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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam TE PC No Points Challenge

Alonzo Mourning dunks in NBA Jam Tournament Edition PC

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 on a retro basketball gaming challenge with the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition.

It’s been far too long since I made a video feature, despite my intention to produce more video content this year. Better late than never though, as I had a fun idea for this week’s Wayback Wednesday. Whenever I played NBA Jam Tournament Edition solo back in the day, I tended to play with Tag Mode off, and scored most of the team’s points with the player I was controlling. However, playing point guard for our Pro-Am squad in NBA 2K has given me a taste for racking up assists, which left me to wonder: can I win a game of NBA Jam TE with my CPU teammate scoring all of our points?

I fired up my old favourite, and gave the No Points Challenge a shot. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Catch it here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video, and while you’re there, be sure to subscribe! With any luck, I’ll be able to produce some more videos in the not too distant future. I’ll probably also look to upload some excerpts from the NLSC Podcast – which will also be returning soon – so stay tuned for that. I may also tackle some other retro basketball gaming challenges for future Wayback Wednesday features, so if you have any suggestions in that regard, feel free to post them in the comments below!

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Monday Tip-Off: Overtime for NBA 2K17 & NBA 2K18 Online

No one online in Old Town (NBA 2K17, MyPARK)

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 by firing up NBA 2K17 and NBA 2K18 to see if anyone is still playing them online.

Unless 2K plans on extending their support for NBA 2K17 beyond the 27 months the company pledged following the controversy surrounding NBA 2K14, the game’s servers will be shut off at the end of this year. That gives anyone who is still playing the 2016 release a couple of months to get as much out of it as they can before online support finishes. Anyone still playing NBA 2K18 will have a little longer, as its servers aren’t due to be shut down until the end of 2019. This approach essentially affords each game two seasons worth of online support, plus three months.

While that won’t appease everyone, it’s a reasonable assumption that most gamers will have moved on to a new release in that time. Indeed, we can assume that a bulk of the fanbase has already moved on to NBA 2K19, but how many people are holding out and still playing NBA 2K18? For that matter, how many people have stuck with NBA 2K17 for the past couple of years, or picked it up again? I recently booted up both games on PlayStation 4 to see if I’d find many people still active in MyPARK and Pro-Am Walk-On, rather than hooping it up in NBA 2K19. The results were certainly interesting, at least on the Australasian servers.

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The Friday Five: 5 Outmoded Features in Basketball Games

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 takes a look at five features in basketball video games that have become outmoded.

Something I’ve really enjoyed doing with my Wayback Wednesday articles this year is to look at specific features in old basketball games. I do want to get back to doing some full retrospectives on older titles, but I feel that it’s interesting to look back on older features, options, and gameplay mechanics that hoops games used to have. As I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion, there are certain aspects of those older games that I’d love to see implemented once again in future titles. In some cases of course, the basic concept would have to be updated and reworked a little.

On the other hand, there are certain features and functions that can definitely stay in the past. They aren’t necessarily bad or beyond being reworked into a newer concept, but they’ve become outmoded. There simply isn’t the need for them that there used to be; either another feature or function does the job better, or advances in technology and game design have rendered them largely useless. They are nevertheless important parts of basketball gaming history though, and it’s interesting to see how some of them have evolved or been replaced over time. To that end, let’s take a look at five outmoded features that no longer need to be staples of basketball games.

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Wayback Wednesday: Bonus Teams in NBA Live

RBK Bonus Teams 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 taking a look back at the bonus teams that have been featured in various NBA Live games.

In the years following Lakers vs Celtics, it was a big deal when NBA games finally included the entire league. Once that became standard, we eventually reached a point where some sort of additional content was expected. NBA 2K has set the bar here with its historical teams, but there was a time when EA’s series was also going above and beyond simply featuring the current NBA rosters. These efforts include the Decade All-Star teams, which I talked about last week, as well as the FIBA squads that would be added in later NBA Live games.

