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Monday Tip-Off: Annual Rituals & Goals in NBA 2K

Monday Tip-Off: Annual Rituals & Goals in NBA 2K

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 my annual rituals and goals in NBA 2K games.

I buy NBA 2K every year. In fact, throughout this past generation, I’ve double-dipped with copies for PC (for mods) and PlayStation 4 (for online play). I suppose that makes me a part of the problem as far as supporting the game despite having gripes with it, but in my defense, I’m both a collector and a content creator. Without at least one copy of the game, it’s difficult to provide coverage post-release. I know this all too well, having covered NCAA Basketball 10 throughout its preview season, and then not at all afterwards because I couldn’t import the game (I since have for PS3).

It’s also my aim to enjoy the game every year, and with the NBA Live series being rather underwhelming or completely absent from the basketball gaming space for much of the past decade, I’ve been getting my virtual hoops fix from NBA 2K. As such, there are a few rituals I engage in, and goals that I strive for, in each new NBA 2K title. In some respects, it’s probably made it difficult to break some of the habits I’ve formed, especially in MyCAREER. On the other hand, it always provides me with some baseline goals from which I can derive a sense of accomplishment, as well as completion. If I manage to attain these goals, I feel like I’ve got my money’s worth.

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NLSC Podcast #351: Lockdown Defenders

NLSC Podcast Logo

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.

The Friday Five: Top 5 Unfixed Bugs in NBA 2K21 Current Gen

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 unfixed bugs in the Current Gen version of NBA 2K21.

Whenever a new console generation launches, you can guarantee that the version of the game that the existing platforms receive is going to be an afterthought. It only stands to reason that Next Gen is the focus, given the new technology that developers have to work with, and the desire for strong sales numbers that the suits desire. In the best case scenario, the Current Gen version will still be a solid release for gamers that aren’t ready – or this time around, able – to upgrade to the new consoles. It’s certainly not uncommon, however, for the Current Gen release to be a sloppy or subpar one.

That’s exactly how I would describe NBA 2K21 Current Gen. I’m tempted to call it a copy and paste job, except that it lacks the quality of NBA 2K20. Not only does the game feature a myriad of legacy issues that have persisted throughout the generation – or even longer in some cases – but there are new bugs and gameplay problems, too. Furthermore, the post-release support has likewise been disappointing. Although the game has received a number of patches, there are still some major bugs that remain unfixed as of the last update. Please note that I’m only referring to technical issues and not gameplay problems here, as that’s a whole other topic for another time.

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File Additions for NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

The latest file additions for NBA 2K20 PC include retro jerseys by retroman, and a pack of NCAA logos by rob davis/bongo88. Download them all at the links below!

retroman
2006-14 Detroit Pistons Uniforms
2005 All-Stars Uniforms
2006 All-Stars Uniforms
2008 All-Star Uniforms
2011 All-Star Uniforms
2012 All-Star Uniforms
2013 All-Star Uniforms
2014 All-Star Uniforms
2015 All-Star Uniforms
2016 All-Star Uniforms
2017 All-Star Uniforms

rob davis/bongo88
NCAA Logos (Zoomed & Centered)

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Monday Tip-Off: Unplayable Is A Strong Word

Monday Tip-Off: Unplayable Is A Strong Word

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 a word that I’m seeing a lot of basketball gamers using at the moment: unplayable.

In last week’s Friday Five, I talked about the tell-tale signs that allow us to spot a shill in the basketball gaming community, and by extension, why shills are such a pain. I stand by that, but it’s important that we look at both sides of the coin, so to speak. Shills and fanboys pollute the discourse, but so do haters. Even if we aren’t being outright haters, we can make ourselves look bad through exaggerated criticism, especially when we allow our frustration with an issue to get the better of us. This is when we’ll opt for clichéd buzzwords (usually snarky ones).

When we’re disgusted with a game, we want to express ourselves in the strongest possible manner. Words like “dreadful” pack so much more of a punch than just plain “bad”; at least until they’re overused. A good example of a popular word that lost its critical value through overuse is “cartoonish“, though it was often poorly defined to begin with. A word that I’ve seen used a lot lately is “unplayable”. It’s a strong word, in this context implying a complete lack of quality and enjoyment. There are times when it’s appropriate to describe a game as unplayable, but it’s a word we need to be careful about using. After all, used indiscriminately, it’ll lose impact and credibility.

