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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting My NBA Live 2003 Roster Updates

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting My NBA Live 2003 Roster Updates

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 my old roster updates for NBA Live 2003.

I haven’t maintained a current season roster update for any version of NBA Live – or any basketball video game period, for that matter – since the 2013 season, when I was still regularly working on NBA Live 2005 through 08. That’s a little over eleven years at this point, which is scary because it doesn’t feel like it was over a decade ago! To that point though, it’s been over twenty years since I released current roster updates for NBA Live 2003 PC. Sure, the maths and the date on the calendar checks out, but it just doesn’t feel real sometimes!

In any case, since it’s been some twenty years since I wrapped up those 2003-2004 roster updates for NBA Live 2003, and the once far-off 2023-2024 season has come to a close, it seems like a good time to reflect on that project from the heyday of NBA Live modding (or patching, as we called it at the time). Roster mods have come a long way since then, and indeed, it wasn’t long after NBA Live 2003 that I committed to making more detailed current season updates with the help of various contributors. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Retired After The Roster Cut-Off Date

The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Retired After The Roster Cut-Off Date

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 players who retired after a video game’s roster cut-off date.

The roster cut-off date – aka the “accurate as of” date – is ultimately responsible for a lot of basketball video game trivia. Phantom stints, rare stints, unrepresented stints, player absences…it all comes down to the rosters being locked on a specific date as a game is being finalised for launch. A major trade or signing late in the offseason is all it takes to leave a game notably outdated, or indeed with a glaring inaccuracy, such as Michael Redd infamously returning to the Milwaukee Bucks after NBA Live 2003 PC went gold. Yes, I know I bring up that example a lot, but it’s a really fun one!

Needless to say, if a player abruptly retires after a game’s roster cut-off date, that also leads to a rather noticeable inaccuracy. When I discussed players who had remained active in games after their careers ended in real life, I noted that Larry Johnson was an example of such a player. While the other players I mentioned in that Five were still under contract and on the injured list when the games in question were released, LJ retired on October 10th 2001; after NBA Live 2002’s rosters had been set, and too late to be accounted for. Here are three other All-Stars, along with a couple of notable role players, who retired after the roster cut-off date and thus remained active in games.

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Monday Tip-Off: Reviving the Retro Modding Scene

Monday Tip-Off: Reviving the Retro Modding Scene

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on reviving the retro modding scene, and how we could best accomplish that.

Given that my dissatisfaction with the most recent releases in the NBA 2K series has pushed me towards retro basketball gaming – however you want to define that – I’m obviously intrigued by the prospect of reviving the retro modding scene. To reiterate a point I made when I discussed the definition of retro gaming, retro modding means different things to different people, but broadly speaking, I’d suggest that it refers to nostalgic favourites that the community has largely moved on from, but a dedicated contingent of people still revisit and have interest in modding and using mods for.

As far as the specific titles, we can name some popular examples here. NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K14 are two of the most modded games of their generation, and they hold up well. There’s a ton of nostalgia for the later NBA Live releases on PC, especially NBA Live 2005 and NBA Live 06, with NBA Live 2003 and NBA Live 2004 being up there as well. NBA 2K11 has some untapped potential, and is a game I’ve seen gamers cite as one they’d like to see benefit from more retro modding. NBA 2K17 and NBA 2K19 are two recent classics that gamers want to keep alive. I love the idea and support the initiative, but to make it happen, we must keep a few things in mind.

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NLSC Podcast #528: Best Three-Point Shooters in Video Game History

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #528 of the NLSC Podcast!

A recent interview with EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson bleakly hints at a future where games are riddled with intrusive ads. We’ve already seen attempts at this before, but as you can imagine, we’re not thrilled at the possibility of it becoming commonplace! However, most of this week’s show is dedicated to the deadeyes from downtown on the virtual hardwood, as we join the community in reminiscing about the best three-point shooters in the history of basketball video games. We also recall the players that we preferred to overwrite when customising the rosters in classic titles, whether we were making current roster updates or putting ourselves and our friends into the NBA.

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!

NBA Live 2003 Mod Releases: Latest Player Face Pack

NBA Live 2003 Cover Art

NBA Live 2003 came out during the heyday of NBA Live modding in our community, so it’s always great to see new mod releases for the game all these years later! To that end, avurto19 has uploaded another player face pack, which you can pick up at the link below.

avurto19
Player Face Pack 2

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and Mod Releases bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Wayback Wednesday: The Jail Blazers & Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: The Jail Blazers & Video Games

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 “Jail Blazers” era of the Portland Trail Blazers, and their presence in basketball video games.

