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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

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 revisiting the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC.

Have I mentioned that old basketball video games can be interactive almanacs? I believe I have, once or twice! It’s one of the things that I enjoy the most about retro basketball gaming, on top of the nostalgic throwback gameplay of course. As I’ve noted on several occasions, sim titles capture a snapshot of the league at the time they were released. This includes interesting trivia such as phantom stints, familiar faces in unfamiliar places, and familiar faces back in familiar places, to name just some of the examples that I enjoy keeping my eye out for.

I’ve previously revisited the rosters in NBA Live 2002, NBA Live 95 (both PC and Super Nintendo), and NBA Live 99 PC (with the official update). Those were fun trips down memory lane, but I’m even more excited to revisit the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC. It’s one of my all-time favourite basketball games, and while I sunk countless hours into it playing with my 1998 season roster, I also spent a considerable amount of time with the default lineups. It’s also helped me out with modding, and even in answering trivia all these years later! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Harsh Reality of PC Basketball Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: The Harsh Reality of PC Basketball Gaming

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 a frank discussion of the harsh reality of PC basketball gaming.

I won’t say that I’ve never been one to engage in tribalism with my various fandoms. Back in the 90s, I was a Nintendo kid. That meant in my mind, Nintendo ruled, Sega sucked, and all of the blast processing in the world couldn’t convince me otherwise. In the Monday Night Wars, I was Team WWF, and outside of local indie promotions here in Australia, WWE is still my wrestling company of choice. When it comes to basketball, my allegiance is to the Chicago Bulls. While that doesn’t mean I hate every other team, there are absolutely a few that I’ve actively cheered against!

In short, while I believe tribalism makes fandoms incredibly toxic, I can’t claim that I’ve always been above it. However, one war that I’ve never taken a side in is the whole Console vs. PC debate among gamers. That’s because I’ve always played games on both, going right back to my introduction to console and PC gaming, the Mattel Intellivision and TI Basic respectively. Some of my favourite games only came out on consoles, some only came out on PC, and some – including basketball games – came out on both. PC basketball gaming is what our community was built upon, and I’m obviously a big fan of it, but there’s a harsh reality with the platform we must face.

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Wayback Wednesday: Alternate Jerseys & Retro Gaming

Wayback Wednesday: Alternate Jerseys & Retro Gaming

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 reflecting on using the alternate jerseys from yesteryear whenever I’m retro gaming.

One of my pet peeves with the modern NBA is the new approach to jerseys that was adopted when Nike got the uniform contract back in 2017. Sure, we saw the end of those terrible sleeved jerseys that adidas brought in, but it also resulted in a major shakeup to uniform designation and nomenclature. Instead of dedicated home and away jerseys, we have Icon and Association uniforms, with teams choosing which to wear at home and on the road. There are so many alternate jerseys these days from City to Earned Edition uniforms, with designs of varying quality.

What bugs me the most about the current approach to alternate jerseys is that they’re often worn as frequently as the Icon and Association uniforms; or at least, it certainly feels that way. That makes them less special than when they were Sunday uniforms, or otherwise only worn for a handful of games as a change of pace. Given how often some teams wear their City or classic jerseys, it makes you think that maybe those should be the primary uniforms! Grumpy grumbling aside, this approach has given me more of an appreciation for some of those old alternate jerseys, to the point where I’ll frequently use them when I’m retro gaming. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Weird Bugs & Design Errors in Modes

The Friday Five: 5 Weird Bugs & Design Errors in Modes

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 weird bugs and design errors that I’ve encountered in the modes of basketball video games.

It bears repeating that no video game, basketball or otherwise, is going to be perfect. If it were possible to design games and software that were completely bug-free, it would’ve happened a long time ago! As basketball games and their modes have become deeper and more sophisticated, the chances of there being a few bugs here and there has only increased. Likewise, while there have been some very smart and passionate people working on basketball video games past and present, not all ideas pan out as well as hoped, leading to what we could reasonably call design errors.

Needless to say, it’s frustrating for everyone when bugs and design errors stand in the way of modes being as fun as they could and should be. In the best case scenario, a patch can fix the problem, or the issue will be resolved in next year’s release at the latest. Sadly that isn’t always the case, and there are times when we’ve been stuck with bugs and design errors for a few games running (and sometimes, even longer). Even when bugs and design errors don’t completely ruin a mode, they still have an impact on the experience, and they become one of the things that we remember most about a title. Here are five weird bugs and design errors that I’ve encountered in modes I play.

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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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Monday Tip-Off: Video Game Teams

Monday Tip-Off: Video Game Teams

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 a look at the concept of Video Game Teams.

Dee and I have mentioned “Video Game Teams” and “Virtual Hardwood Legends” on several episodes of the NLSC Podcast. That’s because they’re part of some of our favourite basketball gaming memories, and I know that we’re definitely not alone in that regard. There have been many articles and posts from basketball and other sports gamers who fondly recall players and teams that were dominant in video games – even unstoppable – irrespective of their real life performance. Indeed, video games are undoubtedly responsible for gamers becoming fans of certain teams and players!

At the same time, enthusiasm for the real sport frequently determines our choices in video games. For example, we’re more likely to use our favourite players and teams – if we have them – because there’s already some degree of emotional investment. We’ll also seek out a change of pace though, and if we’re passionate about the sport and its history, we’ll recreate interesting scenarios and historical showdowns. Over the years, we’ve seen many busts that become superstars on the virtual hardwood, and teams that fared much better in games. They’re often a blast to play with, but as the term “Video Game Teams” might be somewhat ambiguous, I figured I’d take a shot at defining it.

