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Wayback Wednesday: 2K Pro-Am Predicts Future Designs

Wayback Wednesday: 2K Pro-Am Predicts Future Designs

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 taking a look back at some designs in 2K Pro-Am that seemingly predicted the future.

Allowing gamers to customise the branding for their 2K Pro-Am squad has had mixed results. It’s a fantastic idea that enhances the mode, inviting creative designs. For less mature members of the community however, it’s encouraged edgy shock humour and creative workarounds of the profanity filter. When NLSC THRILLHO was active in the 2K Pro-Am scene, it was always a roll of the dice as far as the designs we’d see whenever we loaded into a road game. No, we weren’t tearfully offended, but we did roll our eyes at immature humour that rendered our screenshots and clips unusable.

Mind you, sometimes the edgelord jokes and images that bypassed the content filter were the least of our worries. Again, we’d just roll our eyes, scoff, and then get down to business. That wasn’t as easy with the messy designs that were such an eyesore that it was disorienting trying to keep up with the action, as players blended into the court and similar jersey colours made it difficult to tell teammates from opponents. To that point though, some of those designs that we encountered in 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K16 and 2K17 predicted the future of NBA branding! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: I Bought VC For The First Time In Years (And I Hate That)

Monday Tip-Off: I Bought VC For The First Time In Years (And I Hate That)

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 reflections on buying VC for the first time in years, and how it bummed me out to do it.

The first time I spent real money on VC was in the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K14. Intrigued by my first look at MyTEAM, I figured I’d drop a few bucks on it and try my luck. I had one very lucky pull – a 1993 Michael Jordan card – but it was quite clear that generally speaking, it’d be a poor investment. I also splurged on some VC in NBA 2K16, 2K17, and 2K18 in order to upgrade my MyPLAYER to be ready for the online scene sooner. Beginning with NBA 2K19 however, I began adhering to a strict No Money Spent policy. I found great satisfaction in not giving in to the pressure.

I continued that approach in future games, while encouraging my fellow gamers to do the same. That hasn’t changed: I despise the pushiness of microtransactions in NBA 2K, and how the quality of the on-court experience suffers if you want to take the long road. However, I must admit that as far as buying VC myself, after abstaining for several years, I gave in. While it isn’t one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever done in my life – I’ll keep those stories to myself, thank you very much! – I certainly wasn’t pleased that I did it. There was a reason for it, but even so, I do regret my lack of patience, and participation in a practice that continues to ruin the NBA 2K series.

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NLSC YouTube Round-Up Through May 2024

NLSC YouTube Round-Up Through May 2024

It’s time for another round-up of recent uploads to the NLSC YouTube channel! For those who aren’t aware, in addition to the NLSC Podcast and Top 10 Plays of the Week, Dee and I frequently upload basketball gaming highlight reels from games we play together over Parsec, as well as our solo sessions. Here’s what you may have missed from late April through to the end of May!

As Dee and I have discussed on the podcast, we’ve been connecting to play some co-op games of the Super Nintendo version of the original NBA Jam. Our favourite team to use thus far has been the Phoenix Suns with Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson, and to that end, Dee has uploaded footage from our game against the Washington Bullets. We also connected to play Basketball Classics and had an exciting head-to-head game that went down to the wire, and began a Road Trip in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition with johnz1’s NBA Jam: Legends On Fire Edition mod. Be sure to check out those uploads from Dee to see how much fun we’ve been having with Parsec!

Meanwhile, I’ve been uploading the latest highlight reels from Year 6 in my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER to the NLSC YouTube channel, including an assortment of the best plays from Games 41-50, a big comeback victory, a dunk and alley-oop fest against the Clippers, and the 2019 All-Star Game. I also had some fun dusting off NBA Live 09 to play with FIBA teams, namely a showdown between Australia and Slovenia.

You can check out all of those videos below! Once again, be sure to subscribe to the NLSC YouTube channel if you haven’t already, as Dee and I are committed to bringing you regular highlights and video essays in addition to the podcast and weekly countdowns of the community’s Top 10 Plays. As always, feel free to hit us up with any suggestions of games that you’d like to see us play, and we’ll do our best to get them into the rotation ASAP!

