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Monday Tip-Off: Going Digital (Before I Had To)

Monday Tip-Off: Going Digital (Before I Had To)

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 reflections on going digital with basketball games, and making that move before I needed to.

These days, the PC version of NBA 2K is exclusively available as a digital release. Even if you happen to find a physical copy – and they do exist in some regions – it just amounts to a card with a Steam key. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. On the plus side, digital games save shelf space, and because developers don’t need to press discs, distribution is quicker and cheaper. In a niche demographic such as PC basketball gaming, that’s an important factor in companies seeing the platform as viable and less of a hassle to release on.

The downside is that we need to download everything when we want to install the game. Depending on the quality of our connection and the size of any data limits on our Internet plan, that may not be an ideal scenario. Digital releases are also at risk of being removed from platforms like Steam, whereas physical copies obviously remain in circulation. Beyond convenience and availability, there’s just something satisfying about having a physical copy that you can hold in your hands or display on a shelf. We don’t always have a lot of choice, especially on PC these days, but I actually found myself going digital with basketball games before it was necessary.

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NLSC Podcast #318: Interview with Andrew Jinks

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #318 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week’s show is a continuation of our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations as I interview Andrew Jinks, programmer on NBA Live 95-98.

As our celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live continue, we welcome Andrew Jinks to the NLSC Podcast! Andrew was a programmer on the series from NBA Live 95 through to NBA Live 98, and he shares his insights into how the early NBA Live games were developed. His stories cover his experiences working on the front end, schedule generation, and other aspects of the games. He also talks about the cancelled 3DO version of NBA Live 96, provides more backstory on the legend of “Jox Steele”, and shares some other tales from behind the scenes. Our trip down memory lane also leads us to reminisce about some other classic games from back in the day, including a few LucasArts favourites.

Tune in below!

I hope you enjoyed the interview! 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.

Wayback Wednesday: Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000

Wayback Wednesday: Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000

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, it’s a retrospective of Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000, specifically the PC version.

As I’ve mentioned before, Wayback Wednesday features are a lot of fun for me as I’ve not only been able to revisit old favourites, but expand my collection and play some games I never got around to playing when they were new. It’s always interesting how they all hold up. Some are just as I remembered them, for better or worse. Others are better than I recalled, while more than a couple have aged badly. When it comes to the old games I’m playing for the first time, I’ll appraise them on the same scale. There are ones I wish I’d played more of, while others were definitely worth skipping.

And then, there’s Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000. It’s one of the bad ones, and not just because it’s aged like milk. Even when compared to its contemporaries, such as the fantastic PC version of NBA Live 2000 – and yes, even the disappointing NBA Inside Drive 2000 – it’s noticeably inferior. Here’s the thing, though. Usually, bad basketball games are frustrating or off-putting to play. Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000 is bad in ways that are hilarious, to the point where the humour of the situation makes it unintentionally entertaining. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: What I Learned From Uninstalling Games

Monday Tip-Off: What I Learned From Uninstalling Games

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 hard lessons I learned after uninstalling NBA 2K games on PlayStation 4.

I’m a collector of basketball games, both for my own enjoyment and to create content for the NLSC. To that end, there are some games that I own on multiple platforms, which allows for interesting comparisons; especially when it comes to older titles. With the current generation of NBA 2K games, I’ve made a point of buying them on both PC and PlayStation 4. The PC version has been there for single player gaming, as well as dabbling with mods if and when I so choose. The PS4 version has been for online gaming, as that’s where my friends (and a larger portion of the userbase) are.

Aside from differences such as the online scene and modding capabilities, the PC and PS4 versions – and the Xbox One release for that matter – are identical. Of course, my PC offers another advantage over my PS4: more storage space. It wasn’t until I picked up an external drive for my PS4 that I was able to maintain a much bigger library of installed games. Before that, I’d been uninstalling games as they went on the shelf, in order to play titles that were currently in my rotation. Once I added that extra storage, I was able to reinstall every NBA 2K title that I own for PS4. Unfortunately, I found out that uninstalling those games had a few drawbacks.

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NLSC Podcast #317: The Perks of PC & The Merriness of Modding

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Episode #317 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Dee4Three and I are discussing modding projects we’re working on (and the joy that it brings us), the benefits of PC basketball gaming, and the recently revealed specs for the next generation of consoles.

March Modness may be over, but we’re still in the mood to mod! In addition to discussing projects that we’re currently working on, we talk about how important the modding scene has been to the PC version. Specifically, we note that it’s drawn gamers from consoles to PC, and made them aware of the perks of PC basketball gaming. We also reflect on satisfying modding discoveries, and how mods stand out in other original content. As the preliminary specs for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox Series X have been revealed, we also take the opportunity to look ahead to the next generation. The specs sound impressive – and very much like a gaming PC – but will it matter if design philosophies don’t change?

