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Wayback Wednesday: Marking NBA Milestones in Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: Marking NBA Milestones in Video Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m reflecting on how video games mark different NBA milestones, and how it dates them.

On several occasions, I’ve mentioned that video games serve as wonderful time capsules for the NBA. They’re a snapshot of the league at the time they’re released, preserving the rosters, team branding, and the rules and formats of the era. When you revisit an old NBA video game, you’re often reminded of players’ brief and forgotten tenures with certain teams, “What If” scenarios and lineups that never lived up to the hype, and the jerseys and logos that you both loved and hated. In a way, old games can act as interactive almanacs, and are a fun way to revisit NBA history.

With that in mind, basketball video games preserve different eras and milestones in the real NBA as much as they’re a timeline of gaming and technology. In many of my Wayback Wednesday features, as well as my 25th Anniversary of NBA Live articles, I’ve reflected on how various titles have represented an evolution in the genre, and the improvements that are noticeable from year to year. On this occasion, I’m looking at how they represent NBA milestones and significant changes in the league, as well as the way those events make them dated. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Unlockable Jerseys in Basketball Games

Wayback Wednesday: Unlockable Jerseys in Basketball Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the practice of including unlockable jerseys in basketball video games.

I’ve previously covered throwback jerseys in basketball games, noting that their inclusion also marked the arrival of uniform selection options. Before the addition of jersey selection screens, teams with secondary road uniforms would wear them at random in exhibition play, or on Sundays in Season or Franchise modes. In the PC versions of NBA Live, we were also able to manipulate the files to switch them in and out, but it was far less cumbersome once we could easily choose which uniform we wanted a team to wear via an in-game option.

The ability to switch between a selection of alternate and retro jerseys for every team was (and is) a great feature. After NBA Live 2003 introduced the functionality, we were keen to see more content in NBA Live 2004 and beyond. New retro uniforms would indeed be added in future games, but the expanded selection also saw the introduction of unlockable jerseys. The concept has since fallen out of vogue, but for a while there, it was a standard feature in both NBA Live and NBA 2K. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Weird Virtual Career of Junior Harrington

Wayback Wednesday: The Weird Virtual Career of Junior Harrington

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the rather unusual string of appearances former NBA player Junior Harrington made in video games.

I love finding little quirks and oddities in old basketball video games that make for interesting trivia notes. Sometimes it’s serendipity, as I find them when I’m revisiting a game for another topic altogether, and that’s immensely satisfying. Other times, an idea will come to me and I’ll have to dust off various games to do some research, and that’s always fun as well. This is how I’ve come up with lists of players who have appeared in more video games than actual NBA games, players who only appear for certain teams in games, and other unusual occurrences on the virtual hardwood.

In that vein, how about a player who tended to appear more often in video games when he wasn’t actually in the league, but was still active? That player is Lorinza “Junior” Harrington, who had a brief NBA career from 2002 to 2007. His career in the virtual NBA was quite unusual, and to date, I don’t think there have been many other players – if any – who have found themselves in quite the same situation. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: A Tribute to MessenjahMatt

Wayback Wednesday: A Tribute to MessenjahMatt

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m paying tribute to one of the best video makers we’ve ever seen in the basketball gaming community: MessenjahMatt.

I enjoy dusting off old games for retrospective reviews and profiles of interesting features and quirks, but every so often, I think it’s only appropriate to look back at the history of the basketball gaming community. I’ve done that a few times already in my Wayback Wednesday features, mostly focusing on memorable mods as that’s what our corner of the community is best known for. However, that’s not the only kind of content that hoops gamers have seen fit to create over the years. With the steady rise of YouTube, countless virtual hoopsters have been producing video content.

Some great producers have emerged over the years, and it’s been inspiring to see. It’s the reason I’ve tried my hand at some video content myself, and if I could make the time, I’d love to do it more often. I’m sure we all have our favourite video producers, some of whom have been at it for several years now. One of the all-time best video makers has to be MessenjahMatt, who wowed gamers and no doubt inspired many who have gone on to create their own content. His work is legendary and deserves to be spotlighted, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Unanswered Questions in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER

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 lists five questions that remain unanswered in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER, and considers some possible explanations.

Having completed a season for the ages in Year 2 of my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER, I’m ready to move on from the mode in NBA 2K20. Since writing that Monday Tip-Off article, I have played a few games in Year 3 to see what the roster is like. It’s been interesting, but the possibility of a threepeat hasn’t been enough of an incentive to play many more games, or even try simulating most of the season. As the NBA 2K20 demo and full game loom on the horizon, I feel done with NBA 2K19 as a whole, let alone a mode where I’ve finally achieved a sense of closure.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t reflect on my experiences with MyCAREER, and the concepts that it’s explored this generation. For example, I admittedly have a love-hate relationship with the story-driven approach. I believe it has its problems, but it’s also been creative and at times thought-provoking. It’s invited various theories, and even suggests the possibility of its own cinematic universe. Before I close the book on MyCAREER, I’d like to discuss some unexplained aspects of the story in NBA 2K19. Note that these unanswered questions didn’t ruin the experience in my opinion, so this is just me having some fun with plot holes and other oddities.

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