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Monday Tip-Off: Without Quality, More Is Less

Monday Tip-Off: Without Quality, More Is Less

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 frank thoughts on how more is less when quantity outpaces quality in the content of basketball video games.

One of my recurring criticisms of NBA Live throughout the eighth generation – and it also applies to games in the seventh generation to some extent – is that they’re lacking in depth. Modes have been barebones (or “streamlined”, as promotional material likes to call it), and games have also been light on additional content and features compared to NBA 2K. While problems with NBA Live’s gameplay have ultimately been larger issues, the lack of depth unquestionably contributes to them being subpar. It’s felt like there’s been minimal effort beyond including the basics.

However, while NBA 2K can boast greater depth from its historical content to a wide variety of intricate modes, it has a recurring problem of its own. While there’s far more to the average NBA 2K release than just about any NBA Live game to date, not all of that content is well-made and of high quality. The lack of attention to detail in certain areas makes it seem as though content and features were added for the sake of padding the game and looking impressive at a glance, without implementing them properly. That may seem harsh, and it’s not my intention to imply that the developers aren’t working hard or don’t care. Still, without quality, more is undoubtedly less.

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NLSC Podcast #438: NBA 2K23 Gameplay Blog, Bill Russell, & Classic Cam

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #438 of the NLSC Podcast!

This week’s show opens with a tribute to the late, great Bill Russell, truly one of the most legendary figures in basketball history. As we catch up on what we’ve been playing recently – including another NBA 2K14 MyCAREER update – we discuss our fondness for Classic Cam, and our appreciation of its appearances in later games. We also reflect on NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, and compare NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 on Xbox 360. On the heels of the First Look Trailer, the first developer blog of the preview season provided us with insights into gameplay in NBA 2K23, and we have plenty of thoughts to share! We also open up the mailbag to hear what the community thought of the blog.

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 #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!

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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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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NBA 2K23 PC Will Be Current Gen

NBA 2K23 PC Will Be Current Gen

Bad news for anyone hoping that NBA 2K23 PC would be making the jump to next Next Gen: IGN has confirmed that the PC version will once again be a PlayStation 4/Xbox One port.

This isn’t surprising, but it is disappointing given that this will be the third consecutive year that the PC has missed out on a Next Gen port. While NBA 2K21 PC remaining a Current Gen port wasn’t unexpected given that it was released two months before the Next Gen consoles launched, there were hopes that the PC would be getting the PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X version of NBA 2K22. The precedent here was NBA 2K15 PC, which made the Next Gen jump the year after the PS4 and X1 launched.

Unfortunately, that precedent hasn’t been repeated with the ninth generation. NBA 2K isn’t alone here, as the PC version of WWE 2K22 was likewise a PS4/X1 port. Madden 22 PC was also ported from the Current/Prior Gen version. Although these are different series and Madden is obviously from another developer/publisher entirely, many gamers suggested that this was a red flag for NBA 2K on PC as well. Sadly, that prediction turned out to be correct.

If there is a silver lining to the announcement, it’s that there’ll likely once again be high compatibility with existing mods and modding tools. However, it naturally also means that NBA 2K23 PC will miss out on any enhancements to gameplay and modes that are exclusive to Next Gen. Your mileage will vary as to whether that’s a worthwhile trade-off.

In any case, we will be covering both the Current Gen/PC and Next Gen versions of NBA 2K23 when they’re released on September 9th. For now though, feel free to vent in the comments below, or here in the NLSC Forum!

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!

NLSC Podcast #432: Where’s Our Mamba Mode?

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #432 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which players would we like to bring into the modern NBA? There are a few we’d love to see prove their worth to younger basketball fans, and we’re not just talking about all-time greats! Hooping with Mario, Bowser, and other video game characters reminds us that modding doesn’t always have to be serious. Of course, part of the fun is making mods and modding resources free, and freely available. An enthusiastic response to a mailbag question prompts an in-depth discussion on possibilities for a new retro challenge mode in NBA 2K23 and beyond. We share our own ideas, as well as the many creative suggestions that we received from the community.

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!

