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The Friday Five: Top 5 Announcers 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 countdown of the Top 5 announcers in basketball video games.

It’s been almost a year since I did a Top 5 countdown in The Friday Five. Seeing as how it’s one of the reasons this feature is The Friday Five, it’s time to remedy that. This time, I’m counting down the Top 5 Announcers in all of basketball video games, meaning both sim and arcade titles. I’m also featuring announcers who call real NBA games and voice actors who have provided commentary over the years. If that isn’t already a spoiler, yes, legendary voice of NBA Jam Tim Kitzrow is on the list. The question is: who are the other four announcers?

For that matter, what makes a great announcer in a basketball video game? In a sim game, it usually means authenticity in replicating a broadcast, from play-by-play to colour commentary. Conversely, arcade games benefit from commentary that isn’t as focused on play-by-play, but rather exaggerated reactions and catchphrases. The announcers play a key role in establishing the overall atmosphere and vibe of a hoops title, which goes a long way in getting us hooked and keeping us engaged. Obviously countdowns like this are always subjective, but I’d suggest that thanks to these five announcers, our experiences on the virtual hardwood have been greatly enhanced.

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Wayback Wednesday: Affiliations in MyPARK

Wayback Wednesday: Affiliations in MyPARK

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 affiliations in MyPARK.

The Playground has never been my main mode of choice – Pro-Am is more my speed when it comes to NBA 2K online – but I’ve had some fun with it over the years. More to the point, it has become one of the most popular modes in the game, and through the introduction of The Neighborhood, a major part of the main MyCAREER hub. From its introduction as The Park in NBA 2K14 to its rebranding as MyPARK and subsequently The Playground, the mode has gone from an online offshoot of NBA 2K’s career mode to its own fully fleshed out and immersive experience.

As much focus as it receives and as popular as it is, however, not all Playground gamers are completely satisfied with its evolution. One aspect that was left behind in the MyPARK era is affiliations. It’s not uncommon to see Playground gamers asking for the return of MyPARK affiliations in response to 2K’s Tweets, though as of NBA 2K20, it’s yet to make a return. What was it, and why was it so popular? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Entering the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER

Monday Tip-Off: Entering the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections upon finally entering the Hall of Fame in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER.

Back in May, I talked about my aim of making it into the Hall of Fame before I put MyCAREER aside; not just in NBA 2K19, but for the foreseeable future. I knew it would be a satisfying way to cap off years of being a MyCAREER gamer, and also provide some closure as I made the switch to MyLEAGUE and MyTEAM. I met the requirements for induction into the Hall of Fame as I concluded my second regular season, and it was a great feeling. However, with a new-look lineup and a chance at a threepeat, I didn’t immediately retire in order to get the Hall of Fame cutscene.

I played a few games in the third year and did have some fun with them, but it was clear that I was done with the mode. I waited for a few weeks after NBA 2K20 came out, at which point I was certain that I didn’t have any desire to continue playing my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER. Knowing that there wasn’t any turning back, I hooked up my capture card, retired my player, and recorded the cutscene for posterity. I realise that many of you may have already watched that cutscene – either in your own games or on YouTube – but I wanted to share it with everyone today, as well as reflect on my journey to enshrinement in the virtual Springfield (and again, not that one).

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The Friday Five: 5 Unsolved Modding Mysteries

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 unsolved modding mysteries…at least as far as I’m aware.

In many ways, modding is about unravelling the mysteries of video games. It involves digging through the game files to find out how they work, and how we can alter them to improve a title, or create brand new experiences. Modding has allowed us to find and utilise hidden and leftover content, put assets to use in new ways, and with a bit of trial and error, swap files between games to add missing content and even rig up some unofficial fixes. In short, modding helps us to become familiar with the inner workings of the basketball games that we play.

