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The Friday Five: Christmas Day Game Predictions

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 basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Seasons Greetings, everyone! Christmas Day is almost over here in Australia, but if you’re on the other side of the world, you might just be waking up to a day that’s hopefully filled with lots of good food, thoughtful gifts, and good times with family and friends. There are also five games on the NBA schedule today, so for the final Friday Five of 2015, I’m posting an abbreviated column with my predictions for this year’s Christmas Day games.

  • Miami Heat over New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans have struggled so far this season, while a healthier Heat team have bounced back from last season’s misfortunes. The Heat are at home for this one, and I expect they’ll take care of business.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder over Chicago Bulls. I’m going against Arcane’s prediction in Episode #139 of the NLSC Podcast. I’d love to see the Bulls win, but they’re struggling at the moment, and I think Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will be too much to overcome. That said, I’ll be happy to get this prediction wrong.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers over Golden State Warriors. This is one of my bold predictions in our latest episode of the Podcast. I’m picking the Cavaliers to hand the Warriors their first home loss, and second loss of the season, winning by five or more. In any event, this will definitely be the game to watch, in my opinion.
  • San Antonio Spurs over Houston Rockets. Unless Gregg Popovich decides to give all his stars Christmas Day off to thumb his nose at a nationally televised game – we’ve seen it happen before, after all – I think the Spurs will take down the struggling Rockets.
  • Los Angeles Clippers over Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant has been playing a bit better as of late, and his final Christmas Day game might see a throwback performance. The Clippers are the best team in LA at the moment though, and I think they’ll prevail by double digits.

Russell Westbrook wearing the Thunder's Christmas Jersey in NBA Live 16

I’ll be tuning in to those games throughout the day, and I’m sure that a lot of you will be, too. Hopefully, we’re in for some entertaining holiday hoops! If you’re watching the Christmas Day games, feel free to post your thoughts and predictions in the comments below, and join in the discussion in the NLSC Forum! Thanks for checking in on the Friday Five throughout 2015. I’ll have more lists, editorials, opinion pieces, and top fives to share with you all next year, so be sure to check in every Friday throughout 2016 for more Fives!

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Wayback Wednesday: World League Basketball Video Retrospective

Dunking in World League Basketball

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

As promised, I have a new video retrospective for this week’s Wayback Wednesday! Today, I’m taking a look back at an old favourite of mine that I’ve wanted to talk about in more detail for some time now. It’s a basketball game for the Super Nintendo called World League Basketball…well, the game that I own is called World League Basketball, anyway. Depending on where you lived when this game was released in 1992, you might have known it as NCAA Basketball, or perhaps Super Dunk Shot.

It’s a game that was, in some ways, ahead of its time, and it’s definitely worth reminiscing about. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. Stay tuned for more video retrospectives, columns, stuff from the archives, and other Wayback Wednesday content!

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Monday Tip-Off: My Ultimate NBA Video Game

Anthony Davis dunks in NBA 2K16

We’re at midcourt, the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to basketball video games.

‘Tis the season to make Wishlists…both in the sense that development is well under way for both NBA Live 17 and NBA 2K17, and the fact that for those who celebrate it, Christmas is almost upon us. For some of you, one or both of this year’s games might be in your stocking, but at this point, you probably know what to expect when you get a hold of them. The visions of the NBA video games that dance in our heads – not unlike the sugar-plums that Clement Clarke Moore wrote about – likely won’t be coming to fruition just yet.

In interviews with us and other websites, NBA Live Executive Producer Sean O’Brien has talked about wishing he could take the game he sees in his mind, and immediately give it to us. At the same time, I have to imagine that for Leftos and the rest of the guys at Visual Concepts, the gears in their heads are always turning, as they think of ways to make NBA 2K even bigger and better. And of course, we basketball gamers can come up with some creative ideas as well.

To that end, for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I wanted to talk about my vision of the ultimate NBA video game. I want to keep things as practical as possible, but for the sake of fantasy and what-ifs, I’m also going to assume that the available technology can handle all of the concepts competently, and that licensing, likeness rights and so on would not be an issue. With that said, what would my ultimate NBA video game be like?