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NLSC Podcast #529: Classic Seasons, Legendary Challenges, & Struggling Stars

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #529 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which stars, past or present, have been harder to use in basketball video games than they should’ve been? This week, we join the community in recalling our most memorable examples of struggling stars on the virtual hardwood, and what made them so difficult to dominate with. We also recap a fun Parsec session of NBA 2K19, in which we used the 1986 roster from the Classic Seasons project. On a less positive note, there’s the dismaying news that NBA 2K24 has been extremely profitable for Take-Two despite the game receiving significant backlash and criticism from the community. Along with some damning remarks from someone who has been involved with the NextMaker program, it doesn’t fill us with hope for future releases.

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: Padding & Politics in Player Ratings

Monday Tip-Off: Padding & Politics in Player Ratings

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 padding and politics involved with player ratings.

Although the discussion has seemingly turned to MyPLAYER builds and figuring out the meta, I’d suggest that real player ratings will always be a point of interest. They’re still vital in accurately representing the players’ abilities and skill levels, and if you play franchise modes or with retro teams, you’ll notice mistakes and inconsistencies. There’s also still an interest in which players are top-rated in key categories such as dunking and three-point shooting, as well as where everyone ranks with their Overall Ratings. Again, it may not be as much of a focus now, but there’s still a discussion.

To that point, it’s clear that personal opinions and politics do play a role in both our view of the ratings, as well as how they’re assigned in the first place. Lest I sound like a grumpy old head grumbling about modern games, let’s make it clear that this has been going on for many, many years! Indeed, I’d suggest that as long as basketball video games have had visible ratings – and in some cases, where there have been some sneaky hidden mechanics – player abilities have been subject to padding and politics. There are times when it’s been fairly benign or even enhanced the experience, but it can certainly be problematic and damaging when it leads to widespread inaccuracies.

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NLSC Podcast #528: Best Three-Point Shooters in Video Game History

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #528 of the NLSC Podcast!

A recent interview with EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson bleakly hints at a future where games are riddled with intrusive ads. We’ve already seen attempts at this before, but as you can imagine, we’re not thrilled at the possibility of it becoming commonplace! However, most of this week’s show is dedicated to the deadeyes from downtown on the virtual hardwood, as we join the community in reminiscing about the best three-point shooters in the history of basketball video games. We also recall the players that we preferred to overwrite when customising the rosters in classic titles, whether we were making current roster updates or putting ourselves and our friends into the NBA.

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 Players Whose Careers Should Inspire MyCAREER Stories

The Friday Five: 5 Players Whose Careers Should Inspire MyCAREER Stories

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 players whose NBA careers could (and indeed, should) inspire future MyCAREER stories.

As I’ve previously discussed, there are some real players whose careers bear some entertaining similarities to a few of the stories we’ve had in MyCAREER. I’ll admit that making those comparisons made me see those tales differently, especially the saga of the NBA 2K15 MyPLAYER! I also still really enjoy how “The Way Back” in NBA 2K19 resembled Andre Ingram’s road to the NBA, including a debut towards the end of the regular season. Obviously that was coincidental, but it does make you wonder which other players have stories that would be suitable for MyCAREER.

Now, you might be inclined to say that just about every player who makes it to the NBA had an interesting journey that would be viable as a MyCAREER story. That’s true to an extent, but many of them – while impressive and compelling in their own way – are very similar and straightforward. They don’t necessarily set up a unique scenario from a narrative or gameplay standpoint. We’ve already seen a variety of MyCAREER stories from triumphant tales of highly-touted prospects to underdogs scrapping for opportunities. Again, we’ve even seen a DJ become an NBA star! So, could any real players provide a template for future stories? I believe I can name five.

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The Friday Five: 5 Real Players Whose Careers Resemble a MyPLAYER

The Friday Five: 5 Real Players Whose Careers Resemble a MyPLAYER

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 real players whose careers produced stories that are similar to a MyPLAYER.

Although interest has shifted towards its connected experiences, MyCAREER is a mode that has allowed us to step into the shoes of an NBA player. Mind you, while MyCAREER has tried to replicate the NBA experience from earning minutes and endorsement deals to becoming a star and mulling your options in free agency, it takes a flexible approach to realism. Most of us end up posting some truly ridiculous numbers on route to being enshrined in the virtual Hall of Fame, and the adoption of a story-driven approach has led to some weird, overly-dramatic, and unlikely tales.