When my cousin and I were looking to move on from our 1995 Season in NBA Live 95 PC and dive into the all new Franchise mode in NBA Live 2000, we obviously had to choose a team to play with cooperatively. In the interest of neutrality, we opted not to use either of our favourite teams (the Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics). After discussing it on the phone – this was the year 2000, after all – we ultimately went with the Portland Trail Blazers, and agreed on a few trades. I set everything up ready for his arrival in the school holidays, and we won the title playing a 28-game season.

It’s one of my favourite memories, both of basketball gaming and hanging out with my cousin as a teenager, but why the Portland Trail Blazers? Neither of us had an attachment to the club, and there were other teams that could’ve been just a fun. Well, while the off-court incidents that branded those early 2000s Trail Blazers the “Jail Blazers” may have caused a number of legal headaches and chemistry problems in real life, on the virtual hardwood, they had some deep rosters that were enjoyable to play with, as well as reshape with trades. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

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 of my failed franchise and season mode games, and reflecting on whether they’re actually failures.

Over the years in Wayback Wednesday, I’ve reminisced about several of my most memorable franchise, season, and career mode games. While they all represent fun times on the virtual hardwood for me, they haven’t been equally successfully as far as completion is concerned. Games where I’ve played through an entire season on twelve minute quarters stand out as the times I’ve really been hooked on the experience, but they’re arguably the exception rather than the rule. There are far more titles that I’ve never finished a single season in, than ones where I’ve had multi-year games.

Of course, as I’ve noted before, completion is what you make it when it comes to the annual sim titles. Unless you stick with a single game for more than a year, it’s tough to get the full multi-year experience in franchise and career modes; especially when you opt for full length seasons on twelve minute quarters without simulating! Even in the games where I didn’t finish the season, I still had a ton of fun. With that being said, there are also franchise and season mode games that I abandoned very quickly. To that end, this week I’m reflecting on some “failed” games, and pondering the concept of “failure” in that context. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #525: Check My Stats

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #525 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which basketball video games have been the easiest and hardest to put up stats in over the years? This week, we join the community in discussing the titles that stick out in our minds, as well as the statistics that either eluded us or seemingly piled up way too easily. Additionally, following a session with Virtua NBA – an arcade release that a few people in our community have taken an interest in lately – we give our thoughts on what is certainly an intriguing game. We also provide an update on our journey in the original NBA Jam, pick our ideal hoops games for an annual tournament, and reflect on how it feels to shelve a beloved favourite that’s unfortunately grown stale.

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!

NBA Live 2003 Mod Releases: Player Face Pack

NBA Live 2003 Cover Art

Although I’ve had mixed feelings about NBA Live 2003 over the years, I do appreciate the game, and it was part of the golden age of NBA Live modding. As such, it’s always fun to see new mod releases for NBA Live 2003 all these years later, especially when they put the present into the past! To that end, avurto19 has released a pack of faces for players who have been in the league between 2017 and 2023, including Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, and even Victor Wembanyama. Pick it up at the link below!

avurto19
Player Face Pack (2017-2023)

Thanks to everyone who continues to contribute to our Downloads database! If you need help uploading files, be sure to check out this video tutorial. For more information about downloads, the modding community, and Mod Releases bulletins, please see this FAQ in our Wiki.

Wayback Wednesday: Timberwolves Franchise in NBA Live 2003

Wayback Wednesday: Timberwolves Franchise in NBA Live 2003

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 my Franchise game with the Minnesota Timberwolves in NBA Live 2003.

I’ve had a number of memorable franchise and career mode games over the years. My Dynasty games with the Chicago Bulls in NBA Live 2004 and NBA Live 06 are among my all-time favourite basketball gaming experiences. Likewise, I had a blast with MyCAREER in NBA 2K13, NBA 2K17, and NBA 2K19, and I’m still playing through the mode in NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4. At the same time, I’ve had some games where I haven’t achieved completion or closure, such as my 1998 season in NBA Live 96 PC, and my Sacramento Kings Franchise in NBA Live 2002.

My Franchise with the Minnesota Timberwolves in NBA Live 2003 PC is another example of a “failed” game. Of course, labelling such games as “failures” probably isn’t the right way of looking at things. I’d actually like to delve into that topic in more depth sometime, but my Timberwolves Franchise does stand as an example of how completion is what we make it. Or, to put it another way, as long as it was fun while it lasted, it’s ultimately neither a failure nor wasted time. That Franchise was certainly memorable for me even if it wasn’t successful, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #520: Best Generation of NBA Live & NBA 2K

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #520 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which generation produced the best NBA Live and NBA 2K games? This week, we join the community in nominating the golden age for each series. We also recap our exciting co-op Parsec sessions with NBA Live 2000 PC and NBA 2K2 for GameCube, which in turn leads us to reflect on the 2000 Phoenix Suns and the fantastic NBA of the 80s. Additionally, we check in with Troydan’s ongoing quest to pull 100 Overall MyTEAM cards, discuss the drawbacks of digital ownership and the need for physical media, and note an unfortunate side effect of declining the new Terms of Service in NBA 2K24.