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The Friday Five: 2015 Year In Review

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 basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

Since next Friday is Christmas Day, and then we’re out of Fridays for the year 2015, I thought I’d write my year in review column this week. Scary as it may be to think about, I’d say we’re close enough to the end of the year for a retrospective. It’s been another fun and successful year here at the NLSC, and I’m intending to do my best to ensure that trend continues into 2016. For now though, I’d like to take a look back at the year that was.

For this retrospective, I’ll be listing some of my favourite editions of The Friday Five and episodes of the NLSC Podcast from 2015, and reminiscing about some of the other big moments we’ve had here at the NLSC during the past 12 months. I hope you’ll find it an appropriate way to cap off the year – even if we do still have a little less than two weeks left of it – and that you’ll enjoy my editor’s picks as far as the Five and Podcast are concerned. With that said, here’s my 2015 Year In Review!

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Wayback Wednesday: Less than Thunderstruck

Russell Westbrook in NBA Live 16

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

I had intended to post another video retrospective for this week’s Wayback Wednesday, as I’m really enjoying making them. However, I’d like to spend a little more time with it, as I’ve wanted to talk about this particular game in more detail for some time now, and I want my video content to continually improve. As such, I’m now looking to release the video next week; in the meantime, I’ll repeat my hint from last week’s Podcast, and say that it’s a game that has three different titles. Happy guessing!

So, for this week, I’m taking a look back at an old article that I posted back in 2008. The article – “Less than Thunderstruck” – is an opinion piece that I wrote a week after the Seattle Supersonics formally became the Oklahoma City Thunder, and unveiled their new logo. Following the article, which I’m presenting as-is, I’ll provide some commentary as we look back on that topic, all these years later.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Cheating in Basketball Games

Tim Duncan vs. Zach Randolph in NBA 2K16

We’re at midcourt, the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to basketball video games.

“If you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself.” It may sound like a trite and corny saying these days, but it still holds merit. There are times when it’s fun to use cheat codes or hack a game, and a lot of old school games all but require hint books and walkthroughs, but playing “legit” tends to be the more rewarding experience. Still, if you really want to cheat or cut corners in a single player experience, and you’re having fun doing so, so be it. Even if you do find that it gets boring after a while, you’ve only spoiled your own experience. No harm done, and you can just start all over again.

Of course, it’s a different story once you bring a second player into the mix. The connected experience is a big part of basketball games these days, and something that a lot of gamers really enjoy. However, more and more often, I’m seeing complaints from basketball gamers whose experience has been affected by people cheating online, generally through the use of hacked players in MyPARK. In turn, gamers with hacked players have defended the practice, and dismissed the complaints as petty whining. It’s a controversial practice and a divisive subject, so I thought it was definitely worth taking a look at.

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Clarifying My Opinion of 7-Footers in MyPark

If you’ve seen the Thanksgiving special of NBA 2KTV, you would have noticed that both JaoSming and Leftos appeared on camera; but did you know that another NLSC Team Member was also featured in the episode? It just so happens that one of my tweets made it onto the #2ktvthanks section.

I know, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that I was “featured” in the episode, but I was pretty stoked about it. Not only did my tweet appear in the episode itself, but it was also shown in the NBA 2K16 main menu during the preview of the episode. I won’t lie; I watched the preview several times, waiting for my name to appear. I also took quite a few screenshots, just in case the previous ones were unclear. For those who didn’t seen it, this is what I wrote:

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The Friday Five: 5 Mistakes We Make in Basketball Video 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 basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

In this community, we know basketball, and we know basketball video games. When it comes to virtual hoops, I think it’s fair to suggest that we have some people in our community who are pretty good on the sticks. Nevertheless, as much as we know about basketball – the real thing, and its virtual equivalent, be it NBA Live or NBA 2K – there are some mistakes that we’re prone to making. As those mistakes add up, so too do our losses, whether it’s to the CPU in one of the franchise modes, or to other users online.

