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The Friday Five: 5 Odd Technical Issues in Basketball Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five odd technical issues that have been present in various basketball games over the years.

Games (and software in general) having bugs are a fact of life. Among older gamers such as myself, there’s sometimes an erroneous belief that the games we grew up with didn’t have such technical issues. Before patches were viable, developers did have to ensure that games were as bug-free as possible before they shipped, but many of the all-time classics have glitches of some description. Of course, on top of the need to stamp out bugs before games were finalised on cartridge and disc, the simplicity of those older games avoided some of the pitfalls of their more complex descendants.

To put it another way, the bigger video games have grown, the more bugs and other technical issues they’re prone to having. When it comes to PC games, the need to support a variety of hardware also provides further challenges. To that end, while there are several valid criticisms we can and should make of basketball video games, the mere presence of technical issues doesn’t indicate laziness, incompetence, or a lack of care. If making games and software that were entirely bug-free were easy – or indeed, possible – we’d see it happen. With that being said, various hoops titles have had notably odd bugs and technical issues, and today, I’m looking at five of them.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live Overtime Content Coming

25th Anniversary of NBA Live Logo

Thank you to everyone who has been following along with our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content! We tipped off the celebrations in 2019 and continued them through 2020, marking the 25th Anniversary of both the original release in 1994, and the PC version in 1995.

It was my goal to wrap up the retrospectives by the end of 2020. One of the main reasons for that – aside from chronological accuracy, of course – was to avoid what happened with the 20th Anniversary celebrations five years earlier. Unfortunately I didn’t produce all of the content that I had planned, in particular the game-by-game retrospectives. That’s why I burned through the 25th Anniversary retrospectives so quickly last month, as I wanted to make sure that I got them done. I also wanted to give everyone some fresh content to enjoy over the holiday season.

The end of the retrospectives also marks the end of our main celebrations. However, there are a few other odds and ends to share, including republishing articles from the 20th Anniversary, a couple of other features, and if we can line them up, further interviews with people involved with NBA Live during the early days. You can consider this “overtime” content, and it’ll run through the early stages of 2021. Some other ideas will likely instead be repurposed for Wayback Wednesday features, and possibly March Modness.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the retrospectives and other throwback content! It was definitely fun to revisit every game in the series, reminisce about the good times, and put the series’ struggles in perspective. Stay tuned for the overtime content, and in the meantime, I invite you to check out all of our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live features that have been posted so far! I’ve compiled all of the links below, or you can browse the archive. Here’s to getting some good news about the future of the NBA Live series at some point in 2021!

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 19 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 19 Retrospective

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! At long last, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 19.

And so, we’ve come to the final game in the NBA Live series to date, and thus the final retrospective in our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content! I have to say that it’s been a wild ride to experience the ups and downs again, revisiting every title in the series one by one. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it too, even as we’ve revisited some of the weaker games. On that note, unfortunately the most recent NBA Live game isn’t one of the better releases, at least in my book. Those of us who would prefer that NBA Live focus on the NBA experience were hoping against hope that NBA Live 19 would be a return to form, but sadly, it picked up where NBA Live 18 left off.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 15 Retrospective

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 retrospective of NBA Live 15.

Although NBA Live 14 had been a rough comeback, the mere fact that it was actually released gave us hope that the series wasn’t done. There was a lot of work to be done, though: modes and features needed to be added, mechanics and animations needed to be enhanced, and more authenticity was required. NBA Live 15 took a few steps in the right direction, but it wasn’t a big enough jump. It was a better game than NBA Live 14, no doubt, but that was a low bar to clear. Interestingly, it also dropped a few ideas that were actually worth keeping. Let’s take a closer look at the second year in NBA Live’s comeback attempt, and see what went right, and what went wrong.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 09 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 09 Retrospective

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 retrospective of NBA Live 09.

