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The Friday Five: 5 Games With Untapped Modding Potential

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 games that have untapped modding potential.

At the NLSC, our modding community prides itself in doing all that it can to change and enhance the experience provided by basketball video games. We started doing it from the beginning of the NBA Live series with NBA Live 95 PC, and brought the hobby to NBA 2K when it came to the platform. As long as we’ve had the necessary tools, knowledge, and perseverance, we’ve created all kinds of projects from current rosters to retro season and NCAA total conversion mods. We’ve updated player and team art, changed menus and presentation elements, and even made new soundtracks.

Name an NBA Live or NBA 2K game that’s come out on PC, and you’ll be able to recall a memorable mod. However, for all our hard work and creativity, there are a few games that stand out as having untapped modding potential. Whether we couldn’t figure something out or the necessary tools were developed too late in a game’s life cycle, there are some titles where we could’ve perhaps done more. On top of that, because of our focus on NBA Live and NBA 2K, there are a couple of other games that we didn’t pay attention to, leaving them with untapped modding potential of their own. Here are five games that we could’ve done more with (and perhaps still could).

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Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 4)

Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (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 another selection of players that I remember primarily because of video games.

It’s time for Part 4 in an ongoing series for Wayback Wednesday, in which I take a look back at players that I remember thanks to basketball gaming. I’ve joked about it a few times before in articles and on the NLSC Podcast, but I can’t remember a single thing about quadratic equations or pretty much anything else I learned in high school maths. However, I can still recall the “dunk from anywhere” code for NBA Jam Tournament Edition on SNES, the location of bonus barrels and DK coins in Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3, and a ton of quotes from classic episodes of The Simpsons.

Oh, and a bunch of lesser known NBA players from the 90s and 2000s. I may have also seen them play in real games, and basketball cards have also played a role in helping certain players to stand out in my mind, but playing video games (and in particular, creating roster updates for them) is what truly embedded them into my memory. As I said, I’ve got another list of ten players to share today, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #318: Interview with Andrew Jinks

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Episode #318 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week’s show is a continuation of our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations as I interview Andrew Jinks, programmer on NBA Live 95-98.

As our celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live continue, we welcome Andrew Jinks to the NLSC Podcast! Andrew was a programmer on the series from NBA Live 95 through to NBA Live 98, and he shares his insights into how the early NBA Live games were developed. His stories cover his experiences working on the front end, schedule generation, and other aspects of the games. He also talks about the cancelled 3DO version of NBA Live 96, provides more backstory on the legend of “Jox Steele”, and shares some other tales from behind the scenes. Our trip down memory lane also leads us to reminisce about some other classic games from back in the day, including a few LucasArts favourites.

Tune in below!

I hope you enjoyed the interview! 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.

Wayback Wednesday: Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000

Wayback Wednesday: Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000

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, it’s a retrospective of Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000, specifically the PC version.

As I’ve mentioned before, Wayback Wednesday features are a lot of fun for me as I’ve not only been able to revisit old favourites, but expand my collection and play some games I never got around to playing when they were new. It’s always interesting how they all hold up. Some are just as I remembered them, for better or worse. Others are better than I recalled, while more than a couple have aged badly. When it comes to the old games I’m playing for the first time, I’ll appraise them on the same scale. There are ones I wish I’d played more of, while others were definitely worth skipping.

And then, there’s Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000. It’s one of the bad ones, and not just because it’s aged like milk. Even when compared to its contemporaries, such as the fantastic PC version of NBA Live 2000 – and yes, even the disappointing NBA Inside Drive 2000 – it’s noticeably inferior. Here’s the thing, though. Usually, bad basketball games are frustrating or off-putting to play. Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000 is bad in ways that are hilarious, to the point where the humour of the situation makes it unintentionally entertaining. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Marking NBA Milestones in Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: Marking NBA Milestones in Video 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 reflecting on how video games mark different NBA milestones, and how it dates them.

On several occasions, I’ve mentioned that video games serve as wonderful time capsules for the NBA. They’re a snapshot of the league at the time they’re released, preserving the rosters, team branding, and the rules and formats of the era. When you revisit an old NBA video game, you’re often reminded of players’ brief and forgotten tenures with certain teams, “What If” scenarios and lineups that never lived up to the hype, and the jerseys and logos that you both loved and hated. In a way, old games can act as interactive almanacs, and are a fun way to revisit NBA history.

