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NBA 2K6, NBA 09, & NBA Live Highlights

NBA 2K6, NBA 09, & NBA Live Highlights

In case you’re not aware, Dee and I are frequently uploading highlight reels to the NLSC YouTube channel, spotlighting a variety of basketball video games that are in our rotations. The latest highlights feature NBA 2K6, NBA 09: The Inside, NBA Live 2004, NBA Live 06, NBA Live 09, and NBA Live 10.

As Dee and I discussed in Episode #516 of the NLSC Podcast, we’ve been on a major NBA Live kick with our Parsec sessions recently, which has produced some really fun co-op games featuring great highlights. Dee put together the reels for those games, which saw us taking on the Hornets with the Rockets in NBA Live 09, using LeBron James’ Cavaliers against Gilbert Arenas’ Wizards in NBA Live 10, picking up a clutch win over the Kings with the Warriors in NBA Live 2004, and staging a showdown between the 80s All-Stars and 90s All-Stars in NBA Live 06.

I’ve also uploaded highlights from my solo sessions against the CPU, including a game between the Nets and Thunder in NBA 09: The Inside, and a re-creation of the 2011 NBA Finals using a custom roster in NBA 2K6 for Xbox 360. These videos represent two of my basketball gaming goals for 2024, namely dipping into my collection to play games that I haven’t spent enough time with, and creating fun scenarios using default assets and minimalist modding.

Check out all of the highlights from NBA 2K6, NBA 09: The Inside, and those four NBA Live titles below! Be sure to subscribe to the NLSC YouTube channel for more basketball gaming content, and as always, feel free to hit Dee and I up with any suggestions of games that you’d like to see us play.

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NLSC Podcast #516: Michael Jordan, NBA Live, & MyTEAM Greed

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #516 of the NLSC Podcast!

Suffice to say, we’ve been on a major NBA Live kick lately! To that point, we’ve got some extremely enjoyable sessions with NBA Live 97, NBA Live 2004, NBA Live 06 (both versions), NBA Live 09, and NBA Live 10 to recap. We also join the community in reflecting on the NBA Live titles that we’ve spent the most time with over the years. On a less positive note, 2K has reached a whole new level of greed with NBA 2K24 MyTEAM. In addition to expressing our disgust, we commend some content creators for (finally) speaking out about these issues. We wrap up this week’s show with a celebration of Michael Jordan’s birthday, as we and our listeners share our fondest memories of MJ on the real and virtual hardwood alike.

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 Evergreen Issues with NBA Live

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 issues with NBA Live that were seemingly evergreen.

When we look at the struggles that NBA Live endured for over a decade, there are two levels to our critique. The first concerns the minutia of the games; the hands-on experience, from gameplay to game modes. In other words, the technical issues and specific design choices that have resulted in titles which failed to live up to ours or EA’s expectations. That’s an important conversation to have, especially when we’ve compiled Wishlists, or otherwise sent in feedback to the developers. However, there’s also a second level in which we evaluate concepts and approach.

It’s at the conceptual level that you’ll find many evergreen issues with the NBA Live series, which have served to hold it back and take it in bad directions. It isn’t a case of laziness, a lack of knowledge, or even resources, though it could be argued that NBA Live has never received the same support from EA Sports brass as its other franchises. There are common mistakes that are present in all of the problematic NBA Live titles though, and even some of the best releases still suffer from these evergreen issues. A comeback for NBA Live will require many specific fixes and additions from a virtual basketball perspective, but conceptually, it must also break the cycle on these trends.

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Wayback Wednesday: Crazy Create-a-Player Accessories

Wayback Wednesday: Crazy Create-a-Player Accessories

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at some of the crazy accessories that were once available in Create-a-Player.

It’s stating the extremely obvious to say that basketball video games have become far more realistic over the years. From graphics and animations to AI and content, the advances in tech have facilitated sim games that resemble real life far more closely. That’s not to say that older games didn’t do their best, and sim titles were definitely aimed at hardcore hoop heads more so than arcade games such as NBA Jam. They were still video games at the end of the day though, and as such, sometimes featured elements that weren’t so serious.

A great example is the crazy accessories that were often available in Create-a-Player. I’m talking about the accessories that you’d never see an NBA player wearing during a game, but were nevertheless available to assign in Create-a-Player in many old sim games, such as the early NBA Live releases. They’re something that we don’t see today; at least in traditional gameplay. They’re a relic of 90s basketball gaming, and looking back, their phasing out heralded a shift towards a more realistic approach. It was the right move, but they did serve a purpose. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Times My Franchise Games & Real Life Imitated Each Other

The Friday Five: 5 Times My Franchise Games & Real Life Imitated Each Other

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 recalls five times that my franchise games and the real NBA imitated each other.

Last week, I recalled five times when real moves made their way into my games, thanks to trades and signings that were initiated by CPU-controlled teams. They were special because obviously, I had nothing to do with them. The AI just happened to make moves that placed players on teams that they’ve played for since those games were released. Conversely, when I don my virtual GM suit in a franchise mode and mimic trades and signings that occurred in real life, it isn’t nearly as remarkable. It’s a situation where we gamers have greater control and influence, after all.