With that being said, as the old saying goes, truth is often stranger than fiction. As it turns out, there have been some players whose careers bear striking similarities to our MyCAREER journeys. No, no one has ever quit basketball to become a DJ and then made it to the league following a streetball tournament – though Rony Seikaly did become a DJ after retiring – but there are players whose road to the NBA and rookie seasons can be compared to a MyPLAYER. That’s not to say that their stories are exactly the same, but there are some fun parallels between real players and our NBA 2K avatars. Indeed, some stories may not be as unrealistic as they originally seemed!

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Monday Tip-Off: Not So Fast, Past Me!

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 by revisiting an article I wrote in 2019, in order to discuss just how much I disagree with Past Me.

Normally, I reserve revisiting and republishing articles for Wayback Wednesday, though it’s one of my more rarely-used topics. However, this is more of a sequel column; a follow-up to opinions I expressed going on five years ago, that I strongly disagree with now. That’s not a bad thing, of course. It’s a positive trait to be able to remain open-minded, changing your stance when new evidence is presented and not just continuing to believe something because it’s been your view for so long. Ideally, we should be able to look back at what we’ve said and who we were, and see growth.

While browsing our archives, I was reminded of a Monday Tip-Off that I wrote back in 2019: “The Difficulty of Going Back“. As that title suggests, Past Me was opining that it was becoming increasingly challenging to return to older releases, and bring them back into my basketball gaming rotation. Considering how passionately I’ve advocated for retro basketball gaming since then, it should be obvious how much my opinion has changed! Of course, just as there are reasons I’ve become more receptive to going back to older hoops titles once again, there were reasons why Past Me felt it was growing difficult; even with a long history of retro gaming. Allow me to explain.

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The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

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 weighs in on five contentious basketball gaming debates.

When you’ve been around a while, both in terms of a gaming community and life in general, a couple of things usually happen. You may well lean into that curmudgeonly aspect of aging, becoming the proverbial old man yelling at clouds. At the same time, you also realise that certain things aren’t as important anymore, if indeed they ever were. Leaving high school is a liberating experience, as problems that once seemed all-important and dramatic now feel like petty non-issues (because they often were!). The flipside of this is dealing with all of the new challenges that come with adulthood.

Of course, being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding petty drama, especially in hobby and fan communities. As the saying goes, growing older is mandatory, but growing up isn’t. Fanbases have strong opinions that make them prone to contentious debates, and the basketball gaming community is no different. As with any other gaming community or group of fans, there are popular and unpopular opinions, issues that are divisive, and a selfish desire to be right and get what we want. We’re not all going to get along one hundred percent of the time, but there are some basketball gaming topics that are often contentious. Here’s my take on five of those matters!

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Monday Tip-Off: The NBA 2K24 Backlash, In Perspective

Monday Tip-Off: The NBA 2K24 Backlash, In Perspective

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 backlash that NBA 2K24 has received, and trying to put it all into perspective.

It’s fair to say that NBA 2K24 has received significant backlash. The PC version was at one point the worst-rated game on Steam, and although its rating has rebounded somewhat since then, the reviews still skew mostly negative. It doesn’t help that it’s a port of the PlayStation 4/Xbox One version, but a glance at Metacritic reveals a user score of 2.1 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X as well. There are positive reviews for NBA 2K24 on Metacritic, but for the most part, once again the user scores are far more negative than the ones from professional critics.

The backlash goes beyond scathing scores for NBA 2K24, however. You’ll see far more negative comments about the game wherever it’s being discussed, be it social media, forums, or Reddit. Dissatisfaction with the game and disgust with recurrent revenue mechanics has been building for years, and as a result, gamers are more forthcoming with criticism and disdainful remarks than ever before. This has only increased since content creators who cover MyTEAM have exposed how the mode has reached new heights – or perhaps, lows – in terms of greed. Yes, there’s backlash against NBA 2K24, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, it likely won’t make a difference.

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The Friday Five: 5 Features Seemingly Gone For Good

The Friday Five: 5 Features Seemingly Gone For Good

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 features that unfortunately seem highly unlikely to return.

