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Monday Tip-Off: Modding Projects I’m Working On

Ultimate Jordan Roster for NBA Live 08: Michael Jordan vs. Jazz

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 previews of modding projects that I’m working on, as well as a few ideas I’m toying with.

I’m a bit under the weather today, and seeing as how I wasn’t able to prepare anything for this week’s Monday Tip-Off ahead of time, I don’t have a full column or a video feature for you. However, I thought that I’d follow up on something that I mentioned in Episode #238 of the NLSC Podcast, regarding next month and modding. I don’t want to reveal everything just yet as I’m still getting everything sorted, but I’d like to make March a celebration of modding in our community. I’m hoping to release some new work of my own, and get all of our active modders in on the act.

With any luck, that will all be tipping off in just a few days when March is upon us, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some previews of what I’ve been working on here and there, as well as a few ideas that I’d love to see come to fruition, if and when I can make time to work on them. With that in mind, I am a little hesitant to share some of these images as I’d rather not announce anything that I’m not going to be able to get finished, so please keep in mind that those ideas aren’t set in stone. I do have a couple of projects that are progressing quite nicely though, so without any further ado, here are a few things that I’m working on right now.

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The Friday Five: 5 Underrated 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 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 basketball video games that I’d consider to be somewhat underrated.

Underrated and overrated are tricky terms, often used very much subjectively. They suggest that the majority view is incorrect, which may certainly be the case, but can also indicate a strongly held minority view that isn’t without its own bias. Basically, whenever the matter of something being overrated or underrated is discussed, we need to ask “by whom?” After all, if the consensus is that someone or something is in fact underrated or overrated, then technically, they cease to be either. Indeed, that’s when someone or something that’s underrated can become overrated, and vice versa.

Discussions about semantics aside, it’s certainly possible to give too little credit and overlook, or to give too much credit and overhype. We’re looking at the former today, with a list of five underrated basketball video games. Now, that’s not to say that these titles haven’t received any acclaim at all, or that they’ve never been popular. However, either due to certain controversies or other games that were released in the same era, they’re not ranked or rated as highly as they perhaps should be; at least in my opinion. As always, keep in mind that this is intended to start the discussion, not stand as a definitive list. With that being said, let’s get to the Five!

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City

Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City Title Scr

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 Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, a 1994 game for the Super Nintendo.

A few days ago, Michael Jordan celebrated his 55th birthday. As such, it seems only appropriate that this week’s Wayback Wednesday takes a look back at a game starring His Airness. Given that he is my favourite player, and obviously a very prominent name in basketball, I’ve focused on Michael Jordan in more than a couple of previous Wayback Wednesday features, covering a variety of MJ-related gaming topics from his PC exclusive three-on-three game, to his inclusion in NBA 2K11 along with the Jordan Challenge. This time, I’m changing things up with a retrospective of a licensed platform game, namely Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City.

Developed by Electronic Arts back when the company still had an agreement to use MJ’s likeness, it’s a quirky and interesting relic of its era. Chances are if you grew up playing video games in the 90s, you’ve heard of, played, rented, or owned this game at some point. We don’t usually cover platformers here at the NLSC, but as it stars one of the most recognisable names in the history of basketball, it’s worth talking about. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: What I’m Playing (February 2018 Edition)

Playing through Ultimate Team (NBA Live 18)

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some quick thoughts on what I’m playing in NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18, at least as of February 2018.

NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 have been out for about five months now, and so far, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time playing both titles. As discussed in the latest episode the NLSC Podcast, I’ve settled into a routine as far as what I’m playing in each game. Although I might branch out and change things up from time to time, the modes I’m currently playing are the ones I expect I’ll remain hooked on until the 2019 season releases. As I’m running a bit short on time today and am still working on a few of other features that I hope you’ll find entertaining, I’ve decided to run with a quick column this week, discussing my current basketball gaming habits and rotation.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 2)

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 list of five retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

Since I talked about some of the worst classic teams to be included in NBA 2K in last week’s Friday Five, it only makes sense to switch focus to some of the retro teams that I’d like to see in future games. There are quite a number of old teams that would be fun to play with in NBA 2K, and indeed, I posted five I was hoping to see added way back in August 2016. As it happened, a couple of the teams I mentioned have since made their way into the game (along with one from around the same era), so it seems that we should never say “never”.

