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NLSC Podcast #339: NBA 2K21 Impressions, NBA Live Hopes

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Episode #339 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

NBA 2K21 Current Gen is here! After getting a taste of the game with the demo, we’ve got further impressions to share after getting our hands on the full version. We’re going in-depth on shooting, dribbling, player movement, and other mechanics with comparisons to both NBA 2K20 and the demo, while touching on changes to modes. In our early appraisal of NBA 2K21, we also describe some of the changes and fixes we’d like to see, and note some of the community’s reactions. In other news, Scott O’Gallagher and Rob Jones joining EA Sports has us feeling optimistic about NBA Live. We talk about what it could mean for the series, and the importance of listening to the right voices moving forward. Finally, we catch up on some other hoops games we’ve been playing, including Dunk Lords, PBA Basketball Slam, and the original NBA Playgrounds.

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. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

NLSC Podcast #333: Just Two Creatures of Habit

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Episode #333 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Would you pay $16,000 for a promotional copy of NBA 2K15? Someone on eBay is hoping that you will! We’ve spent considerably less on recent additions to our collections, which we were excited to pick up. Speaking of collectables, a few copies of Slam City with Scottie Pippen have also popped up on eBay, leading us to reflect on that somewhat forgotten game. Meanwhile, an influx of new gamers in NBA 2K20’s online scene has further emphasised the need to implement proper ranking and matchmaking measures (and inspired another rant). We also discuss what it takes to change our gaming habits on the virtual hardwood, and how some of those habits were formed in the first place.

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.

NLSC Podcast #325: Playground People, The Game & Its Sequel

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Episode #325 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Dee4Three and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

NBA Playgrounds and its sequel NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 have been quite successful, but thus far, the series hasn’t had the same staying power as NBA Jam or NBA Street. We take a deep-dive into the Playground games, discussing the parts that we like, and the parts that we believe could be better. Along the way, we compare and contrast Playgrounds with Jam and Street, discuss missed opportunities for the series, and consider its future. We also talk about NBA Starting Five 2005 – an overlooked Japanese exclusive from the mid 2000s with features that were ahead of their time – and the latest title update for Basketball Classics. A retro pick-up teased in last week’s show is also revealed.

What’s your take on this week’s topics? 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.

Monday Tip-Off: Going Digital (Before I Had To)

Monday Tip-Off: Going Digital (Before I Had To)

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 going digital with basketball games, and making that move before I needed to.

These days, the PC version of NBA 2K is exclusively available as a digital release. Even if you happen to find a physical copy – and they do exist in some regions – it just amounts to a card with a Steam key. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. On the plus side, digital games save shelf space, and because developers don’t need to press discs, distribution is quicker and cheaper. In a niche demographic such as PC basketball gaming, that’s an important factor in companies seeing the platform as viable and less of a hassle to release on.

The downside is that we need to download everything when we want to install the game. Depending on the quality of our connection and the size of any data limits on our Internet plan, that may not be an ideal scenario. Digital releases are also at risk of being removed from platforms like Steam, whereas physical copies obviously remain in circulation. Beyond convenience and availability, there’s just something satisfying about having a physical copy that you can hold in your hands or display on a shelf. We don’t always have a lot of choice, especially on PC these days, but I actually found myself going digital with basketball games before it was necessary.

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The Friday Five: 5 Terribly Named Basketball Games

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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 terribly named basketball games.

Since nothing is classier or more cultured than Shakespeare, I’ll pull a quote from one of The Bard’s most famous works, Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” This famous quotation, often paraphrased as “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, is a metaphor which illustrates that a name doesn’t affect the nature or quality of the thing that it belongs to. Just like the idiom “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, it reminds us that superficial details aren’t everything, and that we shouldn’t make snap judgements based on them.

Of course, as The Simpsons once argued, roses wouldn’t be nearly as alluring if they were called stench blossoms or crap weed, and candy would likely be off-putting if it were called scum drops. The point is that while names aren’t always indicative or as important as we make them out to be, they do play a role in our initial impression of whatever it is they’re attached to. Even when we get past those impressions, a bad name can still stand out as an unfortunate attribute of an otherwise appealing thing. That goes for basketball video games, and there have been some terribly named ones over the years. Here are five examples that stand out to me.

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NLSC Podcast #312: The Silence is Deafening

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Episode #312 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! After an unscheduled hiatus last week, we’re back on the air to catch up on some recent NBA 2K20 news, talk about the lack of communication and hype when it comes to NBA Live, and reminisce about our biggest basketball gaming influences.

