Menu
Home | Features (page 3)

Features

Wayback Wednesday: All-Time College DLC for NBA 2K17

All-Time College DLC in NBA 2K17

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 All-Time College DLC for NBA 2K17.

Downloadable content hasn’t been too common for basketball video games over the years. Compared to RPGs with their expansion packs and fighting games with their myriad of DLC characters, NBA Live and NBA 2K have generally stuck with the “recurrent revenue” model to earn additional income from their annual releases. There has been some DLC for hoops titles though, from the free Oklahoma City logo update for NBA Live 09 to NBA 2K12’s Legends Showcase that cost $10 (or 800 Microsoft Points).

The NBA 2K series has featured some DLC as recently as NBA 2K17, however. In addition to offering up the 1992 Dream Team as a pre-order bonus, 2K also released an All-Time College DLC pack. The pack, which was available around launch and exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, expanded the roster of bonus teams with some college content; a rarity in the wake of the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit. I realise that NBA 2K17 is still a fairly recent game, but let’s take a look back…a little way back…

Read More »

Share Button

Monday Tip-Off: Toxicity in the Basketball Gaming Community

LeBron James dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 19

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 toxicity that we unfortunately so often encounter in the basketball gaming community.

Yes, cranky old Andrew has something else to complain about today! I mean, the last four Monday Tip-Off articles were all about having fun with basketball video games, so it’s about time I grumble again, right? In all seriousness, this is a topic that I feel needs to be addressed, because I believe it’s an area where collectively, we can do a lot better: toxicity among basketball gamers. Now, there is a certain amount of irony in discussing the matter in that it’s being negative about negativity, but it’s important that we do take a look at what’s happening, and aim for a constructive solution.

Before we begin, let’s address the obvious point: the situation is hardly unique to the basketball gaming community, or the World Wide Web at large. Many blogs, videos, comics, and social media posts have been made about the toxicity that all too often permeates online culture. That in itself doesn’t make it right or a desirable state of affairs however, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps to change our attitudes and behaviour. I’ve been a content creator and part of the online basketball gaming community for over twenty years now, and I’ve noticed an increased amount of toxicity in that time. Worst of all, in some ways, developers are pandering to it.

Read More »

Share Button

The Friday Five: 5 Alternatives to Overall Ratings

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 explores five possible alternatives to having Overall Ratings in basketball video games.

If you play basketball video games – and in particular, if you maintain the rosters for them – then Overall Ratings often cause a lot of hassle. I’ve written not one but two articles on the matter, and since then, the situation sadly hasn’t gotten any better. During this past preview season, there was plenty of grumbling when an Overall Rating was revealed and it didn’t seem quite right. For their part, players themselves have strong opinions as to what their ratings should be. Of course, many of them feel they should be 90+ Overall; even rookies who still have everything to prove!

Overall Ratings remain a point of contention in basketball games (and sports games in general), but unfortunately, they are a necessary evil. They provide us with a succinct overview of a player’s value and standing in the league compared to his peers, which is important when trying to put together trades in the franchise modes. The concept of 99 Overall Ratings also gives us a lofty goal to shoot for in the career modes. As such, Overall Ratings aren’t going anywhere. I do think we need them, but what if we were to replace them with a less controversial system? Does such a solution exist? Well, here are five possibilities that I can think of, that might be viable alternatives.

Read More »

Share Button

Wayback Wednesday: The NBA Live Academy

Dunking in the NBA Live Academy (NBA Live 09)

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 NBA Live Academy.

I’ve discussed my desire to see NBA Live’s Franchise mode get better and deeper on more than one occasion, and it’s something that I still hope will happen in the future. Something that we really need to see with the mode is the return of several useful and innovative features that flesh out the experience and make it more engaging. I’ve mentioned a few of these features in previous articles, but one that deserves a more in-depth look is the NBA Live Academy. Having recently gone back and taken a few screenshots, it feels like a good time for a retrospective!