As such, this is part two of what will probably end up being a series of articles on the retro teams that I’d like to see added in future NBA 2K games. While some teams are sadly unlikely due to an inability to license specific players, I’m making my picks based on the assumption that Visual Concepts would be able to find a way to come to terms with them. After all, it’s a list of teams I’d like to see in the game, not strictly a list of teams I think we feasibly could see. With that out of the way, and considering that I’d still like to see my previous suggestions added, let’s take a look at five more retro teams that I’d like to see in NBA 2K’s roster.

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Wayback Wednesday: Simulating To Today in NBA 2K10

NBA 2K10 Sim: Chicago Bulls Championship

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 using NBA 2K10 to simulate through to the current season.

It’s fair to say that the 2010 season marked a turning point for the NBA. Crossing into a new decade, it saw Kobe Bryant win the last of his five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the final clash between the Lakers and Boston Celtics to date. It was also the season before a free agent frenzy that included LeBron James’ infamous “Decision”, and several other big names changing teams. Whether or not you like the current trend of superstars joining forces via free agency to form “super teams”, or some of the other changes over the past decade, it’s been an eventful era.

As it happened, it was also a turning point for NBA video games. NBA Live 10 was the last NBA Live game before the ill-fated rebrand to NBA Elite, making 2010 the final season to see two sim-oriented releases until NBA Live returned for the 2014 campaign. I thought it’d be fun to go back to one of those games and simulate through to the present, just to see how the sim engine would predict everything would turn out. NBA 2K10 is a game I haven’t talked about all that much outside of one article, so it’s the one I’ve settled on for this exercise. Let’s take a look back…way back…and then bring it all back to the 2018 season.

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Monday Tip-Off: Has Traditional Basketball Gaming Come to an End?

Taking on Kyrie Irving in MyCAREER (NBA 2K18)

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 way basketball gaming has changed in recent years, and whether the traditional approach has become outmoded.

Basketball video games have obviously been around for a long time, bringing great enjoyment to people who love both the sport and gaming. Compared to other sports, basketball has proven to be a little harder to accurately represent in a video game, with so many variables affecting the level of realism. While arcade-oriented games often still hold up thanks to their casual approach, sim-oriented titles tend to show their age. Whether it’s the shot distribution, scores that are too high or too low, a lack of realistic strategy, or a shallow season mode experience, a lot of classic games do leave something to be desired, as much fun as we had with them when they were new.

Fortunately, basketball gaming has improved in leaps and bounds over the years. From deep and engaging modes to smarter AI and more realistic gameplay, we’ve been able to enjoy experiences on the virtual hardwood we could only dream of all those years ago. However, it feels as though basketball games have set a new course in recent years, shifting away from the experience that we’ve traditionally wanted. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it’s important that the games keep up with changing trends and demographics, but as we discussed in Episode #236 of the NLSC Podcast, it sometimes feels like traditional basketball gaming is coming to an end.

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The Friday Five: 5 Worst Classic Teams in NBA 2K

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 what I believe are the five worst classic teams in NBA 2K.

Since being added as part of the Jordan Challenge back in NBA 2K11, classic teams have become a staple of the NBA 2K series. Although they aren’t necessarily a focal point of the games, it’s gotten to the point where they aren’t thought of as being bonus content, but an essential feature. The selection of classic teams has grown from ten Chicago Bulls squads and their opponents to a variety of memorable teams from the 60s through to the modern era. Squads include champions, their Finals opponents, and an assortment of other teams of note. We now even have All-Time teams to play with.

