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NLSC Podcast #364: 10 Games To Last A Year

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Episode #364 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

After replaying Slam City with Scottie Pippen recently, we vow to dedicate a whole show to it…after we can defeat Fingers, the first opponent. With March Modness 2021 right around the corner, we look ahead to another celebration of modding, and some of our own projects. Seeing as how it’s a slow news week, we’re playing a game: the ten games we’d choose for a year in isolation, specifically five basketball and five non-basketball games. Which titles make our lists, especially once we start changing up the game with some new rules? In the mailbag this week, we’re talking about the Arcade1Up NBA Jam machine, and the current state of NBA 2K’s graphics.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or 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 shows. 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 Cheats with Major Drawbacks

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 cheats that have major drawbacks.

Cheaters never prosper, as the saying goes. Of course, that saying predates video games, where cheating often leads to great success! Doom II sure felt like a walk in the park when my cousin and I punched in IDDQD and IDKFA for invincibility and all the items. There are a couple of adventure games I probably wouldn’t have ever finished if not for a walkthrough, and the Konami code has benefited many a gamer over the years. Alright, it’s kind of cheating yourself and it’s far more satisfying when you beat a game legitimately, but the point is that cheats are indeed effective.

Well, some of them. Some cheats are more like Easter eggs, unlocking weird effects and bonus content that don’t actually help you win. Some are definitely just for fun, but even then, there can be drawbacks. As is the case in other genres, employing cheats in basketball games may not allow you to make any progress. The effects of some cheats are a letdown, while others may actually make the game more difficult. Whatever the case may be, you’re better off avoiding these codes and activities if you want to enjoy basketball gaming to its fullest. Here are five such examples, and the drawbacks that you can expect to experience.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Space Jam Video Game

Wayback Wednesday: The Space Jam Video Game

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 Space Jam video game.

Happy 58th Birthday to my all-time favourite player, Michael Jordan! You know, it kind of blows my mind that I’m now older than MJ was when he won his final title with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. Appropriately enough, that was 23 years ago; a fact that’s also difficult to wrap my head around! In any case, I figured that since it is His Airness’ birthday today, it only makes sense to cover something related to him. The problem is that I’ve already covered The Jordan Challenge (from several angles, too), as well as Michael Jordan in Flight, his history in games, and his comeback in 1995.

What else is there? Well, how about the Space Jam video game? Yes, there was a lot of merchandise related to Space Jam when it came out, and like so many movies in the 90s, there was a video game tie-in for PC, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn. I didn’t actually play it back in the day, but I’ve since added it to my collection. We got a real jam going down, so let’s take it into overtime…I mean, let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #359: Like Something Out Of A Video Game!

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Episode #359 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

The announcement of Giannis Antetokounmpo as the new face of NBA Live Mobile has piqued our interest in the success of the game. As it turns out, it’s performing even better than we realised. This leads us to reflect on how it’s kept the NBA Live brand alive, and what this means for a future console/PC release. The fifteenth anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s historic 81-point game inspires us to not only look back at the achievement, but its impact on the virtual hardwood. We discuss the idea of such performances being described as “something out of a video game”, and the difficulty in replicating those feats. The need for a new challenge mode also comes up. In the mailbag this week, we’re talking about NBA Live’s turning point, and a fantasy scenario involving an upcoming retro roster mod for NBA 2K11.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or 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 shows. 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 #358: What Could’ve Been, And May Yet Be

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Episode #358 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

Browsing the Marketplace on Xbox Series X reveals that NBA Jam: On Fire Edition is still available, and it’s definitely still worth getting. Conversely, there’s no getting our hands on NBA Live 20, but according to its recently discovered ESRB rating, it was set to come out on PC. We commiserate about what might’ve been, but consider what it may mean for the series’ eventual return. Also in the news this week is the status of Start Today in NBA 2K21. The situation is understandable, but the lack of transparency is frustrating as usual. Dusting off NBA Live 16 also leads us to reminisce about one of the better NBA Live games from the past generation. In this week’s mailbag, we answer questions about Ronnie 2K and the community, and what we’ve been playing in NBA 2K21.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or 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 shows. 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.

