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Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

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 phenomenon of playing an older basketball game after its direct sequel, or one of its later successors.

Basketball video games have been around for decades now, with NBA Basketball – the very first NBA-licensed title – coming out in 1980. Furthermore, there’s been at least one annual release every year for at least a quarter of a century and counting. Every single game, good or bad, has been somebody’s first title and introduction to basketball gaming. In short, most people who are playing basketball games in 2022 haven’t been doing so since the beginning. That goes for me, too. Many gamers have hit the virtual hardwood long before I ever did in the mid 90s.

When you get into an established series, there’s a curiosity about what came before. This doesn’t just apply to video games, of course. If you catch an episode of a TV show that’s a few seasons in, or perhaps see a movie that’s part of a series or cinematic universe, you may be inclined to go back to the beginning. In basketball itself, there’s a desire to learn the history of the sport, the NBA, and other leagues…or at least, there used to be. The nature of video games makes going back to an older title after playing a newer game rather interesting, and it’s a phenomenon that I’ve experienced as both a younger and older basketball gamer. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (Part 4)

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 Part 4 in an ongoing series where I look at players who only appeared on certain teams in video games.

It’s time for some more video game roster trivia! As I’m so fond of saying, old NBA video games are like interactive almanacs, capturing snapshots of the league at the time of their release (or indeed, their most recent roster update). Revisiting those titles reminds us of players who became familiar faces in strange places, as well as those who later returned to familiar places. We can see comebacks that were over before they began, as well as odd situations such as Michael Redd’s appearance on the Dallas Mavericks in NBA Live 2003 PC.

Those are the stints I’m taking about again today: the players that only appeared on certain teams in video games. There are several reasons why this happens, from an offseason acquisition that was cut in between the rosters being finalised and the real season tipping off, to injuries resulting in a stint that only occurs on paper and the virtual hardwood. Unless you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of trades and free agent signings over the years, it may not be until you dust off an old game that you remember a player only technically appearing on a roster. Of course, you may not be a crazy collector of old games like I am, so allow me to provide some more examples!

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NLSC Podcast #435: How EA Could Sell Us On NBA Live 24

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #435 of the NLSC Podcast!

Barring a very surprising announcement, NBA Live won’t be back in 2022. However, EA Sports has a golden opportunity to make a triumphant return with NBA Live 24 in 2023. The question is, how do they sell it to basketball gamers, and meet their expectations? We posed the question to the community, and received many enthusiastic answers as to what would encourage gamers to switch back to NBA Live, or double dip with NBA Live and NBA 2K. An old story about Julius Erving and the Utah Jazz also prompts us to consider interesting scenarios for a “What If” roster mod, and we recap a fun co-op session of NBA Inside Drive 2003 over Parsec.

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!

NLSC Podcast #434: NBA 2K23 Jordan Challenge & PC News

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #434 of the NLSC Podcast!

How much would you pay for a sealed copy of Lakers vs. Celtics? Here’s a hint: it’ll set you back more than the Championship Edition of NBA 2K23! Speaking of which, in the wake of the NBA 2K23 preview season tipping off, we discuss the cover reveals, pre-order bonuses, and the return of the Jordan Challenge. With the news that the PC version will be Current Gen once again, we consider the possible reasons for the decision, and the future of the series on the platform. We also talk about some interesting NBA Live rumours, and the underrated NBA Inside Drive series. In this week’s mailbag, the community reacts to the news about NBA 2K23 PC, and suggests new games for the Jordan Challenge.

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!

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began (Part 2)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began (Part 2)

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 more NBA returns that were over before they began.

As I’ve said so many times before, as an avid fan of basketball and basketball video games, I love trivia concerning both. It’s even better when that trivia intersects, which is why I write articles covering familiar faces in strange and familiar places, players with more video game appearances than NBA games played, phantom stints that were captured in games, and NBA returns following extended absences. That last idea was a suggestion that was spun off of another article, which looked at NBA returns that were over before they even began.

In this case, I’m talking about situations where players almost became familiar faces back in familiar places, but didn’t end up donning an old jersey once more. This is in contrast to comeback attempts that fell short, as there have been some big names that mulled NBA returns, only to remain in retirement. Today however, I’m looking at the players whose returns to their former NBA teams did actually happen on paper, but ended before a reunion could truly begin. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Won Titles The Same Year

The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Won Titles The Same Year

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 cover players that won NBA titles in the same season their game came out.

