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Wayback Wednesday

Wayback Wednesday: The History of Jumpshots in Video Games

Kevin Durant shoots over Nicolas Batum (NBA 2K14)

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at the history of jumpshots in basketball video games.

Jumpshots are a basic staple of basketball, and one of the most common ways of scoring; especially in the modern era. With that in mind, it’s strange that they used to be one of the weaker aspects of the mechanics in basketball video games. In the early days of basketball gaming, jumpshots were nowhere near as reliable as they should have been. I even remember a strategy guide for NBA Live 96 basically advising against taking jumpshots and in particular long two-pointers, citing that they had all of the difficulty and risk of three-pointers, without the added reward of an extra point.

Thinking back on it now, that advice actually predicted the rise of analytics, as well as disdain for shooting from midrange. Of course, while opting for shots right at the rim or from beyond the arc and eschewing the midrange is all about efficiency in the modern NBA, in old school basketball video games, it was about effectiveness. Until the mechanics were properly developed, taking a jumpshot – even a wide open ten footer along the baseline – was unrealistically risky on the virtual hardwood. You can call this piece The History of Jumpshots in Video Games (Or, Why Shot Meters Are Important). Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Evolution of MyCOURT

Lodge MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at the evolution of MyCOURT in NBA 2K’s MyCAREER.

When MyCOURT was first announced for NBA 2K15, it struck me as a gimmicky premise that wasn’t really worth getting excited about. In all fairness, my reaction was partly due to NBA 2K14 souring me on MyCAREER after really enjoying the mode in NBA 2K13, but even putting that aside, it sounded like a superfluous feature that was banking on 2K’s ever expanding “My” branding. As it turned out, MyCOURT has proven to be both a visually appealing hub for MyCAREER, and a means to get a hang of your player, try out custom jumpshots, and play some fun games.

Even as MyCAREER has adopted The Neighborhood as its primary game hub, our MyCOURT remains an important part of the game world. It’s also been revamped and renovated since its debut in NBA 2K15, with some cool designs and new mini-games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Revamped NBA Live 96 Mods

Editing the 2001 Season Roster for NBA Live 96

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. This week, I’m doing something a little different, and releasing revamped mods for NBA Live 96.

As I mentioned in my retrospective for NBA Live 96, the PC version is one of my all-time favourite games. It’s the version that I played the most, the first NBA Live that I owned on PC, and the game that led me to discover the NLSC, years before I came to run it. After discovering the tools that Tim, Lutz, and Brien had made, I spent quite a bit of time modding the game. It’s something I went back to for our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content, when I created the Definitive NBA Live 96 mod.

Feeling like I had a bit of unfinished business with the game, I’ve gone back and made a few updates to the Definitive NBA Live 96 mod. I’ve also gone back and finished the Complete Update mod, which updates the game as of the 2001 season. The latter is a mod that I never finished as NBA Live 2001 came out while I was still updating it, and I thought it would be fun to finish it off for a Wayback Wednesday feature. You can download the two mods at those links, but I wanted to share a few thoughts as I went back to do some modding…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: TV Sports Basketball

TV Sports Basketball Pre-Game Intro

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at Cinemaware’s TV Sports Basketball, released in 1990.

Cinemaware is a name that may ring a bell for older gamers, but is likely unfamiliar to the younger crowd. That’s because like so many other early game developers who went bankrupt by the 90s, they only exist as a brand and library of releases that has since been purchased by another company; in this case, Swedish game developer and publisher, Starbreeze. Cinemaware made some fine games in their day, and as with many other titles from the early days of video games, it’s fortunate that they’ve been preserved and made available through another company purchasing their assets.

The Cinemaware game that I grew up playing had nothing to do with basketball. It was their first game, a medieval action strategy title called Defender of the Crown. As with many of Cinemaware’s releases, it found its way onto several platforms, with the NES version being the one I own. Until I picked up the Cinemaware Anthology on Steam at Kenny’s suggestion, I had no idea that they also released a basketball game for Amiga and MS-DOS in 1990: TV Sports Basketball. I enjoy discovering these old basketball games that I missed out on at the time and checking them out to see what they had to offer, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Livin’ Da Dream in NBA 2K16

Livin Da Dream Title Screen (NBA 2K16)

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at Livin’ Da Dream, the MyCAREER story in NBA 2K16.

