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The Friday Five: 5 Cancelled Games (Other Than NBA Elite 11)

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 basketball games, other than the infamous NBA Elite 11, that were cancelled.

If we’re talking about cancelled basketball games, then NBA Elite 11 is obviously one that springs immediately to mind. I’m sure that everyone knows that story, but the short version is that the demo was poorly received and widely mocked due to both gameplay issues and the infamous “Jesus Bynum” T-pose bug. This led to the full version being pulled five days before release so that it could receive further polish, with the delay eventually becoming cancellation. It’s a disaster that’s set the NBA Live series back years, and while it’s a significant event, it’s also a very familiar tale.

To that end, I thought it’d be more interesting to talk about some cancelled games in a list that doesn’t include the obvious example of NBA Elite 11. That’s not to say that these games are obscure and their stories unknown, but at least a couple of them aren’t talked about all that much. Please note that I’m also excluding the recent examples of NBA Live 17/The Drive to NBA Live, NBA Live 20, and NBA Live 21, as they were either never really officially announced, or there isn’t much to say except EA decided that they weren’t fit to launch. I’d like to think that there are some interesting stories with these other cancelled games though, so let’s take a look!

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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: Remembering Roster Players

Roster Player dunks the basketball 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.

The issue of missing players isn’t as prominent as it was in the early days of basketball gaming. Video games have become a huge industry, authenticity is the name of the game, and the licensing agreement with the NBA Players Association ensures that all active players are represented in NBA Live and NBA 2K. These days, active players who aren’t included at launch are added via official roster updates, so most of the issues with missing players involve historical players that couldn’t be licensed. Fortunately, as the addition of Steve Nash in the latest NBA 2K17 roster update demonstrates, that doesn’t have to be a permanent problem either.

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, this wasn’t always the case. Due to certain players retaining full control over their likeness rights, and sometimes signing exclusive deals with specific developers, some of the biggest names in basketball have been missing from classic hoops games. In some cases, however, they didn’t leave a vacant spot on their team’s roster. Some games elected to include placeholder players, which many old school basketball gamers came to call Roster Players, after the name they were given in various editions of NBA Live.

Roster Players have an interesting legacy in basketball gaming, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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