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Wayback Wednesday: NCAA March Madness 08 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NCAA March Madness 08 Retrospective

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 NCAA March Madness 08.

I wasn’t able to enjoy any of the college basketball games while they were still being developed, as they couldn’t be licensed for release outside of North America. As they were console-only releases, and none of the consoles I owned were region-free, I wasn’t able to import NTSC games with my PAL hardware. Since then, a friend gifted me their old PlayStation 3, which means that I can finally import NTSC games! Needless to say, the college basketball titles from EA Sports and Visual Concepts were the ones that I was the most interested in.

As such, I’ve been able to get my hands on NCAA March Madness 08, NCAA Basketball 09, and NCAA Basketball 10 by EA Sports, and College Hoops 2K7 and College Hoops 2K8 by Visual Concepts. I’m very happy to have finally added them to the collection; after all, I find that checking out basketball games that I missed the first time around can be just as fun as dusting off some old favourites. Obviously, I enjoy sharing my thoughts on them as well, and in that spirit, I’m beginning with NCAA March Madness 08. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How My NBA Live Roster Updates Stopped

Monday Tip-Off: How My NBA Live Roster Updates Stopped

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 the story of how I stopped releasing roster updates for NBA Live, and my current stance on making any further roster mods.

In April 2013, I released the last of my current roster updates for NBA Live 2005 through to NBA Live 08. Although I mentioned at the time that it may well be the end for me making roster updates for those games, I did want to leave some wiggle room in case I returned for the 2014 season. As it stood, it’d basically taken me all season to get a new roster out. It’s safe to say that by that point, I was feeling significantly burned out on making roster updates for NBA Live. I could see the end looming, but I didn’t want to make the call. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, or feel like I’d failed.

To that end, I made preliminary preparations for a 2014 season roster. I moved the existing players around, changed jersey numbers, and even worked on a few logo updates. When that season passed by without a roster, I did the same thing for the 2015 campaign. That time, I even made a spreadsheet, intending to map out the bio data and some preliminary ratings for players that I’d need to create. I’d repeat the process of preparing a roster – even if it was just to create a save file ready to work on – over the next few years. Despite a small spark of willingness, those projects never came to fruition. This is how my NBA Live roster updates ultimately stopped.

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Fourth Annual March Modness Tips Off Today

NLSC March Modness

It’s March 1st, so that means we’re tipping off the fourth annual March Modness here at the NLSC! For those who are unaware, the event is intended to be a celebration of modding. We of course welcome mod releases all year round, but we invite modders to get extra creative and productive during this month!

In addition to our usual File Additions bulletins and spotlighting other big releases, we’ll be holding the usual giveaway. As a thank you to our talented modding community, anyone who releases work and adds it to our Downloads section will go in the draw to win a copy of the Standard Edition of NBA 2K22 PC. Congratulations once again to DaCrispy, who won the giveaway last year.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is release a mod and upload it to our Downloads section during the month of March 2021, with “March Modness” in the description. The mod may be for any PC version of NBA Live or NBA 2K, but it must be your own work and remain hosted in our Downloads section. Please see below for the full terms and conditions of entry, and good luck!

Once again, I’ll be looking to get into the spirit of the event myself with at least a few releases, hopefully including my long overdue rosters for NBA 2K11. As usual, I also have a few other ideas I’d like to explore, time permitting. Stay tuned for that, and the many fantastic releases I’m sure that we’ll see throughout our fourth annual March Modness!

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began

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 NBA returns that were over before they began, with a representation of how they’d look in games.

Although our content is obviously focused on the virtual hardwood, I like to mix in topics related to the real NBA as well. After all, it directly influences our experiences in video games, and the games in turn capture a snapshot of what the league was like when they were released. To that end, I’ve enjoyed branching out with topics like Familiar Faces in Strange Places, and its counterpart Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places, in previous Wayback Wednesday features. It’s easy to bring it all back to video games, because of the way they act as interactive almanacs.

This is a spinoff of those two series that came to mind as I was researching them. I recalled players that were reacquired by their former teams, but didn’t end up playing for them again. As I noted in my Familiar Places articles, there’s something fun about seeing players rejoin their old teams; especially when they end up wearing an updated uniform we never thought we’d see them don. Likewise, there are some interesting “What If” scenarios involving NBA returns that were over before they even had a chance to begin, or otherwise didn’t result in an official appearance. We can see and make NBA returns happen in games however, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: In The Shadow Of Their Predecessors

Monday Tip-Off: In The Shadow Of Their Predecessors

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 some thoughts on the way that every new NBA 2K game finds itself in the shadow of its predecessors, and the cyclical nature of critique.

Not everyone has been entirely happy with NBA 2K21, but what else is new? While the NBA 2K series continues to be very successful, opinions of recent releases have been much less favourable than their predecessors. Legacy issues, practices that are lacking in goodwill, and product fatigue, have all led to an increasingly dissatisfied userbase. In turn, this dissatisfaction has inspired gamers to reminisce about titles from just a few years ago. To that end, the last few games have been unfavourably compared to the likes of NBA 2K15, NBA 2K16, and NBA 2K17.