Of course, for all the creative minds we’ve had in our modding community over the years, there are times when we’ve been stumped. For all our digging, tinkering, and experimenting with all the techniques that we know, there are a few things that we just haven’t been able to figure out. Although these unsolved modding mysteries haven’t prevented us from creating several amazing projects year in and year out, they have meant that some ambitious and creative ideas have been left on the drawing board, or necessitated workarounds. Join me as I take a look at five mysteries in NBA Live and NBA 2K modding that, as far as I know, remain unsolved.

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Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen in Basketball Games

Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen in Basketball Games

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 Scottie Pippen and his legacy in basketball video games.

Chicago Bulls legend and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen turns 54 today. Incidentally, September 25th is a birthday that he shares with Mark Hamill, Will Smith, and my friend Courtney (Happy 30th Birthday, Courtney!). As you may know, my all-time favourite player is Michael Jordan, but Scottie Pippen is a close second, being MJ’s teammate on six Bulls championship squads in the 90s. I have many fond memories of that dynamic duo – dubbed “The Dobermans” by Johnny Bach due to their tenacity at both ends of the court – which could fill several Wayback Wednesday articles.

However, we obviously focus on basketball video games here at the NLSC. To that end, as it’s Pip’s birthday and he’s one of my all-time favourite players – as well as one of the greatest players in the history of basketball – it seems only appropriate that I take a look back at his legacy on the virtual hardwood. In my opinion, he has a rather interesting history in that regard, given how basketball video games were developed during his prime, and considering his standing among the NBA greats. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Problem with MyREP

Monday Tip-Off: The Problem with MyREP

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at MyREP in NBA 2K20, and how it’s a symptom of a bigger problem.

I have to say that it’s been refreshing to shift my focus away from MyCAREER in NBA 2K20. I’ve been enjoying MyTEAM, and once we get closer to the start of the season and receive updated rosters, I’m ready to get stuck into MyLEAGUE as well. With that being said, I have spent a little time in MyCAREER so far. In the interest of providing a comprehensive review, as well as satisfying my own interest, I wanted to check it out. If nothing else, it’s a means of farming some extra VC which I can then spend on MyTEAM packs, rather than shell out real money on loot box mechanics.

A noteworthy change in MyCAREER this year is the revamping of the rewards. The Road to 99 has more or less been done away with, replaced by the concept of MyREP. Instead of increasing your Overall Rating to unlock new content and bonuses, it’s all about increasing your rep through Playground and Pro-Am games. While the idea has merit, and I had my own complaints about the Road to 99, I’m not sure that this is the right direction for MyCAREER. Indeed, it’s thrust a few problematic design choices into focus, and unless some adjustments can be made in a patch, it’ll be a misstep for MyCAREER and the new MyREP system.

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The Friday Five: 5 Wholesome Moments in Basketball Gaming

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 wholesome moments in basketball gaming.

Let’s face it: it’s easy to get bogged down in negativity. Sure, criticism is an important part of constructive feedback, but it shouldn’t be our only focus here in the basketball gaming community. Most online communities have their toxic elements and sadly we aren’t immune, especially when certain elements of the games cultivate and contribute to a toxic atmosphere at times. It’s therefore important that we take time to recognise the positive aspects of our hobby, and celebrate all of the fun that we have with it. After all, most of us do enjoy playing the games at least some of the time!

Beyond our enjoyment of all the things we do on the virtual hardwood, basketball gaming has been responsible for some wholesome moments throughout the years, and those should be celebrated as well. I know that it’s difficult not to be cynical and write off such gestures as nothing more than PR stunts, but the mere fact that there’s the prospect of positive press doesn’t mean that these wholesome gestures are insincere, or that they aren’t admirable. With that in mind, let’s wrap up the working week with some positivity, and take a look at five wholesome and heart-warming moments from various basketball video games, and give some credit where it’s due.

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Wayback Wednesday: Reimagining NBA’s Greatest

Wayback Wednesday: Reimagining NBA's Greatest

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 reimagining NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12.

