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Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming Urban Legends

Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming Urban Legends

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 basketball gaming urban legends.

Given the amount of secret content that’s been packed into video games over the years, it’s no surprise that there are more than a couple of urban legends across all genres. TV Tropes creatively titles the phenomenon “Urban Legend of Zelda“, which is extremely apt considering how many examples the Legend of Zelda series itself provides. Basketball games have had their fair share of urban legends, perpetuated through a combination of schoolyard (and later, internet) chatter, misunderstandings, and the occasional trolling hoax.

There have been some interesting urban legends associated with the virtual hardwood, concerning both sim and arcade games. In some cases, you can see how gamers came to believe them, especially before the ins and outs of player likenesses were widely known. I’m sure you’ve heard some of these before, but it never hurts to debunk urban legends, and tell the real story if there is one. 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 Top 10 Plays of the Week: July 9th, 2022

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.

This week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays features a Dee-lightful highlight from NBA Live 95 that you may have seen on our social media, but where does it rank? It has some stiff competition courtesy of a true Putback King, no-look alley-oops, snatch blocks, and other great highlights from six different basketball video games. Additionally, Harlem Globetrotters for the NES makes its first appearance in the countdown. It’s always fun to see an obscure title show up in the Top 10, along with the regular assortment of spectacular plays that are guaranteed to get you on the sticks!

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 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball Games

The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball 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 a list of five frustrating restrictions that we’ve encountered in various basketball video games.

There are obviously going to be restrictions in basketball video games, some of which we’ll find frustrating. In some cases, those restrictions are due to technical limitations. Others are design choices, and those are the ones that we find more bothersome, as we know it didn’t necessarily have to be that way. In all fairness though, these restrictions can sometimes be for the best. If not for some of them, games would be unbalanced and far less enjoyable. When cleverly implemented, restrictions can prevent exploits and ensure that games are challenging, without ruining the fun.

Striving for realism in sim games also results in restrictions that can be frustrating, but ultimately in an enjoyable way, since they reflect obstacles that teams and players do actually face in real life. To that point though, we’re bound to grumble when we’re restricted in a way that doesn’t accurately represent an NBA rule. As for frustrating restrictions that are simply design choices, there have been some over the years that just haven’t been good ideas. Alternatively, they’re good and sensible ideas in theory, but were poorly executed. Some of those restrictions are recent or rare, but others are recurring issues that we’ve been encountering in basketball games for generations.

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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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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

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.

Since there are a number of players who became familiar faces back in familiar places at some point in their career, its time for the sixth instalment of this series! For those who are unfamiliar with the topic, I’m taking a look back at players who returned to teams that they’re usually most closely associated with, after stints elsewhere. While many big names never had a proper reunion with their former clubs until after they retired, others did don the same jersey once again (or an updated version of it). The same goes for players who weren’t stars, but still noteworthy names that we recall.

Of course, sometimes we forget about their return stints, especially if they were brief and towards the end of their career, and there was no hoopla of an “official” farewell tour. As I’ve said before, one way to recall these familiar faces being back in familiar places is to fire up an old video game, and see them there in the rosters. It’s why I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games, on top of them being what we’re all about here at the NLSC. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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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!

Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

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 players who only played a single season in the NBA, but ended up being regular starters.

On top of the players that have just one appearance in the NBA – “cups of coffee“, as Basketball Reference labels them – there are many players who spent just a single season in the league. While this is still a tremendous accomplishment, it may be surprising, not to mention disappointing for seemingly promising prospects. Usually, these players only appeared in a handful of games, playing sparingly. You generally wouldn’t expect them to be starters, at least outside of a game or two when injuries opened up a rare opportunity.

Surprisingly, several single season players were starters for a respectable chunk of their only NBA campaigns. For the purposes of compiling the most interesting and relevant list – i.e. not just including anyone who played one season and started a few games – I’ve set the cut-off at starting in at least 20% of their appearances. That might still seem generous, but considering that most single season players have ridden the bench, it represents some regular forays into the starting five. 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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Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

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 oldest rookies in NBA history, and their subsequent video game debuts.

One of the interesting oddities about early iterations of MyCAREER is that you were able to set your age. This meant that if you wanted to role-play as an established pro that was finally making their way to the NBA, then you could effectively make that part of your bio. These days, your MyPLAYER avatar has a fixed age that fits their back story, that generally being a young player coming out of college. It makes sense, but considering that there have been many rookies that are new to the league but not to professional basketball, it’s a shame that such an option is no longer available.