However, some of the classic teams are puzzling inclusions. That’s not to say they’re bad teams – it’s not as though Visual Concepts have seen fit to include the 1973 76ers or 2012 Bobcats – but they lack the appeal of other retro squads. In the case of some classic teams, the specific season has been an odd choice, or the loss of likeness rights and subsequent removal of players has rendered them far less appealing. Whatever the case may be, these classic teams are prime candidates to be removed, or replaced with more interesting squads whose rosters may be more complete. Without any further ado, here are my picks for the five worst classic teams in NBA 2K.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Forgotten NBA Jam

NBA Jam 2004 Pre-Game

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 NBA Jam; not the original, not the 2010 reboot, but the 2003 release for PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

With NBA Jam celebrating its 25th Anniversary, there’s been even more nostalgia than usual surrounding the classic series of basketball video games. For long-time basketball gamers, and for those who know their gaming history, the lineage of the series is well known. NBA Jam and NBA Jam Tournament Edition are hailed as classics, and rightfully so. NBA Hangtime – Midway’s follow-up after Acclaim won the rights to the Jam name – is also a great game. Acclaim’s titles, from Extreme to the sim-oriented releases, were generally lacklustre. The series was revived by EA Sports, with the 2010 reboot and subsequent On Fire Edition being quite successful.

Midway also produced spiritual successors in the form of NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, and NBA Hoopz. However, between the five-on-five titles and the reboot by EA Sports, Acclaim released a game simply titled NBA Jam (identified as NBA Jam 2004 by the disc’s digital label), which aimed to return to the series’ roots of over-the-top arcade gameplay. It’s become somewhat of a forgotten release, overshadowed by other titles that bear the NBA Jam name, but it has its good points and deserves a second look. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: An OT Victory for NLSC GrindTime

NLSC GrindTime Boxscore in 2K Pro-Am (NBA 2K18)

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 video of a recent overtime victory for our official 2K Pro-Am squad in NBA 2K18, NLSC GrindTime.

As Arcane and I discussed in Episode #235 of the NLSC Podcast, last Friday we made an unlikely return to 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K18. After some rough sessions and generally feeling disenfranchised with the game, everyone on the squad decided that it would be best to take a break. However, we felt like giving it another try last week, and subsequently, “just one game” became three. We were victorious in the latter two games, with the second win coming in overtime following a clutch three-pointer by The X. It was definitely one of the more satisfying games NLSC GrindTime has had.

Since I saved the footage of the final few seconds of regulation, as well as the entire overtime period, I thought I’d share it with everyone to tip off a new week of gaming here at the NLSC. Watch it below, or check it out here on our YouTube channel.

Moving forward, NLSC GrindTime might have a run every now and again. As I’ve previously discussed, it’s a wise idea to take a break from a game if it’s becoming more frustrating than fun. It may not be something we do every week, as was the case with NLSC THRILLHO in NBA 2K17, but as long as we can have some competitive games and wins like this one, we’ll hit up 2K Pro-Am from time to time. I’ll be sure to share any noteworthy highlights, as well as put together some other video content throughout 2018, so please subscribe to our channel, and stay tuned for more features.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA 2K19 Needs To Have

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 things that NBA 2K19 needs to have.

As I mentioned last week, Wishlist season is upon us. These days, we don’t just collect feedback for NBA Live, but also the NBA 2K series as well. Our NBA 2K19 Wishlist topic is open for constructive feedback, which we’ll be looking to pass along to the development team at Visual Concepts as soon as possible. As with NBA Live 19, NBA 2K19 is already in pre-production, so it’s important that we get our Wishlist in as soon as possible, in order for it to have the best chance of making a positive impact on this year’s game from 2K Sports.

While it’s impossible to compile a comprehensive Wishlist in just five points, I do have some ideas about what I’d like the general areas of focus to be for NBA 2K19. I certainly don’t pretend to speak for all basketball gamers – as I said last week, our Wishlist itself is intended to get a good cross-section of what the community wants – but having spent a considerable amount of time with NBA 2K18, and the series in general over the past six or seven years, I do believe that I have some suggestions that would benefit NBA 2K19. While the game is obviously wildly successful, I also feel that there’s ample room for these technological and conceptual improvements.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Full Court Press

NBA Full Court Press: Rockets vs Knicks

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 Microsoft’s NBA Full Court Press for PC.

