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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2004’s Unusual Ratings

Wayback Wednesday: Unusual Ratings in NBA Live 2004

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 unusual ratings in NBA Live 2004.

As I noted in my in-depth retrospective of NBA Live 2004 for our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations, the game was a strong return to form after NBA Live 2003 was skewed in more of an arcade direction. It revamped the franchise experience into Dynasty mode, saw the addition of gameplay sliders, and introduced new player animations and physics with 10-Man Freestyle. It’s a fantastic game for its era, and tipped off a strong three year run for the series. I’d still rate it as one of my favourite games, and rank it among the best all-around NBA Live titles.

Of course, it does have a handful of issues. I’ve talked about some of the problems that occurred in the offseason of the new Dynasty mode, and mentioned a couple of other quirks in my retrospective. Something that a lot of gamers who played NBA Live 2004 will no doubt remember is the unusual ratings – specifically the Overall Ratings – for many of the players, past and present. As usual, there’s a story behind the oddity, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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U R Basketball 2K13 & 2K14 Updated For All-Star Weekend 2020

U R Basketball 2K14 V74

skoadam and slimm44 have released V74 of the U R Basketball mod for both NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K14. The latest release includes 2020 season rosters accurate as of the trade deadline, with All-Star teams updated for this year’s event.

It also features several new art updates, including jerseys, courts, and player faces. The All-Star teams for 2018, 2019, and 2020 have also been added to the All-Time roster in the NBA 2K14 mod. Further updates are coming for the retro rosters for the 1985 through 1999 seasons.

U R Basketball for NBA 2K14 can be downloaded here; please see the release thread here for more information and support. The NBA 2K13 mod is available here, while the release and support thread can be found here.

Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

Monday Tip-Off: Rattling The Cages in The Neighborhood

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on The Cages – formerly branded as the Under Armour Cages – within The Neighborhood of NBA 2K’s MyCAREER.

I get the impression that The Cages in The Neighborhood are a love-them-or-hate-them aspect of MyCAREER in NBA 2K. Introduced in NBA 2K19, they provide an alternative to the streetball experience of The Playground. It’s not quite Slamball, but it’s a similar concept, being a rougher style of basketball involving trampolines. I have mixed feelings about The Cages, but as with any mode you’re not that interested in, it’s easy enough to simply ignore them and play something else. Not everything is going to appeal to everyone, after all.

Nevertheless, the concept of The Cages is an interesting one that’s worth a closer look. It stands as an example of creativity on 2K’s part, but also underscores one of the recurring problems with MyCAREER and its connected modes: too much focus on bells and whistles, or “flavour content”, over the core experience. The Cages are far from a vital part of the game, yet they’re not entirely unwelcome either. It’s a mode that could be better, but at the same time, it definitely shouldn’t be a priority. I’m not sure how popular it is, but it’s an aspect of MyCAREER that I haven’t really talked about much, so let’s delve into NBA 2K’s Slamball stand-in.

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NLSC Podcast #311: Sliding Into Better Gameplay

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #311 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Dee4Three and I react to some rather gross sentiments by ESPN personalities and other talking heads, talk about recency bias, and discuss the approach to sliders and difficulty settings in modern games.

As the basketball world still reels from the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, various talking heads are using it as an excuse to prop up LeBron James. We talk about our disgust with the practice, particularly some very inappropriate sentiments from Rachel Nichols. This leads us to once again reflect on recency bias, both in real basketball and basketball video games. In particular, we note how the good isn’t remembered as often as the great, and how it’s too readily dismissed. After that, we get into our main discussion topic, concerning sliders and difficulty settings in games. We touch on how games and attitudes have changed, as well as the importance of “out of the box” quality. The issue of modes without sliders is also discussed, along with some ideas for the community.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on gameplay sliders, and everything else we talked about this week? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

File Additions for NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K20 include a Lakers court update, and jersey updates for both the Lakers and 76ers. Check them out at the links below!

Manni Live
Los Angeles Lakers Staples Center (Updated to v2.0)

pinoy21
Los Angeles Lakers Jersey (pinoy21) (Updated to v3.0)
Philadelphia 76ers Jersey (pinoy21) (Updated to v2.0)

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

The Friday Five: 5 Tips for NBA 2K20 MyTEAM

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 tips for NBA 2K20 MyTEAM.

