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Monday Tip-Off: Ready (To Not Be) Player One

Monday Tip-Off: Ready (To Not Be) Player One

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 more thoughts on the online scene in NBA 2K. Specifically, in order to improve the quality of play, gamers must be ready to not be Player One.

I’m fortunate in that I’m not completely reliant on the online scene to enjoy basketball video games. I grew up gaming in a time before online play was common – or for that matter, possible – on the virtual hardwood. Dynasty was my mode of choice in NBA Live, and I’ve also racked up many hours playing single player MyCAREER in NBA 2K. I’m therefore able to enjoy the offline experience, which is vital given that the online scene in NBA 2K has a myriad of problems, ranging from technical issues and design flaws to toxic attitudes and a sloppy style of play.

At the same time, while I find it easy to eschew the online scene, I would prefer it to be better than it is. Obviously I’d like to jump in on occasion, having developed an appreciation for it over the past generation. Even if I’m not partaking in it myself, I’d still like to see the scene thrive and be the best possible experience for those who are playing it; especially gamers who play exclusively online. I’ve previously discussed vital changes that the developers need to implement, such as proper matchmaking. Today however, I want to focus on the problem of how so many gamers aren’t ready to drop their Player One mentality online, and how that could possibly be remedied.

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Wayback Wednesday: College Hoops 2K8 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: College Hoops 2K8 Retrospective

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 College Hoops 2K8 on PlayStation 3.

College Hoops 2K8 is a title that generally makes basketball gamers feel wistful, the same way football gamers look back at ESPN NFL 2K5. Both games marked the end of their respective series, and were very highly regarded. They have an enduring popularity, as gamers who enjoyed them when they were new are still able to dust them off and play them today, especially College Hoops 2K8 with all of its roster customisation. Indeed, gamers have continued to make new rosters for College Hoops 2K8 for many years afterwards, some of which are still available.

As I look back at College Hoops 2K8, it seems accurate to say that it’s many people’s favourite college basketball game. As with College Hoops 2K7, I’m coming from the position of someone who wasn’t able to play it when it was new, and also didn’t spend a lot of time with its NBA counterpart at the time either. I therefore don’t have any nostalgia for it, and while I am able to make comparisons to NBA 2K8, there isn’t quite the same novelty as there was when comparing NBA Live 08 and NCAA March Madness 08. Nevertheless, it’s unquestionably a significant title, and a great release that’s well worth remembering. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Old Features That Could Be Repurposed

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 old features that could possibly be repurposed and included in future games.

Old basketball games include some interesting features, many of which I’ve profiled in Wayback Wednesday over the years. As I’ve noted in those articles, there are some features that were innovative at the time and fun to look back on, but are admittedly outdated now. They’ve either been replaced with a more evolved concept, or they just don’t fit in today’s games. On the other hand, there are features in old games that I’d like to see return. Some of them would fit perfectly into modern titles, while others would need to be revamped and repurposed to be properly utilised in a new game.

That last group is what I’m focusing on today. While NBA 2K remains a deep game, and NBA Live has introduced some good ideas over the past generation despite some shaky releases, there are some old features that would make a very welcome return; particularly if they were updated and adapted for use in contemporary gameplay and modes. Unfortunately, the design principles that Visual Concepts and EA Sports are adhering to these days may make it highly unlikely, but nevertheless, I’d like to throw out these ideas for repurposed old features. After all, you never know what may happen, especially if they can be repurposed in a way that makes them relevant again.

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NLSC Podcast #366: A Lifetime On The Virtual Hardwood

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Episode #366 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

A recent modding disaster inspires us to reflect on some of our past follies, and the need to adopt good modding practices. In particular, we note the appeal of a fresh start, and how it distracts us from what’s already on the workbench. Our main discussion topic this week is something we’ve been thinking about for a while: the stigma against older basketball gamers, and adult gamers in general. We discuss the issue of age-appropriate hobbies, the benefits of gaming regardless of age, and how long we see ourselves hitting the virtual hardwood. In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about putting the fun back into the sim titles, and an interesting scenario regarding the three-point line.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: Are Short Quarters The Standard?

Monday Tip-Off: Are Short Quarters The Standard?

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 few thoughts on games being designed around playing on short quarters rather than the regulation length of 12 minutes.

Playing on 12 minute quarters rather than shorter settings has been a point of pride for me over the years. Well, pride may be too strong of a word – it’s not really any kind of accomplishment, after all – but I always felt fulfilled when I could play through a full 82 game season with regulation quarter lengths. The downside is that even in my favourite franchise experiences, I usually didn’t play more than a couple of seasons unless I resorted to simulating. As I’ve grown older and gained new responsibilities, I’ve had to make peace with the idea of simming games.