I had a lot of fun reimagining The Jordan Challenge back in June, so I thought I’d give the same treatment to NBA’s Greatest. As I remarked in my retrospective on NBA’s Greatest, it was a fantastic follow-up to The Jordan Challenge, and added new content to NBA 2K12 with the lockout of 2011 delaying the inclusion of the new rookies and updated rosters. The level of detail with the retro presentation was very impressive, and it’s a feature that would be really fun to have when playing with historical teams in future NBA 2K games.

However, as with The Jordan Challenge, NBA’s Greatest wasn’t perfect. Looking back, there are a few ways it could’ve been better, and teams that would’ve been preferable. As with my previous reimagining, this isn’t intended to disparage the work that Visual Concepts put into NBA’s Greatest, but rather consider what might have been if not for a few legal barriers, and how an already fantastic mode could be made even better. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: When The Idea Is More Fun

Monday Tip-Off: When The Idea Is More Fun

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at how an idea for a franchise mode game can turn out to be less fun than it originally seemed.

As I’ve mentioned before, this year I’m intending to move away from MyCAREER and return to my roots as a franchise gamer. A generation ago, I was unsatisfied with NBA Live’s Dynasty mode as it lagged behind NBA 2K’s offering, an issue that I still have with EA’s game. I ended up missing out on the quality franchise experience that Association provided as by the time I got into the NBA 2K series, career modes felt fresher, and vital for online team play. I’m ready to return to franchise gaming though, and with the depth of MyLEAGUE, my previous complaints shouldn’t be an issue.

However, there’s a hurdle beyond the depth and quality of a franchise mode: your idea for your game, the scenario you want to create for yourself. If you’re invested in the team you’ve chosen and the situation you find yourself in, you’ll be hooked on your franchise game. Conversely, if the appeal of the scenario quickly wears off, you’ll be far more likely to abandon your franchise within the first five to ten games. On the surface, the solution is to carefully consider all aspects of your franchise game as you set it up, and avoid an unappealing scenario. Unfortunately, all that foresight goes out the window when a seemingly fun idea turns out to be less appealing than expected.

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The Friday Five: 5 Hot Takes on Basketball Gaming in 2019

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 features five of my hot takes on basketball gaming in 2019.

Another Friday the 13th is upon us, and I’ll be honest: I’m drawing a blank on fresh ideas related to good luck, bad luck, and the number thirteen. I suppose I could talk about having terrible luck with disconnections in NBA 2K, or how I lost my progress in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER when I accidentally overwrote it with an old backup from the cloud, and then access to the save file entirely because the server was shut down during a time when I’d uninstalled the game. I could look back at NBA 2K13, or even the ill-fated NBA Live 13, but that’s more suited to Wayback Wednesday.

Instead, I’m going to take us into the weekend by sharing five hot takes about hoops gaming in 2019. After all, does anyone want a fair and measured take anymore? I’d like to think so as that’s my preferred approach, but there’s no denying the popularity of hot takes. If you agree with them, they make you feel clever and self-righteous. If you disagree with them, you can enjoy getting fired up and firing back at the person tossing them out. I can’t quite bring myself to abandon all reason and give you some hot takes on the level of an obnoxious talking head on a panel show, but I’ll share a few thoughts regarding our beloved hobby that you may or may not agree with.

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Wayback Wednesday: How We Used to Create Rosters

1996 Mod for NBA Live 2004: Michael Jordan

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 way we used to create current and retro rosters for NBA Live.

Back when we were the NBA Live Series Center, our founders described the site as “the official home of the Roster Patches and the NBA Live Editors for Windows”. In those days, there were no official rosters pushed through by EA Sports, and limited in-game editing facilities. Modding existed before the NLSC, and the PC versions of NBA Live for that matter, but it’s fair to say that the efforts of Tim, Lutz, and Brien were instrumental in bringing the hobby to the virtual hardwood. It certainly blew my mind when I discovered the NLSC, and I was inspired to make my own rosters.