A recent Twitter thread criticising NBA 2K21 drew an interesting reply about these comparisons. In response to the assertion that NBA 2K21 is the worst game in the series, the Tweet pointed out that it’s a title bestowed on just about every NBA 2K game when it’s new. It specifically noted similar remarks about NBA 2K17, a game that’s now being held up as a benchmark that newer games have failed to reach. While it’s a generalisation that deflects some valid criticism of NBA 2K21 and its immediate predecessors, it also raises a pertinent question: do we forget our own criticism, with revisionist history and nostalgia unfairly casting a shadow over every new game?

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NLSC Podcast #362: Putting the Ball in the Basket

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #362 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.

A bevy of retro season roster mods are being produced at the moment, which we’re excited to see. The fact that there are a couple of 2005 season mods out or in the works reminds us that time is marching on, and our nostalgia is getting old! We also have some advice for getting big projects done and released. Meanwhile, NBA 2K21 Current Gen and Next Gen have both received new patches, so we briefly discuss some of the changes. This week’s main discussion is a deep dive into shooting mechanics: the history and evolution, the best and worst concepts, and everything in between. In the latest mailbag, we discuss the forthcoming Space Jam sequel, and consider another What If scenario.

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 Crazy Roster Mod Ideas (Part 2)

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 another list of crazy roster mod ideas that I’m throwing out to the community.

March Modness is fast approaching, and I’m once again hoping to be a more active participant this year. Having finished the bulk of the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content and built up a significant buffer for my weekly articles, I’ve been able to clear some space on the workbench for a bit of modding. There’s only so much that I’ll be able to get done though, which is a shame because I can’t help thinking of fun – and sometimes crazy – roster mod ideas. I’d love to be able to give them a try, but I want to finish up the projects I’ve already started before I move on to something new.

That shouldn’t stop someone else from considering these roster mod ideas though, if the crazy concepts appeal to them. Obviously, there’s more interest in comprehensive retro season mods, current rosters for old games, enhanced current rosters for the latest game, NCAA mods, Euroleague rosters, and so on. I don’t want to discourage the creation of those roster mods at all, because they’re fantastic projects and it’s always great to see them. However, if you’re in the mood to create and play with something that’s a bit different and quirky, then you may want to consider one of the crazy roster mod ideas that I suggested before, or one that I’m putting forth today!

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Monday Tip-Off: Who Wants NBA Live To Return?

Monday Tip-Off: Who Wants NBA Live To Return?

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 my thoughts on the interest in the return of NBA Live, and the brazenly dismissive attitude that some people have towards the idea.

The announcement that EA Sports will be reviving its college football franchise at some point in the future drew a lot of interest last week. There was scepticism too, of course. Madden doesn’t have the best reputation these days, and so the prospect of getting a virtually identical game, except with college teams, is one that many gamers are leery of. Nevertheless, there’s also excitement and optimism, and those feelings have spread to the basketball gaming community. If EA’s college football series can return, then maybe we can look forward to NBA Live making a comeback, too.

Not everyone is excited by or supportive of that prospect, though. The idea that gamers want to see NBA Live return was met by some with mocking scorn and derision. Prominent voices in the community, and their followers alike, ridiculed the idea that anyone is interested in – or should be interested in – a return for NBA Live. Now, I understand being sceptical about the NBA Live series, and feeling burned by it. I understand being satisfied enough with NBA 2K to not be personally interested in an alternative. However, anyone sneeringly denying there being any interest in NBA Live returning is being profoundly myopic at best and a blatant shill at worst.

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NLSC Podcast #357: Interview with Andy Hull

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #357 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

This week we’re interviewing Andy Hull, the creator of Dunk Lords and programmer on Spelunky! Andy talks about his background in programming and breaking into the industry, which included a stint making wooden toys. He also provides us with several insights into the development of Dunk Lords, which began life as a prototype called Buckets of Blood. We also talk about NBA Jam and Andy’s other video gaming influences, how working on Spelunky helped him to go on to create his own game, and ask a few listener questions that were sent in for this week’s special edition of the mailbag.

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.

Monday Tip-Off: I’ve Got To Use My Imagination

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 some thoughts on how we no longer have to use our imagination when it comes to career and franchise modes.

Yes, the title of this week’s column is indeed a reference to a song by Gladys Knight & the Pips. That’s about as far as the reference goes, however. Truth be told, I only know the song because Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favourite movies, and it’s on its soundtrack. In any case, imagination is a core component of gaming, no matter the genre. Whether we’re playing single player or multiplayer, we immerse ourselves in a virtual world. We share the goal of the player character, whether it’s saving the world, winning a championship, or causing mayhem as a goose.

Imagination has always been – and to some extent still is – a big part of basketball gaming. Whether we’re assuming the role of a general manager or coach, taking control of a star player, or stepping onto the hardwood or blacktop with our own avatar, there’s an element of fantasy at play. Of course, many years ago, we had to be far more imaginative as far as scenarios and stories. In franchise and career play, we filled in the gaps, created our own back stories, and would even role-play in our story section. These days, we don’t have to use our imagination so much, especially in the story-driven MyCAREER. Needless to say, there are benefits and drawbacks to this.

