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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 95 Retrospective

NBA Live 95 Retrospective (25th Anniversary of NBA Live)

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! First up, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 95.

As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, NBA Live 95 is a title that’s often remembered fondly by long-time basketball gamers. Beyond its significance as the first game in the NBA Live series, it’s also generally considered to be a classic for the way it advanced the genre. Even after 25 years, it holds up remarkably well considering how far basketball video games have come. I always feel nostalgic when I dust off NBA Live 95, but I also find that I’m impressed by the quality and how much fun it can still be, given its age. Let’s look back 25 years to where it all began.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Original NBA Jam

NBA Jam Arcade Title Screen

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 original NBA Jam with an overdue retrospective.

It occurred to me that although I’ve been running these Wayback Wednesday features since 2015, I’ve yet to cover the original NBA Jam, released by Midway in 1993. I’ve talked a lot about its sequel, NBA Jam Tournament Edition, and even covered its spiritual predecessor, Arch Rivals, but I haven’t profiled the famous game that tipped off an iconic series (and indeed, an entire subgenre of basketball gaming). That’s partly because NBA Jam TE is one of my all-time favourite games, but it’s about time that I fill in the gaps and talk about the original.

As an undisputed classic, it’s difficult to say anything about NBA Jam that someone else hasn’t already said. However, it’s too fun, too amazing, and simply too important in the history of basketball gaming for me not to discuss it in a Wayback Wednesday feature. It brought us Fire, shattered backboards, and the legendary commentary of Tim Kitzrow…it’s NBA Jam! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: TV Sports Basketball

TV Sports Basketball Pre-Game Intro

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 Cinemaware’s TV Sports Basketball, released in 1990.

Cinemaware is a name that may ring a bell for older gamers, but is likely unfamiliar to the younger crowd. That’s because like so many other early game developers who went bankrupt by the 90s, they only exist as a brand and library of releases that has since been purchased by another company; in this case, Swedish game developer and publisher, Starbreeze. Cinemaware made some fine games in their day, and as with many other titles from the early days of video games, it’s fortunate that they’ve been preserved and made available through another company purchasing their assets.

The Cinemaware game that I grew up playing had nothing to do with basketball. It was their first game, a medieval action strategy title called Defender of the Crown. As with many of Cinemaware’s releases, it found its way onto several platforms, with the NES version being the one I own. Until I picked up the Cinemaware Anthology on Steam at Kenny’s suggestion, I had no idea that they also released a basketball game for Amiga and MS-DOS in 1990: TV Sports Basketball. I enjoy discovering these old basketball games that I missed out on at the time and checking them out to see what they had to offer, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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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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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K9 on PC Retrospective

Kevin Garnett Dunking in NBA 2K9

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 2K9 on PC.

The fact that LeBron James is appearing in his eighth consecutive NBA Finals series hasn’t just sparked fierce debate among basketball fans in the endless Greatest of All-Time debate. It’s also a sign of how quickly the last few years have flown by, with LeBron’s tenure with the Miami Heat already becoming a distant memory. Another fact that may leave you wondering where the time has gone is the number of NBA 2K games that have come out on PC, which now stands at ten. It feels like only yesterday that the series was a newcomer to the platform, but it has indeed been a decade.

Currently the only sim-oriented title that’s still being released on PC, NBA 2K has kept basketball gaming alive on the platform. When it was announced that NBA 2K9 would be coming out on PC, it came as tremendous news for a community that had felt abandoned by EA Sports. Since we’ve had a decade of NBA 2K gaming on PC at this point, I feel it’s worth reflecting upon the game that brought the series to a new audience of basketball gamers. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Jordan vs Bird: One on One Retrospective

Jordan vs Bird Title Screen

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 PC version of Jordan vs Bird: One on One by Electronic Arts.

In my retrospective of Lakers vs Celtics last year, I took a look back at one of the most famous forerunners to EA Sports’ NBA Live series. Although it was the first game in the NBA Playoffs series, and the oldest game in EA’s lineage of five-on-five titles, Lakers vs Celtics was not the developer’s first foray onto the virtual hardwood. That distinction belongs to the 1983 Apple II release commonly referred to as One on One, and alternatively as One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird, or Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One on One. Featuring Julius Erving and Larry Bird going head to head in a one-on-one match-up, it was one of Electronic Arts’ early successes.

The game would pave the way for a 1988 release titled Jordan vs Bird: One on One. This time, Larry Bird was pitted against Dr. J’s heir apparent, Michael Jordan. Not only did it build on the success of its predecessor by featuring more modes of play, it also enjoyed a wider release, coming out on the PC, Nintendo Entertainment System, SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive, Commodore 64, and Game Boy. We’ll be focusing on the PC version for MS-DOS today, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs

Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs

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 presenting a video retrospective of Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs.

The rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics stretches back decades in NBA lore. It seems only fitting that as the latest chapter of their epic saga was drawing to a close in the late 1980s, Electronic Arts decided to name their new five-on-five basketball game after the rivalry that had produced so many memorable moments. A forerunner to the NBA Live series, Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs was EA’s first real effort to make a sim-oriented NBA title. Over the years, it’s rightfully come to be considered a classic, introducing many features that have since become staples of basketball gaming. Let’s take a look back…way back…

Check out the retrospective over on our YouTube channel if you can’t see it embedded here. Speaking of retrospectives and looking back at the history of the NBA Live series, I’m hoping to finally finish up our extended 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content by the end of 2017. Wayback Wednesday will of course remain a regular feature here at the NLSC, so check in each and every week for more retro basketball gaming content. In the meantime, do you have any memories of Lakers vs Celtics that you’d like to share? Add them in the comments section below, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum!

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2005 Retrospective

NBA Live 2005 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC!

NBA Live 2005 is considered by many long-time basketball gamers to be the best game in the NBA Live series, or at the very least, somewhere in the top five. Personally, I’d fall into the latter category. It was a great game in its time and definitely a high point in the series, but it has a few issues that are glossed over a little. It’s still capable of providing a fun sim-oriented experience however, and is obviously significant as the first game in the series to feature All-Star Weekend mode. Let’s take a look back at the second game in a trilogy of strong releases for NBA Live.

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The Friday Five: 2016 Year in Review

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.

We do have one more Friday left in 2016, and I expect that I’ll post a column as usual next week, but just in case I do have to skip it, I thought that I’d post my Year in Review edition of The Friday Five this week instead. As the year draws to a close, it’s obviously a time to celebrate the holiday season and spend time with loved ones, but we also can’t help but reflect upon the past twelve months. For one reason or another, it seems that a lot of people had a rough time in 2016, and if you can say the same, then I hope we were able to lift your spirits at times.

Of course, it was something of an up and down year in our community, too. There was some big news about NBA Live, a new NBA 2K release, and a lot of activity in terms of discussion and modding releases. There was also some stress and uncertainty back in June as we searched for a new home, and ultimately were able to move to a new host. I’ll no doubt have some final reflections in my annual New Year’s Eve post, but for now, please join me as I take a quick look back at the year that was, and ahead to the year to come.

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2004 Retrospective

NBA Live 2004 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC!

After NBA Live 2003 was skewed too much towards an arcade style of gameplay, NBA Live 2004 was a very welcome course correction towards being a far more realistic sim game. It was also the beginning of a very solid three year run for NBA Live on the PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, before the series began to struggle with its transition to the next generation. NBA Live 2004 was generally well-received in its day, and remains a favourite for many long-time basketball gamers. Read on to find out how the game was a return to form for the NBA Live series.

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2003 Retrospective

NBA Live 2003 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC!

NBA Live 2003 is neither one of my all-time favourites, nor one of the best games in the NBA Live series. It is, however, a very significant game in the series for a few reasons; some good, some bad. In certain aspects, it made some very important steps forward that ultimately benefitted the series, even to this day. At the same time, it made several missteps, providing a clear lesson in what not to do with a five-on-five, sim-oriented basketball title that most gamers wanted to be as realistic as possible. Having said all that, let’s take a look back at NBA Live 2003.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12

NBA's Greatest Menu in NBA 2K12

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.

I’ve been watching some classic NBA games recently, and it got me in the mood to play with some retro teams in NBA 2K. I can do that in NBA 2K16 of course, but only NBA 2K11 and NBA 2K12 have dedicated modes for the historic squads, namely the Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest respectively. After catching Michael Jordan’s 63 point game against Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics, I originally opted for NBA 2K11, with an eye towards finishing the Jordan Challenge games I never completed. When that didn’t go so well, I turned my attention towards NBA 2K12, and my unfinished challenges in NBA’s Greatest.

I’d ultimately complete my unfinished business, clearing all of the remaining challenges over the weekend. I found myself having a lot of fun, and the experience certainly made me appreciate NBA’s Greatest all over again. In fact, it had me wishing that we still had some sort of mode for the classic teams in the newer games. Since I’ve finally completed all fifteen games and unlocked all of the included retro teams at long last, it only made sense to profile NBA’s Greatest for this week’s Wayback Wednesday feature.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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20th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2002 Retrospective

NBA Live 2002 Retrospective

To mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re posting content for every game in the series, including retrospectives, patches, countdowns, and more. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with the NBA Live series and would like to take a drip down memory lane, or you’ve only recently started playing basketball games and would like to learn a little about what they used to be like, we hope that you enjoy the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content here on the NLSC.

NBA Live 2002 was an interesting game for me to revisit. While I did play it a lot when it came out, and I definitely did enjoy my time with it, I also remember it being very frustrating at times. Upon replaying NBA Live 2002 to write this retrospective, I found myself encountering a lot of the issues that bugged me back in the day – and a couple that I’d forgotten about – but I also discovered that it held up a little better than I remembered. Let’s take a look back at one of the more controversial releases in the NBA Live series.

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