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The Friday Five

The Friday Five: 5 Differences in PC & Console 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 list of five differences between the PC and console versions of various basketball games.

Our choice of gaming platform remains one of the pettiest parts of the hobby. Gamers who prefer PlayStation or Xbox to the exclusion of all other consoles will snipe back and forth with each other, comparing specs, exclusives, and anything else that will allow them to feel like their personal preference is intellectually (and even morally) superior. The other big and perpetual gaming war, of course, is PC vs. Console. I’m sure that you’re familiar with all the arguments, stereotypes, and insults that are flung back and forth as everyone engages in frothing-at-the-mouth tribalism.

Personally, I believe that gamers game. Give me a platform, a game, and ask me to play it and tell you what I think, and I’ll give it a shot! If PC gaming or a specific console works for you and you’re happy with your choice, more power to you. I’ll admit to being Team Nintendo during the Nintendo vs. SEGA war of the 90s, but when it comes to PC and console, I’ve actually always played games on both. I do that because certain titles and series have been exclusive, but I’ve also played the same basketball games on multiple platforms, and noticed some interesting differences between releases. There have been quite a few, but here are five noteworthy ones.

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The Friday Five: 5 Times You Can Play Before The Main Menu

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 examples of times we could jump right into gameplay in basketball games, before we’ve even brought up the main menu.

Given all the modes and options that are available in basketball games, as well as the need to select teams before entering a game, a main menu has generally always come between the title screen and gameplay. That isn’t unique to the genre, of course. Most games can’t be played until you’ve reached the main menu and made some selections. Even most of the very early video games and classic platformers of the 8-bit era didn’t go immediately into gameplay. If nothing else, we were presented with basic options such as the number of players, or asked to press Start to get the ball rolling.

There are exceptions, of course. In a way, they’re the video game version of a cold opening for a TV show. It hasn’t been especially common in basketball video games, but there are titles that drop us right into gameplay before we ever see the main menu. Many of these instances only occur the first time we boot up a game (or if we reinstall it with no user data present), but a selection of games have allowed us to participate in some form of gameplay before the main menu is displayed. It’s not something that we usually consider vital to the experience, but they have been fun ideas that give us something to do, while showing off new tech and features. These include things like…

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The Friday Five: 5 Expensive Basketball Games to Collect

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 lists five of the most expensive basketball games that collectors can buy.

For the serious collector, retro video games can be an expensive hobby. There are some rare titles that don’t come cheap, and among them, you’ll find a few basketball games. Because licensing and likeness rights make remakes and re-releases highly unlikely when it comes to hoops games, anyone who wants to own a legal copy of these rarities will have to search high and low, and pay a hefty price. One exception is Street Hoop for Neo Geo. While original copies can still demand a large sum, it has since been re-released digitally on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Such is the benefit of a game that doesn’t feature any licensed players. Of course, the most widely released NBA games usually aren’t expensive to track down and acquire, unless they’re in mint condition. Annual sports games aren’t big money-makers on the second hand market, so with the exception of PC releases of NBA 2K being removed from Steam, older basketball games are readily available (and affordable). As I said though, there are a few rare hoops titles that are difficult to find, and quite expensive to obtain when you do locate a copy. I fancy myself a collector of basketball video games, but I’d need to be much wealthier to consider picking up these expensive titles.

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The Friday Five: 5 Games With Untapped Modding Potential

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 games that have untapped modding potential.

At the NLSC, our modding community prides itself in doing all that it can to change and enhance the experience provided by basketball video games. We started doing it from the beginning of the NBA Live series with NBA Live 95 PC, and brought the hobby to NBA 2K when it came to the platform. As long as we’ve had the necessary tools, knowledge, and perseverance, we’ve created all kinds of projects from current rosters to retro season and NCAA total conversion mods. We’ve updated player and team art, changed menus and presentation elements, and even made new soundtracks.

