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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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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!

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Jam: On Fire Edition is the Best Jam Game

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 reasons that I rank NBA Jam: On Fire Edition as the best release in the NBA Jam series.

We really need another NBA Jam game. I know there were gamers that skipped the NBA Jam games by EA Sports, either because they were burned by previous non-Midway Jam titles, they didn’t trust or want to support EA, or a mixture of both. I understand having that stance, but frankly, you missed out on a couple of really good NBA Jam games! They were faithful to the originals, while also bringing something new to the table. It’s because of this that NBA Jam: On Fire Edition remains my pick for the best NBA Jam game to date.

I know that’s a big claim to make, especially when the original NBA Jam still holds up today. Tournament Edition was a fantastic follow-up to that, and though Midway lost the Jam moniker, NBA Hangtime was a worthy sequel to TE. NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC and NBA Hoopz were also fine games in Midway’s branch of the lineage; Acclaim’s titles, not so much. In short, there is some stiff competition for NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, yet I do believe that it stands above the rest. While EA were struggling with NBA Live by the early 2010s, they made great use of the NBA Jam license, creating the definitive Jam experience with NBA Jam: On Fire Edition.

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The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Live Flopped on PS4/X1

The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Live Flopped on PS4/X1

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 examines the five main reasons that NBA Live flopped on the PS4/X1, aka the eighth generation consoles.

Unlike certain content creators and other haters in the basketball gaming community, I don’t delight at NBA Live’s shortcomings, or gleefully dance on its grave. While NBA 2K has provided many of us with hours upon hours of entertainment on the virtual hardwood and blacktop, we’ve also seen the drawbacks that come with a lack of competition in the genre. If you’re a fan of football games – NFL, that is – you’ve known the pain of not having alternatives even longer than basketball gamers. Even if the lone game is satisfactory, the lack of choice still stings.

Of course, it’s not quite the same situation. Madden’s monopoly comes from EA Sports having the clout and money to secure an exclusive contract when the NFL were offering it. NBA 2K’s monopoly, meanwhile, has been solidified by EA’s inability to produce a viable alternative. We’re more than a decade removed from NBA Live being the top-selling basketball game, and longer still from when it was easily the gold standard in the genre. Its attempts to rebuild during the PS4/X1 generation were largely disappointing, and have left the series in a tenuous position. These five factors are the chief reasons that those NBA Live games flopped.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Lasting Impact of NBA Live 13

Wayback Wednesday: The Lasting Impact of NBA Live 13

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 fall of NBA Live 13, and its lasting impact on the NBA Live series.

When I covered NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13 for our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content, it wasn’t the easiest article to write. Not only was it delving into major low points for the series in the midst of celebrating a milestone, but it’s talking about games that didn’t come out and most of us have never played, apart from the NBA Elite 11 demo. Of course, the full version of NBA Elite 11 has since leaked online, which has given gamers the opportunity to play it via emulation. There are some mixed opinions, but the general consensus is that it’s on par with the demo.

To that end, there’s a reasonably clear picture of NBA Elite 11: a full preview season, a widely-panned demo, leaked copies in the wild that people got their hands on, and a ripped version that finally gave more gamers a hands-on look. Conversely, NBA Live 13 remains more of a mystery. The previews were mostly vague about details before they stopped, and not much else has been revealed about the cancelled game except that it wasn’t close to being good enough. Still, despite being canned, NBA Live 13 had a lasting impact on the series and community. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

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 Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08.

These days, unique signature animations and a variety of animation packages are staple features of sim basketball games. We’re a long way from the days of every player having the same shooting form, the same dribbling style, and in some rare games, a handful of signature moves for star players. That’s not to say that every player in the game has unique mo-capped animations, but the most distinctive styles are usually accounted for. Of course, there were some intermediate steps between everyone using the same animations, and the signature styles of today.

NBA Live began taking steps towards player differentiation by including a second jumpshot animation intended for big men, as well as slower and simpler dribbling moves for weaker ballhandlers. The next step was Freestyle Superstars. Both of these forms of player differentiation were based on qualifying ratings, which sometimes made it difficult to assign players appropriate attributes and still have the desired movesets and animations. After signature jumpshot styles were added in NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 and expanded upon in NBA Live 07, NBA Live 08 introduced Go-To Moves. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K10 PC Disc Woes

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K10 PC Disc Woes

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 reflecting on some strange issues I’ve had with my copies of NBA 2K10 PC.