So, in this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d list some of the mistakes that we’re prone to making, and offer up some advice on how to avoid them. These are the things that I try to keep in mind when I’m playing NBA Live or NBA 2K; both the pitfalls I’d prefer to avoid, and the strategies I employ to try and do so. Without any further ado, here are five mistakes that we make when we play basketball video games…and a few ways that we can avoid them.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA All-Star Challenge Video Retrospective (Super NES)

NBA All-Star Challenge on Super Nintendo

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

If you enjoyed my look back at NBA Jam Tournament Edition on PC, good news! I’ve got another video retrospective for you this week. This time, I’m taking a look at NBA All-Star Challenge, developed by Beam Software and published by LJN back in 1992 for the Super Nintendo. It’s a game that I picked up for a few bucks when searching for old NBA games on eBay; it piqued my interest as it’s a game I never played in the 90s, so I wanted to check it out. Since playing it, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times in the Friday Five and on the NLSC Podcast, as I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to discuss it in more detail.

Is NBA All-Star Challenge an all-time classic? Well…not exactly. Nevertheless, it is an interesting game to look back on. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. I’m definitely enjoying getting some video content out there, so stay tuned for more game retrospectives, and other features!

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Monday Tip-Off: My Ultimate Fantasy Team for NBA Live & NBA 2K

90s Lineup in NBA Live 15 Ultimate Team

We’re at midcourt, the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to basketball video games.

As I’ve mentioned in previous editions of The Friday Five and on the NLSC Podcast, I’ve become a fan of Ultimate Team since it finally made its debut in the NBA Live series in NBA Live 14. With Dynasty Mode and Rising Star still needing to be fleshed out into deeper experiences, Ultimate Team has pretty much been my mode of choice in NBA Live these past few years. I’ve also taken an interest in MyTEAM in NBA 2K, but I do prefer EA’s approach to the concept, and 2K has a lot more to offer in its other modes. Of course, MyTEAM does have one distinct advantage over Ultimate Team, for me at least: Michael Jordan.

Needless to say, when I drew a Michael Jordan card in NBA 2K14’s MyTEAM, I was pretty happy. With my nostalgia for the players of the 1990s – the era I grew up watching – I also had a lot of fun putting together a 90s squad for my Ultimate Team in NBA Live 15. However, I’ve yet to construct my ultimate fantasy team in either game, though it would currently only be feasible in NBA 2K. I thought I’d tip things off this week by sharing that lineup with you all.

Before we get going…just in case it isn’t clear, this isn’t a squad of the players that I believe to be the greatest of all-time (though there certainly is some overlap with that list). This is simply a fantasy lineup that I’d love to be able to put together to play with in Ultimate Team or MyTEAM, assuming that every player was available in both games. Having said that, let’s begin with my starting five…

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Scottie Sunday: Strange Occurences in MyTeam

He was always a player I had an admiration for, but I can’t say I was ever a huge fan of Scottie Pippen. Like pretty much everyone else that grew up in the 90’s, my earliest memories of the NBA were of the Chicago Bulls dominating everyone in their path. And while it is hard to argue against the fact that Scottie Pippen played a big part in that, the Bulls, and basketball in general, were synonymous with a guy he played with…and I’m not talking about Dickey Simpkins. While just about every conversation about the NBA could include Michael Jordan, this article is dedicated to the one night on MyTeam where it was all about Scottie Pippen.

Two weeks ago, I decided to play Historic Domination. I had three games to complete: the ’89 Bulls, the West All-Stars and the Historic Stars. The first game I played was against the West All-Stars. After yet another handsome victory to my death squad, I opened up the reward packs. The player I drew was ’91 Scottie Pippen. After my initial surprise and joy, I looked through my collection to add Scottie to my squad; but much like the ’98 Toni Kukoc card I drew (twice), it wasn’t there. This led me to start a thread in the Forum, which surprisingly still hasn’t got any responses (I thought it was at least as important as the “sweat issue”). Thankfully this problem was recently addressed.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Worst Trades & Signings I’ve Made 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 basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

Last week, I counted down the top five best trades and signings that I’ve made in the franchise modes of basketball games. It was fun to reminisce about some of the deals that really made the games more fun for me, even if a few of them were correcting earlier mistakes. And speaking of mistakes, that’s what I’m taking a look at this week: the trades and signings that didn’t pan out nearly as well as I hoped they would.

