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The Friday Five: 5 Times PC Gamers Missed Out 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 list of five times that PC gamers have missed out when it comes to the virtual hardwood.

Due to the popularity of the PC platform in our community, it’s all too easy to forget that it isn’t a priority for sports video game developers. Consoles account for a bulk of the annual sales, making PC sports gamers a niche within a niche. That hasn’t stopped us from having a lot of fun with the games that have come out on PC though, thanks in no small part to what our modding community has been capable of throughout the years. Furthermore, if you go back and look at the history of NBA Live on PC, there was a time when those releases could be considered the definitive version.

Unfortunately, playing on PC has sometimes led to missing out on content, or certain games altogether. From a developer’s perspective, consoles provide the convenience of standard hardware and digital platforms, as well as more security when it comes to piracy. Developing for the PC is more challenging due to differing hardware, as well as distribution methods. Even when the former hasn’t been a barrier to getting a PC release, the latter has prevented it from receiving the same level of support, including downloadable content. We’re fortunate enough to still get basketball games on PC, but here are five times that we weren’t so lucky on the platform.

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NBA Live 20 Confirmed; Console-Only Release

City Uniforms in NBA Live 19

As reported by The Gaming Tailgate, EA has released their Q4 and annual report for the 2019 financial year. At the same time, they announced their upcoming titles for the 2020 financial year, beginning with the Q1 and Q2 releases in the latter half of 2019. As expected, NBA Live 20 is among the EA Sports titles.

Unfortunately for those of us who have been hoping for a return to PC – especially after Madden 19 was released on the platform – the report confirms that NBA Live 20 will be a console-only release. This isn’t unexpected, as developers have told us that the goal is to reestablish the series before expanding to other platforms.

Madden 20 and FIFA 20 are slated to be released on PC however, indicating that EA Sports is not abandoning the platform. This suggests that if NBA Live continues to improve and ultimately thrive, a PC release may one day be a possibility once more. It’s something that we’ll continue to push for.

In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, as well as in the NLSC Forum. We’ll continue to cover the console releases of NBA Live as we’ve been doing since the move away from the PC platform in 2008, in addition to our coverage of NBA 2K, NBA Playgrounds, and basketball gaming in general.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Little Things That I Miss

Unlockable Developers in NBA Live 98

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 of the little things in old basketball games that I miss.

In 2019, we have an interesting relationship with nostalgia. It’s popular to indulge in it, but in recent years, there’s also been a significant backlash against reminiscing about the past and holding it in high esteem. The argument is often distilled into “old heads that can’t get over their nostalgia filter” vs “clueless kids who don’t understand the concept of recency bias“. The conversation is further muddied when it comes to video games, because advances in technology have undeniably led to improvements over the years. Of course, there have also been undesirable changes and missteps.

These Wayback Wednesday features are obviously about celebrating nostalgia, but I also feel it’s important to appraise how well games and their mechanics hold up, as well as make comparisons to other titles from the same era. I have a lot of fun doing that, and it’s always interesting to revisit old favourites. It’s given me an appreciation of ideas that were ahead of their time, and how far basketball video games have come. There are things that are best left in the past, but I’ve also encountered a lot of little things that I miss, and that’s what I’m discussing today. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The PDA in NBA Live’s Dynasty Mode

PDA in NBA Live 2005's Dynasty Mode

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 PDA feature in NBA Live’s old Dynasty modes.

I’m keen to see NBA Live flesh out its franchise mode experience again. Not only is it a necessity as far as delivering a well-rounded game, but I’ve spent many, many fond hours with Franchise and Dynasty modes in older NBA Live titles. NBA Live was the first basketball game with an in-depth multi-season mode, and it continued to expand through its revamp into Dynasty. NBA 2K has obviously taken the experience much further with Association, MyLEAGUE, and MyGM, but during NBA Live’s strong run back in the mid 2000s, many of us were really enjoying Dynasty’s advancements.

