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Wayback Wednesday: The Joy of Boot Disks

Wayback Wednesday: The Joy of Boot Disks

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 use of boot disks to play games on PC, in particular NBA Live 96.

Oh, I’m going wayback for this one! Way back to a time long before I worked in IT and could easily troubleshoot PC problems. Back to a time when my understanding of hardware and software was pretty decent for a ten or eleven year old, but certainly nowhere close to what it is today. We’re going back to a time when floppy disks were actually a thing, and not just an antiquated image used for the Save icon. It’s an era when computers were less powerful than the smartphones we now all carry around in our pockets, and weren’t always built for heavy duty gaming.

Today, we’re talking about boot disks. These days, boot media – generally in the form of a flash drive, as even optical discs are becoming outmoded – is still around, and is often used for installing and troubleshooting operating systems such as Windows. Back in the 90s, however, they were a way of getting games to run. Indeed, if your PC was getting a bit long in the tooth and the game was particularly demanding – at least by the standards of the time – boot disks were often the only way you’d get to play them. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NBA 2K20 Free on PlayStation Plus, Discounted on Steam

NBA 2K20 is free on PlayStation Plus in July

As announced at the end of June, the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K20 is currently free for all PlayStation Plus subscribers. The offer is available through to August 3rd, so if you haven’t picked up this year’s game and want to check it out on PS4, now’s your chance to get it.

While there’s no legal way to get NBA 2K20 for free on PC – and please note that we don’t support the pirated version in our community – the game is also currently discounted on Steam. The Standard, Digital Deluxe, and Legend Editions of NBA 2K20 PC are all on sale at 85% off. Once again, if you don’t have the game and want to check it out before NBA 2K21 comes out, it’s a good opportunity to do so.

If you do pick up the PC version, don’t forget to check out the many mods in our Downloads database! You can also keep tabs on all the releases and work-in-progress mods in the NBA 2K20 Modding section of the Forum. I also invite you to go back and tune into Episode #313 of the NLSC Podcast, where Derek and I discuss our further impressions of the game, six months after its release.

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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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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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.

Basketball Classics v0.8.1 Adds New Rosters, Shoes

Basketball Classics v0.8.1

Exciting news! Basketball Classics is fast approaching a full release on Steam, and in the meantime, has received a new update. Version 0.8.1 is a content update for the game, and will come through automatically as long as you’re online when you fire up Steam.

Three seasons have been added to the roster: 1995, 2011, and 2019. This amounts to 240 new players spanning 48 teams, complete with new uniforms and individual attributes. These new teams are playable in both exhibition and the new Season mode that was added in the previous update.

You’ll also find signature shoes on some of the best players in the game, and some teams have also coordinated their style. This has been done to make players further stand out from one another visually, as well as in their abilities.

As I’ve said before, Basketball Classics is a great retro-oriented hoops game for PC that combines some modern mechanics with an old school aesthetic. It launched through Steam Early Access in a very impressive state, and has only gotten better since then. I’d definitely recommend checking it out, and am looking forward to the full release. For more insights into the development of the game, check out our chat with Josh and Dave!

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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NLSC Podcast – Episode #274

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #274 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! It’s been a busy week in basketball gaming with multiple patches and content updates, while things have also been interesting in the real NBA thanks to the trade deadline. Along with what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood, it’s given Kenny and I plenty to talk about.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Live 19 received a substantial title and content update this week. Getting a trade deadline roster update in time for the weekend was a pleasant surprise, but the addition of in-game injuries came as even better news. It leads us to reflect on some changes that were patched into NBA Live 10 all those years ago.
  • Following up on Patch 1.08 for NBA 2K19, there have indeed been some improvements in terms of cutting down on body steals. Will the changes stick for NBA 2K20, though?
  • With NBA 2K trying to strike a balance between its sim roots, competitive online play, and occasional demands for less realism, has the series become a victim of its own success due to the influx of more casual basketball gamers?
  • NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 has received new content, just in time for the All-Star Weekend (and Valentine’s Day). We share a few more opinions on the game, and also discuss the removal of the first NBA Playgrounds game from the Steam Store.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included progress into Season 2 of MyCAREER, an online session for the NLSC crew, LIVE Events swag, and MyTEAM Domination. It also included a bit of modding, with further updates to a work-in-progress roster update for NBA 2K11.
  • We wrap up Episode #274 of the NLSC Podcast with this week’s NBA discussion. Topics include the flurry of movement at the trade deadline, and a look ahead to the 2019 All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

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.

