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The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five suggestions for retro modding projects.

As the stigma fades and retro basketball gaming increases in popularity, inevitably we start thinking about modding as well. After all, classic games are a blast to revisit as-is, but mods can breathe new life into them, too. Many of the modding tools are still available for retro basketball games, along with resources and archived mods to learn techniques from (or indeed, build upon). Even with the limitations of older titles, we’re capable of creating some outstanding mods that will facilitate new experiences on the virtual hardwood.

Needless to say, there are some challenges to overcome here. The audience is smaller, so anyone engaging in retro modding will be toiling on projects that are seen and used by fewer people. To that end, there are also fewer active modders for retro games, so some of the more ambitious projects may not have the level of detail we’d like, or be truly viable. Major roster mods in particular may need to use placeholder artwork, or whatever assets are available. That shouldn’t stop us from looking into retro modding, however. There’s always lingering interest in seeing new updates for old favourites, and there are plenty of retro modding ideas that we can and should at least consider.

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Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

Wayback Wednesday: Playing An Older Game Second

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the phenomenon of playing an older basketball game after its direct sequel, or one of its later successors.

Basketball video games have been around for decades now, with NBA Basketball – the very first NBA-licensed title – coming out in 1980. Furthermore, there’s been at least one annual release every year for at least a quarter of a century and counting. Every single game, good or bad, has been somebody’s first title and introduction to basketball gaming. In short, most people who are playing basketball games in 2022 haven’t been doing so since the beginning. That goes for me, too. Many gamers have hit the virtual hardwood long before I ever did in the mid 90s.

When you get into an established series, there’s a curiosity about what came before. This doesn’t just apply to video games, of course. If you catch an episode of a TV show that’s a few seasons in, or perhaps see a movie that’s part of a series or cinematic universe, you may be inclined to go back to the beginning. In basketball itself, there’s a desire to learn the history of the sport, the NBA, and other leagues…or at least, there used to be. The nature of video games makes going back to an older title after playing a newer game rather interesting, and it’s a phenomenon that I’ve experienced as both a younger and older basketball gamer. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Retro Basketball Gaming Is Filling A Gap

Monday Tip-Off: Retro Basketball Gaming Is Filling A Gap

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with my thoughts on how retro basketball gaming is filling a gap in the market.

Unfortunately, we are not in a golden age for basketball gaming. Sure, NBA 2K is more successful than ever as it sells millions of copies, makes bank with recurrent revenue, and enjoys mainstream popularity. However, when you glance at Steam reviews and user scores on Metacritic, it’s obvious that gamers are far less satisfied than they used to be. With NBA Live faltering, collapsing, and failing to rebuild properly, 2K has no competition. No other publishers are jumping into the space, and the one major release we did have – NBA Playgrounds – was swallowed up by 2K.

If you want a new basketball video game every year, there’s only one choice. It’s not the worst choice we could possibly have – better to have NBA 2K in its current state than NBA Live in its most recent form – but even if this is the best monopoly possible, it’s still a monopoly. For younger basketball gamers, NBA 2K being the only viable choice – or indeed, the only choice, period – may be all they know. Those of us who remember a time when several developers were producing basketball titles are much more likely to feel wistful at the lack of choice. On the plus side, retro basketball gaming is now more frequently filling that gap, and giving us something else to play.

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NLSC Podcast #436: How To Get Into Retro Basketball Gaming

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #436 of the NLSC Podcast!

Revisiting Fox Sports NBA Basketball 2000 reminded us of how hilariously bad it is, but it also found a new way to mess with us. Not surprisingly, NBA Live 2004 holds up much better, especially with a broadcast camera mod and the 1996 season roster. We received a couple of responses to last week’s show asking about acquiring copies of NBA Live PC and other older releases, so this week, we dive into how to get into retro basketball gaming/collecting. It needn’t be expensive, nor do you need to be the crazy collectors that we are! In this week’s mailbag, we circle back to the question of what counts as retro in basketball gaming, with our listeners sharing some interesting and differing opinions on the matter.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Monday Tip-Off: Born To Be A Retro Gamer

Monday Tip-Off: Born To Be A Retro Gamer

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off by reflecting on how my earliest experiences with video games made it far more likely that I’d become a retro gamer.

