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Monday Tip-Off: The Reddit Post That Tried to Warn Us

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on a Reddit post that tried to warn us about some looming issues with the direction of the NBA 2K series.

There’s a Reddit post that I’ve mentioned and linked to in quite a few articles since it was made in the official NBA 2K subreddit back in 2018. That post was titled “The ‘MMO-ification’ of NBA2K and the perils of ignoring player retention: Thoughts from a former MMO developer“, and it was very well-received. After all, this wasn’t just a random gamer speaking out in frustration, or even a prominent content creator or pundit. This was someone who worked in video game development, and saw first-hand how certain approaches affected both gamer enjoyment, and a game’s success.

The criticisms this former EVE Online developer made were astute, and they were on the money about it only being the beginning. Their post touched on matters that many reviewers, and even content creators and community leaders, tend to ignore. It spoke about design philosophies – matters beyond tech and specific game features – that were responsible for problems in the games, and painted a worrying picture for the future. Today, I’m revisiting that Reddit post, and picking out some relevant quotes that identify problems that were troubling in NBA 2K18, and have remained so in its successors. As you’ll see, the insights of that Reddit post were almost prophetic.

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Monday Tip-Off: Ain’t No Love in the Heart of The City

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 my thoughts on how The City is perpetuating a troubling issue with MyCAREER and its connected modes.

Adding an open world environment to MyCAREER has, unsurprisingly, been a rather divisive decision since The Neighborhood debuted in NBA 2K18. Some gamers loved the idea, and were wowed from the very first reveal trailers. Others aren’t so keen on the concept, seeing it as a waste of time. Now that The City has taken its place in NBA 2K21 Next Gen, gamers who loved The Neighborhood have been delighted by an even larger hub world. Those who disliked The Neighborhood have no love for The City for many of the same reasons as before, only now on a much grander scale.

Of course, even if you love The City, the feeling isn’t mutual. There’s an aspect of The City that is, to quote a salient Reddit post, “downright contemptuous of players and hostile towards newer players”. Unlike The Neighborhood, The City isn’t welcoming to everyone; well, not immediately, anyway. This year, we have to prove that we’re worthy of taking part in the main hub world of MyCAREER, making use of all the familiar facilities that we’ve had at our disposal these past few years. To me, the title of Bobby Bland’s song – or for that matter, the Jay-Z song from the NBA 2K17 soundtrack, which sampled it – aptly describes The City’s cold, elitist heartlessness.

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The Friday Five: 5 Odd Technical Issues in Basketball Games

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 odd technical issues that have been present in various basketball games over the years.

Games (and software in general) having bugs are a fact of life. Among older gamers such as myself, there’s sometimes an erroneous belief that the games we grew up with didn’t have such technical issues. Before patches were viable, developers did have to ensure that games were as bug-free as possible before they shipped, but many of the all-time classics have glitches of some description. Of course, on top of the need to stamp out bugs before games were finalised on cartridge and disc, the simplicity of those older games avoided some of the pitfalls of their more complex descendants.

To put it another way, the bigger video games have grown, the more bugs and other technical issues they’re prone to having. When it comes to PC games, the need to support a variety of hardware also provides further challenges. To that end, while there are several valid criticisms we can and should make of basketball video games, the mere presence of technical issues doesn’t indicate laziness, incompetence, or a lack of care. If making games and software that were entirely bug-free were easy – or indeed, possible – we’d see it happen. With that being said, various hoops titles have had notably odd bugs and technical issues, and today, I’m looking at five of them.

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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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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 18 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 18 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 18.

We’re almost at the end of our retrospectives, with just two games left to cover. Before we begin, which do you prefer: the NBA, or streetball? NBA Live 18 aimed to give us the best of both worlds, in the form of The League and The Streets. Even the cover emphasised the duality of the game, with two pictures of James Harden: one in his Houston Rockets uniform, the other in a plain singlet and shorts. The game wasn’t a disaster, nor was it a complete departure from previous titles in the series. It was clear that NBA Live was headed in a new direction though, and not everyone was happy about that; especially long-time fans of the series.

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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.

NBA 2K19 Servers Shutting Down December 31st

NBA 2K19 Servers Shutting Down December 31st

As per the official 2K Support Twitter account, the NBA 2K19 servers will be shut down on December 31st, 2020. After that point, all online content will be unavailable. This includes Play Now Online, MyTEAM, and the entirety of MyCAREER and its connected modes. Any Virtual Currency and MT you have will also be lost, and in-game roster sharing will no longer be possible.

This falls in line with 2K’s policy of providing online support for 27 months, adopted after the NBA 2K14 server shutdown resulted in controversy. Interestingly, the NBA 2K18 servers were kept online for an additional three weeks, before being shut down earlier this year on January 18th.

Since December 31st is only a little over a week away, I’d advise you to wrap up any business before the NBA 2K19 servers are gone. This includes aiming for any Trophies/Achievements in the online modes, completing a season in MyCAREER, and playing with your favourite MyTEAM cards. With roster sharing also disappearing once the servers are gone, I’d also recommend that you download any rosters you want while you still can. This includes projects such as the Classic Seasons rosters by Stildo33 and company.

Thanks to sticky-fingers for the heads up in the Forum!

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K18 Legend Edition Gold Still Available

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K18 Legend Edition Gold Still Available

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 both the Legend Edition and Legend Edition Gold versions of NBA 2K18 are still available in the PlayStation Store.