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam vs NBA Street

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam vs NBA Street

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 comparing the NBA Jam series to the NBA Street series.

It’s been over a year since I posted my first “Versus” feature, which compared The Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest. My intention was for it to become a recurring feature, similar to my Familiar Faces in Strange Places/Familiar Places series. To that end, I’ve been sitting on a few ideas for other comparisons. Since I compared two modes in back-to-back releases in the same series for the first instalment, it only makes sense to go bigger for the second article. As such, today I’m comparing the two heavyweights of the arcade basketball scene: NBA Jam, and NBA Street.

There are many factors to consider here. There have been more NBA Jam games than NBA Street games, as well as a number of releases that were spiritual successors to NBA Jam under different titles, after Acclaim acquired the name from Midway. To that point, three different developers have released games under the NBA Jam brand, while every NBA Street game has come from EA Sports BIG. Nevertheless, I believe that all of the evidence must be considered, as we compare, contrast, and ultimately pick the winner out of these classic arcade hoops series. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #357: Interview with Andy Hull

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Episode #357 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

This week we’re interviewing Andy Hull, the creator of Dunk Lords and programmer on Spelunky! Andy talks about his background in programming and breaking into the industry, which included a stint making wooden toys. He also provides us with several insights into the development of Dunk Lords, which began life as a prototype called Buckets of Blood. We also talk about NBA Jam and Andy’s other video gaming influences, how working on Spelunky helped him to go on to create his own game, and ask a few listener questions that were sent in for this week’s special edition of the mailbag.

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.

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Elite 11 & NBA Live 13

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Elite 11 & NBA Live 13

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Next up is a look back at NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13.

I was originally going to write separate articles for NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13, but they’re obviously closely connected, being back-to-back cancellations. Since I haven’t played the full version of NBA Elite 11, and have no hands-on experience with NBA Live 13 at all, it occurred to me that there isn’t really enough I can say about both games to fill two articles. Nevertheless, when we look back at the history of the NBA Live series, it’s important to cover these two titles. Needless to say, they played a significant role in the series being in the position that it’s in today. As such, there are cautionary tales to reflect upon, as well as a couple of “What Ifs”.

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NLSC Podcast #355: Hey, Mr Postman!

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Episode #355 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

As promised, we’re ending the year with a jumbo edition of the mailbag! First of all, we’re ranking NBA 2K on the last generation, and yes, our lists do differ. We also revisit the topic of NBA Live’s future, EA Sports’ silence on the game’s official social media channels, and how optimistic we feel. This segues into a discussion of franchises that EA has discontinued. Other topics include star athletes of yesteryear returning, our favourite mods, and what would take NBA 2K to the next level as far as features and content are concerned. A huge thanks to everyone who contributed topics and questions!

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.

Wayback Wednesday: Kidz Sports Basketball

Wayback Wednesday: Kidz Sports Basketball

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 Kidz Sports Basketball, specifically the PlayStation 2 version.

There have been a lot of basketball games released over the years, with many of them flying under the radar. We all know NBA Live and NBA 2K, and older basketball gamers may recall other NBA licensed series such as Inside Drive, ShootOut, and In the Zone. Arcade games such as NBA Jam and NBA Street are familiar classics, and in recent years, NBA Playgrounds has gained traction. We remember the College Hoops and March Madness/NCAA Basketball games, EA’s NBA Playoffs series, Double Dribble, and a variety of other hoops titles of varying age and quality.

And then, there’s a title like Kidz Sports Basketball. Released in 2004, it’s not a game that would attract much attention in our community, as we’re not in the demographic. It’s meant for a much younger audience that isn’t quite ready for other hoops games, especially the sim titles. It’s one of those games that you might discover on Wikipedia – or indeed, in our Wiki – and wonder just what it was all about. I snagged a copy of the PS2 version cheap on eBay, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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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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