Of course, not every new idea was a good one. The revamp into Dynasty mode took away the ability to control more than one team, and some of the staff development mechanics over the years have felt more video game than sim. However, perhaps the most problematic and annoying feature was the PDA, which made its debut in NBA Live 2005’s Dynasty mode. As with most other concepts that didn’t pan out, it did have some merit, but the drawbacks outnumbered or outweighed the benefits. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Empty Neighborhoods of NBA 2K PC

Deserted Cages in NBA 2K PC

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 the lack of online activity in NBA 2K PC, as evident by the empty Neighborhoods outside of the US servers.

Since the launch of the current console generation, I’ve been picking up NBA 2K on both PC and PlayStation 4. This has led to a balancing act that usually results in one of the platforms being largely neglected. Because I’ve played a lot of 2K Pro-Am with the rest of the NLSC squad on PS4, the copy that’s usually gone to waste for me is the PC version. This year, I’ve made a better effort to play both of my copies, and had a lot of fun doing so. I’m almost at the point where I have a second MyPLAYER on PC at 90 Overall, and I’ve built up decent MyTEAM squads on both platforms.

However, while both platforms have been viable in terms of providing an enjoyable single player experience, it’s a different matter when it comes to online play. In short, if it’s a multiplayer experience I’m after, I’m choosing the PS4 over the PC every time. The simple reason for that is with the way The Neighborhood in particular functions, I’ve found it impossible to get a game. Firing up MyCAREER and loading into The Neighborhood drops you into an eerily empty and quiet game world, with no one in sight to play with or against. It’s not quite the same on the US servers, but for those of us in other regions, NBA 2K PC is a ghost town online.

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Wayback Wednesday: A Mistake Unnoticed in Over 20 Years

Kevin Edwards Credit in Attract Mode (NBA Jam TE 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 a mistake in the PC version of NBA Jam Tournament Edition that I haven’t noticed in over twenty years.

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, NBA Jam Tournament Edition is one of my all-time favourite basketball games. While I own the game on both Super Nintendo and PC, I’ve always been partial to the latter. It’s the version that I played the most, and I have many fond memories of playing the game with my cousin. One school holidays, we spent a lot of time playing with and against every single team, beating everyone to unlock all the secret players, and challenging ourselves to hit statistical milestones. For a while, it was a fixture of our basketball gaming rotation.

That’s why it’s so strange that I’ve never noticed a certain mistake in the game in over twenty years of playing it. While playing as the New Jersey Nets for the No Threes Challenge, I noticed that Kevin Edwards actually has Blue Edwards’ portrait. I knew about both players and what they looked like, basically from the time I started playing NBA Jam TE, so it’s really odd that it’s never clicked until now. I thought that I’d see if I could delve into the issue further, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam TE All Threes Challenge

NBA Jam TE All Threes Challenge

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 on another retro basketball gaming challenge, namely an All Threes Challenge in NBA Jam TE on PC.

I enjoyed trying to win a game of NBA Jam Tournament Edition without scoring any points myself in a previous edition of Wayback Wednesday, so I thought that I’d try my hand at another challenge. This time, it’s the All Threes Challenge. The goal is to win a game in NBA Jam TE while only shooting three-pointers; neither I nor my CPU teammate can score a basket from within the three-point arc. Analytics say that taking a lot of threes is the most efficient strategy and the way to win basketball games, but does that apply to the virtual hardwood as well? Let’s find out as we go back…way back…

Once again, it was fun to take on the challenge! At some point, I expect I’ll attempt a No Threes Challenge, so look out for that in the near future. I’m open to suggestions for other retro basketball gaming challenges as well, provided of course that I can get my hands on the game. Post any suggestions in the comments below, and feel free to share stories of self-imposed challenges that you’ve tried! Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe to the NLSC’s YouTube channel for more video content.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Inside Drive 2000 Retrospective

Shaq Dunks in NBA Inside Drive 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, I’m taking a look back at NBA Inside Drive 2000, developed by High Voltage Software and published by Microsoft exclusively for PC.

I have an unusual history with NBA Inside Drive 2000. Following a hard drive crash in early 2000, my family finally ditched our venerable 486 DX2 66, upgrading to a much better system: a Pentium III! At the time, it meant that I could play most of the latest games, including NBA Live 2000. Even though I was enjoying NBA Live 2000 (and still hold it in high esteem), I was eager to pick up NBA Inside Drive 2000 when I saw it at my local store. Being a teenage gamer obsessed with basketball, I was keen to get my hands on any virtual hoops title that I could. NBA Live was the premier brand at the time, but other games usually had something appealing to offer.

