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NLSC Podcast #370: MyTEAM Card Tricks

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Episode #370 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

After last week’s show, we were inspired to spend some more time with NBA Live 2001, and have a few more thoughts to share. A couple of options from the game also bring to mind suggestions for additional roster management functions and MyNBA settings. Our main discussion this week focuses on MyTEAM, specifically issues with overpowered cards. We note how it encourages NBA 2K’s pushy recurrent revenue mechanics, waters down the gameplay with an homogenised experience, and misrepresents NBA history. Notably, the issues also extend beyond MyTEAM into MyCAREER. In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about Blacktop, as well as the idea of trash talking mechanics.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. 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 #368: You Say Ancient, We Say Classic

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Episode #368 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

Picking up some extra copies of NBA 2K12 has revealed some interesting details, but we’re still searching for answers about a possible limited edition cover. Meanwhile, comments on a recent YouTube video underscore how NBA 2K21 Next Gen wasn’t the leap that many gamers were hoping for. Speaking of NBA 2K’s future, we discuss Visual Concepts’ recent acquisition of HookBang, and what it means for the series. We also have some thoughts on remarks from Sony’s Jim Ryan regarding backwards compatibility, and his dismissal of classic games as unplayable. In this week’s mailbag, we’re building our own arcade basketball game based on one of three classic titles, and recalling our experiences with Sony’s NBA series.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. 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 #365: Time To Get Creative

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Episode #365 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

Deep Create-a-Player features are a must, and it’s tough not to get wistful when we see them in other sports titles. Some of the features in MLB The Show give us ideas for what we’d like to see in NBA Live and NBA 2K’s creation tools. The pain of losing functionality when servers are shut down leads us to discuss the possibility of a subscription model for basketball games. In the news this week, Ultimate Rivals: The Court has been announced. We’re intrigued, and looking forward to an NBA Jam-like game with Tim Kitzrow on the call. Time with The W also has us nostalgic for an era when microtransactions weren’t everything. In the mailbag this week, we answer a question about the necessary focus in order for NBA Live to make a triumphant return, and Frankenstein our ideal game, picking and choosing elements from a number of existing basketball titles.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. 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.

Monday Tip-Off: In The Shadow Of Their Predecessors

Monday Tip-Off: In The Shadow Of Their Predecessors

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 thoughts on the way that every new NBA 2K game finds itself in the shadow of its predecessors, and the cyclical nature of critique.

Not everyone has been entirely happy with NBA 2K21, but what else is new? While the NBA 2K series continues to be very successful, opinions of recent releases have been much less favourable than their predecessors. Legacy issues, practices that are lacking in goodwill, and product fatigue, have all led to an increasingly dissatisfied userbase. In turn, this dissatisfaction has inspired gamers to reminisce about titles from just a few years ago. To that end, the last few games have been unfavourably compared to the likes of NBA 2K15, NBA 2K16, and NBA 2K17.

A recent Twitter thread criticising NBA 2K21 drew an interesting reply about these comparisons. In response to the assertion that NBA 2K21 is the worst game in the series, the Tweet pointed out that it’s a title bestowed on just about every NBA 2K game when it’s new. It specifically noted similar remarks about NBA 2K17, a game that’s now being held up as a benchmark that newer games have failed to reach. While it’s a generalisation that deflects some valid criticism of NBA 2K21 and its immediate predecessors, it also raises a pertinent question: do we forget our own criticism, with revisionist history and nostalgia unfairly casting a shadow over every new game?

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NLSC Podcast #363: Worth A Second Look

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Episode #363 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

After dusting off the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 prompted a surprising change of heart for one of us, this week’s episode discusses revisiting old games and seeing them in a new light. We consider the factors that influence changes in our opinions of previous games, and offer up some personal examples of games that we now view differently. We also tackle the phenomenon of games that were once heavily criticised subsequently being held up as benchmarks. In the mailbag this week, we react to a suggestion that would result in more goodwill for NBA 2K’s recurrent revenue mechanics.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. 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 #362: Putting the Ball in the Basket

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Episode #362 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

A bevy of retro season roster mods are being produced at the moment, which we’re excited to see. The fact that there are a couple of 2005 season mods out or in the works reminds us that time is marching on, and our nostalgia is getting old! We also have some advice for getting big projects done and released. Meanwhile, NBA 2K21 Current Gen and Next Gen have both received new patches, so we briefly discuss some of the changes. This week’s main discussion is a deep dive into shooting mechanics: the history and evolution, the best and worst concepts, and everything in between. In the latest mailbag, we discuss the forthcoming Space Jam sequel, and consider another What If scenario.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. 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.