It’s been my goal in NBA 2K20 to branch out from spending most of my time with MyCAREER and its connected online modes. I haven’t really sunk my teeth into MyLEAGUE yet, but I have played a decent amount of MyTEAM, on PlayStation 4 and PC. My lineup isn’t quite as impressive as it was in NBA 2K19, when a market crash allowed me to pick up Galaxy Opal cards at some ridiculously low prices, but I’m still liking the way my lineup is coming together. I’ve already got Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on both platforms, which is immensely satisfying.

More to the point, I’ve been enjoying the mode. It’s refreshing to control the whole team after years of player locked gameplay, and there’s a good variety of submodes to keep me hooked on NBA 2K20 MyTEAM. In playing the mode, I’ve employed a few tactics to enjoy it to the fullest without having to spend any money to build my squad. So far it’s a case of mission accomplished, so I thought that I’d share some tips in this week’s Friday Five. It’s by no means a comprehensive guide to fun and success in NBA 2K20 MyTEAM, but as always, these articles are meant to start the discussion, not be the final word. With that being said, here are five things to keep in mind!

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File Additions for NBA 2K14

NBA 2K14 Cover Art

A new version of the College Hoops 2K20 mod has been released by nick15, and it’s available to download in today’s file additions for NBA 2K14. Check it out at the link below!

nick15
College Hoops 2K20 (Updated to v2.5)

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Wayback Wednesday: The Cancelled Trade in NBA Jam TE

Wayback Wednesday: The Cancelled Trade in NBA Jam TE

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 cancelled trade that made its way into the arcade version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition.

We’ve just passed the trade deadline for the 2020 season, and saw a flurry of activity. In the wake of all the deals that went down, several players have been cut, many of whom will no doubt attract some interest on the open market. All of these transactions will be taken care of in NBA 2K20, which receives regular official roster updates. We’re also able to update rosters ourselves, and that’s something we’ve obviously been doing for years in our community, for both NBA Live and NBA 2K. Of course, over a decade ago, official roster updates weren’t as common.

If we go back even further, we’ll find a lot of games that didn’t receive any roster updates post-release, as well as titles that didn’t have roster customisation features. This was true of NBA Jam and its sequel NBA Jam Tournament Edition, which were stuck with out-of-date rosters once trades and signings occurred. Well, sort of. There were changes in different revisions and releases of the NBA Jam games, and on at least one occasion, an update resulted in an error due to a cancelled trade. It’s an interesting situation, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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File Additions for NBA 2K15

NBA 2K15 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K15 will help out if you feel like going back and modding the game. Simonn-Lee has re-uploaded the Limnono Modifier tool for NBA 2K15, and you can pick it up at the link below!

Limnono
Limnono Modifier Tool

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist Modding

Monday Tip-Off: The Art of Minimalist Modding

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. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at the idea of minimalist modding.

With all the tools and techniques that our modding community has developed for NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years, we’ve been able to produce some fantastic projects. From detailed current rosters and multi-season packs to NCAA mods and other total conversions, we’ve been able to re-skin the game and create brand new experiences. These projects can take a long time to complete, but it’s very satisfying to see them come together, for both the creator and the community. I can attest to that, having been involved in quite a few large roster projects over the years.

Of course, these fantastic projects do have their drawbacks. They can be incredibly time-consuming, so even if you have the skills to create all the necessary assets, it’s much easier if you have a few other people helping out. To that point, not everyone can do it all when it comes to modding, so it’s usually necessary to assemble a team or rely on some community contributions to get everything done. As you can imagine, the amount of time and effort required can lead to multiple delays, or projects falling through. It’s why I’ve become intrigued with the idea of creating larger projects that don’t require as much external effort; something I’m calling minimalist modding.

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NLSC Podcast #310: Interview with Rod Reddekopp

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #310 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week’s episode tips off the next phase of our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations as I chat to Rod Reddekopp, programmer on NBA Live 95-2001.

Rod Reddekopp joins the show to talk about his time working on NBA Live, beginning with the acquisition of Distinctive Software and his early work with EA. From there, Rod takes us through the years, from the revamp of NBA Showdown into NBA Live, to the way the game grew and became a flagship property for the company. Along the way, Rod describes his various roles as a programmer on the series, as well as many of the technical aspects of the early NBA Live titles. He also shares some fun stories from behind the scenes, and reveals a few Easter Eggs for us to go hunting for.