Also known simply as the Academy, it was both an aesthetic enhancement, and an improvement in the way that player development was handled. It was only featured in a couple of NBA Live games, but that was enough to make its mark, and establish it as a concept that I for one would love to see reintroduced in Franchise mode in the not too distant future. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More »

Share Button

Monday Tip-Off: Making Peace with Simulated Games

Options for Simulated Games in MyLEAGUE (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 making peace with the prospect of simulated games in franchise modes.

While there have been changes in my life since I started running the NLSC as a 17 year old back in 2001, I can still make ample time to play video games, basketball or otherwise. I don’t have a family, so in that regard, I do have fewer responsibilities than other members of our community. However, like anyone with a day job and a social life, I do have to ration my time accordingly. Video games are something that I have to fit in between being a sole trader, exercising, catching up with friends, and of course, my responsibilities both running and creating content for the NLSC.

To that end, as I look to make a return to franchise gaming this year, I must get used to the idea of simulating games. Should I back off a little on my intention to take a break from career modes, I’ll have to further ration my time, and that means a decent portion of games – possibly in both modes – will need to be simulated. On the surface, it may seem odd that this is something I need to get accustomed to. The simulation function has been available in season modes for over two decades, so it’s hardly a concept that I’m unfamiliar with. However, it is an approach that would mark a change in the way that I play basketball video games.

Read More »

Share Button

The Friday Five: Top 5 Positives and Negatives in NBA 2K19

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 another double countdown, this time featuring the Top 5 Positives and Top 5 Negatives in NBA 2K19.

My full reviews for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 will be out shortly, but before then, I wanted to offer up some more of my initial impressions of this year’s games. This time I’m talking about the latest offering from Visual Concepts, NBA 2K19. After really enjoying NBA 2K17, I was quite disappointed with NBA 2K18. It wasn’t just the unapologetically greedy approach to microtransactions and the brutal grind, either. I just didn’t enjoy the gameplay experience, and thus shelved NBA 2K18 much earlier than previous games, firing it up only to get screenshots for articles.

In a nutshell, I felt that NBA 2K18 was a surprising regression for the NBA 2K series, uncharacteristically stumbling off course. Is NBA 2K19 heading back in the right direction? In some respects, yes, but there are some key areas of concern, and design choices that I’m disappointed in. The team at Visual Concepts clearly did learn a few lessons from last year’s game however, and took gamer feedback to heart. With that in mind, NBA 2K19 is – as quite a few people have put it – the game that we should’ve received last year. At the same time, it’s not entirely the game that I was hoping for this year. Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Positives and Negatives, at least as I see them.

Read More »

Share Button

Wayback Wednesday: Slow Motion Dunks in NBA Live

Slow Motion Dunks Option in NBA Live 95

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 slow motion dunks in older versions of NBA Live.

It’s interesting to look back at the features and mechanics that were featured in old basketball video games. There’s a reason that many of them ended up being dropped over the years – especially as the sim titles aimed to be more and more realistic – but there’s still a lot of nostalgia in them. When I think back to games like NBA Live 95 and NBA Live 96, one of my fondest memories is of throwing down big dunks and having my player point at his opponent, or pumping his arm in triumph, as he runs back on defense.

In fact, I’d say that a lot of older basketball gamers remember that aspect of dunking in the early NBA Live games. A feature that made those dunks even more exciting – much as they could be with the animations of the time – was the option for slow motion dunks. It’s an outdated concept now, particularly in the era of online play, but in its day it was pretty cool. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More »

Share Button

Monday Tip-Off: The MyCAREER Cinematic Universe

Marcus Young in The Prelude (NBA 2K19 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 the plots and characters that keep appearing in MyCAREER stories.

Writing about Jackson Ellis for Wayback Wednesday got me thinking about recurring characters and call backs in MyCAREER stories. While I’d like to see MyCAREER move away from the story-driven approach, or at least evolve into a fresher, more dynamic experience, I do find that I can still have fun with the concept. Whether it’s suggesting new scenarios or coming up with a handful of off-the-wall theories and alternative interpretations, the subject doesn’t have to be something I only grumble about over and over again.

