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Wayback Wednesday: The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11

Michael Jordan dunks on the Trail Blazers in the Jordan Challenge (NBA 2K11)

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 one of the best modes in NBA 2K11 (and indeed basketball games in general), the Jordan Challenge.

It recently occurred to me that while I’ve discussed Michael Jordan’s presence in NBA 2K11 and ran a series of articles in which I went back and finished all the games in the Jordan Challenge, I’ve yet to post a retrospective dedicated solely to the mode. I’ve obviously discussed it in those previous features, but given how special the Jordan Challenge was, it’s about time I rectify that. Besides, if responses to recent posts on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are any indication, a lot of people are still quite interested in talking about NBA 2K11!

They have a good reason to. NBA 2K11 was a milestone release, and while the failure of NBA Elite 11 was a factor, the quality of 2K’s game combined with the addition of MJ and the Jordan Challenge led to it not only being very warmly received, but also becoming the first game in the series to top five million units sold. As much as any other mode or feature, the Jordan Challenge represents the way 2K has focused on the finer details, and been willing to innovate over the years. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Cool Details in The Neighborhood

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 cool details that you may or may not have noticed in The Neighborhood.

Since its introduction in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER, The Neighborhood has proven to be a divisive concept. Some basketball gamers love having a game world to explore, while others find it tedious and a waste of time. Whether or not you like the approach, it appears to be here to stay. As such, if you have any interest in playing MyCAREER or any of its connected experiences, you will be spending time in The Neighborhood. With all the running between shops, the practice facility, Pro-Am arenas, and courts in The Playground, the Marathon Man trophy/achievement can be gained quite easily.

Of course, if you are just running between Point A and Point B all the time, you may end up missing some of the cool details that have been put into The Neighborhood. Even if you’re not a huge fan of having a game world as the hub for MyCAREER and its connected modes, it’s possible to appreciate the amount of work that has gone into making it visually appealing and interesting. The Neighborhood certainly doesn’t offer as many secrets or places to explore compared to open world games such as Grand Theft Auto or Fallout, but there are some details that make it worth looking around. Here are five that have stood out to me in NBA 2K18 and NBA 2K19.

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Wayback Wednesday: Cheat Codes in Basketball Video Games

Menu for Cheat Codes in NBA 2K13

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 cheat codes that were featured in older basketball games.

When it comes to video game nostalgia, a feature that many of us old school gamers remember fondly is the cheat code. These days, accelerating progress in most games comes down to pay-to-win mechanics, but once upon a time, we used cheat codes in the form of passwords and button combinations. While cheat codes aren’t completely outmoded, they seem to be far less common than they once were. In basketball games, they’ve generally been phased out over the past generation or so.

It’s kind of a shame. While they aren’t necessary – especially in sim games – they were often fun ways of altering the gameplay experience, and hid some cool secrets. Some games used them to unlock new content with the codes being revealed at some point post-launch; something of a precursor to the content updates we now see. There have been quite a few memorable cheat codes in basketball video games over the years, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Ideas NBA 2K Should Borrow from NBA Live

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 ideas that NBA 2K should borrow from NBA Live.

The time has come to compile and finalise our Wishlist for NBA 2K20, and send it off to the development team at Visual Concepts as soon as possible. While NBA 2K is currently a very deep and successful NBA sim, I would suggest that most basketball gamers would agree that there’s still room for improvement. This includes polishing up existing features and addressing some gameplay concerns, but as far as changing concepts and approaches, or implementing new features, I do believe that NBA Live has some ideas that NBA 2K could borrow.

A lot of people may scoff at that and dismiss the notion out of hand. After all, when you’re the premier product, you lead; you don’t follow. However, even though NBA 2K is undisputedly the brand leader and NBA Live continues to rebuild after many rough years, EA Sports’ long-running hoops title has featured some really good ideas, even as it’s struggled to make a dent in NBA 2K’s sales. Great as it is, there are some aspects of NBA 2K that feel dated or problematic, and some of the solutions may lie in NBA Live’s approach to those features. 2K has borrowed from NBA Live before – right stick dribbling being a prime example – and it could stand to do so again.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Weirdest NBA Tall Tale I Ever Heard

An NBA Tall Tale: Michael Jordan on the Hornets (NBA 2K19)

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 reminiscing about the weirdest NBA tall tale that I ever heard as a kid back in the 90s.

