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NLSC Podcast #351: Lockdown Defenders

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Episode #351 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Now that Derek is an official member of the NLSC Team, we look ahead to some plans for future content. There’s a lot of positivity there, but as we delve into this week, there’s a need to explore the negative aspects of basketball games as well. We discuss the desire some gamers have to disengage, distinguishing between taking a healthy break from negative conversations, and shutting down constructive criticism. In this week’s mailbag, we talk about the pain of losing features, modes, options, and mechanics that we loved, and answer a question about our playcalling habits on the virtual hardwood.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. 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 NLSC Team Officially Welcomes Dee4Three

The NLSC Team Officially Welcomes Dee4Three

Please join me in officially welcoming Derek, aka Dee4Three, to the NLSC Team! Derek has been co-hosting the NLSC Podcast with me for a little over a year now, on top of being a valued contributor in our modding community, and long-time passionate basketball gamer.

In addition to chatting about basketball gaming with me on the podcast, you can look forward to more great content from Derek in the not-too-distant future. He’s currently working on V3 of the Ultimate Classic Teams Roster for NBA 2K17 PC, and some converted faces for other retro roster projects. He will also generally be a part of our coverage of, and commentary on, the virtual hardwood. Derek will also be helping out with some moderating in the NLSC Forum, and of course, he has already provided some very useful modding tutorials.

I hope that you’ll all give Derek a warm welcome, and the opportunity to grow in his new role as a member of the NLSC Team. It’s been a pleasure to have Derek as part of the NLSC Podcast for the past year, and I’m really looking forward to collaborating with him on future content and projects. You can follow him on Twitter @Dee4Three84, and also find him on YouTube.

NLSC Podcast #350: What’s My Age Again?

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Episode #350 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

We’re celebrating our 50th episode as a duo, which leads us to reflect on some famous number 50s in NBA history. After that, it’s down to business with a discussion of the latest news surrounding NBA 2K21 Next Gen. From server issues to a widespread ban, there’s a lot to catch up on, and we have a lot to say. We also talk about stat padding in online games, and how it’s led to what we feel is an unappealing style of play. Recent events also prompt us to discuss ageism in basketball gaming, and troubling practices in the modding community. This week’s mailbag topics cover recycled faces in NBA 2K, and the idea of petitioning 2K to make certain changes.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. 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 Ways to Spot a Shill

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 provides a guide to spotting a shill in the basketball gaming community.

Contrary to what some people might think, I don’t relish writing critical articles. It’s something that I like to balance, because I believe that we should enjoy and celebrate basketball gaming. After all, my motto for the NLSC is fans, not fanboys; critics, not haters. However, it’s also important to point out issues with the games, as well as our community, and the wider basketball gaming community in general. It’s vital that we stand up for ourselves as consumers, which means not remaining silent when there are problems, or defending bad practices. In short, it means not being a shill.

Now, what’s the difference – if any – between a fanboy and a shill? There’s obviously a large amount of overlap between the two, but I would say that a shill tends to take things much further. They also tend to be louder voices in the community, wielding some level of influence, and enjoying certain perks as a result. Fanboys contribute to very frustrating discussions and muddy our attempts to provide constructive feedback, but a shill shuts down the conversation, and throws their fellow gamers under the bus. The shills aren’t going anywhere, but if you know how to spot them, you can at least take their words with the scepticism that they deserve. These are the tell-tale signs.

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NLSC Podcast #349: The Quest for a Next Gen Console

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Episode #349 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S are out, and so is NBA 2K21 Next Gen! Unfortunately neither of us are able to play the game yet, but one of us has had some luck in our quest for a Next Gen console. In the meantime, we discuss the gameplay videos we’ve seen, impressions from the community, and an aspect of the new MyNBA mode that isn’t quite what we were expecting. Circling back to last week’s show, we answer a question about there still being room for improvement on this generation. We’re also intrigued by EA Sports expanding their portfolio, and what it might mean for college basketball games. In this week’s mailbag, we discuss the style of play in the NBA 2K League and its impact on online play, as well as the issue of various historical players being underutilised outside of MyTEAM.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. 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 Podcast #348: Growing Older All The Time

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Episode #348 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Patch 1.05 is the fourth update for NBA 2K21 Current Gen since it was released, leading us to reflect on the game’s post-release support, and a major issue that still hasn’t been fixed. In NBA 2K21 Next Gen news, this week we learned about The City in MyCAREER, and the revamped franchise experience in MyNBA. The City brings to mind certain lyrics from Goldfinger’s “Superman” as far as our reactions to it, but we like what we hear when it comes to the replacement for MyLEAGUE, MyGM, and MyLEAGUE Online. That leads us to touch upon the impact of former community members now working at Visual Concepts, and some of the troubling attitudes towards them. Finally, the mailbag is back! We answer a couple of questions about the state of NBA Live, and the need for dedicated Community Managers.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future episodes. 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 Things NBA Jam Doesn’t Get Enough Credit For

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 things that NBA Jam doesn’t get enough credit for.