NLSC Podcast – Episode #262 (Namo Gamo Interview)

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #262 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, I’m presenting my interview with Josh and Dave from Namo Gamo, in which we talk about their fantastic retro-oriented PC game, Basketball Classics! We also talk about the process and difficulty of video game design, some of our favourite NBA memories, and a lot more.

It was a really fun interview, and I very much enjoyed getting some insight into an awesome game that already feels very polished, even in Early Access on Steam. We’ve discussed Basketball Classics in previous episodes of the NLSC Podcast, and will definitely have more coverage of the game moving forward. In the meantime, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my chat with Josh and Dave.

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.

Monday Tip-Off: The Perils of Digital-Only PC Releases

LeBron James attracts fanboys and haters (NBA 2K18)

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 drawbacks of the PC versions of basketball video games being digital-only releases.

It’s not fashionable to admit it, but I’m still a fan of physical media. Part of that comes down to where I live, of course. Australian Internet speeds don’t always make digital releases for PC games desirable, and certain streaming services are either unavailable, or don’t carry the same selection as their US counterparts. A DVD, Blu Ray, or game disc not only alleviates any issues with Internet speed and data limits, but also offers a physical collectable that I can put on a shelf. Be it TV series, movies, or video games, I enjoy seeing them all lined up in my collection.

Of course, I also enjoy the benefits of digital releases. They obviously provide a lot of convenience, and save on shelf space. There’s no need to drive to the store, or wait for copies to arrive in the mail. Physical media can be lost or damaged, while a digital release can just be downloaded again. When they’re tied to a platform such as Steam, there are no issues with lost or invalid serial numbers, and patches will come through automatically. These days, we don’t actually have a choice in terms of the only PC sim basketball video game, as NBA 2K is only released via Steam. It’s preferable to having no PC version at all, but there are some perils to digital-only PC releases.

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Dunk Practice Game by Dr B on Steam Greenlight

Dunk Practice

NLSC Forum Member Dr B has created a Dunk Practice game, which is currently seeking approval for release through Steam Greenlight. The game, which would be available for both PC and Mac, is a single player dunking exhibition, based on the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. A more detailed description of the game is as follows:

Dunk Practice takes the skill and creativity of professional slam dunk competitions and translates them to a dual-analog gamepad and nostalgic graphics. You have the freedom to create any dunk you want by mixing combinations of lobs or off-the-glass tosses with 180s, 360s, windmills, through the legs or behind the back tricks and reverse or tomahawk finishes. Control your dunker’s body rotation with the left analog stick and their arms with the right analog stick in realtime to throw down any dunk you can think up. There are 4 dunkers for you to customize with over 100 million possible combinations of appearance and uniform colors and creative challenges for you to complete and collect medals.

In the interest of supporting the efforts of members of the NLSC community, I wanted to share the link to Dr B’s Steam Greenlight campaign. To that end, if you’d like to vote on the game, you may do so here.

Furthermore, if you’d like to try out a beta version of the game, Dr B has previously uploaded demos to our Downloads section. You can can download the Windows version here, and the Mac version here. More information can also be found in this thread.

NBA 2K16 PC 80% Off on Steam

NBA 2K16: LeBron James

The annual Steam Summer Sale is underway, and basketball gamers can already reap the benefits. If you haven’t yet picked up the PC version of NBA 2K16, now is a good time to do so, as it is available at an 80% discount until July 5th.

If you’d like to pick up the Michael Jordan edition of NBA 2K16, it is also still available at an 82% discount. The Michael Jordan edition includes a rookie Jordan card for MyTEAM, in-game Jordan content for your MyPLAYER, and 30,000 VC.

The PC version of NBA 2K16 is not as moddable as previous editions of NBA 2K, but our modding community has made several in-roads since the game’s release last September. In terms of gameplay, features, and so forth, it is identical to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. The official patches also seem to have addressed performance issues for most PC gamers, as well as fixed keyboard support and a couple of other PC-specific problems.

You can check out more impressions and information on NBA 2K16 PC in this section of the NLSC Forum. If you pick up the game, be sure to check out our Downloads section as well as the Releases & Previews board, and feel free to share your impressions of the game as well.