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The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Career Mode Disappointments (That Are Realistic)

The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Career Mode Disappointments (That Are Realistic)

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five disappointments that you’ll encounter in franchise and career modes, which are nevertheless realistic.

Franchise modes allow us to greatly influence a virtual NBA. Even if we only have control over one team, our ability to have them overachieve significantly changes the league’s landscape. We have much less control in career modes, but once our player has levelled up and is capable of record-breaking domination game in and game out, the NBA is at our mercy. However, while we can have seasons for the ages and amass large collections of virtual trophies, there are some aspects that are still beyond our control. Needless to say, that can be frustrating, and disheartening.

On the other hand, it maintains a semblance of realism, even if our results and stats are pushing the boundaries of believability. The challenge of franchise and career modes, and indeed the overall fun and enjoyment we get from their journeys, often hinges on us not getting everything we want. There should be surprising and unlikely outcomes, at least from time to time. We should miss out on opportunities, even if we’re well prepared for them. The disappointments – the trials and tribulations – make our successes and getting what we want all the more gratifying. To that end, here are five realistic disappointments that actually serve to enhance franchise and career play.

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Wayback Wednesday: 10 Years of Embracing NBA 2K

Wayback Wednesday: 10 Years of Embracing NBA 2K

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 ten years of embracing NBA 2K, after growing up playing NBA Live.

Just in case there’s any confusion, no, this isn’t a tenth anniversary for NBA 2K. As the special edition of NBA 2K19 reminds us, the series is already twice as old as that! However, 2022 marks ten years that I’ve personally been embracing NBA 2K as a key part of my basketball gaming experience. If you’ve grown up with NBA 2K and never played NBA Live when it was the brand leader, this undoubtedly sounds strange. Why would I need to warm up to NBA 2K, and come around on embracing it? As a keen basketball gamer, shouldn’t I want to play the game that’s been on top for years?

Of course, but for an older gamer like me who grew up with NBA Live, embracing NBA 2K and its approach to sim basketball took some time. There was bias and a comfort zone to push past, not to mention availability and preferred platform. While I have my criticisms – and it’s important that we do constructively criticise any game we play, basketball or otherwise – I have grown to truly appreciate and enjoy the NBA 2K series. It’s been ten years since I’ve fully committed to embracing NBA 2K, so it feels as though some reflections are in order. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Hyped for NBA 2K23, But…

Monday Tip-Off: Hyped for NBA 2K23, But...

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how I’m getting hyped for NBA 2K23, but my optimism isn’t completely unbridled or unconditional.

Yes, I’ll admit it. Over the past few weeks, I’ve started getting hyped for NBA 2K23. That’s not to say that I don’t have my concerns, or that I’m uncritically accepting that everything I’ve read in the developer blogs will come to pass. I’ve been playing and covering basketball video games for too long to believe that everything will be just as good as advertised. Nevertheless, there are aspects of NBA 2K23 that look very good on paper, and so I’m getting hyped. Well, certainly more excited than I have been in a number of years, at any rate.

Honestly, that feels great! I love basketball and basketball video games, so I never want to feel negative about my hobby. Obviously, over the past twelve months or so, I’ve found great enjoyment in making old favourites (and a few new favourites) part of my gaming rotation once again. I don’t expect that to change, regardless of whether or not NBA 2K23 lives up to the hype. However, I absolutely want to be impressed and enraptured by new releases as well. After primarily using my PlayStation 5 to play a PlayStation 4 game for the better part of the last couple of years, I’m hyped by the distinct possibility that NBA 2K23 could end up monopolising my gaming time.

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NLSC Podcast #440: MyNBA Eras in NBA 2K23 & Other Wonderful Throwbacks

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #440 of the NLSC Podcast!