Following on from my articles about the things that NBA Live and NBA 2K don’t get enough credit for, this week I’m giving NBA Jam the same treatment. As with NBA 2K, that may seem strange as NBA Jam is still held in high regard and remembered quite fondly. When it comes to games from the 90s, NBA Live’s image has easily suffered more, due to its struggles dating back to the mid 2000s. Although there have been some forgettable NBA Jam games (mainly the ones made by Acclaim), the best titles – including the sequels under different names, like NBA Hangtime – are revered.

And yet, there are times when it feels like NBA Jam doesn’t receive the credit that it deserves. I’ve seen gamers say they don’t get what’s so special about it, either because they prefer sim games, or in some cases, that they’re fonder of NBA Street. It’s been nearly ten years since the last NBA Jam game was released, and I imagine there’s a large contingent of the current basketball gaming demographic that didn’t grow up with it as I and other 90s kids did. Whatever the case may be, NBA Jam should be appreciated for its impact on basketball gaming. In particular, I would suggest that NBA Jam unquestionably deserves credit for these five things.

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NLSC Podcast #347: Next Gen Gets The W

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Episode #347 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

As the release of NBA 2K21 Next Gen rapidly approaches, we’ve had our first glimpse of raw gameplay, accompanied by developer commentary. We give our thoughts on what we saw and what we hope to see, and note that there are some things that only hands-on experience will tell us. Full details on the expanded WNBA content have also been revealed, and it sounds like NBA 2K21 Next Gen will be making good use of the WNBA license. We also talk about the Next Gen Kobe Bryant screenshot that was released, as well as the worst basketball games of the 8-bit and 16-bit era.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 09 & Fallout 3

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 09 & Fallout 3

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 looking back at how NBA Live 09 led me to discover Fallout 3, and the way that the games are linked in my nostalgia for them.

I’m sure that some of you are thinking this is quite an unusual topic for a Wayback Wednesday feature. Of course, if you’re a long-time listener of the NLSC Podcast or a member of our Forum, you may well be aware that I’m also an enthusiastic fan of the Fallout series. Along with Bart vs. The Space Mutants, mentioning it on the podcast is something of a running gag. At the same time, my love of Fallout 3 in particular has a connection to basketball gaming. More specifically, when I reflect on Fallout 3, I’ll often associate it with NBA Live 09.

That may seem quite esoteric, but there’s a reason why the two games are linked for me. No, NBA Live 09 doesn’t exactly have any post-apocalyptic themes, and apart from basketballs being present as a junk/miscellaneous item in Fallout 3, it doesn’t have much to do with the hardwood, virtual or otherwise. Nevertheless, the two games are linked in my memory, and today I’m reflecting upon that connection. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Do We Take Basketball Gaming Too Seriously?

Monday Tip-Off: Do We Take Basketball Gaming Too Seriously?

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off by reflecting on a rather pertinent question: do we take basketball gaming too seriously?

The Dark Knight may be twelve years old at this point, but Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker still resonates with many avid fans of Batman movies and comics. A number of lines from that film have penetrated pop culture, from Alfred’s speech about some men just wanting to watch the world burn – a favourite of so many edgelord trolls who fancy themselves Machiavellian puppet masters – to the Joker’s wry and sinister quips. One that comes up a lot, especially out of context when someone happens to utter the words, is “Why so serious?

As such, even all these years later, it’s difficult to pose a question about taking something too seriously without that scene coming to mind, or someone quoting it in response. It’s also admittedly an odd question to pose on a fansite that’s dedicated to a hobby. After all, we’re all about basketball gaming, so we obviously approach the matter with a certain amount of dedication and emphasis on its significance. “It’s only basketball gaming” feels like an out of place rationale and reprimand in a community of virtual hoops enthusiasts. Of course, it always pays to keep matters in perspective. To that point though, have we lost that perspective over the years?

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NLSC Podcast #346: And Now, A Word From Our Sponsors

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Episode #346 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Controversy strikes as an unskippable ad has made its way into NBA 2K21 Current Gen. It isn’t the first time this generation, but the backlash has prompted a statement from 2K, one that we find questionable. This prompts us to recall other controversies, and the tendency for some gamers to make excuses for them time after time. We also talk about the logistics of an indie developer making a fully 3D 5v5 basketball title. With the release of the third gameplay blog for NBA 2K21 Next Gen, we have our first look at MyPLAYER builds and AI improvements. Once again, the included clips seem to tell a different story to what’s been written in the blog. The changes to builds, Badges, and the Takeover system leads to a discussion of stories and RPG mechanics in MyCAREER. After summing up our thoughts on the gameplay blogs, we dive into a fun topic: the amazing fictional NBA team names in Super Dunk Shot!