Tune in below!

What are some of your favourite mods? Do you game on both PC and console, or do you prefer one over the other? 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.

Basketball Classics v1.2.0 Released on Steam

Basketball Classics

Basketball Classics v1.2.0 is now available on Steam. If you already own the game, the update will come through automatically as long as you have an active Internet connection. Should you encounter any difficulties, try restarting your Steam client.

The latest update adds pump fakes, which as in most games are performed by tapping the Shoot button. Quarter breaks have also been spiced up with new events, and difficulty settings have been added to Story mode.

Please see below for the expanded release notes for Basketball Classics v1.2.0. Be sure to check out our previous interviews with Josh and Dave from Namo Gamo, in Episode #262 and Episode #306 of the NLSC Podcast!

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NLSC Podcast #310: Interview with Rod Reddekopp

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Episode #310 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week’s episode tips off the next phase of our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations as I chat to Rod Reddekopp, programmer on NBA Live 95-2001.

Rod Reddekopp joins the show to talk about his time working on NBA Live, beginning with the acquisition of Distinctive Software and his early work with EA. From there, Rod takes us through the years, from the revamp of NBA Showdown into NBA Live, to the way the game grew and became a flagship property for the company. Along the way, Rod describes his various roles as a programmer on the series, as well as many of the technical aspects of the early NBA Live titles. He also shares some fun stories from behind the scenes, and reveals a few Easter Eggs for us to go hunting for.

Tune in below!

I hope you enjoyed Rod’s insights into the early days of NBA Live! 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 Friday Five: 5 Times Gamers Ruined 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 discusses five times that gamers themselves ruined basketball video games.

This week’s topic may seem unfair, even absurd. After all, we don’t create basketball video games; we just play them. If there’s a problem with a game, then that’s on the developers, not us as consumers, right? Well, for the most part, yes. We’re not the ones implementing microtransactions, grindy mechanics, or other undesirable ideas. We do arguably support them by continuing to buy the games and pumping money into recurrent revenue systems, but boycotts, as Jim Sterling has pointed out, aren’t all that effective. Ultimately, we’re not making design choices, or programming code.

However, we are making suggestions, and the loudest voices aren’t always expressing the best ideas. Tribalism these days goes as deep as which mode you play, as well as a preference for online or offline gaming. Not all feedback has been to the benefit of NBA Live or NBA 2K. The way we choose to play the game and use the features and functions at our disposal has also had a negative effect. Whether it’s through elitism and snobbery, or childishness and trolling, we’ve found more than a couple of ways to spoil the fun. I’m not saying that developers haven’t messed up, but these are five examples of how we as gamers and consumers have ruined games for ourselves.

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The Friday Five: 5 Errors That Were Never Fixed

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 errors in various basketball video games that were never fixed.

Post-release support for basketball video games has come a long way. Official roster updates are now the norm, and while there are complaints about their quality, they at least add new content to the game, and update modes where custom rosters can’t be used. We no longer have to petition the developers to create bug fixes, and it’s much easier to provide feedback about errors that arise. Modern NBA Live and NBA 2K titles do have their problems, but we’re more likely to see resolutions, as well as content updates that keep them fresh throughout the year.

This wasn’t always the case, especially on consoles. Before the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era, patches and updates were mostly a perk of PC releases. Even then, they weren’t as plentiful or detailed as they are now. There were a lot of errors that we just had to put up with, as there was no way that they were going to be fixed until the next game came out; assuming they didn’t become legacy issues, of course! Mind you, even when games did receive official patches, they would sometimes introduce new errors that were never followed up on with further fixes. Some of these errors were just cosmetic, some we could fix ourselves, but all were annoying in their own way.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Hangtime Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Hangtime 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 NBA Hangtime.

One of the benefits of Wayback Wednesday is that eventually, everything becomes “retro” enough to talk about. As it is, I’ve bent the rules slightly with some more recent games from time to time, but generally speaking, I’ve preferred focusing on titles that are several years old. To that end, I’ve tried to cover many of the classics before touching on more recent nostalgia. However, there are several titles from the early days of basketball gaming that I still haven’t covered, but definitely mean to get to. NBA Hangtime is just one of the games that are overdue for a retrospective.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that I’ve yet to cover the game, going on five years of running Wayback Wednesday features. As popular as it was with basketball gamers in its day, it does tend to be overlooked when we discuss the best arcade hoops titles. It was a strong follow-up to NBA Jam Tournament Edition – one of my personal favourites – and a game that I really enjoyed on the Nintendo 64. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2000 & NBA Live 10 Trivia

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2000 & NBA Live 10 Trivia

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 some trivia for NBA Live 2000 and NBA Live 10.