MyNBA Eras have added a feature to the franchise experience in NBA 2K23 Next Gen that we once thought wouldn’t ever be possible. Although we do have some concerns about the quality of certain elements, and its absence in Current Gen is a bummer, we’re definitely impressed and excited! That joy carried over to our retro gaming this week, as we were able to resolve some technical issues for a better experience. Another instalment of Dee’s Deals provides a roundup of some very fairly-priced classics for aspiring collectors. We also reflect on the lineup of basketball games circa 2002-2003, once again lamenting the lack of choice we have some twenty years later. In this week’s mailbag, our listeners tell us which MyNBA Era they’re most excited to play in NBA 2K23.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

NBA 2K23 MyNBA Includes Multiple Eras

NBA 2K23 MyNBA Details

The latest NBA 2K23 developer blog provides an in-depth preview of MyNBA in Next Gen. Suffice to say, it dropped some pretty big news!

In addition to the traditional franchise experience with current rosters, MyNBA in NBA 2K23 will include three historical eras: the Magic vs Bird Era, the Jordan Era, and the Kobe Era. These eras will allow us to jump into the past and play through to the modern day and beyond, with the league evolving as it did in real life. The presentation will also be era-specific, similar to the effects featured in the revamped Jordan Challenge.

Although the default historical rosters won’t be entirely complete and without any missing players, custom rosters and Draft Classes will be available in NBA 2K23 MyNBA. Additionally, eras are a Next Gen exclusive feature, and thus unfortunately will not be available in Current Gen’s MyLEAGUE mode.

You can find my summary of the key points of the developer blog below, along with 2K’s official breakdown/trailer for the mode. What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments, and join in the discussion here in the Forum!

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons to Love Generated Rookies

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons to Love Generated Rookies

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five reasons to love generated rookies in franchise and career modes.

When multi-season franchise modes were introduced, the annual Draft was naturally an aspect of the league that needed to be replicated. Since college players couldn’t be licensed, the solution was to have generated rookies; fictional Draftees that the game would automatically create using randomised names and appearances (or in a few NBA Lives, pre-made faces). It was a good solution, but from the very beginning, we sought to replace generated rookies with real prospects. We found ways of doing so through modding, and eventually NBA 2K introduced in-game Draft Class editing.

The ability to edit Draft Classes was an important and most welcome addition to the array of customisation options in NBA 2K. To that end, it should absolutely remain a staple of NBA 2K’s in-game roster editing tools. However, there’s something special about generated rookies. In my opinion, they can be just as fun, and sometimes even more fun, than injecting real future Draftees into your game. Judging by some of the responses I’ve had on Twitter when discussing Terry Hanson, I’m not alone there! If you’re wondering what’s so special about generated rookies, and why anyone might prefer them to real prospects, here are five reasons to love those fictional players.

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NLSC Podcast #434: NBA 2K23 Jordan Challenge & PC News

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #434 of the NLSC Podcast!

How much would you pay for a sealed copy of Lakers vs. Celtics? Here’s a hint: it’ll set you back more than the Championship Edition of NBA 2K23! Speaking of which, in the wake of the NBA 2K23 preview season tipping off, we discuss the cover reveals, pre-order bonuses, and the return of the Jordan Challenge. With the news that the PC version will be Current Gen once again, we consider the possible reasons for the decision, and the future of the series on the platform. We also talk about some interesting NBA Live rumours, and the underrated NBA Inside Drive series. In this week’s mailbag, the community reacts to the news about NBA 2K23 PC, and suggests new games for the Jordan Challenge.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

NLSC Podcast #433: A 10, But They Spoiled the NBA 2K23 Cover

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #433 of the NLSC Podcast!

The official Electronic Arts and WWE Games Twitter accounts made bewildering gaffes this past week, and like many of our fellow gamers, we’re unimpressed. Obsidian, meanwhile, displayed an attitude that we’d like to see more often. Elsewhere, NBA insider Shams Charania apparently leaked the NBA 2K23 cover player, and we have some thoughts on 2K’s choice. Since the NBA 2K23 preview season is almost upon us, we also reflect on NBA 2K22, summing up our final thoughts on the game, and giving it a rating out of ten. After reminiscing about a satisfying session of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, we open up the mailbag to discuss who should be the five best-rated players in NBA 2K23.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball Games

The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball Games

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five frustrating restrictions that we’ve encountered in various basketball video games.