As March Modness 2020 tips off, we talk about some of the great work our modding community is doing right now, and some of our own plans for the event. Speaking of celebrations, NBA 2K20 gave away a MyTEAM pack to celebrate some record breaking numbers for installations and games played. We note that despite some missteps and bad PR here and there, 2K is fantastic when it comes to celebrating itself and promoting the brand. This leads us to draw comparisons to what EA Sports is doing with NBA Live, and how they could be doing so much more as far as community engagement. It hasn’t escaped our notice that there have been a lot of missed opportunities, not just with NBA Live but also NBA Jam. We also reflect on the games that had the biggest influence and impact on us growing up, and how it’s shaped our preferences, opinions, and expectations. Finally, we touch on the importance of standing together as a community.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on NBA Live’s approach to community engagement, or anything else we discussed this week? 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: NBA Hangtime Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Hangtime Retrospective

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 NBA Hangtime.

One of the benefits of Wayback Wednesday is that eventually, everything becomes “retro” enough to talk about. As it is, I’ve bent the rules slightly with some more recent games from time to time, but generally speaking, I’ve preferred focusing on titles that are several years old. To that end, I’ve tried to cover many of the classics before touching on more recent nostalgia. However, there are several titles from the early days of basketball gaming that I still haven’t covered, but definitely mean to get to. NBA Hangtime is just one of the games that are overdue for a retrospective.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that I’ve yet to cover the game, going on five years of running Wayback Wednesday features. As popular as it was with basketball gamers in its day, it does tend to be overlooked when we discuss the best arcade hoops titles. It was a strong follow-up to NBA Jam Tournament Edition – one of my personal favourites – and a game that I really enjoyed on the Nintendo 64. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: 2019 Year in Review

Monday Tip-Off: 2019 Year in Review

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 look back at the year that was 2019 in basketball gaming, and our community here at the NLSC.

We’re at the start of a new week, but a couple of days away from the end of the year, not to mention a decade. Given the timing, I’ve decided to use this week’s Monday Tip-Off to reflect on the past twelve months, just as I did last year. Although this isn’t The Friday Five, I will be using a similar format on this occasion, as I’d like to take the opportunity to spotlight some of my favourite content from the past year, and discuss various aspects of the hobby under their own subheadings. If you’ve missed out on any of these features, I’ll be linking to them so that you can check them out.

Overall, it’s been another successful year here at the NLSC. Our modding community is still productive, and we’ve been able to do some fun things with our content. We expect to be around for some time yet, and basketball gaming itself is still thriving. There have been some ups and downs as there always are, and that does leave us with a few issues that we need to deal with moving forward. However, I’m confident that we can come together as a community and work out appropriate solutions. Without any further ado, here are my reflections on the final year of the 2010s, and an editor’s pick of articles, podcasts, and other features that I’m particularly proud of.

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NLSC Podcast #298: So, What Did We Miss?

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Episode #298 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! We’re back on the air after a longer than expected hiatus, and man, do we have some news to catch up on! Join guest co-host Dee4Three and I as we chat about NBA Live 20 being cancelled, the future of NBA Live, and the latest updates for NBA 2K20 and NBA 2K Playgrounds 2.

NBA 2K20 has been out for around nine weeks now, and has already received several patches. Although the updates have been controversial due to their size, quantity, and lack of detailed patch notes, we are pleased with some of the changes. This leads to a discussion about transparency, toxicity, and overall, our current impressions of the game. We also talk about the latest update for NBA 2K Playgrounds 2, and how the game has turned out. After that, we turn our attention to this week’s main topic: NBA Live 20’s cancellation. Was it the right call? How does it affect the brand’s image? What needs to happen with NBA Live 21? Is it time for another Wishlist? And finally, what happens to basketball gaming as we enter a new generation?

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on NBA Live 20’s cancellation? How do you feel about the latest updates for NBA 2K20 and NBA 2K Playgrounds 2? 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.

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 Patch 1.20 Adds New Content

NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 Patch 1.20

Patch 1.20 is now available for NBA 2K Playgrounds 2, and should download automatically as long as you have an active Internet connection. If you run into any issues, try checking for the update manually, or restarting your console or Steam client. The patch is a content update for the 2020 season, and the release notes are as follows:

  • 22 new playable characters
  • 6 returning courts from NBA Playgrounds
  • 30 new vanity items
  • 50 new court editor items
  • Playable Ronnie 2K!

For the record, the last patch for NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 was released back in May. Since there haven’t been any announcements regarding a new title, it appears as though the current release will be updated for a while longer. As always, feel free to share your thoughts on Patch 1.20 for NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

The Friday Five: Top 5 Worst Announcers in Basketball Games

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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 countdown of the Top 5 worst announcers in basketball video games.

Two Top 5 countdowns in a row? Yes indeed! Last week we took a look at my picks for the five best announcers in basketball games, so it seems only right that this week, we count down the five worst. Once again, this is all subjective and down to personal preference to some extent, and I don’t want to come across as mean-spirited with this countdown. After all, I’m sure that everyone I’ve named here did try their best in the booth. Nevertheless, these are my picks, and reading comments from other basketball gamers, I know that I’m not alone in some of these selections.