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. 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 Things NBA Live Doesn’t Get Enough Credit For

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 things that NBA Live doesn’t get enough credit for.

We’re getting to the point in our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations where I’m talking about the fall of the series, and the struggles that it has endured for more than a decade now. It’s unfortunate that the retrospectives aren’t as positive as the earlier releases in the series, but it’s the truth, and a part of its history that needs to be discussed. It’s even more unfortunate that it’s the prevailing image for NBA Live: a struggling series that hasn’t been able to get things right for a couple of generations, and as such, remains lagging way behind NBA 2K; a game it once outsold annually.

After all, it wasn’t always that way. Because it’s been so long, it’s all too easy to forget that there are many things that NBA Live innovated and did well. To that end, the series doesn’t always get the credit it deserves, both from gamers who switched to 2K many years ago, and those who are too young to remember when the NBA Live series was king. On top of that, it’s quite easy to focus on the negatives and take things for granted. With that in mind, I’ll also be writing similar articles on things that NBA 2K and NBA Jam deserve more credit for. For now though, let’s take a look at five aspects of NBA Live throughout the years that do deserve more credit.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Instant Replay “Cheat” in Old Games

Wayback Wednesday: The Instant Replay "Cheat" in Old 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 the “cheat” that was possible using instant replay in old basketball video games.

I’ve said it so often in these Wayback Wednesday features that I’m sure it’s starting to sound trite, but basketball video games have come a long way since I first got into them. There are older titles that still hold up quite well and are fun to revisit, but even then, technology has allowed their successors to implement graphics and features that definitely weren’t possible all those years ago. To that end, old hoops titles have a few quirks that tend not to be found in modern games. Some of those quirks can be quite amusing to look back on.

That’s not to say that we didn’t recognise them as being quirky at the time, of course. They were the things that we noted in both amusement and frustration, and talked about when we compiled our Wishlists. Over the years they’ve become somewhat nostalgic, although we’re not exactly clamouring to see them return. One of those quirks was an instant replay glitch that was often listed in the Cheats sections of gaming magazines and websites alike. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Cynicism as a New Generation Looms

Monday Tip-Off: Cynicism as a New Generation Looms

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how previews of NBA 2K21 Next Gen have inspired cynicism for me, rather than excitement.

When the NBA 2K21 Next Gen trailer dropped, I was compelled to post a few Tweets outlining my initial impressions. As you can probably gather from that thread, as well as comments I’ve made in our Forum and on the NLSC Podcast, I wasn’t blown away by the trailer, or pumped up about the game. If you follow me on Twitter, take part in our Forum, read my articles, or listen to our Podcast, you’ll probably also know that I’m not the biggest fan of NBA 2K21 Current Gen, either. My disappointment with NBA 2K21 and other recent releases has set the table for some Next Gen cynicism.

Thinking back to the release of NBA 2K14 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I don’t remember feeling quite as cynical. It’s unfortunate, as I’d prefer not to feel that way. I don’t want my content to come across as jaded and overwhelmingly negative, but beyond that, as an avid basketball gamer, I want to enjoy my hobby and look forward to new games when they’re on the horizon. As NBA 2K21 Next Gen looms and we get our first glimpses and insights into the forthcoming game, my cynicism definitely outpaces my optimism in a way that it didn’t seven years ago. Today, I’m reflecting upon that, and how things have changed over the course of a generation.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Shower Thoughts

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 shower thoughts I’ve had about basketball gaming.

Contrary to what you might believe, I don’t think about basketball gaming 24/7. It’s obviously a passion of mine – I wouldn’t have been running the NLSC for 19 years and counting if it wasn’t – but I do have other interests and hobbies. It is something that is on my mind fairly regularly though, either when I’m playing a game, or creating content for the NLSC. A thought will stroll into my head – sometimes related to what I’m doing, sometimes out of the blue – and I’ll wonder how it didn’t occur to me before then.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “shower thoughts” are ideas or epiphanies that occur to us while doing mundane activities such as taking a shower (which is where the term originates), or carrying out some chore. They’re not all profound pearls of wisdom; indeed, if you go looking for shower thoughts on Reddit or elsewhere that they’re collected, you’ll find a lot of puns and folksy observations. To that end, I can’t promise that these basketball gaming shower thoughts – a couple of which did in fact come about in the shower – will be profound and mind-blowing. Hopefully they’ll at least be amusing or interesting talking points, though.

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