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Wayback Wednesday: Stints Lasting Longer Than I Remembered

Wayback Wednesday: Stints Lasting Longer Than I Remembered

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 some stints that lasted longer than I remembered, and the games that corrected me.

I’ll never claim to be an infallible source of knowledge, whether I’m talking about real basketball or basketball video games. There’s a lot of stuff I remember off the top of my head, but I’ve certainly found that it pays to double-check and look things up. When it comes to the players I grew up watching, I tend to have a good memory as far as who they played for, how long they played for them, and when they moved on to a new team. However, my recall definitely isn’t perfect. As such, when I revisit an old game, I’m sometimes surprised to see a player still on a particular team’s roster.

Yes, this is another example of basketball video games being interactive almanacs. As I’ve said, it’s one of the most appealing parts of dusting off old video games: seeing that snapshot of the NBA at the time they were developed. Just as there’s something really fun about seeing familiar faces in strange places, or back in familiar places for that matter, it’s interesting to be reminded of stints that lasted longer than I recalled. As usual, I’m looking at these examples through the lens of the games that reminded me of these tenures. With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players You May Not Recall

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 players that you may not recall appearing on a game cover.

Although cover players have no bearing on the quality of basketball video games – some of the best releases have featured unpopular choices in that regard – they’re still one of the first things that we picture when we think of specific games. Enthusiastic basketball gamers will most likely be able to name the cover player of any given title they’re familiar with, at least when it comes to the main face of the game. Things get trickier when it comes to the international versions, where regional cover players are used to appeal to the local market.

In recent years, announcing and promoting regional/alternate covers has become a bigger part of the preview season. Several years ago, however, those covers weren’t always well-known outside of the markets that received them, with some flying under the radar for many years. As such, one can be forgiven for thinking that some of them are bootlegs or the work of Photoshop, but physical copies of the games prove that they’re legitimate. Although these versions are usually identical to the main release – except their language in some cases – there’s a certain novelty to them, making them sought-after collectibles. Of course, tracking them down often isn’t cheap or easy.

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Wayback Wednesday: NCAA Basketball 10 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NCAA Basketball 10 Retrospective

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 NCAA Basketball 10.

As I mentioned when I took a look back at NCAA March Madness 08 and NCAA Basketball 09, it wasn’t until I was gifted a PlayStation 3 that I’ve been able to import college basketball games. I’ve therefore taken the opportunity to seek out and pick up those North American exclusives that I couldn’t play on my PAL consoles. Although they do show their age somewhat, I’ve still really enjoyed finally being able to play them and make up for some lost time. I’ve also picked up College Hoops 2K7 and 2K8, and I’ll be getting to them in due course.

I have an unusual history with NCAA Basketball 10. Like the other college games, I wasn’t able to play it until I got a PlayStation 3. However, the difference with NCAA Basketball 10 is that I actually covered it on the NLSC during its preview season! Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to play it or produce any post-release content, we were expanding beyond just being an NBA Live website, and posting news related to NCAA Basketball 10 was part of my efforts to branch out. Over a decade later, I finally have the game and a console to play it on, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NCAA Basketball 09 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NCAA Basketball 09 Retrospective

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 NCAA Basketball 09.

As I mentioned when I looked back at NCAA March Madness 08, college basketball games were something that I wasn’t able to enjoy for many years. Due to an inability to secure international likeness rights for the NCAA, those titles were only released in North America. Universal adapters, certain cheat devices, and modded consoles were – for the most part- the only way we could play those NTSC releases in PAL regions. The PlayStation 3 was region free however, and after a friend gifted me one, I’ve been able to import a handful of NTSC games, including college basketball titles.

My collection currently includes the aforementioned NCAA March Madness 08, as well as the game I’m looking back at today: its sequel, NCAA Basketball 09. I also own NCAA Basketball 10, and 2K Sports’ College Hoops 2K7 and College Hoops 2K8. I’ll be getting to those in due course, but for now, let’s look at the 2009 season release from EA Sports. The series rebranded itself to NCAA Basketball, but did the 09 edition succeed in being more than just a mere name change? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Cheats with Major Drawbacks

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 cheats that have major drawbacks.