Those weren’t the only playable squads outside of the NBA teams, though. I discussed the unlockable developer teams in a previous Wayback Wednesday, but in the years that followed that era, NBA Live featured a number of other bonus teams. While they weren’t necessarily as unique as the developer teams, or as exciting as the Decade All-Stars and FIBA squads, they were still noteworthy additions to NBA Live’s rosters. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: When Good Intentions Become Gatekeeping

Jordan Rec Center 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 NBA 2K19’s approach to Pro-Am and the Jordan Rec Center, and how good intentions have turned into gatekeeping.

For the past couple of weeks, our official NLSC squad – the one that has gone by the names of both THRILLHO and GrindTime – have brought back our Friday night tradition of getting together to play online. We’ve been playing a few games in the Jordan Rec Center in NBA 2K19, and while the experience has had its usual ups and downs, it’s been more fun than Pro-Am in NBA 2K18. Even at a measly 64 Overall – I’m currently refusing to buy VC to upgrade quicker – it’s been fairly enjoyable. The fact that the rest of the guys have been grinding more frequently certainly helps.

However, the experience could be a lot better and more appealing; not just for us, but for NBA 2K gamers in general. The problem is that in NBA 2K19, there’s a barrier to enjoying Pro-Am games, and getting to play at all for that matter, which wasn’t there in years past. This year, five users per side are required to start a game of Pro-Am, or a walk-on game in the Jordan Rec Center. Previously, three users per team was the minimum required to get a game going. 2K is obviously aiming for a particular type of experience with this decision, but the approach has resulted in those modes being far less accessible, essentially gatekeeping and promoting a sense of elitism.

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The Friday Five: 5 Teams to Play With in NBA Live 19 & 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 a list of five teams that rank among the most appealing to play with in NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19.

A new season is upon us! If you’ve been holding off on starting your main Franchise, MyLEAGUE, or MyGM game until opening night rosters are finalised, the time has come. Many of you probably have the perfect team in mind already, but if you’re like me, you may be mulling over a few possibilities. One of the most frustrating moments you can have in basketball gaming is to get about ten games into a franchise game, and realise that you don’t enjoy playing with the team you selected. That’s not too far in to start over, but it’s better to pick a suitable team the first time around if possible.

So, who to pick? I’m sure that the Golden State Warriors will be a popular choice once again, especially online. Their new starting lineup of five All-Stars – at least once DeMarcus Cousins is healthy again – will be quite a quintet to run with. They are a little cheap on the virtual hardwood though, and a stacked team isn’t to everyone’s liking when it comes to franchise modes. A few teams have shaken up their rosters and made big acquisitions this offseason, and while it remains to be seen how well they’ll fare in real life, they should be a lot of fun to guide to victory in NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19. Here are five teams to consider this year.

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Wayback Wednesday: Decade All-Stars in NBA Live

Michael Jordan Dunk (Decade All-Stars, NBA Live 2004)

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 Decade All-Stars in older NBA Live games.

I’ve mentioned the Decade All-Stars in several previous articles, including my first look back at Legends in Wayback Wednesday, my NBA Live 2000 retrospective, and as an example of content that I’d like to see return. However, apart from a profile of the 50s All-Stars on the anniversary of the BAA-NBL merger to form the NBA in 1949, I haven’t yet dedicated an entire feature to talking about those squads. Given how popular they were, and how much I personally enjoyed having them, it’s time to rectify that with a long overdue retrospective.

A lot of older basketball gamers who played NBA Live back in the day no doubt remember the Decade All-Stars quite fondly. It’s interesting that many of us do feel nostalgic for them now, considering how they were the original attempt to capitalise on nostalgia in basketball video games. For those who remember them, and for those who don’t know what all the fuss is about, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: My Experiences Updating NBA 2K11 (So Far)

NBA 2K11 2018 Roster Teaser (Kevin Durant vs LeBron James)

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 my experiences so far in creating a roster update for NBA 2K11.

As I discussed in a previous article, during the offseason I found that I’d developed a new interest in getting back into modding. One project that quite appealed to me was the prospect of finally getting more involved with NBA 2K modding by updating the rosters for an old favourite, namely NBA 2K11. After posting a teaser video, I’ve been working on the project whenever I can find the time. It remains a work in progress, and unfortunately with the 2019 season set to tip off this week, it’s unlikely that the roster will be ready in time for opening night.

