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Monday Tip-Off: Without Quality, More Is Less

Monday Tip-Off: Without Quality, More Is Less

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 frank thoughts on how more is less when quantity outpaces quality in the content of basketball video games.

One of my recurring criticisms of NBA Live throughout the eighth generation – and it also applies to games in the seventh generation to some extent – is that they’re lacking in depth. Modes have been barebones (or “streamlined”, as promotional material likes to call it), and games have also been light on additional content and features compared to NBA 2K. While problems with NBA Live’s gameplay have ultimately been larger issues, the lack of depth unquestionably contributes to them being subpar. It’s felt like there’s been minimal effort beyond including the basics.

However, while NBA 2K can boast greater depth from its historical content to a wide variety of intricate modes, it has a recurring problem of its own. While there’s far more to the average NBA 2K release than just about any NBA Live game to date, not all of that content is well-made and of high quality. The lack of attention to detail in certain areas makes it seem as though content and features were added for the sake of padding the game and looking impressive at a glance, without implementing them properly. That may seem harsh, and it’s not my intention to imply that the developers aren’t working hard or don’t care. Still, without quality, more is undoubtedly less.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

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 suggestions for retro modding projects.

As the stigma fades and retro basketball gaming increases in popularity, inevitably we start thinking about modding as well. After all, classic games are a blast to revisit as-is, but mods can breathe new life into them, too. Many of the modding tools are still available for retro basketball games, along with resources and archived mods to learn techniques from (or indeed, build upon). Even with the limitations of older titles, we’re capable of creating some outstanding mods that will facilitate new experiences on the virtual hardwood.

Needless to say, there are some challenges to overcome here. The audience is smaller, so anyone engaging in retro modding will be toiling on projects that are seen and used by fewer people. To that end, there are also fewer active modders for retro games, so some of the more ambitious projects may not have the level of detail we’d like, or be truly viable. Major roster mods in particular may need to use placeholder artwork, or whatever assets are available. That shouldn’t stop us from looking into retro modding, however. There’s always lingering interest in seeing new updates for old favourites, and there are plenty of retro modding ideas that we can and should at least consider.

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Monday Tip-Off: Hitting The Modding Wall

Monday Tip-Off: Hitting The Modding Wall

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 how it’s all too easy to hit the modding wall.

Modding can be a ton of fun. To that point, there have always been people in the community that have enjoyed modding games more than playing them. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that some people would prefer to tinker with a broken but moddable game than play a great game that isn’t modder-friendly. I personally prefer the latter, but I do understand the thought process. There’s tremendous satisfaction in crafting fantastic mods, particularly comprehensive projects. As long as you’re modding for the right reasons, by all means indulge that creativity!

Of course, like just about any creative endeavour, there are tedious moments. Hitting the modding wall takes a few different forms, but it usually comes down to reaching a stage in the project that isn’t fun, or is technically challenging. It may be repetitive work, or a limitation that you have to find a way around before you can continue. The modding wall will often delay projects, and in the worst case scenario, derail them and cause them to be dropped altogether. It’s not a good feeling, especially when you’ve been so excited about an idea and sunk hours into a project. It’s possible to break through the modding wall, and the first step is to realise that you’re not alone.

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NLSC Podcast #437: NBA 2K23 First Look, NBA in the Zone, and…Garfield Kart?

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #437 of the NLSC Podcast!

Following up on last week’s show about retro collecting, we have some further recommendations, and a possible new recurring segment. We also make good on two promises: to test multiplayer in Garfield Kart, and to play NBA in the Zone and NBA in the Zone 2. Garfield Kart was of course life-changing, but Konami’s classics proved to be very interesting releases to revisit. The NBA 2K23 First Look Trailer has given us a glimpse of the Next Gen version in action, and we certainly have some thoughts ahead of next week’s gameplay news. A recent video from Agent 00 resonated with us, and aptly summed up the politics of content creation. Finally, we’re opening up this week’s mailbag to discuss 2K fatigue.