It’s been harder to warm up to the idea of playing on short quarters, though. It just doesn’t feel right; it’s not “sim”. If nothing else, I don’t like that the minutes per game averages for my team don’t line up with the rest of the league. The addition of an accelerated clock in various NBA Live titles over the past generation, as well as the ability to normalise stats in NBA 2K’s franchise modes, has provided a solution here. Of course, in MyCAREER, longer quarters allow for more Badge progress in short order, and there’s no normalisation option for stats. Caring too much about that does seem like folly however, as it feels like games are designed for short quarters.

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NLSC Podcast #365: Time To Get Creative

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Episode #365 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

Deep Create-a-Player features are a must, and it’s tough not to get wistful when we see them in other sports titles. Some of the features in MLB The Show give us ideas for what we’d like to see in NBA Live and NBA 2K’s creation tools. The pain of losing functionality when servers are shut down leads us to discuss the possibility of a subscription model for basketball games. In the news this week, Ultimate Rivals: The Court has been announced. We’re intrigued, and looking forward to an NBA Jam-like game with Tim Kitzrow on the call. Time with The W also has us nostalgic for an era when microtransactions weren’t everything. In the mailbag this week, we answer a question about the necessary focus in order for NBA Live to make a triumphant return, and Frankenstein our ideal game, picking and choosing elements from a number of existing basketball titles.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

NLSC Podcast #360: An NBA Live Revolution?

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Episode #360 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

There continues to be a surge of interest in NBA Live 19, with several gamers picking it up again. This raises the issue of NBA 2K fatigue, and the other reasons – including accessibility, simplicity, and lack of predatory mechanics and toxicity – that gamers are eschewing the more up to date NBA 2K21 Next Gen. We once again note that the door is wide open for NBA Live. In our mailbag this week, we’re talking about purchasing digital NBA moments, and various obstacles that modders face. Are we likely to invest in digital NBA collectibles, and are Visual Concepts deliberately making modding more difficult?

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

NLSC Podcast #358: What Could’ve Been, And May Yet Be

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Episode #358 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

Browsing the Marketplace on Xbox Series X reveals that NBA Jam: On Fire Edition is still available, and it’s definitely still worth getting. Conversely, there’s no getting our hands on NBA Live 20, but according to its recently discovered ESRB rating, it was set to come out on PC. We commiserate about what might’ve been, but consider what it may mean for the series’ eventual return. Also in the news this week is the status of Start Today in NBA 2K21. The situation is understandable, but the lack of transparency is frustrating as usual. Dusting off NBA Live 16 also leads us to reminisce about one of the better NBA Live games from the past generation. In this week’s mailbag, we answer questions about Ronnie 2K and the community, and what we’ve been playing in NBA 2K21.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: I’ve Got To Use My Imagination

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 how we no longer have to use our imagination when it comes to career and franchise modes.

Yes, the title of this week’s column is indeed a reference to a song by Gladys Knight & the Pips. That’s about as far as the reference goes, however. Truth be told, I only know the song because Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favourite movies, and it’s on its soundtrack. In any case, imagination is a core component of gaming, no matter the genre. Whether we’re playing single player or multiplayer, we immerse ourselves in a virtual world. We share the goal of the player character, whether it’s saving the world, winning a championship, or causing mayhem as a goose.

Imagination has always been – and to some extent still is – a big part of basketball gaming. Whether we’re assuming the role of a general manager or coach, taking control of a star player, or stepping onto the hardwood or blacktop with our own avatar, there’s an element of fantasy at play. Of course, many years ago, we had to be far more imaginative as far as scenarios and stories. In franchise and career play, we filled in the gaps, created our own back stories, and would even role-play in our story section. These days, we don’t have to use our imagination so much, especially in the story-driven MyCAREER. Needless to say, there are benefits and drawbacks to this.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 19 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 19 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! At long last, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 19.

And so, we’ve come to the final game in the NBA Live series to date, and thus the final retrospective in our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content! I have to say that it’s been a wild ride to experience the ups and downs again, revisiting every title in the series one by one. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it too, even as we’ve revisited some of the weaker games. On that note, unfortunately the most recent NBA Live game isn’t one of the better releases, at least in my book. Those of us who would prefer that NBA Live focus on the NBA experience were hoping against hope that NBA Live 19 would be a return to form, but sadly, it picked up where NBA Live 18 left off.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 18 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 18 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Next up is a retrospective of NBA Live 18.