Name an NBA Live or NBA 2K game that’s come out on PC, and you’ll be able to recall a memorable mod. However, for all our hard work and creativity, there are a few games that stand out as having untapped modding potential. Whether we couldn’t figure something out or the necessary tools were developed too late in a game’s life cycle, there are some titles where we could’ve perhaps done more. On top of that, because of our focus on NBA Live and NBA 2K, there are a couple of other games that we didn’t pay attention to, leaving them with untapped modding potential of their own. Here are five games that we could’ve done more with (and perhaps still could).

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The Friday Five: 5 Bizarre NLSC Forum Moments

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 reflects upon five rather bizarre moments in the history of our Forum.

The current NLSC Forum has been around since 2002, and the original boards were active for a few years before that. As with any online community, we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, running gags and memes, highly contentious moments, and other fun times. When you’ve been around a community for a number of years, as I and a few others have been, there are moments where you mutter to yourself that you’re too old for this…stuff. Not only that, but looking at the drama that some people cause, you can’t help thinking that they’re also too old for that…stuff.

However, some moments are just too bizarre not to be enjoyable in a twisted kind of way. In some cases, they become part of the community’s collection of memes, or find themselves enshrined in the Hardwood Classics section of the Forum. It’s often said that everyone is brave behind a keyboard, and adopts a different persona online. Now, there is definitely some truth to that, but I also get the impression that some people are just as difficult in the real world as they are in cyberspace. With that in mind, I feel sorry for the people they interact with on a daily basis! Still, they have given us some amusingly bizarre moments to look back upon, as these examples demonstrate.

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The Friday Five: 5 Team Changes That Drastically Impacted Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five players whose team changes drastically impacted basketball video games.

There’s a reason that many basketball fans enjoy the NBA offseason almost as much as the regular season and Playoffs. All of the movement, all of the team changes that we inevitably see, are exciting to read and talk about. Will a blockbuster trade or big signing be the difference that helps a team to get over the hump? Won’t it be strange to see a player wearing a different jersey this year, especially after spending most (or all) of their career with their former team? After particularly crazy offseasons, we’re all eager to see just how much the league will be shaken up.

Needless to say, these team changes also affect the licensed NBA video games. After all, we’ll see those new rosters in the forthcoming games, and when the face of the real NBA changes, so does the experience on the virtual hardwood. All player moves contribute to that feeling of change, but some players unquestionably have a bigger impact than others. They’re the ones that shift the balance of power, making teams far more popular to play with, and more difficult to play against. Their impact can also reach much further, affecting a game’s branding and even influencing which teams appear in a demo. These players’ team changes have been among the most impactful.

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The Friday Five: 5 Mistakes Modders 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. This week’s Five is a list of five mistakes that modders often make, and how best to avoid them.

I remember when I discovered the NLSC – then called the NBA Live Series Center – back in 1997. My family had just got connected to the Internet, and I was searching on Altavista for NBA Live 96 content. That’s when I found the site, and all the great work that our founders Tim, Lutz, and Brien had done, along with some other people in what was then a much smaller community. I was thrilled to find out about modding – then called patching – and marvelled at all the wonderful things that were possible. As I’ve said before, at long last my created Michael Jordan could have a full bio!

Modding was a hobby that I got into before I ended up taking over the NLSC, and while I haven’t been as active in that regard in recent years, I’ve continued to dabble here and there. Right now I’m working on an NBA 2K11 roster update, with an eye to getting it out soon. Of course, plenty of people have come to discover the NLSC over the years, and I always get a kick out of seeing them experience the same thrill I had when I first learned about modding. New people are always trying their hand at it, and while mod-specific tutorials and guidance will always provide the most help, I’d like to offer up some advice about common modding mistakes, and what to do instead.

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The Friday Five: 5 Hilarious-in-Hindsight Moments 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 list of moments in basketball video games that are hilarious in hindsight, for one reason or another.

I’ve grown fond of saying that basketball games serve as time capsules, preserving snapshots of the league when they were released. It’s something that I believe, and it’s one of the things that make dusting off old titles fun. Scrolling through all the teams and looking at the rosters, you’re reminded of the forgotten stints of journeymen and stars alike, lineups that had so much promise but never panned out, and players who were pegged as being future stars. As I’ve said, basketball games become interactive almanacs of sorts, as they mark NBA milestones.

