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Monday Tip-Off: Reviving the Retro Modding Scene

Monday Tip-Off: Reviving the Retro Modding Scene

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 reviving the retro modding scene, and how we could best accomplish that.

Given that my dissatisfaction with the most recent releases in the NBA 2K series has pushed me towards retro basketball gaming – however you want to define that – I’m obviously intrigued by the prospect of reviving the retro modding scene. To reiterate a point I made when I discussed the definition of retro gaming, retro modding means different things to different people, but broadly speaking, I’d suggest that it refers to nostalgic favourites that the community has largely moved on from, but a dedicated contingent of people still revisit and have interest in modding and using mods for.

As far as the specific titles, we can name some popular examples here. NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K14 are two of the most modded games of their generation, and they hold up well. There’s a ton of nostalgia for the later NBA Live releases on PC, especially NBA Live 2005 and NBA Live 06, with NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004 being up there as well. NBA 2K11 has some untapped potential, and is a game I’ve seen gamers cite as one they’d like to see benefit from more retro modding. NBA 2K17 and NBA 2K19 are two recent classics that gamers want to keep alive. I love the idea and support the initiative, but to make it happen, we must keep a few things in mind.

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NBA Live Widescreen Fix Updated to V1.04

NBA Live Widescreen Fixes Updated

As you may have seen in previous bulletins, Murat has been doing some excellent work with the last few NBA Live releases on PC, enhancing the experience for retro gamers with various fixes. To that end, he’s released a new version of the NBA Live Widescreen Fix, which is compatible with NBA Live 2005, NBA Live 06, NBA Live 07, and NBA Live 08.

V1.04 of the NBA Live Widescreen Fix adds an updated transition screen for NBA Live 2005, as well as the option to enable and disable the intro/attract mode videos that normally play while idling in the main menu. No further editing or hacking is required, and it won’t interfere with any other mods that you’re using. Pick it up here in our Downloads section!

For more information and previews of projects that Murat is working on, check out this topic in the Forum. For retro gamers who love retro season mods, I’d also recommend giving the work-in-progress MyEra Project a look. A big thanks to Murat for his work, and to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads section! Obviously we want to support modding for NBA 2K24 and future NBA 2K releases, but we’ll always advocate for retro gaming, and mods that breathe new life into old favourites.

NLSC Podcast #530: Replaying NBA History With Modern Gaming Tech

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #530 of the NLSC Podcast!

If a basketball video game featuring modern technology but a past setting – from rosters to modes to presentation – was ever to be released, which year would you want it to be? This week, we join the community in sharing our choices of legendary seasons to re-live on the virtual hardwood. We also react to the announcement of NBA Superstars, an upcoming arcade basketball game in the style of NBA Jam. What do we make of the gameplay in the trailer, and can it fill a void in the basketball gaming space? We also discuss having interactions with former NBA players on social media – both positive and negative – and provide a PSA for our fellow basketball gamers who may be having a rough time right now.

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 Conceptual Mistakes Basketball Games Made

The Friday Five: 5 Conceptual Mistakes Basketball Games Made

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 looks at five conceptual mistakes that were made with various basketball video games.

Game design isn’t as easy as some people believe it to be. Programming is far from entering instructions in plain English, with many technological challenges that must be overcome. It’s also impossible to cater to everyone’s tastes and preferences, and what might seem like a good idea on paper may not work out as well as hoped when it comes to fruition. For the most part, no one is trying to make a bad video game. It’s just that some concepts don’t pan out, there’s not enough time or adequate resources, ambitious plans set the bar too high, or perhaps a combination thereof.

At the same time, some basketball games have left us wondering what the developers were thinking when it comes to an approach or design choice. There may be some small merit to an idea, but it’s still bewildering that it survived the planning stages, or preliminary proof of concept testing. In all fairness, there are other ideas that seemed good to us as well, until the games were in our hands and we realised that it wasn’t quite what we wanted after all. These are the conceptual mistakes that held games back from being as good as they could and should have been. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but again, a few of these examples were waving red flags from the beginning.

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NLSC Podcast #528: Best Three-Point Shooters in Video Game History

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #528 of the NLSC Podcast!

A recent interview with EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson bleakly hints at a future where games are riddled with intrusive ads. We’ve already seen attempts at this before, but as you can imagine, we’re not thrilled at the possibility of it becoming commonplace! However, most of this week’s show is dedicated to the deadeyes from downtown on the virtual hardwood, as we join the community in reminiscing about the best three-point shooters in the history of basketball video games. We also recall the players that we preferred to overwrite when customising the rosters in classic titles, whether we were making current roster updates or putting ourselves and our friends into the NBA.

