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Wayback Wednesday: The Legend of Jackson Ellis

Jackson Ellis in NBA 2K19

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 virtual career of Jackson Ellis in NBA 2K, and the legend that it has spawned over six games.

Minor spoiler alert: in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER mode, Jackson Ellis makes a return to the virtual hardwood. One of the most memorable characters in basketball video games, this year he enjoyed his most prominent role since NBA 2K14, when he was introduced as the rival of your MyPLAYER. Not only has Ellis resonated with NBA 2K gamers, he’s clearly a favourite of the development team as well. Even though he’s only stepped onto the court in a couple of titles, he’s appeared or been referenced in every MyCAREER mode on the current generation.

So what’s the story behind the infamously brash and outspoken Jackson Ellis? Well, the exact story differs for each of us, but in broad strokes, Visual Concepts has been weaving a subplot with Ellis over the past six years. To appreciate the Legend of Jackson Ellis, we need to return to where it all began in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of NBA 2K14. To that end, let’s go back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons to Keep Saved Game Files

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 reasons why it’s a good idea to keep your saved game files for basketball video games.

Another preview season is over, which means that NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 are upon us! If you’re picking up this year’s games, be sure to share your impressions with the rest of the community in the Forum, and stay tuned for the original content that we’ll be producing for them. Hopefully this year’s releases will meet most of your expectations (if not all of them), and it won’t be long before you’re starting new games and getting stuck into your favourite modes. Once that happens, you might be tempted to delete your saved game files from last year, as well as saves from other older titles.

Not so fast! While you may be about to move on to a new basketball video game, you shouldn’t be too hasty to delete your old saved game files. We’re well beyond the days of 8 megabyte memory cards and other storage devices with very limited capacity, so it shouldn’t be an issue to hang onto your saves. You should have the room to keep files for several games in your collection, not just last year’s release. It’s a good idea to do just that, as losing your old saves is something that you can easily come to regret. To that end, here are five reasons to consider keeping your saved game files, even as you move on to the latest releases from EA Sports and Visual Concepts.

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The Friday Five: 5 Filmmakers Who Should Write MyCAREER Stories

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 just-for-fun list of five filmmakers whose styles could make for some rather unique MyCAREER stories.

Ah, MyCAREER stories. While I’ve gone on record several times saying that I’m not a big fan of the concept, I also believe there’s a way that they could be done better in future games. Basically, it comes down to having more story branching options, and perhaps even a couple of different starting points. A wider variety of dialogue options and meaningful choices would really enhance the role playing aspect of MyCAREER, as well as provide an opportunity for everyone to have a more unique experience. If there’s going to be a story, let the gameplay drive it, and simply use the cutscenes and other elements as added flavour.

The underlying narrative and its characters should also be solid. In that respect, NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER mode has been, to be blunt, a big disappointment. From the somewhat absurd background of DJ to the multitude of annoying and unlikeable characters (again, looking at you, B Fresh), this year’s story has been grating. It’s felt like a step backwards from NBA 2K17, which was written and directed by Creed‘s Aaron Covington. Bringing in a Hollywood screenwriter again might help in NBA 2K19 and beyond, but who should Visual Concepts work with? Just for fun, here are five filmmakers whose take on MyCAREER might be interesting to say the least.

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Monday Tip-Off: MyPLAYER Dunk Envy in NBA 2K18

A Dunk in MyCOURT (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 few thoughts on something that’s been bothering me in NBA 2K18’s MyCAREER: an inability to dunk.

I know today’s NBA has become about three-pointers. Me, I’m still partial to dunks. It’s a love that carries over to basketball video games, especially when it comes to the career modes. By equipping my player with flashy dunks that I could never perform in real life, I’m able to live out some fantasies on the virtual hardwood. I realise that dunking on every play isn’t exactly sim, and that goes against my usual approach to basketball games. What can I say; it’s fun to dunk as often as possible! Unfortunately, it’s something that I’m missing out on in this year’s MyCAREER mode.

That’s not to say I haven’t been involved in some tremendous slams in some capacity. Consider this moment from a recent one-on-one game against Arcane on MyCOURT:

As a Two-Way Slasher, Arcane is naturally going to have an easier time dunking than my Sharpshooter Playmaker. However, I rarely seem to be able to trigger a dunk, no matter whether it’s MyCAREER, 2K Pro-Am, or The Playground. MyCOURT? No problem. Any of those other game modes? I’m laying it up nine times out of ten, even in situations where I have ample room and sprint. As noted here in the Forum, I don’t seem to have the same problem with a brand new MyPLAYER with the same hybrid Archetype, and I’ve also seen other Sharpshooting Playmakers dunking more often in 2K Pro-Am games. At this point, I’d settle for being able to perform rim grazers!