Just as a great trade or signing can make a franchise game even more enjoyable, a bad move can greatly detract from the overall experience. A series of bad deals often leads to frustration and boredom, with a roster that’s too thin, too stacked, or just too strangely put together. To paraphrase a certain animated ski instructor, if you make a lot of questionable moves, you’re gonna have a bad time. In that spirit, I’m counting down what I feel are the top five worst trades and signings that I’ve made when playing through the franchise modes of basketball games. Let’s tip things off with number five…

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Wayback Wednesday: Microsoft Complete NBA Basketball Retrospective

Microsoft Complete NBA Basketball

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

It seems that the retrospective of NBA Jam Tournament Edition PC that I posted a couple of weeks ago was well received, and I certainly had fun producing it. As such, I’ll be creating some more video retrospectives of older basketball video games, and featuring them in future editions of Wayback Wednesday. I’ve got a bunch of games in mind, some of which you may remember and some you may not, which I’m looking forward to dusting off and discussing in detail.

However, for this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I’m looking back at an old release with a written retrospective, rather than a video feature. That’s because the title I’m discussing today doesn’t actually have any gameplay to show, so it doesn’t exactly lend itself well to a video retrospective. That release is Microsoft Complete NBA Basketball.

It’s not the type of title that we’d normally cover in detail here at the NLSC, but for me, is does have some nostalgic value. Hopefully, you’ll find it to be an interesting change of pace. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: My Greatest Basketball Gaming Weakness

2015 NBA Finals Prediction: Warriors in 5

We’re at midcourt, the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to basketball video games.

“You run a basketball video game website. You must be pretty good at them!” I’ve heard that once or twice over the years, usually when people have invited me to play online. Uh, yeah, sure…I’m, like, the best at them. All those years playing basketball games, watching basketball, playing in the local league as a teenager…yeah, I’m amazing, definitely the best. Absolutely, no question at all…

Just in case my intended tone has been lost in writing…no, of course I don’t actually believe that. I do love basketball, and I’d like to think that I have a fairly good knowledge of the sport. I believe I have at least a basic understanding of all the ins and outs, and in turn, that makes me a little more than competent when it comes to playing basketball video games. I’m a lot better when it comes to playing against the CPU, as that’s mostly what I do. I’ve had some record-breaking seasons playing on harder difficulty levels, but when it comes to playing online, I’m probably just a little better than OK. As I’ve said many times before, online is not my mode of choice, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Still, I’ve won online games before, and I’ve definitely won a lot of games offline. I am, at the very least, competent, capable, and have knowledge of what I’m doing on the virtual hardwood. However, there’s one area in particular where I’ve often struggled in basketball video games. One weakness, one Achilles Heel, one aspect of the game where I’ve never really excelled…

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Best Trades & Signings I’ve Made 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 basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

By this point in the season, I’m guessing that a lot of basketball gamers have gotten stuck into one of the franchise modes in NBA Live 16, NBA 2K16, or perhaps even one of the older basketball games. I don’t have a Dynasty, MyLEAGUE, or MyGM game going at the moment, but hopefully I’ll get into one before the year is out. As I’ve mentioned many times before in the Friday Five, I’ve been a big fan of franchise modes for many years, and have a lot of fond memories of playing through seasons, messing around with my roster, and winning virtual championships.

Making a great trade or signing is something that can really help create a special franchise experience. It’s adding that final piece of the puzzle, or acquiring a new superstar that gives your team an entirely new look. It’s finding a bargain, or creatively wheeling and dealing to maximise the value that the CPU gives you in return. It’s a deal that makes you better, and increases the “fun factor”. With that in mind, I’m counting down the top five trades and signings that I’ve made in basketball games over the years. Let’s get started with number five…

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