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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 27th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Two things that we love to see in the NLSC Top 10 Plays are new titles making their first appearance, and re-creations of real life highlights. This week’s countdown delivers on both fronts, as you’ll see the debut of Michael Jordan in Flight, and a play that resembles a furious finish that we’ve just witnessed in the 2024 NBA Playoffs! On top of that, there’s the usual assortment of spectacular dunks, jaw-dropping ankle breakers, and other plays that make real and virtual basketball alike so entertaining. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five weighs in on five contentious basketball gaming debates.

When you’ve been around a while, both in terms of a gaming community and life in general, a couple of things usually happen. You may well lean into that curmudgeonly aspect of aging, becoming the proverbial old man yelling at clouds. At the same time, you also realise that certain things aren’t as important anymore, if indeed they ever were. Leaving high school is a liberating experience, as problems that once seemed all-important and dramatic now feel like petty non-issues (because they often were!). The flipside of this is dealing with all of the new challenges that come with adulthood.

Of course, being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding petty drama, especially in hobby and fan communities. As the saying goes, growing older is mandatory, but growing up isn’t. Fanbases have strong opinions that make them prone to contentious debates, and the basketball gaming community is no different. As with any other gaming community or group of fans, there are popular and unpopular opinions, issues that are divisive, and a selfish desire to be right and get what we want. We’re not all going to get along one hundred percent of the time, but there are some basketball gaming topics that are often contentious. Here’s my take on five of those matters!

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Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at some of my failed franchise and season mode games, and reflecting on whether they’re actually failures.

Over the years in Wayback Wednesday, I’ve reminisced about several of my most memorable franchise, season, and career mode games. While they all represent fun times on the virtual hardwood for me, they haven’t been equally successfully as far as completion is concerned. Games where I’ve played through an entire season on twelve minute quarters stand out as the times I’ve really been hooked on the experience, but they’re arguably the exception rather than the rule. There are far more titles that I’ve never finished a single season in, than ones where I’ve had multi-year games.

Of course, as I’ve noted before, completion is what you make it when it comes to the annual sim titles. Unless you stick with a single game for more than a year, it’s tough to get the full multi-year experience in franchise and career modes; especially when you opt for full length seasons on twelve minute quarters without simulating! Even in the games where I didn’t finish the season, I still had a ton of fun. With that being said, there are also franchise and season mode games that I abandoned very quickly. To that end, this week I’m reflecting on some “failed” games, and pondering the concept of “failure” in that context. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The NBA 2K24 Backlash, In Perspective

Monday Tip-Off: The NBA 2K24 Backlash, In Perspective

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on the backlash that NBA 2K24 has received, and trying to put it all into perspective.

It’s fair to say that NBA 2K24 has received significant backlash. The PC version was at one point the worst-rated game on Steam, and although its rating has rebounded somewhat since then, the reviews still skew mostly negative. It doesn’t help that it’s a port of the PlayStation 4/Xbox One version, but a glance at Metacritic reveals a user score of 2.1 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X as well. There are positive reviews for NBA 2K24 on Metacritic, but for the most part, once again the user scores are far more negative than the ones from professional critics.

The backlash goes beyond scathing scores for NBA 2K24, however. You’ll see far more negative comments about the game wherever it’s being discussed, be it social media, forums, or Reddit. Dissatisfaction with the game and disgust with recurrent revenue mechanics has been building for years, and as a result, gamers are more forthcoming with criticism and disdainful remarks than ever before. This has only increased since content creators who cover MyTEAM have exposed how the mode has reached new heights – or perhaps, lows – in terms of greed. Yes, there’s backlash against NBA 2K24, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, it likely won’t make a difference.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 20th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Allow me to begin by declaring my fondness for the #1 entry in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays. Surprisingly, it doesn’t feature Michael Jordan, but to say any more would be a spoiler, so let’s leave it at that! You’ll also see some spectacular slams from recent retiree Blake Griffin in NBA Live 10, cocky long bombs from a Celtics fan favourite, unlucky defenders being put on posters, fancy passes, and a broken backboard that’ll have you bellowing Boomshakalaka! Nine different games are featured in this week’s countdown, from the original NBA Jam right through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Features Seemingly Gone For Good

The Friday Five: 5 Features Seemingly Gone For Good

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five features that unfortunately seem highly unlikely to return.

There are reasons that certain features from older basketball video games have fallen by the wayside. As I’ve discussed before, even though some of the annual games may seem like mere roster updates, the code still has to be rewritten every year. If there’s a feature or function that doesn’t work properly with the new code, and if it isn’t a particularly popular or necessary part of the game, it may end up on the chopping block. Additionally, some features evolve into new concepts, or a technological advance or design change elsewhere will render them redundant.