It seems to be an issue with tendencies for MyPLAYERs created during The Prelude, or at least, before a recent patch that addressed the issue. I’ve contacted 2K Support in the hopes that my original MyPLAYER can be fixed, as I don’t relish the thought of going through the grind again with a new player, nor losing the pre-order bonus clothing (simply due to principle). Assists and threes may be the strengths of my Archetype, but I should at least be able to dunk more often than I do now. With any luck, it’ll all be sorted out soon, and I’ll be making proper use of my flashy dunk packages. Until then, however, I have a serious case of MyPLAYER Dunk Envy.

Monday Tip-Off: A Call For More Nicknames

2K Magazine in MyCAREER (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 few thoughts on nicknames in NBA 2K.

When I finally succeeded in getting my face scanned into NBA 2K18 – or more specifically, The Prelude – it didn’t turn out anywhere near as good as my NBA Live 18 scan. As I noted on my Twitter at the time, it ended up looking a little like a combination of young Adam Sandler circa Billy Madison, and young Alan Ruck from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Once the full game came out and I was able to visit Doc’s barbershop – expensive haircuts and all – I was able to add a beard. While it still isn’t a great likeness, at least it looks a little less like a Sandler-Ruck mash-up.

A few weeks back, I ended up giving my MyPLAYER longish hair, in the process making him look a little like Jaime Lannister from the early seasons of Game of Thrones. I briefly reconsidered renaming him, and even went so far as to outfit him with some yellow wrist tape, in an effort to imitate Jaime’s golden hand (uh, spoilers for anyone who still hasn’t gotten into GoT yet). I also looked at changing the audio nickname, but the most appropriate choice was probably “Cold Hands”. It got me thinking that the selection of nicknames for MyPLAYERs in NBA 2K could definitely stand to be much larger, and more varied.

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EB Games Australia Leaks New NBA 2K18 Details

NBA 2K18: Kobe Bryant

As reported by The Gaming Tailgate and Operation Sports, the listing for NBA 2K18 on EB Games Australia has leaked a few new details about this year’s game. The information has since been removed from the listing, but a screenshot has preserved the details that were revealed, which are as follows:

MyPLAYER. Build your career in NBA games, hit the courts in the Playground or join the Pro-Am circuit. Featuring new MyPLAYER upgrade and endorsement systems and so much more.

MyTEAM. Collect and compete with player cards featuring NBA legends from yesterday and today. Construct a salary-capped team for the all-new Super Max season mode, or draft cards for a 5v5 tournament in the new Pack & Playoffs mode.

ELITE GAMEPLAY. The new motion system engine brings player control to a new level of realism. Now, dribbling and off the ball movement are no longer driven by animations. This groundbreaking technology dynamically creates animations to deliver the best gameplay experience possible. You are now in complete control.

SPECIAL GUEST COMMENTARY. The biggest roster of broadcasting talent in sports videogame history gets even bigger. Legends Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett join the booth on a rotating basis to lend their expertise to the broadcast.

LEGENDARY TEAMS. The greatest players in NBA history from all 30 teams, together on all-time franchise rosters for the very first time. Compete in Play Now to decide once and for all which franchise’s all-time greats reign supreme.

In addition to Kobe and KG joining the NBA 2K18 broadcasting team, it’s interesting to note that MyPARK appears to have been renamed to Playground. Alternatively, that may simply be a mistake, similar to an earlier hands-on impression article that erroneously referred to MyTEAM as “MyDYNASTY”, leading to speculation of a new mode.

These details are obviously still subject to official confirmation, though we’ll likely know more after the upcoming “Run the Neighborhood” Facebook event on August 31st. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as in our NBA 2K18 Forum.

The Friday Five: 5 Things NLSC THRILLHO Learned in 2K Pro-Am

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 NLSC THRILLHO has collectively learned playing 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17.

Even though we’ve cut back on our 2K Pro-Am sessions in NBA 2K17, the members of NLSC THRILLHO still get together once a week, or at least once a fortnight, to play a few games. As Arcane and I have mentioned in recent episodes of the NLSC Podcast, we’ve had a couple of really fun sessions recently including one where we finished the night on a five game winning streak, but also a couple of very frustrating ones. Last week’s session was an example of the latter, leading us to call it a night after only two games.