Some of the MyCAREER stories have definitely turned out better than others, both in terms of their narrative and the way in which they affected the gameplay experience. From a gameplay perspective, each story is self-contained. Nothing that we do with our individual MyPLAYERs will carry over to the next game, at which point league history – all stats, awards, and championships – reverts back to reality. However, there are references to previous stories, recurring characters, and even a few subplots with NPCs. Just for fun, let’s try to piece together some kind of canon for MyCAREER’s stories. We’ll call it the MyCAREER Cinematic Universe.

Read More »

Share Button

The Friday Five: Top 5 Positives and Negatives in NBA Live 19

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 double countdown, featuring the Top 5 Positives and Top 5 Negatives in NBA Live 19.

I will be producing a written review of NBA Live 19 in addition to discussing the game in the Forum and on the NLSC Podcast, but right now, I’m still collecting my thoughts and evaluating the game as the initial content updates and bug fixes come through. That full review will be coming soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to post some initial impressions of this year’s release from EA Sports, spotlighting five of my most positive observations so far, as well as five things that stand out as some of the more prominent negatives.

Basically, if you’re looking for a quick overview of my take on NBA Live 19 so far, this is it. In my opinion, the game has taken some further steps forward this year, and while there is still room for improvement in many key areas, a solid foundation has been established. In ranking the positives and negatives that I have observed so far, I’m basing them on my preferences and expectations of the game, so their importance (or indeed, whether or not they count as a positive or negative) may differ for you. With that being said, let’s get on with a 2-for-1 edition of the Friday Five, and take a look at what’s good and what’s not so good in NBA Live 19!

Read More »

Share Button

Wayback Wednesday: The Legend of Jackson Ellis

Jackson Ellis in 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 taking a look back at the virtual career of Jackson Ellis in NBA 2K, and the legend that it has spawned over six games.

Minor spoiler alert: in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER mode, Jackson Ellis makes a return to the virtual hardwood. One of the most memorable characters in basketball video games, this year he enjoyed his most prominent role since NBA 2K14, when he was introduced as the rival of your MyPLAYER. Not only has Ellis resonated with NBA 2K gamers, he’s clearly a favourite of the development team as well. Even though he’s only stepped onto the court in a couple of titles, he’s appeared or been referenced in every MyCAREER mode on the current generation.

So what’s the story behind the infamously brash and outspoken Jackson Ellis? Well, the exact story differs for each of us, but in broad strokes, Visual Concepts has been weaving a subplot with Ellis over the past six years. To appreciate the Legend of Jackson Ellis, we need to return to where it all began in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of NBA 2K14. To that end, let’s go back…way back…

Read More »

Share Button

Monday Tip-Off: Are Some Basketball Games Too Old To Mod?

1996 Mod for NBA Live 2004: Michael Jordan

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 whether or not some basketball video games are too old to mod.

As our regular File Additions bulletins no doubt indicate, we mod basketball games both new and old in our community. I’ve discussed the appeal of modding older games in a previous article, likening it to the pastime of retro gaming itself. It’s fun to dust off an old favourite, not only to enjoy its familiar modes and gameplay, but also to tinker with it. There’s a lot of creative satisfaction in breathing new life into old games, and a certain novelty in seeing current NBA players in a title from many years ago. I would never discourage retro modding, much as I would never discourage retro gaming.

At the same time, modding older titles can present certain challenges and drawbacks. As a basketball game gets older, it can become more difficult to mod, both in terms of performing the required actions and justifying the time spent doing so. Hardware and software moves on, and so do basketball gamers themselves. Even though it’s still fun to tinker and do some cool things with your favourites, it may feel like less and less of a worthwhile exercise as the years go by. I’m currently working on some updates for old games, but there are obviously limits as to what I’d be willing to sink time into. At some point, we do have to ask ourselves: are some basketball games simply too old to mod?

Read More »

Share Button

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons to Keep Saved Game Files

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 reasons why it’s a good idea to keep your saved game files for basketball video games.