My approach as a collector of basketball video games has been to acquire titles that I have an interest in playing, and of course covering here in Wayback Wednesday. A working copy is therefore far more important to me than “complete in box”. As you’d expect, it’s been much cheaper, too! As I’ve shown, my collection includes multiple versions of titles across the different platforms that I own. Sometimes I’ve doubled up on the same platform with alternate covers, repurchased games I once traded in, and have spare copies of a few games that I’ve stumbled across on sale at bargain prices.

And then, there’s NBA 2K10 PC. I picked up a second copy of the game, not on a whim because I’d seen it at a bargain price, but because mine had simply stopped working. Well, it kind of worked; sometimes, if I was patient and lucky enough. When I found a copy of NBA 2K10 going cheap on eBay, I snapped it up, and it appeared that all was well. And then, the same issues began occurring with that copy too. Of all the games in my collection, these disc woes are rather unique. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: My Basketball Video Game Collection (2022 Edition)

Monday Tip-Off: My Basketball Video Game Collection (2022 Edition)

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 a look at my basketball video game collection, as of 2022.

Back in March, I tweeted out a photo of my entire physical basketball video game collection, with some follow-up screenshots of the digital releases I own. I’m proud of my collection and satisfied in how I’ve been able to amass it, so I was pleased with the reception. While collecting is something that I do for my own enjoyment – and create content for the NLSC, of course – I was naturally hoping that my fellow hoops gamers would be impressed and get a kick out of the photo. I wanted it to inspire nostalgia, intrigue, and yes, a slight touch of good-natured envy. I’d say mission accomplished!

Given the old maxim of a picture being worth a thousand words, I could just leave it at those Tweets. However, I would like to talk a little more about my basketball video game collection, and provide a comprehensive listing as it’s impossible to get every title to be clearly visible in one photo. There are also a few digital releases that I didn’t display in my follow-up screenshots, including a couple I neglected to mention since they’re standalone releases and not on a digital platform such as Steam, Xbox Live, or the PSN Store. Finally, it’s been almost seven years since I wrote about my basketball video game collection, and I’ve been able to make some exciting additions since then.

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The Friday Five: 5 Annoying File Management Issues

The Friday Five: 5 Annoying File Management Issues

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 annoying file management issues encountered in various basketball games.

Saving our progress in basketball video games is something that we take for granted. Even going back to some of the oldest titles, the ability to save games and rosters was a common feature. After all, it’s impossible to finish a lengthy season in one session. Editing the rosters each and every time you boot up the game is a chore, though there are a couple of old games that required you to do just that. As technology improved and storage space increased, basketball games evolved beyond having just a couple of save slots, and a lone custom roster file.

As such, for several years and console generations now, we’ve had file management functionality that is pleasingly accommodating. There will be times when certain needs aren’t met, but generally speaking, it’s easy to preserve saved games and custom rosters, and manage them accordingly. Of course, technological improvements mean little in the face of poor design choices or subpar coding. Some games do err when it comes to their file management functionality, or are simply undesirably limited. From inefficient utilisation of storage space to technical issues, these are some of the more annoying problems that we encounter in basketball game file management systems.

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Monday Tip-Off: The Helping Hand of Default Assets

Monday Tip-Off: The Helping Hand of Default Assets

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 reminder of the importance of default assets in our modding endeavours.

Since the very beginning, one of the primary goals of our modding community has been to add content to games. When we were founded as the NBA Live Series Center, this usually meant adding players such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley to the rosters of NBA Live PC. Once Legends and historical teams became a staple of NBA video games, there were other missing players to add. We’ve also sought to expand the selection of classic teams, as well as create retro season and all-time rosters, NCAA and foreign league total conversions, and many other fantastic projects.

The biggest projects have generally required several new assets to be created, in particular year-specific jerseys and courts, and missing player faces. Needless to say, the workload is much lighter if several assets that we need are in the game by default. At the same time, it’s something that we can take for granted. Not only can the default assets facilitate a range of modding projects – both minimalist and large in scope – but we can use them to quickly assemble fun scenarios on the virtual hardwood. Modding has opened up a world of possibilities with basketball video games, but I can’t stress enough the importance of content being readily available within the default assets.

