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NLSC Podcast #426: Variety & Options on The Virtual Hardwood

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #426 of the NLSC Podcast!

After an unscheduled break due to one of us being under the weather, we’re back on the air! We’ve been playing a variety of classic basketball games since our last show, particularly favourites from the late 90s and early 2000s. Notably, we’ve been playing them with some classic teams and legends roster mods, which is tempting us to get stuck into some retro modding. We also provide updates on our ongoing seasons, including Shawn Kemp highlights and an example of video games imitating life. On a less positive note, a couple of recent Tweets have reminded us that elitism and gatekeeping is alive and well within the basketball gaming community. Needless to say, we feel compelled to hit back against those attitudes. In this week’s mailbag, the community tells us their favourite games in the NBA Live series, and we share our thoughts on those titles.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 13)

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 13)

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is part thirteen in a series discussing retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

This isn’t the first time I’ve revisited the topic of retro teams that I’d like to see in NBA 2K in back-to-back weeks. Although I do like to spread out sequel articles in the name of variety, sometimes I’ll stick with a topic if the next part is in the can, and it still feels relevant. Parts eight to eleven of this series came out in consecutive weeks back in 2019, and as I mentioned in part twelve, I’ve already shelved the topic for so long that I needed to take new screenshots from the latest game. Also, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post the thirteenth instalment of the series on Friday the 13th!

With that being said, let’s get into the next five retro teams that I’d be in favour of the developers adding in future NBA 2K games. Actually, I’m cheating and suggesting six teams in a list of five, but you’ll see why when you get there. As I’ve previously noted, since 2K has ventured beyond the parameters of iconic teams, such as former champions, their opponents, and other perennial powerhouses, my lists have likewise explored some more unorthodox choices. My aim is to suggest teams that are fun to play with, historically significant in some way, and would allow for some handy new assets to be included for modding projects. I believe these five – uh, six – fit the bill.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 12)

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is part twelve in a series discussing retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

This is one of my longest-running series of Friday Five articles, yet somehow, I haven’t posted a new instalment since 2019! It’s not that I haven’t had any ideas for retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K, either. In fact, I had ten further suggestions when I posted Part 11 in this series, all ready to be written about. I even had screenshots prepared for those articles. Indeed, the series has been on the shelf for so long while I discuss other topics here in The Friday Five, that it only felt right to get brand new screenshots using a newer game!

With that out of the way, what other retro teams could I possibly suggest that haven’t been mentioned already? Obviously I’ve covered a lot of ground so far, and a few of the teams I suggested in earlier instalments have actually been included since. I’m not claiming credit here, but since I was genuinely keen to see those retro teams be added to the games, I’m pleased that it happened! Once again, I’ve been delving into some unorthodox suggestions, since 2K already made the wise decision to expand beyond conventional choices of champions, their opponents, and other celebrated squads. Without any further ado, here are five more retro teams that’d I’d really like to see.

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Monday Tip-Off: Choose Your Own Adventure

Monday Tip-Off: Choose Your Own Adventure

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with my thoughts on how basketball video game modes can sometimes limit your ability to choose your own adventure.

When I discussed playing through a second season in NBA 2K14’s MyCAREER and my enthusiasm for embarking on a third campaign, I mentioned that I would have some decisions to eventually make. Right now, I’m enjoying being a member of the virtual Philadelphia 76ers in the 2016 season, coming off back-to-back titles and a triumphant rise to superstardom. However, I can never rule out the possibility of playing for another team, with the Chicago Bulls being a prime candidate. If nothing else, I’d appreciate seeing some new uniforms from game to game!

However, moving on in NBA 2K14’s MyCAREER isn’t as easy as it is in later games. Glancing at my rookie contract, it may be a while before I’m able to pursue any other career opportunities outside of the City of Brotherly Love. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it’s based on reality. At the same time, it gets in the way of that “choose your own adventure” aspect of role-playing in basketball video games. It’s not the only mode that’s placed restrictions on how it can be played, and how much freedom you have to seek out desirable scenarios. This can be frustrating, yet also an interesting and challenging part of the single player career and franchise experiences alike.

