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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: November 27th, 2021

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

It’s time to enjoy some virtual hardwood highlights in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week! This is a weekly feature curated by Derek (aka Dee4Three) spotlighting the best plays from the basketball gaming community, which includes a few of our own memorable clips from time to time. Submit your clips in the Forum, or hit up Derek on Twitter!

One of my all-time favourite games – NBA Live 96 PC – makes its first appearance in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays. You’ll hear more about that in this week’s episode of the NLSC Podcast, but as always, I’m clearly not the only person that’s having a ton of fun with basketball video games. From fearsome facials in NBA 2K22 and backboard shattering dunks in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, to showcasing mods for old favourites and clutch shooting in NBA Live 18, the community has produced another assortment of entertaining plays.

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood or blacktop. All basketball games are welcome, new and old! Also, be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Best Parts of Modern 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 examines the five best parts of modern basketball gaming.

Since I’ve taken a look at the best and worst parts of retro basketball gaming, it’s only fair that I reflect on the pros and cons of their modern equivalents. As I’ve said, while I do have a passion for retro basketball gaming and will always advocate for it, I’m also a fan of the modern games and spend a lot of time with them. New isn’t always better, but by the same token, old isn’t unsurpassable. Not everything holds up well, and basketball video games have come a long way in the decades that I’ve been playing them. And yes, saying that does make me feel very old.

Not so old that I can’t enjoy modern basketball gaming, however! Indeed, even if certain aspects aren’t completely to my taste, I can still appreciate them and see their appeal to other gamers; particularly gamers younger than me. It’s very easy to get caught up in what we don’t like about modern basketball gaming, and to that point, there are many valid criticisms that we can make. I will be getting to them in next week’s article, but for now, let’s focus on the best parts of modern basketball gaming. These are the five that spring to mind for me, and I’m sure you’ll agree that they represent evolution in the genre, and incentive to check out the new game each year.

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Wayback Wednesday: 20 Players With No Official Appearances in Games

Wayback Wednesday: 18 Players With No Official Appearances in Games

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 twenty NBA players that have made no official appearances in video games.

I have an ongoing series of Friday Five articles documenting players who appeared in more video games than real NBA contests. While a handful of those players did tally playing time in at least one NBA game while sometimes appearing in multiple titles, several of them only saw action on the virtual hardwood after being cut in real life while the game was still in production. This article is basically the opposite of that series, instead focusing on players that did make it to the NBA, but due to the timing of their stints, never made it into a video game’s official rosters.

I’d originally planned this as a counterpart series of Friday Five articles, but I’ve instead opted for a single article listing twenty noteworthy examples. To that point, I’ve tried to select players who had interesting stories, and/or multiple opportunities to make official appearances in video games. I’ve also focused on games from NBA Live 96 onwards, as those titles have included more comprehensive lineups thanks to inactive rosters and official updates. Official roster updates have also made this a far less likely phenomenon as the years have gone by. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Addictiveness of Grinding

Monday Tip-Off: The Addictiveness of Grinding

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 reflections on the addictiveness of grinding in modes such as MyCAREER and MyTEAM.

Much has been written about the predatory mechanics found in NBA 2K, and many other Triple-A video games over the past generation. On several occasions, I’ve joined the chorus of people who have criticised the practice. There have been many articles and videos that have discussed how recurrent revenue mechanics prey on those who struggle with impulse control and addictive personalities. That remains a huge issue, and I still condemn those mechanics. Regardless, even if you opt for a “No Money Spent” approach, you can still find yourself getting hooked.

I’ve at long last properly begun a MyNBA game in NBA 2K22, marking an overdue return to franchise gaming. If you know how long I’ve been talking about wanting to do that due to feeling burned out on MyCAREER, you can appreciate how big of a deal that is for me! I feel energised having returned to my roots as a franchise gamer, in no small part due to revisiting MyGM in NBA 2K14. However, I’ve been thinking about why it took so long, and why I continued to spend time with MyCAREER and its connected modes, with a detour to MyTEAM in NBA 2K21. I’ve realised that even if you resist the pressure of microtransactions, there’s addictiveness in the grinding.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: November 20th, 2021

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

It’s time to enjoy some virtual hardwood highlights in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week! This is a weekly feature curated by Derek (aka Dee4Three) spotlighting the best plays from the basketball gaming community, which includes a few of our own memorable clips from time to time. Submit your clips in the Forum, or hit up Derek on Twitter!

Dunks are always fun to perform in basketball video games, but they’re even more memorable when you see one of the rarer and most spectacular animations broken out at just the right time. This week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays features a few such slams, perfectly suiting the players that pulled them off. There are also a couple of other nifty plays, including a clutch shot from one of the all-time greats. Additionally, a couple of the highlights serve as teasers for future Wayback Wednesday features. Try to guess which ones!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood or blacktop. All basketball games are welcome, new and old! Also, be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Worst Parts of Retro 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 examines the five worst parts of retro basketball gaming.