At this point, we’ve played over 470 games, which is the equivalent of about five and three quarter seasons (or a little under two and a half seasons, adjusting the twenty minute games for regulation length). NLSC THRILLHO certainly isn’t one of the top-ranked squads, but with all those games, we do at least have a lot of experience under our belts. To that end, we’ve undoubtedly learned a thing or two about the mode, which has given us a new perspective as we look ahead to NBA 2K18. If I may speak on behalf of NLSC THRILLHO for a moment, these are probably the five most important lessons we’ve learned in NBA 2K17’s 2K Pro-Am.

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The Sunday Substitute: Player Upgrade Features in NBA Live 16

The week is in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, which means it’s time for the Sunday Substitute! It’s the article where I get some valuable minutes while the star is resting on the bench. I might not have the time to do this every week, but I like to think I’m still making a contribution to the team. Since it looks like NBA Live 18 will be released this year, I figured it would be a fantastic opportunity to look back at NBA Live 16 and determine what features are worth salvaging. For this article, I’m going to focus on the player upgrade system.

I really love the player creation and upgrade system in NBA Live 16. It began for me with the most seamless face scan I have ever done in any video game. I’m not sure how everyone else went with it, but I know that my player in NBA Live 16 looks much more like me than any player I’ve created in the NBA 2K series. But my appreciation for player customisation in NBA Live 16 has gone far beyond that since I bought a full copy of the game.

Not only is the player upgrade system an excellent feature in NBA Live 16, but I believe it is superior to that of NBA 2K16, and even NBA 2K17. I know it’s a big call – since the NBA 2K games have the advantage in most areas – but I think NBA Live 16 had some intuitive features when it comes to upgrading created players. So, here are the player upgrade features that I not only love in NBA Live 16, but I think should be considered for NBA Live 18.

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Wayback Wednesday: My NBA 2K13 MyCAREER

Finals MVP in NBA 2K13's MyCAREER

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 my memorable MyCAREER game in NBA 2K13.

I’ve been playing basketball video games for more than two decades now. There are two main reasons that I remain a fan of the genre: I’m passionate about the sport, and I’ve had so many fun experiences with both sim and arcade basketball games over the years. I’ve previously compiled a list of some of my favourite experiences, one of them being my MyCAREER game in NBA 2K13 PC, in which I played for the Denver Nuggets. An enjoyably successful rookie season with some interesting twists and turns set the bar high for future games, and indeed, it hasn’t been until this past year with NBA 2K17 that I’ve had a similarly great experience with MyCAREER.

It was the first time that I played MyCAREER almost exclusively, so NBA 2K13 stands as the game that really got me hooked on the mode, while developing a genuine interest in the single player career experience. Join me as I take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Tips to Endure a Long MyCAREER Season

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 tips for enduring a long season in MyCAREER.

I’m almost at the end of the regular season in my rookie campaign in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER. As much fun as I’ve had so far, it’s definitely been a grind, especially since I prefer to play twelve minute quarters. Even with shorter quarter lengths, 82 games is quite a marathon, and it’s difficult not to get impatient once you’re past the All-Star break, and the postseason is looming on the horizon. Of course, if you’re battling to qualify for the Playoffs, each game is going to have more meaning, and that should hold your interest. However, if you’ve already clinched a Playoff berth, a little bit of boredom might start to set in.

Fortunately, there are a few ideas that can make tedious stretches in MyCAREER a bit more fun. Some of these suggestions arguably apply to MyLEAGUE and MyGM as well, but I personally find that boredom during the regular season is more of a problem in MyCAREER, since you’re locked to a single player, and you obviously don’t have all the team management functions to change things up. With that being said, here are five ideas that have helped break up the boredom for me, and will hopefully help some of you make it through the regular season grind, whether you’re playing MyCAREER or another mode.

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Monday Tip-Off: 30 Shots from Mid-Court in NBA 2K17

Shooting from mid-court on MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

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.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the holiday season, and managed to catch a couple of the Christmas Day games! As we wrap up the year here at the NLSC, I thought that I’d have some fun with this week’s Monday Tip-Off, and set myself a challenge in NBA 2K17. While shooting around in MyCOURT, I attempted three sets of thirty three-pointers from mid-court: thirty using the Shoot Button, thirty with the Shot Stick down, and thirty with the Shot Stick up. With the relatively low three-point ratings of a Playmaker point guard, and no Limitless Range Badge to help me out, would I be able to knock down some really long bombs with any kind of consistency?

Let’s take a look and find out just how many threes I was able to make from mid-court, and which method seemed to work best for me. Watch below, or tune in here over on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

Want to try out this challenge yourself? If you do give it a shot, be sure to post your results (and a link, if you make a video) in the comments section below, or join in the discussion in this thread over in the NBA 2K17 section of the NLSC Forum. I’m interested to see how much of an impact higher ratings have on mid-court heaves, and just how “limitless” the Limitless Range Badge really is! Have fun with the challenge, and thanks for checking out Monday Tip-Off throughout 2016; more columns, videos, and other fun stuff will be coming your way every Monday in 2017!

