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NLSC Podcast #369: Do You Want To Make A Mod, Man?

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Episode #369 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.

An annoying issue in MLB The Show 20 leads us to reflect on some of the flaws in our all-time favourite basketball games. We conclude that there isn’t a title that we wouldn’t change something in; content, a mechanic, or a noteworthy bug that needed fixing. Also, March Modness may be over, but we’ve still got modding on our minds. For anyone looking to get into the hobby, we offer up some advice, and discuss the various possibilities. In this week’s mailbag, we’re throwing it back to NBA Live 2001, and discussing the benefits of the User vs. User experience.

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 Small Ways Games Went That Extra Mile

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 small ways that basketball games have gone that extra mile in their details.

The small details in basketball video games are a funny thing. It’s possible to obsess over them too much, to the point of nitpicking. Nothing makes us appear to be an unpleasable fanbase quite like overreacting to a minor error or missing detail that most people would never notice, and hardly ruins the entire game. At the same time, attention to detail is important, and we do notice when games go that extra mile in order to be fun and immersive. Even if it’s purely cosmetic, we’re likely to say “hey, that’s awesome” once we’ve seen it.

It may be a detail that we can barely see during gameplay, but it adds authenticity that we can appreciate when replays take us closer to the action. It may be functionality that improves the quality of the experience, or contributes to the atmosphere. In some cases, it may even be content that gets patched in, adding a level of detail that we didn’t expect. Whatever the case may be, the developers went that extra mile to make the game better in small ways. I’m sure we all have our favourite examples of little details that impressed us when we discovered them, and so today I’m sharing five of mine, in no particular order. Hats off to the developers for these efforts!

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The Friday Five: 5 Odd Create-a-Player Features

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 features that can be found in various Create-a-Player modes over the years.

One of the most basic staples of roster customisation in basketball games – and most sports games for that matter – is Create-a-Player. Whether you want to add a real player that’s missing from the official roster, insert your own avatar into the game, or spice things up with a fictional character, it’s there to indulge your creativity. Despite being a staple of roster editing, Create-a-Player has been missing from a few games, including NBA Live 14 through 16, and NBA Live 18 before a patch added it post-launch. Other than that, most games from the mid 90s onwards have included it.

Create-a-Player modes have usually offered a standard set of features as far as the ratings, bio data, and other attributes that can be assigned. As the graphics of hoops games have improved, so have the face creation tools. Generally speaking, apart from an option here and there for added depth, most 5v5 sim-oriented basketball titles have very similar Create-a-Player facilities. With that being said, there have been a few games with creation modes that have included some odd features and options, ranging from design choices and limitations to unexpected content. You know the drill: I’ve got five such examples to discuss, so let’s begin!

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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: The Space Jam Video Game

Wayback Wednesday: The Space Jam Video Game

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 Space Jam video game.

Happy 58th Birthday to my all-time favourite player, Michael Jordan! You know, it kind of blows my mind that I’m now older than MJ was when he won his final title with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. Appropriately enough, that was 23 years ago; a fact that’s also difficult to wrap my head around! In any case, I figured that since it is His Airness’ birthday today, it only makes sense to cover something related to him. The problem is that I’ve already covered The Jordan Challenge (from several angles, too), as well as Michael Jordan in Flight, his history in games, and his comeback in 1995.

What else is there? Well, how about the Space Jam video game? Yes, there was a lot of merchandise related to Space Jam when it came out, and like so many movies in the 90s, there was a video game tie-in for PC, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn. I didn’t actually play it back in the day, but I’ve since added it to my collection. We got a real jam going down, so let’s take it into overtime…I mean, let’s take a look back…way back…

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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

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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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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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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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NLSC Podcast #343: The Making of a Classic (Part 2)

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Episode #343 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Part 2 of our latest chat with Josh and Dave from Namo Gamo continues our conversation about the traits of good and bad basketball games, and how they factored into the development of Basketball Classics. We also talk about the one game that we’d want to be stuck on a desert island with, which Donkey Kong Country title is objectively the best, and how to handle custom ratings in basketball video games. There’s also one last tidbit about future features in Basketball Classics, and possibly a few more nods to a certain Simpsons-themed platformer.

