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NLSC Rewind 2021

NLSC Rewind 2021

Welcome to the NLSC Rewind for 2021! It’s been another challenging year for many of us around the world, but fortunately, we’ve had basketball gaming to provide some much-needed distractions. Here at the NLSC, it’s been another year of great mod releases and basketball gaming discussion. We’ve also aimed to cover a wide variety of topics in our original content.

As always, it’s been our goal to cover both the positive and negative aspects of the games we play. From holding publishers accountable and criticising practices that impact our enjoyment, to celebrating the fun we’re having and brainstorming new ideas for future games, we’ve strived to be fair, thorough, informative, and hopefully entertaining. Above all, we want our original content to share interesting facts, ways to enhance your basketball gaming experiences, and advocate for our fellow gamers. Whichever mode and game that we each prefer, we should all get the most out of it.

This NLSC Rewind is a collection of “editor’s picks” for our 2021 content. Obviously, I encourage everyone to dig through our entire archives if you’re enjoying what you’re reading, watching, and listening to with our articles, videos, and podcasts. However, these recommendations represent content that I’m particularly proud of, and believe are worth a second look or listen; or a first one, if you missed them when they were originally posted! Seeing as how we’re celebrating our 25th Anniversary this year, I decided that I’d make 25 picks for each of our weekly features. As we prepare for a brand new year of basketball gaming, join me as I rewind 2021 here at the NLSC!

Monday Tip-Off

Upgrading from 60 to 85 Overall (NBA 2K22 PS5 MyCAREER)

Although it’s meant to be the most versatile of my weekly features as it’s not beholden to a specific “gimmick” like Wayback Wednesday (retro content) or The Friday Five (lists and Top 5s), I do mostly use it for opinions, commentary, and discussion of basketball gaming issues. I do try to change it up from time to time, and cover some more light-hearted subjects in addition to more critical pieces. That flexibility comes in handy, but I’ve enjoyed having it as a feature that can serve as my weekly opinion column. I’ve got a couple of ideas I’d like to try out in 2022, but I’ve been very pleased with some of the topics that I was able to cover in Monday Tip-Off during 2021.

One of the standout articles that I can’t skip over in this NLSC Rewind for 2021 is “The Rising Cost of MyCAREER”. Thanks to some prominent content creators re-Tweeting a post sharing the article, it gained some traction and clearly resonated with several gamers. There was some pushback, but I get the impression that those people didn’t actually read the article. If you didn’t, check it out now; better late than never! I also covered some other important topics, from NBA Live being in limbo and the myth of the Skill Gap, to the broken economy in MyTEAM and problematic design ideas in MyCAREER. These 25 articles reflect the commentary that I want to provide.

Wayback Wednesday

My retro basketball gaming kicks are quite evident in the NLSC Rewind for 2021. Getting hooked on NBA Live 10, and developing a new appreciation for it, led to several ideas that allowed me to try my hand at features that went beyond the usual retrospectives. My “Ode to the 90s” mix felt like a fitting end to my NBA Live 10 kick, and a great introduction to new video editing software, namely Movavi. NBA 2K14 and NBA Live 06 also inspired several features this year, from second-look retrospectives to highlight reels. I love how those features turned out, as they really capture the fun I had with some games I didn’t spend enough time with years ago.

Indeed, getting to some overdue topics was a recurring theme with my Wayback Wednesday features throughout 2021. Back in March, I finally got around to some long overdue retrospectives of college basketball games that I’ve been able to add to my collection after many years. Retrospectives for NBA Action 98, NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, AND 1 Streetball, and even the NBA Live Street mod for NBA Live 2003, had all been on my To Do List for ages. There are some other titles, such as the NBA Street series, that I want to cover in 2022. There’ll be some esoteric topics as well, but I’ll definitely be covering some more classic games that deserve recognition.