However, it’s still fun to inject some realism into your franchise gaming by taking cues from real life transactions. Indeed, before I made a blockbuster deal to acquire Kevin Garnett in my memorable NBA Live 2004 Dynasty, I considered making the trade that brought Jalen Rose and Antonio Davis to the Chicago Bulls, even testing it out to see if the CPU would accept (as it happens, it did). There have also been times where real life has imitated what was once a fictional move in one of my franchise games, which has been entertaining to see. These five examples of times where my franchise games and real life imitated each other comprise both of those scenarios.

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NLSC Podcast #503: Good Vibes, Free Mods!

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #503 of the NLSC Podcast!

We’re all about good vibes and enhancing everyone’s basketball gaming, from recommendations about an Android emulator that allows you to play mobile games on your PC, to advocating for freely available mods! Fortunately, we do still have people releasing some great projects free of charge, including wiscard_rush who has just completed a great 2009 season roster for NBA Live 10 PS3. This leads us to join the community in speculating on why we’re not seeing anywhere near as many mods for NBA 2K24 as we have for previous games. We also ask the community which console they’d choose if they could only have one for life, and what they consider to be the turning points for NBA Live and NBA 2K.

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: Set Trends, Don’t Follow Them

Monday Tip-Off: Set Trends, Don't Follow Them

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 basketball video games chasing trends in gaming, rather than doing their own thing.

I’m going to make a comparison here. Although I’m not a fan of Adam Silver and I have some gripes with his NBA, I won’t pretend that the late David Stern always got it right, either. Like many older fans, I rolled my eyes whenever he talked about the pipe dream of expanding into Europe; an idea that seemed like a logistical nightmare for a league in which teams play four to five games per week, and players can get traded wherever and whenever, whether they like it or not. In particular, I remember cringing when he once used the word “friendlies” when referring to exhibition games.

Obviously, those two words do mean the same thing in terms of sports. Of course, “friendlies” is commonly used in football (that is, association football, or soccer if you prefer) to describe a match that doesn’t count, and is more of a British/European term. Conversely, American leagues such as the NBA tend to use the word “exhibition” for such games. As an Australian, they’re interchangeable terms for me. As for Stern, he was clearly trying to sell the NBA to the European market and ingratiate himself by using a familiar term. I understood that, but I still cringed because it felt inauthentic. Basketball video games chasing trends instead of setting them reminds me of that.

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Monday Tip-Off: Control & Influence in Career Modes

Monday Tip-Off: Control & Influence in Career Modes

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 about the importance of having an appropriate amount of control and influence in career modes.

There’s a reason that I’ve been talking about playing NBA 2K14 MyCAREER in so many articles and on the NLSC Podcast, posting updates and highlights over on my Twitter/X, and maintaining a story topic in the Forum: it’s been a blast! Playing into my sixth season has been so fun and rewarding, and it’s reminded me of why I came to really enjoy career modes. The emphasis on grinding and pushy recurrent revenue mechanics that have come to plague more recent iterations of MyCAREER aren’t an issue. There are no quests, no open world nonsense…nothing but virtual basketball.

Of course, being one of the earliest iterations of MyCAREER, and the first to adopt the story-driven approach, NBA 2K14’s take on the career experience does have a few limitations. There’s no private court where I can shoot around whenever the mood strikes, either for genuine practice or just to fill time. A few of the stats screens are inaccessible unless a news story on the in-game NBA.com links to them. There’s content that I can no longer access because the servers have long been shut down. However, it’s the features that granted more control and influence in later games that I really miss, even if the lack of them arguably makes for a more authentic experience.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Misuse of Legends in NBA Live

Wayback Wednesday: The Misuse of Legends in NBA Live

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at how Legends have been misused in NBA Live over the years.

If you remember hitting the virtual hardwood before NBA Live 2000 was released, then you’ll recall what a big deal it was when Legends were announced for the game. Sure, we had modding, and even on console Create-a-Player could be used to make some serviceable retro players, but now they were going to be right there in the game by default! They’d have proper faces, and their names would be called by the PA Announcer and commentators. And of course, Michael Jordan would at long last appear in an NBA Live game. It was huge news, and a landmark feature.

Considering that EA Sports had found themselves in hot water after trying to sneak some Legends into the 16-bit version of NBA Live 96, it seemed like something that would never happen. That made the official inclusion of Legends even more special, and it’s why I won’t take historical content for granted. However, it’s fair to say that over the years, NBA Live didn’t do as much with the Legends as they possibly could have, leaving the door open for NBA 2K to blow us away with retro content and features. Even before that though, NBA Live was dropping the ball with throwback players. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #489: The Cost of Basketball Gaming

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #489 of the NLSC Podcast!