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The Friday Five: 5 Limitations With A Sensible Explanation

The Friday Five: 5 Limitations With A Sensible Explanation

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 limitations in basketball video games that actually have a sensible explanation.

It’s always frustrating when we encounter limitations in basketball video games that stand in the way of having fun with them. It’s even more frustrating when those limitations aren’t present in other games – in some cases, in the very same series – which suggests that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. However, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t technical roadblocks when a particular game was released, or a reason for a particular feature or function being designed a certain way. Quite often, there’s a sensible and reasonable explanation for these limitations.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make it less frustrating, especially if we don’t learn the reason until much later. Furthermore, in the early days of basketball video games, we couldn’t be blamed for dreaming big as far as the things we wanted to see, and video game developers have clearly had similar visions. To that end, some limitations have been overcome as technology has improved, and programmers have found a way to make ambitious ideas work. Even so, it’s important to acknowledge that there are sensible explanations as to why those limitations were once in place, or why a mode or feature is still restrictive by design. Here are five that we’ve often grumbled about!

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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!

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: March 16th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

For the first time in a while following its release in September last year, NBA 2K24 doesn’t make an appearance in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays. Nine other games do however, providing an assortment of spectacular moments that’ll get you hyped up for another weekend of basketball gaming! There are big dunks of course, but also flashy passes, jaw-dropping one-on-one moves, and a string of awe-inspiring buzzer beaters, including one from ESPN NBA Basketball; a game Dee and I discussed in Episode #518 of the NLSC Podcast. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

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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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Live 06 PC Was The Best NBA Live

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Live 06 PC Was The Best NBA Live

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 reasons that NBA Live 06 PC is the best game in the NBA Live series.

I can’t stand manufactured, hot take-driven, performative debate, whether it’s about basketball, basketball video games, or anything really. I prefer nuanced discussion, though when it comes to basketball gaming, I don’t have many controversial opinions to begin with. However, I do have one opinion that you, my fellow virtual hardwood enthusiasts, might vehemently disagree with. Specifically, NBA Live 06 PC – and that’s an important distinction – is my pick for the best game in the NBA Live series. All personal enjoyment and nostalgia aside, I believe that it has a strong case.

Yes, even stronger than NBA Live 10, NBA Live 2000, NBA Live 2005, NBA Live 2004, NBA Live 95…you name it! It’s not that I don’t think those games rank among the best releases in the NBA Live series. They’re also all personal favourites, as I’ve previously discussed. I also won’t pretend that NBA Live 06 PC is perfect, because that’s an impossible expectation of any basketball video game, be it NBA Live, NBA 2K, NBA Jam, or another series. Once again though, I do believe that there are some compelling arguments for NBA Live 06 PC being the best game in the NBA Live series, and to that end, here are the five main reasons why it deserves that distinction.

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NLSC Podcast #518: EA Layoffs Don’t Impress, Retro Gaming Does

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #518 of the NLSC Podcast!

While we have our concerns about future releases, we’re arguably in a golden age for retro gaming! To that end, we note the further improvements to PCSX2 and Windows 11’s ability to run NBA Action 98 without issues, and recap our recent sessions with ESPN NBA Basketball (aka NBA 2K4) and NBA 2K18 for PlayStation 3. The latter was a game we played by request, and it surprised us with its quality! Revisiting a game from the end of a generation also leads us to reflect on whether NBA 2K24 will be the final prior gen release. We also react to the news of massive layoffs at EA, and join the community in speculating what it might mean – if anything – for the future of the NBA Live series.

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!

Monday Tip-Off: The Novelty of Older & Newer Rosters

Monday Tip-Off: The Novelty of Older & Newer Rosters

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 the novelty of updating older games for new seasons, and modding retro seasons into newer games.

Although I wish we had more than just NBA 2K coming out every year, the fact that we do still have an annual release means that we can always play with current rosters. If we do feel like revisiting a past season, it’s as easy as dusting off an old favourite, stepping into an interactive almanac as it were. We can have a blast exploring NBA history and keeping up with the current league alike via the virtual hardwood, simply by having an array of games on hand. What I’m getting at here is that we’re not reliant on customising any single game in order to experience different seasons.

Of course, while full season mods aren’t necessary, they’re still fantastic! There’s a real novelty in seeing contemporary players in a game that came out long before they were in the league, or indeed, before they were even born! Likewise, an authentic re-creation of the league from decades ago in a modern video game is a joy to behold. That novelty is why I’ll always advocate for going back and tinkering with an older game, or getting creative with a newer one. In both cases – older rosters in a newer game, or newer rosters in an older one – it’s an interesting combination of nostalgia and appreciation for the contemporary, leading to an enjoyable gaming experience.

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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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NLSC Podcast #517: Making Highlights, More MyTEAM BS, & Freestyle Control

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #517 of the NLSC Podcast!

The community has really been cooking with their submissions for the NLSC Top 10 Plays as of late. Indeed, we’re still excited about last week’s countdown! To that end, we recap what was a diverse array of spectacular virtual hardwood moments from a variety of titles, and also provide advice for both recording and submitting your highlights for future Top 10s. We also note some recent improvements to PlayStation 2 emulation (particularly in regards to NBA Street), discuss the ongoing saga with MyTEAM greed hitting an all-time high, and join the community in reminiscing about the introduction of Freestyle Control in this week’s mailbag.

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!