That’s not all they do, however. Sometimes they can seemingly predict the future, with the virtual hardwood suggesting unexpected events that actually come to pass in real life. Of course, other occurrences are clearly not prophesising the future, which underscores how it’s easy to call something a prediction in hindsight. Coincidences are amusing to note however, as are details that age poorly or become ironic when we look back at them. In either case, these moments found in various basketball video games become hilarious-in-hindsight – or at the very least, good for a smirk or a chuckle – and to that end, I have five examples to share with you today.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Suggestions for Social Distancing

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 suggests five basketball gaming ideas that you might want to try while social distancing.

These are definitely unusual and concerning times, as the world at large deals with COVID-19. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, taking the proper precautions as far as hygiene and social distancing are concerned, and that everything works out with your employment, schooling, housing, and so on. I also want to commend and thank the healthcare workers around the world who are doing an amazing job caring for patients during these difficult times. If I may borrow and paraphrase a quote from M*A*S*H, if you ask me, you’re all supermen (and women).

Obviously, there are more pressing matters in the world than basketball video games right now. At the same time, many of us are naturally spending a lot of time at home, and looking to occupy our days with leisure activities, gaming being one of them. To that end, I thought that I’d offer up some suggestions if you’re looking to hit the virtual hardwood while you’re social distancing. With the depth of modern basketball games, we’re able to sink a lot of time into them. As for older releases, at this point there are several great titles to dust off for some retro gaming. If basketball gaming is on your agenda while you’re social distancing, here are some ways to stay entertained.

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The Friday Five: 5 Outdated Details 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 list of five outdated details in basketball games.

It’s difficult for basketball video games not to include a few outdated details at launch. Roster cut-off dates mean that a game’s lineups will be at least slightly out of date by the time we get our hands on it. Obviously all games are eventually outdated as new players enter the league, returning players change teams, and teams introduce new branding. Mind you, it would be a rather short and uninteresting article if I simply said all hoops games have outdated details and left it at that. It would make for a decent April Fools gag, though.

Since April 1st has been and gone this year, and fell on a Wednesday besides, I’ll go ahead and compile a proper list. I will however avoid including any outdated details related to rosters since as I noted they’re inevitable, and often fixed through official updates. I’m also excluding old games that launched with previous season rosters, as well as lockout-affected titles. Instead, I’m focusing on other outdated details that were noteworthy at release, or in some cases, details that quickly became outdated due to events that occurred post-launch. They’re not necessarily game-breaking issues, of course, but they nevertheless stand out as interesting trivia notes.

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The Friday Five: 5 Unsolved Modding Mysteries (Part 2)

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is another list of five unsolved modding mysteries.

As I mentioned in my first Friday Five article about unsolved modding mysteries, the whole hobby is dedicated to figuring out the inner workings of the games we play, and discovering how we can change them. We’ve made many exciting discoveries which in turn have led to the creation of fantastic projects, but there are still some gaps in our knowledge. Although we’re constantly looking to innovate and solve those mysteries, sometimes we have to admit defeat – if only temporarily – and file them under the heading of modding barriers that we may or may not ever overcome.

Incidentally, I originally included “blanking out career stats in NBA 2K11” on this list, as it’s something I’d noticed in the Chinese roster updates and had no idea how it was done. Not only have I since been informed that it’s an option in the Chinese trainer for the game, but I accidentally stumbled upon a method of doing it with REDitor II. It just goes to show that even when a game has been out for a decade, we can continue to solve modding mysteries and learn new techniques. That may mean that there’s hope of finding answers to these five modding mysteries at some point, but as of now, they do remain unsolved.

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The Friday Five: 5 Unfortunate Barriers in Modding

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 unfortunate barriers that challenge us when creating great modding projects.