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File Additions for NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K20 PC include the latest throwback jerseys by retroman, along with Shuajota’s faces converted from NBA 2K21. Check out all of the latest file additions for NBA 2K20 at the links below!

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: Ending Online Sessions on a High Note

Monday Tip-Off: Ending Online Sessions on a High Note

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 desire and the difficulty of ending online sessions of NBA 2K on a high note.

It’s now several months too late to pay tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, as well as somewhat out of place in content about basketball gaming. However, his signature song, “The Gambler“, provides an apt metaphor for this week’s topic. As the song tells us, in life – as in playing poker – there’s wisdom in knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em; when to walk away, when to run. The metaphor resonates because it’s important to know when to call it quits, when to persevere, and how to play the hand you’ve been dealt, literally and figuratively speaking.

Not everything has the same stakes, of course, but the metaphor works for a variety of scenarios. On this occasion, I’m applying it to online sessions in NBA 2K. Getting into the online scene over the past few years has been an interesting experience. It’s been frustrating at times, but also a lot of fun at others. Something that I and the rest of the NLSC Pro-Am squad have learned is that it’s very easy to play one game too many, and thus end the night on a sour note. It’s disappointing to end an evening of online hoops that way, and unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to avoid. Even when you know you ought to fold ’em, you can end up sticking around for a few more hands.

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File Additions for NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K20 PC feature Shuajota’s latest NBA 2K21 face conversions and retro faces by sticky-fingers. Check them all out at the links below!

Shuajota
Al Horford Face converted from NBA 2K21
Tobias Harris Face converted from NBA 2K21
Furkan Korkmaz Face converted from NBA 2K21
Chris Chiozza Face converted from NBA 2K21
Goran Dragic Face converted from NBA 2K21
Dylan Windler Face converted from NBA 2K21
Boban Marjanovic Face converted from NBA 2K21
Klay Thompson Face converted from NBA 2K21
Kevin Durant Face converted from NBA 2K21
Stephen Curry Face converted from NBA 2K21

sticky-fingers
3 Faces Pack: Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

File Additions for NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

Today’s file additions for NBA 2K20 PC include the latest faces from sevin0seven and Shuajota. Pick them up at the links below.

sevin0seven
1991 A.C. Green Face
Real Referees Package

Shuajota
Nicolo Melli Face converted from NBA 2K21
Gabe Vincent Face converted from NBA 2K21
Vlatko Cancar Face converted from NBA 2K21
Ante Zizic Face converted from NBA 2K21
Yuta Watanabe Face converted from NBA 2K21
Cedi Osman Face converted from NBA 2K21
Juan Toscano Face converted from NBA 2K21
Davis Bertans Face converted from NBA 2K21
J.J. Barea Face converted from NBA 2K21

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Monday Tip-Off: Virtual Hooping With Non-Fans

Monday Tip-Off: Virtual Hooping With Non-Fans

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 virtual hooping with and against people who aren’t big fans of basketball.

As our community is obviously made up of people who are big fans of both real and virtual basketball, we don’t really look at hoops gaming from the point of view of people who aren’t into the sport. After all, basketball and sports games in general are – to some extent – aimed at a very specific crowd. Sim titles in particular are intended for the avid fans that are more likely to want a realistic depiction of the sport. That’s not to say they can’t be for everyone – I’m not a fan of gatekeeping – but their focus on authenticity and minute details generally appeals to the more hardcore hoop-heads.

That means despite their success and popularity, basketball games and other sports titles are still somewhat niche. To put it another way, many of us basketball gamers will also play games like Fallout, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Mario, Zelda, Mass Effect, and so on, but a majority of the gamers who play those titles aren’t necessarily interested in virtual hooping, or fans of real basketball for that matter. If anything, they’re more likely to enjoy an arcade title like NBA Jam as it’s easier to pick up and play, and has a broader appeal. Some non-fans will dabble with the sim titles as well though, and virtual hooping with them is often an interesting experience.

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NLSC Podcast #345: There’s Skating Afoot

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #345 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

With the release of the second gameplay blog for NBA 2K21 Next Gen, we’ve got some more details to sink our teeth into. As with the first blog, a lot of the improvements sound good on paper, but we’re sceptical. The accompanying videos also seem to be painting a different picture. This leads us to bring up some quotes from developer blogs for NBA 2K18, NBA 2K19, and NBA 2K20, and note some very similar phrasing. To that point, we discuss how and why developer blogs are often taken at face value. We also talk about the lure of going back to mod old favourites, and the factors that encourage us to tinker with previous games rather than the current one.