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!

Monday Tip-Off: Retro Basketball Gaming Is Filling A Gap

Monday Tip-Off: Retro Basketball Gaming Is Filling A Gap

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 my thoughts on how retro basketball gaming is filling a gap in the market.

Unfortunately, we are not in a golden age for basketball gaming. Sure, NBA 2K is more successful than ever as it sells millions of copies, makes bank with recurrent revenue, and enjoys mainstream popularity. However, when you glance at Steam reviews and user scores on Metacritic, it’s obvious that gamers are far less satisfied than they used to be. With NBA Live faltering, collapsing, and failing to rebuild properly, 2K has no competition. No other publishers are jumping into the space, and the one major release we did have – NBA Playgrounds – was swallowed up by 2K.

If you want a new basketball video game every year, there’s only one choice. It’s not the worst choice we could possibly have – better to have NBA 2K in its current state than NBA Live in its most recent form – but even if this is the best monopoly possible, it’s still a monopoly. For younger basketball gamers, NBA 2K being the only viable choice – or indeed, the only choice, period – may be all they know. Those of us who remember a time when several developers were producing basketball titles are much more likely to feel wistful at the lack of choice. On the plus side, retro basketball gaming is now more frequently filling that gap, and giving us something else to play.

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NLSC Podcast #436: How To Get Into Retro Basketball Gaming

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #436 of the NLSC Podcast!

Revisiting Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000 reminded us of how hilariously bad it is, but it also found a new way to mess with us. Not surprisingly, NBA Live 2004 holds up much better, especially with a broadcast camera mod and the 1996 season roster. We received a couple of responses to last week’s show asking about acquiring copies of NBA Live PC and other older releases, so this week, we dive into how to get into retro basketball gaming/collecting. It needn’t be expensive, nor do you need to be the crazy collectors that we are! In this week’s mailbag, we circle back to the question of what counts as retro in basketball gaming, with our listeners sharing some interesting and differing opinions on the matter.

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 #435: How EA Could Sell Us On NBA Live 24

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #435 of the NLSC Podcast!

Barring a very surprising announcement, NBA Live won’t be back in 2022. However, EA Sports has a golden opportunity to make a triumphant return with NBA Live 24 in 2023. The question is, how do they sell it to basketball gamers, and meet their expectations? We posed the question to the community, and received many enthusiastic answers as to what would encourage gamers to switch back to NBA Live, or double dip with NBA Live and NBA 2K. An old story about Julius Erving and the Utah Jazz also prompts us to consider interesting scenarios for a “What If” roster mod, and we recap a fun co-op session of NBA Inside Drive 2003 over Parsec.

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 Resources Launched & Other Forum Updates

Devin Booker in NBA 2K23

With the preview season officially underway, we’ve launched our various NBA 2K23 resources. These include our game portal, a board in the NLSC Forum, and a Wiki page. Discussion boards for NBA 2K23 modding and sections for uploading NBA 2K23 mods will be added to the Forum and Downloads database after the game is released.

In addition to inviting you to join in the discussion in the Forum, help keep the Wiki page updated, and eventually add mods to our Downloads database, I’m also seeking some suggestions. Please let us know the kind of content and resources that you’d like to see once NBA 2K23 launches. If there are ways that we can be more informative, entertaining, and generally useful to the basketball gaming community, we’d like to know!

As you may have also noticed, we’ve recently revamped the NLSC Forum. Specifically, the NBA Live and NBA 2K boards have been split into their own sections again, with the most recent/active boards remaining on the index while the others are available under the Older NBA Live/NBA 2K Games sections. The 25th Anniversary of NBA Live section has been archived under our Featured Content & Community Noticeboard, our Stories section has been moved to the top, and the Other Basketball Games board is now with the other Off-Topic sections.