Another preview season is over, which means that NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 are upon us! If you’re picking up this year’s games, be sure to share your impressions with the rest of the community in the Forum, and stay tuned for the original content that we’ll be producing for them. Hopefully this year’s releases will meet most of your expectations (if not all of them), and it won’t be long before you’re starting new games and getting stuck into your favourite modes. Once that happens, you might be tempted to delete your saved game files from last year, as well as saves from other older titles.

Not so fast! While you may be about to move on to a new basketball video game, you shouldn’t be too hasty to delete your old saved game files. We’re well beyond the days of 8 megabyte memory cards and other storage devices with very limited capacity, so it shouldn’t be an issue to hang onto your saves. You should have the room to keep files for several games in your collection, not just last year’s release. It’s a good idea to do just that, as losing your old saves is something that you can easily come to regret. To that end, here are five reasons to consider keeping your saved game files, even as you move on to the latest releases from EA Sports and Visual Concepts.

Read More »

Share Button

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 99 & NBA Live 09 Trivia

Pau Gasol in NBA Live 09

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 NBA Live 99 and NBA Live 09 trivia, ahead of the release of NBA Live 19.

We’re just a couple of days away from the launch of NBA Live 19. It’s shaping up to be a good year for NBA Live, as the series continues its comeback after many years of rebuilding. Hopefully NBA Live will continue to go from strength to strength from here on out, as it did during its glory years of the mid 90s to around 2005. Back then, EA Sports were doing some very innovative things with the series, and it felt like every year brought something new to the table. As I said in my retrospective, that was certainly the case with NBA Live 99.

NBA Live 09 was also a good bounce back year for the series, and remains one of its best releases during the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 generation. With the series having been around for over two decades, it’s interesting to look back at the game that came out ten years before the current one, and the one that was released ten years before that. With that in mind, I’ve compiled some NBA Live 99 and NBA Live 09 trivia, similar to what I did last year with NBA Live 98 and NBA Live 08. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More »

Share Button

Monday Tip-Off: Picking a Franchise Mode Team for 2019

Joel Embiid dunks the basketball in NBA Live 19

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 picking a team to use in franchise modes for the 2019 season.

“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” That’s how I’m feeling about career modes, which as I noted last week, I’m somewhat burned out on. Nevertheless, those of us who have been playing as the official NLSC Pro-Am squad these last few years have been talking about giving it another run in NBA 2K19, just to see if it’s something that we can enjoy in addition to our solo gaming. Alternatively, we might shake things up and see if we can get a game of MyLEAGUE Online going, perhaps even making a story topic out of it since activity is picking up on that board.

Whatever happens in that regard, I’m keen to return to my roots as a franchise gamer, and set career modes as a lower priority in my basketball gaming activities this year. It’s been too long since I allowed myself to get caught up in the fun and excitement of running a team, playing the role of head coach, general manager, and indeed, every player on the squad. In MyLEAGUE, we’ve never had a deeper franchise mode to sink our teeth into. Even if NBA Live 19’s Franchise mode isn’t everything that I’d like it to be, it’s still something I’ll check out. There’s an important question facing me however, no matter which franchise mode I play: which team should I choose?

Read More »

Share Button

Wayback Wednesday: The Isometric Camera Angle in NBA Live

Isometric Camera Angle in NBA Live 95 (Rockets vs Magic)

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 iconic isometric camera angle in NBA Live.

Camera angles have a significant impact on the quality of the gameplay experience across a wide variety of genres. As many titles in the early days of 3D would end up demonstrating, poorly designed camera angles and movement resulted in artificial difficulty, either by obscuring the player’s view at inopportune moments, or simply by not providing a suitable view of the action at any time. In sports video games, a bad camera angle made it a lot easier to step out of bounds, and it was harder to determine where players were in relation to each other and the field of play.

Most early basketball video games used a similar sideline camera angle, which was fine for the time, but did have a few drawbacks. EA Sports would change things up with the release of NBA Live 95, when they switched to an isometric camera angle. Not only does it remain a distinctive look that gamers found appealing, it also made the gameplay experience far more enjoyable. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Read More »

Share Button