Career modes have come a long way since they were essentially franchise modes with player lock. The concept has continued to evolve this generation, with MyCAREER pioneering the use of in-depth stories to accompany the gameplay experience. This hasn’t been to everyone’s liking – indeed, I’ve been critical of the approach on more than one occasion – but there’s no denying that a tremendous amount of work has gone into the production values of MyCAREER stories. 2K has also brought big names on board to bolster both the writing and performances of the tales told in MyCAREER.

After telling the story of competing with Jackson Ellis in NBA 2K14 and enlisting the help of several NBA players to voice themselves in cutscenes mentoring your player in NBA 2K15, 2K went all out in NBA 2K16. They brought in acclaimed (and now Academy Award-winning) director Spike Lee to develop a story for the mode that allows gamers to live out their dreams of playing in the NBA. That theme gave the story its title – Livin’ Da Dream – and it was a significant milestone in the continuing evolution of MyCAREER. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: A Mistake Unnoticed in Over 20 Years

Kevin Edwards Credit in Attract Mode (NBA Jam TE PC)

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at a mistake in the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition that I haven’t noticed in over twenty years.

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, NBA Jam Tournament Edition is one of my all-time favourite basketball games. While I own the game on both Super Nintendo and PC, I’ve always been partial to the latter. It’s the version that I played the most, and I have many fond memories of playing the game with my cousin. One school holidays, we spent a lot of time playing with and against every single team, beating everyone to unlock all the secret players, and challenging ourselves to hit statistical milestones. For a while, it was a fixture of our basketball gaming rotation.

That’s why it’s so strange that I’ve never noticed a certain mistake in the game in over twenty years of playing it. While playing as the New Jersey Nets for the No Threes Challenge, I noticed that Kevin Edwards actually has Blue Edwards’ portrait. I knew about both players and what they looked like, basically from the time I started playing NBA Jam TE, so it’s really odd that it’s never clicked until now. I thought that I’d see if I could delve into the issue further, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam TE No Threes Challenge

No Threes Challenge in NBA Jam TE PC

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. This week, I’m taking on another challenge in NBA Jam TE for PC, namely the No Threes Challenge.

Since I enjoyed dusting off the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition to take on last week’s All Threes Challenge, I decided to immediately follow it up with the complete opposite: the No Threes Challenge! This time, the goal is to win a game without hitting a single three-pointer; an easier task than in most of the sim titles, but potentially tough because of the way the CPU prevents inside shots with blocks and shoves. This won’t be a hit with analytics enthusiasts, but I’m going to give it a try anyway, using the New Jersey Nets. Let’s go back for a challenge…way back…

Once again, I’m open to suggestions for further retro basketball gaming challenges, be they for NBA Jam TE or another title (provided of course I have access to the game in question). I’m also open to ideas for Wayback Wednesday retrospectives, so if you’ve got a challenge in mind or something you’d like me to cover in this nostalgic weekly feature, let me know in the comments below. Also feel free to share any stories of your own self-imposed challenges on the virtual hardwood! I hope you enjoyed going Wayback with me, and a reminder to please subscribe to the NLSC YouTube channel for more video content.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam TE All Threes Challenge

NBA Jam TE All Threes Challenge

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. This week, I’m taking on another retro basketball gaming challenge, namely an All Threes Challenge in NBA Jam TE on PC.