There are reasons that certain features from older basketball video games have fallen by the wayside. As I’ve discussed before, even though some of the annual games may seem like mere roster updates, the code still has to be rewritten every year. If there’s a feature or function that doesn’t work properly with the new code, and if it isn’t a particularly popular or necessary part of the game, it may end up on the chopping block. Additionally, some features evolve into new concepts, or a technological advance or design change elsewhere will render them redundant.

This is how we lose some of the features that we really like. It’s not something that’s done out of spite, though when microtransactions are involved, there may certainly be a lack of goodwill. Mind you, a reasonable explanation for the absence of a beloved feature doesn’t remove the sting for gamers who were passionate about it. Sometimes we’re lucky and a mode or feature is brought back, though not always exactly how we wanted it. However, other features are seemingly gone for good, much to our dismay. We all have our own examples here, and to that end, here are five features that I wish basketball video games still had, but sadly doubt that we’ll ever see brought back.

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Monday Tip-Off: Low-Stakes Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: Low-Stakes Basketball Gaming

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 reflections on how much I’m enjoying low-stakes basketball gaming.

Naturally, Play Now/exhibition mode is a necessary staple in basketball video games, as it is in all sports titles. It’s important to be able to just jump into a game where the result doesn’t have to count, especially while we’re getting acclimated to a new title. However, historically speaking, I generally haven’t played too many exhibition games once I’m hooked on a release. More often than not, I’ve just used Play Now to grab screenshots for an article or news post, immediately quitting after getting what I need. If I was going to settle down to play a full game, I wanted it to count for something.

Over the past few years though, my habits have drastically changed. I’m still eager to play games that count, as my ongoing NBA 2K14 MyCAREER and other preserved save files demonstrate. At the same time, I’ve become far more open to – and keen on – low-stakes basketball gaming. Even putting aside sessions where I’ve just fired up a game to capture screenshots or video for a feature, I’ve probably played more Play Now and exhibition mode games in the past couple of years than I have in a long time; perhaps ever in my decades of hitting the virtual hardwood! I must say that it’s been incredibly refreshing, and as such, it’s something that I intend to keep doing.

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NBA 2K24 Season 6 Patch Out Now

NBA 2K24 Season 6 Patch Out Now

Season 6 has tipped off in NBA 2K24, which means a new patch is now available! As always, the update will come through automatically as long as your PC or console is online. If it doesn’t, try restarting your console or Steam client, or checking for updates manually.

In addition to adding content and otherwise preparing NBA 2K24 for Season 6, the patch fixes some details with current and classic jerseys and courts. It also corrects an issue with MyTEAM Agendas, adjusts the requirements for Devin Booker’s spin jumper animation, and includes some other technical and stability fixes.

Full patch notes can be found below, though once again, they’re only confirmed for the Next Gen version of NBA 2K24. As always, you can find the update histories for the Current Gen (as much as we can confirm, anyway) and Next Gen versions of NBA 2K24 in our Wiki. Feel free to share any thoughts and impressions in the comments, as well as join in the discussion here in the Forum.

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

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 why NBA 2K17 has been the best game in the NBA 2K series so far.

Since I’ve already declared my pick for the best game in the NBA Live series – NBA Live 06 PC, incidentally – I figured that I should do the same for the NBA 2K series. As you can see, I’m giving the nod to NBA 2K17. As with my nomination of NBA Live 06 PC as the best NBA Live we’ve ever seen, my choice of NBA 2K17 isn’t exactly objective. I have plenty of affection for the game, as it’s one of my all-time favourite basketball titles, irrespective of series. Of course, there’s really no such thing as unbiased opinion, though there are well-reasoned and poorly-reasoned ones.

I believe I can present a fair and hopefully compelling case for NBA 2K17 being the best NBA 2K. You can definitely make valid arguments for other games in the series, and indeed, NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 has risen up my personal rankings over the past three years. As was the case with the best of the NBA Live series, it’s a close race between the top NBA 2K releases, and personal preference does come into play. With that being said, while my first four points could also apply to some of NBA 2K17’s predecessors, the fifth point is what puts it above all of its successors, at least in my view. And so, without further ado, here’s why I say NBA 2K17 was the best NBA 2K!

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