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Wayback Wednesday: Former NBA Teams & Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: Former NBA Teams & 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 taking a look back at former NBA teams, and their now-nostalgic appearances in video games.

Something that I’ve explored in several of my Wayback Wednesday features this year is the way that old video games act as interactive almanacs. Yes, it’s fun to revisit old hoops titles simply to remember what the gameplay was like. Certain games hold up quite well, and for some gamers, their simplicity can even make them more appealing than the newer releases. However, as I’ve said on many occasions, there’s something really enjoyable about looking back at a snapshot of the NBA by scrolling through the rosters and seeing now-retired players, as well as familiar faces in strange places.

To that point, I’ve mostly been focusing on the players, but there’s a lot of nostalgia with the teams as well. Not only is it a fun trip down memory lane to see lineups that we’ve forgotten – some of them full of “What Ifs” – but it’s great to see all of the old branding as well. From logos that teams used for years, to short-lived uniforms and the classic jerseys that still rank as our favourites, we can see it all when we dust off old games. With a handful of franchises relocating and/or changing their names over the past couple of decades, we can also see those former NBA teams live on through the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Jam Doesn’t Get Enough Credit For

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 things that NBA Jam doesn’t get enough credit for.

Following on from my articles about the things that NBA Live and NBA 2K don’t get enough credit for, this week I’m giving NBA Jam the same treatment. As with NBA 2K, that may seem strange as NBA Jam is still held in high regard and remembered quite fondly. When it comes to games from the 90s, NBA Live’s image has easily suffered more, due to its struggles dating back to the mid 2000s. Although there have been some forgettable NBA Jam games (mainly the ones made by Acclaim), the best titles – including the sequels under different names, like NBA Hangtime – are revered.

And yet, there are times when it feels like NBA Jam doesn’t receive the credit that it deserves. I’ve seen gamers say they don’t get what’s so special about it, either because they prefer sim games, or in some cases, that they’re fonder of NBA Street. It’s been nearly ten years since the last NBA Jam game was released, and I imagine there’s a large contingent of the current basketball gaming demographic that didn’t grow up with it as I and other 90s kids did. Whatever the case may be, NBA Jam should be appreciated for its impact on basketball gaming. In particular, I would suggest that NBA Jam unquestionably deserves credit for these five things.

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NLSC Podcast #347: Next Gen Gets The W

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Episode #347 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

As the release of NBA 2K21 Next Gen rapidly approaches, we’ve had our first glimpse of raw gameplay, accompanied by developer commentary. We give our thoughts on what we saw and what we hope to see, and note that there are some things that only hands-on experience will tell us. Full details on the expanded WNBA content have also been revealed, and it sounds like NBA 2K21 Next Gen will be making good use of the WNBA license. We also talk about the Next Gen Kobe Bryant screenshot that was released, as well as the worst basketball games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era.

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.

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Take Basketball Gaming Too Seriously?

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Take Basketball Gaming Too Seriously?

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 by reflecting on a rather pertinent question: do we take basketball gaming too seriously?

The Dark Knight may be twelve years old at this point, but Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker still resonates with many avid fans of Batman movies and comics. A number of lines from that film have penetrated pop culture, from Alfred’s speech about some men just wanting to watch the world burn – a favourite of so many edgelord trolls who fancy themselves Machiavellian puppet masters – to the Joker’s wry and sinister quips. One that comes up a lot, especially out of context when someone happens to utter the words, is “Why so serious?

As such, even all these years later, it’s difficult to pose a question about taking something too seriously without that scene coming to mind, or someone quoting it in response. It’s also admittedly an odd question to pose on a fansite that’s dedicated to a hobby. After all, we’re all about basketball gaming, so we obviously approach the matter with a certain amount of dedication and emphasis on its significance. “It’s only basketball gaming” feels like an out of place rationale and reprimand in a community of virtual hoops enthusiasts. Of course, it always pays to keep matters in perspective. To that point though, have we lost that perspective over the years?

