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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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NLSC Podcast #352: NBA 2K21 Next Gen Impressions

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Episode #352 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Through a stroke of good luck, we have Next Gen consoles earlier than anticipated! This means we’re able to join the cool kids who are already playing NBA 2K21 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, but we haven’t forgotten about Current Gen. The latest patch for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One has brought Winter to 2K Beach, but no fix for the broken Daily Bonus feature. After a bit of a grumble about that, it’s on to our initial NBA 2K21 Next Gen impressions, and they’re actually quite positive! In fact, tempered expectations and slider tweaks have us feeling pretty good about it. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about reliable tricks and cheats in old games, and the way that NBA 2K has changed focus and approach in recent years.

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 PS4 & X1 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 PS4 & X1 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 2K14 on PS4 and X1.

The age of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S is upon us! Although many of us will miss out on getting the consoles at launch – and I’m in that group – many other gamers will be hitting the virtual hardwood and blacktop in NBA 2K21 Next Gen over the coming days, weeks, and months. The rest of us will have to make do with NBA 2K21 Current Gen, or the hoops game of our choice that’s available on PS4, X1, or PC. That doesn’t mean we can’t get our virtual basketball fix of course, but it does mean that we miss out on the excitement and hoopla of a Next Gen release.

Honestly, it doesn’t feel like it was seven years ago that we were experiencing that with NBA 2K14 on PS4 and X1. After the OMG Trailer more than lived up to its name and blew us all away, we were eager to see if the game played as good as it looked. It seems as though many basketball gamers do have a lot of nostalgia for NBA 2K14 on PS4 and X1, but looking back, did it live up to the hype, and how well does it hold up now? As a new generation launches and Current Gen becomes Last Gen, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How We Really Feel About VC

Monday Tip-Off: How We Really Feel About VC

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 at how the community really feels about VC in NBA 2K.

Back in October, I posted a poll on Twitter and in the NLSC Forum, asking a two-part question about Virtual Currency. The question I posed to my fellow basketball gamers was whether they had ever bought VC, and if so, did they buy it regularly and readily. I was interested to see the results, because the community’s thoughts on VC aren’t always as obvious as you might think. While it would likely be a very small minority that would argue that NBA 2K needs to have microtransactions, not all basketball gamers are completely against them.

As such, the matter of how we feel about VC isn’t open and shut. When you look at the poll numbers and opinions that people have offered up on the subject, it’s fair to say that the consensus is that we’re not fans of microtransactions and NBA 2K’s general approach with its freemium-like in-game economy. At the same time, being against the practice doesn’t mean that people don’t partake in it. Likewise, partaking in buying VC – at least somewhat willingly – doesn’t mean that someone necessarily disagrees with the criticism. Throw in staunch opposition and general apathy, and the question of how we feel about VC doesn’t always have an obvious answer.

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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Purchases That Didn’t Pan Out

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 discusses five retro purchases that didn’t pan out the way that I was hoping.

When I was a young basketball gamer, my parents didn’t quite understand the concept of annual releases. I remember buying NBA Live 97, and my father saying something along the lines of “OK, you don’t need any more basketball games.” It’s funny to look back on now considering how much my collection has grown since then, to the point where acquiring basketball games is as much my hobby as playing them. Given that I’m a content creator, they’re also an investment that helps out with that venture, but I also enjoy searching for bargains and adding some obscure or difficult to find titles.

Expanding my collection beyond the games I bought and played when they were new has allowed me to experience some titles that I missed the first time around. As I’ve said before, some are good, and some are bad. Some I wish I played more of when they were new, and some I can safely say I was right to avoid. Either way, I don’t regret my retro purchases because I enjoy collecting, and checking them out not only creates material for Wayback Wednesday but is also a fun adventure. Unfortunately, not all of my retro purchases have panned out. It’s the risk you take when you hunt down second hand titles, but fortunately none of these busts have broken the bank.

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Monday Tip-Off: Do We Need Those Stinking Badges?

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Need Those Stinking Badges?

