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NLSC Podcast #437: NBA 2K23 First Look, NBA in the Zone, and…Garfield Kart?

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #437 of the NLSC Podcast!

Following up on last week’s show about retro collecting, we have some further recommendations, and a possible new recurring segment. We also make good on two promises: to test multiplayer in Garfield Kart, and to play NBA in the Zone and NBA in the Zone 2. Garfield Kart was of course life-changing, but Konami’s classics proved to be very interesting releases to revisit. The NBA 2K23 First Look Trailer has given us a glimpse of the Next Gen version in action, and we certainly have some thoughts ahead of next week’s gameplay news. A recent video from Agent 00 resonated with us, and aptly summed up the politics of content creation. Finally, we’re opening up this week’s mailbag to discuss 2K fatigue.

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: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 7)

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 another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

We’ve reached the seventh and (for the moment) final instalment of the Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places series! As a spinoff of the Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of articles, I wanted to match its seven instalments and 70 examples of players with interesting stints. One of the reasons I love compiling these lists is that these stints – both the ones in strange places and back in familiar places – are often forgotten. Of course, sometimes we’d prefer that, as the players were shells of their former selves by that point!

Once again, I’ll note that I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games. As I’ve explained before, I do this because it fits in with our content as a site about basketball gaming, and because revisiting old games is one way that we’re reminded of the stints that we’ve forgotten. It also makes things more challenging as I’m trying to seek out the most interesting stories, and limit examples to ones that can be found in official rosters. To that point, there are fewer stars in this instalment, but certainly some noteworthy NBA player trivia. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Virtual Hardwood Stories Forum Spotlight

Virtual Hardwood Stories Forum Spotlight

Times change, and different content comes in and out of fashion. However, one section of the NLSC Forum that has maintained a dedicated following throughout the years is the Stories from the Virtual Hardwood board. This is where you can share stories of your franchise and career mode games with your fellow basketball gamers, and really indulge your creativity.

There are some great active threads in the Stories from the Virtual Hardwood section at the moment, and I’d like to take a moment to spotlight them. First of all, we have “The 2K10 & Beyond Project“, a story by jubba910. This tale not only spans multiple seasons but also multiple games, beginning with the 2010 campaign in NBA 2K10. jubba910 is now up to the 2018 season in NBA 2K18, and has produced a very interesting alternate history!

Next up we have “The Wrath of the Rose” by veteran of our story section, kibaxx7. This story winds back the clock to the 1970s, with the Portland Trail Blazers’ entry into the NBA. It’s a few years in now, and has likewise produced some fun alternate history with great presentation. The tale is being told using NBA 2K14 PC and the Ultimate Base Roster.

I’ll also plug my latest story thread here, “Ain’t gonna let nobody write it, but me”. It provides running updates on my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER on PlayStation 4, in between the yearly recaps I’ve been posting in Monday Tip-Off. I’m currently in my fourth season, and expect to have it finished by the time NBA 2K23 is released.

Other regularly-updated topics include the UBR Resim by Mavsfan_1991, A Fantasy World by yeahnah, and truefaith0826‘s 1995-1996 Season. Check them out, and feel free to join in the fun yourself! Quick updates are welcome in this topic, while suggestions for telling your virtual hardwood stories can be found here. We also conducted a series of interviews with long-time contributors to the stories section some years back. Additionally, some of the best stories that have now finished can be found in the NBA Live and NBA 2K Hall of Fame boards. A big thanks to everyone who keeps the stories section going!

Monday Tip-Off: Zero-Sum Thinking & Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: Zero-Sum Thinking & Basketball Gaming

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 how there’s too much zero-sum thinking in the basketball gaming community.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the concept, zero-sum thinking involves perceiving situations as a zero-sum game; in other words, a scenario where a gain for one side means a loss for the other. Needless to say, this leads to a belief that mutual gain and benefits are impossible. Our success must come at the expense of someone else’s failure, and every situation involves a winner and a loser. Obviously there are zero-sum games and scenarios where this is true, but a bias towards zero-sum thinking does result in fallacious assertions.

Needless to say, zero-sum thinking occurs in a number of matters, many of which are more serious than basketball gaming. However, since that’s what we cover here at the NLSC, that’s the context I’m discussing here today. If you’ve observed or partaken in the discourse in the wider basketball gaming community, you’ll have encountered zero-sum thinking, even if you didn’t recognise or label it as such. Again, it’s hardly unique to basketball gaming, and is inevitable when passionate people have different ideas about their hobby. That doesn’t mean we can’t call it out though, because it does foster toxicity, and doesn’t help in the development of better basketball video games.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 3)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 3)

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 more NBA players that made returns after extended absences from the league.

Look, when it comes to NBA trivia and its representation in video games, I can’t get enough! When The BBall Pundit suggested this topic, it required a bit of research, which is always fun. We remember the big names that made returns to the NBA after extended absences – at least two years or more – but there have been other key role players and memorable journeymen that surprised us when they inked new contracts. Perhaps it’s a reminder to never underestimate the intrigue of a young player who still has potential to fulfil, or a capable veteran who can slot right back into a lineup.