I enjoyed trying to win a game of NBA Jam Tournament Edition without scoring any points myself in a previous edition of Wayback Wednesday, so I thought that I’d try my hand at another challenge. This time, it’s the All Threes Challenge. The goal is to win a game in NBA Jam TE while only shooting three-pointers; neither I nor my CPU teammate can score a basket from within the three-point arc. Analytics say that taking a lot of threes is the most efficient strategy and the way to win basketball games, but does that apply to the virtual hardwood as well? Let’s find out as we go back…way back…

Once again, it was fun to take on the challenge! At some point, I expect I’ll attempt a No Threes Challenge, so look out for that in the near future. I’m open to suggestions for other retro basketball gaming challenges as well, provided of course that I can get my hands on the game. Post any suggestions in the comments below, and feel free to share stories of self-imposed challenges that you’ve tried! Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe to the NLSC’s YouTube channel for more video content.

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Wayback Wednesday: Barkley Shut Up and Jam!

Barkley Shut Up and Jam! Title Screen

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at Barkley Shut Up and Jam (officially titled Barkley Shut Up and Jam!).

Whenever someone or something is successful, you can be certain that a bunch of imitators will spring up. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but from the standpoint of a consumer, it usually leaves us with a marketplace full of knock-off products that don’t match the original in quality. This phenomenon occurs quite often in video gaming, whenever a revolutionary title bursts onto the scene. In basketball gaming, few titles have had the same impact as NBA Jam, and the game that defined the subgenre of arcade hoops has inspired many imitators over the years.

These NBA Jam-style games have varied in quality. None have matched the games that inspired them, but a few have been solid in their own right. Others fell well short of replicating the fun arcade basketball action that NBA Jam pioneered. Since today is Charles Barkley’s 56th Birthday, I’m profiling an NBA Jam clone that he endorsed: the more aggressively titled Barkley Shut Up and Jam! It’s a game that you may be familiar with if you grew up in the 90s, but does it hold up as the original NBA Jam games do? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Inside Drive 2000 Retrospective

Shaq Dunks in NBA Inside Drive 2000

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at NBA Inside Drive 2000, developed by High Voltage Software and published by Microsoft exclusively for PC.

I have an unusual history with NBA Inside Drive 2000. Following a hard drive crash in early 2000, my family finally ditched our venerable 486 DX2 66, upgrading to a much better system: a Pentium III! At the time, it meant that I could play most of the latest games, including NBA Live 2000. Even though I was enjoying NBA Live 2000 (and still hold it in high esteem), I was eager to pick up NBA Inside Drive 2000 when I saw it at my local store. Being a teenage gamer obsessed with basketball, I was keen to get my hands on any virtual hoops title that I could. NBA Live was the premier brand at the time, but other games usually had something appealing to offer.

Unfortunately, NBA Inside Drive 2000 just didn’t click with me, and within a week, I exchanged it for GTA 2. I remember making up a story about how I couldn’t get it to run even though I checked the system requirements first, which the staff believed (I’d feel guiltier about it if they hadn’t ripped me off with a video card, and then made up a story about why it wasn’t working properly rather than help me). Ironically, GTA 2 is my least favourite game in the Grand Theft Auto series, but that’s another story. I’ve since picked up a copy of NBA Inside Drive 2000 off eBay, so what is it that I didn’t like, and do I still feel the same way now? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11

Michael Jordan dunks on the Trail Blazers in the Jordan Challenge (NBA 2K11)

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at one of the best modes in NBA 2K11 (and indeed basketball games in general), the Jordan Challenge.

It recently occurred to me that while I’ve discussed Michael Jordan’s presence in NBA 2K11 and ran a series of articles in which I went back and finished all the games in the Jordan Challenge, I’ve yet to post a retrospective dedicated solely to the mode. I’ve obviously discussed it in those previous features, but given how special the Jordan Challenge was, it’s about time I rectify that. Besides, if responses to recent posts on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are any indication, a lot of people are still quite interested in talking about NBA 2K11!

They have a good reason to. NBA 2K11 was a milestone release, and while the failure of NBA Elite 11 was a factor, the quality of 2K’s game combined with the addition of MJ and the Jordan Challenge led to it not only being very warmly received, but also becoming the first game in the series to top five million units sold. As much as any other mode or feature, the Jordan Challenge represents the way 2K has focused on the finer details, and been willing to innovate over the years. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Cheat Codes in Basketball Video Games

Menu for Cheat Codes in NBA 2K13

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at some of the cheat codes that were featured in older basketball games.