Although the Internet is a place of much subjective debate when it comes to the NBA, it offers plenty of resources for looking up objective statistics, records, and other such information. That makes it more difficult to concoct rumours, and try to trick your fellow fans with tall tales. I recently remembered the weirdest tall tale that someone told me back in the 90s: that Michael Jordan was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets! It got me thinking about how this bizarre tall tale originated, so I’ve decided to re-tell the story using clips from NBA 2K19. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here if you can’t see the embedded video. I’m working on some more video ideas for Wayback Wednesday and other features, including a comparison of NBA Live 95 and NBA Showdown, so be sure to subscribe to the NLSC’s YouTube channel! I hope that you enjoyed this look back at a weird NBA tall tale from the 90s, as told by NBA 2K19. Has anyone ever tried to fool you with an unusual and unlikely myth about the NBA? If so, share it in the comments section below! Additionally, if there’s a game you’re particularly nostalgic for, let me know what it is, and I might profile it (or an interesting aspect of it) in a future Wayback Wednesday feature.

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Monday Tip-Off: What Actually Ruins Basketball Video Games?

Victor Oladipo in NBA 2K19

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 the matter of what actually ruins basketball video games, and what are really more minor gripes.

Having been a part of the online basketball gaming community for over twenty years and admin of the NLSC for going on eighteen, I’ve both seen and taken part in some spirited discussions about the hobby. Our conversations about basketball video games have run the gamut from excitedly positive to furiously negative, depending on the issue and the quality of any given title. Given that we all have different tastes and expectations of basketball video games, our opinions will differ when it comes what will ruin our experience on the virtual hardwood. That’s fine, and to be encouraged!

Of course, it’s easy to exaggerate, especially when a pet peeve is involved. I recall one Forum member fuming over the use of the word “City” on the team statistics menu in NBA Live 2001. As they correctly pointed out, teams such as the Warriors, Jazz, and Pacers all take their names from their state rather than their city, making that label inaccurate. It’s a valid point, but a minor detail that was correct for most of the teams, and a criticism that paled in comparison with other issues in NBA Live 2001. Such issues are worth pointing out, but as we compile our Wishlists, it’s important that we prioritise problems that can ruin basketball video games, ahead of minor annoyances.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ideas NBA Live Should Borrow from NBA 2K

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 ideas that NBA Live should borrow from NBA 2K.

Since we’re in the process of compiling feedback for our NBA Live 20 Wishlist, I feel like discussing some of the improvements that I believe would take the game to the next level. In particular, I’d like to discuss some ideas and concepts from NBA 2K which NBA Live should be looking to borrow. After all, when it comes to good ideas and features that an NBA video game should have, it doesn’t matter who did it first. The important thing is that games find a way of implementing those ideas and making them work. It never hurts to look at what the brand leader is doing, either.

Glancing at Twitter as of late – a foolhardy thing to do, some might say – I have seen some divided opinions when it comes to the matter of NBA Live’s approach, identity, and the notion of borrowing ideas from NBA 2K. A lot of younger and admittedly passionate fans are downplaying the concerns and suggestions of “old heads”, their point being that it’s a new day and we’re hung up on the past. Respectfully, I must disagree. While it is easy to get caught up in nostalgia, we long-time virtual hoops enthusiasts do know a thing or two, including what the game was like it in its heyday. To that end, NBA Live would benefit from borrowing these NBA 2K concepts.

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Wayback Wednesday: The NLSC Wishlists

NBA Live 98 GM Season

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 history of our NLSC Wishlists.