Last week, I listed five players who graced video game covers in the same year that they made the NBA Finals. More specifically, I was referring to players who made the Finals, but were ultimately the runners-up. Obviously, cover players who won titles while being the face of a game technically qualify as examples for last week’s list as well. However, I did want to draw a distinction between the cover players who “only” made it to the Finals that same year, and those who actually won titles. While both are accomplishments and interesting trivia, the latter is naturally rather more special.

To that end, the number of cover players that won titles in the same year is smaller than the already select group of names who made the Finals while being the face of NBA Live, NBA 2K, or another title. As I noted last week, publishers like EA and 2K are no doubt more interested in a player’s popularity and marketability than whether they’ll be in the Finals, or NBA Champions. I have no doubt that they’re happy when it does occur, but given that it’s a gamble even if they ink a deal with a player from a contender, it’s a bonus boost to the brand at the end of the day. NBA Champion cover players are something that a handful of titles can boast however, including these five.

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NLSC Podcast #427: Classic Games, Fresh Experiences

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #427 of the NLSC Podcast!

We’ve been freshening up our retro basketball gaming with mods from the archives, as Lutz’s Champs Roster allowed us to re-create a classic Celtics highlight in NBA Live 98 PC! We also played NBA Live 2004 PC with a camera mod that’s made it difficult to return to the default broadcast view. Responding to an interesting listener question, we discuss whether adopting a similar idea to Dynamic DNA could benefit tendencies and roster quality in NBA 2K. As we catch up on the latest news from our NBA 2K19 MyLEAGUE and NBA 2K14 MyCAREER games, we marvel at the stories that can be told through gameplay and results alone. We also reflect on a truly shocking award snub.

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 Reasons NBA Live Flopped on PS4/X1

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Live Flopped on PS4/X1

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 examines the five main reasons that NBA Live flopped on the PS4/X1, aka the eighth generation consoles.

Unlike certain content creators and other haters in the basketball gaming community, I don’t delight at NBA Live’s shortcomings, or gleefully dance on its grave. While NBA 2K has provided many of us with hours upon hours of entertainment on the virtual hardwood and blacktop, we’ve also seen the drawbacks that come with a lack of competition in the genre. If you’re a fan of football games – NFL, that is – you’ve known the pain of not having alternatives even longer than basketball gamers. Even if the lone game is satisfactory, the lack of choice still stings.

Of course, it’s not quite the same situation. Madden’s monopoly comes from EA Sports having the clout and money to secure an exclusive contract when the NFL were offering it. NBA 2K’s monopoly, meanwhile, has been solidified by EA’s inability to produce a viable alternative. We’re more than a decade removed from NBA Live being the top-selling basketball game, and longer still from when it was easily the gold standard in the genre. Its attempts to rebuild during the PS4/X1 generation were largely disappointing, and have left the series in a tenuous position. These five factors are the chief reasons that those NBA Live games flopped.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Lasting Impact of NBA Live 13

Wayback Wednesday: The Lasting Impact of NBA Live 13

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 fall of NBA Live 13, and its lasting impact on the NBA Live series.

When I covered NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13 for our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content, it wasn’t the easiest article to write. Not only was it delving into major low points for the series in the midst of celebrating a milestone, but it’s talking about games that didn’t come out and most of us have never played, apart from the NBA Elite 11 demo. Of course, the full version of NBA Elite 11 has since leaked online, which has given gamers the opportunity to play it via emulation. There are some mixed opinions, but the general consensus is that it’s on par with the demo.

To that end, there’s a reasonably clear picture of NBA Elite 11: a full preview season, a widely-panned demo, leaked copies in the wild that people got their hands on, and a ripped version that finally gave more gamers a hands-on look. Conversely, NBA Live 13 remains more of a mystery. The previews were mostly vague about details before they stopped, and not much else has been revealed about the cancelled game except that it wasn’t close to being good enough. Still, despite being canned, NBA Live 13 had a lasting impact on the series and community. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

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 Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08.

These days, unique signature animations and a variety of animation packages are staple features of sim basketball games. We’re a long way from the days of every player having the same shooting form, the same dribbling style, and in some rare games, a handful of signature moves for star players. That’s not to say that every player in the game has unique mo-capped animations, but the most distinctive styles are usually accounted for. Of course, there were some intermediate steps between everyone using the same animations, and the signature styles of today.

