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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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The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live Doesn’t Get Enough Credit For

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 things that NBA Live doesn’t get enough credit for.

We’re getting to the point in our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations where I’m talking about the fall of the series, and the struggles that it has endured for more than a decade now. It’s unfortunate that the retrospectives aren’t as positive as the earlier releases in the series, but it’s the truth, and a part of its history that needs to be discussed. It’s even more unfortunate that it’s the prevailing image for NBA Live: a struggling series that hasn’t been able to get things right for a couple of generations, and as such, remains lagging way behind NBA 2K; a game it once outsold annually.

After all, it wasn’t always that way. Because it’s been so long, it’s all too easy to forget that there are many things that NBA Live innovated and did well. To that end, the series doesn’t always get the credit it deserves, both from gamers who switched to 2K many years ago, and those who are too young to remember when the NBA Live series was king. On top of that, it’s quite easy to focus on the negatives and take things for granted. With that in mind, I’ll also be writing similar articles on things that NBA 2K and NBA Jam deserve more credit for. For now though, let’s take a look at five aspects of NBA Live throughout the years that do deserve more credit.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ways I’ve Changed MyCAREER Habits

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 ways that I’ve changed my habits when it comes to MyCAREER.

Today’s my birthday, and for those who are interested, I’ve turned 36. Yes, I was just a couple of months shy of turning 17 when I took over the NLSC in August 2001; time sure has flown! In that time, I’d like to think I’ve grown, matured, and gained a new perspective. Of course, there are some people who might say that running a site dedicated to video games at the age of 36 isn’t a sign of maturity, but hey, let’s leave the cynicism to Next Gen! I say that as long as you keep things in perspective and take care of your responsibilities, video games are a perfectly acceptable adult hobby.

Of course, as I’ve grown older and basketball games have evolved, so too have my tastes. As I’ve mentioned before, I always considered myself a franchise gamer, as I became a huge fan of those modes once they were introduced in the late 90s/early 2000s. Over the past decade however, I’ve spent more time with career modes and their connected online experiences. Mind you, the way I play MyCAREER has also changed from when I first got hooked on the mode back in NBA 2K13. Some habits have been influenced by the changes in recent titles, while others could probably be attributed to me getting older, grumpier, and less patient. Here are five examples!

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Shower Thoughts

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 shower thoughts I’ve had about basketball gaming.

Contrary to what you might believe, I don’t think about basketball gaming 24/7. It’s obviously a passion of mine – I wouldn’t have been running the NLSC for 19 years and counting if it wasn’t – but I do have other interests and hobbies. It is something that is on my mind fairly regularly though, either when I’m playing a game, or creating content for the NLSC. A thought will stroll into my head – sometimes related to what I’m doing, sometimes out of the blue – and I’ll wonder how it didn’t occur to me before then.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “shower thoughts” are ideas or epiphanies that occur to us while doing mundane activities such as taking a shower (which is where the term originates), or carrying out some chore. They’re not all profound pearls of wisdom; indeed, if you go looking for shower thoughts on Reddit or elsewhere that they’re collected, you’ll find a lot of puns and folksy observations. To that end, I can’t promise that these basketball gaming shower thoughts – a couple of which did in fact come about in the shower – will be profound and mind-blowing. Hopefully they’ll at least be amusing or interesting talking points, though.

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NLSC Podcast #330: The Price of Upgrading

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Episode #330 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The three cover players and their editions of NBA 2K21 have been revealed, and it turns out our predictions were pretty good! We react to the choices, and some of the community’s opinions on them. We’ve also discovered that the Next Gen version will have cross-platform VC and MyTEAM progression, but more controversially, a $10 price increase. Breaking down the pre-order bonuses also suggests that the approach to microtransactions and grinding won’t be much different this year. With confirmation that NBA 2K21 PC is a Current Gen port, we weigh up the pros and cons, and what it means for our modding community. Elsewhere, reactions to Madden 21’s Franchise mode have made us wonder about the future of franchise gaming in basketball titles. Finally, we’re noticing some new waves of nostalgia among younger and older hoops gamers alike.

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 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.

Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

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 going back to NBA Live 2001 to play with the “unbelievable” starting five that was posted in our original Forum many years ago.

There aren’t too many members of our original Forum who are still active, so the legacy and impact of the infamous “I Cannot Believe My Starting Five” thread may not resonate with a lot of people in our community today. I’ve covered it in-depth in a previous Wayback Wednesday retrospective, and mentioned it as one of the most bizarre moments in the history of our Forum, but the short version is as follows. A member by the name of A.L. made a post describing a lineup they’d put together in NBA Live 2001’s Franchise mode, which included Kevin Garnett at point guard.

A.L.’s insistence that point guard was KG’s “natural position” unfortunately derailed an interesting discussion about fantasy draft and trade logic, as well as experimenting with a fun idea for an unorthodox lineup, before it even began. The thread quickly turned into a catch-all for jokes and general banter, and became the first thread in the old Forum to surpass one thousand posts. However, as much fun as it was to take part in, it’s extremely unfortunate that A.L. felt unwelcome due to the way his post was received. Furthermore, it’s a creative idea that’s at least worth messing around with, so that’s what I’m going to do at long last. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Can NBA Live Be Relevant Again?

Monday Tip-Off: Can NBA Live Be Relevant Again?

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 by pondering the question: can NBA Live be relevant again?

As a long-time basketball gamer that grew up with NBA Live, it gives me no joy to dump on the franchise. I believe that there are content creators out there who delight at the series’ struggles and subsequently ripping into it, but I’m certainly not one of them. For all the great things that NBA 2K has done, the slips in quality here and there, and of course the increased focus on microtransactions, demonstrate why it’s important to have choice and competition in the basketball gaming space. Some say NBA Live should just pack it in, but frankly, we need it, and we need it to succeed.

Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done. NBA Live has struggled to get to where it needs to be over the past decade. Again, it brings me no joy to say that, nor do I relish pointing out that not only has its quality suffered, but so has its relevance. Indeed, a friend of mine who isn’t really into basketball, but picked up NBA 2K20 on special after watching The Last Dance, mentioned he was surprised that EA Sports doesn’t have a new basketball game out. It’s not surprising that someone who isn’t into the scene doesn’t know the full story behind the fall of NBA Live, but nevertheless, it speaks volumes about its relevance today. The question is: can EA change that?

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Monday Tip-Off: The Right Direction for NBA Live

Monday Tip-Off: The Right Direction for NBA Live

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 my thoughts on the right direction for NBA Live.

Needless to say, the past decade has been tough for NBA Live. Through cancelled titles and skipped years, the series has seen only five releases during that span. There have been promising aspects and good ideas present in those five games, and it could be argued that at least a couple of titles have been solid, but EA Sports has failed to move the needle. NBA Live is still languishing far behind where it needs to be as a viable alternative to NBA 2K and the enormous gulf in sales speaks volumes. NBA 2K has its issues, but NBA Live hasn’t been able to capitalise on gamer frustration.

The good news is that the door hasn’t been slammed shut on NBA Live. Thanks to a combination of readily apparent potential and 2K squandering goodwill, there is still interest in seeing NBA Live return to its former glory. Unfortunately, the series’ steps towards reaching that goal haven’t been as large as many of us would’ve liked, and one of the main reasons for that is the direction of the series. More specifically, this includes both the particular choices that have been made, and the tendency to change direction too often. NBA Live needs to have the right focus moving forward, but that raises the question: what is the right direction for NBA Live to take?

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