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Wayback Wednesday: Freestyle Air in NBA Live

Wayback Wednesday: Freestyle Air in NBA Live

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 Freestyle Air in NBA Live.

The entire history of basketball video games provides us with countless examples of developers striving for deeper controls. From the addition of sprint and steal buttons, to right stick dribbling and advanced shot types, the games have evolved to give us more and more control over the action. In the early to mid 2000s in particular though, we saw major additions and frequent changes as developers attempted to implement mechanics that were long-term solutions, or could pave the way for them. Dual analog gamepads becoming the standard peripheral also freed up buttons for new functions.

When NBA Live 2003 introduced us to right stick dribbling with Freestyle Control, it was indeed a revolution. The ability to perform specific moves on cue instead of just having to hope for the best with our press of a generic dribble moves button changed basketball gaming forever. However, while it was vital that we had more control over fundamentals such as dribbling, stealing, and stance, we also needed to direct the action when we left the virtual hardwood, and that’s where Freestyle Air comes in. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting NBA Live 2001

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting NBA Live 2001

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 revisiting NBA Live 2001, and sharing some further opinions on a game that I’ve previously profiled.

Thanks to my efforts in amassing a large collection of basketball video games, I have a plethora of classic (and not-so-classic) titles that I’m yet to cover here in Wayback Wednesday. One of my goals for 2023 is to finally get around to games that have been on the To Do List for years, including the NBA Street series. However, there are titles that I’ve changed my mind about upon revisiting them with fresh eyes. When I’ve experienced a significant change of heart, it only feels appropriate that I follow up with an updated retrospective.

As I’ve previously discussed, I’ve developed a greater appreciation for games such as NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360, NBA Live 10, and NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4/Xbox One. Last year, I reflected on how my stance on NBA Live 2003 had softened. While I don’t completely disagree with my prior criticisms, I can now find more enjoyment in it as a retro gaming experience. I can say the same for NBA Live 2001 PC, which I ended up revisiting while feeling nostalgic ahead of my twenty year high school reunion. Similar to NBA Live 2003, it’s a game I’ve had mixed opinions about over the years. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #460: The Community Compares NBA 2K14 & NBA 2K23

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #460 of the NLSC Podcast!

Comparisons of NBA 2K14 and NBA 2K23 have been gaining traction on social media as of late. We discuss the observations that the community has been making,  and why more people are (rightfully) beginning to look back on NBA 2K14 so fondly. Speaking of NBA 2K23, we share our thoughts on MyNBA Eras rosters being available in Play Now once again, albeit with limitations. We also catch up on some recent modding developments, including a forthcoming Fantasy Draft roster for NBA 2K19, Murat’s MyNBA Eras project for NBA Live 06, and new resources for NBA 2K16. After circling back to a couple of responses to last week’s mailbag that came in after we ‘d finished recording, we quiz the community on the top-rated classic players in NBA 2K11.

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Things I Randomly Discovered Years Later

The Friday Five: 5 Things I Randomly Discovered Years Later

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 that I quite randomly discovered in basketball games, several years after they were released.

The internet has made it difficult to keep secrets and spoilers hidden, though it does also facilitate the quick spread of misinformation. When it comes to video game secrets, it’s all too easy for someone to post a fake code, Photoshop a hoax, or try to pass off a mod as original content. At the same time, it’s easy for others to debunk hoaxes and urban legends, as well as keep others informed about factual aspects of various games. From strategies and functionality to hidden content and modding tutorials, a plethora of information is out there.

Obviously, someone has to discover secrets and techniques, and it’s always fun when you’re the one to stumble on them. Back in the day, I remember accidentally finding the Cheats menu in Donkey Kong Country 2, and actually looking forward to going to school on Monday so that I could tell my friends about it! No doubt that information was already out there somewhere, but my friends and I didn’t know about it until then. Over the years, I’ve randomly discovered things in basketball games, completely by accident or chance, and long after they were released. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons that I enjoy revisiting old games, because you never know what you’ve overlooked.

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Monday Tip-Off: Getting Into Basketball Game Collecting

Monday Tip-Off: Getting Into Basketball Game Collecting

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 tips on how to get into basketball game collecting.

So, you say you want to get into collecting basketball video games? I’ve seen some people express interest in the hobby, especially with how often that Dee and I have talked about our collections on the NLSC Podcast! We’re admittedly at the crazier end of the hobby, doubling up on different platforms, picking up spare copies if we see them for ridiculously low prices, and seeking out some more expensive titles. One doesn’t have to be a completionist to collect though, especially when it comes to video games. It’s fine to just amass a collection of favourites that you want to have on hand.

We’ve received a couple of strange YouTube comments in regards to our collections, which seem to imply that we’re somehow doing something nefarious, or that we’re in some exclusive hobby that requires great wealth. To put it bluntly, neither is true! I believe the former comment mistook our discussion of shared experiences using Parsec as somehow hoarding games, while the latter is assuming that collecting needs to be an expensive hobby. We did respond to those comments and provided some tips on basketball game collecting way back in Episode #436 of the Podcast, but I’d like to offer some further advice, including a summary of key tips at the end of this article.

