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Monday Tip-Off: Retro Basketball Gaming Is Filling A Gap

Monday Tip-Off: Retro Basketball Gaming Is Filling A Gap

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 retro basketball gaming is filling a gap in the market.

Unfortunately, we are not in a golden age for basketball gaming. Sure, NBA 2K is more successful than ever as it sells millions of copies, makes bank with recurrent revenue, and enjoys mainstream popularity. However, when you glance at Steam reviews and user scores on Metacritic, it’s obvious that gamers are far less satisfied than they used to be. With NBA Live faltering, collapsing, and failing to rebuild properly, 2K has no competition. No other publishers are jumping into the space, and the one major release we did have – NBA Playgrounds – was swallowed up by 2K.

If you want a new basketball video game every year, there’s only one choice. It’s not the worst choice we could possibly have – better to have NBA 2K in its current state than NBA Live in its most recent form – but even if this is the best monopoly possible, it’s still a monopoly. For younger basketball gamers, NBA 2K being the only viable choice – or indeed, the only choice, period – may be all they know. Those of us who remember a time when several developers were producing basketball titles are much more likely to feel wistful at the lack of choice. On the plus side, retro basketball gaming is now more frequently filling that gap, and giving us something else to play.

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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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The Friday Five: 5 Things That I Carelessly Lost

The Friday Five: 5 Things That I Carelessly Lost

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 things – namely saves or other data and content – that I carelessly lost in various games.

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It’s an old adage that’s been lamented in the music of Joni Mitchell and the band Cinderella alike. The sentiment usually refers to more important things in life than video games, but since that’s what we cover around these parts, I’ll appropriate it for this occasion. After all, while I think we can and should acknowledge that other losses are far more significant in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a bummer when we lose save files, data, and other content in video games. Life goes on, but it sucks to have all that progress go up in smoke.

It’s bad enough when it occurs due to a glitch in a game, but at least you can turn your anger and frustration outwards towards the developers and publisher. When you’ve carelessly done something that’s resulted in your progress being lost, it’s tougher to shift the blame onto somebody else! Even if there’s something clunky in the game that’s partly to blame, you’re stuck with the knowledge that it could’ve been avoided if you were just the teeniest bit more careful. The times when I’ve been careless with my save files are undoubtedly among my biggest regrets as far as basketball gaming is concerned. Here are five things that I’ve lost due to a lack of care and foresight.

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Monday Tip-Off: How NBA 2K23 Would Win Me Over

Monday Tip-Off: How NBA 2K23 Would Win Me Over

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 an outline of how NBA 2K23 would win me over.

Let’s be clear about this. In the grand scheme of things, NBA 2K23 doesn’t need to win me over. I’m just one person, and I’m not one of their big name influencers. The game won’t need my stamp of approval in order to sell at least ten million copies. Furthermore, given that I am a collector and still a content creator, I’ll be contributing to those sales figures anyway. In that respect, you could argue that it makes me part of the problem, but hey, like I said, I’m just one person. In short, I acknowledge that whether or not NBA 2K23 wins me over, it will be a success by almost every metric.

That goes without saying, but that’s not the issue here. This isn’t about what NBA 2K23 must do to be successful, but what it would take to get someone who has greatly preferred to play NBA 2K14 over NBA 2K21 and NBA 2K22 to get hooked on a new game once again. It’s an uphill battle, because some of the changes I’d love to see will never happen, due to business reasons. I’m obviously also very enthusiastic about this retro kick with NBA 2K14. However, I do aim to approach every new game with an open mind, and a willingness to keep playing if I’m enjoying myself. To that end, with the right changes and improvements, I could definitely be won over by NBA 2K23.

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Monday Tip-Off: Disposable Games & Always Online Pains

Monday Tip-Off: Disposable Games & Always Online Pains

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 the approach of the annual games becoming disposable, and the increased reliance in “always online”.

I’ve been working in IT since 2005, providing technical support and PC repairs. In that time, I’ve noticed a change that has likewise been a trend with other devices, from phones and televisions to major appliances. While hardware repairs are still sought out and provided, we’ve trended towards being a throw-away society. Expense or difficulty in performing repairs makes buying a replacement – presumably a newer model – a more common and desirable solution. Buying a new system also seems more likely than upgrading existing hardware, again due to convenience or feasibility.

So it goes with products such as video games, too. There is inevitability to this, of course. Nothing lasts forever, and manufacturers and software developers naturally want to sell new products. More than ever before though, basketball games are being designed to be disposable. The reliance on server-side content, necessitating an “always online” approach, is the reason for this. While this content has enhanced titles and eventual server shutdowns are understandable, the way that it’s made games more disposable is nevertheless unfortunate. If nothing else, it’s a tremendous blow to a community that does have a contingent of retro gamers who like to dust off old titles.

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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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The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Won Titles The Same Year

The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Won Titles The Same Year

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 cover players that won NBA titles in the same season their game came out.

Last week, I listed five players who graced video game covers in the same year that they made the NBA Finals. More specifically, I was referring to players who made the Finals, but were ultimately the runners-up. Obviously, cover players who won titles while being the face of a game technically qualify as examples for last week’s list as well. However, I did want to draw a distinction between the cover players who “only” made it to the Finals that same year, and those who actually won titles. While both are accomplishments and interesting trivia, the latter is naturally rather more special.