In case it isn’t clear, I should note that by returns after extended absences, I’m talking about players who were out of the league entirely. Someone like Klay Thompson, who missed two consecutive seasons due to injury, doesn’t count as he was still on the Warriors’ roster. Comebacks after missing multiple years due to injury is another topic altogether – and there are certainly some interesting examples I could cover – but this is about players who were retired or out of the league and not expected to return. With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Events That Shake Your Confidence in a Game

The Friday Five: 5 Events That Shake Your Confidence in a Game

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 events that will shake your confidence in a forthcoming basketball game.

Although we can sometimes seem like a cynical bunch, I believe that a majority of basketball gamers do want to see a great new game every year. Sure, there’s a certain catharsis in a smug “I told you so”, but when it comes down to it, I expect most of us want to at least be satisfied with, if not blown away by, the latest release. It’s wise to keep our expectations realistic, and not get our hearts set on something that hasn’t been promised. At the same time, we can still be optimistic without getting carried away, or ignoring troubling signs.

To that point though, there are warning signs that we must pay attention to. These are the events that shake our confidence in a game, and for good reason. While it’s easy to jump to conclusions, there are recognisable patterns and red flags when it comes to the development of basketball video games. The longer you play them, and the more preview seasons that you experience, the better you get at recognising those signs. Also, while social media giving us access to the devs has been great for feedback, it can also leave us concerned about the people responsible for our favourite games. One way or another, these events will shake our confidence, and dampen our enthusiasm.

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NLSC Podcast #433: A 10, But They Spoiled the NBA 2K23 Cover

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #433 of the NLSC Podcast!

The official Electronic Arts and WWE Games Twitter accounts made bewildering gaffes this past week, and like many of our fellow gamers, we’re unimpressed. Obsidian, meanwhile, displayed an attitude that we’d like to see more often. Elsewhere, NBA insider Shams Charania apparently leaked the NBA 2K23 cover player, and we have some thoughts on 2K’s choice. Since the NBA 2K23 preview season is almost upon us, we also reflect on NBA 2K22, summing up our final thoughts on the game, and giving it a rating out of ten. After reminiscing about a satisfying session of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, we open up the mailbag to discuss who should be the five best-rated players in NBA 2K23.

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: NBA Returns Over Before They Began (Part 2)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began (Part 2)

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 more NBA returns that were over before they began.

As I’ve said so many times before, as an avid fan of basketball and basketball video games, I love trivia concerning both. It’s even better when that trivia intersects, which is why I write articles covering familiar faces in strange and familiar places, players with more video game appearances than NBA games played, phantom stints that were captured in games, and NBA returns following extended absences. That last idea was a suggestion that was spun off of another article, which looked at NBA returns that were over before they even began.

In this case, I’m talking about situations where players almost became familiar faces back in familiar places, but didn’t end up donning an old jersey once more. This is in contrast to comeback attempts that fell short, as there have been some big names that mulled NBA returns, only to remain in retirement. Today however, I’m looking at the players whose returns to their former NBA teams did actually happen on paper, but ended before a reunion could truly begin. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 7)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 7)

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 another ten players that ended up as familiar faces in strange places.

Yes, we’re reached the seventh instalment of this series! For the record, while this may not be the last time I cover this topic in Wayback Wednesday, it’s the final list that I’ve had planned. I’m sure there are other examples that I’ll find when I revisit classic games, and of course over time, new games will grow old and more players will end up becoming familiar faces in strange places. If there are any noteworthy examples that I haven’t covered in these seven articles, feel free to let me know. A Part 8 may be in order at some point!

For those who may be unfamiliar with this topic, I’m taking a look back at the unusual stints of players who are generally associated with a specific team. They’re the stints that are often forgotten, or in some cases, ones that we tried to forget because of how lacklustre they were, or how wrong it felt to see a player in a different jersey. I’m looking at them through the lens of basketball video games, as we’ll often see these familiar faces in strange places when we fire up older titles and browse the rosters. To that end, I’ve mostly tried to focus on stints that have been officially represented in games, at launch or in official roster updates. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #430: Return of the Server

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #430 of the NLSC Podcast!

During a session of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, we made the exciting discovery that the servers appear to be reactivated! We’re hoping it isn’t temporary, and note a few other games we’d like to see receive online support again. A vague Tweet from EA has invited those of us hoping for NBA Live’s return to speculate once more. This leads us to discuss our concerns about influencers giving a new NBA Live game a fair chance, if and when it comes out. A clip from the archives prompts us to reflect on The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11, and the attention to detail that was paid to Michael Jordan’s return to video games. We also answer a question about whether games have become too realistic, and open up the mailbag to talk about our favourite highlights, real and virtual.

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 #428: Time To Dust Off Those Old Modding Tools

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #428 of the NLSC Podcast!