That’s mostly because other responsibilities have gotten in the way here and there, but as it’s my first proper attempt at a roster update for NBA 2K11, it also continues to be a learning experience. It has been enjoyable so far though, and it’s been interesting to compare and contrast the process with making roster updates for NBA Live PC, as I did for many years. To that end, I figured that I’d share a few thoughts on the process so far, and at the same time, provide a status report on the project. With any luck, it won’t be too far into the new season before I can release rosters for both the 2018 and 2019 campaigns.

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The Friday Five: 5 Features That Are Older Than You Think

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 features in modern basketball games that are older than you may realise.

We’ve seen some really cool features in basketball video games over the past couple of generations. Extensive historical content, brilliant presentation, and innovative approaches to modes, have all continued to push the basketball gaming experience further and further. Not every idea pans out, and there are always some of us who prefer an old school approach when it comes to certain features, but the amount of innovation and creativity is still very impressive. Of course, not all of those concepts and features are necessarily brand new ideas.

As I’ve discussed in many Wayback Wednesday features, there was an impressive amount of innovation in several early basketball video games as well. Modern tech has allowed developers to push the envelope even further, but it’s interesting and sometimes surprising when we look back and see that certain features were attempted many years ago, with varying degrees of success. That isn’t a bad thing, as good and creative ideas should be revisited when the technology allows them to be even better, perhaps even the way that they were originally envisioned. Those original attempts do deserve credit though, as they demonstrate that some features are older than we think.

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Wayback Wednesday: BIG Moments in NBA Live 14

BIG Moments: A Win is a Win (NBA Live 14)

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 BIG Moments, which debuted in NBA Live 14.

Since I covered NBA 2K17’s College DLC last week, I’d say it isn’t too soon to go back to the beginning of the current generation of NBA Live this time. It’s been a long time since EA Sports’ game was the premiere NBA sim, and this generation has once again seen the game rebuilding over the course of a few years, as it’s fought to regain its share of the market. The process has had its up and downs and it seems to be paying off with NBA Live 19, but even when the series was in rough shape, there were flashes of brilliance and good concepts. One of those ideas was BIG Moments.

A fresh mode that brought dynamic content to the game, BIG Moments is an idea that EA Sports could stand to revisit in future releases, even as NBA Live explores new modes of play such as LIVE Events and Court Battles. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: A Tale of Two Face Scans

Dribbling in The One (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 comparison of my experiences with face scans in NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19.

Hey, do you think by using the words “Two Face” in the title of this week’s Tip-Off, I’ll draw a few hits from people Googling the iconic Batman villain? Probably not, but if for some reason that is how you got here, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. Likewise, if you’re looking for articles about the colloquialism “two-faced” or a certain psychological concept, you’ve hit upon the wrong article. Of course, if you do happen to enjoy basketball video games, then I certainly invite you to stick around and take in our content!

With that being said, basketball gaming is, as always, the topic of the day. On this occasion, I’m talking about my different experiences performing face scans in NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19. While it is my intention to dial back my involvement with the career modes this year, I was always going to check them out. Since the option is available, I also tried to scan my face in for both my One Player and MyPLAYER. There were moments of frustration attempting both face scans, but one game yielded far better results than the other. Without any further musing about drawing in a few unsuspecting people via the SEO, I present a Tale of Two Face Scans.

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The Friday Five: 5 Weird Moments in Basketball Games

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 moments in basketball video games that were somewhat weird.

Most video games have their weird moments, mostly because none are immune to glitches. Any game with random events, real physics, or other elements that allow them to be somewhat organic and dynamic will probably yield unusual results from time to time. In basketball games, we can also see weird results with the sim engine or strange moments when the AI breaks down. It’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced those oddities and have some stories to swap. I’m not talking about those kinds of moments, though.

No, I’m talking about the weird moments that were actually intentional on the part of the developers, or are the fallout of something that happened during the development of the game. Even if they’re working as intended, they’re still weird. I’m also thinking about weird moments that we’ve been able to create ourselves due to a design quirk that lends itself to an unusual situation. Some of the moments I’ve listed here are interesting oddities, some reflect a lack of attention to detail, and some are hilariously bizarre. With that being said, please enjoy what I feel are five rather weird moments in basketball video games.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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