Monday Tip-Off: Fixing NBA 2K’s MyPLAYER Archetypes

Choosing MyPLAYER Archetypes in NBA 2K17

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.

When the concept of MyPLAYER Archetypes was first announced for NBA 2K17, it struck me as being a very good idea. It seemed like a great solution to the issue of gamers creating maxed out 7’3″ players, a practice that frequently upset the competitive balance in modes such as MyPARK and 2K Pro-Am. On top of injecting a little more realism into MyCAREER, MyPLAYER Archetypes seemed to be a logical answer to egregious min-maxing and gaming of the upgrade system in order to create overpowered players.

I maintain that it was a very good idea in theory, and something that should remain in future NBA 2K games. However, MyPLAYER Archetypes haven’t been quite as effective in preserving competitive balance as I would have hoped, as some gamers are still creating cheesy players. Conversely, in other ways they’re too restrictive, allowing for little variation between certain playing styles. Since we’re in the thick of Wishlist season, I thought that I’d throw out a few ideas that could possibly improve MyPLAYER Archetypes in NBA 2K18 and beyond.

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Monday Tip-Off: Decorating MyCOURT & Mulling MyCAREER

Shooting around on a Chicago Bulls MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

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.

My NBA 2K17 MyPLAYER is currently sitting at 92 Overall, which means I’m getting close to hitting all the level caps and maxing out my ratings (at least without levelling up MyPARK rep, anyway). This also means that it takes several sessions of Doin’ Work to unlock the next upgrade. With only one Playmaker Badge left to unlock and upgrade through the MyPLAYER Store, and new ratings upgrades only becoming available every other in-game week or so, I’m currently earning more VC than I can spend on improving my abilities.

As such, I can spare more VC to spend on frivolities such as MyPLAYER clothing, and decorating MyCOURT. Having purchased a few of my favourite jerseys and outfitted MyPLAYER with Michael Jordan’s shoes and uniform, I decided that MyCOURT could use some rebranding. I definitely like the changes I’ve made and I’m enjoying MyCAREER a lot, though I have to admit that I’ve been thinking about my future. Normally, I’d prefer to stay put with the team that drafted me, but as of late, I can’t help thinking that I should keep my options open.

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The Sunday Substitute: Badges in NBA 2K17

The week is in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, which means it’s time for the Sunday Substitute! It’s the article where I get some valuable minutes while the star is resting on the bench. I might not have the time to do this every week, but I like to think I’m still contributing to the team effort. I have been gaining a few splinters on the bench for the last few months, but today I’m ready to get back into it and talk about badges in NBA 2K17.

Over the past few 2K PRO-AM sessions I have had with fellow NLSC team members, I have learned that badges are vital in online play. Both mine and Andrew’s numbers have gone up considerably since we’ve unlocked significant badges for our respective archetypes. In some games, my shooting has been off the charts because of my Hall of Fame Corner Specialist and Catch and Shoot Badges, and Andrew’s passes have been more on point with the Gold Dimer badge.

Despite how NLSC THRILLHO have improved after acquiring badges, there are still a number of issues that badges seem to be creating online. It seems like lesser-rated players are becoming more overpowered because of outside shooting badges. People are still zigzagging and hitting those perfect jump shots, and corner threes are almost automatic unless you practically foul the shooter.

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The Friday Five: 5 Players You Find in 2K Pro-Am

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.

It took a while for the NLSC 2K Pro-Am squad to click last year, but we had so much fun playing the mode that we definitely wanted to create a squad again this year. As we’ve mentioned on the Podcast, the NLSC THRILLHO – that’s an old Simpsons reference, for those of you who are unaware – hasn’t been winning quite as many games as we’d like. We’re still doing better than last year though, and despite occasionally grumbling about this and that in NBA 2K17 (such as the lack of logo importing before reaching Elite level), we keep jumping on every week to get a few games in. I think it’s safe to say that we’re still enjoying ourselves.

If you play 2K Pro-Am regularly, chances are you’ll encounter the same team more than once. Playing at the times we do, and especially given our location, there are times when we’ll face the same squad two or three times in a single session. This leads to some fun rivalries, not to mention becoming very familiar with certain players. Of course, even if you’re facing a host of different opponents, you’ll certainly run into the same types of players quite often. For your consideration, here is a breakdown of five of the players you’re likely to encounter in 2K Pro-Am.

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