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s strange to tip off a year with a retro feature, but it is Wednesday, and on Wednesdays we go way back. Speaking of which, as part of the lead up to the release of NBA Live 18 and NBA Live 19, I posted a couple of articles containing trivia facts about NBA Live 98 and NBA Live 08, and NBA Live 99 and NBA Live 09. I’d intended to do the same thing this year with NBA Live 2000 and NBA Live 10, ahead of the release of NBA Live 20. Of course, NBA Live 20 was ultimately cancelled, so I didn’t get an opportunity to do so back in September.

Looking back, I’m certainly glad I didn’t run it pre-emptively while we waited for that announcement! However, it seems like a waste of a good Wayback Wednesday idea to let it go, and of course, it all ties in to the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content that we’re doing despite the series going on hiatus once again. With that in mind, here are the trivia facts I would’ve originally shared to celebrate the release of the third NBA Live game with a year ending in zero. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Basketball Classics v1.0 Now Available on Steam

Basketball Classics v1.0 Released

Exciting news today as Basketball Classics v1.0 has been released, meaning that the game is officially out of Early Access! To celebrate the launch, you can currently pick it up on Steam at a 30% discount. Key updates in v1.0 are as follows:

  • Steam achievements. Gotta get them all! 88 achievements for just about anything you can think of. Some are easy, some you’re gonna have to sweat for. Let’s see what you’ve got!
  • Tweaks, testing, tweaks, testing, clarifying things players don’t understand, tweaking formulas until things just feel right. Shot formulas, steal formulas, block formulas, play calling formulas, when things should happen and when they shouldn’t… it’s all a balancing game that hopefully adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Thanks for all your input and help in this area specifically.
  • AI improvements: defenders are more aware now of the threats their opponents pose, they’ll now be smarter about when to try stealing or when to guard a shooter more closely (dangerous shooter near the arc -> close in on him to reduce his chances of the long bomb, etc.)

Congratulations to Josh and Dave from Namo Gamo on the launch of Basketball Classics v1.0! It’s been an honour and a lot of fun to be a small part of the journey, and great to see years of hard work come to fruition with such an awesome game. Pick it up here on Steam, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum. If you haven’t listened to my interview with Josh and Dave on the NLSC Podcast yet, be sure to tune in here.

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 06 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 06 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 06.

After the success of NBA Live 2005, NBA Live 06 proved to be a pivotal moment in the series; one that NBA Live is still feeling the effects of today. Because of those long-term ramifications, it’s all too easy to forget that NBA Live 06 is a tale of two games: a last gen and PC release that was at least on par with its predecessor, and a new gen launch title that was a disappointment. It’s unfortunate that the latter often overshadows the former, but it’s understandable, given the lasting impact that it had. Nevertheless, I’ll be covering both versions of the game in this retrospective. Let’s look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly in a significant year for NBA Live.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2005 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2005 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 2005.

In my NBA Live 2004 retrospective, I summed up that game by calling it a tough act to follow. That’s what makes NBA Live 2005 so impressive, as it met the standard of its predecessor and raised the bar even higher. Many would call it the best game in the NBA Live series, or at the very least, rank it somewhere in the top five, if not the top three. It’s a reputation that’s well-earned, as it improved upon NBA Live 2004 in just about every way possible, and still holds up extremely well over a decade later. It had a few issues of course, but it was still a great release, and remains a personal favourite of mine. Let’s take a look back at another milestone game in the NBA Live series.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Fake NBA Live 2002 PC

Wayback Wednesday: The Fake NBA Live 2002 PC

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 interesting case of the fake PC version of NBA Live 2002.

As I’ve mentioned in my 25th Anniversary of NBA Live retrospective and a few other articles, NBA Live 2002 is a game that I’m oddly nostalgic for. It has its quirks and I definitely wouldn’t call it the best game of its generation, but it’s one that I did have a good amount of fun with when it was new. It was also the upcoming game when I took over the NLSC back in 2001, so it’ll always stick out in my mind for that reason. Oh, and also the fact that it was the first game in the NBA Live series not to come out on PC. That definitely made it a controversial release in our community.

For a while there however, people were reporting that a PC version of NBA Live 2002 did exist, because they’d found a pirated version of it on peer-to-peer file sharing applications. Searching for NBA Live 2002 PC on those platforms did yield results, but what was the story behind those downloads? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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