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Monday Tip-Off: Enjoy Basketball Games the Way You Want

Kyrie Irving dribbles the basketball in NBA 2K17

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.

Well, the holiday season is well and truly upon us! We’re just six days away from Christmas, and for many of us, the season brings us a chance to kick back and relax with friends and family. Being gamers, I’d suggest that many of us will also be spending a bit of time in front of a PC or console, enjoying some new releases and old favourites alike. In this community, that probably means playing a basketball title or two. I’ll be spending a few days away with friends over New Year’s, but when I do have some time to myself, you can be bet that I’ll be playing some virtual hoops.

As we gear up to play basketball video games during this holiday season, and in the year ahead, I want to put something out there for the community to consider. It may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but considering how passionate we gamers can get about the hobby, I feel it’s worth mentioning from time to time. No matter what your skill level, preferred style of gameplay, or game mode of choice, please keep this in mind: you should enjoy basketball games the way that you want.

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The Friday Five: Best Sim Basketball Game of Each Generation

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.

When we look back to rank and rate basketball video games throughout the years, it’s important that we keep a few things in perspective, such as the technology of the time, and a game’s improvement over its immediate predecessors. With the way that basketball titles and other sports video games have improved, it’s not always a fair comparison once a few years have passed, to say nothing of a generation or two. Even though they’ve been surpassed, certain basketball games definitely deserve to be recognised as the best sim title of their day. As such, today I’m picking the best sim basketball games in five distinct generations, or eras if you prefer.

I must emphasise that these are my personal picks, and that I’m not presenting this list as infallible, definitive, or above question. There are several worthy candidates that you might prefer, and I obviously reserve the right to change my opinion in the future as well. However, as it stands today, these are my selections for the best sim-oriented basketball video games in each generation, starting from the early days of basketball gaming and going right through until today. Without any further ado, let’s tip things off with basketball games from the 16-Bit era and earlier.

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The Friday Five: 5 More Patches I Always Wanted to Make

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.

A little over two years ago, I wrote a Friday Five column about five patches that I always wanted to make, but never did. Since then, I’ve given a couple of them a try, releasing beta/demo versions of an Ultimate Jordan Roster, and a fictional league roster inspired by World League Basketball. They’re a couple of projects that I’d like to return to when I have the opportunity, as I do like to get back to my roots and make some patches from time to time. It’s been a while since my last release, so I must admit that I am getting the itch to work on something beyond my regular columns and other features (although I certainly do enjoy creating that content, too).

Because I don’t have as much free time as I used to, these days I prefer to focus on making smaller patches that fill a particular need, or works that are creatively satisfying, rather than the regular roster updates that I used to create. When I’m trying to come up with some fun ideas for patches, I still tend to think back to projects that I’ve envisioned in the past, but never got around to making. Following on from my previous Five, here are some more patches that I didn’t end up creating, some of which I might take a shot at sometime in the future.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Original NLSC Roster Updates

1998 Bulls in the NLSC Roster Updates for NBA Live 97

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.

Years before I was maintaining the NLSC roster updates for NBA Live, Tim and Lutz were creating the site’s original patches. We’ve seen a lot of fantastic roster updates over the years that have brought attention to the NLSC and been very popular in the community, and that great work certainly continues to this day. However, when you’re talking about the roster updates that made this site what it’s become and inspired so many other people to get into the hobby, you can’t go past those original releases by Tim and Lutz.

Those roster updates are still available in our Downloads section, and if you’re ever in the mood for some retro basketball gaming, I’d definitely recommend downloading them. If you’re newer to the NLSC community though – and especially if you’ve mostly been involved with the NBA 2K modding scene – it might be difficult to appreciate how important and influential those original NLSC rosters were. While I do encourage you to experience them for yourself if you can, I feel it’s important that those early roster updates get their due, especially in light of 2016 marking our 20th Anniversary.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live Championship Screenshots

Boston Celtics Championship in NBA Live 08

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.

When posting bulletins about the NBA Champions around ten years ago, I included screenshots of the winning team taken from the current NBA Live game. With the standalone Playoffs mode, it was easy enough to fire up the PC version, load up the latest NLSC roster update, and sim through a postseason. Because NBA Live’s simulation engine could be unpredictable, I usually had to place star players on the injured reserve so that the appropriate teams could make it through to the NBA Finals, and the correct team then win the championship.

I usually held off on capturing the screenshots until the series was close to being decided, so that I could make sure the teams were playing in the correct venue (and in one instance, wearing the correct jerseys). I came across those old NBA Live championship screenshots while digging through my archives recently, and I thought that they’d be fun to share for this week’s Wayback Wednesday.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Things You Learn Making Roster Updates

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.

It’s been a few years since I released my last roster update for NBA Live, and although I’ve tinkered a bit here and there, I’ve never really gotten into roster editing for NBA 2K. That being said, I’m certainly no stranger to making roster updates, having gotten into the hobby when I discovered the NLSC back in 1997, eventually taking over the NLSC rosters when I became webmaster and Lutz passed them over to me. Make no mistake: over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time creating players, moving players around, editing ratings, and updating games for a brand new season.