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K15 & The Forgotten Generation

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K15 & The Forgotten Generation

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 2K15 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, part of a forgotten generation of NBA 2K titles.

Way back in the mid 2000s, the launch of the Xbox 360 (and then the PlayStation 3) forced us to change our approach to our content and coverage. At the time we were still more or less exclusively about NBA Live PC, but we now had two generations to cover: the PlayStation 2/Xbox version, which we covered because it was the one that was ported to PC, and the Next Gen version on the new consoles, as it was the release receiving the most attention from EA Sports. When NBA Live was discontinued on PC, and then PS2 a year later, we only had the 360 and PS3 version to cover.

It’s been different with NBA 2K. When it landed on PC, it was the same version that the 360 and PS3 received (give or take an online feature). We covered both the last gen PC port and Next Gen version of NBA 2K14 following the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and then when the PC received a PS4/X1 port from NBA 2K15 onwards, we simply left the prior gen behind. Simply put, there wasn’t much reason to cover it, and I personally stopped buying NBA 2K on that generation. I’ve wondered what it was like though, and to that end, I picked up a copy of NBA 2K15 for PS3 to check out. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Antagonists in MyCAREER Stories

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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 Antagonists encountered in MyCAREER stories (obligatory spoiler warning).

It’s often said that a story is only as good as its villain. We love our heroes and all, but we need them to overcome obstacles, and ultimately, a worthy antagonist. After all, what would Batman be without The Joker? The most popular professional wrestlers have always had great heels to make them look heroic, even if they’re a bit of an anti-hero themselves. Name a popular franchise, and it’ll be sure to have a memorable antagonist that made the protagonist’s journey exciting and meaningful. Conversely, the absence of a strong villain tends to water down a tale.

Of course, that isn’t always the case. Indeed, it’s possible to tell a good, coherent story without an antagonist. The complication the protagonist faces instead comes from the challenge of accomplishing a task, or resolving conflict that wasn’t caused by any act of maliciousness or villainy. This is often the case with MyCAREER stories, in which the protagonist is a young basketball player with aspirations of making the NBA, and must face all of the hurdles that go hand-in-hand with achieving that dream. However, we’ve also encountered a few antagonists, and they’ve undoubtedly made the road to the NBA bumpier. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 MyCAREER antagonists!

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Monday Tip-Off: I’ve Got To Use My Imagination

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 thoughts on how we no longer have to use our imagination when it comes to career and franchise modes.

Yes, the title of this week’s column is indeed a reference to a song by Gladys Knight & the Pips. That’s about as far as the reference goes, however. Truth be told, I only know the song because Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favourite movies, and it’s on its soundtrack. In any case, imagination is a core component of gaming, no matter the genre. Whether we’re playing single player or multiplayer, we immerse ourselves in a virtual world. We share the goal of the player character, whether it’s saving the world, winning a championship, or causing mayhem as a goose.

Imagination has always been – and to some extent still is – a big part of basketball gaming. Whether we’re assuming the role of a general manager or coach, taking control of a star player, or stepping onto the hardwood or blacktop with our own avatar, there’s an element of fantasy at play. Of course, many years ago, we had to be far more imaginative as far as scenarios and stories. In franchise and career play, we filled in the gaps, created our own back stories, and would even role-play in our story section. These days, we don’t have to use our imagination so much, especially in the story-driven MyCAREER. Needless to say, there are benefits and drawbacks to this.

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NLSC Podcast #356: State of NBA 2K Addressed

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Episode #356 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Before we get rolling, we touch on the subject of virtual hardwood photography, and offer up some tips to get the best angles. After that, we get right into our main topic: the current state of NBA 2K, and our latest thoughts on NBA 2K21. How is the latest game – and the series as a whole – looking as we enter the new year, with a new generation? What are our concerns for the future, and what responsibility does have the community have in providing 2K with constructive feedback? In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about NBA 2K13 on Wii U, and what – if anything – EA Sports should take from NBA Live 19.