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.

The Friday Five: 5 Ways I’ve Changed MyCAREER Habits

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 ways that I’ve changed my habits when it comes to MyCAREER.

Today’s my birthday, and for those who are interested, I’ve turned 36. Yes, I was just a couple of months shy of turning 17 when I took over the NLSC in August 2001; time sure has flown! In that time, I’d like to think I’ve grown, matured, and gained a new perspective. Of course, there are some people who might say that running a site dedicated to video games at the age of 36 isn’t a sign of maturity, but hey, let’s leave the cynicism to Next Gen! I say that as long as you keep things in perspective and take care of your responsibilities, video games are a perfectly acceptable adult hobby.

Of course, as I’ve grown older and basketball games have evolved, so too have my tastes. As I’ve mentioned before, I always considered myself a franchise gamer, as I became a huge fan of those modes once they were introduced in the late 90s/early 2000s. Over the past decade however, I’ve spent more time with career modes and their connected online experiences. Mind you, the way I play MyCAREER has also changed from when I first got hooked on the mode back in NBA 2K13. Some habits have been influenced by the changes in recent titles, while others could probably be attributed to me getting older, grumpier, and less patient. Here are five examples!

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Monday Tip-Off: Cynicism as a New Generation Looms

Monday Tip-Off: Cynicism as a New Generation Looms

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 few thoughts on how previews of NBA 2K21 Next Gen have inspired cynicism for me, rather than excitement.

When the NBA 2K21 Next Gen trailer dropped, I was compelled to post a few Tweets outlining my initial impressions. As you can probably gather from that thread, as well as comments I’ve made in our Forum and on the NLSC Podcast, I wasn’t blown away by the trailer, or pumped up about the game. If you follow me on Twitter, take part in our Forum, read my articles, or listen to our Podcast, you’ll probably also know that I’m not the biggest fan of NBA 2K21 Current Gen, either. My disappointment with NBA 2K21 and other recent releases has set the table for some Next Gen cynicism.

Thinking back to the release of NBA 2K14 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I don’t remember feeling quite as cynical. It’s unfortunate, as I’d prefer not to feel that way. I don’t want my content to come across as jaded and overwhelmingly negative, but beyond that, as an avid basketball gamer, I want to enjoy my hobby and look forward to new games when they’re on the horizon. As NBA 2K21 Next Gen looms and we get our first glimpses and insights into the forthcoming game, my cynicism definitely outpaces my optimism in a way that it didn’t seven years ago. Today, I’m reflecting upon that, and how things have changed over the course of a generation.

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File Additions for NBA 2K20

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

Not everyone has moved on to NBA 2K21 yet – and indeed, may not – and so we have some new file additions for NBA 2K20 today. Pick up a handful of retro mods from sevin0seven, available at the links below!

sevin0seven
2007 Rookie Monta Ellis Face
1994 Dream Team II Court
1992 Dream Team Mural
1992 Phoenix Suns Logo
1990 Mike Gminski Face
Charles Barkley Portrait & 92 Suns Team Mural

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and File Additions bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Monday Tip-Off: Thoughts on Skill-Based Matchmaking

Monday Tip-Off: Thoughts on Skill-Based Matchmaking

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 skill-based matchmaking.

Did you know that the concept of skill-based matchmaking, commonly abbreviated to SBMM, is controversial? I’ll admit that I was surprised at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense; especially given my experiences playing NBA 2K online. As the name implies, skill-based matchmaking is a system for matching both teammates and opponents in online play according to their abilities. The criteria and algorithms for this vary from game to game, but are generally based on winning percentage, ranking or reputation systems, and other statistics relevant to the genre.

Sounds like a good idea, right; the kind of proper matchmaking that we’d expect to see in a basketball game like NBA 2K, with all of its connected experiences? Well, you would think so, but not everyone is a fan of skill-based matchmaking. This disdain stretches beyond NBA 2K and the basketball gaming community, but the basic reasoning behind gamers’ objections to the concept remains the same. Frankly, this is unfortunate. SBMM is indeed a good idea, and would undoubtedly clean up the online scene in NBA 2K by reducing the toxicity and sense of gatekeeping. I’d like to explore why it’s necessary, and also examine the controversy surrounding SBMM.

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