There are obviously going to be restrictions in basketball video games, some of which we’ll find frustrating. In some cases, those restrictions are due to technical limitations. Others are design choices, and those are the ones that we find more bothersome, as we know it didn’t necessarily have to be that way. In all fairness though, these restrictions can sometimes be for the best. If not for some of them, games would be unbalanced and far less enjoyable. When cleverly implemented, restrictions can prevent exploits and ensure that games are challenging, without ruining the fun.

Striving for realism in sim games also results in restrictions that can be frustrating, but ultimately in an enjoyable way, since they reflect obstacles that teams and players do actually face in real life. To that point though, we’re bound to grumble when we’re restricted in a way that doesn’t accurately represent an NBA rule. As for frustrating restrictions that are simply design choices, there have been some over the years that just haven’t been good ideas. Alternatively, they’re good and sensible ideas in theory, but were poorly executed. Some of those restrictions are recent or rare, but others are recurring issues that we’ve been encountering in basketball games for generations.

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The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Season Games I Wish I’d Finished

The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Season Games I Wish I'd Finished

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five franchise and season games over the years that I wish I’d been able to finish.

As I’ve said in a previous article, completion is what you make it in basketball video games. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to finish a season in franchise and career modes, collect every card in team building modes, or unlock all of the Trophies or Achievements, just to feel a sense of completion and closure. If you’ve enjoyed a basketball video game and felt like you got your money’s worth, that’s what matters at the end of the day. Of course, there is something special about playing through an entire season from start to finish, hence my kick with NBA 2K14 MyCAREER.

I’ve finished seasons in a number of basketball video games over the years, and they’ve become some of my most treasured virtual hardwood memories. It’s always felt incredibly rewarding, as I prefer to play every game on twelve minute quarters. Due to that preference though, there are some franchise and season games that I didn’t play through to their conclusion, having run out of time before the release of a new title. With that in mind, they’d make excellent retro gaming opportunities, which I’m obviously quite open to. Unfortunately their save files are long gone, meaning that these old franchise and season mode games can never be revisited and finished.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2003 vs NBA Live 2004

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2003 vs NBA Live 2004

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 comparing NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004, in a new edition of “Versus”!

Once again, I’ve gone a while between posting a new “Versus” feature for Wayback Wednesday. There is a reason for that, though. With so many retro basketball games and retro basketball gaming topics to cover, it can take a while to circle back to titles I’ve already talked about. I’d also prefer not to profile games for the first time with a direct comparison to another game, as that would get in the way of a comprehensive retrospective. However, it is fun and interesting to rank and rate old favourites, having had plenty of time to enjoy and reflect on them.

That brings us to NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004, back-to-back releases in the Golden Age of NBA Live; or possibly the series’ second Golden Age, depending on how you rate NBA Live 2001 and NBA Live 2002. Among older basketball gamers, there’s a ton of nostalgia for both games. If you’re my age, you’ll remember them as fun games from early adulthood. If you’re slightly younger, they may have been your entry into basketball gaming! The question is: which game is better? I’ve broken up my arguments into five categories, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Free-to-Play & Triple-A Basketball Games

Monday Tip-Off: Free-to-Play & Triple-A Basketball Games

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on the prospect of Triple-A basketball games being free-to-play (aka F2P).

It’s no secret that NBA Live, once the brand leader in sim NBA video games, has been struggling for well over a decade. It hit a low point with the failed attempt to rebrand and revamp the series with NBA Elite 11, one that it hasn’t been able to recover from to date. With its inability to topple NBA 2K, or even just make some inroads into gaining a bigger share of the market, I’ve seen people suggest that the console version of NBA Live become a free-to-play title. The argument is that it would be a lower risk, and encourage more gamers to give it a try.