NBA Live 09 is remembered for several things. It was the first game in the series since NBA Live 2002 to be console-exclusive, which wasn’t a popular decision in our community. It’s also the final NBA Live game to be released on PlayStation 2, with a game that’s undoubtedly clunky, but also interesting. Conversely, it’s also a game that turned out quite well on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and one that many long-time basketball gamers hold in high regard. Despite that, it’s the first NBA Live game to be outsold by its NBA 2K counterpart, which isn’t necessarily indicative of its quality. Finally, it had an unexpected cover player. There’s a lot to look at, so let’s dive in.

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Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

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 Europe Live jerseys in NBA Live 07.

A new season is now underway! Two games opened the 2021 NBA season, with the Nets defeating the Warriors, and the Clippers besting the defending champion Lakers. We’re obviously in for a lot of basketball, even with ten games being taken off the schedule to accommodate the later than usual tip-off. With the unveiling of this year’s City Edition jerseys, we’ll be seeing some creative (and divisive) uniform designs all season long. While alternate jerseys are far from a new concept, they’re definitely more prominent – and commonly worn – since Nike took over the NBA uniform deal.

Over a decade ago, alternate and special occasion jerseys were becoming far more common, but they weren’t worn as frequently. Indeed, some jerseys were only worn once a year, while a select few were only worn once. Some of these rare jerseys show up in video games, while many others have to be modded in. And then, there are the uniforms that are exclusive; not just to a single year, but a single title. Such is the case with the Europe Live jerseys that can be found in NBA Live 07. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 08 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 08 Retrospective

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! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 08.

After NBA Live 07 fell flat on all platforms, the development team had their work cut out for them with NBA Live 08. As it turned out, the series bounced back with a very respectable release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Naturally it had its issues and room for improvement, but after playing it again for this retrospective, I’d have to say that it was underappreciated, at least in our community. There is a reason for that, of course. The prior gen version – from which the PC version was ported – was far more underwhelming, and ended up carving out a dubious legacy with long-time NBA Live fans. Let’s take a look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of a milestone game.

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NLSC Podcast #352: NBA 2K21 Next Gen Impressions

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #352 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Through a stroke of good luck, we have Next Gen consoles earlier than anticipated! This means we’re able to join the cool kids who are already playing NBA 2K21 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, but we haven’t forgotten about Current Gen. The latest patch for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One has brought Winter to 2K Beach, but no fix for the broken Daily Bonus feature. After a bit of a grumble about that, it’s on to our initial NBA 2K21 Next Gen impressions, and they’re actually quite positive! In fact, tempered expectations and slider tweaks have us feeling pretty good about it. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about reliable tricks and cheats in old games, and the way that NBA 2K has changed focus and approach in recent years.

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: NBA Live 08 Practice Arena

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 practice arena in NBA Live 08.

For artists working on sim basketball games, there isn’t always a lot of room for creativity. Since the aim of the genre is to depict the NBA, its teams, and its players as realistically as possible, there aren’t as many opportunities to take liberties and utilise creative license. However, there are a few areas of the game that invite an artistic flourish, including settings such as The Neighborhood and The City, special effects in MyTEAM, fictional street courts, certain clothing items, and the frontend in general. Oh, and the practice arena.

Over the years, a lot of creativity has gone into creating an appealing practice arena for us to shoot around in, particularly in NBA Live. We’ve had The Temple in NBA Live 06 and 07, The Hangar in NBA Live 10, and the adidas-branded gym in NBA Live 15. NBA Live 09 introduced us to the NBA Live Academy. In NBA Live 19, we were even invited to design our own court where we could shoot around. A setting that is often overlooked, however, is the humble practice arena in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 08. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Amusing Graphical Glitches

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 amusing graphical glitches found in various basketball games.

Generally speaking, nothing spoils a game quite like glitches. In the worst case scenario, glitches impede progress and render games unwinnable, or perhaps corrupt save data. They can be advantageous to exploit, yet frustrating if you’re not the one benefiting from them. Graphical glitches tend to be ranked much lower on the scale of annoying bugs and gameplay quirks, though they can still detract from the atmosphere in a title that’s aiming for stunning, realistic graphics. If nothing else, they don’t represent a game at its visual best.

