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NLSC Podcast #358: What Could’ve Been, And May Yet Be

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Episode #358 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.

Browsing the Marketplace on Xbox Series X reveals that NBA Jam: On Fire Edition is still available, and it’s definitely still worth getting. Conversely, there’s no getting our hands on NBA Live 20, but according to its recently discovered ESRB rating, it was set to come out on PC. We commiserate about what might’ve been, but consider what it may mean for the series’ eventual return. Also in the news this week is the status of Start Today in NBA 2K21. The situation is understandable, but the lack of transparency is frustrating as usual. Dusting off NBA Live 16 also leads us to reminisce about one of the better NBA Live games from the past generation. In this week’s mailbag, we answer questions about Ronnie 2K and the community, and what we’ve been playing in NBA 2K21.

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.

25th Anniversary of NBA Live Overtime Content Coming

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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 18 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 18 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 18.

We’re almost at the end of our retrospectives, with just two games left to cover. Before we begin, which do you prefer: the NBA, or streetball? NBA Live 18 aimed to give us the best of both worlds, in the form of The League and The Streets. Even the cover emphasised the duality of the game, with two pictures of James Harden: one in his Houston Rockets uniform, the other in a plain singlet and shorts. The game wasn’t a disaster, nor was it a complete departure from previous titles in the series. It was clear that NBA Live was headed in a new direction though, and not everyone was happy about that; especially long-time fans of the series.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 16 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 16 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 16.

I have mixed feelings when I look back at NBA Live 16. On one hand, it’s a very solid game that was an improvement on NBA Live 15. I also had the opportunity to play it early, and to date, that was the last community event that I attended. On the other hand, the game also introduced concepts that while fun, have since taken the series in the wrong direction upon becoming the main focus. That makes it a pivotal title in the series, and in hindsight, there were some red flags about what was to come. At the same time, the good things that it did were cause for optimism, and deserve credit. With that in mind, NBA Live 16 is a rather interesting release to reflect upon.

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NLSC Podcast #355: Hey, Mr Postman!

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Episode #355 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

As promised, we’re ending the year with a jumbo edition of the mailbag! First of all, we’re ranking NBA 2K on the last generation, and yes, our lists do differ. We also revisit the topic of NBA Live’s future, EA Sports’ silence on the game’s official social media channels, and how optimistic we feel. This segues into a discussion of franchises that EA has discontinued. Other topics include star athletes of yesteryear returning, our favourite mods, and what would take NBA 2K to the next level as far as features and content are concerned. A huge thanks to everyone who contributed topics and questions!

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: 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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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Shower Thoughts

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 shower thoughts I’ve had about basketball gaming.

Contrary to what you might believe, I don’t think about basketball gaming 24/7. It’s obviously a passion of mine – I wouldn’t have been running the NLSC for 19 years and counting if it wasn’t – but I do have other interests and hobbies. It is something that is on my mind fairly regularly though, either when I’m playing a game, or creating content for the NLSC. A thought will stroll into my head – sometimes related to what I’m doing, sometimes out of the blue – and I’ll wonder how it didn’t occur to me before then.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “shower thoughts” are ideas or epiphanies that occur to us while doing mundane activities such as taking a shower (which is where the term originates), or carrying out some chore. They’re not all profound pearls of wisdom; indeed, if you go looking for shower thoughts on Reddit or elsewhere that they’re collected, you’ll find a lot of puns and folksy observations. To that end, I can’t promise that these basketball gaming shower thoughts – a couple of which did in fact come about in the shower – will be profound and mind-blowing. Hopefully they’ll at least be amusing or interesting talking points, though.

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 4)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 4)

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 yet more NBA players who became familiar faces in strange places, and those stints in video games.

Just when you thought I was done talking about familiar faces in strange places, here is part four in an ongoing series of Wayback Wednesday articles! Not all of these players are Hall of Famers or even perennial All-Stars, but they are nevertheless significant and recognisable, thereby qualifying as familiar faces. They’re also players that we grew accustomed to seeing play for one or two teams in particular, so the strange places they ended up in do make for a jarring sight, both in real life and on the virtual hardwood.

Once again, I’m looking at these familiar faces in strange places through the lens of basketball video games, in part because that’s obviously what we cover here at the NLSC, but also because it emphasises how games like NBA Live and NBA 2K in particular act as time capsules and interactive almanacs. From past champions and the glory days of the game’s brightest stars, to the forgotten and overlooked stints I’m recalling here, those memories come flooding back upon firing up old favourites. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NBA Live 16 Servers Shutting Down October 19th

NBA Live 16 Servers Shutting Down

The NBA Live 16 servers will be shutting down on October 19th 2020 at 11 AM EST, as per a new in-game notification. Upon the shutdown, all online content such as Ultimate Team, Head 2 Head, and LIVE Pro-Am will no longer be available.

As usual, my advice would be to wrap up any unfinished business between now and the shutdown. This includes acquiring Trophies/Achievements that require online connectivity, LUT challenges, and if you’re a content creator, getting video and screenshots of features that will soon be unavailable.

EA Sports has been shutting down the servers for older NBA Live games over the past twelve months, as the number of gamers still playing them has continued to dwindle. As it stands, NBA Live 14, NBA Live 15, and now NBA Live 16 will have all had online support for over five years by the time their servers are shutdown. This is far longer than usual, and it remains to be seen if NBA Live 18 and NBA Live 19 will receive similar service. The cancellation of NBA Live 20 and NBA Live 21 may indeed result in the extension of their online support.