This is how we lose some of the features that we really like. It’s not something that’s done out of spite, though when microtransactions are involved, there may certainly be a lack of goodwill. Mind you, a reasonable explanation for the absence of a beloved feature doesn’t remove the sting for gamers who were passionate about it. Sometimes we’re lucky and a mode or feature is brought back, though not always exactly how we wanted it. However, other features are seemingly gone for good, much to our dismay. We all have our own examples here, and to that end, here are five features that I wish basketball video games still had, but sadly doubt that we’ll ever see brought back.

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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m revisiting the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC.

Have I mentioned that old basketball video games can be interactive almanacs? I believe I have, once or twice! It’s one of the things that I enjoy the most about retro basketball gaming, on top of the nostalgic throwback gameplay of course. As I’ve noted on several occasions, sim titles capture a snapshot of the league at the time they were released. This includes interesting trivia such as phantom stints, familiar faces in unfamiliar places, and familiar faces back in familiar places, to name just some of the examples that I enjoy keeping my eye out for.

I’ve previously revisited the rosters in NBA Live 2002, NBA Live 95 (both PC and Super Nintendo), and NBA Live 99 PC (with the official update). Those were fun trips down memory lane, but I’m even more excited to revisit the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC. It’s one of my all-time favourite basketball games, and while I sunk countless hours into it playing with my 1998 season roster, I also spent a considerable amount of time with the default lineups. It’s also helped me out with modding, and even in answering trivia all these years later! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Harsh Reality of PC Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: The Harsh Reality of PC Basketball Gaming

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a frank discussion of the harsh reality of PC basketball gaming.

I won’t say that I’ve never been one to engage in tribalism with my various fandoms. Back in the 90s, I was a Nintendo kid. That meant in my mind, Nintendo ruled, Sega sucked, and all of the blast processing in the world couldn’t convince me otherwise. In the Monday Night Wars, I was Team WWF, and outside of local indie promotions here in Australia, WWE is still my wrestling company of choice. When it comes to basketball, my allegiance is to the Chicago Bulls. While that doesn’t mean I hate every other team, there are absolutely a few that I’ve actively cheered against!

In short, while I believe tribalism makes fandoms incredibly toxic, I can’t claim that I’ve always been above it. However, one war that I’ve never taken a side in is the whole Console vs. PC debate among gamers. That’s because I’ve always played games on both, going right back to my introduction to console and PC gaming, the Mattel Intellivision and TI Basic respectively. Some of my favourite games only came out on consoles, some only came out on PC, and some – including basketball games – came out on both. PC basketball gaming is what our community was built upon, and I’m obviously a big fan of it, but there’s a harsh reality with the platform we must face.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 13th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

This week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays features an impressive re-creation of one of Allen Iverson’s most iconic ankle breakers, which long-time basketball gamers may recognise from his highlight reel in the menu of NBA Live 07 PC. It’s a timely submission given the recent unveiling of AI’s statue, but the rest of the countdown is packed with evergreen highlights including wild alley-oops, vicious poster dunks, and ankle breaking moves that would earn The Answer’s stamp of approval. Seven games are featured this week, from NBA Live 96 through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Modes to Play When You’re Short on Time

The Friday Five: 5 Modes to Play When You're Short on Time

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five modes to consider playing when you’re short on time.

Look, we all love basketball video games. That’s why we’re in this community, whether we’re creating or consuming content. Most of us enjoy hitting the virtual hardwood as often as we can, but the fact of the matter is that we all have other responsibilities. Work, school, family, friends, partners, chores…there are times when we need to put the controller down, if sometimes reluctantly! When our gaming time is limited, we need to manage our minutes carefully. That includes everything from playing on shorter quarters, to sticking with a viable mode.

When you don’t have a ton of time throughout the week to play basketball games, then you may find yourself opting for modes that don’t require lengthy sessions to have fun and achieve a sense of completion. Similarly, there may be occasions where you have a small window of time – perhaps at the end of a long session – and feel like messing around on the virtual hardwood a little longer, without getting sucked into another full-length game. Fortunately, over the years we’ve had modes and mini-games alike that are appealing to dabble with when we’re short on time. Whether you’re a retro gamer or playing the latest release, consider trying out these modes!

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Wayback Wednesday: Alternate Jerseys & Retro Gaming

Wayback Wednesday: Alternate Jerseys & Retro Gaming

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m reflecting on using the alternate jerseys from yesteryear whenever I’m retro gaming.