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Wayback Wednesday: 1998 Bulls vs Lakers in NBA Live 06 Xbox 360

Wayback Wednesday: 1998 Bulls vs Lakers in NBA Live 06 Xbox 360

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 from a makeshift 1998 Bulls vs Lakers matchup in NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360.

Yes, the retro kick continues! Although I could easily play this matchup with proper faces and jerseys in NBA 2K22, there’s something really fun about makeshift rosters. Of course, given the lack of modding options for the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06, a minimalist approach to re-creating a 1998 Bulls vs Lakers game is the best I can do! It nevertheless resulted in an extremely enjoyable retro gaming experience. Even with animations that are showing their age and lack variety, there were a couple that felt “Jordanesque”! Since I had such a blast, I kept the recording and created another highlight reel. Join me as I take a look back…way back…

Although NBA Live 06 PC is the better all-around release, the Xbox 360 version is far more impressive than I once thought. It has its limitations, but it holds up as a fun game to revisit. Normally I’d use it to indulge my nostalgia for the mid 2000s, but on this occasion, I’m celebrating the late 90s and The Last Dance as well. It’s a shame that we can’t mod the Xbox 360 version, but as you can see, you can still have a great time with a little effort and imagination. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this reel, and may perhaps be inspired to give NBA Live 06 or another old game a second look. In the meantime, be sure to check out our YouTube channel for more video content!

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 06 PC Dynasty Re-Made On Xbox 360

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 06 PC Dynasty Re-Made On Xbox 360

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 from my re-creation of my NBA Live 06 PC Dynasty with the Chicago Bulls on Xbox 360.

My Chicago Bulls Dynasty in NBA Live 06 PC remains one of my all-time favourite experiences, in one of my all-time favourite basketball video games. This year, I’ve come to appreciate the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 as well, though the game is of course lacking Dynasty mode. Nevertheless, the Xbox 360 version has recently been my retro kick. Just for fun, I re-created the roster from Year 1 of my PC Dynasty on Xbox 360. I ended up playing a game against the San Antonio Spurs, the team that I defeated in that first season to clinch the Bulls’ seventh championship. As I recorded some highlights from the game, you can join me as I take a look back…way back…

As always, I’m never sure how long a retro kick will last. Between this re-creation, the 2006 All-Star Game, and some other games that I’ve played in the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 however, I’ve really enjoyed revisiting it. Although its lack of depth made for a shaky start to the seventh generation, it’s frankly an underrated game that deserves more credit for its gameplay and graphical advancements. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the highlights. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more video content!

NLSC Podcast #402: Winners Don’t Quit

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Episode #402 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.

NBA Live 19 still has an active online scene, but sadly it displays similar toxicity to NBA 2K’s community. We dissect the issue of poor online sportsmanship, and lack of competitiveness in what is supposedly a competitive environment. While we’re in the mood for callouts, we also respond to some recent comments that were unnecessarily snarky. On a brighter note, our second attempt at a co-op game in NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 over Parsec has us pumped to dive into a Season. Elsewhere, Take Two’s attitude towards Grand Theft Auto modders has us wondering if we should be worried about our own modding community, especially with 2K understandably cracking down on MyCAREER hackers. In this week’s mailbag, we’re reflecting on games that we wish we could’ve personally modded, or downloaded mods for.

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.

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.

Wayback Wednesday: 2006 All-Star Game in NBA Live 06

Wayback Wednesday: 2006 All-Star Game in NBA Live 06

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 sharing a highlight reel from the 2006 All-Star Game in the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06, featuring a thrilling finish.

As I mentioned in last week’s Monday Tip-Off, I’ve been waiting for my next retro basketball gaming kick to present itself. Although I already revisited NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 earlier this year, I’ve once again been enjoying the somewhat underrated release. That’s partly due to playing the game with Dee4Three over Parsec, and we’re even looking at beginning a co-op Season. However, I’ve also been hooked on playing some exhibition games solo. I had a great time using the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 to play the 2006 All-Star Game, albeit with the rosters from the 2005 event. I recorded it, so check out the highlight reel, and let it take you back…way back…

Even though much of my basketball nostalgia is rooted in the 90s, I have many fond memories of the real and virtual NBA from the early to mid 2000s. I’ve also had great satisfaction in adding some older titles back into my gaming rotation this year. I look forward to creating new memories with both old favourites and games I overlooked, and reflecting on those experiences here in Wayback Wednesday. Stay tuned for those features, and don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for more video content!