With that in mind, basketball video games preserve different eras and milestones in the real NBA as much as they’re a timeline of gaming and technology. In many of my Wayback Wednesday features, as well as my 25th Anniversary of NBA Live articles, I’ve reflected on how various titles have represented an evolution in the genre, and the improvements that are noticeable from year to year. On this occasion, I’m looking at how they represent NBA milestones and significant changes in the league, as well as the way those events make them dated. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #315: Old Games & Old Habits

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Episode #315 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Dee4Three and myself as we talk about our basketball gaming habits and preferences, and how the games we grew up playing in the 90s and early 2000s ended up shaping those tastes.

With the NBA shut down for the foreseeable future, it’s a great time to not only catch up on gaming, but also classic NBA games. We discuss some of the ways the NBA could improve League Pass and the official YouTube channel, including some comparisons to the WWE Network. Speaking of history, the 25th Anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first comeback is making us feel old, but it’s a good excuse to play the Double Nickel game in NBA 2K11’s Jordan Challenge. On that note, our main discussion topic this week is our basketball gaming preferences past and present, with reflections on the titles from the 90s and early 2000s that influenced our tastes and habits. From our preferred quarter and season length to how often we sim and how much realism we like, those old games established how we approach the virtual hardwood. We also touch on some of the quirks of those old games.

Tune in below!

What are your basketball gaming preferences? Which games shaped them, and have they changed over the years? 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.

Wayback Wednesday: 25 Years Since Michael Jordan Said “I’m Back”

Wayback Wednesday: 25 Years Since Michael Jordan Said "I'm Back"

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 marking the 25th Anniversary of the day Michael Jordan said “I’m Back”, and returned to the Chicago Bulls.

It’s funny how you don’t always feel the passage of time until you think about how long ago a certain event was. I felt it in 2008, when it had been ten years since the Chicago Bulls’ last championship. I felt it in 2011, when the Bulls celebrated the 20th Anniversary of their first title. It recently occurred to me that I’m now the same age that Michael Jordan was when he won that sixth ring in 1998. And yes, it strikes me that a whole decade has passed and hundreds of players have come and gone, as I continue to work on a current roster for NBA 2K11.

Today marks another milestone. It’s been twenty five years – or a quarter of a century, if you want to make it sound even more impressive – since Michael Jordan ended his first retirement from the NBA. MJ famously announced his return in two words: “I’m Back”. His return would ultimately expand his resume and bolster his claim to being the Greatest of All-Time, producing many more memorable moments along the way. It also had a noteworthy impact on the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: Q&A with Dave Warfield

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: Q&A with Dave Warfield

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! Today, it’s an interview with Dave Warfield, who worked on the series from NBA Live 95 through NBA Live 98.

In addition to joining me on the NLSC Podcast to talk about NBA Live as we celebrate the series’ 25th Anniversary, former Lead Programmer Rod Reddekopp was kind enough to put me in touch with some other people who worked on the game in the early days. I’m looking forward to chatting to them about the history of the series, and we’re beginning those conversations today with a Q&A with Dave Warfield. As I noted, Dave worked on the series from NBA Live 95 through NBA Live 98, focusing on the menus and the games’ rosters. Read on for an insight into the development of classic NBA Live!

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NLSC Podcast #312: The Silence is Deafening

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Episode #312 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! After an unscheduled hiatus last week, we’re back on the air to catch up on some recent NBA 2K20 news, talk about the lack of communication and hype when it comes to NBA Live, and reminisce about our biggest basketball gaming influences.

As March Modness 2020 tips off, we talk about some of the great work our modding community is doing right now, and some of our own plans for the event. Speaking of celebrations, NBA 2K20 gave away a MyTEAM pack to celebrate some record breaking numbers for installations and games played. We note that despite some missteps and bad PR here and there, 2K is fantastic when it comes to celebrating itself and promoting the brand. This leads us to draw comparisons to what EA Sports is doing with NBA Live, and how they could be doing so much more as far as community engagement. It hasn’t escaped our notice that there have been a lot of missed opportunities, not just with NBA Live but also NBA Jam. We also reflect on the games that had the biggest influence and impact on us growing up, and how it’s shaped our preferences, opinions, and expectations. Finally, we touch on the importance of standing together as a community.

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on NBA Live’s approach to community engagement, or anything else we discussed this week? 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.

NLSC Podcast #310: Interview with Rod Reddekopp

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Episode #310 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week’s episode tips off the next phase of our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations as I chat to Rod Reddekopp, programmer on NBA Live 95-2001.