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The Friday Five: 5 Activities to Freshen Up Your Gaming

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 suggests five activities to help you freshen up your basketball gaming experiences.

I’m the last person who’ll scold you about stubbornly sticking with what you like. I’m absolutely a creature of habit, prone to returning to my old favourites rather than try something new. And hey, as long as you’re having fun, that’s the most important part of all recreational activities! There’s a reason I go on those long kicks such as playing through multiple seasons in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER, assembling makeshift retro teams in NBA Live 10, or going back to my NBA Live 06 Dynasty if I’m not feeling the latest game. Indeed, it’s why I’ve stuck with franchise and career modes for years.

Of course, it’s nice to change things up when you’re weary of what you’re playing. This is why I advocate for a variety of deep modes in basketball games, and if they’re there, giving them a look whenever you’re getting bored. However, if you’re looking for a change of pace without diving into a whole new mode, there are many activities that you can do in basketball games that are, at the very least, fun palate cleansers. If you enjoy them, then you may want to make them a regular part of your basketball gaming, combining them with a mode if possible. Otherwise, these activities are ideas to keep in mind if you’re in a rut, and want to mess around on the virtual hardwood.

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Wayback Wednesday: The First Friday Five

Wayback Wednesday: The First Friday Five

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 my very first Friday Five, published ten years ago today.

As I always note in my introduction for Wayback Wednesday, one of the intended purposes of this weekly feature is to republish old articles, usually with some added commentary. Funnily enough, that was actually the subject of the very first Wayback Wednesday, as I posted an article that was no longer available on the site due to us switching content management systems. However, much like Jerry West winning the first NBA Finals MVP despite losing the series, this didn’t set a precedent! I’ve mostly opted for retrospectives and other game-oriented features over republishing articles.

Honestly, I do think that’s the right call, as it’s the optimal use of a weekly feature such as Wayback Wednesday. It’s handy to leave the door open to republishing lost articles and generally digging into our own archives, but I believe that basketball video games should always be the star of the show, so to speak. With that being said, since it is ten years to the day that I posted my first edition of The Friday Five, I’m reflecting on the beginning of my longest-running NLSC feature, as well as the topic that it covered. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Rewind 2022

NLSC Rewind 2022

Welcome to the NLSC Rewind for 2022! It feels like it was only a few months ago that I was compiling last year’s Rewind, but that’s how it goes these days. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that the last few years have all run together. That’s largely due to the pandemic, but it’s also true what they say: time does seem to go faster the older you are! In any event, it’s been another fun and productive year here at the NLSC.

Our modding community has been busy all year, seamlessly transitioning from NBA 2K22 to NBA 2K23 when the latter was released. A handful of older titles were also kept updated in 2022, including NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K14. Glancing at the various modding sections, it’s clear that even more great work will be coming in 2023, with some great projects brewing for classic games as well. As always, a big thank you to everyone who continues to release work here! I’d like to remind everyone that the upload facilities in our Downloads database remain 100% free and available to all.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the NLSC Rewind for 2022! For those who are unaware, I use the Rewind to share some “editor’s picks” of our original content from the past year. Obviously I encourage you to peruse our entire archives; as with topics in our Forum, old comments sections are still open, and I’m proud of all our work. At the same time, there were some features and episodes of the NLSC Podcast that I’m particularly proud of, and I believe that you’ll really enjoy checking them out if you did miss them the first time around (or perhaps, enjoy them again a second time!). Without any further ado, let’s rewind the year that was 2022 here at the NLSC!

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Monday Tip-Off: Finishing Seasons On The Virtual Hardwood

Monday Tip-Off: Finishing Seasons On The Virtual Hardwood

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 the rewarding feeling of finishing seasons in basketball video games.

I’ve previously said that completion is what we make it when it comes to the virtual hardwood. Indeed, I dedicated an entire article to exploring that notion. I still stand by that. While it can be extremely fulfilling to be a completionist when it comes to the games we play, it isn’t a necessity to have fun. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t collect all of the cards in MyTEAM, reach the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER, or play through to a championship in a mode representing the NBA season. As you long as you enjoyed your time with a game and feel like you got your money’s worth, that’s what counts.

With that being said, there’s great joy to be had in playing through seasons from start to finish. If you manage to play multiple seasons – either before the next game comes out, or by returning to an old favourite – it can be an even more rewarding experience. It’s a tall order, especially with a full 82-game season on twelve minute quarters with no simulation, as I’ve often aimed to achieve. No matter which settings you prefer however, there’s a feeling of accomplishment when a season is in the books, and your team is standing at midcourt raising the Larry O’Brien trophy. Even before that, of course, there’s a journey that I strongly advise everyone to savour along the way.

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NLSC Podcast #458: Why We’re Thankful For Basketball Games

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #458 of the NLSC Podcast!

