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Wayback Wednesday: The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14

Wayback Wednesday: The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14

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 OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14.

Is there a more important and impactful trailer in the history of basketball gaming than the OMG Trailer, promoting NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? While there have been other fantastic trailers and promotional spots for basketball video games, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that turned as many heads, and that gamers still know by name. It boldly announced the arrival of a new generation, and made a statement that Visual Concepts were eager to make full use of the technology they now had at their disposal.

The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14 is something you can still appreciate today. It still looks amazing almost a decade and entire console generation later. In a way, it’s even more impressive now that we know the game lived up to the hype; even if a few of us discovered that later than others! There’s more to the OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14 than just reflecting on how awesome it was, though. It’s had a lasting impact on the series and basketball gaming as a whole, but has also proven to be a hard act to follow. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

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 players who only played a single season in the NBA, but ended up being regular starters.

On top of the players that have just one appearance in the NBA – “cups of coffee“, as Basketball Reference labels them – there are many players who spent just a single season in the league. While this is still a tremendous accomplishment, it may be surprising, not to mention disappointing for seemingly promising prospects. Usually, these players only appeared in a handful of games, playing sparingly. You generally wouldn’t expect them to be starters, at least outside of a game or two when injuries opened up a rare opportunity.

Surprisingly, several single season players were starters for a respectable chunk of their only NBA campaigns. For the purposes of compiling the most interesting and relevant list – i.e. not just including anyone who played one season and started a few games – I’ve set the cut-off at starting in at least 20% of their appearances. That might still seem generous, but considering that most single season players have ridden the bench, it represents some regular forays into the starting five. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

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 Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08.

These days, unique signature animations and a variety of animation packages are staple features of sim basketball games. We’re a long way from the days of every player having the same shooting form, the same dribbling style, and in some rare games, a handful of signature moves for star players. That’s not to say that every player in the game has unique mo-capped animations, but the most distinctive styles are usually accounted for. Of course, there were some intermediate steps between everyone using the same animations, and the signature styles of today.

NBA Live began taking steps towards player differentiation by including a second jumpshot animation intended for big men, as well as slower and simpler dribbling moves for weaker ballhandlers. The next step was Freestyle Superstars. Both of these forms of player differentiation were based on qualifying ratings, which sometimes made it difficult to assign players appropriate attributes and still have the desired movesets and animations. After signature jumpshot styles were added in NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 and expanded upon in NBA Live 07, NBA Live 08 introduced Go-To Moves. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K10 PC Disc Woes

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K10 PC Disc Woes

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 reflecting on some strange issues I’ve had with my copies of NBA 2K10 PC.

My approach as a collector of basketball video games has been to acquire titles that I have an interest in playing, and of course covering here in Wayback Wednesday. A working copy is therefore far more important to me than “complete in box”. As you’d expect, it’s been much cheaper, too! As I’ve shown, my collection includes multiple versions of titles across the different platforms that I own. Sometimes I’ve doubled up on the same platform with alternate covers, repurchased games I once traded in, and have spare copies of a few games that I’ve stumbled across on sale at bargain prices.

And then, there’s NBA 2K10 PC. I picked up a second copy of the game, not on a whim because I’d seen it at a bargain price, but because mine had simply stopped working. Well, it kind of worked; sometimes, if I was patient and lucky enough. When I found a copy of NBA 2K10 going cheap on eBay, I snapped it up, and it appeared that all was well. And then, the same issues began occurring with that copy too. Of all the games in my collection, these disc woes are rather unique. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Glitched NBA Live 97 SNES Cartridge

Wayback Wednesday: Glitched NBA Live 97 SNES Cartridge

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 my glitched NBA Live 97 SNES cartridge, which features an extremely unusual roster bug.

It’s been a while since I produced a video for Wayback Wednesday, and this is a prime topic to dive back into that medium. Simply put, to do it justice, you need to see the game in action. That game is the SNES version of NBA Live 97, specifically my original copy that somehow developed one of the weirdest roster glitches I’ve ever seen. My replacement copy of NBA Live 97 SNES is working just fine, but it appears that there’s no way to fix the original glitched cartridge. It may not be so bad if you’re a big Christian Laettner fan, but even then you’d probably want the game to work properly, with the correct 1997 season rosters. Let’s take a look back…way back…

A truly bizarre glitch! If I can ever get that cartridge working properly again, I’ll be sure to produce a follow-up feature. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this look at an incredibly strange error! I do like to branch out from my written retrospectives and other Wayback Wednesday articles from time to time, and again, this felt like an ideal topic to cover with a video. There’ll be more Wayback Wednesday video features in the future, and we’re also posting many other videos from the weekly Top 10 Plays to gameplay highlights, so be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube if you haven’t already. Also keep it locked to the NLSC every Wednesday for weekly Wayback content!

Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

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 oldest rookies in NBA history, and their subsequent video game debuts.

One of the interesting oddities about early iterations of MyCAREER is that you were able to set your age. This meant that if you wanted to role-play as an established pro that was finally making their way to the NBA, then you could effectively make that part of your bio. These days, your MyPLAYER avatar has a fixed age that fits their back story, that generally being a young player coming out of college. It makes sense, but considering that there have been many rookies that are new to the league but not to professional basketball, it’s a shame that such an option is no longer available.

Of course, we still see real examples of latecomers to the NBA in the official rosters, and there have been some noteworthy stories over the years. I’ll admit that since I’ve entered my 30s, I have a greater appreciation for the NBA’s oldest rookies, especially in an era where there seems to be a Logan’s Run approach to veteran players. In fact, referring to them as the “oldest rookies” feels rather strange now that I’m older than they were at the time! Between these rookies being the oldest debutants and some of the games that they were featured in, this is definitely one for the “old heads”. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 6)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 6)

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 ten more players who became familiar faces in strange places.

With decades of NBA history and basketball video games to draw upon, are you surprised that I’m up to the sixth instalment in this series? For the uninitiated, this series looks back at stars and other noteworthy players who are usually associated with a particular team, having spent most of their career or enjoying the most success there, only to move on to another team where they looked very out of place. They are the familiar faces who wind up in strange places. This is in contrast to the players that become familiar faces back in familiar places, which is a different series altogether.

As I always explain with both series of articles, I’m looking back at these strange and sometimes forgotten stints from the perspective of basketball video games. This is keeping in line with our content – we are a basketball gaming site and community, after all – and as I always say, I love the interactive almanac aspect of retro basketball gaming. Not all of these stints can still be seen in games due to roster updates (or a lack thereof), but at some point, they were represented on the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 5)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 5)

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 another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

If you’ve been checking out my Wayback Wednesday features for some time now, you probably know the drill when it comes to this topic. For those who are new or perhaps missed the first four instalments, this is a series in which I profile stars and other noteworthy NBA players who returned for a second stint with a team that they previously played for. In other words, they’re the familiar faces back in familiar places. It’s a counterpart to my familiar faces in strange places series, which profiles players in stints that were unusual and sometimes forgotten.

As always, I’m looking at these familiar faces back in familiar places through the lens of basketball video games. I do so because we are a basketball video game site, and as I’m so fond of saying, basketball video games serve as interactive almanacs. When you’re a retro basketball gamer, you’ll often stumble across familiar faces in familiar places and strange places alike, reminding you of stints that may not be talked about all that much. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 SNES Was Strange

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 SNES Was Strange

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 reflecting on how NBA Live 98 for the SNES was rather strange.

The main reason that I love collecting basketball video games is that I get to check out titles that I didn’t play when they were new. Whether it was due to my preference for NBA Live, only owning Nintendo consoles, or releases that were North American exclusives, there are titles that I didn’t experience until decades later. Getting my hands on a PlayStation 3, utilising the backwards compatibility of my PlayStation 2, and picking up a converter cartridge for my Super Nintendo, have all gone a long way in being able to expand my collection, and try out some old games for the first time.

One of those games is NBA Live 98 for the Super Nintendo. NBA Live 98 SNES was, quite frankly, a notably strange release. The PC version made a major leap, and the PlayStation port was solid in its own right. I’ve discussed NBA Live 98 in-depth in my retrospective for the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, but I want to revisit the SNES version to highlight just how strange it was. Anyone who bought NBA Live 98 on SNES undoubtedly got the weakest version of the game, yet it has some interesting points. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Attract Mode & The Secrets of NBA Jam TE

Wayback Wednesday: Attract Mode & The Secrets of NBA Jam TE

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 secrets in NBA Jam TE that were actually revealed by the attract mode screens.

If you’ve never known a time before YouTube, social media, and readily accessible information on just about anything you can name, it may be difficult to imagine not having detailed knowledge of a game’s secrets. That’s how it used to be, though. We had to buy (or photocopy!) official hint books and strategy guides, or consult game magazines for tips and cheat codes. Some secrets went undiscovered for years, or gave rise to urban legends. Discussion was limited to your circle of friends, which meant information travelled slower than it can nowadays.

To that point, there are details about some of my favourite video games – basketball and otherwise – that I didn’t know until I finally got online in the late 90s. Of course, when it comes to some games, there are details that I could’ve and should’ve known, but remained ignorant of because I was young and impatient, and thus not properly observant. These include a few secrets in NBA Jam TE on PC, which is one of my all-time favourite basketball games. I don’t know how I missed this information the first time around, and you’ll probably wonder too as we take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Unusual Roster Players

Wayback Wednesday: Unusual Roster Players

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 more unusual Roster Players that have been featured in various games.