I have to say that thus far, I’ve been impressed with the PlayStation 5. I’ve generally been enjoying my time with NBA 2K21 Next Gen, and I love the faster loading times. In particular though, I’ve been impressed with its backwards compatibility with PS4, especially when it comes to my games library and saved content. As I noted in a Wayback Wednesday article, copying saved data across for PS4 games is a snap. I was also very pleased to be able to get a free upgrade for Mortal Kombat 11, complete with all of the DLC I’d purchased, just by inserting the PlayStation 4 disc.

The access to the PS4 library – on top of various media apps being readily compatible with PS5 – has made the console feel like a worthwhile upgrade, even if there aren’t a lot of new games that I’m interested in right now. While browsing the PlayStation Store, however, I came across another point of interest, albeit a far less positive one. During a search to see if the NBA League Pass app was available on PS5 (it’s not; at least, not in my region), I noticed that the Legend Edition and Legend Edition Gold versions of NBA 2K18 are still available to purchase. There are some major issues with that, and the digital availability of older NBA 2K titles in general.

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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.

The Friday Five: Top 5 Coincidences in Basketball Games

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 countdown of the Top 5 coincidences that we’ve seen in basketball video games.

Coincidences are everywhere in basketball gaming. As Thunder Shaq and Dee4Three pointed out, NBA 2K used very similar phrasing to my Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of Wayback Wednesday articles to describe a themed set in MyTEAM. Of course, there are only so many ways to phrase things, and similar ideas will end up with similar titles and terminology. As this 2015 post about joke stealing explains, the phenomenon of parallel development accounts for many similarities, especially when something is topical or a common point of interest.

Beyond that, a lot of coincidences are fun, owing to the way they seemingly predict the future. We’ve seen coincidences like that occur more than a couple of times in basketball video games over the years. It’s easy to call them predictions in hindsight, while conveniently ignoring a lot of things that aren’t…well, anything! The ones that do look like predictions and foreshadowing are merely coincidences, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. Today, I’m counting down my picks for the Top 5 coincidences in basketball gaming. There’s some overlap with my previous article on predictions, but there are also some new coincidences that you might find amusing.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Rec Is Garbage, But Who’s To Blame?

Monday Tip-Off: The Rec Is Garbage, But Who's To Blame?

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 who’s to blame for The Rec being utter garbage in NBA 2K21, and how – or if – the problems can be fixed.

I have to blunt: The Rec is absolutely woeful this year. Walk-On play has always been a hit-and-miss alternative to team Pro-Am, owing to the all the issues that arise when you play with randoms. It’s been particularly toxic and unenjoyable in NBA 2K21, though. Admittedly, I can only speak to my experiences playing on the Australasian server, and I’ve yet to create a MyPLAYER on Next Gen and jump online. The scene may be a lot better on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, at least in North America. It’d be a low bar to clear, as the mode seems to have hit rock bottom.

While the issues are familiar, the continued decline of The Rec – and it’s felt like it’s grown even worse since NBA 2K21 Current Gen’s launch – raises a few questions. The two most pertinent are “who’s to blame”, and “how can it be fixed”. As you might imagine, the first issue has a significant impact on the second. The answer is quite complicated, and that naturally means the solution isn’t easy either. Still, I’ve been thinking about this a lot in recent weeks. While I am taking a moment to grumble here, I want to turn that into something constructive. If we as a community can identify these issues and suggest solutions, perhaps we can help improve the scene.

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Monday Tip-Off: Three Months, Three Skins, No Fixes

Monday Tip-Off: Three Months, Three Skins, No Fixes

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 – let’s be honest here – some griping about how after three months, 2K Beach has received three new skins, but no fixes for a major bug.

I’m sorry everyone, but I’m going to have to go back to being a grumpy old man to tip off this week. I’ve honestly been trying to look on the bright side after some critical pieces in recent weeks, and as I explained in Episode #352 of the NLSC Podcast, I’m actually feeling quite positive about NBA 2K21 Next Gen. I do still have concerns about the Current Gen version though, and since I believe in advocating for my fellow basketball gamers, it’s an issue I feel compelled to bring up again. Besides, sooner or later a similar issue will no doubt affect Next Gen, and 2K’s approach is troubling.

As I discussed in the aforementioned podcast, since NBA 2K21 Current Gen was released, it has received five patches and three skin/presentation updates for this year’s revamped Neighborhood, which goes by the name of 2K Beach. The latest patch was little more than a skin update, but previous patches have been more substantial. As with the previous title updates however, Patch 1.06 failed to fix the issue of the Daily Bonus not awarding the requisite amount of Virtual Currency upon completion. It speaks volumes about the level of care that’s going into the Current Gen version, and underscores a recurring (and shoddy) aspect of 2K’s approach to much-needed fixes.

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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.

NLSC Podcast #351: Lockdown Defenders

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Episode #351 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Now that Derek is an official member of the NLSC Team, we look ahead to some plans for future content. There’s a lot of positivity there, but as we delve into this week, there’s a need to explore the negative aspects of basketball games as well. We discuss the desire some gamers have to disengage, distinguishing between taking a healthy break from negative conversations, and shutting down constructive criticism. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about the pain of losing features, modes, options, and mechanics that we loved, and answer a question about our playcalling habits on the virtual hardwood.

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 #350: What’s My Age Again?

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Episode #350 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

We’re celebrating our 50th episode as a duo, which leads us to reflect on some famous number 50s in NBA history. After that, it’s down to business with a discussion of the latest news surrounding NBA 2K21 Next Gen. From server issues to a widespread ban, there’s a lot to catch up on, and we have a lot to say. We also talk about stat padding in online games, and how it’s led to what we feel is an unappealing style of play. Recent events also prompt us to discuss ageism in basketball gaming, and troubling practices in the modding community. This week’s mailbag topics cover recycled faces in NBA 2K, and the idea of petitioning 2K to make certain changes.

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.