There are times when I miss making rosters, though remembering the more tedious and time-consuming aspects of their creation makes me realise that I probably made the right decision in moving on. Of course, I’ve also found that making roster updates can be an interesting and rewarding exercise. There are a few things that you learn when you’re making those updates, so I thought that I’d talk a little bit about that in this week’s Five. Whether you’re looking to make your own roster updates for NBA Live or NBA 2K, or you’d just like a little more insight into their creation, I hope you’ll find it informative.

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Monday Tip-Off: Why We Give Credit & Ask Permission When Modding

Charles Barkley & Hakeem Olajuwon on the 1997 Houston Rockets in the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K14

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.

In the twenty years that the NLSC has been around, we’ve developed our own sense of etiquette in our modding community. For a long time, many of these rules were unwritten, the “done thing” that everyone was expected to know about. That’s not really the best approach however, so in my most recent revision to our Forum Rules, I made sure to include information about procedures and etiquette when it comes to modding. To be honest, those unwritten rules were long overdue to be written, in order to cut down on any ambiguity and ensure new modders know about them.

Two of the most important rules in our modding community are giving credit where it’s due, and asking permission before using work that isn’t open source. Most people seem to agree with the spirit of these rules, but others are occasionally puzzled by our adherence to them, especially if they’ve been a part of other modding communities that have approached the matter differently. Continuing my series of articles on our modding community here at the NLSC, I’d like to explain why we place so much emphasis on asking for permission and giving appropriate credit when using someone else’s work.

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Monday Tip-Off: How To Choose Teams in Franchise Modes

Selecting when you want to start your franchise experience in NBA 2K17's MyLEAGUE & MyGM

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.

I’ve been away camping over the weekend, so it’s been a few days since I played NBA 2K17. However, I can guarantee that it won’t be long before I’m picking up the controller once more, and returning to the virtual hardwood. So far, I’ve been playing a lot of MyCAREER and meeting up with the guys to play 2K Pro-Am, but I’m still very keen to return to my roots as a franchise gamer and begin a MyLEAGUE game. Of course, that’s something I might still hold off on until the opening night rosters have been pushed through.

In the meantime, I’m still mulling over a few ideas for what I’d like to do with MyLEAGUE. My first choice is always the Chicago Bulls, and their offseason acquisitions have made them an interesting option. I’m intrigued by the possibility of taking control of the Philadelphia 76ers, and I also really like the Charlotte Hornets’ branding. The team you choose to play a franchise game with obviously plays a huge role in how much you enjoy the experience, so I thought that for this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I’d discuss the selection process and offer up a few tips.

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The Friday Five: 5 Mods We Rarely See Anymore

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.

As I mentioned in Episode #178 of the NLSC Podcast, and as you can see in the NBA 2K17 Releases & Previews section of the Forum, our community is already hard at work figuring out how to develop mods (and indeed, already releasing some) for this year’s game from Visual Concepts. Modding – or patching, to use the old name for the hobby – is something that our community has been doing a fantastic job of for over twenty years now. I expect that we’ll see many more great mods being released over the next year, and beyond.

Although I haven’t been extremely active in the NBA 2K modding scene, I do keep tabs on it, and I’ve been involved with NBA Live modding since before I was running the NLSC. Not only have several modders come and gone, but certain types of mods have also seemingly gone in and out of fashion over the years. For this week’s Friday Five, I thought I’d create a list of five types of mods that we don’t see as often these days. That’s not to say that they don’t still get made from time to time, but for one reason or another, they’re not as popular as they once were. With that being said, perhaps we can bring a few of these mods back in NBA 2K17.

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Monday Tip-Off: When EA Sports & Visual Concepts Can’t Win

John Wall dunks in NBA Live 16

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.

When it comes to basketball video games, we have a responsibility to ourselves as consumers to be honest in our feedback. While it’s important to be constructive and refrain from childish insults, we don’t do ourselves any favours if we hold back on all negative criticism. Visual Concepts has a quality product in NBA 2K, but there are still areas in which the game can improve. With NBA Live, EA Sports still has a long road ahead of them. In both cases, our suggestions and criticisms can help in the development of future games.

In a previous Monday Tip-Off article, I discussed what it means to give constructive feedback. It’s important to keep that in mind when we’re talking about what we want out of future releases from EA Sports and Visual Concepts, and I believe that for the most part, we do a great job of compiling useful feedback for both developers. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain issues, it’s hard for us to have a unified voice and reach a consensus, due to polarised opinions on certain features. When that happens, it’s tough for EA Sports or Visual Concepts to win with basketball gamers.

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The Friday Five: 5 Memorable Basketball Game Characters

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.