Thanks to Pavel for the heads up on the impending shutdown of the NBA Live 16 servers! Once again, be sure to complete any unfinished business ASAP, as October is only a couple of months away.

The Friday Five: 5 Outdated Details in Basketball Games (Part 2)

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 more outdated details in basketball games.

Developers tend to do a great job of updating basketball video games for the season they’re set in. As I noted in my previous Friday Five covering this topic, they have the benefit of being sent updated artwork from the NBA, so they’re able to account for branding changes that aren’t yet officially announced. To that end, apart from missing transactions that occur after the cut-off date, and the absence of rookies and other players who haven’t signed in time, most games don’t have too many outdated details. These days, official updates are also far more comprehensive.

With that being said, sometimes games end up shipping with a variety of outdated details. Perhaps a change was announced too late for it to be included, and in the case of older games especially, it may not be something that can be patched. Oversights happen, and inaccuracies can be caused by strange circumstances. I’ve come up with another five examples, which I’m sharing with you all today. Please note that once again, I’m avoiding the obvious examples related to cut-off dates or the old practice of releasing games with a previous season’s roster, and only noting things that were or became outdated details when a game was new and current. Let’s begin with…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Changing Face of NBA 2K

Monday Tip-Off: The Changing Face of NBA 2K

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 the changing face and identity of the NBA 2K series in recent years.

Back in early May, I noticed a Tweet from Brian Mazique, in which he responded to the suggestion that NBA Live should be free to play as a way to win people back as they try to return to prominence. He described NBA Live as being irrelevant, noting that when it comes to NBA 2K, Visual Concepts and Take-Two are looking at games like Fortnite and Call of Duty as the competition and sources of ideas for engagement. It may sound harsh, and there are a lot of people who want to see NBA Live succeed and would be willing to make the switch if it did, but it’s an apt statement.

In fact, it’s apt on two counts. Gaining relevance and market share is obviously one of the challenges facing NBA Live, and that’s something I’ve previously discussed here in Monday Tip-Off. However, Brian is also quite right that with NBA 2K becoming a fixture in pop culture, and in some ways transcending its genre, its peers are popular games like Fortnite and the Call of Duty series. That’s a great position for NBA 2K to be in, but it’s also a troubling one for enthusiastic hoop heads. To state the obvious, those games are not basketball titles, whereas NBA 2K is. Competing with and borrowing from those games has resulted in a changing face and identity for NBA 2K.

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Wayback Wednesday: Euroleague in NBA Games

Wayback Wednesday: Euroleague in NBA Games

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 Euroleague content in NBA games.

For as long as we’ve been able to mod NBA Live and NBA 2K, people have made total conversions that replace the NBA teams. College basketball mods are quite popular, but foreign league projects have also been in demand. The popularity and prestige of Euroleague has made it a mainstay of total conversion mods, not to mention a league that a lot of gamers would like to see receive its own game. There has been an official management game, of course, but we’re yet to see a gameplay-oriented Euroleague title.

Of course, we have seen Euroleague teams featured in NBA video games as bonus content. Their inclusion has expanded upon the traditional NBA-oriented experience, but has also drawn criticism due to inconsistent quality. It remains to be seen if any developer sees enough interest and potential profit to produce a Euroleague game, but for now, we’ve at least been able to get a small taste of Europe’s premier basketball competition via a handful of NBA titles. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #327: Gonna Make You Sweat

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Episode #327 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Dee4Three and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The PlayStation 5 reveal event brought us an Announcement Trailer for NBA 2K21, which gives us plenty to talk about this week! We recap and react to the trailer featuring Zion Williamson, and a whole lot of sweat. In addition to highlighting the parts that appealed to us, we also discuss our concerns, along with the expectations it’s given us for next gen. We also speculate whether the PC version of NBA 2K21 will be a next gen port, or last gen as was the case with NBA 2K14. The trustworthiness of developer blogs and preview media is another issue we’re going to be mindful of this preview season, as we reflect on past controversies. We also consider the impact of next gen NBA 2K21 on the future of NBA Live, and what we can expect from last gen NBA 2K moving forward.

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.

Monday Tip-Off: Can NBA Live Be Relevant Again?

Monday Tip-Off: Can NBA Live Be Relevant Again?

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 by pondering the question: can NBA Live be relevant again?

As a long-time basketball gamer that grew up with NBA Live, it gives me no joy to dump on the franchise. I believe that there are content creators out there who delight at the series’ struggles and subsequently ripping into it, but I’m certainly not one of them. For all the great things that NBA 2K has done, the slips in quality here and there, and of course the increased focus on microtransactions, demonstrate why it’s important to have choice and competition in the basketball gaming space. Some say NBA Live should just pack it in, but frankly, we need it, and we need it to succeed.

Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done. NBA Live has struggled to get to where it needs to be over the past decade. Again, it brings me no joy to say that, nor do I relish pointing out that not only has its quality suffered, but so has its relevance. Indeed, a friend of mine who isn’t really into basketball, but picked up NBA 2K20 on special after watching The Last Dance, mentioned he was surprised that EA Sports doesn’t have a new basketball game out. It’s not surprising that someone who isn’t into the scene doesn’t know the full story behind the fall of NBA Live, but nevertheless, it speaks volumes about its relevance today. The question is: can EA change that?

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