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The Friday Five: 5 Presentation Options NBA 2K Should Have

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five presentation options that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

Since the early days of the genre, sim basketball games have made it a point to have presentation that resembles a real broadcast. From getting real commentators to call the action on the virtual hardwood, to studio shows and stats overlays, there’s been a constant push to include as much authenticity as the current technology will allow. Some of those presentation elements can be adjusted in the game options, such as the frequency of instant replays, muting the commentary, or toggling fun features such as slow motion dunks in the oldest NBA Live titles.

Indeed, NBA Live has had some great presentation features and options that NBA 2K should implement, but for whatever reason, has yet to do so. On top of that, there are several other ideas that would enhance presentation and provide customisation options that neither NBA Live nor NBA 2K has featured to date, and have rarely appeared (if at all) in other NBA titles in years gone by. These features may not be vital, but could nevertheless have an impact on our basketball gaming experience through adding more immersion, quality of life customisation, or just plain fun. Whatever the case, adopting these presentation options would be beneficial in future NBA 2K releases.

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Monday Tip-Off: Shot Aiming Is A Hit & Miss Idea

Monday Tip-Off: Shot Aiming Is A Hit & Miss Idea

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on shot aiming mechanics, and how they are a hit and miss idea; pun fully intended.

There’s been a lot of talk about the skill gap in NBA 2K in recent years, as you would expect with a greater emphasis on the online competitive scene. Much has been said about the need to separate the good from the great, the scrubs from the elite, and truly celebrate and reward stick skills on the virtual hardwood. Mind you, several gamers push back on the idea of proper matchmaking, so I do question how “competitive” the scene really is. Many of the mechanics that those gamers champion are likewise of questionable value when it comes to the skill gap, and overall quality of gameplay.

Shot aiming is a prominent and somewhat controversial example. On paper, it’s a good idea. It’s more skilful then simply pressing and holding a button, and one could argue that it’s trying to emulate actual basketball skills and technique. In practice, it’s seldom worked out as well as intended, and developers have ended up shelving the concept quite quickly each time it’s been attempted. I have some mixed feelings about shot aiming. I can see the logic behind the idea, but its repeated shortcomings leave me sceptical that it can truly work. Furthermore, I’m bothered by the elitism that it fosters, and the notion that any objections or criticism of it indicates a lack of skill.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Greed of Attribute Upgrades

Monday Tip-Off: The Greed of Attribute Upgrades

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with my candid thoughts on the greed involved with the attribute upgrades in NBA 2K’s MyCAREER.

So, you may have two questions. First, why am I still talking about MyCAREER when I’ve moved on from the mode? Second, do I think that I’m revealing some shocking truth here? To answer the first question, I am still playing the mode in NBA 2K14. Additionally, having spent many years playing MyCAREER, I have thoughts on how it can improve. I want it to be as good as it possibly can be for everyone who plays it, and I believe in advocating for my fellow gamers. If nothing else, if you’re feeling frustrated with the situation, it may help to know that you’re not alone.

That leads into the answer to the second question. Gamers – and not just basketball gamers, mind you – have a tendency to be temporarily outraged at injustices, only to quickly move on and seemingly forgive and forget; at least until the issue affects them once again. It’s important that we keep discussing these matters, and that we get to the heart of the issues. It’s no secret that all of the modes in NBA 2K that utilise Virtual Currency are a cash grab, because recurrent revenue mechanics are the major money-makers for publishers. I’ve previously discussed the rising cost of MyCAREER, but the greed goes beyond that when you realise attribute upgrades are now pointless.

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March Modness 2022 Tips Off Today

NLSC March Modness

It’s that time of the year again, so we’re tipping off our fifth annual March Modness! The event is a celebration of modding, and the modding community that we’ve built and maintained over the past 25 years. Naturally we support modding all year round, but we’ve nominated March as a time to get extra creative and productive!