One of my pet peeves with the modern NBA is the new approach to jerseys that was adopted when Nike got the uniform contract back in 2017. Sure, we saw the end of those terrible sleeved jerseys that adidas brought in, but it also resulted in a major shakeup to uniform designation and nomenclature. Instead of dedicated home and away jerseys, we have Icon and Association uniforms, with teams choosing which to wear at home and on the road. There are so many alternate jerseys these days from City to Earned Edition uniforms, with designs of varying quality.

What bugs me the most about the current approach to alternate jerseys is that they’re often worn as frequently as the Icon and Association uniforms; or at least, it certainly feels that way. That makes them less special than when they were Sunday uniforms, or otherwise only worn for a handful of games as a change of pace. Given how often some teams wear their City or classic jerseys, it makes you think that maybe those should be the primary uniforms! Grumpy grumbling aside, this approach has given me more of an appreciation for some of those old alternate jerseys, to the point where I’ll frequently use them when I’m retro gaming. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Low-Stakes Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: Low-Stakes Basketball Gaming

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on how much I’m enjoying low-stakes basketball gaming.

Naturally, Play Now/exhibition mode is a necessary staple in basketball video games, as it is in all sports titles. It’s important to be able to just jump into a game where the result doesn’t have to count, especially while we’re getting acclimated to a new title. However, historically speaking, I generally haven’t played too many exhibition games once I’m hooked on a release. More often than not, I’ve just used Play Now to grab screenshots for an article or news post, immediately quitting after getting what I need. If I was going to settle down to play a full game, I wanted it to count for something.

Over the past few years though, my habits have drastically changed. I’m still eager to play games that count, as my ongoing NBA 2K14 MyCAREER and other preserved save files demonstrate. At the same time, I’ve become far more open to – and keen on – low-stakes basketball gaming. Even putting aside sessions where I’ve just fired up a game to capture screenshots or video for a feature, I’ve probably played more Play Now and exhibition mode games in the past couple of years than I have in a long time; perhaps ever in my decades of hitting the virtual hardwood! I must say that it’s been incredibly refreshing, and as such, it’s something that I intend to keep doing.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 6th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Buzzer beaters are fun and they’ll always be welcome in the NLSC Top 10 Plays, but this week’s countdown is all about the dunk…well, for the most part! There’s also a play featuring some fancy footwork in the post that embarrasses two defenders before knocking down a silky jumper, but apart from that, it’s a spectacular barrage of putbacks, posters, and alley-oops! Of course, while all dunks are fun, it’s the moves that set them up that really take them to the next level, as these highlights demonstrate. Once again, the countdown features a variety of titles from NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 right through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five reasons why NBA 2K17 has been the best game in the NBA 2K series so far.

Since I’ve already declared my pick for the best game in the NBA Live series – NBA Live 06 PC, incidentally – I figured that I should do the same for the NBA 2K series. As you can see, I’m giving the nod to NBA 2K17. As with my nomination of NBA Live 06 PC as the best NBA Live we’ve ever seen, my choice of NBA 2K17 isn’t exactly objective. I have plenty of affection for the game, as it’s one of my all-time favourite basketball titles, irrespective of series. Of course, there’s really no such thing as unbiased opinion, though there are well-reasoned and poorly-reasoned ones.

I believe I can present a fair and hopefully compelling case for NBA 2K17 being the best NBA 2K. You can definitely make valid arguments for other games in the series, and indeed, NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 has risen up my personal rankings over the past three years. As was the case with the best of the NBA Live series, it’s a close race between the top NBA 2K releases, and personal preference does come into play. With that being said, while my first four points could also apply to some of NBA 2K17’s predecessors, the fifth point is what puts it above all of its successors, at least in my view. And so, without further ado, here’s why I say NBA 2K17 was the best NBA 2K!

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Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Game Manuals

Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Game Manuals

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at basketball video game manuals.

It’s getting harder to reminisce about physical media without sounding incredibly out of touch, and far older than I am. However, as consumers battle corporate giants over digital ownership and bemoan the disappearance of content from streaming services, I believe that more and more people are beginning to understand why many of us have been clinging to physical media for as long as we can. It’s not simply a case of wistful nostalgia, or a refusal or inability to get with the times. While digital media has the advantage of convenience, physical media offers posterity, and tangible ownership.

But yes, there’s also undeniable nostalgia with physical media, particularly video games. There was something special about going to the video store, browsing the shelves for a game to rent, and choosing one that would be yours to play…at least temporarily! Needless to say, it was even better when you bought a game. Not only was there no time limit to the fun, but you also had the box or case to admire. And inside the box or case, depending on the game, there were manuals, maps, charts, and so on. We’d enthusiastically pore over these materials well before we even dove into gameplay, including hitting the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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