NBA 2K21 Mod Releases: Fictional Player Faces

NBA 2K21 Cover Art (Current Gen)

Enhance a custom Draft Class with today’s mod releases for NBA 2K21! OG2K has released a couple of fictional player faces, which you can download at the links below.

OG2K
Fictional Cyberface by OG2K
Fictional Cyberface #2 by OG2K

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.

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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Wayback Wednesday: The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14

Wayback Wednesday: The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14

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 the OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14.

Is there a more important and impactful trailer in the history of basketball gaming than the OMG Trailer, promoting NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? While there have been other fantastic trailers and promotional spots for basketball video games, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that turned as many heads, and that gamers still know by name. It boldly announced the arrival of a new generation, and made a statement that Visual Concepts were eager to make full use of the technology they now had at their disposal.

The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14 is something you can still appreciate today. It still looks amazing almost a decade and entire console generation later. In a way, it’s even more impressive now that we know the game lived up to the hype; even if a few of us discovered that later than others! There’s more to the OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14 than just reflecting on how awesome it was, though. It’s had a lasting impact on the series and basketball gaming as a whole, but has also proven to be a hard act to follow. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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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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The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Avoid Virtual Hardwood Burnout

The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Avoid Virtual Hardwood Burnout

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 suggestions for avoiding burnout with basketball video games.

No matter how much we love a hobby or activity, we will get tired of it eventually. Obviously we’re passionate about basketball video games (and the real sport) around these parts, but there are times when the virtual hardwood brings us more frustration than joy. That’s usually when burnout has set in, and suffice to say, it’s not a good feeling. You want to keep playing as you definitely haven’t lost your interest in virtual basketball, but it’s hard to fire up a game and hit the court with the same enthusiasm. Somehow, an enjoyable pastime has become work; a chore.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid virtual hardwood burnout! I’m speaking from experience here, as I’ve felt that burnout in recent years. Changing up my habits has allowed me to really enjoy basketball gaming again, and not just sink a lot of time into it. There is a difference, and it’s something that you really notice when you realise how addictive grinding can be. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a comfortable rut, so it helps to have a few methods of breaking out of one. These suggestions may seem obvious, but when you’re deep in that rut, you can easily overlook your options. If you’re feeling burnout with your basketball gaming right now, consider these tips!

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Monday Tip-Off: Shot Aiming Is A Hit & Miss Idea

Monday Tip-Off: Shot Aiming Is A Hit & Miss Idea

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 shot aiming mechanics, and how they are a hit and miss idea; pun fully intended.

There’s been a lot of talk about the skill gap in NBA 2K in recent years, as you would expect with a greater emphasis on the online competitive scene. Much has been said about the need to separate the good from the great, the scrubs from the elite, and truly celebrate and reward stick skills on the virtual hardwood. Mind you, several gamers push back on the idea of proper matchmaking, so I do question how “competitive” the scene really is. Many of the mechanics that those gamers champion are likewise of questionable value when it comes to the skill gap, and overall quality of gameplay.

Shot aiming is a prominent and somewhat controversial example. On paper, it’s a good idea. It’s more skilful then simply pressing and holding a button, and one could argue that it’s trying to emulate actual basketball skills and technique. In practice, it’s seldom worked out as well as intended, and developers have ended up shelving the concept quite quickly each time it’s been attempted. I have some mixed feelings about shot aiming. I can see the logic behind the idea, but its repeated shortcomings leave me sceptical that it can truly work. Furthermore, I’m bothered by the elitism that it fosters, and the notion that any objections or criticism of it indicates a lack of skill.

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NLSC Podcast #417: Picking an All-Virtual Hardwood Team

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #417 of the NLSC Podcast!

Our College Hoops 2K8 Tournament is set to tip off! Talking about college basketball games leads us to ponder whether EA Sports’ best move would be to revive their NCAA series before they attempt another comeback with NBA Live. We also reflect on the madness of collecting retro basketball games, the size of our respective collections, and the current prices in retro video game stores and on eBay alike. We’re also interested in spending more time with a cancelled Sega Genesis game starring Shaquille O’Neal that was leaked a few years back. This week’s mailbag topic is all about picking our All-Virtual Hardwood teams. We share our selections, along with the community’s picks.

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!