NBA Full Court Press is a game that I’ve wanted to talk about in detail for some time. I’ve mentioned it in passing in previous articles, but an in-depth retrospective is long overdue. Developed by Microsoft, the game is a forerunner to the NBA Inside Drive series, and was released in 1996 as a competitor to other sim-oriented titles such as EA Sports’ NBA Live 97, and Sony Interactive’s NBA ShootOut 97 (also known as Total NBA 97). During that era, a handful of developers were throwing their hat into the ring with NBA games, and most games had their own hook or feature that made them worth checking out.

Notably a PC exclusive release, NBA Full Court Press is a game with a certain amount of flair and a few concepts of merit, but one that comes up a little short as a sim title, even for its era. At the same time, it could still be enjoyable, and some of its better ideas and features wouldn’t make their way into other NBA games for several years. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Advice for the Modding Community

Basketball in the Supreme Update Mod for NBA Live 07

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some advice for the modding community, in light of a few concerns that have been raised recently.

Whenever I discuss the modding community here at the NLSC, I always preface my remarks by acknowledging how talented it is, and how much great work it’s produced over the years. It’s something that I do believe, and I feel it’s important that we take time to acknowledge the effort that modders put into enhancing our basketball gaming experiences. Of course, it’s also a statement I feel I have to put out there as something of a disclaimer when I address problems in the modding community, to emphasise that it’s not meant as a slight. Unfortunately, I feel compelled to do that today, due to some excellent points that were raised in this topic.

I was originally going to reflect on my concerns in a lengthier piece, but the more I thought about it, the more that seemed like the wrong approach. I feel it would be more effective if I addressed the issues directly and succinctly, offering up my advice on how we can avoid these pitfalls as a community. By clearly identifying these issues and offering some solutions in point form, I hope that this article can be a straightforward guide to cultivating healthy attitudes and good habits in the modding community, as well as provide explanations as to why we’ve come to adopt certain customs, rules, and etiquette in regards to the hobby.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live 19 Needs To Have

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 things that NBA Live 19 needs to have.

Wishlist season is upon us, so we’re currently collecting constructive feedback to send along to the development team at EA Tiburon! As always, one of our goals with the Wishlist is to prioritise our feedback, so that the team has a good idea of what we most want to see fixed, improved, and added in the next edition of NBA Live. I’m currently working on my list, and I encourage everyone to start posting their ideas as soon as possible. NBA Live 19 is already in pre-production, so the sooner we submit our Wishlist, the more likely it is to have a positive impact on this year’s game.

To get the ball rolling, and to give you an idea of what I feel are the most pressing issues as we look ahead to NBA Live 19, I’ve decided to compile a list of the five things I believe the game needs to have. Opinions will certainly vary, which is why we have the Wishlist to get a good cross-section of what the community wants, but basically, I’d describe these as the five areas where significant improvements will help NBA Live take the next step. NBA Live 18 was a reasonably successful comeback for the series, but to stay on the right path and take the game to the next level, this is an overview of what I feel the development team should focus on.

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Wayback Wednesday: Kobe Bryant’s 81 Points in NBA Live 06

Kobe Bryant shoots 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 aiming to replicate Kobe Bryant’s 81 point game in NBA Live 06.

Monday marked the twelfth anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s career high 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors. The Los Angeles Lakers legend’s torching of Toronto put him in second place behind Wilt Chamberlain for the most points scored in a single NBA game. It was a spectacular feat, and I remember my jaw actually dropping when I checked the scores that day. Between Shaquille O’Neal’s departure and the arrival of Pau Gasol, the Lakers languished in relative mediocrity in terms of the standings, but Kobe was putting up some numbers for the ages.

After his legendary 81 point game, NBA.com threw down a challenge for basketball gamers to try and replicate Kobe Bryant’s performance in either NBA Live 06 or NBA 2K6. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I decided that I’d dust off NBA Live 06 PC – one of my all-time favourite basketball games – and give it a shot myself, over a decade later. 81 points seems like something out of a video game, but just how easily can it be done on the virtual hardwood? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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