2000

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 Legends and Champs rosters for NBA Live on PC.

The announcement that NBA 2K18 will be receiving new historical content, not only in the form of additional classic teams but also All-Time squads, drew a lot of excitement from gamers who are also enthusiastic NBA history buffs. While there have been omissions and other issues, historical content is something that the 2K series has generally done a great job with since NBA 2K11. Of course, as more than a couple of people have pointed out here and on social media, All-Time Teams are not a completely original concept, as many fan-made rosters featuring such squads have been created in recent years.

However, the concept goes back a lot further than that. Rosters comprised of All-Time squads date all the way back to the early days of patching NBA Live on PC, as Lutz’s Legends rosters demonstrate. For that matter, the concept of classic teams was also utilised by his Champs rosters. It’s been a while and a lot of newer basketball gamers probably aren’t aware of those influential mods, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Metacritic Scores & Basketball Games

Giannis Antetolounmpo dunks the basketball in NBA Live 18.

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 few thoughts on Metacritic scores, and how they relate to basketball games.

We’re less than three weeks away from the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18. It won’t be long before publications are getting their hands on the finished games, and vying to be the first to post their reviews. The most glowing reviews will be shared by the games’ official social media accounts, while we basketball gamers discuss the merits of each reviewer’s critique. At the end of the day, however, their approval or disapproval of each game will contribute to their respective Metacritic scores. Like all developers, both EA Sports and Visual Concepts will be hoping for the best result possible, as Metacritic scores are the yardstick for successful releases.

Generally speaking, that’s an understandable approach. While there can certainly be a disconnect between the opinions of professional reviewers and the general public, along with sales, Metacritic scores are a reasonable barometer for a game’s success. At the same time, when it comes to basketball games, and sports games in general for that matter, I’d argue that they’re not always accurate or fair. I’m not a huge fan of awarding numerical scores to games of any genre, and as far as basketball games are concerned, the extent to which the importance of Metacritic scores can be overblown is comparable to the overemphasis on overall ratings in the games themselves.

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The Friday Five: 5 Changes I’d Make To The NLSC & Community

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 discusses some of the changes I’d like to make to the NLSC and our community in general.

Tomorrow marks my sixteenth anniversary as webmaster/administrator of the NLSC. I took over the site from Tim on August 26th 2001, a little less than two months before my seventeenth birthday. In other words, at this point I’ve basically been running the site for half of my life, which is kind of an overwhelming thought to be honest! I’ve had my ups and downs during that time – personally, professionally, and with the NLSC itself – but I don’t regret taking the gig for a minute. It’s given me a lot of creative satisfaction, fascinating insight into one of my favourite hobbies, and some tremendous opportunities.

Like a lot of people, I often look at milestones and anniversaries as an opportunity to reflect and take stock of things. It doesn’t pay to dwell too much on the past, but no matter what you’re doing, it’s important to learn from experience. One of my goals is to keep the NLSC relevant and maintain a certain level of quality, while also looking to get even better. I’d like to think that I’ve had some success in that regard, but at the same time, there’s still work to be done. I may be covering some familiar ground here, but as I look forward to bigger and better things, here are five changes that I’d like to make to the NLSC and our corner of the basketball gaming community.

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