NBA Live began taking steps towards player differentiation by including a second jumpshot animation intended for big men, as well as slower and simpler dribbling moves for weaker ballhandlers. The next step was Freestyle Superstars. Both of these forms of player differentiation were based on qualifying ratings, which sometimes made it difficult to assign players appropriate attributes and still have the desired movesets and animations. After signature jumpshot styles were added in NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 and expanded upon in NBA Live 07, NBA Live 08 introduced Go-To Moves. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #423: Heighten The Basketball Gaming Parabola

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #423 of the NLSC Podcast!

International Basketball 2009 may be one of the top three worst hoops games we’ve ever played, but on the bright side, it’s given us a new catchphrase! We also threw it way back this week by revisiting NBA Basketball for Intellivision, while having some more fun with NBA Live 2001 and NBA Hangtime over Parsec. In this week’s NBA 2K14 MyCAREER update, a two-time champion is traded, and Terry Hanson continues to impress. As for NBA 2K19 MyLEAGUE with the 1995 season mod, it continues to be a blast, with plenty of trash talk! The mailbag also returns this week as we discuss your suggestions for future content, as well as our Holy Grails of basketball video game collecting.

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 07 Mod Releases: Fictional Rosters

NBA Live 07 Cover Art

Although it was a controversial game in its day, it’s always cool to see some new mod releases for NBA Live 07. Today’s addition to our database is a fictional roster by Cpt(K), ideal for Dynasty mode. Pick it up at the link below!

Cpt(K)
NBA Live 07 Fictional Rosters

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.

NLSC Podcast #420: The Legend of Keyon Dooling

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #420 of the NLSC Podcast!

Inspired by QB1120’s stories of Keyon Dooling in NBA 2K7, we fired up the game to see what the fuss was all about. Turns out, we have a newly-minted Video Game Legend! We also connected with Brent and NBA Live Girl for a 4-player session of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition that none of us wanted to end. After recapping some other recent adventures on the virtual hardwood, we talk about the reason we’re able to play so many basketball video games: our passion for collecting. We open up the mailbag to talk about the games that our listeners wish that they owned, as well as some of the purchases that they regret.

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!

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 5)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 5)

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 another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

If you’ve been checking out my Wayback Wednesday features for some time now, you probably know the drill when it comes to this topic. For those who are new or perhaps missed the first four instalments, this is a series in which I profile stars and other noteworthy NBA players who returned for a second stint with a team that they previously played for. In other words, they’re the familiar faces back in familiar places. It’s a counterpart to my familiar faces in strange places series, which profiles players in stints that were unusual and sometimes forgotten.

As always, I’m looking at these familiar faces back in familiar places through the lens of basketball video games. I do so because we are a basketball video game site, and as I’m so fond of saying, basketball video games serve as interactive almanacs. When you’re a retro basketball gamer, you’ll often stumble across familiar faces in familiar places and strange places alike, reminding you of stints that may not be talked about all that much. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Shot Aiming Is A Hit & Miss Idea

Monday Tip-Off: Shot Aiming Is A Hit & Miss Idea

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 shot aiming mechanics, and how they are a hit and miss idea; pun fully intended.

There’s been a lot of talk about the skill gap in NBA 2K in recent years, as you would expect with a greater emphasis on the online competitive scene. Much has been said about the need to separate the good from the great, the scrubs from the elite, and truly celebrate and reward stick skills on the virtual hardwood. Mind you, several gamers push back on the idea of proper matchmaking, so I do question how “competitive” the scene really is. Many of the mechanics that those gamers champion are likewise of questionable value when it comes to the skill gap, and overall quality of gameplay.

Shot aiming is a prominent and somewhat controversial example. On paper, it’s a good idea. It’s more skilful then simply pressing and holding a button, and one could argue that it’s trying to emulate actual basketball skills and technique. In practice, it’s seldom worked out as well as intended, and developers have ended up shelving the concept quite quickly each time it’s been attempted. I have some mixed feelings about shot aiming. I can see the logic behind the idea, but its repeated shortcomings leave me sceptical that it can truly work. Furthermore, I’m bothered by the elitism that it fosters, and the notion that any objections or criticism of it indicates a lack of skill.

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