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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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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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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

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.

Since there are a number of players who became familiar faces back in familiar places at some point in their career, its time for the sixth instalment of this series! For those who are unfamiliar with the topic, I’m taking a look back at players who returned to teams that they’re usually most closely associated with, after stints elsewhere. While many big names never had a proper reunion with their former clubs until after they retired, others did don the same jersey once again (or an updated version of it). The same goes for players who weren’t stars, but still noteworthy names that we recall.

Of course, sometimes we forget about their return stints, especially if they were brief and towards the end of their career, and there was no hoopla of an “official” farewell tour. As I’ve said before, one way to recall these familiar faces being back in familiar places is to fire up an old video game, and see them there in the rosters. It’s why I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games, on top of them being what we’re all about here at the NLSC. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 2)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 2)

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.

The time has come to profile another group of players that made returns to the NBA after several years, and the video games that reflected those comebacks. Well, for the most part. Some of these NBA returns occurred after the rosters were finalised, and thus the players appeared in the following year’s games, usually after their comeback run had concluded. And, while it’s probably giving away one of the examples, at least one of them occurred long before video games, thus it has no official representation on the virtual hardwood.

Because my aim is to revisit these moments in NBA history through the lens of video games, I was originally on the fence about including such examples. However, there are good stories and interesting trivia to share, and for the most part, I’m adhering to the original aim. Once again, credit to The BBall Pundit on Twitter for suggesting this topic! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 Demo on a 486

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 98 Demo on a 486

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 reminiscing about the time I tried to get the NBA Live 98 demo to run on my family’s aging 486 PC.

As a teenager in 1998, making do with a 486 DX2/66 IBM compatible PC, there were few things I wanted as much as a shiny new Pentium. I mean, I wanted the Chicago Bulls to be featured on the Game of the Week, to win as many games as possible, and ultimately, take home the NBA Championship. I wanted to stay up late on weekends to watch the NBA and WWF, and play games. I wanted to create rosters for NBA Live 96, and upload them to my Geocities site, the NBA Live Domain. There was a girl at school I wished I was more than friends with. But yes, I wanted a Pentium.

How did that turn out? Well, I got to see quite a few Bulls games that year, many of which they won, and of course they went on to win their sixth NBA title in June. I did fill my weekends with basketball, wrestling, and video games. I continued to hone my skills as a modder, and the NLD began to develop a small but dedicated following. The girl at school…well, let’s not bring the mood down, here! We also didn’t get a new PC until a couple of years later, which led to me attempting to run the NBA Live 98 demo on our rapidly aging 486. How did that go? 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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Wayback Wednesday: Direct Shoot, The Overlooked Mechanic

Wayback Wednesday: Direct Shoot, The Overlooked Mechanic

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 Direct Shoot, which I believe is an overlooked gameplay mechanic in older NBA Live titles.

If you’ve played any of the early NBA Live games, you’ll likely remember a feature called Direct Pass. Even if you’re unfamiliar with those old releases, you can probably glean from the name alone that Direct Pass is what has come to be known as Icon Passing. NBA 2K popularised the latter name, though I still tend to use the terms “Direct Pass” or “direct passing”, because it’s the nomenclature from the games that I grew up playing. It’s the same reason that I use the name “Decade All-Stars” more often than “All-Decade Teams”. It’s just the branding that I’m used to.

While the name Direct Pass has fallen out of vogue, the concept is obviously still used in modern titles, without any major changes. Conversely, Direct Shoot – introduced in the NBA Live series around the same time as Direct Pass – has been replaced by other methods of advanced shooting controls. To that end, I’d suggest that it’s an overlooked stepping stone to mechanics that we now take for granted. I know that I’ve certainly underutilised it when playing those older games, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #407: Christmas Special 2021

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Episode #407 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.

It’s our 2021 season finale, which means it’s time for a (slightly belated) Christmas special! We recap our recent Parsec sessions, which featured NBA Live 99 and NBA in the Zone 2. There’s also a matter with the Top 10 Plays of the Week that we feel the need to address. After that, it’s time for the listener mailbag! This week, we join our listeners in sharing some of our favourite Christmas-related basketball and basketball gaming memories, and special moments playing with friends and family. In the spirit of the season, it seems that the virtual hardwood has brought many of us closer to the people we love.