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 Live MyEra Project V0.1 Released

NBA Live MyEra Project V0.1 Released

In recent mod release bulletins for NBA Live 2005 and NBA Live 06, I’ve noted that Murat and other members of the community have been working on retro projects for those two games. There’s more than a taste of that work available now, as Murat and company have released V0.1 of the NBA Live MyEra project!

This initial release, which obviously takes inspiration from MyNBA Eras in NBA 2K23 and NBA 2K24, includes rosters for the 1984-85 and 1995-96 seasons. The project is still a work in progress, so you can expect to see more player faces added in the future. In the meantime though, all of the team logos, jerseys, and courts are accurate for both seasons. The rosters have also been converted from the URB 2K14 mod by skoadam and slimm44.

Download the NBA Live MyEra project here! For more information and previews, check out Murat’s topics in the NBA Live 2005 and NBA Live 06 sections of the Forum. It’s great to see a couple of classics receiving new mods, especially a larger project like this one. As I’ve said in articles and on the NLSC Podcast, I’m all for seeing a revival of the modding scene for old favourites, so I’m definitely looking forward to more releases. If I can find the time, I may even get in on the action myself! In the meantime though, congratulations to Murat et al on tipping off this excellent project!

Monday Tip-Off: Makeshift Classic Teams & Other Minimalist Rosters

Monday Tip-Off: Makeshift Classic Teams & Other Minimalist Rosters

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 reflections on my recent habit of creating and playing with makeshift classic teams – and other minimalist rosters – while retro gaming.

There are multiple ways in which I can indulge my NBA nostalgia. I can simply revisit an old game and play with rosters that are now a time capsule. For over a decade now, the NBA 2K series has provided a plethora of historical content, from classic teams to All-Time squads to the Decade All-Stars. There are also mods that I can download, or I could always create my own retro rosters in one of my favourite games. In short, if I feel like taking a trip down memory lane on the virtual hardwood, it can be done with impressive accuracy.

As such, I will absolutely do all those things! However, cobbling together makeshift classic teams has become a consistent part of my basketball gaming over the past year or so. I’ve also tinkered with the rosters of old games I’m dusting off by rolling them back to the previous season, or creating minimalist Legends squads. It may sound highly unnecessary when there are games that already provide that content, not to mention strange that I’m not opting for more accuracy with a full retro mod. However, I’ve had a blast incorporating some minimalist modding into my retro gaming. There’s an undeniable appeal to assembling something new with only the content on hand.

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NBA Live 06 Mod Releases: Retro Jersey Pack

NBA Live 06 Cover Art

We’ve got some new NBA Live 06 mod releases to share today, as Murat has uploaded a pack of retro jerseys spanning 1984 to 2005. The pack is actually part of a work-in-progress retro roster project for NBA Live 06, so definitely stay tuned for more details on that. In the meantime, pick up the pack at the link below!

Murat, b_baller86 et al
1984-2005 Retro Jerseys Pack

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.

The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

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 weighs in on five contentious basketball gaming debates.

When you’ve been around a while, both in terms of a gaming community and life in general, a couple of things usually happen. You may well lean into that curmudgeonly aspect of aging, becoming the proverbial old man yelling at clouds. At the same time, you also realise that certain things aren’t as important anymore, if indeed they ever were. Leaving high school is a liberating experience, as problems that once seemed all-important and dramatic now feel like petty non-issues (because they often were!). The flipside of this is dealing with all of the new challenges that come with adulthood.

Of course, being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding petty drama, especially in hobby and fan communities. As the saying goes, growing older is mandatory, but growing up isn’t. Fanbases have strong opinions that make them prone to contentious debates, and the basketball gaming community is no different. As with any other gaming community or group of fans, there are popular and unpopular opinions, issues that are divisive, and a selfish desire to be right and get what we want. We’re not all going to get along one hundred percent of the time, but there are some basketball gaming topics that are often contentious. Here’s my take on five of those matters!

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Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

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 some of my failed franchise and season mode games, and reflecting on whether they’re actually failures.

Over the years in Wayback Wednesday, I’ve reminisced about several of my most memorable franchise, season, and career mode games. While they all represent fun times on the virtual hardwood for me, they haven’t been equally successfully as far as completion is concerned. Games where I’ve played through an entire season on twelve minute quarters stand out as the times I’ve really been hooked on the experience, but they’re arguably the exception rather than the rule. There are far more titles that I’ve never finished a single season in, than ones where I’ve had multi-year games.