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: The Evolution of Roster Mods

Wayback Wednesday: The Evolution of Roster Mods

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 evolution of roster mods in our community.

As technological improvements have led to the development of bigger and better basketball video games, our expectations have changed. What were once cutting-edge graphics are no longer impressive. What was once a deep and engaging mode now seems shallow compared to what’s available in a newer game…usually! This isn’t to say that old games are bad and not worth playing. I wouldn’t be diving into basketball gaming history, or advocating for retro gaming, if I didn’t see value in older titles! Still, we always want to see the genre make advancements, so the bar does get raised.

The same goes for modding over the years. While we made some fantastic roster mods for the early NBA Live games on PC, there were limitations to what we could change and include. As it became easier to modify textures and models in addition to player and team data, there was an expectation that roster mods would become more comprehensive. This led to a golden age of NBA Live modding that has since been continued with the NBA 2K series, but in some ways, it’s also been detrimental to the hobby. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The NBA Live Toolkit

Wayback Wednesday: The NBA Live Toolkit

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 an essential modding utility in the early days of our community: the NBA Live Toolkit.

In some respects, roster editing in basketball video games has come a long way. We have access to animation packages, salary data, and other attributes that used to be hidden. At the same time, the in-game roster customisation tools still have many of the same drawbacks as they did in much earlier games. There are still attributes and bio data that we can’t edit or add for created players, or even modify for original players. Placeholder players are still difficult to deal with, as they’re not completely customisable. To make truly detailed roster mods, we need external editing tools.

Fortunately, talented people in the community have been able to step up and develop roster editing tools throughout the years. It began with our founders’ editors for the early NBA Live games, Vl@d took on the challenge for the burgeoning NBA 2K modding scene, and Looyh continues to carry the torch today. It hasn’t been easy, with executable and save files needing to be mapped and decoded. However, editing roster files did become easier with the adoption of the DBF format, and the process was further simplified by the NBA Live Toolkit. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Unexpected Retro Kicks

The Friday Five: 5 Unexpected Retro Kicks

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 unexpected retro kicks.

As I said in my first Friday Five for February 2024, I’m not going to stop retro gaming anytime soon! It’s a habit that I’ve picked up again with the help of Dee, and I’m quite grateful for that, as grinding up a new MyPLAYER year after year had become an absolute chore. We’ve connected to play a number of different titles over Parsec these past few years, with some of them becoming staples of our co-op rotation. In many cases, I’ve also been inspired to revisit these games solo, leading to some fun sessions and more than a few Wayback Wednesday articles.

Of course, not every game that I revisit turns into a retro kick. I’ll have some fun with it, and then it’s back on the bench, so to speak. However, other games do capture my interest and become regulars in my basketball gaming rotation. These unexpected retro kicks take me by surprise, but I’m always delighted when they happen. Quite often, it leads to me spending time with a game that I didn’t play much when it was new, if at all. As someone with a predisposition to enjoy retro gaming, it’s never too late to give games a second chance and make up for lost time. I have been surprised by some of the titles that ended up hooking me years later though, such as these five.

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Wayback Wednesday: EA Sports Cover Players in NBA Live 16

Wayback Wednesday: EA Sports Cover Players in NBA Live 16

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 EA Sports cover players that can be found in NBA Live 16.

Did you know that every single NBA 2K cover player is available to play with in NBA 2K24? Between the cover players that are still active and the game’s array of classic and All-Time teams, they’re all accounted for. Obviously, we haven’t had a new NBA Live since 2018, but even then, NBA Live 19 didn’t include every cover player in the history of the series. On top of that, a couple of the cover players that were included in NBA Live 19 were nevertheless retired, and thus exclusive to the collection of Legends in Ultimate Team.

If we want to find the last NBA Live game that featured a healthy selection of players who appeared on the cover of EA Sports’ long-running basketball sim series, we must go back a few years to NBA Live 16. In fact, not only does NBA Live 16 feature a number of NBA Live cover players, but also players who graced the covers of EA Sports’ college basketball titles. And so, I thought it might be fun to spotlight those cover players who are readily accessible in NBA Live 16, wearing EA Sports jerseys in the game’s practice mode. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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