We had a lot of fun revisiting NBA Live 06 PC recently, using the last NLSC roster to play with the Dream Team and updated Decade All-Stars. We did spy a couple of oversights though, leading to the temptation to pick up the old tools and fix them. Indeed, the lure to mod old favourites remains strong! Some recent events prompt us to comment on one of our pet peeves: bewildering Dislikes on YouTube videos. Rumours of a possible sale or merger for EA have been making the rounds, so we weigh in with our thoughts on the situation. We also catch up on the latest from the 1995 MyLEAGUE in NBA 2K19, and reflect on the immersive nature of retro season mods. Meanwhile, NBA 2K14 MyCAREER has produced the worst virtual NBA Finalists either of us have ever encountered.

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!

Monday Tip-Off: Guess It Is A Barbie Dress-Up Game

Monday Tip-Off: Guess It Is A Barbie Dress-Up Game

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 observations of how, contrary to what Ronnie 2K once said, NBA 2K has become a Barbie dress-up game.

There’s an online maxim to the effect of “the internet doesn’t forget”. In short, it refers to how the comments and content that we post online is there in perpetuity, and may reflect poorly upon us when it’s rediscovered years later. Celebrities have lost face (and gigs) when old Tweets have resurfaced. Everyday people have had difficulty in their offline lives after they’ve gone viral for the wrong reasons. I’ve been contacted by a few former community members asking if we can scrub their posts from the Forum, as they don’t want youthful silliness to affect their future job prospects.

Controversy has a way of following people long after they’ve apologised and atoned, or indeed, allegations have been proven false. As they say, mud sticks. However, one might suggest that that’s fair if the person in question has remained unapologetic, and the problematic situation persists. It’s certainly fair to keep bringing up an issue that people try to sweep under the rug. That happens far too often within the basketball gaming community, where outrage over persistent problems is fleeting. It’s why every so often, I’ll bring up the time that Ronnie 2K made a snarky comment about NBA 2K not being a Barbie dress-up game; especially now that it’s kind of turned into one.

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NLSC Podcast #427: Classic Games, Fresh Experiences

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #427 of the NLSC Podcast!

We’ve been freshening up our retro basketball gaming with mods from the archives, as Lutz’s Champs Roster allowed us to re-create a classic Celtics highlight in NBA Live 98 PC! We also played NBA Live 2004 PC with a camera mod that’s made it difficult to return to the default broadcast view. Responding to an interesting listener question, we discuss whether adopting a similar idea to Dynamic DNA could benefit tendencies and roster quality in NBA 2K. As we catch up on the latest news from our NBA 2K19 MyLEAGUE and NBA 2K14 MyCAREER games, we marvel at the stories that can be told through gameplay and results alone. We also reflect on a truly shocking award snub.

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!

Monday Tip-Off: Hey, That Meme Looks Familiar!

Monday Tip-Off: Hey, That Meme Looks Familiar!

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 some reflections on encountering a familiar image in a meme, and other moments of recognition.

It’s good advice to be careful about what you put out there on the internet. We’re not always as anonymous as we think, and poor behaviour can come back to haunt us. In general, it’s prudent to exercise caution in sharing personal information and even photos, as it can compromise one’s safety. It’s something to keep in mind when you’re a content creator, even in a niche community. Someone with an axe to grind may be petty enough to use it to directly harass you, or talk trash about you elsewhere online. I’ve encountered both during my time running the NLSC.

On a lighter note, when it comes to the content you create for one and all to see, you never know where it will end up. It’s both exciting and humbling when something gains traction, as my article on the Rising Cost of MyCAREER did last year, or when your work is referenced, as a WhatCulture video did with a post about NBA Elite 11. On the other hand, it’s funny when parts of your content end up being recycled, or shared outside of the original context. In particular, I’ve seen some of my screenshots show up in other articles, or on social media. And, speaking of the latter, there’s one familiar screenshot that has been used in a meme shared by several accounts.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Community, Or The Wrong Parts of It?

Monday Tip-Off: The Community, Or The Wrong Parts of It?

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 some thoughts on blaming the entire basketball gaming community for changes and additions that only a vocal minority asked for.

Even though everyone in the basketball gaming community shares a common passion, we’re not always on the same page. We’re divided along several lines: mode of choice, online or offline gaming, ideal controls and mechanics, how much realism the games should have, and so on. This makes it impossible for anyone to speak on behalf of the entire community, and no one person’s vision alone is right for basketball gaming. In turn, developers have many voices to listen to – some offering up conflicting feedback – and so are guaranteed to disappoint a contingent of the fanbase with certain choices.

While we collectively understand that, in our disappointment and indeed our outrage, it’s difficult to accept. When we’re disappointed and angry – whether it’s about video games or anything in life – we want to lay blame. We point the finger at developers, the suits, and even ourselves. In all three cases, that blame isn’t entirely misplaced. However, when it comes to blaming ourselves, we’re talking about a much larger group; a group that has less control than the other two, and is less likely to be wholly in agreement. As such, when we blame what we see as an undesirable aspect of NBA 2K on the community, we’re often pointing the finger at the wrong parts of it.

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