How much should basketball video games cost, from their base price to any microtransactions that we may choose to indulge in? A recent NBA 2K24 rumour regarding season passes in MyTEAM and MyCAREER has raised concerns about the possibility of additional costs moving forward. Naturally, both we and the community have a few thoughts on the matter; as you can probably guess, we’re not big fans! On a brighter note, there’s a new PlayStation 1 emulator that we recommend, along with some other retro gaming resources. We also react to Jeff Teague’s recent comments regarding James Harden and Dwyane Wade, and a shifting NBA narrative that’s about to start tying the talking heads up in knots.

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!

Wayback Wednesday: The Folly of Separate Shoot Buttons

Wayback Wednesday: The Folly of Separate Shoot Buttons

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the approach of having separate shoot buttons in NBA Live.

If you asked me which basketball video game has had perfect controls and gameplay mechanics, I’d have to say we’re yet to see it! Obviously perfection is an unrealistic goal in general, but even if we amend the definition to mean near-perfect and without any major criticisms, I don’t believe any title truly qualifies. Even the best basketball games that come extremely close in that regard have had at least one quirk with their controls and mechanics. It may not render them unplayable or unenjoyable, but there’s still something about the concept that’s flawed.

That’s basically how I feel about the separate shoot buttons in older NBA Live games. It initially worked and was a good solution as far as deepening shooting controls, but then was taken to the extreme in NBA Live 07, exposing its flaws. It’s an interesting situation though, especially when compared to similar attempts to expand the passing controls. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Atmosphere Settings in NBA Live

Wayback Wednesday: Atmosphere Settings in NBA Live

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the Atmosphere settings in NBA Live.

Following a decade of duds and dormancy, it’s easy to forget how innovative NBA Live was, even after NBA 2K became the premier brand in sim basketball gaming. With that being said, if you’re been playing basketball video games long enough to remember a time when NBA Live was still widely considered a viable, or indeed even a preferable choice, you’ll probably remember NBA Live 10 as a strong release. I’ve seen people nominate it as the best game in the series, and while I appreciate it a lot more following last year’s retro kick, I’d only go so far as to say it’s one of the best.

I do see why many of my fellow gamers give NBA Live 10 the nod, though. It did several things right after a few rough years for the series, and appeared to be steering it in a better direction. NBA Live 10 still holds up today, and boasts a few features that newer releases – including the latest NBA 2K games – actually lack. One example that I’ve yet to cover in-depth here in Wayback Wednesday is the game’s Atmosphere settings. They weren’t unique to NBA Live 10, but it could be argued that the first implementation of the concept was the best. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #479: Narratives, Nuggets, & Inspiration

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #479 of the NLSC Podcast!

With some big stories and events in the NBA right now, our attention turns to real hoops this week! From the Denver Nuggets making their very first NBA Finals, to Carmelo Anthony announcing his retirement, to the latest sad and bitter tirade from Scottie Pippen, we’ve got some thoughts to share. Speaking of real basketball, we also join the community in talking about the pre-game rituals and inspirational material that gets us pumped up to play pick-up and league games. As for the virtual hardwood, we discuss a false narrative regarding the style of NBA Live and NBA 2K during the 2000s, and shout out some excellent content creators in the community. In this week’s mailbag, we’re taking a look back at the Overall Ratings of the top seven active players in ESPN NBA 2K5.

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!

NLSC Podcast #478: Highlights, Rumours, & Regrets

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #478 of the NLSC Podcast!

Games that we wish we played more, seasons that we wish we finished, and saves that we wish we still had, are common tales among basketball gamers. This week, we join the community in reminiscing about some of our biggest basketball gaming regrets! A misconception about a job listing also prompts us to address the subject of NBA Live rumours, as well as clickbait content. Additionally, we touch on whether a theoretical future NBA Live should be sim, arcade, or a sim-arcade hybrid. We also reflect on some spectacular highlights in last week’s NLSC Top 10 that had us all buzzing, and provide an update on reaching Year 6 in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER.

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: Realistic Start, Fictional Finish

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 reflections on how I prefer to start a game with realistic rosters, but end up with fictional lineups and outcomes.

Realism is relative when it comes to the virtual hardwood. I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that as basketball video games became more sophisticated and encouraged a more strategic approach, I realised that my style of play wasn’t as “sim” as I thought. If nothing else, I was quite content to toss a more realistic style out the window if I desperately needed buckets, and use reliable tricks that would help me get them. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. The goal is to win – whether you’re up against the CPU or another person – and to enjoy the games that we play.

My point is that even those of us who value the sim style will take some liberties with realism from time to time. Indeed, it’s inevitable in franchise and career play. Those modes invite us to create our own reality, whether it’s placing ourselves in the league, or donning our GM suits to make the trades we wish our favourite team would in real life. The fictional results and player movement make playing through multiple years in franchise and career modes interesting, creating alternate history and fun scenarios. However, despite the appeal of these fictional outcomes, I’ve always preferred to begin new franchise games with real rosters, rather than shake things up right away.

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