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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 #343: The Making of a Classic (Part 2)

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Episode #343 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Part 2 of our latest chat with Josh and Dave from Namo Gamo continues our conversation about the traits of good and bad basketball games, and how they factored into the development of Basketball Classics. We also talk about the one game that we’d want to be stuck on a desert island with, which Donkey Kong Country title is objectively the best, and how to handle custom ratings in basketball video games. There’s also one last tidbit about future features in Basketball Classics, and possibly a few more nods to a certain Simpsons-themed platformer.

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.

NLSC Podcast #342: The Making of a Classic (Part 1)

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Episode #342 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

In Part 1 of a two-part episode, we welcome Josh and Dave from Namo Gamo back to the show! The guys share some news on the exciting features that are in the works for Basketball Classics, including something that should pique the interest of our modding community. After that, we get into our main discussion topic: the hallmarks of good and bad games, and what makes a hoops title a classic or a dud. We talk about the traits that are common to good and bad basketball games alike, and Josh and Dave describe how those examples inspired and guided them in the development of Basketball Classics. The conversation also turns to collecting, and other classic video games that shaped our tastes.

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.

NLSC Podcast #341: Patches & Pre-Orders

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Episode #341 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The first big patch has been released for NBA 2K21, though PC gamers are still waiting for it. We run through the patch notes and discuss some other pressing issues that still need to be fixed, including corrupted MyCAREER saves and missing VC payouts. This leads us to once again note the discrepancy between fixing issues that affect 2K’s recurrent revenue, and issues that affect the user experience. We’re also troubled by continued roster inaccuracies, and shallow reviews that gloss over problems. On a brighter note, PBA Basketball Slam has received an update and looks to be on the right path. We also reflect on some other games currently in our rotation and the fun we’ve been having with them, as well as our adventures in pre-ordering the Next Gen consoles.

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 Pettiest Moments in Basketball Gaming

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 some of the pettiest moments we’ve seen in basketball gaming.

Is it fair to say that some of the most talented and creative people are also among the pettiest? As someone who grew up reading Roald Dahl’s books, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny, Champion of the World, The Twits, and other classics, I’d have to say yes. Comparing the stories to Dahl’s autobiographical works, Boy and Going Solo, it’s obvious that he based many of his villains on people that he’d met and didn’t care for. In Danny, Champion of the World, he flat out named Danny’s abusive teacher after one of his own schoolmasters whom he loathed (I’d say quite rightfully).

With that in mind, it’s probably fair to say that spite is a driving influence in a lot of people’s creative process. The amount of recording artists who have released songs written about an ex – famous or otherwise – also stands as a good example here. As a creative medium in which there’s competition, video games likewise invite some petty potshots and snarky slams. With there once being a heated rivalry between NBA Live and NBA 2K, both EA Sports and Visual Concepts have been guilty of pettiness. On the other hand, pettiness has also resulted in some amusing Easter eggs and design choices. Without further ado, here are five of the pettiest moments in virtual hoops!

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The Friday Five: 5 Times Games Received Surprising Updates

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 times that basketball games received surprising updates.

These days, basketball games receive more updates than ever before. Official patches are more frequent and numerous. Content updates, from current rosters and new player faces, to MyPLAYER clothing and MyTEAM challenges and cards, are also pushed through all season long. At some point however, these updates will cease. Developers have to move on to next year’s title after all, and there’s only so much that can be addressed in patches. New content beyond the NBA Finals, and certainly for a game that’s over a year old, is quite rare.

It’s not unprecedented, however. There are extenuating circumstances, such as when the cancellation of NBA Elite 11 resulted in NBA Live 10 being updated for the 2011 season. On top of that, there are times when video games receive content that we simply wouldn’t expect because it doesn’t seem feasible due to technical or licensing limitations. It’s a nice surprise when a title does receive new content or a fix that seemed unlikely, though at the same time, it’s difficult not to approach some of these unexpected updates with a certain amount of cynicism. Nevertheless, here are five times that games received updates that were surprising for one reason or another.