Outside of firing up NBA 2K22 to get screenshots or investigate its latest updates, I haven’t played the game for months. Not on PC, not on PlayStation 4, and not on PlayStation 5. I don’t feel compelled to grind and level up a player in MyCAREER, or to jump into The Rec. There are aspects of MyTEAM that I like, but I don’t fancy putting in the time to collect cards that I won’t be able to use come NBA 2K23. I’d start a MyLEAGUE or MyNBA with the Chicago Bulls, but honestly, I don’t enjoy the gameplay enough in either version of NBA 2K22 to do so.

Instead, I’ve been spending my time playing through multiple seasons in NBA 2K14’s MyCAREER. I’ve revisited other standout games from yesteryear, such as NBA Live 10 and NBA Live 06. Quite simply, I’ve found far more enjoyment and satisfaction in doing that than trying to find a way to have fun with NBA 2K22. It’s not that I refuse to play new games, or that I haven’t enjoyed more recent releases. I also don’t believe that older games were, without exception, all flawless masterpieces; they weren’t. I do find it easy to go back to old favourites however, as well as give other retro titles a second look. When I think back, I may have always been destined to be a retro gamer.

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NLSC Podcast #411: A Chat With Nate & Roger, NBA Live 2001 Enthusiasts

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #411 of the NLSC Podcast!

We have two more guests from the community this week, as we’re joined by Nate and Roger. The duo run the NBA Live 2001 Highlights account on Instagram, and also have a YouTube channel. They discuss their love of NBA Live 2001, which they’ve been enthusiastically playing for over 20 years. Suffice to say, they certainly know the game inside and out! From generic jumping ratings and a unique Create-a-Player feature to gameplay mechanics and the most effective strategies, there’s plenty to reflect on. Nate and Roger also talk about other old basketball video games that they play, and their thoughts on recent NBA 2K games. We also reminisce about some of the players that we grew up watching, especially those who became Virtual Hardwood Legends.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Monday Tip-Off: An Ode To Physical Media in 2022

Monday Tip-Off: An Ode To Physical Media in 2022

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 an ode to physical media, a concept that may not be as outdated in 2022 as many people think.

Late last year, I made a couple of purchases that may seem very odd, namely the disc versions of NBA 2K21 for PlayStation 5 and NBA 2K14 for PC. Seeing as how I own digital copies of both games, it may sound like an unnecessary double-dip, even at the bargain bin price that I paid (and in NBA 2K21’s case, I used part of the balance of a gift card). Of course, I am an admitted collector of basketball video games, which perhaps makes my motivation more understandable. NBA 2K14 PC is a particularly interesting item, as it was the final disc release for that platform.

My continued interest in physical media probably seems weirder, and an indication of an “old head” mindset. Here’s the thing, though. I’m not against digital content and streaming services. I make use of both, and understand their advantages over physical media. I also understand their disadvantages. Whether they want to admit it or not, a lot of people who once sneered at anyone who still valued physical media are starting to see those drawbacks, too. In short, many people are realising that the convenience of digital has a price when it comes to future accessibility, the second hand market, and even the concept of ownership. What isn’t tangible is proving to be fleeting.

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The Friday Five: 5 Worst Parts of Modern Basketball Gaming

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 examines the five worst parts of modern basketball gaming.

Over the past few weeks in The Friday Five, I’ve covered the best and worst parts of retro basketball gaming, as well as the pros of playing modern games. This week, it’s all about the cons of the latter. Once again, I must stress that despite my advocacy and enthusiasm for retro basketball gaming, I do spend a lot of time with recent games as well, including the latest release every year (albeit with some exceptions). There are many great reasons to play the newest NBA 2K, just as there were for NBA Live back in its heyday. I covered those reasons last week, and I stand by them.