Of course, as I’ve noted before, completion is what you make it when it comes to the annual sim titles. Unless you stick with a single game for more than a year, it’s tough to get the full multi-year experience in franchise and career modes; especially when you opt for full length seasons on twelve minute quarters without simulating! Even in the games where I didn’t finish the season, I still had a ton of fun. With that being said, there are also franchise and season mode games that I abandoned very quickly. To that end, this week I’m reflecting on some “failed” games, and pondering the concept of “failure” in that context. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #525: Check My Stats

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #525 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which basketball video games have been the easiest and hardest to put up stats in over the years? This week, we join the community in discussing the titles that stick out in our minds, as well as the statistics that either eluded us or seemingly piled up way too easily. Additionally, following a session with Virtua NBA – an arcade release that a few people in our community have taken an interest in lately – we give our thoughts on what is certainly an intriguing game. We also provide an update on our journey in the original NBA Jam, pick our ideal hoops games for an annual tournament, and reflect on how it feels to shelve a beloved favourite that’s unfortunately grown stale.

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: Low-Stakes Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: Low-Stakes 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 some reflections on how much I’m enjoying low-stakes basketball gaming.

Naturally, Play Now/exhibition mode is a necessary staple in basketball video games, as it is in all sports titles. It’s important to be able to just jump into a game where the result doesn’t have to count, especially while we’re getting acclimated to a new title. However, historically speaking, I generally haven’t played too many exhibition games once I’m hooked on a release. More often than not, I’ve just used Play Now to grab screenshots for an article or news post, immediately quitting after getting what I need. If I was going to settle down to play a full game, I wanted it to count for something.

Over the past few years though, my habits have drastically changed. I’m still eager to play games that count, as my ongoing NBA 2K14 MyCAREER and other preserved save files demonstrate. At the same time, I’ve become far more open to – and keen on – low-stakes basketball gaming. Even putting aside sessions where I’ve just fired up a game to capture screenshots or video for a feature, I’ve probably played more Play Now and exhibition mode games in the past couple of years than I have in a long time; perhaps ever in my decades of hitting the virtual hardwood! I must say that it’s been incredibly refreshing, and as such, it’s something that I intend to keep doing.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 6th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Buzzer beaters are fun and they’ll always be welcome in the NLSC Top 10 Plays, but this week’s countdown is all about the dunk…well, for the most part! There’s also a play featuring some fancy footwork in the post that embarrasses two defenders before knocking down a silky jumper, but apart from that, it’s a spectacular barrage of putbacks, posters, and alley-oops! Of course, while all dunks are fun, it’s the moves that set them up that really take them to the next level, as these highlights demonstrate. Once again, the countdown features a variety of titles from NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 right through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

5 Reasons NBA 2K17 Was The Best NBA 2K

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 reasons why NBA 2K17 has been the best game in the NBA 2K series so far.

Since I’ve already declared my pick for the best game in the NBA Live series – NBA Live 06 PC, incidentally – I figured that I should do the same for the NBA 2K series. As you can see, I’m giving the nod to NBA 2K17. As with my nomination of NBA Live 06 PC as the best NBA Live we’ve ever seen, my choice of NBA 2K17 isn’t exactly objective. I have plenty of affection for the game, as it’s one of my all-time favourite basketball titles, irrespective of series. Of course, there’s really no such thing as unbiased opinion, though there are well-reasoned and poorly-reasoned ones.

I believe I can present a fair and hopefully compelling case for NBA 2K17 being the best NBA 2K. You can definitely make valid arguments for other games in the series, and indeed, NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 has risen up my personal rankings over the past three years. As was the case with the best of the NBA Live series, it’s a close race between the top NBA 2K releases, and personal preference does come into play. With that being said, while my first four points could also apply to some of NBA 2K17’s predecessors, the fifth point is what puts it above all of its successors, at least in my view. And so, without further ado, here’s why I say NBA 2K17 was the best NBA 2K!

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Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Game Manuals

Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Game Manuals

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 basketball video game manuals.

It’s getting harder to reminisce about physical media without sounding incredibly out of touch, and far older than I am. However, as consumers battle corporate giants over digital ownership and bemoan the disappearance of content from streaming services, I believe that more and more people are beginning to understand why many of us have been clinging to physical media for as long as we can. It’s not simply a case of wistful nostalgia, or a refusal or inability to get with the times. While digital media has the advantage of convenience, physical media offers posterity, and tangible ownership.

But yes, there’s also undeniable nostalgia with physical media, particularly video games. There was something special about going to the video store, browsing the shelves for a game to rent, and choosing one that would be yours to play…at least temporarily! Needless to say, it was even better when you bought a game. Not only was there no time limit to the fun, but you also had the box or case to admire. And inside the box or case, depending on the game, there were manuals, maps, charts, and so on. We’d enthusiastically pore over these materials well before we even dove into gameplay, including hitting the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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