Tune in below!

I hope you enjoyed Rod’s insights into the early days of NBA Live! Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

Basketball Classics v1.1.0 Update Released

Basketball Classics v1.1.0 Update Released

Basketball Classics v1.1.0 is now available on Steam! If you already own the game, the update will come through automatically. If it doesn’t, try restarting your Steam client.

The new version includes a variety of AI fixes and enhancements, as well as tuned difficulty and the addition of standings in Season mode. The full patch notes are as follows:

  • CPU play calling – this is a big one. The CPU now calls and enacts plays, making single-player matches much more interesting with the varied offensive strategies you’ll have to defend against. Also works well as a training tool to teach new players how to use the different plays and when they might be effective.
  • CPU timeouts – cpu teams now have the wits to call timeouts appropriately, freezing the clock and moving them downcourt as they attempt to pull off clutch wins.
  • AI improvements – ranging from learning when to call timeouts and/or plays to being smarter about steal attempts, more accurately chasing the ball handler when attempting a steal, etc.
  • Increased difficulty – along with AI improvements and enhanced cpu abilities come difficulty enhancements that allow for longer replayability, especially at higher difficulty settings. Find techniques to beat the harder teams. Looking for a serious challenge? Season Mode on Legend is your jam.
  • Balancing – formula tweaks across the board to ensure things happen when you expect them to happen, nothing feels cheap, things just feel right. Feel, feel, feel.
  • Season standings – as requested by several users. Want to see how your team stacks up against the competition at any point in a season? Go into the League Leaders and change the VIEW selector to STANDINGS.

Feel free to share your thoughts on Basketball Classics v1.1.0 in the comments below, or here in the Forum. For more insights into the creation of the game, check out our interview with Josh and Dave in Episode #306 of the NLSC Podcast!

The Friday Five: 5 Times Gamers Ruined 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 discusses five times that gamers themselves ruined basketball video games.

This week’s topic may seem unfair, even absurd. After all, we don’t create basketball video games; we just play them. If there’s a problem with a game, then that’s on the developers, not us as consumers, right? Well, for the most part, yes. We’re not the ones implementing microtransactions, grindy mechanics, or other undesirable ideas. We do arguably support them by continuing to buy the games and pumping money into recurrent revenue systems, but boycotts, as Jim Sterling has pointed out, aren’t all that effective. Ultimately, we’re not making design choices, or programming code.

However, we are making suggestions, and the loudest voices aren’t always expressing the best ideas. Tribalism these days goes as deep as which mode you play, as well as a preference for online or offline gaming. Not all feedback has been to the benefit of NBA Live or NBA 2K. The way we choose to play the game and use the features and functions at our disposal has also had a negative effect. Whether it’s through elitism and snobbery, or childishness and trolling, we’ve found more than a couple of ways to spoil the fun. I’m not saying that developers haven’t messed up, but these are five examples of how we as gamers and consumers have ruined games for ourselves.

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File Additions for NBA Live 2005

NBA Live 2005 Cover Art

We have a few new file additions for NBA Live 2005 PC today. 94222qjh has released a couple of 2020 season court packs, along with Kobe Bryant’s final game court, which you can check out at the links below!

94222qjh
2019-2020 30 Teams Court Pack (2K)
2019-2020 30 Teams Court Pack (4K)
Kobe Bryant Final Game Court

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Wayback Wednesday: The ABA in Basketball Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: The ABA in Basketball Video Games

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 how the ABA has been represented in basketball video games.

Despite its influence on the NBA and the sport in general, the American Basketball Association doesn’t have a lot of representation on the virtual hardwood. It makes sense as the National Basketball Association became the dominant “brand” when it exploded in global popularity in the 80s and 90s, by which point the ABA had long been absorbed in the 1976 merger. Although it’s not exactly forgotten, its history is somewhat glossed over in favour of celebrating the NBA’s heritage. Of course, that’s not altogether surprising; as the old saying goes, history is written by the winners.

Still, given that the NBA does pay homage to the ABA and adopted some of its ideas including the three-point line (though Abe Saperstein’s American Basketball League did it first), it’s strange that it doesn’t have much of a presence in video games. The ABA had been gone for around two decades when I was getting into basketball and basketball video games, but I recognise its importance and would love to see it celebrated in gaming as well. What have we seen so far? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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