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The Friday Five: 5 Roster Oddities in Basketball Games (Part 2)

The Friday Five: 5 Roster Oddities in Basketball Games (Part 2)

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 more roster oddities in various basketball games.

I’m always trying to brainstorm interesting ideas for my weekly features, and while that’s obviously a good idea, the downside is that as new topics come to mind, others get pushed aside. This is a follow-up to a Friday Five that I published way back in 2017, and considering how many other sequel articles I’ve written since then, it’s definitely overdue! On the plus side, letting the topic breathe (and then some) has allowed me to revisit other games, and discover examples that I might not have thought of had I written Part 2 closer to Part 1!

With that being said…roster oddities! There have been a number of interesting and quirky ones over the years, sometimes due to oversight, other times due to a game’s rosters capturing a very specific moment in time. In the first instalment, I covered Clyde Drexler coming off the bench in NBA Live 95 PC, oddities with M. Williams in NBA Live 09 PS2’s rosters, Brad Daugherty’s extended NBA career on the virtual hardwood, Kobe Bryant’s premature prominence in the first NBA Courtside, and the weirdness of roster editing functionality in NBA Full Court Press. In that same vein, here are five more examples of roster oddities that you may or may not remember.

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Wayback Wednesday: Virtual Stadium Technology

Wayback Wednesday: Virtual Stadium Technology

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 Virtual Stadium Technology in the early NBA Live games.

In our desire to see games and gaming technology constantly improve, we obsess over specifications. This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course. One only needs to look back at the console wars of the 90s, where the number of bits and jargon such as Sega’s “blast processing” were thrown back and forth in the eternal fanboy debates. These days, we’re also aware of the most popular game engines, and the use of technology that we hold in high esteem is often celebrated. We also speculate on how it could help the games we’re interested in. “If only NBA Live had used Frostbite!”

It’s interesting to see how the engines and tech of different basketball games have been hyped through the years. Eco-Motion may not have lasted, but it was definitely well-received in NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Conversely, although EA Sports’ IGNITE engine worked out well for other titles, it didn’t make NBA Live better than its predecessors. The Playmaker Engine in NBA Live 13 sounded good on paper, but the game shaped up so poorly that it was cancelled. And then, there’s NBA Live’s Virtual Stadium Technology. What did that entail? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (Part 6)

The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (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 where I look at players who only appeared on certain teams in video games.

Can you believe this topic has produced six instalments of The Friday Five? Actually, it’s not altogether surprising. With the amount of player movement in the NBA, the timing of video game releases, and the eventual introduction of regular official roster updates, stints where players never officially tallied a minute for a certain team have made their way onto the virtual hardwood. It’s something that’s happened for a lot of players who are career journeymen, and generally benchwarmers and training camp fodder. However, it’s also happened with some bigger names as well.

With that being said, the five examples that I’m profiling this time were not big name players. I’m sure most long-time basketball fans will recognise at least some of them though, especially as one is a streetball legend. It’s easy to forget the “phantom stints” that can only be found in video games when it comes to players that move around a lot, but when you revisit an old title, the memories come flooding back. Alternatively, you’ll be led down a rabbit hole when something looks like a mistake! Along with familiar faces in strange and familiar places, it’s an aspect of basketball video game trivia that I really enjoy exploring. To that end, let’s get to five more examples!

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The Friday Five: 5 Gameplay Mechanics You May Have Forgotten

The Friday Five: 5 Gameplay Mechanics You May Have Forgotten

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 gameplay mechanics that you may have forgotten, or not ever been aware of.

It would be wrong to say that basketball video games have tried absolutely every idea imaginable. There are still concepts that have yet to be implemented, or explored to their full potential. Developers have experimented with a multitude of ideas on the virtual hardwood though, from presentation and mode design to gameplay mechanics. While some ideas are better than others, we’ve seen that there are multiple ways to represent basketball in video game form, while striving for a fun and authentic experience. This was particularly apparent when we had several games on the market.

Of course, some ideas were better than others. Contrary to what some basketball gamers, NBA Twitter, and Barney Stinson may claim, new isn’t always better. By the same token, nostalgic doesn’t necessarily mean good. Some ideas were good solutions at the time, but would be unsuitable now. We could argue that others are preferable to their modern equivalents, or could be updated for use in new games. It’s interesting to look back at the gameplay mechanics that were attempted, abandoned, or evolved into something else. We remember concepts such as Freestyle Superstars, the original Isomotion, and separate shoot buttons, but here are some that you may have forgotten.

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Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming At Twelve

Wayback Wednesday: Basketball Gaming At Twelve

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 what basketball gaming is like around the age of twelve, and what that looked like for me.