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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for 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.

The Friday Five: 5 Things You’re Too Late To Get

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 in various basketball games that you’re too late to get, if you don’t already have them.

Happy New Year, basketball gamers! Welcome to the start of another year here at the NLSC, and another twelve months of basketball gaming. With another nine months before we see the next NBA 2K game, we can expect to see plenty of content for both the Next Gen and Current Gen versions of NBA 2K21; especially in MyTEAM, as there’s cross-generation progression. Of course, with the new Seasons approach, some rewards are already off the table. If you didn’t level up or finish the challenges by the time the previous Seasons ended, you’re now too late to get those goodies.

That’s not uncommon these days, what with the “games as a service” model that more and more developers are gravitating towards, including Visual Concepts. We’ve seen similar tactics in NBA Live too, albeit mostly with cosmetic items in LIVE Events. Developers are looking to capitalise on FOMO whenever they can, and as much as we may hate to admit it, it’s a highly effective tactic. With that being said, it’s not just new games where we can feel as though we’ve missed out. Certain content, and even full games that were digital-only releases, are now gone forever. These five things are no longer available, so if you want them, then that’s too bad; it’s now far too late.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Next up is a retrospective of NBA Live 15.

Although NBA Live 14 had been a rough comeback, the mere fact that it was actually released gave us hope that the series wasn’t done. There was a lot of work to be done, though: modes and features needed to be added, mechanics and animations needed to be enhanced, and more authenticity was required. NBA Live 15 took a few steps in the right direction, but it wasn’t a big enough jump. It was a better game than NBA Live 14, no doubt, but that was a low bar to clear. Interestingly, it also dropped a few ideas that were actually worth keeping. Let’s take a closer look at the second year in NBA Live’s comeback attempt, and see what went right, and what went wrong.

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NLSC Podcast #355: Hey, Mr Postman!

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Episode #355 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

As promised, we’re ending the year with a jumbo edition of the mailbag! First of all, we’re ranking NBA 2K on the last generation, and yes, our lists do differ. We also revisit the topic of NBA Live’s future, EA Sports’ silence on the game’s official social media channels, and how optimistic we feel. This segues into a discussion of franchises that EA has discontinued. Other topics include star athletes of yesteryear returning, our favourite mods, and what would take NBA 2K to the next level as far as features and content are concerned. A huge thanks to everyone who contributed topics and questions!

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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for 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 #354: 2K Giveth, & 2K Taketh Away

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Episode #354 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Where can you learn about the differences between versions of Tecmo Super NBA Basketball? Our podcast, that’s where! Patch 1.03 for NBA 2K21 Next Gen is also out, and it’s full of fixes and gameplay tweaks. There are minimal differences, but as we note, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The impending shutdown of the NBA 2K19 servers leads to a discussion about lost features, old games still being sold at full price, and a huge opportunity for 2K to generate goodwill. In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking bad ratings, not feeling like we’re in control in newer 2K titles, and our non-basketball gaming habits.

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 mailbag questions and topic suggestions for 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.

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 5

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 5

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 revisiting NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4, on my PlayStation 5.

Ahead of the new generation of consoles launching and the release of NBA 2K21 Next Gen, I posted a retrospective of NBA 2K14; the launch title for the previous generation. Normally I wouldn’t revisit a game so soon – especially after writing what was intended to be an in-depth retrospective – but the idea of testing out the PS5’s backwards compatibility with a PS4 launch title is too tempting to pass up. There’s something poetic about it, on top of the usual appeal of firing up old releases on new tech; a certain novelty in addition to the curiosity.

Obviously, the PlayStation 5 isn’t going to enhance the gameplay of NBA 2K14. It won’t address bugs or AI quirks, and it’s not going to add the depth and features that were sorely missed. Nevertheless, I’m interested to see how the game performs on the new console, as well as run a general compatibility test for the PS5. I’ve got the console, I’ve got the game, so let’s combine them to take a look back…way back…

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