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NLSC Podcast #438: NBA 2K23 Gameplay Blog, Bill Russell, & Classic Cam

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #438 of the NLSC Podcast!

This week’s show opens with a tribute to the late, great Bill Russell, truly one of the most legendary figures in basketball history. As we catch up on what we’ve been playing recently – including another NBA 2K14 MyCAREER update – we discuss our fondness for Classic Cam, and our appreciation of its appearances in later games. We also reflect on NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, and compare NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 on Xbox 360. On the heels of the First Look Trailer, the first developer blog of the preview season provided us with insights into gameplay in NBA 2K23, and we have plenty of thoughts to share! We also open up the mailbag to hear what the community thought of the blog.

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

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 suggestions for retro modding projects.

As the stigma fades and retro basketball gaming increases in popularity, inevitably we start thinking about modding as well. After all, classic games are a blast to revisit as-is, but mods can breathe new life into them, too. Many of the modding tools are still available for retro basketball games, along with resources and archived mods to learn techniques from (or indeed, build upon). Even with the limitations of older titles, we’re capable of creating some outstanding mods that will facilitate new experiences on the virtual hardwood.

Needless to say, there are some challenges to overcome here. The audience is smaller, so anyone engaging in retro modding will be toiling on projects that are seen and used by fewer people. To that end, there are also fewer active modders for retro games, so some of the more ambitious projects may not have the level of detail we’d like, or be truly viable. Major roster mods in particular may need to use placeholder artwork, or whatever assets are available. That shouldn’t stop us from looking into retro modding, however. There’s always lingering interest in seeing new updates for old favourites, and there are plenty of retro modding ideas that we can and should at least consider.

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Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming Urban Legends

Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming Urban Legends

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 basketball gaming urban legends.

Given the amount of secret content that’s been packed into video games over the years, it’s no surprise that there are more than a couple of urban legends across all genres. TV Tropes creatively titles the phenomenon “Urban Legend of Zelda“, which is extremely apt considering how many examples the Legend of Zelda series itself provides. Basketball games have had their fair share of urban legends, perpetuated through a combination of schoolyard (and later, internet) chatter, misunderstandings, and the occasional trolling hoax.

There have been some interesting urban legends associated with the virtual hardwood, concerning both sim and arcade games. In some cases, you can see how gamers came to believe them, especially before the ins and outs of player likenesses were widely known. I’m sure you’ve heard some of these before, but it never hurts to debunk urban legends, and tell the real story if there is one. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

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 phenomenon of playing an older basketball game after its direct sequel, or one of its later successors.

Basketball video games have been around for decades now, with NBA Basketball – the very first NBA-licensed title – coming out in 1980. Furthermore, there’s been at least one annual release every year for at least a quarter of a century and counting. Every single game, good or bad, has been somebody’s first title and introduction to basketball gaming. In short, most people who are playing basketball games in 2022 haven’t been doing so since the beginning. That goes for me, too. Many gamers have hit the virtual hardwood long before I ever did in the mid 90s.

When you get into an established series, there’s a curiosity about what came before. This doesn’t just apply to video games, of course. If you catch an episode of a TV show that’s a few seasons in, or perhaps see a movie that’s part of a series or cinematic universe, you may be inclined to go back to the beginning. In basketball itself, there’s a desire to learn the history of the sport, the NBA, and other leagues…or at least, there used to be. The nature of video games makes going back to an older title after playing a newer game rather interesting, and it’s a phenomenon that I’ve experienced as both a younger and older basketball gamer. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #436: How To Get Into Retro Basketball Gaming

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #436 of the NLSC Podcast!

Revisiting Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000 reminded us of how hilariously bad it is, but it also found a new way to mess with us. Not surprisingly, NBA Live 2004 holds up much better, especially with a broadcast camera mod and the 1996 season roster. We received a couple of responses to last week’s show asking about acquiring copies of NBA Live PC and other older releases, so this week, we dive into how to get into retro basketball gaming/collecting. It needn’t be expensive, nor do you need to be the crazy collectors that we are! In this week’s mailbag, we circle back to the question of what counts as retro in basketball gaming, with our listeners sharing some interesting and differing opinions on the matter.