Sometimes it seems as though we can do anything when it comes to modding the PC versions of NBA 2K, and back in the day, NBA Live. The fantastic projects that we’ve seen are the result of hard work, experimentation, and perseverance in the face of barriers that seemingly stood in the way. Either by developing new tools or nifty workarounds, we’ve been able to do things that once seemed impossible. This has only contributed to the feeling of being able to accomplish just about anything we can imagine with the mods that we make for basketball video games.

However, there are indeed limitations and barriers that make modding difficult, or in the worst case scenario, impossible. It’s been our goal in the modding community to find a way around these barriers, but in some cases, we’ve had to admit defeat. If nothing else, we’ve had to accept that certain ideas can’t come to fruition exactly how we envisioned them. It’s always frustrating when a game is so modder-friendly in some respects, but so limited in what we can do in another area. Once again, it obviously hasn’t prevented some amazing mods from being made, but nevertheless, here are five unfortunate barriers that we’ve encountered while modding.

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The Friday Five: 5 Most Satisfying Mods 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. This week’s Five is a list of five types of mods that I find the most satisfying to make.

Although the NBA season is on hold and March Madness has been cancelled, March Modness is still underway! We’re celebrating modding throughout the month of March with new releases, a spotlight on modding, and of course a giveaway as a means of saying thank you to our modding community. There’s still time to enter that giveaway, so if you’re interested, be sure to check out this post for details. The prize is a copy of either this year’s NBA 2K or NBA Live, though from the looks of things, it’ll probably be a Steam key for NBA 2K21 for the winner!

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate NBA Live modding, and release some new mods for old favourites. In fact, I’ve done just that, releasing fixed versions of my Hangar and NBA Elite 11 practice courts. There are a few other mods I’d like to finish and release this month, and I’m working towards getting that done. After all, modding can be a lot of fun, and it’s hard to resist the lure of the hobby. Most of us have a type of mod that we specialise in; updates that we find the most satisfying to make. I’ve been able to branch out with a few different types of mods over the years, and looking back, these five are the kind of updates I’ve found the most satisfaction in creating.

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The Friday Five: 5 Terribly Named 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 list of five terribly named basketball games.

Since nothing is classier or more cultured than Shakespeare, I’ll pull a quote from one of The Bard’s most famous works, Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This famous quotation, often paraphrased as “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, is a metaphor which illustrates that a name doesn’t affect the nature or quality of the thing that it belongs to. Just like the idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, it reminds us that superficial details aren’t everything, and that we shouldn’t make snap judgements based on them.

Of course, as The Simpsons once argued, roses wouldn’t be nearly as alluring if they were called stench blossoms or crap weed, and candy would likely be off-putting if it were called scum drops. The point is that while names aren’t always indicative or as important as we make them out to be, they do play a role in our initial impression of whatever it is they’re attached to. Even when we get past those impressions, a bad name can still stand out as an unfortunate attribute of an otherwise appealing thing. That goes for basketball video games, and there have been some terribly named ones over the years. Here are five examples that stand out to me.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ideas That Were Better In Theory

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 ideas in basketball games that I believe were better in theory.

Basketball video games – and sports games in general – are often accused of being little more than expensive annual roster updates. As my interview with former NBA Live programmer Rod Reddekopp revealed though, even in the early days, a lot of code had to be rewritten and updated every year. Unless there are significant and noticeable changes in the modes, graphics, or gameplay however, it’s quite likely that we won’t appreciate all that work. On top of that, each new game needs some kind of hook, a fancy selling point that can be promoted in previews and on the back cover.

From our point of view, we want basketball games to keep getting better and add new content, and that means exploring new ideas. Whether it’s a change to the controls or a new gameplay mechanic, improved presentation and details, a new or enhanced mode, or additional historical content, we always want to see freshness and innovation. Our Wishlists show that we have plenty of ideas of our own that we’d like to see added in future games, and developers also have their own roadmap. The problem is that not all ideas pan out, no matter how creative and promising they once seemed. Ideas like the ones I’m talking about today were good in theory, but not in execution.

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