To all of our listeners, Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings! We’ve got a very festive episode for you this week, as we’re reflecting on why we’re thankful for basketball video games, and what basketball gaming and modding has meant to us throughout the years. From our very first games that tipped off our love of the hobby, to the landmark releases and innovations that blew us away, there’s plenty that we’re grateful for. In this week’s mailbag, we join the community in sharing some of our favourite holiday memories on the virtual hardwood, including the hoops titles that we received as gifts.

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Gaming Technical Frustrations

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Gaming Technical Frustrations

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 technical frustrations that one might encounter when retro gaming.

I love retro gaming! As I’ve said before, when I think back, I was probably born to be a retro gamer. The first console I ever played was one that came out before I was even born, and part of the 1983 video game crash. It’s not that I don’t enjoy playing new games and all the technological advances the medium has made, but my early forays into gaming have undoubtedly influenced my ability to overlook dated aspects if I still enjoy the gameplay. Some games hold up better than others – especially basketball and other sports titles – but bottom line, I can still have a blast with the classics.

Of course, over the years, that hasn’t always been easy to do. This is particularly true of older PC basketball games following upgrades to a new system. At the end of the day, retro gaming (basketball or otherwise) is still something of a niche interest within the hobby, with technical frustrations arising because it’s not kept in mind when new hardware and operating systems are being developed. Fortunately, there are usually workarounds, though they can be intimidating if you’re not technically savvy. I’ve been able to find ways to get all of my old games running for my retro gaming and content creation purposes, but there have definitely been some technical frustrations.

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Wayback Wednesday: Playing With Defunct & Relocated Teams

Wayback Wednesday: Playing With Defunct & Relocated Teams

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 defunct and relocated teams that are fun to play with in older games.

If it isn’t obvious from producing a weekly Wayback Wednesday feature, as well as playing old favourites with Dee4Three on Parsec and discussing them on the NLSC Podcast, I love revisiting basketball games from multiple eras, and bringing them back into my gaming rotation. Sometimes I get on an extended kick with a game, as is the case with NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4, while other titles I just like to throw on for an exhibition or two. Whether I’m playing solo or with Dee, those exhibition games always raise an important question: who to play with, and against?

Obviously, our favourite teams – the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics – will always be an option. Of course, there are some Bulls and Celtics teams throughout time that aren’t as fun to play with, while other teams are far more intriguing. However, more and more, I find myself being drawn to the defunct, relocated, or re-branded teams in older basketball video games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Weird Outcomes in Franchise & Career Games

The Friday Five: 5 Weird Outcomes in Franchise & Career Games

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 reflecting on five weird outcomes in my various franchise and career games over the years.

There are many ways to play franchise modes in basketball video games. I’ve always preferred a more straightforward approach: take control of a team with current rosters, leave injuries and CPU trades on (assuming they’re optional), and play through the season to create my own reality. While this may be more conventional than a fantasy draft or using a heavily customised roster, it’s not immune to weird outcomes. Sim engines are prone to producing unexpected results, from season standings and Playoff outcomes to weird league leaders. Obviously, this happens in career modes as well.

Of course, when we’re talking about realism and weird outcomes with sim engines, it isn’t easy to define what that actually means. Results and player movement may not reflect reality, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re unrealistic in nature. In real life, we do see puzzling trades, bewildering awards and All-Star snubs, and teams that are surprisingly better or worse than expected. Some outcomes are unlikely, but weird things do happen practically every year in the NBA. With that being said, sim engines do produce some illogical and weird outcomes that are unrealistic and highly unlikely given the circumstances. Here are five examples that I’ve encountered.

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NBA Live 06 Mod Releases: Net Update

NBA Live 06 Cover Art

Murat has released a new net update for NBA Live 06 PC. Pick it up at the link below, and check out this topic in the Forum for more information on Murat’s efforts to bring NBA Live 06 up to date with further mod releases!

Murat
Net Model Patch

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.

Monday Tip-Off: Fixing & Enhancing Old Mods

Monday Tip-Off: Fixing & Enhancing Old Mods

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 a discussion of fixing and enhancing old mods.

It’s vital to know when to step back and stop working on a creative project. You may be familiar with the phrase “put down the brush”; the advice given to painters so that they can declare a piece finished, and avoid ruining it with unnecessary changes. The brush is quite literal there, but as a metaphor, it applies to any art or creative work. In video game and software design, it may take the form of “feature creep“. Just as extra brushstrokes can spoil a painting or stand in the way of its completion, a game or app can become bloated or delayed indefinitely if you don’t “put down the brush”.

The same goes for a creative endeavour that our community enjoys: modding. It’s all too easy for projects to be pushed back, or indeed never released, because we get hung up on minor details that aren’t a problem, or can be fixed later. It’s the reason why Version 1.0 doesn’t need to be the best and definitive version of a mod. To that point though, once the work is out there, we can always go back and try to fix a minor issue, or add further detail and content. This obviously happens quite often, but what about particularly old mods? Frankly, I’m all for it! Just because a mod is old and largely “finished”, there’s no harm in releasing new fixes and further enhancements.

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