Unfortunately, NBA Inside Drive 2000 just didn’t click with me, and within a week, I exchanged it for GTA 2. I remember making up a story about how I couldn’t get it to run even though I checked the system requirements first, which the staff believed (I’d feel guiltier about it if they hadn’t ripped me off with a video card, and then made up a story about why it wasn’t working properly rather than help me). Ironically, GTA 2 is my least favourite game in the Grand Theft Auto series, but that’s another story. I’ve since picked up a copy of NBA Inside Drive 2000 off eBay, so what is it that I didn’t like, and do I still feel the same way now? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Hoops Universe Released; Available in our Downloads Database

Hoops Universe Preview

NLSC Forum member Dr has released a new basketball video game titled Hoops Universe. The game is completely free and features customisable graphics, with a default roster filled with fictional teams and players. Created in Stencyl, the game will run on both PC and Mac.

Hoops Universe features a retro-themed aesthetic, similar in style to old games such as Double Dribble, or Namo Gamo’s Basketball Classics. The current release is a work-in-progress, and Dr B is inviting feedback over in the NLSC Forum. A fully-fledged game may be released on Steam at some point, but for now, releases will be made freely available in our Downloads database.

Check it out here! For more information, previews, support, and feedback, please see this Forum topic.

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Wayback Wednesday: Dev Console in NBA Live 2003 PC

Dev Console in NBA Live 2003

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 dev console that was featured in NBA Live 2003.

During what I’m unofficially dubbing the Golden Age of NBA Live, the PC release was often the definitive version of the game. If nothing else, there was so much that our modding community could do with it. Even when certain games fell short of our expectations, we’d do all we could to enhance them with mods. In the process, we discovered a lot of hidden content and features. One interesting feature that we found but didn’t really utilise all that often was the dev console in NBA Live 2003.

While the presence of a developer/debug console isn’t unusual in other types of video games, they don’t appear all that often in basketball titles. One might argue that there’s less use for the functionality when it comes to the virtual hardwood, but there are still a couple of nifty things that were possible with the dev console in NBA Live 2003. I had some fun with it in a Dumb Mondays feature around four years ago, but I feel that it deserves a Wayback Wednesday profile as well. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Double-Dipping With Basketball Games

Michael Jordan Card in MyTEAM (NBA 2K19)

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 double-dipping with basketball games on multiple platforms.

As someone who grew up playing a variety of video games on both computers and consoles, I’ve never cared for PC vs Console wars. I’ve enjoyed the hobby on both platforms, with the benefits that they each provide. Whether I’ve played a game on PC or console depends on whether or not it’s available on all platforms, the hardware I’ve had at my disposal, and if multiplayer is involved, which platform my friends are on. Of course, there are some games that I’ve enjoyed so much that I ended up double-dipping and buying them on a second platform as well.

Needless to say, basketball games are among the titles I’ve double-dipped with. In fact, when it comes to NBA 2K, I’ve double-dipped in recent years with the PC and PlayStation 4 versions; the former for single player gameplay and modding, and the latter for online play with the other members of the NLSC squad. While it’s worked out for me, in particular helping out with content creation and news coverage, I have to admit that one version of the game has usually somewhat gone to waste. With the amount of time we can sink into basketball games these days, it’s difficult to get the most out of a title on two different platforms. This year, I’m trying to remedy that.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Tandy Rec Center in NBA Live 06 PC

Dwyane Wade in the Tandy Rec Center (NBA Live 06 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 Tandy Rec Center in NBA Live 06.

In addition to the commendable job that EA Sports has done with the team arenas in NBA Live, the series has boasted some interesting and well-designed venues beyond the NBA hardwood. From the street courts in NBA Live 2003 to The Temple in the Xbox 360 versions of NBA Live 06 and 07, to The Hangar and the global courts we’re set to experience in NBA Live 19, NBA Live’s art team has done some great things with real and fictional venues alike. One practice venue that doesn’t get mentioned very often however is the Tandy Rec Center in the PC version of NBA Live 06.

