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NLSC Podcast #520: Best Generation of NBA Live & NBA 2K

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #520 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which generation produced the best NBA Live and NBA 2K games? This week, we join the community in nominating the golden age for each series. We also recap our exciting co-op Parsec sessions with NBA Live 2000 PC and NBA 2K2 for GameCube, which in turn leads us to reflect on the 2000 Phoenix Suns and the fantastic NBA of the 80s. Additionally, we check in with Troydan’s ongoing quest to pull 100 Overall MyTEAM cards, discuss the drawbacks of digital ownership and the need for physical media, and note an unfortunate side effect of declining the new Terms of Service in NBA 2K24.

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: The Evolution of Roster Mods

Wayback Wednesday: The Evolution of Roster Mods

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 the evolution of roster mods in our community.

As technological improvements have led to the development of bigger and better basketball video games, our expectations have changed. What were once cutting-edge graphics are no longer impressive. What was once a deep and engaging mode now seems shallow compared to what’s available in a newer game…usually! This isn’t to say that old games are bad and not worth playing. I wouldn’t be diving into basketball gaming history, or advocating for retro gaming, if I didn’t see value in older titles! Still, we always want to see the genre make advancements, so the bar does get raised.

The same goes for modding over the years. While we made some fantastic roster mods for the early NBA Live games on PC, there were limitations to what we could change and include. As it became easier to modify textures and models in addition to player and team data, there was an expectation that roster mods would become more comprehensive. This led to a golden age of NBA Live modding that has since been continued with the NBA 2K series, but in some ways, it’s also been detrimental to the hobby. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #519: Infinite NBA Modes To Keep Us Hooked

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #519 of the NLSC Podcast!

We’re tipping things off this week with a strange (but not altogether surprising) incident on Twitter/X. Indeed, the quality of discourse on social media is on our minds this week, as we feel compelled to respond to the latest ridiculous narrative being pushed about Michael Jordan and NBA history. We also check in with Troydan’s quest to pull a 100 Overall card in NBA 2K24 MyTEAM, and discuss the new mobile game, NBA Infinite. In this week’s mailbag/featured discussion, we join the community in reminiscing about the basketball video game modes that have kept us hooked over the years, and the titles that we played them in.

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 #509: Reflecting on Basketball Gaming in 2023

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #509 of the NLSC Podcast!

Happy New Year basketball gamers, and welcome to the first episode of the NLSC Podcast for 2024! We’re in the mood to make some basketball gaming resolutions for the new year, as well as reflect on some of our favourite content from 2023. We also join the community in discussing the basketball games that we spent the most time with last year, as well as the modes we were playing and other activities we enjoyed, including modding. Additionally, we share our thoughts on the new NBA Playgrounds game that’s been released on Roblox, and how it feels like a fall from grace for a once-promising series of arcade basketball video games.

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 Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 23rd, 2023

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

The festive season is upon us once again, so it’s time for 2023’s Christmas Edition of the NLSC Top 10 Plays! This week’s countdown truly is a gift, as we have Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James all in action, throwing it down in signature style. The NBA Live 2001 Legends continue their recent kick with NBA 2K9, and even Santa Claus himself makes a timely appearance, courtesy of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition. A total of nine different titles ranging from NBA Live 06 to NBA 2K24 are on display, so let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

 

Monday Tip-Off: When MyPLAYER Isn’t Your Player

Monday Tip-Off: When MyPLAYER Isn't Your Player

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 a lack of true role-playing opportunities with your MyPLAYER in MyCAREER.

It’s been interesting to see the birth and subsequent evolution of career modes in basketball video games. Putting aside the story-driven campaign in Sony’s NBA series, or the single season experience in the PlayStation 2 version of NBA Live 09, the first true career mode came with NBA 2K10’s My Player. That name eventually morphed into MyPLAYER and was given to our avatars, while the mode itself was re-branded as MyCAREER. NBA 2K14 brought a more cinematic approach to the mode, and since then, MyCAREER has essentially become a basketball MMORPG.

While the core concept of MyCAREER remains the same – you’re an NBA rookie with an opportunity to play through a career in the league – these changes have obviously impacted the on-court and off-court experience. Ironically, as the mode has become more and more RPG-based, there’s actually been less opportunity to role-play with your MyPLAYER! Where we were once left to use our imaginations and project a personality onto our avatars, we’re saddled with a character that’s following a script. Whether it’s by limiting our choices, or putting the story on rails via cutscenes, there are undoubtedly times when our MyPLAYER doesn’t feel like it’s our player.