Wishlist season is upon us again! We’re compiling our Wishlists for NBA Live 20 and NBA 2K20, so even though Wayback Wednesday is about looking back at the past, I would like to take the opportunity to encourage everyone to look to the future and help us compile comprehensive feedback for EA and 2K to put to use in developing this year’s games. As we discussed in Episode #270 of the NLSC Podcast, it doesn’t do us any good if we keep our feedback and suggestions to ourselves. Our Wishlists can’t guarantee the additions and changes we want, but they at least have a chance.

Of course, I understand the scepticism that my fellow basketball gamers often express when it comes time to compile our Wishlists. If you’re not seeing the improvements that you desire, it can feel like a pointless exercise; especially if you find yourself repeating the same points year after year. I do believe that our Wishlists have had a positive impact on the games though, and we only need to look back at some of them to see that they’ve been worthwhile. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Future of Our Modding Community

RED Modding Center for NBA 2K14

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 the current state and future of our modding community.

2019 could be a great year for our modding community. Late last year, Vlad delivered a wonderful gift in the form of new versions of RED MC and REDitor II that are fully functional and completely free. The availability of these modding tools should allow for some great new releases for old favourites that are still being tinkered with. The community is also very active as far as updating NBA 2K19, with our most intuitive modders developing new techniques and resources. As far as the site is concerned, we anticipate being around for some time yet.

However, there are some disappointing trends and growing concerns. I’ve discussed a few of them before, but unfortunately, they persist (and in some cases, are just getting worse). In some respects, we’re at the mercy of current trends and culture, and some issues are difficult to curb without setting inflexible rules that ultimately run the risk of driving people away from the hobby. Nevertheless, I’d like to take the opportunity to weigh in on those matters once again, and try to steer our modding community onto a better path. To be as productive and friendly as possible, we must avoid the pitfalls and toxicity that have sunk other modding websites and communities.

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The Friday Five: 5 Stages of Playing Through a 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 lists the five stages of playing through a season in any basketball video game mode.

As I write this, I’m approaching the end of the regular season in my MyCAREER game in NBA 2K19. Once again, not a bad effort for someone who was supposedly burned out on career modes! Having sufficiently levelled up my player for the online experiences, I am in a position where I can take a break from MyCAREER, but I also feel compelled to at least play through to the end of the first season. After all, I’m potentially less than thirty games away from cleaning up in the regular season awards, and leading the Chicago Bulls to another (virtual) championship.

I’ve played through at least one full season in multiple basketball games, including NBA Live 2004, NBA Live 06, NBA 2K13, and NBA 2K17. There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment in doing so, and if you’re really into the game, then the season does go by much quicker. It still takes some time though – especially if you’re playing twelve minute quarters – and there are undoubtedly moments where you must push yourself to complete the journey, particularly if you aren’t simulating any games. You’ll probably end up experiencing the five stages of playing through a season: a list that I’m making up, but one that I believe will resonate with many basketball gamers.

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Wayback Wednesday: Old School Introduction Videos

NBA Live 96 Introduction Video Capture

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 introduction videos that were featured in old school basketball video games.

I’ve been producing Wayback Wednesday as a weekly feature since November 2015, and yet somehow, I’ve never discussed the introduction videos that were featured in old basketball games. I’ve talked about music, and I even posted a breakdown of NBA 2K12’s introduction video with comparisons to the real highlight clips, but I’ve yet to profile the intros that greeted us upon firing up some of our old favourites, despite the fact it’s a very obvious choice of topic for a Wayback Wednesday feature. Well, better late than never, right?

Lengthy introduction videos are seemingly being phased out, but you certainly don’t have to be a grizzled basketball gamer in your 30s to remember them. However, there was something special about the intros in old school basketball games. If you watch them today, you might just feel pumped up to play those old titles again, just as you were all those years ago. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Hitting 90 Overall in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER

Trophy for reaching 90 Overall in MyCAREER (NBA 2K19)

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 reflections on hitting 90 Overall in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER, without spending any money on VC.