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: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 7)

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 another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

We’ve reached the seventh and (for the moment) final instalment of the Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places series! As a spinoff of the Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of articles, I wanted to match its seven instalments and 70 examples of players with interesting stints. One of the reasons I love compiling these lists is that these stints – both the ones in strange places and back in familiar places – are often forgotten. Of course, sometimes we’d prefer that, as the players were shells of their former selves by that point!

Once again, I’ll note that I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games. As I’ve explained before, I do this because it fits in with our content as a site about basketball gaming, and because revisiting old games is one way that we’re reminded of the stints that we’ve forgotten. It also makes things more challenging as I’m trying to seek out the most interesting stories, and limit examples to ones that can be found in official rosters. To that point, there are fewer stars in this instalment, but certainly some noteworthy NBA player trivia. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: July 9th, 2022

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.

This week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays features a Dee-lightful highlight from NBA Live 95 that you may have seen on our social media, but where does it rank? It has some stiff competition courtesy of a true Putback King, no-look alley-oops, snatch blocks, and other great highlights from six different basketball video games. Additionally, Harlem Globetrotters for the NES makes its first appearance in the countdown. It’s always fun to see an obscure title show up in the Top 10, along with the regular assortment of spectacular plays that are guaranteed to get you on the sticks!

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.

NLSC Podcast #432: Where’s Our Mamba Mode?

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #432 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which players would we like to bring into the modern NBA? There are a few we’d love to see prove their worth to younger basketball fans, and we’re not just talking about all-time greats! Hooping with Mario, Bowser, and other video game characters reminds us that modding doesn’t always have to be serious. Of course, part of the fun is making mods and modding resources free, and freely available. An enthusiastic response to a mailbag question prompts an in-depth discussion on possibilities for a new retro challenge mode in NBA 2K23 and beyond. We share our own ideas, as well as the many creative suggestions that we received from the community.

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Season Games I Wish I’d Finished

The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Season Games I Wish I'd Finished

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 franchise and season games over the years that I wish I’d been able to finish.

As I’ve said in a previous article, completion is what you make it in basketball video games. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to finish a season in franchise and career modes, collect every card in team building modes, or unlock all of the Trophies or Achievements, just to feel a sense of completion and closure. If you’ve enjoyed a basketball video game and felt like you got your money’s worth, that’s what matters at the end of the day. Of course, there is something special about playing through an entire season from start to finish, hence my kick with NBA 2K14 MyCAREER.

I’ve finished seasons in a number of basketball video games over the years, and they’ve become some of my most treasured virtual hardwood memories. It’s always felt incredibly rewarding, as I prefer to play every game on twelve minute quarters. Due to that preference though, there are some franchise and season games that I didn’t play through to their conclusion, having run out of time before the release of a new title. With that in mind, they’d make excellent retro gaming opportunities, which I’m obviously quite open to. Unfortunately their save files are long gone, meaning that these old franchise and season mode games can never be revisited and finished.

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Monday Tip-Off: Born To Be A Retro Gamer

Monday Tip-Off: Born To Be A Retro Gamer

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 by reflecting on how my earliest experiences with video games made it far more likely that I’d become a retro gamer.

Outside of firing up NBA 2K22 to get screenshots or investigate its latest updates, I haven’t played the game for months. Not on PC, not on PlayStation 4, and not on PlayStation 5. I don’t feel compelled to grind and level up a player in MyCAREER, or to jump into The Rec. There are aspects of MyTEAM that I like, but I don’t fancy putting in the time to collect cards that I won’t be able to use come NBA 2K23. I’d start a MyLEAGUE or MyNBA with the Chicago Bulls, but honestly, I don’t enjoy the gameplay enough in either version of NBA 2K22 to do so.

Instead, I’ve been spending my time playing through multiple seasons in NBA 2K14’s MyCAREER. I’ve revisited other standout games from yesteryear, such as NBA Live 10 and NBA Live 06. Quite simply, I’ve found far more enjoyment and satisfaction in doing that than trying to find a way to have fun with NBA 2K22. It’s not that I refuse to play new games, or that I haven’t enjoyed more recent releases. I also don’t believe that older games were, without exception, all flawless masterpieces; they weren’t. I do find it easy to go back to old favourites however, as well as give other retro titles a second look. When I think back, I may have always been destined to be a retro gamer.