If you’ve played sim basketball titles from the 90s, you’ll be familiar with Roster Players. They’re the fictional placeholders that stood in for the players that couldn’t be licensed to appear under the NBA’s agreement with the NBAPA. Most famously, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were Roster Players in several games. For those who are unaware, the term comes from the names that those players were usually assigned. EA Sports used “Roster Player” in NBA Live, but similar terms such as “Roster Guard” and “1 Forward” were also used in place of real names.

Although Roster Players are no longer used to replace active players, they are still utilised to fill out the lineups of classic teams in NBA 2K. On top of that, some rather unexpected players have been replaced by Roster Players in various games over the years. I’ve discussed the phenomenon of Roster Players in a previous article, but this week, I’m covering some unusual examples. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Hot Spots in NBA Live 08

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 Hot Spots in NBA Live 08.

The goal of implementing an increasing amount of realism in basketball video games has resulted in developers experimenting with a variety of mechanics and attributes. Some of these ideas have worked out better than others, or laid the foundation and evolved into better concepts. This is important to remember, as it can sometimes seem as if certain ideas were only implemented for the sake of adding something new to an annual release. It may be a sign that we’ve forgotten the reasons behind those ideas, and that poor execution doesn’t necessarily mean there was never any merit to them.

Case in point: Hot Spots in NBA Live 08. It was a solid idea that paved the way for more nuanced shooting attributes, but that first iteration in NBA Live 08 also had negative effects on gameplay mechanics. It’s all too easy to focus on the undesirable results of that first implementation of Hot Spots, and conclude that there was no value in the idea. However, future games proved that when implemented correctly, it was a step toward achieving the realism that we desired. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Our First Virtual Championship

Wayback Wednesday: Our First Virtual Championship

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 discussing an achievement that I’m sure is very nostalgic for many basketball gamers: our first virtual championship.

Achieving closure in basketball video games, and most sports titles for that matter, is different to other genres. After all, they can be played in many ways, not all of which have a predefined completion condition. In contrast, games with a storyline or final level/mission/quest can be played through and clearly beaten. Whether they’re linear or non-linear, there’s an end point where the story is over and the final main objective has been completed. There’s less ambiguity as to whether or not you’ve finished such a game, and to that point, gained a sense of completion and closure with it.

NBA games, especially the sim titles, technically do have an ultimate goal of winning a championship in season, franchise, and career modes. However, they can also be enjoyed without ever completing a campaign. You may just play with and against friends in exhibition games, or tournaments that you organise. There are the online team play modes, with no schedule or structure. You can have countless hours of fun on the virtual hardwood without ever vying for an NBA championship. There is something special about getting a ring in video games though, especially hoisting the virtual Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Broken Rotation Screen 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 broken rotation screen that appeared in various NBA Live releases.

During my extended NBA Live 10 retro kick, I wondered why I didn’t spend more time with it when it was new. I’ve wondered the same about some of its immediate predecessors, a couple of which were fairly solid in their own right. Issues with lobs and broken plays soon reminded me why. The fact of the matter is that NBA Live 10 does have some quirky moments that were annoying when it was the newest game I owned, but are more tolerable now that the game is nostalgic. My involvement in NBA Live modding also kept me focused on the PC releases.

However, reflecting on it further, I’ve also realised that the quality of Dynasty mode played a large role here. In many ways, I feel that Dynasty peaked with the prior gen version of NBA Live 06, which also included the PC port. It’s not that there weren’t any improvements in the following games, but there were also inaccuracies with the sim engine, and other such annoyances. Oh, and the broken rotation screen, which affected basic functionality, and stood in the way of one of the main joys of roster management: creating different lineups. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 Demo on a 486

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 Demo on a 486

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 reminiscing about the time I tried to get the NBA Live 98 demo to run on my family’s aging 486 PC.

As a teenager in 1998, making do with a 486 DX2/66 IBM compatible PC, there were few things I wanted as much as a shiny new Pentium. I mean, I wanted the Chicago Bulls to be featured on the Game of the Week, to win as many games as possible, and ultimately, take home the NBA Championship. I wanted to stay up late on weekends to watch the NBA and WWF, and play games. I wanted to create rosters for NBA Live 96, and upload them to my Geocities site, the NBA Live Domain. There was a girl at school I wished I was more than friends with. But yes, I wanted a Pentium.

How did that turn out? Well, I got to see quite a few Bulls games that year, many of which they won, and of course they went on to win their sixth NBA title in June. I did fill my weekends with basketball, wrestling, and video games. I continued to hone my skills as a modder, and the NLD began to develop a small but dedicated following. The girl at school…well, let’s not bring the mood down, here! We also didn’t get a new PC until a couple of years later, which led to me attempting to run the NBA Live 98 demo on our rapidly aging 486. How did that go? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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