I was watching Yahtzee’s video on “Boomer Shooters”; a term describing old school first person shooters, and new FPS titles made in the same style. Astute observations are par for the course with Yahtzee, and in that particular video, he aptly outlined a key factor in nostalgia for video games and other forms of entertainment. Yahtzee described being around the age of twelve as “that wonderful nostalgic period in most people’s lives when they’re just old enough to properly appreciate their entertainment, but not yet old enough to be cynical about it”.

That immediately resonated with me, because it’s spot on! This isn’t to say that I didn’t appreciate video games and other forms of entertainment before or after that. Around that age however, there’s undoubtedly a sense of pure enjoyment, yet also an ability to discern what you like and dislike, and articulate why. This apt summary of nostalgia led me to reflect on my basketball gaming around the age of twelve, which I could flexibly define as eleven to fourteen. In hindsight, my favourites from that era shaped my preferences and expectations of hoops games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: September 3rd, 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 some wild shots, including a halftime buzzer beater in NBA Live 2004, and a really long bomb in NBA Live 97 (though sadly, not by Christian Laettner). NBA Live 19 produced a couple of nifty plays ending in emphatic dunks, as did NBA 2K22, including a clip where Donovan Mitchell has already made his Cleveland Cavaliers debut. As always, it’s great to see the community having fun with a variety of titles. Check out the countdown, and get in the mood to hit the virtual hardwood this weekend!

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 #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: Glitched NBA Live 97 SNES Cartridge

Wayback Wednesday: Glitched NBA Live 97 SNES Cartridge

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 glitched NBA Live 97 SNES cartridge, which features an extremely unusual roster bug.

It’s been a while since I produced a video for Wayback Wednesday, and this is a prime topic to dive back into that medium. Simply put, to do it justice, you need to see the game in action. That game is the SNES version of NBA Live 97, specifically my original copy that somehow developed one of the weirdest roster glitches I’ve ever seen. My replacement copy of NBA Live 97 SNES is working just fine, but it appears that there’s no way to fix the original glitched cartridge. It may not be so bad if you’re a big Christian Laettner fan, but even then you’d probably want the game to work properly, with the correct 1997 season rosters. Let’s take a look back…way back…

A truly bizarre glitch! If I can ever get that cartridge working properly again, I’ll be sure to produce a follow-up feature. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this look at an incredibly strange error! I do like to branch out from my written retrospectives and other Wayback Wednesday articles from time to time, and again, this felt like an ideal topic to cover with a video. There’ll be more Wayback Wednesday video features in the future, and we’re also posting many other videos from the weekly Top 10 Plays to gameplay highlights, so be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube if you haven’t already. Also keep it locked to the NLSC every Wednesday for weekly Wayback content!

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

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

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

Due to the interactive almanac aspect of basketball video games – yes, there’s that phrase again – they’re a great way of remembering players long after they’ve retired. If you spent a lot of time poring over the rosters in old games, either while modding or perhaps playing a franchise game, you might even find that you’re able to recall the names of benchwarmers from years ago, without even firing up those titles. Even if you can’t recall them off the top of your head, once you dust off an old game and start browsing the rosters, even the most obscure names will likely come back to you.

Indeed, you’ll probably only recall some of the most obscure names because of the time you spent on the virtual hardwood. As is evident by this being the fifth article covering this topic, there are a number of players who made their way into the official rosters of video games despite never actually playing in the NBA. If you follow the NCAA or foreign leagues, some of these players may be familiar due to their stints and accomplishments elsewhere. Most of us probably remember them as names in the Free Agents Pool, or on the deep bench in the default rosters. Those players do have some interesting stories though, especially when they end up being in multiple titles.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 SNES Was Strange

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 SNES Was Strange

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 how NBA Live 98 for the SNES was rather strange.

The main reason that I love collecting basketball video games is that I get to check out titles that I didn’t play when they were new. Whether it was due to my preference for NBA Live, only owning Nintendo consoles, or releases that were North American exclusives, there are titles that I didn’t experience until decades later. Getting my hands on a PlayStation 3, utilising the backwards compatibility of my PlayStation 2, and picking up a converter cartridge for my Super Nintendo, have all gone a long way in being able to expand my collection, and try out some old games for the first time.

One of those games is NBA Live 98 for the Super Nintendo. NBA Live 98 SNES was, quite frankly, a notably strange release. The PC version made a major leap, and the PlayStation port was solid in its own right. I’ve discussed NBA Live 98 in-depth in my retrospective for the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, but I want to revisit the SNES version to highlight just how strange it was. Anyone who bought NBA Live 98 on SNES undoubtedly got the weakest version of the game, yet it has some interesting points. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Glorious Menus of NBA Live 97

Wayback Wednesday: The Glorious Menus of NBA Live 97

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 the truly glorious menus found in the PC version of NBA Live 97.