As always, March Modness includes a giveaway. All you need to do is upload a new mod to the Downloads section with “March Modness” in the description, and you’ll go into the draw to win a copy of NBA 2K23 PC. The mod can be for any basketball game that can be modded, including retro titles. Full terms and conditions can be found below. Congratulations once again to Pep, the winner of last year’s giveaway!

Additionally, I’m taking this opportunity to announce a change to the way I post bulletins about recent uploads. For years now, I’ve been using the term “File Additions” for those bulletins, as it’s what our founders used when they first began maintaining a Downloads database back in the mid 90s. It’s something I’ve kept out of tradition, but in order to move with the times and remove any ambiguity, those posts are now going to be titled “Mod Releases”.

I’m looking forward to this being an exciting and productive March Modness. As always, I’ll be looking to get in on the fun myself with a few releases. The modding bug does bite from time to time, and this is obviously the month to indulge it. Stay tuned for those releases, and all of the great work that I’m sure is coming this month!

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K Has All The Leverage Over Cheesers

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K Has All The Leverage Over Cheesers

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with my thoughts on how NBA 2K has all of the leverage over cheesers, and should take advantage of that.

The December patch for NBA 2K22 Next Gen included an attempt to reduce cheese in the online scene. More specifically, it addressed exploits with quick left and right bursts – the infamous “zigzag cheese” – that has been contributing to a homogenised, unrealistic style of play. Needless to say, the cheesers weren’t pleased. There were more than a couple of angry comments, usually along the lines of how NBA 2K had been ruined, and that video games shouldn’t have to be realistic. It’s clear that a vocal contingent of online NBA 2K gamers are in favour of utilising cheesy tactics.

As someone who has been turned off the online scene due to its toxicity and style, and believes that a sim game should maintain a base level of realism and strategy, my response is: tough cheese! A truly competitive scene should facilitate different styles of play, and discourage easily repeatable exploits. Mastering a single move and then proceeding to spam it over and over again is hardly skilful. It certainly isn’t basketball either, and while there’s value in taking liberties with realism, a sim game should still be realistic at its core. That the developers have taken a stand against cheesers does suggest that they believe this as well, but to that end, it’s vital that they stand firm.

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NLSC Podcast #415: Being The NBA 2K Playmaker

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #415 of the NLSC Podcast!

What would you do if you were made the Gameplay Director for NBA 2K? We discuss our visions for the series, and open up the mailbag to find out what the community would do if they were in the driver’s seat. Our Parsec sessions over the past week also produced some incredibly fun games with NBA Jam: On Fire Edition and NBA Live 2001, and we’ve been challenged to aim for a statistical goal in the latter. Speaking of which, recent attempts to curb turnovers and reach milestones in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER raises the question: do we psyche ourselves out when we’re trying to pad stats and set records on the virtual hardwood?

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Monday Tip-Off: 20 Classic Jerseys I Want to See in NBA 2K

Monday Tip-Off: 20 Classic Jerseys I Want to See in NBA 2K

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with suggestions for 20 classic jerseys that I’d like to see added in future NBA 2K games.

NBA 2K has an impressive array of classic jerseys. It’s yet another example of how the series has gone above and beyond with extra content, especially when compared to recent NBA Live titles. Of course, NBA Live once included a large range of classic jerseys, even bringing them back in NBA Live 10 after they fell by the wayside in the seventh generation releases. Unfortunately, recent NBA Lives have only included the throwbacks that will be worn on Hardwood Classics Nights during the season they’re set in. Conversely, NBA 2K’s selection of retro uniforms is extremely comprehensive.