As revealed in the deep-dive developer blog and subsequent trailer, we’ll be introduced to a new cast of characters in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER mode. Of course, the presence of fictional characters in basketball video games is nothing new, and goes back a long way before NBA 2K began taking a story-driven approach to MyCAREER. While we obviously remember and are familiar with the real players featured in basketball video games, new and old, those fictional players and other characters we encounter also have a tendency to stick in our minds.

For this week’s Friday Five, I’m compiling a list of some of the most memorable characters we’ve seen in basketball video games. Please note that I don’t necessarily mean memorable in a positive sense; just that we do remember them. Please also note that I’m excluding secret players in NBA Jam who are actors, politicians, or developers, as well as NBA mascots (who are obviously characters, but not ones created specifically for basketball video games). These are five fictional basketball video game characters that are all memorable for one reason or another.

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Monday Tip-Off: When Is It Time To Shelve Basketball Games?

DeMarcus Cousins dunks the basketball in NBA 2K16

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.

Last Friday night, the regular NLSC 2K Pro-Am crew got online to play a few games, as we usually do. As we’ve mentioned on the NLSC Podcast, and in the Forum, our record isn’t exactly stellar across our three Pro-Am teams, but we still enjoy getting in some games each week, picking up the occasional win here and there, and joking around on the party chat. We started our most recent session in high spirits, but after only a few games, we were feeling disenchanted and ready to call it a night.

I’m sure that Arcane, Kenny, and I will discuss it in more detail on this week’s Podcast, but in short, it was one of our worst sessions of 2K Pro-Am. Aside from our own mistakes – and the usual MyPARK cheese that spills over into 2K Pro-Am – we really seemed to be battling some gameplay quirks in all three contests. I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, but when we decided to call it a night early, I found myself wondering if I wanted to keep playing 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16. Mulling that over led me to ponder another question: when is it time to shelve basketball games?

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Wayback Wednesday: Team USA Basketball (SEGA Genesis)

Team USA Basketball for the SEGA Genesis

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 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.

Whenever I’m deciding on what I want to talk about for Wayback Wednesday, it’s generally either a game I’ve been meaning to review or discuss for some time, or a topic that’s somehow related to the date or a current event. With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro underway, and Team USA seeking another gold medal in basketball, it seems like as good a time as any to talk about Team USA Basketball for the SEGA Genesis.

For those who have never heard of it, Team USA Basketball is actually a spinoff of the NBA Playoffs series – EA’s forerunner to NBA Live – and was the first game to feature the legendary Dream Team, long before NBA 2K13. Released exclusively for the SEGA Genesis in 1992, it’s obviously very primitive compared to its successors, but what was it like, and how does it hold up today? I offer up my thoughts on this arguably lesser known EA basketball game, in a new video retrospective.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. As I’ve said before, while I can’t always find the time to work on them, I do enjoy making video retrospectives, so hopefully you enjoyed watching it as well! Be sure to check in each and every Wednesday for more videos, articles, and other retro basketball video gaming content!

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The Friday Five: 5 Things Modders Must Stop Doing

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.

Every online community has its own issues, but as I’ve said many times before, I truly believe that we have a good thing going here at the NLSC. While I’ve enjoyed expanding our content and relish the opportunity to both interview and provide feedback to developers at EA Sports and Visual Concepts, it’s probably fair to say that our enduring legacy is our modding community. Over the twenty years that the NLSC has been around, the talented modders in our community have produced some truly outstanding works.

For the most part, I do believe that our modders are largely helpful, and supportive towards one another. Like I said though, every online community has its own issues, and I believe there are areas in which we can improve. There are some troubling practices in our modding community, and for some of them, it’s well past time to nip them in the bud. While I may not be heavily involved in our NBA 2K modding scene at this time, I do keep tabs on it, and I’ve been involved in NBA Live modding for close to two decades now. As such, I do know what I’m talking about when I say that these are five things that modders should stop doing, to make our community better.

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Monday Tip-Off: Fun with Basketball Video Game Glitches

Headless Utah Jazz Players in NBA 2K11

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.

Although glitches are generally seen as a problem in gaming – and for good reason – they’re not always a bad thing. Sure, they aren’t a lot of fun when they cause games to crash and lock up, or ruin features and functionality, but when glitches are relatively harmless, they can be pretty funny. I wouldn’t say that it’s as common in basketball video games as it is in other genres, but there are even times when bugs and glitches can be advantageous, making certain tasks easier, or even completely bypassing difficult and tedious sections of a game. TV Tropes calls them Good Bad Bugs, and the speedrunning community obviously knows them very well.

A lot of people are probably familiar with the “Jesus Bynum” glitch that drew a lot of negative attention to the NBA Elite 11 demo. Although most people probably never experienced the glitch for themselves, it became a symbol of the game’s problems. While NBA Elite 11 was shaping up to be a disappointing game for other reasons before it was ultimately cancelled, the Bynum issue is really more of an example of a glitch that is fun and amusing; something weird that obviously shouldn’t be happening, but certainly funny when it does. With that in mind, I thought I’d talk a little about some amusing glitches today, and share a few of my favourites.

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