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 25th, 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!

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings, basketball gamers! I hope you’re enjoying the holiday festivities, however you celebrate them. With the help of the community, our gift to you today is a special Christmas Edition of the NLSC Top 10 Plays! There’s more stuffing the ball in the basket than stuffing of stockings, but I’m sure you’ll agree that these highlights will get you in the mood to jump on the sticks and make some memorable plays of your own. You might even dust off an old favourite like NBA Live 99 PC, which makes it debut in this week’s countdown. Thank you to everyone who has contributed highlights this year; please keep them coming throughout 2022!

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.

NLSC Podcast #403: These Labours Of Love

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Episode #403 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.

The second game of our Semi-Finals series in the NLSC NBA Live 10 Tournament was marred by some technical issues, but we had much better luck with other games during a Parsec session. We recap one of the wildest games of NBA Jam Tournament Edition that we’ve ever played, using a fantastic 2014 season roster mod. Another highlight came when we revisited the PC version of NBA Live 96, and couldn’t help gushing about the presentation. Double Dribble also got a run (CORNER THREE!), though it did show its age. In this week’s mailbag, we discuss the arguments for and against paid mods, and how to avoid burnout when working on big modding projects.

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.

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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NLSC Podcast #399: NBA Live Mythbusters

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Episode #399 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.

Following a session with the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 over Parsec, we’re compelled to take an in-depth look back at the controversial title. In particular, we take it upon ourselves to bust a few myths regarding the game’s quality, and what actually led to its less than stellar reception. We also got NBA Live 09 working over Parsec, and it too made a positive second impression on us. Indeed, we may have found a couple of new retro gaming kicks! In other retro gaming news, it appears as though content for NBA 2K17 may be gone forever; at least if it’s installed fresh today. Nevertheless, our advocacy for retro basketball gaming continues, even as we play NBA 2K22!

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.

The Friday Five: 5 Fleeting Moments Preserved in Official Rosters

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 fleeting moments that have been preserved in official rosters.

It’s a phrase that I’m no doubt overusing in my articles and on the NLSC Podcast, but basketball video games are interactive almanacs, preserving a snapshot of the season they were released in. It’s not always a completely accurate picture, of course. Older games didn’t receive official roster updates, and were guaranteed to be outdated by the time they were released. It’s how we ended up with players who appeared in more video games than real NBA games, or on teams they ultimately never suited up for. Nevertheless, with or without updates, games preserve a moment in NBA history.

However, depending on when the games were released and what kind of updates they received, they can end up preserving some fleeting moments. Again, this is something that could technically be said of all games at launch, but I’m referring to particularly noteworthy or unusual examples such as stints that were only accounted for due to a late release, or specific lineups that represent a very precise time. Also, although I’m technically including it as an honourable mention by noting it here, I’m foregoing the example of Michael Redd on the Mavericks, as I’ve covered it plenty of times before! With that being said, here are some fleeting moments, and the games they’re found in.

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The Friday Five: 5 Weird Quirks of 90s Basketball Games

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 weird quirks that you can find in basketball games from the 90s.

As someone who was born in 1984 and thus grew up and became a teenager in the 90s, I have a lot of nostalgia for the decade. It’s become a popular decade to hate on, perhaps because it’s the one that people were starting to feel nostalgic for as social media really took off. Perhaps if the Internet had been a bigger thing earlier in the 90s, 60s and 70s nostalgia would be the popular subject of scorn instead. Then again, I suppose people have been railing against nostalgia for as long as they’ve been feeling nostalgic. History suggests that both of these feelings are cyclical, and inevitable.

With that being said, while nostalgia goggles are rose-coloured by design, it doesn’t mean that there’s no truth or accuracy in holding the past in high regard. No, not everything in the 90s was wonderful, but there were great shows, films, and video games, and it was a tremendous era for basketball. Combining those last two things, there were some very important basketball games released during the 90s that paved the way for even better titles. They were great for their time, and some are still quite playable today. Those 90s basketball games do have some weird quirks though, which we’re highly unlikely to see ever again. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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