Cheaters never prosper, as the saying goes. Of course, that saying predates video games, where cheating often leads to great success! Doom II sure felt like a walk in the park when my cousin and I punched in IDDQD and IDKFA for invincibility and all the items. There are a couple of adventure games I probably wouldn’t have ever finished if not for a walkthrough, and the Konami code has benefited many a gamer over the years. Alright, it’s kind of cheating yourself and it’s far more satisfying when you beat a game legitimately, but the point is that cheats are indeed effective.

Well, some of them. Some cheats are more like Easter eggs, unlocking weird effects and bonus content that don’t actually help you win. Some are definitely just for fun, but even then, there can be drawbacks. As is the case in other genres, employing cheats in basketball games may not allow you to make any progress. The effects of some cheats are a letdown, while others may actually make the game more difficult. Whatever the case may be, you’re better off avoiding these codes and activities if you want to enjoy basketball gaming to its fullest. Here are five such examples, and the drawbacks that you can expect to experience.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began

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 NBA returns that were over before they began, with a representation of how they’d look in games.

Although our content is obviously focused on the virtual hardwood, I like to mix in topics related to the real NBA as well. After all, it directly influences our experiences in video games, and the games in turn capture a snapshot of what the league was like when they were released. To that end, I’ve enjoyed branching out with topics like Familiar Faces in Strange Places, and its counterpart Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places, in previous Wayback Wednesday features. It’s easy to bring it all back to video games, because of the way they act as interactive almanacs.

This is a spinoff of those two series that came to mind as I was researching them. I recalled players that were reacquired by their former teams, but didn’t end up playing for them again. As I noted in my Familiar Places articles, there’s something fun about seeing players rejoin their old teams; especially when they end up wearing an updated uniform we never thought we’d see them don. Likewise, there are some interesting “What If” scenarios involving NBA returns that were over before they even had a chance to begin, or otherwise didn’t result in an official appearance. We can see and make NBA returns happen in games however, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K15 & The Forgotten Generation

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K15 & The Forgotten Generation

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 NBA 2K15 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, part of a forgotten generation of NBA 2K titles.

Way back in the mid 2000s, the launch of the Xbox 360 (and then the PlayStation 3) forced us to change our approach to our content and coverage. At the time we were still more or less exclusively about NBA Live PC, but we now had two generations to cover: the PlayStation 2/Xbox version, which we covered because it was the one that was ported to PC, and the Next Gen version on the new consoles, as it was the release receiving the most attention from EA Sports. When NBA Live was discontinued on PC, and then PS2 a year later, we only had the 360 and PS3 version to cover.

It’s been different with NBA 2K. When it landed on PC, it was the same version that the 360 and PS3 received (give or take an online feature). We covered both the last gen PC port and Next Gen version of NBA 2K14 following the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and then when the PC received a PS4/X1 port from NBA 2K15 onwards, we simply left the prior gen behind. Simply put, there wasn’t much reason to cover it, and I personally stopped buying NBA 2K on that generation. I’ve wondered what it was like though, and to that end, I picked up a copy of NBA 2K15 for PS3 to check out. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: adidas Live Run in NBA Live 10

Wayback Wednesday: adidas Live Run in NBA Live 10

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 adidas Live Run in NBA Live 10.

These days, we take the concept of online team play for granted. Although there’s still interest in single player experiences and local multiplayer, the various modes that allow us to play with up to nine other gamers online are extremely popular. Of course, MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, to say nothing of the multiplayer scene in first person shooters and good old fashioned LAN parties, had already popularised the concept. As soon as the online infrastructure was developed for basketball and other sports titles, it was clear that the concept would find an enthusiastic audience.

It’s interesting to look back at those early iterations of online team play. With adidas Live Run in particular, you can see that the concept was already starting to evolve into the experiences we now enjoy (well, sometimes enjoy). Unfortunately, with the NBA Live series being rebooted following the cancellation of NBA Elite 11, the developers weren’t able to expand upon the idea of adidas Live Run until NBA Live 16. It was nevertheless an innovative mode in its time, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #359: Like Something Out Of A Video Game!