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.

NLSC Podcast #342: The Making of a Classic (Part 1)

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #342 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

In Part 1 of a two-part episode, we welcome Josh and Dave from Namo Gamo back to the show! The guys share some news on the exciting features that are in the works for Basketball Classics, including something that should pique the interest of our modding community. After that, we get into our main discussion topic: the hallmarks of good and bad games, and what makes a hoops title a classic or a dud. We talk about the traits that are common to good and bad basketball games alike, and Josh and Dave describe how those examples inspired and guided them in the development of Basketball Classics. The conversation also turns to collecting, and other classic video games that shaped our tastes.

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.

The Friday Five: 5 Nifty Features That Weren’t Advertised

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 nifty features that weren’t advertised, and we had to discover on our own.

Over the years, the preview season has grown shorter and less exciting. I’ll admit that for my part, there’s a certain amount of cynicism that’s inevitable after covering hoops games for so many years. Features and entire games that didn’t live up to the hype do leave one jaded, or at the very least, taking every preview with a grain of salt. On top of that, with only one game guaranteed to come out every year, we’ve lost that back and forth, those attempts at one-upmanship coming out of EA Sports and 2K Sports. Indeed, the preview season has been reduced to a handful of blogs close to launch.

Hopefully, the previews for the Next Gen version of NBA 2K21 will shake things up. It’s the version that’s received the most attention after all, whereas the Current Gen release was outsourced to another studio. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when a few things are left for us to discover. Indeed, even when the preview season felt longer and more exciting, developers wouldn’t go into absolutely every detail about the games. There were always a few nifty things that didn’t make the previews, or the list of features on the back of the box. It’d be nice to discover a few gems in the newly released Current Gen version of NBA 2K21, though; gems such as these nifty features in past games.

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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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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places

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 examples of familiar faces returning to familiar places, and the games where we see those stints.

In an ongoing Wayback Wednesday series, I’ve been taking a look back at familiar faces in strange places; in other words, well-known players and their stints with teams that are less talked about and usually weird to see, and the video games where those stints were represented. This week, I’m inverting the idea and taking a look back at familiar faces back in familiar places; in other words, well-known players who made a return to a team they’re most closely associated with, after leaving to play elsewhere in the NBA.

On the surface, this may not seem as interesting as seeing familiar faces in strange places. However, these return stints are interesting in their own right, as they have their own stories. Some of them were brief and essentially retirement tours, while others lasted longer and saw more success. Oddly enough, it can also feel strange to see a player back in an old uniform after we get used to seeing them in a new one. As I like to say, basketball games act as interactive almanacs for these stints of note, so let’s use them to take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: 10 Longevity Records in Basketball Games

Wayback Wednesday: 10 Longevity Records in Basketball 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 ten longevity records players have set on the virtual hardwood.

With the Atlanta Hawks’ 2020 season officially over, Vince Carter has officially retired after 22 seasons in the league. The player once dubbed Half-Man, Half-Amazing, has certainly had a wholly amazing career. Beyond his breathtaking dunks, 360 layups, and other highlights, Carter set new marks for longevity, not only by playing the most seasons in NBA history, but also becoming the first player to appear in four different decades. Not bad for a player who briefly gained a reputation – albeit one that was somewhat overblown – for being fragile and constantly injured!

Needless to say, Vince Carter’s lengthy NBA career has set a few records in video games as well. However, he’s not the only player who holds some longevity-based distinctions on the virtual hardwood. I ran through these in Episode #329 of the NLSC Podcast, but I know that audio content isn’t for everyone, and it pays to have trivia like this written down as well. These records span many years of basketball gaming, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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