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Wayback Wednesday: Famous Numbers, Not So Famous Players

Wayback Wednesday: Famous Numbers, Not So Famous Players

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 famous jersey numbers that were worn by players who weren’t so famous, and the video games where you’ll find them.

There was a commemorative magazine published not long after the Chicago Bulls won their fifth NBA championship. As an avid fan, I read it cover to cover until it was no longer pristine. On top of recapping the championship season, the magazine delved into the history of the Bulls. I was fascinated to learn that although Michael Jordan became the last and most famous Bull to wear number 23, he was the seventh player in club history to don it. You have to remember that in 1997, such information wasn’t readily available and accessible in less than a minute!

That tidbit of Bulls and MJ trivia has stuck with me. The longer I’ve been a basketball fan, and the more players that I’ve seen come and go, the more I’ve seen other stars end up sharing their number with far less distinguished NBA alumni. Like so much other historical trivia, these examples frequently present themselves whenever I’m revisiting an old video game, and see players in the rosters that I haven’t thought about in years. While they may not have reached the same level of fame and success as the stars who donned those jerseys, there’s still that connection to their famous peers and their iconic numbers. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #503: Good Vibes, Free Mods!

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #503 of the NLSC Podcast!

We’re all about good vibes and enhancing everyone’s basketball gaming, from recommendations about an Android emulator that allows you to play mobile games on your PC, to advocating for freely available mods! Fortunately, we do still have people releasing some great projects free of charge, including wiscard_rush who has just completed a great 2009 season roster for NBA Live 10 PS3. This leads us to join the community in speculating on why we’re not seeing anywhere near as many mods for NBA 2K24 as we have for previous games. We also ask the community which console they’d choose if they could only have one for life, and what they consider to be the turning points for NBA Live and NBA 2K.

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 #500: NBA 2K10 & A Huge Milestone

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #500 of the NLSC Podcast!

We’re celebrating a huge milestone this week, as it’s the 500th episode of the NLSC Podcast! To mark the occasion, we’re dipping into the archives to find some classic clips from over eleven years of shows, from the original test pilot in 2010 to interviews with a couple of fantastic guests. We’ve had a ton of fun over the years, and we promise that we’re not done yet! We also recap a couple of sessions with NBA 2K10 PC that we played with the recently-released fixed official roster, and reflect once again on how the game is often overlooked due to the brilliance of NBA 2K11 the very next year.

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 #499: How Not To Make A Basketball Game

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #499 of the NLSC Podcast!

Last week, we imagined the ideal gameplay for NBA 2K and NBA Live by combining our favourite mechanics from previous games. This week, we’re imagining the worst possible NBA Live and NBA 2K by cobbling together our least favourite mechanics; in other words, we’re describing how NOT to make a basketball game! We also revisited NBA Live 07 and NBA 2K18 ahead of that exercise, and suffice to say, that helped us with some of our selections! On a more positive note, we reflect on some fun sessions with NBA 2K6, Blacktop in NBA 2K14, and NBA Jam: On Fire Edition using the Legends On Fire Edition mod, and a recently released fixed roster for NBA 2K10 PC.

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 Basketball Game Collecting Regrets

The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Game Collecting Regrets

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 regrets I have regarding basketball game collecting.

Generally speaking, basketball game collecting is something that I don’t regret. I’ve enjoyed building up my collection, playing some games that I overlooked back in the day, and having a variety of titles to fall back on if I’m not enjoying the latest release. I’ve aimed to be a savvy collector with a sensible budget, so I don’t really have any regrets as far as the money I’ve spent. Well, sort of. In the past, I’ve carelessly bought the wrong version of a couple of titles, as well as a manual instead of the actual game, because I didn’t pay enough attention to the eBay listing. Rookie mistakes!

Fortunately, I wasn’t out of pocket for those erroneous purchases. Beyond that, adding to my collection has been fun and exciting, especially when I’ve been able to track down a rare game at a great price. I am, for the most part, quite satisfied with the games that I currently have at my disposal. However, I do have some regrets when it comes to my adventures in basketball game collecting. I’ve missed out on a few opportunities over the years, and at this point, I’m not going to get a second chance. There were understandable reasons that I passed up those opportunities of course, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally grumble at myself for letting them slip by.