Since I took a look at the best parts of retro basketball gaming last week, it’s only fair that I follow up with the downsides. Look, I stand by what I previously said. I’m all for normalising retro basketball gaming in addition to enjoying new releases. There should be no stigma about going back to an old favourite. We also need to can the misguided notion that they can’t be any good because new is always better. If you’re not enjoying the latest NBA 2K and you’re not beholden to online play and live service content, by all means revisit an older game and see if you still enjoy it!

To that point though, you may not. Retro gaming isn’t for everyone, and basketball titles are no different. Indeed, because they’re aiming to replicate reality, sim games in particular can age very poorly. Even if the core experience does hold up, there are other drawbacks that arise from servers being shutdown, leading to functionality and content being lost. As much as I love retro basketball gaming, I’d be lying if I said that I’m always pleasantly surprised when I fire up a game I greatly enjoyed when it was first released, or that absolutely any old title can re-enter my rotation. With that being said, these are the five biggest downsides of retro basketball gaming, in my view.

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Wayback Wednesday: Buying NBA Tapes & DVDs From PonTel

Wayback Wednesday: Buying NBA Tapes & DVDs From PonTel

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 buying NBA tapes and DVDs from PonTel.

I’m shifting focus away from the virtual hardwood here, and while I have done that before in Wayback Wednesday, on this occasion it’s tough to relate it back to video games. However, I trust that most of us are basketballs fans with a keen interest in the NBA, so I believe that you’ll find it relevant. With that being said, if you live in the United States or Canada, you’re probably not familiar with PonTel. After all, their products are not available in those countries, as they aren’t licensed to distribute there. Of course, they don’t really need to, given the access to sports in the US and Canada.

So, what is PonTel? They’re a licensed distributor of complete games for US sports leagues, namely the NBA, NFL, and MLB, as well as college basketball and football. They also have a large library of classic NBA games, which was of particular interest to me when I discovered them. If you were an NBA fan living in Australia, Europe, or Asia in the early 2000s, there’s a chance that you made at least a few purchases from PonTel. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Goodwill Goes Both Ways

Monday Tip-Off: Goodwill Goes Both Ways

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 frank thoughts on how goodwill goes both ways when it comes to basketball gamers, and basketball video game developers.

It’s neither a stretch nor a startling revelation that the relationship between the NBA 2K developers and NBA 2K gamers is not as cordial as it once was. There was a time when 2K was the darling of basketball gaming. While EA Sports failed to deliver with NBA Live, Visual Concepts was going from strength to strength with NBA 2K. They listened, they innovated, and their hard work paid off. NBA Live was no longer in the picture, and while that was a sad outcome in many ways, the superior hoops game had conquered the market. Unlike Madden, they did it through quality, not exclusitivity.

Such a track record of excellence and gamer satisfaction fosters trust and goodwill in the brand. That’s not to say that the product was always perfect, because no game is. The quality was consistently impressive though, and the developer blogs during the preview seasons felt trustworthy because the games seemingly always delivered. In recent years, however, that trust and goodwill has diminished. For our part, we’re an angrier fanbase that as a whole, doesn’t always engage as politely as we should. We have reasons to be upset and our terseness is understandable, but I also sympathise with the devs’ frustration. Goodwill is vital in this relationship, and it goes both ways.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: November 13th, 2021

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

It’s time to enjoy some virtual hardwood highlights in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week! This is a weekly feature curated by Derek (aka Dee4Three) spotlighting the best plays from the basketball gaming community, which includes a few of our own memorable clips from time to time. Submit your clips in the Forum, or hit up Derek on Twitter!

Some familiar names and familiar games have produced another great countdown of fun highlights in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays! However, a game making its first appearance in the Top 10 has managed to grab the number one spot this time around. While NBA 2K22 highlights are a given – that play at number four is slick from start to finish – and there are some staple retro kicks going on, with more gamers dusting off old favourites, you never know when a classic title will show up to dazzle us once more!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood or blacktop. All basketball games are welcome, new and old! Also, be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Best Parts of Retro 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 examines the five best parts of retro basketball gaming.

Contrary to what you may believe given how often I’ve talked about going back and playing old titles, I’m not just about retro basketball gaming. I spend plenty of time with the latest release as well, and have the MyCAREER and MyTEAM progress in recent years to show for it. However, I’ll always advocate for retro basketball gaming, especially as it receives odd pushback from some gamers. I’ve seen more than a few people ask about getting older games to run over on the official NBA 2K subreddit, only for them to be mocked and told to just play the newest game.

Putting aside the rudeness of being so dismissive as to answer a question with an unwanted and irrelevant suggestion, there are reasons why people want to play older games, if only from time to time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have no interest in the latest release, or are unaware of its benefits. Of course, they may be well aware of its drawbacks as well, and seek a more enjoyable experience from an old favourite. There are pros and cons to retro basketball gaming, just as there are pros and cons to playing the newest release. I’m focusing on the pros today, because there is value in going wayback on the virtual hardwood, or sticking with a game you most enjoy.