A little out of the norm for a sim-oriented NBA video game, it nevertheless stands out as one of the more unique venues featured in the NBA Live series. Since I’ve already taken a look back at several of the old practice and 1-on-1 courts in NBA Live, I felt it would only be fitting to profile this distinctive gym from one of my all-time favourite games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How Other Games Helped Our Modding Community

bigGUI came from the FIFA Modding Community

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 at how other games have helped our modding community here at the NLSC.

When it was announced back in June that Madden 19 would be released for PC, the news was met with enthusiasm, and not just from the Madden community. While PC gamers who have been waiting for the return of EA’s NFL series are reaping the most tangible benefits right now, it’s welcome news for those of us in the basketball gaming community as well. Madden’s return to PC bodes well for the possibility of NBA Live also making the jump back to the platform in the future, something we’ve wanted to see since the game became a console exclusive beginning in 2008.

For now though, it’s merely a promising sign for the future. As discussed in Episode #258 of the NLSC Podcast, it was encouraging to hear Connor Dougan talk about a PC version of NBA Live in a recent interview, and even make specific mention of mods. The prospect of a revitalised Madden modding community should also be of great interest to us as a possible indication of what we should expect from a future PC release for NBA Live. After all, while we’ve done some great work over the years, the other talented modding communities that created content for EA Sports games helped us immensely. Indeed, without their contributions, we’d have been far less productive.

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Custom Courts in NBA Live 19, Gameplay Footage, Other Details

NBA Live 19: WNBA

Although an official announcement has yet to be made, a few more tidbits about NBA Live 19 have been revealed. The information comes courtesy of Shacknews – who have posted an extended preview of the game complete with raw gameplay footage – and influencers including Will OS and NBA Live Girl. A few other gameplay videos, and videos discussing details that have leaked, have also been posted.

It seems that we’ll be able to create our own custom courts in The One this year, in a manner very similar to the hometown blacktop in NBA Street Homecourt, as well as the custom courts in NBA 2K’s MyTEAM and 2K Pro-Am modes. More details are no doubt forthcoming in an official announcement and preview. Speaking of courts, the video from Shacknews also provides us with as glimpse of the custom Joel Embiid court, which was listed as one of the pre-order bonuses.

The video also confirms that quarters have been added to games in The Streets, which were previously all played under the “First to 21” win condition. In addition to uncut gameplay, it also provides an overview (and naturally, spoilers) of The Rise, the story that provides the backdrop to The One in NBA Live 19. The hour long video runs from the beginning of the story at Quai 54, through the Draft Combine and concluding at the NBA Draft itself.

Also of interest, Sports Gamers Online recently had a chance to interview NBA Live 19 Creative Director, Connor Dougan. Connor was actually asked about a PC version of NBA Live, and while he confirmed it isn’t happening this year, he expressed his support for the idea, even mentioning modding. It was cool to hear, so be sure to check out the interview for his full comments!

With NBA Live 19 just six weeks away, more information should hopefully be coming through fairly steadily. We’ll certainly try to stay on top of the news, but for now, check out some of the videos below, and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts. As always, we also invite you to join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #253

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #253 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we react to the gameplay videos, impressions, and other tidbits of information about NBA Live 19 that have come out of EA Play 2018. We also touch on a rumour that’s making the rounds, and once again discuss some of our hopes for this year’s game from EA Sports.

On this week’s show…

  • Following EA Play 2018, the attendees have been sharing raw gameplay videos. They’ve provided us with an extended work-in-progress look at NBA Live 19, as have a few screenshots.
  • Although we’re not expecting to see too many deep dive developer blogs just yet, the devs at EA Play managed to drop some more tidbits through interviews with content creators.
  • Rumours are swirling of a PC release for NBA Live 19. We’d love to believe it, but given the listing on the official website, we’re not getting our hopes up just yet.
  • The developer blog regarding Franchise mode in Madden 19 has us feeling a little envious. We wrap up Episode #253 of the NLSC Podcast by reiterating a few thoughts on what we’d like to see in NBA Live 19.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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