Since I outlined what makes a great hoops game announcer last week, I suppose I should set out my criteria for the worst announcers. Essentially, it’s the opposite. The performance may be stilted and boring, or inauthentic. In some cases, it may be a bad fit for the style of basketball game in question. Other times, the performance isn’t the problem, but the things the announcer is saying are annoying or distracting, and take you out of the experience. In short, commentary that is flat, uninspiring, ill-fitting, or annoying will make the action on the virtual hardwood seem far less fun and exciting, and that’s one of the main problems that I (and others) have with these announcers.

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The Friday Five: 5 Wholesome Moments in Basketball Gaming

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 wholesome moments in basketball gaming.

Let’s face it: it’s easy to get bogged down in negativity. Sure, criticism is an important part of constructive feedback, but it shouldn’t be our only focus here in the basketball gaming community. Most online communities have their toxic elements and sadly we aren’t immune, especially when certain elements of the games cultivate and contribute to a toxic atmosphere at times. It’s therefore important that we take time to recognise the positive aspects of our hobby, and celebrate all of the fun that we have with it. After all, most of us do enjoy playing the games at least some of the time!

Beyond our enjoyment of all the things we do on the virtual hardwood, basketball gaming has been responsible for some wholesome moments throughout the years, and those should be celebrated as well. I know that it’s difficult not to be cynical and write off such gestures as nothing more than PR stunts, but the mere fact that there’s the prospect of positive press doesn’t mean that these wholesome gestures are insincere, or that they aren’t admirable. With that in mind, let’s wrap up the working week with some positivity, and take a look at five wholesome and heart-warming moments from various basketball video games, and give some credit where it’s due.

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The Friday Five: 5 Hot Takes on Basketball Gaming in 2019

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 features five of my hot takes on basketball gaming in 2019.

Another Friday the 13th is upon us, and I’ll be honest: I’m drawing a blank on fresh ideas related to good luck, bad luck, and the number thirteen. I suppose I could talk about having terrible luck with disconnections in NBA 2K, or how I lost my progress in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER when I accidentally overwrote it with an old backup from the cloud, and then access to the save file entirely because the server was shut down during a time when I’d uninstalled the game. I could look back at NBA 2K13, or even the ill-fated NBA Live 13, but that’s more suited to Wayback Wednesday.

Instead, I’m going to take us into the weekend by sharing five hot takes about hoops gaming in 2019. After all, does anyone want a fair and measured take anymore? I’d like to think so as that’s my preferred approach, but there’s no denying the popularity of hot takes. If you agree with them, they make you feel clever and self-righteous. If you disagree with them, you can enjoy getting fired up and firing back at the person tossing them out. I can’t quite bring myself to abandon all reason and give you some hot takes on the level of an obnoxious talking head on a panel show, but I’ll share a few thoughts regarding our beloved hobby that you may or may not agree with.

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The Friday Five: 5 New Basketball Games I’d Like to See

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 new basketball games that I’d like to see developed in the future.

Happy 2K Day everyone! NBA 2K20 is out today, which means a lot of gamers in our community will be spending time with it this weekend; I know I will be! While I hope I’ll enjoy NBA 2K20 as much as I did NBA 2K19, I’m also hoping that it won’t be the only release this year. We’re still waiting on any information about NBA Live 20, and the future of the NBA Live series. A release is slated for next quarter and various reps have said that EA Sports aren’t pulling the plug, so we can only wait and see what happens.

I still firmly believe that we need at least two viable choices when it comes to the sim-oriented NBA games on the market. Ideally, we’d also have some more arcade games and other titles to choose from, too. Obviously a lot of people are getting the virtual basketball experience they crave from NBA 2K, but competition, alternatives, and different takes on the sport are important to have. Beyond seeing NBA Live catch up to NBA 2K and be competitive again, there are other ideas for basketball games that I’d like to see come to fruition. Some of these ideas are easier said than done when you take licensing into account, but I’m throwing them out there anyway.

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NLSC Podcast #289: NBA Season Ends, Preview Season Begins

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Episode #289 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Kenny and I catch up on the conclusion of the 2019 NBA Finals, talk about basketball gaming during the offseason, and look ahead to this year’s preview season for NBA Live and NBA 2K.

A new NBA champion has been crowned! We reflect on Games 5 and 6 of the NBA Finals, discuss what’s next for the champion Toronto Raptors and injury-riddled Golden State Warriors, and offer up some thoughts on the Draft and free agency. The beginning of the offseason also raises questions about our basketball gaming habits. Are we done with the 2019 season games, or is there life in them yet? We outline some of our plans for both titles. As the preview season for NBA Live 20 and NBA 2K20 looms in the distance, we also discuss our expectations for the games, and how we’d like EA Sports and 2K Sports to handle the previews. Will we ever see another historical challenge mode? What role will the WNBA play in both games? We’ll know come July…or August…or maybe September…

Tune in below!

How do your basketball gaming habits change during the offseason? What are your expectations for this year’s preview season? 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.