Of course, graphical glitches in particular can be very amusing, and few games are immune to them. Basketball games are no exception, and over the years, various hoops titles have included some funny graphical glitches. To the developers’ credit, some of them are only noticeable in instant replay, where it’s possible to advance frame by frame and really scrutinise the animations. Graphical glitches from the early days of basketball gaming are obviously the result of primitive technology, but are nevertheless good for a laugh. With that in mind, here are five graphical glitches from an assortment of games that I hope you’ll also find amusing.

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 3)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 3)

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 ten more familiar faces who found themselves back in familiar places.

Yes, there are even more examples of familiar faces in familiar places, and video games that represent those tenures! Many well-known players who leave the team they’re most closely associated with ultimately end their careers in strange (or at the very least, different) places, but quite a few of them do end up donning a familiar jersey once again. As I’ve said before, while one might think that the familiarity of the situation would make those stints stand out, sometimes we end up forgetting that stars and key rotation players returned to their former team.

On the other hand, there are also players whose returns were quite successful, and thus tend to be remembered. Of course, whether it’s a low-key homecoming, a high profile farewell tour, a brief reunion, or the welcome return of a player that still has a lot left in the tank, they lead to some interesting situations in the real NBA, and on the virtual hardwood. Once again, I’ve compiled ten more examples to reminisce about through the lens of basketball video games, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #347: Next Gen Gets The W

NLSC Podcast Logo

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: That One Change Every Year

Monday Tip-Off: That One Change Every Year

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 how every year, there seems to be at least one change in basketball video games that many of us dislike.

It’s fair to say that we want to see change in basketball video games year-to-year; for the better, ideally! As much as we criticise the parts of games we don’t like, we have seen quite a few positive changes that have improved the overall on-court experience. Basketball games have come a long way, and it’s clear that some of our feedback has been taken into consideration by the developers. It always comes as welcome news when a major frustration is addressed in a new game, and the new approach allows us to enjoy it a lot more than its predecessor.

And then, there are the changes we don’t want to see. Everything was fine and the way we liked it, and suddenly, it’s drastically different. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting used to the change, but other times, it’s a pointless switch from something that was working and didn’t need to be touched. Whether it’s a major gameplay mechanic, a menu option, or something content-related, it’s a rare game that doesn’t have at least one noticeable change that won’t sit well with many of us. It may not completely ruin a game, and it may not be important to absolutely everyone, but it’s significant enough for a number of us to be bothered by the difference to the previous year’s release.

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The Friday Five: 5 Cancelled Games (Other Than NBA Elite 11)

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 basketball games, other than the infamous NBA Elite 11, that were cancelled.

If we’re talking about cancelled basketball games, then NBA Elite 11 is obviously one that springs immediately to mind. I’m sure that everyone knows that story, but the short version is that the demo was poorly received and widely mocked due to both gameplay issues and the infamous “Jesus Bynum” T-pose bug. This led to the full version being pulled five days before release so that it could receive further polish, with the delay eventually becoming cancellation. It’s a disaster that’s set the NBA Live series back years, and while it’s a significant event, it’s also a very familiar tale.

To that end, I thought it’d be more interesting to talk about some cancelled games in a list that doesn’t include the obvious example of NBA Elite 11. That’s not to say that these games are obscure and their stories unknown, but at least a couple of them aren’t talked about all that much. Please note that I’m also excluding the recent examples of NBA Live 17/The Drive to NBA Live, NBA Live 20, and NBA Live 21, as they were either never really officially announced, or there isn’t much to say except EA decided that they weren’t fit to launch. I’d like to think that there are some interesting stories with these other cancelled games though, so let’s take a look!

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 07 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 07 Retrospective

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! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 07.

After NBA Live 06 proved to be a shaky start to a new generation, long-time fans of the series hoped it would bounce back with NBA Live 07. PC gamers who had yet to experience the disappointment of the new gen version were also hoping that their port would remain a quality product. Unfortunately, there would be disappointment all around. NBA Live 07 is still widely considered to be the worst game in the series, and there are plenty of reasons why it has that reputation. Although it corrected course by addressing the lack of depth, the on-court product is generally considered to be very subpar. Let’s take a look back at one of the most infamous releases in the series.

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