The nostalgic rush you get from a beloved old basketball video game begins long before you hit the virtual hardwood. It’s there upon the first glimpse of the boot-up screens and introduction videos. The first notes of the soundtrack will take you back to all the hours you spent with a game when it was brand new. And then, there are the menus. For many of us, our memories of our favourite basketball games also include spending a sizeable chunk of time in the menus: setting up games, creating players, updating the rosters, and sometimes just enjoying listening to the music.

As such, there are some frontends that stick in our minds. If we vividly remember the menu from a particular game, it’s either because it was visually appealing and easy to navigate, or incredibly ugly and clunky. When it comes to the menus in NBA Live 97, I’d definitely describe them as the former. I know I’ve touched on the menus in NBA Live 97 PC in my retrospective of the game, but I believe that they’re worthy of their own article. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Strange Glitches You May Have Missed

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 strange glitches in various basketball video games, which you may not be aware of.

As is the case with other genres, some glitches in basketball video games are well-known. In fact, some of them achieve infamy, such as the “Jesus Bynum” glitch in the NBA Elite 11 demo. Some glitches are helpful, and so we seek them out to gain additional XP or in-game currency. Other glitches are game-breaking; we hope we’ll never encounter those and are furious when we do, especially if we end up losing our save files with hours of progress (paid and No Money Spent). And of course, there are the harmless and amusing glitches that are just entertaining when they happen.

Not every glitch becomes common knowledge, of course. If you never experience something for yourself and you’re not particularly involved in online discourse, you may not know about a prominent bug in a popular title. Even when it comes to the most infamous glitches such as the aforementioned Bynum bug, not everyone who has seen them in action has experienced them in their own game. Sometimes it’s a rare and specific set of circumstances that causes the issue, which is why it’s so difficult for developers to fix them in patches. To that end, here are five strange glitches that I’ve encountered that might’ve flown under your radar, or you may have forgotten.

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NLSC Podcast #404: Cheese Not Found

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Episode #404 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this weekly podcast that’s all about basketball gaming.

After an intense battle, the Semi-Finals of the NLSC NBA Live 10 Tournament are over, and the Finals match-up has been set. Once again, we note the importance of competing until the final buzzer. Following on from last week’s revisiting of NBA Live 96 PC, we played NBA Live 97 PC over Parsec, and basked in the radical 90s goodness of its presentation. We also played NBA Live 16, and tested a work-in-progress mod for NBA 2K16. Meanwhile, the latest patch for NBA 2K22 Next Gen has cut down on cheese, and some gamers aren’t happy. Conversely, we’re all for it, and push back on the suggestion that the game shouldn’t be realistic. We also reflect on the importance of shot timing mechanics.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: December 4th, 2021

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

It’s time to enjoy some virtual hardwood highlights in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week! This is a weekly feature curated by Derek (aka Dee4Three) spotlighting the best plays from the basketball gaming community, which includes a few of our own memorable clips from time to time. Submit your clips in the Forum, or hit up Derek on Twitter!

December is upon us, and ’tis the season to make memories on the virtual hardwood! As this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays demonstrates, you don’t need to be playing Season 3 in NBA 2K22’s MyTEAM in order to celebrate clutch moments. On top of the usual assortment of nifty moves and emphatic dunks, the latest countdown features some impressive gamewinning buzzer beaters. It’s clear that in addition to a love of soaring to the rim and throwing it down, our community has ice water in their veins when the game is on the line.

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 spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood or blacktop. All basketball games are welcome, new and old! Also, be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

Wayback Wednesday: 20 Players With No Official Appearances in Games

Wayback Wednesday: 18 Players With No Official Appearances in 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 taking a look back at twenty NBA players that have made no official appearances in video games.

I have an ongoing series of Friday Five articles documenting players who appeared in more video games than real NBA contests. While a handful of those players did tally playing time in at least one NBA game while sometimes appearing in multiple titles, several of them only saw action on the virtual hardwood after being cut in real life while the game was still in production. This article is basically the opposite of that series, instead focusing on players that did make it to the NBA, but due to the timing of their stints, never made it into a video game’s official rosters.

I’d originally planned this as a counterpart series of Friday Five articles, but I’ve instead opted for a single article listing twenty noteworthy examples. To that point, I’ve tried to select players who had interesting stories, and/or multiple opportunities to make official appearances in video games. I’ve also focused on games from NBA Live 96 onwards, as those titles have included more comprehensive lineups thanks to inactive rosters and official updates. Official roster updates have also made this a far less likely phenomenon as the years have gone by. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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