However, it’s not all fun and games with modern basketball gaming, and the worst parts can leave you yearning to return to an old favourite. That’s certainly something you can do, and again, I’m all for that. However, it’s important that we speak out with fair criticism, and it benefits us to make constructive suggestions as to how the next game can improve. To do that though, we must acknowledge that there are issues with modern basketball gaming, and that new isn’t always better in every way imaginable. Obviously basketball games have come a long way, drastically improving upon their predecessors in many respects, but they’ve also fallen short in other areas of concern.

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The Friday Five: 5 Worst Parts of Retro Basketball Gaming

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 examines the five worst parts of retro basketball gaming.

Since I took a look at the best parts of retro basketball gaming last week, it’s only fair that I follow up with the downsides. Look, I stand by what I previously said. I’m all for normalising retro basketball gaming in addition to enjoying new releases. There should be no stigma about going back to an old favourite. We also need to can the misguided notion that they can’t be any good because new is always better. If you’re not enjoying the latest NBA 2K and you’re not beholden to online play and live service content, by all means revisit an older game and see if you still enjoy it!

To that point though, you may not. Retro gaming isn’t for everyone, and basketball titles are no different. Indeed, because they’re aiming to replicate reality, sim games in particular can age very poorly. Even if the core experience does hold up, there are other drawbacks that arise from servers being shutdown, leading to functionality and content being lost. As much as I love retro basketball gaming, I’d be lying if I said that I’m always pleasantly surprised when I fire up a game I greatly enjoyed when it was first released, or that absolutely any old title can re-enter my rotation. With that being said, these are the five biggest downsides of retro basketball gaming, in my view.

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NLSC Podcast #401: A Double-Edged Sword

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Episode #401 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.

We have our likes and dislikes when it comes to NBA 2K22, but what would someone who hasn’t played the series in over ten years think of it? We have an answer from the community, leading us to discuss bad first impressions. Of course, first impressions don’t always last, thanks to the abundance of patches and tuning fixes. In that regard, post-release support these days is undoubtedly a double-edged sword. It’s also a factor in the ongoing conversation about alleged skill gaps. Meanwhile, a MyTEAM poll has revealed some interesting statistics regarding NBA 2K’s demographics that suggest we’re not that old after all. We also discuss playing NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 co-op over Parsec, the addictiveness of grinding, and some of the community’s Virtual Hardwood Legends.

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 Best Parts of Retro Basketball Gaming

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 examines the five best parts of retro basketball gaming.

Contrary to what you may believe given how often I’ve talked about going back and playing old titles, I’m not just about retro basketball gaming. I spend plenty of time with the latest release as well, and have the MyCAREER and MyTEAM progress in recent years to show for it. However, I’ll always advocate for retro basketball gaming, especially as it receives odd pushback from some gamers. I’ve seen more than a few people ask about getting older games to run over on the official NBA 2K subreddit, only for them to be mocked and told to just play the newest game.

Putting aside the rudeness of being so dismissive as to answer a question with an unwanted and irrelevant suggestion, there are reasons why people want to play older games, if only from time to time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they have no interest in the latest release, or are unaware of its benefits. Of course, they may be well aware of its drawbacks as well, and seek a more enjoyable experience from an old favourite. There are pros and cons to retro basketball gaming, just as there are pros and cons to playing the newest release. I’m focusing on the pros today, because there is value in going wayback on the virtual hardwood, or sticking with a game you most enjoy.

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Monday Tip-Off: Awaiting The Next Retro Kick

Monday Tip-Off: Awaiting The Next Retro Kick

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 as I anticipate going on another retro basketball gaming kick.

As I said when I discussed my approach to playing through a retro basketball gaming kick, a major factor in an old title re-entering my rotation is its ability to provide me with something I need or desire from the virtual hardwood. It may be closure, or satisfying curiosity. Sometimes it’s simplicity and/or familiarity, especially if I’m not really hooked by the latest release. On top of that, I’ve found that my nostalgia comes in phases. I’m not only nostalgic for a single era or a narrow selection of games, and the urge to revisit specific titles can be influenced by factors unrelated to basketball.