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NLSC Podcast #426: Variety & Options on The Virtual Hardwood

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #426 of the NLSC Podcast!

After an unscheduled break due to one of us being under the weather, we’re back on the air! We’ve been playing a variety of classic basketball games since our last show, particularly favourites from the late 90s and early 2000s. Notably, we’ve been playing them with some classic teams and legends roster mods, which is tempting us to get stuck into some retro modding. We also provide updates on our ongoing seasons, including Shawn Kemp highlights and an example of video games imitating life. On a less positive note, a couple of recent Tweets have reminded us that elitism and gatekeeping is alive and well within the basketball gaming community. Needless to say, we feel compelled to hit back against those attitudes. In this week’s mailbag, the community tells us their favourite games in the NBA Live series, and we share our thoughts on those titles.

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: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

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 players who only played a single season in the NBA, but ended up being regular starters.

On top of the players that have just one appearance in the NBA – “cups of coffee“, as Basketball Reference labels them – there are many players who spent just a single season in the league. While this is still a tremendous accomplishment, it may be surprising, not to mention disappointing for seemingly promising prospects. Usually, these players only appeared in a handful of games, playing sparingly. You generally wouldn’t expect them to be starters, at least outside of a game or two when injuries opened up a rare opportunity.

Surprisingly, several single season players were starters for a respectable chunk of their only NBA campaigns. For the purposes of compiling the most interesting and relevant list – i.e. not just including anyone who played one season and started a few games – I’ve set the cut-off at starting in at least 20% of their appearances. That might still seem generous, but considering that most single season players have ridden the bench, it represents some regular forays into the starting five. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #425: Sliding Back Into 1995, With Stildo33

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #425 of the NLSC Podcast!

Ken (aka Stildo33) returns to the show to talk about replaying the 1995 season in NBA 2K19 MyLEAGUE! In addition to a little trash talk, there are reflections on some of the favourite games so far, exciting upcoming matchups, and learning new skills on the virtual hardwood. We also talk about the importance of fine-tuning gameplay sliders, and some of the issues that NBA 2K19 had out of the box. A couple of ideas for future Parsec tournaments are also floated for your consideration! With the preview season of NBA 2K23 looming on the horizon, and the continued hope that EA Sports will return with a new basketball game at some point, we also touch on some of our Wishlist items.

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Tips & Tricks You May Not Remember

The Friday Five: 5 Tips & Tricks You May Not Remember

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 basketball gaming tips and tricks that you may not remember.

To state the obvious, success in basketball games comes from employing basketball strategies; at least to some extent. Older games have more primitive mechanics, arcade titles facilitated strategies that wouldn’t work in sim games (or real life, for that matter), and even newer releases aren’t entirely free of exploits. Still, then and now, most tips and tricks for basketball games adhered to concepts that also applied to real hoops: take the open shot, pound the ball inside for higher percentage looks and to draw fouls, position yourself properly, take advantages of mismatches, and so on.

Those are all important points to remember, and they generally apply to all basketball games, new and old. Of course, because they are video games at the end of the day, there are predictable moments and useful tricks that are more “video game tactics” than “basketball strategies”. Outside of exploits such as Curry slides and zigzag cheese, these have become less common as games have become more sophisticated. Trying to play old games with a realistic approach that’s more suited to modern titles can work, but you’ll have more success if you use some antiquated tips and tricks. Here are five examples of such strategies, some of which you may have forgotten.

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NLSC Podcast #421: Arcade Basketball Games Are On Fire!

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #421 of the NLSC Podcast!

We love sim basketball titles, but we also have a great deal of affection for arcade games as well. Recent sessions with the underrated NBA Hangtime, and a brief stream of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, lead us to reflect on some of the best and worst releases in the genre. As always, we also catch up on other games we’ve been playing over the past week, including NBA 2K22, NBA Showdown, and NBA 2K14. One of us has also added a true gem to their collection, leaving the other to feel a tad envious! In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about our go-to plays in various basketball video games, and one-off hoops titles that deserved a sequel (or possibly even a 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!