Rod Reddekopp joins the show to talk about his time working on NBA Live, beginning with the acquisition of Distinctive Software and his early work with EA. From there, Rod takes us through the years, from the revamp of NBA Showdown into NBA Live, to the way the game grew and became a flagship property for the company. Along the way, Rod describes his various roles as a programmer on the series, as well as many of the technical aspects of the early NBA Live titles. He also shares some fun stories from behind the scenes, and reveals a few Easter Eggs for us to go hunting for.

Tune in below!

I hope you enjoyed Rod’s insights into the early days of NBA Live! 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.

NLSC Podcast #301: 25th Anniversary of NBA Live (Part 1)

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Episode #301 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This is Part 1 of a two-part episode, as Dee4Three and I celebrate the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live. We’re covering the series’ origins through to NBA Live 06 in Part 1, with retrospectives, trivia, and personal memories. Be sure to catch Part 2 next week, when we cover NBA Live 07 through to the present!

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at the history of the series with retrospectives and other fun content. We’re extending those deep dive retrospectives to the NLSC Podcast, as we start at the beginning with the precursor to the NBA Live series: Lakers vs. Celtics. From there, we move on to the game that started it all – NBA Live 95 – and go through the series year by year, discussing improvements to gameplay, debuting features, modding, and the overall evolution of the series. Along the way, we share some personal anecdotes of our time with the earlier titles, and compare them to the other releases they were competing with. We also discuss how and why the quality of the early NBA Live games is too often forgotten. Part 1 ends with NBA Live 06, a significant turning point for the series that it’s still feeling the effects of today.

Tune in below!

What are your memories of NBA Live 95 through NBA Live 06? 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.

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 97 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 97 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! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 97.

Depending on which platform you were playing it on, NBA Live 97 was either a step up from NBA Live 96, or more of the same. If you were playing the game on the 16-bit consoles, you’d notice a couple of new features and some new animations, but it was still quite similar to its predecessor. On PC and PlayStation, however, we saw a far more significant improvement. It wasn’t as big of a jump as NBA Showdown to NBA Live 95 was, but it was still noticeable, especially when it came to graphics. Let’s take a look back at the game that described itself as the “soul of hoops”, and proudly announced that it featured Shaq.

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Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 2)

Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 2)

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 more players that I remember because of video games.

Back in September, I listed ten players that I remember in large part because of basketball video games. I could have easily listed many more, but I didn’t want the article to be too long. I also figured that it was a topic I could revisit from time to time, much as I’ve done with my series of Friday Five articles on retro teams that I’d like to see in NBA 2K. Furthermore, it’s something I enjoyed doing the first time around, as the players we used to play with and against in old basketball games make up a big part of our nostalgia for them.

Although I may also remember these players from watching real games, or collecting basketball trading cards, video games tend to be the main reason that I recall their names and faces. Through playing with and against them on the virtual hardwood, they remain familiar to me all these years later, even though they weren’t NBA All-Stars or future Hall of Famers. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 False Memories in Basketball Gaming

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 examples of false memories we have of basketball games, and how they came about.

False memories are recollections of something that didn’t actually happen or exist, or of something happening in a way that differs greatly from reality. There are plenty of examples such as misquoted lines from TV, film, music, and literature, not to mention recollections of completely non-existent works. False memories can also involve commonly held, yet erroneous beliefs. The latter phenomenon has been labelled the “Mandela Effect”, after the belief that Nelson Mandela had actually passed away in the 1980s. The spelling of the Berenstain Bears is another famous example.

Needless to say, video games provide us with plenty of examples of false memories and the Mandela Effect. This is usually due to rumours and urban legends that are perpetuated despite being debunked time and time again, or simply an incorrect recollection of a game you haven’t played in a long time. Other times, the memory may be accurate in that it’s something that was experienced, but inaccurate in that it was the result of a mod, or something seen in an early preview. As is often the case, basketball gaming provides us with its own examples of false memories, and today I’m taking a look at five of them, along with some possible explanations.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 96 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 96 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! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 96.

While NBA Live 95 tipped everything off, it could be said that the release of NBA Live 96 is what established NBA Live as a series. The NBA Playoffs series had seen annual releases and the reuse of the NBA Playoffs branding in its early titles, but they also stood apart with distinct names: Lakers vs Celtics, Bulls vs Lakers, and Bulls vs Blazers. NBA Live 96 ensured that NBA Live 95 wouldn’t be a once-off branding in the lineage, as NBA Live 95 itself was originally intended to do for NBA Showdown. The question is, was NBA Live 96 a worthy successor to an undisputed classic? Did it deserve its back of the box tagline of “Back-to-Back Champion”?

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