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA 2K Has a Virtual Monopoly

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA 2K Has a Virtual Monopoly

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 that NBA 2K now has a virtual monopoly over the virtual hardwood.

We’re fortunate that the NBA hasn’t followed the NFL’s example of offering video game developers and publishers exclusive rights to their license. In theory, we could still see an array of licensed NBA video games from a variety of companies, since there’s nothing legally preventing them from throwing their hat into the ring. Of course, in terms of feasibility and practicality, it’s not so simple. NBA 2K has set a high bar that sim basketball games are expected to clear and raise, meaning the NBA license alone won’t allow alternative titles to compete.

Since no one else is taking a chance on competing with NBA 2K, they have a virtual monopoly when it comes to basketball video games. Sure, there have been a handful of NBA Live games over the past decade – though none since 2018 – as well as two NBA Playgrounds titles. We’ve also seen some indie hoops games that don’t use the NBA license, including the outstanding Basketball Classics. However, NBA 2K is the only Big Name™ in basketball gaming, and the lack of alternatives and competition is essentially a monopoly. How did we get to this point? Here are five reasons that NBA 2K was able to establish a monopoly, with a little help from its one-time competitors.

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NLSC Podcast #496: NBA 2K17, NBA Live 06, & Community Favourites

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #496 of the NLSC Podcast!

Many of our all-time favourite basketball video games are still in the rotation, and this week we connected on Parsec to revisit two of them: NBA 2K17 and NBA Live 06 PC! We reflect on the strong points of each game and why they hold up so well years later, as well as the satisfying feeling of playing them with mods that we created! We’re also interested in the community’s all-time favourite hoops titles, so in this week’s mailbag, our listeners tell us which ones they still hold close to their hearts. We’ve also got some tips regarding affordable cards in NBA 2K24 MyTEAM – while advocating for No Money Spent, of course – and a couple of customary cheap plugs.

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 Gimmicks That Didn’t Last Long

The Friday Five: 5 Gimmicks That Didn't Last Long

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 gimmicks in basketball gaming that didn’t last very long.

A common complaint about features, mechanics, or modes in basketball games is that they’re “gimmicky”. Of course, it’s possible to describe the more positive attributes of basketball games as “gimmicks”, in the sense that they’re selling points. However, we usually reserve the terms “gimmicks” and “gimmicky” for features and mechanics that we feel deserve the negative connotation. They’re the aspects of basketball games that add little value, and perhaps even detract from the overall experience. It’s why we say we want to see real improvements and great additions, and not just gimmicks.

Unfortunately, basketball games have experimented with ideas that turned out to be more gimmicky than beneficial. They’re not alone in that regard, though. Other genres of video games, television shows, films, social media platforms…not every idea will be a winner, particularly if the concept wasn’t necessarily intended to be beneficial to the audience. Some ideas are certainly creative and merited a try, but didn’t pan out as well as hoped. The good news is that although we’ve seen a number of questionable gimmicks in basketball games, many of them didn’t last too long. They either evolved into a better concept, or were dropped very soon afterwards, as in these five examples.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things I Miss When I Play Old Games

The Friday Five: 5 Things I Miss When I Play Old Games

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 things that I miss when I go back and play older basketball video games.

Retro basketball gaming is awesome, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! That isn’t to say that newer games aren’t great too, and I certainly sink hours into them as well. However, don’t let the naysayers tell you that all previous releases were inferior to their modern counterparts, and it’s only myopic nostalgia that allows you to enjoy them. Whether it’s the pervasive presence of recurrent revenue mechanics, a grind that feels more like tedious work than a fun and challenging journey, or a questionable design choice in the gameplay, newer is not always better.

By the same token however, it’s true that not everything was better in the “good old days”. Some ideas, or entire games, have aged poorly. We can also forget that even the classics have problems of their own. If nothing else, there are enhancements and additions in more recent basketball games that I miss when I go back and play old titles. Their absence doesn’t render those old games unplayable or unenjoyable, but you definitely do miss the fun and/or convenience that they added. Even if there’s an old approach that still has merit and would work fine, we’ve grown accustomed to a new way of doing things. Whatever the case, I miss these five things in old games.

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