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 whether NBA 2K’s MyCAREER and its connected modes are too reliant on Badges, and their general implementation.

Sim games have long sought to properly differentiate between players, beginning with detailed ratings. Those base attributes alone haven’t always been sufficient though, and so developers have experimented with mechanics such as Freestyle Superstars in NBA Live, and Signature Skills in NBA 2K. Signature Skills have given way to Badges, which like their predecessors, grant boosts and represent special abilities that the standard ratings can’t account for. As with Signature Skills, or the similar Traits system in NBA Live, they’re available to real players and career mode avatars alike.

These days, Badges are probably more important than ratings/attributes. You can max out a player’s ratings in a certain area, but it takes the effects of a Badge to ensure that they’re sufficiently levelled up. On one hand, this does make the exceptionally skilled stand out from the very good, much as Freestyle Superstars in NBA Live once aimed to achieve. On the other hand, it also means that high ratings – which are theoretically only given to the best real players, and take a long time to grind for our MyPLAYERs – are far less powerful than they should be, if they aren’t paired with the various boosts afforded by Badges. Given these issues, do we need those stinking Badges?

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NBA 2K Developers Taking Roles At EA Sports

NBA 2K Developers Taking Roles At EA Sports

I’ve always been a bit leery about reporting on personnel moves at EA Sports and Visual Concepts, but today has brought some significant news regarding two now-former NBA 2K developers. Gameplay producer Scott O’Gallagher and senior producer Rob Jones have taken their talents to EA Sports, in as yet unannounced roles.

OG Tweeted out a short clip revealing his move, and his Twitter bio has been updated to include the title Creative Director at EA Sports. Presumably he’ll be working on NBA Live, but that hasn’t been officially confirmed. As reported by Operation Sports, Jones took on a senior producer role at EA three months ago, and has recently updated his Twitter handle to remove references to 2K.

Once again, presumably the former NBA 2K developers will now be working on NBA Live, which is set to miss its second straight season. Rob Jones was a long-time member of the NBA 2K team, while Scott O’Gallagher joined the team for NBA 2K15, after previously working for EA Sports on NBA Live 14. It would seem unusual to bring them in to work on other franchises, though again, there’s been no official word on their roles at EA.

If we’re to assume they’ve been brought in to work on NBA Live, then that’s certainly promising news. It suggests that NBA Live is far from permanently canned, and that EA are looking to invest in its future by rebuilding the development team with people who had prominent roles with the highly successful NBA 2K series. There’s not much else to go on right now, but if any further developments present themselves, we’ll be sure to cover them in due course. In any case, congratulations to Scott and Rob on their new gigs! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, and join in the discussion here in the Forum.

NLSC Podcast #337: Playing Your Cards Right

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Episode #337 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

As the NBA 2K21 demo looms, we’ve received an insight into MyTEAM with the latest developer blog. Much of this week’s show is spent providing a comprehensive breakdown of the blog, which delivered some promising news. We also offer up some final speculation ahead of the demo’s release, though we’re keeping our expectations low as far as its scope is concerned. With the launch of NBA 2K21 Next Gen happening a couple of months into the Current Gen version’s life cycle, we also talk about our plans for the latter. Other topics include Ante-Up, MyTEAM pack odds, the positives and negatives of regulation in the Auction House, and the oldest releases that we could feasibly play regularly again.

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 #336: I’m A Surgeon With This Pro Stick

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Episode #336 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Before we get to this week’s gaming news, we take a moment to reflect on the San Antonio Spurs’ 22-year Playoff streak coming to an end. On the subject of change, however, we have our first developer blog for NBA 2K21 Current Gen, previewing this year’s gameplay. We break down the changes to the Pro Stick, including the new dribbling and shooting controls, and other details provided by the blog. With a demo coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 24th, we also speculate on what it will entail, and discuss the likelihood of a Next Gen demo later this year. We’ve also got some new retro basketball game purchases to talk about, and once again touch on the modding possibilities for NBA 2K21 PC.

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.