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #359 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

The announcement of Giannis Antetokounmpo as the new face of NBA Live Mobile has piqued our interest in the success of the game. As it turns out, it’s performing even better than we realised. This leads us to reflect on how it’s kept the NBA Live brand alive, and what this means for a future console/PC release. The fifteenth anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s historic 81-point game inspires us to not only look back at the achievement, but its impact on the virtual hardwood. We discuss the idea of such performances being described as “something out of a video game”, and the difficulty in replicating those feats. The need for a new challenge mode also comes up. In the mailbag this week, we’re talking about NBA Live’s turning point, and a fantasy scenario involving an upcoming retro roster mod for NBA 2K11.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or 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 shows. 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.

The Friday Five: 5 Times NBL Players Appeared in Classic 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 lists five times that NBL players appeared in classic NBA video games.

After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the original start of the season, the Australian NBL is tipping off its 2021 campaign today. I’ve always been more of an NBA fan, but I do have an affinity for my country’s league; even if my hometown has lost two teams since the league was founded here in 1979. In any event, it’s been great to see the NBL grow, and become a viable path to the NBA. Not only have more and more home-grown talents made it to the NBA, but American players are opting for the NBL over college. Examples include Terrance Ferguson, and more recently, LaMelo Ball.

The number of players who spent time in both leagues has resulted in several NBL alumni appearing in NBA video games. Luc Longley played two games for the Perth Wildcats in 1986 before he was drafted in 1991, and became the first Australian to play in the NBA. Journeyman point guard Doug Overton played a season for the Illawarra Hawks before beginning his NBA career with the Washington Bullets. You may be familiar with them thanks to their NBA careers and video game appearances, as well as more recent NBL alumni such as Joe Ingles and Torrey Craig. There are some older appearances you may not recall however, such as these five examples.

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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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The Friday Five: 5 Things You’re Too Late To Get

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 things in various basketball games that you’re too late to get, if you don’t already have them.

Happy New Year, basketball gamers! Welcome to the start of another year here at the NLSC, and another twelve months of basketball gaming. With another nine months before we see the next NBA 2K game, we can expect to see plenty of content for both the Next Gen and Current Gen versions of NBA 2K21; especially in MyTEAM, as there’s cross-generation progression. Of course, with the new Seasons approach, some rewards are already off the table. If you didn’t level up or finish the challenges by the time the previous Seasons ended, you’re now too late to get those goodies.

That’s not uncommon these days, what with the “games as a service” model that more and more developers are gravitating towards, including Visual Concepts. We’ve seen similar tactics in NBA Live too, albeit mostly with cosmetic items in LIVE Events. Developers are looking to capitalise on FOMO whenever they can, and as much as we may hate to admit it, it’s a highly effective tactic. With that being said, it’s not just new games where we can feel as though we’ve missed out. Certain content, and even full games that were digital-only releases, are now gone forever. These five things are no longer available, so if you want them, then that’s too bad; it’s now far too late.

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Wayback Wednesday: Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9

Wayback Wednesday: Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9

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 some of the unusual Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9.

In the mailbag segment of Episode #354 of the NLSC Podcast, Dee4Three and I talked about bad ratings in basketball video games throughout the years. There are plenty of examples, from odd ratings in NBA Jam Tournament Edition, to the new ratings scale in NBA Live 2004 producing some weird results. Derek brought up the Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9, which is an example I wasn’t too familiar with. NBA 2K9 isn’t a game that I’ve spent too much time with over the years, and when I have fired it up, I haven’t paid too much attention to the Overall Ratings.

Once it was brought up, however, I figured I had to check it out and perhaps discuss it further in Wayback Wednesday. Now that I’ve gone through the rosters, I would agree that there are some weirdly overrated players, considering their performance during the 2009 season, and the way that Overall Ratings above 90 are usually treated (or at least were, several years ago). With so many questionably inflated Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9, it’s worth taking a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 10 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 10 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 10.

After NBA Live 09, EA Sports pulled the plug on further PlayStation 2 releases for the series. Given the state of NBA Live 09 on PS2, it was the right call. It allowed EA Sports to focus on the current generation, though there was a PlayStation Portable and iOS version. Did the decision pay off? Well, NBA Live 10 is often considered to be the last great (or at least, really good) NBA Live release, so their efforts weren’t for nothing. At the same time, it didn’t recapture the lead in sales from NBA 2K, leading to a disastrous decision the following year with NBA Elite 11. Before we get to that though, let’s take a look back at NBA Live 10, and how well it holds up.

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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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