The Road to 99 in MyCAREER is a journey that can be incredibly tedious. It’s hardly a stunning revelation that this is by design, a method of encouraging gamers to pay for VC in order to skip the long grind. As much as I dislike the practice, my desire to play online with my friends in the NLSC’s 2K Pro-Am squad has seen me resort to buying VC in previous games in order to sufficiently boost my attributes on Day 1. I decided that after last year’s unashamed money grab, I would avoid buying any VC in NBA 2K19. Instead, I’d try to grind up my player the long way.

Between Christmas and New Year’s, I finally hit 90 Overall. Although it felt like a long road with a lot of grinding, it did actually happen a little quicker than I had first anticipated. Nevertheless, it was tremendously satisfying, and proof that it can be done within the first few months of owning the game (albeit with some good luck). As I consider how much further I’ll travel down the Road to 99, I thought that I’d reflect on the journey so far, as well as some of the strategies that I found useful along the way. If you’re still striving to hit 90 Overall or better and are determined not to spend any money on VC, hopefully I can offer up some encouragement and helpful pointers.

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The Friday Five: 5 Most Significant Years in Basketball Gaming

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 what I feel are the five most significant years in the history of basketball gaming.

2019 is upon us, and as always, I’m hoping that it’ll end up being a fantastic year for basketball gaming! Hopefully, we’ll be able to get a lot of enjoyment out of the 2018 releases for the next eight or nine months, and then get our hands on even better titles to close out the year. While the success of basketball games ultimately rests with their respective developers, we shouldn’t underestimate the impact that we can have as a community. As such, it’s important that we speak up with constructive feedback, so that we can do our part in making 2019 a big year on the virtual hardwood.

There have been quite a few milestone years for basketball video games over the past three decades. They’ve marked significant improvements within the genre, through the release of many memorable games that have gone down as classics. Of course, there are also years that have been significant in terms of basketball gaming for far less positive reasons. As we tip off a new year and hope for the best when it comes to the future of basketball gaming, I feel there’s value in looking back at the road that hoops games have travelled. After all, it’s essential that forthcoming games not only build upon the success of their predecessors, but also avoid some of their pitfalls.

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Wayback Wednesday: Ultimate Base Roster Retrospective

Rosters included in the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K14

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 history of the Ultimate Base Roster, through an interview with HAWK23 himself.

The Ultimate Base Roster, also known as UBR, began as a roster update for NBA 2K12 that also expanded upon the game’s historical content. Over time, it grew into a comprehensive modding project that not only kept NBA 2K12 up to date, but allowed basketball gamers to step back into the past with multiple complete season mods and other fun content. The project would later be adapted for NBA 2K14, a release that has received an update just today. Gamers have been enjoying UBR for years now, and it’s even encouraged long-time console users to pick up the PC versions.

Want to know more about the history of the mod, and what it’s been like to maintain it for all these years? Check out my interview with UBR creator HAWK23, as we take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: 2018 Year in Review

2018 Basketball Games

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 2018 in the NLSC community and basketball gaming.

For the last few years, I’ve used the Friday Five for an annual Year in Review column. With New Year’s Eve 2018 falling on a Monday, I decided to post a regular feature last Friday, and instead tip off a new week by wrapping up the outgoing year. It’s a little quirky I know, and not as well-timed as being able to tip-off a brand new annum on a Monday as January 1st 2018 allowed me to do, but that’s the way the calendar works. The first new NLSC feature of 2019 will therefore be this week’s Wayback Wednesday, and I think you’re really going to enjoy it!

Before we get there, however, we need to put a bow on 2018. Overall, I feel it was another solid year for the NLSC, our community, and basketball gaming in general. There’s room for improvement – both in the games that we play, and what we do here in our community – and I’m looking forward to championing those efforts as much as I can in 2019. It will be imperative that we continue to provide feedback to the folks developing basketball video games, support each other in our modding efforts, and avoid some of the toxicity that inevitably seeps into gaming communities. I do think we did an admirable job in 2018 however, so let’s reminisce.

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