The Friday Five

Sub-Zero in NBA Jam Tournament Edition (Arcade)

 You might think that it’s getting difficult to keep coming up with topics for Top 5s and lists of five items for The Friday Five. I’ve already covered a lot of ground with my longest-running feature to put it mildly, so it can be challenging to not repeat and rehash old topics. However, allowing Monday Tip-Off to become my main outlet for opinions and commentary has opened up The Friday Five to have more of a focus on trivia, and topics that don’t lend themselves to longer articles. I still use the Five for commentary of course, as the list format facilitates quick thoughts on the subject at hand. I enjoy the “fun facts” approach though, and tried to focus on that this year.

I’ll admit that I don’t make frequent use of the Top 5 approach, though as you can see in this NLSC Rewind for 2021, I did post a couple of Top 5s. Honestly, I find that a Top 5 can be too limiting for some topics, or too subjective for my liking. It’ll still be a part of The Friday Five’s “gimmick”, but I tend to have more fun reflecting on trivia such as jerseys that only appeared in one game, modes and features that are strange and unique, little details that go overlooked, mistakes we don’t want to see repeated, and so on. This year I also enjoyed celebrating my 20th Anniversary of running the NLSC, suggesting ideas to improve modding, and looking to the future with Parsec.

NLSC Podcast

Early 2000s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

Can you believe we’ve been producing the NLSC Podcast since 2012? Time sure has flown! I’ve said it before, but it’s funny to think that originally, I didn’t want to host the show. I liked what the guys were doing with it, and I figured I’d leave it to be their thing. Then I filled in for JaoSming one week, and the rest is history. Over the past few years, Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I have committed to releasing a show every week, increasing listener participation with the mailbag segments, and ensuring that we stay fresh in our approach and the topics we cover. I think I speak for both of us when I say that we’re proud of the episodes that we’ve produced throughout 2021.

Something that we made a point of focusing on this year is the length of segments, and the episodes as a whole. Derek and I could chat about basketball games for hours, but we’ve made an effort to not dwell on topics longer than we need to, and keep more of the shows between an hour and 90 minutes in length. We’ve had a blast discussing the games we played both new and old, sharing our thoughts on the news, chatting to Andy Hull and Leftos, interacting with our listeners, and devising some new running gags. By all means check out our entire back catalogue, but as I rewind 2021, here are 25 episodes from the tenth “season” of the NLSC Podcast that I’d highly recommend.

Other Features & Looking Ahead to 2022

NLSC Rewind 2021 & Looking Ahead

Derek has done an outstanding job with the new NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week. I’m just going to suggest that you fire up the playlist on our YouTube channel, and binge some entertaining plays from the community! Speaking of our channel, in addition to the videos I made for Wayback Wednesday and highlights from our gaming sessions over Parsec, I was finally able to follow through on an idea that I’ve had for at least a couple of years now. For Halloween, I repurposed clips from my interview with Tim Kitzrow, in which he recounted the story of the “haunted” NBA Jam cabinets. I’d like to try making some more “Tales from the Virtual Hardwood” shorts in 2022.

To that point, I’ve got long list of ideas for all my weekly features, and other potential features that I’d like to explore next year. From Wayback Wednesday retrospectives that are overdue and commentary on basketball gaming issues and what I’m playing, to more Friday Fives full of fun facts, you can look forward to that content throughout 2022. Derek and I will no doubt find plenty to talk about on the NLSC Podcast, the Top 10 Plays of the Week will continue to run, and there’ll be other content that you’ll hopefully find both fun and informative. We’ve been around for 25 years, and we’re not going anywhere. Our aim is still to be your source for basketball video games.

Naturally, we’ll continue to support our modding community, so feel free to make use of our hosting and database facilities in the Downloads section! We’ll probably have a few mods of our own too, especially with another March Modness on the horizon, so stay tuned. We’ll be running tournaments using Parsec, covering developments with NBA 2K (and possibly NBA Live; here’s hoping!), and providing a discussion forum. Huge thanks to everyone who supported us throughout 2021! Please keep the Top 10 and NLSC Podcast mailbag submissions coming, and enjoying all of the content that we provide here at the NLSC. Here’s to another great year on the virtual hardwood!

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