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Wayback Wednesday: 2006 All-Star Game in NBA Live 06

Wayback Wednesday: 2006 All-Star Game in NBA Live 06

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 sharing a highlight reel from the 2006 All-Star Game in the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06, featuring a thrilling finish.

As I mentioned in last week’s Monday Tip-Off, I’ve been waiting for my next retro basketball gaming kick to present itself. Although I already revisited NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 earlier this year, I’ve once again been enjoying the somewhat underrated release. That’s partly due to playing the game with Dee4Three over Parsec, and we’re even looking at beginning a co-op Season. However, I’ve also been hooked on playing some exhibition games solo. I had a great time using the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 to play the 2006 All-Star Game, albeit with the rosters from the 2005 event. I recorded it, so check out the highlight reel, and let it take you back…way back…

Even though much of my basketball nostalgia is rooted in the 90s, I have many fond memories of the real and virtual NBA from the early to mid 2000s. I’ve also had great satisfaction in adding some older titles back into my gaming rotation this year. I look forward to creating new memories with both old favourites and games I overlooked, and reflecting on those experiences here in Wayback Wednesday. Stay tuned for those features, and don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for more video content!

Monday Tip-Off: The Myopia of Mastering Mechanics

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 how there’s a certain amount of myopia that comes with mastering mechanics on the virtual hardwood.

I think we can all agree that there should be some degree of challenge in basketball video games. A game that is easily mastered and beaten tends to be boring, though hoops titles – even sim-oriented ones – should nevertheless be accessible, and feature easier difficulty levels. When it comes to the virtual hardwood, there needn’t be a challenge on the level of the Souls series, or games like Returnal, the roguelike that was released earlier this year. Arcade or sim, they’re about representing the sport of basketball, not being exceedingly challenging and for the hardest of the hardcore.

At the same time, a certain amount of challenge and skill is expected of the online competitive scene. The best competitors are the ones mastering the mechanics and strategies that allow them to dominate and defeat their fellow gamers, not just the AI. Even offline, mastery on the sticks will allow gamers to rise to the sometimes unfair challenges of the Hall of Fame difficulty setting. This is obviously achieved through practice and dedication, which is a fair demand for the most challenging experiences in basketball gaming to make. However, in evaluating design principles and overall appeal and accessibility, mastering mechanics does unfortunately lead to myopia.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: November 6th, 2021

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

It’s time to enjoy some virtual hardwood highlights in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week! This is a weekly feature curated by Derek (aka Dee4Three) spotlighting the best plays from the basketball gaming community, which includes a few of our own memorable clips from time to time. Submit your clips in the Forum, or hit up Derek on Twitter!

Variety is the name of the game once again, as this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays features highlights from ten different titles in total. As one of the entries demonstrates, even some of the worst hoops games can produce fun moments on the virtual hardwood. Needless to say though, you’ll have a much better time and make fonder memories with the stronger releases! To that point, some all-time favourites are also represented in this week’s countdown, along with a game that’s arguably an overlooked gem.

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood or blacktop. All basketball games are welcome, new and old! Also, be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Ways Parsec Is Changing 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 is a list of five ways that Parsec is changing basketball gaming within our community.

As recently as early 2021, Dee4Three and I were struggling to remember the name of Parsec when referring to it on the NLSC Podcast. We were interested in trying out “that program” which would allow us to connect with each other and play basketball games – or indeed, any games – without official or third party servers. At long last we installed it, and from that point on, we’ve been hooked. In the months that followed, we’ve tried a multitude of games with varying degrees of success, and discovered an array of titles that will work well enough with our connections (particularly mine).

It’s incredible how fun and reliable Parsec has been. Obviously, connecting with someone on the opposite site of the world isn’t as mind-blowing as it was some 25 years ago. Still, the possibilities of Parsec are exciting, especially when it comes to basketball gaming. Dee has strongly advocated for Parsec on the NLSC Podcast, and I echo that enthusiasm as it facilitates some fantastic virtual hardwood experiences, with minimal difficulty setting up. It’s fair to say that Parsec could usher in several changes to basketball gaming. This isn’t a paid promotion, as Parsec is free. It’s full of potential for our community though, and these are five ways that we can explore that.

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Wayback Wednesday: AND 1 Streetball Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: AND 1 Streetball Retrospective

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 AND 1 Streetball.

As much as I enjoy revisiting old favourites that I’ve spent hundreds of hours with over the years, I also enjoy going back and checking out basketball games that I missed the first time around. It’s given me reason to seek out deals on eBay and expand my collection, and these days, I’ve got a variety of hoops titles at my disposal. Good, bad, or mediocre, they’re always interesting to check out. In fact, there’s often a lot of fun to be had with the titles that are slightly rough around the edges, especially when they can bring something different to the table.

Case in point: AND 1 Streetball. Developed by Black Ops Entertainment and released for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, it didn’t have the polish of an NBA Live or NBA 2K, or for that matter, NBA Street. It was a competent effort though, and a fun game in its own right. The use of AND1 talent also made it stand out from NBA Street, as did its approach to gameplay. It’s another basketball game that’s somewhat forgotten, which is unfortunate as it deserves to be remembered. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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