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NLSC Podcast #334: NBA 2K21 News & NBA Live Woes

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Episode #334 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

With the Current Gen version of NBA 2K21 a little over a month away, we’re anticipating the floodgates opening on the preview season. For now, we have news on this year’s soundtrack, as well as a few tidbits about gameplay and MyTEAM. We break down what we know so far, including Mike Wang’s interesting comments about making the game as enjoyable as possible. Given the recent sentiments in the community – as well as a few remarks from NBA players – it seems like the right idea! Elsewhere, now that we know there won’t be an NBA Live 21, we once again discuss the future of the NBA Live series. Are we keeping our fingers crossed for next year? Also, we talk about when basketball games get cartoonish, and how that can be a welcome change of pace.

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.

NLSC Podcast #331: Hit Me With Your Green Release

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Episode #331 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

In a shocking development, one of us has a new perspective on a game we’ve openly criticised in the past. Find out what led to the change in heart, and stay tuned to hear if the new opinion sticks! We also tackle the issue of shot meters, Green Releases, and shooting mechanics in general. What do we think is the best approach, and could we ever go back to the old ways? Meanwhile, talking about the mods we’re working on leads us to workshop some ideas for other projects we’d love to create. With only one basketball game announced for Next Gen, we also discuss some other titles that we’d like to see return. Since the NBA’s resumption is also looming, we finish up with a discussion of asterisks, and how this year’s championship will likely be viewed.

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 Friday Five: 5 Funny Basketball Game Commentary Moments

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 funny moments in the commentary of various basketball games.

Commentary is an important part of presentation in basketball video games (and most sports games, for that matter). When it’s done well, it adds to a feeling of authenticity, helping to create the illusion that you’re watching a real game. It’s an area of sports video games that has greatly improved over the years, with more lines of dialogue, better reaction logic, and other enhancements thanks to improved technology. At the same time, it can still get rather repetitive after a while, and so there are many gamers who prefer to play basketball games with the commentary turned off.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and in fact, switching off commentary actually adds a certain amount of realism and immersion in career modes, where you obviously wouldn’t be able to hear the commentators while on the court. However, if you do turn off the commentary, you can miss out on some funny moments. From witty lines and Easter eggs to the occasional mistake left in by accident, there are some very amusing gems. I can’t recall anything quite as hilariously bad and sloppy as the outtakes that were left in the DLC for WWE 2K17, but the virtual hardwood has still provided us with some funny moments from the people calling the action.

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The Friday Five: 5 Differences in PC & Console 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 differences between the PC and console versions of various basketball games.

Our choice of gaming platform remains one of the pettiest parts of the hobby. Gamers who prefer PlayStation or Xbox to the exclusion of all other consoles will snipe back and forth with each other, comparing specs, exclusives, and anything else that will allow them to feel like their personal preference is intellectually (and even morally) superior. The other big and perpetual gaming war, of course, is PC vs. Console. I’m sure that you’re familiar with all the arguments, stereotypes, and insults that are flung back and forth as everyone engages in frothing-at-the-mouth tribalism.

Personally, I believe that gamers game. Give me a platform, a game, and ask me to play it and tell you what I think, and I’ll give it a shot! If PC gaming or a specific console works for you and you’re happy with your choice, more power to you. I’ll admit to being Team Nintendo during the Nintendo vs. SEGA war of the 90s, but when it comes to PC and console, I’ve actually always played games on both. I do that because certain titles and series have been exclusive, but I’ve also played the same basketball games on multiple platforms, and noticed some interesting differences between releases. There have been quite a few, but here are five noteworthy ones.

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NLSC Podcast #326: Letting It All Out This Week

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Episode #326 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Dee4Three and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

This week, we’re letting it all out as we discuss a variety of topics! We begin with the impending return of the NBA, and our thoughts on the format to finish out the season. On that note, is this really the end of Vince Carter’s career? Elsewhere, a long-lost spin-off of SimCity has us wondering whether any more forgotten and unreleased basketball games will make it out into the wild. The rare version of NBA Jam with Michael Jordan springs to mind. Recent events also lead us to share some strong opinions on the use of Patreon in the modding community, and the focus on making money through the hobby. With EA Play on the horizon, we wonder once more about the future of NBA Live, and express some frustration. We also touch on representing the ABA on the virtual hardwood, and what would make for acceptable downloadable content in basketball games. Oh, and there’s a potentially divisive opinion about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s branding.

What’s your take on this week’s topics? 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.