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NLSC Podcast #356: State of NBA 2K Addressed

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #356 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

Before we get rolling, we touch on the subject of virtual hardwood photography, and offer up some tips to get the best angles. After that, we get right into our main topic: the current state of NBA 2K, and our latest thoughts on NBA 2K21. How is the latest game – and the series as a whole – looking as we enter the new year, with a new generation? What are our concerns for the future, and what responsibility does have the community have in providing 2K with constructive feedback? In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about NBA 2K13 on Wii U, and what – if anything – EA Sports should take from NBA Live 19.

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.

25th Anniversary of NBA Live Overtime Content Coming

25th Anniversary of NBA Live Logo

Thank you to everyone who has been following along with our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content! We tipped off the celebrations in 2019 and continued them through 2020, marking the 25th Anniversary of both the original release in 1994, and the PC version in 1995.

It was my goal to wrap up the retrospectives by the end of 2020. One of the main reasons for that – aside from chronological accuracy, of course – was to avoid what happened with the 20th Anniversary celebrations five years earlier. Unfortunately I didn’t produce all of the content that I had planned, in particular the game-by-game retrospectives. That’s why I burned through the 25th Anniversary retrospectives so quickly last month, as I wanted to make sure that I got them done. I also wanted to give everyone some fresh content to enjoy over the holiday season.

The end of the retrospectives also marks the end of our main celebrations. However, there are a few other odds and ends to share, including republishing articles from the 20th Anniversary, a couple of other features, and if we can line them up, further interviews with people involved with NBA Live during the early days. You can consider this “overtime” content, and it’ll run through the early stages of 2021. Some other ideas will likely instead be repurposed for Wayback Wednesday features, and possibly March Modness.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the retrospectives and other throwback content! It was definitely fun to revisit every game in the series, reminisce about the good times, and put the series’ struggles in perspective. Stay tuned for the overtime content, and in the meantime, I invite you to check out all of our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live features that have been posted so far! I’ve compiled all of the links below, or you can browse the archive. Here’s to getting some good news about the future of the NBA Live series at some point in 2021!

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Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

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 look back at the year that was 2020 here at the NLSC.

I think it’s fair to say that 2020 has been one of the most unusual years that many of us have ever experienced. For me, it’s both flown by – as the years seem to do as you get older – yet it’s also dragged. The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously disrupted life as we know it in so many ways, and contributed to 2020 being somewhat miserable. On top of that, we’ve lost some beloved athletes and celebrities, including Kobe Bryant. Although the hardships of the pandemic are not over yet, it’s safe to say that a lot of people are looking forward to a fresh start in 2021.

At the same time, there have been bright spots. The Next Gen consoles launched, and while it hasn’t been easy getting hold of one, people who do own them generally seem to be happy with them. Here at the NLSC, we were able to keep doing our thing for another year as far as producing content and supporting the modding community, and we also officially added a new member to our team. 2020 is a year that I’m sure a lot of people would rather be done with and soon forget, but since this is the last Monday Tip-Off of the year – there will be a Wayback Wednesday this week, and then The Friday Five will open 2021 – I’m taking the opportunity to look back at 2020.

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Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

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 Europe Live jerseys in NBA Live 07.

A new season is now underway! Two games opened the 2021 NBA season, with the Nets defeating the Warriors, and the Clippers besting the defending champion Lakers. We’re obviously in for a lot of basketball, even with ten games being taken off the schedule to accommodate the later than usual tip-off. With the unveiling of this year’s City Edition jerseys, we’ll be seeing some creative (and divisive) uniform designs all season long. While alternate jerseys are far from a new concept, they’re definitely more prominent – and commonly worn – since Nike took over the NBA uniform deal.

Over a decade ago, alternate and special occasion jerseys were becoming far more common, but they weren’t worn as frequently. Indeed, some jerseys were only worn once a year, while a select few were only worn once. Some of these rare jerseys show up in video games, while many others have to be modded in. And then, there are the uniforms that are exclusive; not just to a single year, but a single title. Such is the case with the Europe Live jerseys that can be found in NBA Live 07. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Coincidences in 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 countdown of the Top 5 coincidences that we’ve seen in basketball video games.

Coincidences are everywhere in basketball gaming. As Thunder Shaq and Dee4Three pointed out, NBA 2K used very similar phrasing to my Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of Wayback Wednesday articles to describe a themed set in MyTEAM. Of course, there are only so many ways to phrase things, and similar ideas will end up with similar titles and terminology. As this 2015 post about joke stealing explains, the phenomenon of parallel development accounts for many similarities, especially when something is topical or a common point of interest.

Beyond that, a lot of coincidences are fun, owing to the way they seemingly predict the future. We’ve seen coincidences like that occur more than a couple of times in basketball video games over the years. It’s easy to call them predictions in hindsight, while conveniently ignoring a lot of things that aren’t…well, anything! The ones that do look like predictions and foreshadowing are merely coincidences, but that doesn’t make them any less enjoyable. Today, I’m counting down my picks for the Top 5 coincidences in basketball gaming. There’s some overlap with my previous article on predictions, but there are also some new coincidences that you might find amusing.

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