We hope the changes will make the Forum more organised and easier to navigate. Once again, if you have any suggestions regarding our content and facilities, or are experiencing any technical difficulties, please let me know! As always, we’re by basketball gamers, for basketball gamers, and want to be your source for all basketball video games, past, present, and future. Thank you for your continued support of everything that we do here at the NLSC!

 

NLSC Podcast #432: Where’s Our Mamba Mode?

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #432 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which players would we like to bring into the modern NBA? There are a few we’d love to see prove their worth to younger basketball fans, and we’re not just talking about all-time greats! Hooping with Mario, Bowser, and other video game characters reminds us that modding doesn’t always have to be serious. Of course, part of the fun is making mods and modding resources free, and freely available. An enthusiastic response to a mailbag question prompts an in-depth discussion on possibilities for a new retro challenge mode in NBA 2K23 and beyond. We share our own ideas, as well as the many creative suggestions that we received from the community.

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!

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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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!

NLSC Podcast #427: Classic Games, Fresh Experiences

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #427 of the NLSC Podcast!

We’ve been freshening up our retro basketball gaming with mods from the archives, as Lutz’s Champs Roster allowed us to re-create a classic Celtics highlight in NBA Live 98 PC! We also played NBA Live 2004 PC with a camera mod that’s made it difficult to return to the default broadcast view. Responding to an interesting listener question, we discuss whether adopting a similar idea to Dynamic DNA could benefit tendencies and roster quality in NBA 2K. As we catch up on the latest news from our NBA 2K19 MyLEAGUE and NBA 2K14 MyCAREER games, we marvel at the stories that can be told through gameplay and results alone. We also reflect on a truly shocking award snub.

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 #426: Variety & Options on The Virtual Hardwood

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #426 of the NLSC Podcast!

After an unscheduled break due to one of us being under the weather, we’re back on the air! We’ve been playing a variety of classic basketball games since our last show, particularly favourites from the late 90s and early 2000s. Notably, we’ve been playing them with some classic teams and legends roster mods, which is tempting us to get stuck into some retro modding. We also provide updates on our ongoing seasons, including Shawn Kemp highlights and an example of video games imitating life. On a less positive note, a couple of recent Tweets have reminded us that elitism and gatekeeping is alive and well within the basketball gaming community. Needless to say, we feel compelled to hit back against those attitudes. In this week’s mailbag, the community tells us their favourite games in the NBA Live series, and we share our thoughts on those titles.

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 #425: Sliding Back Into 1995, With Stildo33

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #425 of the NLSC Podcast!

Ken (aka Stildo33) returns to the show to talk about replaying the 1995 season in NBA 2K19 MyLEAGUE! In addition to a little trash talk, there are reflections on some of the favourite games so far, exciting upcoming matchups, and learning new skills on the virtual hardwood. We also talk about the importance of fine-tuning gameplay sliders, and some of the issues that NBA 2K19 had out of the box. A couple of ideas for future Parsec tournaments are also floated for your consideration! With the preview season of NBA 2K23 looming on the horizon, and the continued hope that EA Sports will return with a new basketball game at some point, we also touch on some of our Wishlist items.

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!

March Modness 2022 Giveaway Winner: kobedurant

NLSC March Modness

Congratulations to kobedurant, winner of our March Modness 2022 giveaway! kobedurant contributed some great jersey updates during March, and continues to do some fantastic work for NBA 2K22. As previously noted, his prize is a copy of the standard edition of NBA 2K23 PC. Details on the game are sure to be coming within the next few months, and we’ll of course be covering the preview season here at the NLSC.

A big thanks as always to everyone who entered this year’s March Modness contest, and continues to share their mods with our community! Don’t forget that we offer free and permanent file hosting for our modding community, in order to preserve these great releases for years to come. Whether you’re modding NBA 2K22, an older favourite like NBA 2K14, or indeed a very old NBA Live game, I encourage everyone to make use of our facilities. For more information on uploading and adding files to our Downloads database, be sure to check out this tutorial.