When it comes to video game nostalgia, a feature that many of us old school gamers remember fondly is the cheat code. These days, accelerating progress in most games comes down to pay-to-win mechanics, but once upon a time, we used cheat codes in the form of passwords and button combinations. While cheat codes aren’t completely outmoded, they seem to be far less common than they once were. In basketball games, they’ve generally been phased out over the past generation or so.

It’s kind of a shame. While they aren’t necessary – especially in sim games – they were often fun ways of altering the gameplay experience, and hid some cool secrets. Some games used them to unlock new content with the codes being revealed at some point post-launch; something of a precursor to the content updates we now see. There have been quite a few memorable cheat codes in basketball video games over the years, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Weirdest NBA Tall Tale I Ever Heard

An NBA Tall Tale: Michael Jordan on the Hornets (NBA 2K19)

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. This week, I’m reminiscing about the weirdest NBA tall tale that I ever heard as a kid back in the 90s.

Although the Internet is a place of much subjective debate when it comes to the NBA, it offers plenty of resources for looking up objective statistics, records, and other such information. That makes it more difficult to concoct rumours, and try to trick your fellow fans with tall tales. I recently remembered the weirdest tall tale that someone told me back in the 90s: that Michael Jordan was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets! It got me thinking about how this bizarre tall tale originated, so I’ve decided to re-tell the story using clips from NBA 2K19. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here if you can’t see the embedded video. I’m working on some more video ideas for Wayback Wednesday and other features, including a comparison of NBA Live 95 and NBA Showdown, so be sure to subscribe to the NLSC’s YouTube channel! I hope that you enjoyed this look back at a weird NBA tall tale from the 90s, as told by NBA 2K19. Has anyone ever tried to fool you with an unusual and unlikely myth about the NBA? If so, share it in the comments section below! Additionally, if there’s a game you’re particularly nostalgic for, let me know what it is, and I might profile it (or an interesting aspect of it) in a future Wayback Wednesday feature.

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Wayback Wednesday: The NLSC Wishlists

NBA Live 98 GM Season

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at the history of our NLSC Wishlists.

Wishlist season is upon us again! We’re compiling our Wishlists for NBA Live 20 and NBA 2K20, so even though Wayback Wednesday is about looking back at the past, I would like to take the opportunity to encourage everyone to look to the future and help us compile comprehensive feedback for EA and 2K to put to use in developing this year’s games. As we discussed in Episode #270 of the NLSC Podcast, it doesn’t do us any good if we keep our feedback and suggestions to ourselves. Our Wishlists can’t guarantee the additions and changes we want, but they at least have a chance.

Of course, I understand the scepticism that my fellow basketball gamers often express when it comes time to compile our Wishlists. If you’re not seeing the improvements that you desire, it can feel like a pointless exercise; especially if you find yourself repeating the same points year after year. I do believe that our Wishlists have had a positive impact on the games though, and we only need to look back at some of them to see that they’ve been worthwhile. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Old School Introduction Videos

NBA Live 96 Introduction Video Capture

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. This week, I’m taking a look back at the introduction videos that were featured in old school basketball video games.

I’ve been producing Wayback Wednesday as a weekly feature since November 2015, and yet somehow, I’ve never discussed the introduction videos that were featured in old basketball games. I’ve talked about music, and I even posted a breakdown of NBA 2K12’s introduction video with comparisons to the real highlight clips, but I’ve yet to profile the intros that greeted us upon firing up some of our old favourites, despite the fact it’s a very obvious choice of topic for a Wayback Wednesday feature. Well, better late than never, right?

Lengthy introduction videos are seemingly being phased out, but you certainly don’t have to be a grizzled basketball gamer in your 30s to remember them. However, there was something special about the intros in old school basketball games. If you watch them today, you might just feel pumped up to play those old titles again, just as you were all those years ago. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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