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Wayback Wednesday: Reimagining NBA’s Greatest

Wayback Wednesday: Reimagining NBA's Greatest

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 reimagining NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12.

I had a lot of fun reimagining The Jordan Challenge back in June, so I thought I’d give the same treatment to NBA’s Greatest. As I remarked in my retrospective on NBA’s Greatest, it was a fantastic follow-up to The Jordan Challenge, and added new content to NBA 2K12 with the lockout of 2011 delaying the inclusion of the new rookies and updated rosters. The level of detail with the retro presentation was very impressive, and it’s a feature that would be really fun to have when playing with historical teams in future NBA 2K games.

However, as with The Jordan Challenge, NBA’s Greatest wasn’t perfect. Looking back, there are a few ways it could’ve been better, and teams that would’ve been preferable. As with my previous reimagining, this isn’t intended to disparage the work that Visual Concepts put into NBA’s Greatest, but rather consider what might have been if not for a few legal barriers, and how an already fantastic mode could be made even better. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Should 99 Overall Ratings Be Possible To Attain?

Road to 99 Loading Screen in NBA 2K18

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 discussion of whether 99 Overall ratings should be possible to attain in NBA Live and NBA 2K.

Few aspects of the core gameplay experience in basketball video games cause quite as much controversy as overall ratings. They cause heated debates and much frustration when a player’s overall appears to be too high or too low, or otherwise incorrect when compared to other players. It’s all too easy to place too much emphasis on them, even though the individual ratings are more important, and the formula for calculating the overalls often makes it difficult to get every player’s rating to be “perfect”. However, although they can be problematic and even unclear, they are an important mechanic.

A debate that I’ve seen come up more than a few times over the years is whether or not any player deserves the maximum rating of 99 Overall. Not counting some of the boosted cards in Ultimate Team and MyTEAM, only a few players have reached that level in NBA Live and NBA 2K over the years, including Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson. It’s also become a prominent goal to reach in NBA 2K’s MyCAREER, emphasised by NBA 2K18’s Road to 99. Few things make a player stand out in a video game quite like boasting a maxed out overall rating, but the question remains: should 99 Overall be possible in the first place?

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K12’s Introduction Video

NBA 2K12 Introduction Video

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 introduction video for NBA 2K12.

Although NBA 2K11 was a tough act to follow, I would suggest that NBA 2K12 was up to the challenge. Continuing to improve upon the gameplay of its predecessor, it also successfully expanded the historical content we’ve come to associate with the NBA 2K series. The Jordan Challenge gave way to NBA’s Greatest, a mode featuring fantastic production values and several of the best teams in the NBA history on top of MJ’s Bulls. The game was hampered by the absence of the Class of 2011 rookies at launch owing to the lockout, but official roster updates would later resolve that issue.

Firing up NBA 2K12 for the first time immediately got you in the mood to play with the new historical teams, with an introduction video that I once ranked as the best among basketball games. Although we’ve seen some slick intros in the years since, there’s still a strong case for NBA 2K12’s boot-up remaining in the top spot. As such, I thought I’d look back at it this week, and the real highlights that inspired several moments in the intro. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Slam ‘N Jam PC Retrospective

Slam 'N Jam: Hook Shot

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 PC version of Slam ‘N Jam.

Back in the 90s, there were quite a few basketball video games that only licensed the name and likeness of a lone NBA star. Games like Michael Jordan in Flight, Barkley Shut Up & Jam, and David Robinson’s Supreme Court, all featured their namesake player alongside fictional teammates and opponents. In 1995, Crystal Dynamics (the developer responsible for Gex and Tomb Raider) and Left Field Productions (makers of Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside) released a couple of games with the name Slam ‘N Jam. The first game, Slam ‘N Jam ’95, featured only fictional players. It was followed by a sequel in 1996, titled Slam ‘N’ Jam ’96 Featuring Magic & Kareem.

As the title would imply, the sequel licensed the names and likenesses of both Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. While the original game had been exclusive to the 3DO, the sequel was released for the original PlayStation and SEGA Saturn. It was also ported to the PC, simply under the title of Slam ‘N Jam. That’s the version I’m focusing on today, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Legends in NBA Live 2000

Michael Jordan in One-on-One in NBA Live 2000

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.

Today, December 7th 2016, is Larry Bird’s 60th birthday; Happy Birthday, Larry Legend! To mark the occasion, I’ve been trying to think of basketball video gaming topics that are related to the Boston Celtics great. Since I’ve already talked about Bird’s presence in NBA Jam Tournament Edition as a secret player, that idea is out. Glancing at the list of topics that I’ve compiled for future Wayback Wednesday features, I noticed one that’s probably overdue, and certainly has ties to Bird: NBA Legends in NBA Live 2000.

I remember that many of us were very excited to hear that a selection of NBA Legends from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s would be featured in NBA Live 2000. The long-awaited addition of Michael Jordan was obviously a huge selling point, but the inclusion of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, and other all-time greats, also came as very welcome news for basketball gamers who wanted to see some historical content in NBA Live.

It’s the kind of content in basketball video games that helps us reminisce, so it’s only appropriate that we take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Recreating Magic & Bird’s NBA Debuts

Moses Malone and Larry Bird in the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K14

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.

On this day in 1979, NBA history was made on opening night. In a 114-106 victory over the Houston Rockets, the Boston Celtics’ Chris Ford made the very first three-pointer in league history with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter. In that same game, the legendary Larry Bird made his professional debut, scoring 14 points to go along with ten rebounds and five assists. Elsewhere, Bird’s rival Magic Johnson also made his NBA debut, scoring 26 points and enjoying a 103-102 victory over the San Diego Clippers, courtesy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s gamewinning skyhook.

The arrival of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, along with the debut of Michael Jordan five years later, propelled the NBA into a new golden age. All three legends appeared on separate covers for NBA 2K12, but since I’ve already talked about NBA’s Greatest in a previous Wayback Wednesday feature, I thought I’d do something a little different to mark the occasion. Using HAWK23’s amazing Ultimate Base Roster, I replayed the NBA debuts of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird using NBA 2K14 PC. Could I replicate their numbers and success?

With the help of UBR, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12

NBA's Greatest Menu in NBA 2K12

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.

I’ve been watching some classic NBA games recently, and it got me in the mood to play with some retro teams in NBA 2K. I can do that in NBA 2K16 of course, but only NBA 2K11 and NBA 2K12 have dedicated modes for the historic squads, namely the Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest respectively. After catching Michael Jordan’s 63 point game against Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics, I originally opted for NBA 2K11, with an eye towards finishing the Jordan Challenge games I never completed. When that didn’t go so well, I turned my attention towards NBA 2K12, and my unfinished challenges in NBA’s Greatest.

I’d ultimately complete my unfinished business, clearing all of the remaining challenges over the weekend. I found myself having a lot of fun, and the experience certainly made me appreciate NBA’s Greatest all over again. In fact, it had me wishing that we still had some sort of mode for the classic teams in the newer games. Since I’ve finally completed all fifteen games and unlocked all of the included retro teams at long last, it only made sense to profile NBA’s Greatest for this week’s Wayback Wednesday feature.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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