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 official downloads for basketball games that have been lost over time.
In our community, we know the pain of lost files. Mods, especially big projects, have been hosted all over the place throughout the years. As a result of sites being closed down and files being deleted from free hosting services after a period of inactivity, we’ve lost a lot of releases, especially from the early days. We’ve salvaged and re-uploaded files whenever possible, but there are a lot of mods that are seemingly gone for good. Of course, in theory, it is possible to create new versions of those mods which may be just as good as, or even better than the originals. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with official downloads, such as patches and downloadable content.
Just as we’ve tried to preserve our database of unofficial patches and mods over the years, we’ve also done our best to keep a repository of official downloads. If you browse our Downloads database, you’ll find a bunch of the old official patches for NBA Live on PC, as well as demos, manuals, and so on. There are some official downloads that we haven’t been able to salvage though, which means if you don’t already have a copy of them installed or backed up somewhere, you’re out of luck. This week’s Five is a list of five official downloads that have been lost to time…at least as far as I’m aware.
1. Official Patch for NBA Live 2003
If you’re looking for official patches for NBA Live on PC, you’ll find them in our Downloads section. Well, most of them. You’ll find official patches for PC releases going right back to NBA Live 95, but there’s one that’s the missing: the update for NBA Live 2003. Unlike the other patches which were distributed as executable files (or executable files within archives), the NBA Live 2003 update was installed from a page on the official website. Clicking the download link on the page would retrieve the file from EA’s FTP server, and automatically apply it to your game. As you might expect though, fifteen years later, you’ll find nothing but a 404 error.
It might be possible to track down the file somewhere, but I haven’t had any luck as yet. As such, for the moment at least, I think it’s fair to call it lost. In this case, however, it’s arguably not a big deal. NBA Live 2003’s official patch only addressed a couple of issues, one of which was only applicable to Windows 98 users, while another only affected gamers with a specific gamepad. It also fixed a bug that caused quarters to be skipped when pressing the Escape key in the pause menu, but that can be easily avoided. Since NBA Live 2003 can be played on newer operating systems it is somewhat unnecessary now, but I would like to relocate and preserve it, if possible.
2. Official Roster Update for NBA 2K12 (Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3)
When it comes to official roster updates in general – especially for the console versions of NBA Live and NBA 2K – they all tend to become lost in time. The servers for those games eventually get shut down, which means the final roster update will no longer be pushed through. Granted, if you had the game and downloaded the last official roster before the server shutdown, you can keep aside a saved file and even share it with others, though distributing a roster is a little tougher on consoles without the in-game sharing functionality. It’s been done, but after a while, those files tend to disappear, leaving only broken links and disappointment.
The reason I’m singling out NBA 2K12 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in particular is because it was affected by the lockout of 2011. The Class of 2011 rookies (including Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson) could not be included out of the box, and there are obviously no offseason transactions either, since the lockout wasn’t lifted until December. The original rosters in basketball games are always outdated by the time the season begins, but even without updates, they usually somewhat resemble the opening night lineups. That’s obviously not the case with NBA 2K12. The last official PC roster is still available, but console users are seemingly out of luck.
3. Legends Showcase DLC for NBA 2K12
While we’re on the subject of NBA 2K12, there’s also the Legends Showcase Downloadable Content. Once again, this is an issue that only affects the console versions, as the DLC wasn’t available on PC. The Legends Showcase included over 150 NBA Legends, cel-shaded effects for its presentation, and a selection of game modes including 2v2, 3v3, H-O-R-S-E, 21, and customisable pick-up games. As with most DLC, it wasn’t without controversy, as many gamers opined that it featured content that should’ve been in the game out of the box. It was a cool concept though, so there were people who ended up buying it when it was released.
You’re out of luck if you want to give it a try now, though. The Legends Showcase is no longer available in the Xbox Live Marketplace or PlayStation Network Store. That’s not exactly surprising or unusual when it comes to DLC that came out around six years ago, but it’s still a shame if you’d like to dust off a fine game and check it out. Incidentally, there was a Game of the Year Edition of NBA 2K12 that included the Legends Showcase, but it was only available from Best Buy, in limited supply. Unlike other genres where Game of the Year and Collector’s Editions are available years later, it’s simply not feasible with sports games, due to licensing restrictions.
4. Oklahoma City Pack for NBA Live 09
The Seattle SuperSonics’ relocation to Oklahoma City where they became the Thunder stands out as one of the most controversial moves in NBA history. It was also completed in a rush during the 2008 offseason, during which the team used a generic placeholder logo and was simply referred to as Oklahoma City, without a nickname. Despite the Thunder’s jersey designs leaking in a preview of NBA Live 09 – and their inclusion in NBA 2K9 – EA’s game featured the placeholder logos and jerseys. As a result, a free Oklahoma City Thunder Pack was released around the game’s launch on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, replacing the generic logos.
Like the Legends Showcase DLC for NBA 2K12, the pack can no longer be found in the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network Store. That means if you happen to pick up a copy of NBA Live 09 today and you never downloaded the pack all those years ago, you’re stuck with the placeholder Oklahoma City branding, same as the PlayStation 2 version of the game. As a side note, none of the NBA Live 09 roster updates corrected the team’s nickname, so the Thunder are still listed as the “Oklahoma City Oklahoma City” in menus and team selection screens. Fortunately, this hasn’t been an issue with any teams that have relocated or rebranded since.
5. NBA Elite 11 Demo
Being an unreleased game, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of NBA Elite 11 are obviously virtually impossible to get a hold of. As I mentioned a few weeks back, the game’s status as a collector’s item makes it one of the basketball video games that I wish I owned. I do still have the demo on my Xbox 360, but even that is something that you’re not going to be able to readily acquire these days. In this case it isn’t really a reflection of the game’s troubled production as most demos are eventually removed from the Marketplace and Store, but from memory the NBA Elite 11 demo didn’t stick around for too long after the game’s cancellation.
I believe it is possible to copy and share the demo, so like the NBA 2K12 rosters, I suppose it isn’t technically lost as long as someone still has a copy of it. It’s certainly not readily available though, and while it isn’t as big a deal as the absence of other official downloads on this list, it’s unfortunate for anyone who’d like to add NBA Elite 11 to their collection (at least in some form). Interestingly, despite the NBA Elite 11 demo and Oklahoma City Pack for NBA Live 09 no longer being available, some of the NBA Live 07 Themes can still be purchased, at least on Xbox 360. Even for only a couple of bucks, though, I’m guessing they’re not big sellers these days.
Can you think of any other official downloads that have unfortunately become lost over the years? Have you been able to track down any of the files that I’ve declared as being lost here? Sound off in the comments section below, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.