Of course, we still see real examples of latecomers to the NBA in the official rosters, and there have been some noteworthy stories over the years. I’ll admit that since I’ve entered my 30s, I have a greater appreciation for the NBA’s oldest rookies, especially in an era where there seems to be a Logan’s Run approach to veteran players. In fact, referring to them as the “oldest rookies” feels rather strange now that I’m older than they were at the time! Between these rookies being the oldest debutants and some of the games that they were featured in, this is definitely one for the “old heads”. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: March 5th, 2022

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.

NBA 2K22 dominated this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays, with great highlights coming from a variety of game modes, including MyTEAM. Also, it’s not often that we see NBA Live 08 for PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 in the countdown, but a Parsec session this week produced a worthy entry. Meanwhile, the number four play this week features what may be one of the funniest moments we’ve had in the Top 10 so far. As always, I’m confident that you’ll be pumped up to play after watching this assortment of huge dunks, tough shots, and cold-blooded buzzer beaters!

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.

NLSC Podcast #416: Three Games & An Island

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #416 of the NLSC Podcast!

In an exciting development, NBA Live 2001 enthusiasts Nate and Roger are on Parsec, which means a 2v2 showdown is in our future! Speaking of Parsec, our recent sessions have given us a new appreciation for a couple of often-criticised games in the NBA Live series. Our NBA Jam: On Fire Edition Tournament also wrapped up, and it ended in spectacular fashion. Dipping into our collection as we often do leaves us wondering: which three games would we take with us to an island we’d be stuck on indefinitely? We share our answers, and open up the mailbag to see which games the community would pick. With February drawing to a close, we also look ahead to March Modness.

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: Hot Spots 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 Hot Spots in NBA Live 08.

The goal of implementing an increasing amount of realism in basketball video games has resulted in developers experimenting with a variety of mechanics and attributes. Some of these ideas have worked out better than others, or laid the foundation and evolved into better concepts. This is important to remember, as it can sometimes seem as if certain ideas were only implemented for the sake of adding something new to an annual release. It may be a sign that we’ve forgotten the reasons behind those ideas, and that poor execution doesn’t necessarily mean there was never any merit to them.

Case in point: Hot Spots in NBA Live 08. It was a solid idea that paved the way for more nuanced shooting attributes, but that first iteration in NBA Live 08 also had negative effects on gameplay mechanics. It’s all too easy to focus on the undesirable results of that first implementation of Hot Spots, and conclude that there was no value in the idea. However, future games proved that when implemented correctly, it was a step toward achieving the realism that we desired. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Comebacks That Would’ve Been Fun To Play With

The Friday Five: 5 Comebacks That Would've Been Fun To Play With

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 derailed comebacks for NBA players that would’ve been fun to play with in games, had they come to fruition.

We’ve seen some noteworthy comebacks take place in the NBA over the years. Two of the most famous NBA comebacks are Michael Jordan – twice, in fact – and Magic Johnson. A number of other players have likewise returned to action after years away from the NBA, though not all of them were retired for that duration. Nevertheless, whenever there are rumours that a former star is contemplating a return, it grabs our attention. Will it happen? Where will they sign? How much do they have left in the tank? And yes, how will it impact their team in video games?

Even before these comebacks are official, we can speculate and play out scenarios on the virtual hardwood. We can also create our own fictional “What Ifs”. My cousin and I had Larry Bird make a brief but shocking return to the Houston Rockets in our NBA Live 95 PC Season. Bringing Shawn Kemp out of retirement for one last run in my NBA Live 06 PC Dynasty really made the experience. However, there are some real almost-comebacks that likewise present us with some intriguing “What If” scenarios to dabble with in video games. Some of them would’ve required a bit of prep work in the form of modding, while others were quite easy to set up using the default assets.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Broken Rotation Screen 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 the broken rotation screen that appeared in various NBA Live releases.

During my extended NBA Live 10 retro kick, I wondered why I didn’t spend more time with it when it was new. I’ve wondered the same about some of its immediate predecessors, a couple of which were fairly solid in their own right. Issues with lobs and broken plays soon reminded me why. The fact of the matter is that NBA Live 10 does have some quirky moments that were annoying when it was the newest game I owned, but are more tolerable now that the game is nostalgic. My involvement in NBA Live modding also kept me focused on the PC releases.

However, reflecting on it further, I’ve also realised that the quality of Dynasty mode played a large role here. In many ways, I feel that Dynasty peaked with the prior gen version of NBA Live 06, which also included the PC port. It’s not that there weren’t any improvements in the following games, but there were also inaccuracies with the sim engine, and other such annoyances. Oh, and the broken rotation screen, which affected basic functionality, and stood in the way of one of the main joys of roster management: creating different lineups. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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