We’re almost at the end of our retrospectives, with just two games left to cover. Before we begin, which do you prefer: the NBA, or streetball? NBA Live 18 aimed to give us the best of both worlds, in the form of The League and The Streets. Even the cover emphasised the duality of the game, with two pictures of James Harden: one in his Houston Rockets uniform, the other in a plain singlet and shorts. The game wasn’t a disaster, nor was it a complete departure from previous titles in the series. It was clear that NBA Live was headed in a new direction though, and not everyone was happy about that; especially long-time fans of the series.

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NLSC Podcast #354: 2K Giveth, & 2K Taketh Away

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Episode #354 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Where can you learn about the differences between versions of Tecmo Super NBA Basketball? Our podcast, that’s where! Patch 1.03 for NBA 2K21 Next Gen is also out, and it’s full of fixes and gameplay tweaks. There are minimal differences, but as we note, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The impending shutdown of the NBA 2K19 servers leads to a discussion about lost features, old games still being sold at full price, and a huge opportunity for 2K to generate goodwill. In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking bad ratings, not feeling like we’re in control in newer 2K titles, and our non-basketball gaming habits.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? 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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

NLSC Podcast #353: Online Gaming Isn’t Everything

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Episode #353 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

With the quality of play in The Rec hitting rock bottom, one of us has made a very healthy decision to walk away from the online scene. On that note, leaked internal documents from Sony suggest that online gaming hasn’t destroyed the single player or local multiplayer experience. This is certainly good news for modes such as MyNBA, and the single player portions of MyCAREER and MyTEAM. Recent events also prompt us to discuss proper etiquette for modders and content creators alike. Our featured discussion this week is all about further NBA 2K21 Next Gen impressions, as we break down our three favourite and three least favourite aspects of the game. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about wishlists for this generation, and memories of basketball gaming in the holiday season.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? 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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Monday Tip-Off: Annual Rituals & Goals in NBA 2K

Monday Tip-Off: Annual Rituals & Goals in NBA 2K

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 reflections on my annual rituals and goals in NBA 2K games.

I buy NBA 2K every year. In fact, throughout this past generation, I’ve double-dipped with copies for PC (for mods) and PlayStation 4 (for online play). I suppose that makes me a part of the problem as far as supporting the game despite having gripes with it, but in my defense, I’m both a collector and a content creator. Without at least one copy of the game, it’s difficult to provide coverage post-release. I know this all too well, having covered NCAA Basketball 10 throughout its preview season, and then not at all afterwards because I couldn’t import the game (I since have for PS3).

It’s also my aim to enjoy the game every year, and with the NBA Live series being rather underwhelming or completely absent from the basketball gaming space for much of the past decade, I’ve been getting my virtual hoops fix from NBA 2K. As such, there are a few rituals I engage in, and goals that I strive for, in each new NBA 2K title. In some respects, it’s probably made it difficult to break some of the habits I’ve formed, especially in MyCAREER. On the other hand, it always provides me with some baseline goals from which I can derive a sense of accomplishment, as well as completion. If I manage to attain these goals, I feel like I’ve got my money’s worth.

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WNBA Expanded Upon in NBA 2K21 Next Gen

NBA 2K21 Next Gen WNBA Developer Blog

During the preview season for NBA 2K21 Current Gen, it was mentioned that the WNBA would have a much larger presence in the Next Gen version. The latest developer blog has revealed that the league will be represented by three modes in NBA 2K21.

The first mode is MyWNBA, which is a fully-featured franchise mode for the WNBA. It includes similar customisation to MyLEAGUE as far as teams, rules, and finances, and also comprises online leagues and a leaderboard. There’s also a standalone Playoffs mode, and role-playing elements from the GM’s perspective.

A career mode has also been added in the form of The W. Interestingly, there are no microtransactions, with progression determined solely by playing games. Gamers start by choosing a player type, and then customising their player’s physical attributes and Takeover, similar to a MyPLAYER on the NBA side of things. There are also on-court and off-court tasks that contribute towards increasing your popularity, the overall popularity of the league, and personal wealth.

Finally, The W Online is a 3v3 online multiplayer mode, with games played to 21 under street rules. As with the connected experiences in MyCAREER, MyPOINTS earned in The W Online will count towards the overall progression of your player. Games take place in their own special arena, and progressing through the mode unlocks animations and clothing.

Be sure to check out the blog for the full scoop on how the WNBA’s presence has been increased in NBA 2K21 Next Gen! 2K has also released a trailer for The W, which you can watch below. Add your thoughts in the comments, and join in the discussion here in the Forum.

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