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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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NLSC Podcast #437: NBA 2K23 First Look, NBA in the Zone, and…Garfield Kart?

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #437 of the NLSC Podcast!

Following up on last week’s show about retro collecting, we have some further recommendations, and a possible new recurring segment. We also make good on two promises: to test multiplayer in Garfield Kart, and to play NBA in the Zone and NBA in the Zone 2. Garfield Kart was of course life-changing, but Konami’s classics proved to be very interesting releases to revisit. The NBA 2K23 First Look Trailer has given us a glimpse of the Next Gen version in action, and we certainly have some thoughts ahead of next week’s gameplay news. A recent video from Agent 00 resonated with us, and aptly summed up the politics of content creation. Finally, we’re opening up this week’s mailbag to discuss 2K fatigue.

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 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 6)

The Friday Five: 5 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 6)

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 Part 6 in an ongoing series listing players that appeared in more video games than actual NBA games.

When it comes to trivia like this, I’m always concerned about running the topic into the ground. I always want my features to be fresh and interesting, and going back to a particular subject does invite repetition, while potentially appearing to be lacking in imagination. At the same time, I want to be thorough, covering all of the relevant and interesting examples. It’s why I’ve repurposed some topics that I originally planned as Friday Five series into longer lists for Wayback Wednesday. Since this one goes back a few years and has five instalments already, I figured I’d keep the ball rolling.

Meta musings about my “process” aside, I do have another five examples of players who appeared in more video games than NBA games. It’s not an unprecedented phenomenon – obviously, since we’re up to Part 6 – but it’s still somewhat unusual. You’d expect there to be more examples of players who made the NBA yet were left out of games, but that’s become rarer thanks to official roster updates. Alternatively, you might expect players who fall just short of officially debuting in the NBA to be absent from video games entirely. When the timing is right though, those players get to play on the virtual hardwood, while having some interesting stories in real life.

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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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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 3)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 3)

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 more NBA players that made returns after extended absences from the league.

Look, when it comes to NBA trivia and its representation in video games, I can’t get enough! When The BBall Pundit suggested this topic, it required a bit of research, which is always fun. We remember the big names that made returns to the NBA after extended absences – at least two years or more – but there have been other key role players and memorable journeymen that surprised us when they inked new contracts. Perhaps it’s a reminder to never underestimate the intrigue of a young player who still has potential to fulfil, or a capable veteran who can slot right back into a lineup.

In case it isn’t clear, I should note that by returns after extended absences, I’m talking about players who were out of the league entirely. Someone like Klay Thompson, who missed two consecutive seasons due to injury, doesn’t count as he was still on the Warriors’ roster. Comebacks after missing multiple years due to injury is another topic altogether – and there are certainly some interesting examples I could cover – but this is about players who were retired or out of the league and not expected to return. With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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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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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 7)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange 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 ended up as familiar faces in strange places.

Yes, we’re reached the seventh instalment of this series! For the record, while this may not be the last time I cover this topic in Wayback Wednesday, it’s the final list that I’ve had planned. I’m sure there are other examples that I’ll find when I revisit classic games, and of course over time, new games will grow old and more players will end up becoming familiar faces in strange places. If there are any noteworthy examples that I haven’t covered in these seven articles, feel free to let me know. A Part 8 may be in order at some point!

For those who may be unfamiliar with this topic, I’m taking a look back at the unusual stints of players who are generally associated with a specific team. They’re the stints that are often forgotten, or in some cases, ones that we tried to forget because of how lacklustre they were, or how wrong it felt to see a player in a different jersey. I’m looking at them through the lens of basketball video games, as we’ll often see these familiar faces in strange places when we fire up older titles and browse the rosters. To that end, I’ve mostly tried to focus on stints that have been officially represented in games, at launch or in official roster updates. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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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!

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K10 PC Disc Woes

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K10 PC Disc Woes

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 some strange issues I’ve had with my copies of NBA 2K10 PC.

My approach as a collector of basketball video games has been to acquire titles that I have an interest in playing, and of course covering here in Wayback Wednesday. A working copy is therefore far more important to me than “complete in box”. As you’d expect, it’s been much cheaper, too! As I’ve shown, my collection includes multiple versions of titles across the different platforms that I own. Sometimes I’ve doubled up on the same platform with alternate covers, repurchased games I once traded in, and have spare copies of a few games that I’ve stumbled across on sale at bargain prices.

And then, there’s NBA 2K10 PC. I picked up a second copy of the game, not on a whim because I’d seen it at a bargain price, but because mine had simply stopped working. Well, it kind of worked; sometimes, if I was patient and lucky enough. When I found a copy of NBA 2K10 going cheap on eBay, I snapped it up, and it appeared that all was well. And then, the same issues began occurring with that copy too. Of all the games in my collection, these disc woes are rather unique. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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