With that being said, it’s definitely not complete. As of NBA 2K22, there are several classic jerseys that are still missing from the selection of retros. I’m not just talking about short-lived alternates or special event jerseys, though I’d certainly love to see them added as well. There are some prominent uniforms, including primary home and away jerseys, that haven’t yet been featured in NBA 2K. Now, the selection that we currently have is great, minor inaccuracies aside. Many eras are accounted for, and some teams are fairly close to complete, at least when it comes to primary uniforms. Nevertheless, I’d love to see future NBA 2K games add these 20 classic jerseys.

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NLSC Podcast #414: Pump Us Up, Don’t Leave Us Deflated

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #414 of the NLSC Podcast!

Does the community still feel the same excitement and anticipation for the latest release every year? We open up the mailbag to discuss the titles that basketball gamers felt the most hyped about, as well as the factors that have dampened our enthusiasm over the past decade or so. We also recap another fun week in basketball gaming, which included a return to Fantasy Teams in NBA Live 10, heroics from Steve Kerr in NBA Live 95, a surprising challenge playing NBA Live 2003 PC co-op, and a new take on NBA Live 15. There also the latest games from our NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Tournament to recap, and a tale of retro collecting disappointment to share.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Monday Tip-Off: Look Beyond What You See

Monday Tip-Off: Look Beyond What You See

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some advice to look beyond what you see when it comes to visuals on the virtual hardwood.

I’ll be honest: I never thought that I’d be quoting Rafiki in an article about basketball video games. The sentiment fits though, so hey, hakuna matata. As in the metaphor that’s repeated a few times during the course of The Lion King 1½, there’s value in looking beyond the superficial aspects of basketball video games. That’s not to say that graphics aren’t in any way important. They form our first impressions of a new title, and when a new generation launches, we do expect to see some sort of leap as far as the graphics are concerned.

As such, I’m not trying to dismiss criticism of – or downplay disappointment in – the graphics of NBA 2K on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X (or any other game, for that matter). However, there’s a reason we have a long-running gag on the NLSC Podcast about cancelling pre-orders if a new game doesn’t feature any shoelace physics. It’s easy for me to say because I grew up with games that look extremely primitive now, but we can get too caught up in visual details that are inconsequential in the long run. Whether critiquing a game or simply seeking to enjoy it, I’d suggest that you’ll gain far more valuable insights and satisfaction if you look beyond what you see.

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NLSC Podcast #413: More NBA Video Games, Please

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #413 of the NLSC Podcast!

Catching up on the latest results from our NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Tournament, we reflect on a truly epic comeback! We also recap the fun we had connecting on Parsec to play NBA Live 2004 PC with the 1996 season mod, another exciting countdown with the Top 10 Plays, and recent fun going back to an NBA 2K14 MyCAREER save. This week’s main topic is the variety of NBA video games that we used to enjoy. We open up the mailbag to see which NBA video games the community most wants to see return instead of (or in the best case scenario, in addition to) NBA Live, and discuss our memories of those titles.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Players We’re Unlikely to See

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Players We're Unlikely to See

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five retro players that we’re unlikely to see included in future games.

There isn’t a year that goes by where NBA 2K is missing some noteworthy retro players. Contrary to what some people believe, this isn’t due to laziness or ignorance of NBA history. It’s all down to licensing issues, as NBA 2K – and any NBA video game, for that matter – cannot include any retro players that haven’t agreed for their likenesses to be used. While we have seen some players added (or in certain cases, return) to the roster of retro content, there are some names that just seem unlikely to ever be officially included in NBA 2K moving forward.

Please note that I’m making an educated guess here based on previous remarks and other factors regarding these retro players, at the time of writing. If by some chance they’re included in future games, then this is my disclaimer against a “gotcha”. I’ve been wrong before, and situations can certainly change. However, considering the circumstances for these five retro players, I would be very surprised if we see any of them appear in forthcoming releases. It’s unfortunate as placeholders stick out like a sore thumb, the absence of big names is strongly felt, and it does make certain classic squads highly unlikely. It is what it is however, and in some cases, it’s understandable.

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