Interestingly, I’ve also seen suggestions that NBA 2K become a free-to-play game. In this case, the suggestion has nothing to do with quality, but rather finance. As you’re undoubtedly well aware, the nature of NBA 2K being an annual release means that in modes such as MyCAREER and MyTEAM, there’s a reset on our progress with each new game. That means more grinding, and more money spent. With annual sports titles often being derided as glorified roster updates, it’s no surprise that a free-to-play model, or perhaps a new game every few years with subscriptions for updates in between, are ideas that have been floated. I certainly have some thoughts on that.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Worst Virtual NBA Finalists

Monday Tip-Off: The Worst Virtual NBA Finalists

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at the worst virtual NBA Finalists that I’ve encountered in all my years of basketball gaming.

Simulation engines are far from infallible. They already have a tough task as far as generating realistic results, given that the actual NBA can produce some unexpected outcomes. However, some of the results we see in our virtual seasons are definitely unrealistically favourable to upsets and underdogs. It makes me wonder about the articles that simulate the forthcoming season in NBA 2K. Did they run with the first simulation, or did they have to keep trying until the game produced more believable results, with realistic NBA Finalists and Champions?

Having finished seasons in multiple games, I’ve encountered a variety of virtual NBA Finalists, including a few surprising ones. The Minnesota Timberwolves in Year 3 of my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER would definitely qualify as such a squad. Indeed, when I mentioned to Dee4Three that they were my opponent, and sent him a screenshot of their roster, he observed that they were a strong candidate for the worst team to ever make the NBA Finals. Dee suggested that they merited a closer look in an article, and I liked the idea; especially as it got me thinking about some of the other virtual NBA Finalists I’ve faced in games, and whether any were as weak as those Timberwolves.

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Monday Tip-Off: Year 3 in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER

Monday Tip-Off: Year 3 in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a recap of Year 3 in my ongoing NBA 2K14 MyCAREER.

How enthusiastic was I to dive into Year 3 of my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER game? Well, it was only at the end of March that I was recapping Year 2, and noting how the adventure continues in the mode. By mid May, I’d played through another 82 games, and tipped off my third postseason. I found myself under the weather with a couple of illnesses and ailments this past month, and playing MyCAREER served as “comfort food”. I was already keenly playing through the third season from the time I posted my last recap, but that did allow the journey to move along even swifter.

Entering Year 3 of NBA 2K14 MyCAREER, I had a few goals. I wanted to beat the previous year’s record of 72-10, establishing a new mark for excellence in the regular season. Obviously, I wanted to win a third consecutive championship, and take home another MVP trophy. While I’d already averaged a triple-double in Year 2, ticking off that familiar goal, it was still my aim to post big numbers once again. However, I also had some – shall we say – less selfish goals. I also wanted to get Carmelo Anthony more involved in the offense, and to help Terry Hanson win the Rookie of the Year award. So, how did Year 3 of my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER ultimately turn out?

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NLSC Podcast #428: Time To Dust Off Those Old Modding Tools

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #428 of the NLSC Podcast!

We had a lot of fun revisiting NBA Live 06 PC recently, using the last NLSC roster to play with the Dream Team and updated Decade All-Stars. We did spy a couple of oversights though, leading to the temptation to pick up the old tools and fix them. Indeed, the lure to mod old favourites remains strong! Some recent events prompt us to comment on one of our pet peeves: bewildering Dislikes on YouTube videos. Rumours of a possible sale or merger for EA have been making the rounds, so we weigh in with our thoughts on the situation. We also catch up on the latest from the 1995 MyLEAGUE in NBA 2K19, and reflect on the immersive nature of retro season mods. Meanwhile, NBA 2K14 MyCAREER has produced the worst virtual NBA Finalists either of us have ever encountered.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!