Two examples that I’ve often cited in that regard are NBA Live 2002 and NBA Live 2003. They were the titles that came out as I was in my final years of high school back in 2001 and 2002, and represent the early days of my tenure running the NLSC. That entry into young adulthood coincided with a transitional era in the NBA, and when I’ve reflected on that time, I’ve been drawn to dust off those games. On the other hand, my decision to revisit NBA Live 06, NBA Live 10, and NBA 2K14, were all driven by content creation and pure whim. As such, it’s difficult to say which game will capture my attention and result in another retro kick in the near future.

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Monday Tip-Off: Playing Out A Retro Gaming Kick

Monday Tip-Off: Playing Out A Retro Gaming Kick

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 an explanation of how I play through a retro gaming kick, and ultimately move on.

Retro basketball gaming – or indeed, retro gaming in general – isn’t for everyone. I can appreciate that it may be difficult to relate to the appeal if you’re not really a nostalgic person, though you can likely still understand why others enjoy it. I outlined some of those reasons in a Wayback Wednesday article, for those who may find it genuinely puzzling, and are wondering in good faith. In short, those of us who play old hoops games enjoy partaking in the fun and familiar, giving titles a second chance (or a first look if we originally skipped them), and reminiscing about the NBA of yesteryear.

I’ve discussed the reasons why we go back, but not how a retro gaming kick plays out; or at least, how it does for me. I’ve found myself on a retro gaming kick for three older basketball games this year. Each time, I had to see my fixation through to the end. I’m certain that not everyone who enjoys retro basketball gaming experiences a kick the same way that I do, but at the same time, I’m probably not the only person who has had an old release find its way back into their rotation. If nothing else, this may be an insight into why a few games have made recurring appearances in my Wayback Wednesday features, as well as the NLSC Podcast throughout 2021.

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NLSC Podcast #395: Retro Kicks, Lucky Breaks, & Modding Ideas

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Episode #395 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.

An extended retro kick with NBA 2K14 will soon wrap up, as the end of a season in MyCAREER looms. We reflect on having a new appreciation for the game, and compare the MyCAREER experience to more recent NBA 2K titles. Patch 1.6 for NBA 2K22 Next Gen came close to causing heartbreak, but fortunately a further update seems to have resolved the issue. We share further impressions of this year’s game, and recap our adventures in MyTEAM. Super Dunk Shot and Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside were our games of choice in a recent Parsec session, with both proving to still be fun all these years later. Building off a recent NLSC Forum topic, we also discuss some creative modding ideas for the community to consider.

Join in the conversation in the comments below, or here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as mailbag questions and topic suggestions for future shows. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. The show also comes out on our YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe for future episodes and other video content.

Wayback Wednesday: Knicks vs Magic in NBA 1K95

Wayback Wednesday: Knicks vs Magic in NBA 1K95

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 highlight reel featuring the ’95 Knicks taking on the ’95 Magic in NBA 2K14 PS4, which I’m calling NBA 1K95.

No, I haven’t forgotten all about NBA Live 10, but I do have a new addition to my retro basketball gaming rotation: NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 4. It’s another game that I’ve developed a new appreciation for, having pushed it aside when it was new. In addition to finally playing through the first MyCAREER story, I’ve been hitting the virtual hardwood with classic teams. The PS4/Xbox One version of NBA 2K14 had fantastic presentation, and combined with music from NBA Live 95, I’ve put together a highlight reel from a game between the ’95 Knicks and ’95 Magic. Check out NBA 1K95 to take a look back…way back…

It goes without saying, but making the right decisions in crunch time is the difference between a win and a loss! I hope that you enjoyed the reel, and found it to be a double dose of nostalgia. As I’ve done with NBA Live 06 and NBA Live 10, I’ll be revisiting NBA 2K14 in a future Wayback Wednesday feature, as I do have some new thoughts on the game in the wake of my recent retro gaming kick. Be sure to subscribe to the NLSC YouTube channel for more video content, including the weekly Top 10 Plays curated by Dee4Three!