Of course, even with the editors that our founders created, it wasn’t always easy. I’ve talked about the technical aspects of editing those early games, and some of the tools that made it possible. In this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I’d like to reflect on the process of making rosters; in other words, how we found the necessary information that made those projects possible. It’s a process that’s become a lot easier as online resources have expanded, but back then, we had to hunt around a little more. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Initial NBA 2K20 Impressions

Monday Tip-Off: Initial NBA 2K20 Impressions

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 my initial impressions of NBA 2K20.

If you’re an avid basketball gamer, then you know that NBA 2K20 was released last week, and have probably been playing it over the weekend. That’s what I spent quite a few hours doing, on both PC and PlayStation 4. I must admit that while I did remain optimistic throughout the preview season, I wasn’t all that hyped for NBA 2K20. It may be that I’m getting old and have gone through too many preview seasons and launches, but for all the hoopla on social media about 2K Day, I wasn’t that pumped. Looking forward to checking out the new game, sure, but as I said, not overly hyped.

With this seemingly being the last release before a new generation launches, I’d say that my expectations were quite low. I expected some news bells and whistles, and I liked a few of the things I read during the preview season, but I’ve grown a tad cynical when it comes to developer blogs. As such, I wasn’t expecting a huge jump from NBA 2K19. After a weekend with NBA 2K20, my impressions are that it was wise to set the bar at that level. I’d like to spend more time with the game and see what happens as far as any early updates before I deliver a full review, but to tip this week off, I will share my impressions of NBA 2K20 so far.

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The Friday Five: 5 New Basketball Games I’d Like to See

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 new basketball games that I’d like to see developed in the future.

Happy 2K Day everyone! NBA 2K20 is out today, which means a lot of gamers in our community will be spending time with it this weekend; I know I will be! While I hope I’ll enjoy NBA 2K20 as much as I did NBA 2K19, I’m also hoping that it won’t be the only release this year. We’re still waiting on any information about NBA Live 20, and the future of the NBA Live series. A release is slated for next quarter and various reps have said that EA Sports aren’t pulling the plug, so we can only wait and see what happens.

I still firmly believe that we need at least two viable choices when it comes to the sim-oriented NBA games on the market. Ideally, we’d also have some more arcade games and other titles to choose from, too. Obviously a lot of people are getting the virtual basketball experience they crave from NBA 2K, but competition, alternatives, and different takes on the sport are important to have. Beyond seeing NBA Live catch up to NBA 2K and be competitive again, there are other ideas for basketball games that I’d like to see come to fruition. Some of these ideas are easier said than done when you take licensing into account, but I’m throwing them out there anyway.

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Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at some players that I remember because of video games.

In response to my retrospective of NBA Live 95 for our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations, our own Q noted that the game helped him form opinions about NBA players. I can certainly say that video games were one of my main resources for learning about the league and its players when I was first getting into basketball, and I know a lot of other 90s kids can say the same. I’ve wondered if that still applies to the younger gamers these days. NBA 2K’s success has unquestionably made the genre mainstream, but the Internet has also made the NBA itself more accessible than ever.

I’ve previously joked that you know you’re a long-time hardcore NBA fan when you can name benchwarmers from over a decade ago. Trading cards and video games are also a reason that I remember a lot of lesser-known players from the 90s and 2000s, and a few of them will often spring to mind thanks to the virtual hardwood. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I’m recalling some of those players who stuck in my mind due to their video game counterparts. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: Fond NBA Live 95 Memories

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: Fond NBA Live 95 Memories

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, I’m sharing some personal recollections of NBA Live 95.

I hope you enjoyed my retrospective of NBA Live 95 that tipped off our celebration of the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live! Although I shared some personal memories of the game in my retrospective, I have a couple of other stories that I’ve saved for their own separate article. Specifically, I wanted to talk about playing NBA Live 95 for the first time on Super Nintendo, and playing a Season with the Houston Rockets with my cousin on PC. It’s the story of how I came to be a fan of the series…and also, how I engineered an unlikely comeback for Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.

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