To that end, the number of cover players that won titles in the same year is smaller than the already select group of names who made the Finals while being the face of NBA Live, NBA 2K, or another title. As I noted last week, publishers like EA and 2K are no doubt more interested in a player’s popularity and marketability than whether they’ll be in the Finals, or NBA Champions. I have no doubt that they’re happy when it does occur, but given that it’s a gamble even if they ink a deal with a player from a contender, it’s a bonus boost to the brand at the end of the day. NBA Champion cover players are something that a handful of titles can boast however, including these five.

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

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.

Since there are a number of players who became familiar faces back in familiar places at some point in their career, its time for the sixth instalment of this series! For those who are unfamiliar with the topic, I’m taking a look back at players who returned to teams that they’re usually most closely associated with, after stints elsewhere. While many big names never had a proper reunion with their former clubs until after they retired, others did don the same jersey once again (or an updated version of it). The same goes for players who weren’t stars, but still noteworthy names that we recall.

Of course, sometimes we forget about their return stints, especially if they were brief and towards the end of their career, and there was no hoopla of an “official” farewell tour. As I’ve said before, one way to recall these familiar faces being back in familiar places is to fire up an old video game, and see them there in the rosters. It’s why I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games, on top of them being what we’re all about here at the NLSC. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 21st, 2022

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

As the NBA Playoffs roll on in real life, it seems only appropriate that this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays spotlights some clutch moments on the virtual hardwood. I won’t spoil the specifics or their ranking, but we have three gamewinners this week, on top of the usual assortment of flashy dunks (including a self alley-oop). Additionally, a total of seven games are represented in this week’s countdown, demonstrating that the community continues to get their virtual basketball fix from a variety of titles. I’m sure that you’ll agree it’s a spectacular start to Year 2 of the rebooted Top 10!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

NBA 2K20 Mod Releases: Olympic Basketball History

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

Today’s mod releases for NBA 2K20 feature the latest version of the Olympic Basketball History mod. Pick it up at the link below!

eda
Olympic Basketball History

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 Mod Releases bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

NBA 2K20 Mod Releases: NLSC Blacktop Mod

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

In today’s mod releases for NBA 2K20, sticky-fingers has entered March Modness with an NLSC Blacktop mod. Check it out at the link below!

sticky-fingers
NLSC Blacktop for NBA 2K20

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 Mod Releases bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: February 19th, 2022

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Usually the NLSC Top 10 Plays features a variety of different games, but it seems that this week, the community has mostly been enjoying NBA 2K22! It’s resulted in some spectacular highlights, with a very familiar name taking the top spot. You’ll also see one of the highlights from my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER that I’ve been playing again, and I’ll freely admit that there’s no way I’d ever pull off that dunk in real life. Of course, that’s the beauty of video games: all of our basketball fantasies can come true, resulting in exciting moments that are fun to share with our fellow virtual hardwood enthusiasts!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

Wayback Wednesday: Our First Virtual Championship

Wayback Wednesday: Our First Virtual Championship

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 discussing an achievement that I’m sure is very nostalgic for many basketball gamers: our first virtual championship.

Achieving closure in basketball video games, and most sports titles for that matter, is different to other genres. After all, they can be played in many ways, not all of which have a predefined completion condition. In contrast, games with a storyline or final level/mission/quest can be played through and clearly beaten. Whether they’re linear or non-linear, there’s an end point where the story is over and the final main objective has been completed. There’s less ambiguity as to whether or not you’ve finished such a game, and to that point, gained a sense of completion and closure with it.

NBA games, especially the sim titles, technically do have an ultimate goal of winning a championship in season, franchise, and career modes. However, they can also be enjoyed without ever completing a campaign. You may just play with and against friends in exhibition games, or tournaments that you organise. There are the online team play modes, with no schedule or structure. You can have countless hours of fun on the virtual hardwood without ever vying for an NBA championship. There is something special about getting a ring in video games though, especially hoisting the virtual Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #414: Pump Us Up, Don’t Leave Us Deflated

NLSC Podcast Logo

From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #414 of the NLSC Podcast!

Does the community still feel the same excitement and anticipation for the latest release every year? We open up the mailbag to discuss the titles that basketball gamers felt the most hyped about, as well as the factors that have dampened our enthusiasm over the past decade or so. We also recap another fun week in basketball gaming, which included a return to Fantasy Teams in NBA Live 10, heroics from Steve Kerr in NBA Live 95, a surprising challenge playing NBA Live 2003 PC co-op, and a new take on NBA Live 15. There also the latest games from our NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Tournament to recap, and a tale of retro collecting disappointment to share.

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 Top 10 Plays of the Week: February 12th, 2022

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

This week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays features a few highlights from NBA 2K22 Next Gen, showcasing some of the immensely satisfying contact dunks in the game. Nate and Roger are also taking a break from their beloved NBA Live 2001, which in turn provided the countdown with a crafty assist from LeBron James to J.R. Smith in NBA 2K16. In total, six different games are represented with a variety of exciting dunks, great passes, and a couple of cold-blooded daggers in the clutch. As always, the countdown will get you in the mood to play some basketball video games. If you do, you know where you can send your highlights!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.