Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
If you’ve been listening to the NLSC Podcast for a while, you may have heard me mention that we’re looking to do some content for the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live. We originally intended to run these features last year – which was indeed the 20th anniversary of the game’s original release – but a few things ultimately got in the way, not the least of which was covering the latest games (which of course remains our priority). However, this year marks the 20th anniversary of NBA Live 95’s PC release, and seeing how PC coverage has been a big part of what we do here at the NLSC, the timing still feels right.
The content, which will start rolling out pretty soon, will be running for a few months alongside our other updates, including coverage of the NBA Live 16 (and NBA 2K16) preview season. While the NBA Live series has fallen on hard times in recent years, a lot of us did grow up playing the games and have fond memories of them, so I’m looking forward to reflecting on the good times, as well as exploring the mishaps, and discussing what the series needs to do moving forward. So, what kind of content can you expect to see? Read on to find out!
1. Retrospectives & Feature Articles
As you might expect, we’ll be posting some retrospective reviews and reflections on all of the games in the series. We did post a few such reviews many years ago, but looking back on the articles that I wrote, I’d like to take a slightly different approach this time around. While I’d like the retrospectives to be informative and touch on the key points of each game, I’m also planning on including more personal recollections and perspective on the games; not just a critique of them, but also what I remember about playing them…my experiences as a basketball gamer.
On top of that, there’ll also be some other articles and columns reflecting on the games and certain aspects of them in particular, and probably a couple of roundtable discussions. I expect that I’ll dedicate at least a couple of Friday Fives to talking about my favourite games in the series, memorable moments with them, and so on. As I said, my hope is that these features will be informative, but also fun and nostalgic to read; content that’s by passionate basketball gamers, for passionate basketball gamers. Indeed, that’s the kind of original content we want to be bringing you in many forms as we move forward here at the NLSC.
2. Commentary on the past and future of the series
In addition to talking about our experiences with the games themselves, we’ll also be discussing the series as a whole: its successes, its failures, concepts and philosophies that have worked, concepts and philosophies that haven’t worked, and so on. Naturally we’ll be referencing specific games along the way, but these articles will be evaluating and critiquing the overall NBA Live brand, discussing both the fandom and hatred for the games, and other such topics.
That will also include looking to the future: discussing our expectations for NBA Live 16 and beyond, the improvements and additions that we want and expect to see, and how soon we need to see some of them. If the other articles can be summed up as being about fun, nostalgic recollections, and prevailing opinions about each of the individual games, these articles will be a more “Serious Business” look at what the NBA Live series is, has been, and needs to be.
3. Video & Podcast Content
We’ve been looking to create some more video content for a while now, and our 20th Anniversary of NBA Live features will offer a few opportunities for us to do just that. There will naturally be some overlap with the written features here, as some people do prefer watching videos to reading articles, and the medium obviously allows for the content to be explored in a slightly different way.
Similarly, discussions about our favourite games in the series, memorable moments, critiques and other such topics will make their way into upcoming episodes of the NLSC Podcast, which might include a few special editions. We’re also looking to line up a special guest or two for the occasion, but we can’t make any promises there. In any event, you can expect the anniversary features to extend to some video and audio content.
4. Patches for every PC release
This is one of the reasons why the content is taking a while to put together, and why it’ll be running a few months: not everything is ready yet, and not everything will be 100% complete by the time we tip off the celebrations. As the heading says, I’m looking to release a patch or two for every PC version of NBA Live, so that if you feel like dusting off one of the older games, you can try out some new content at the same time. As you might imagine, putting together the updates for some of the really old games certainly has been a trip down memory lane, almost as much as playing them has been.
I don’t want to go into too many details about what all the patches will be, but suffice to say, I’m not doing current roster updates for all of the games. I’m afraid I’ve been become too burned out on doing current roster updates and frankly, it’d be a little too much work for releases that I figure won’t be getting the most downloads. However, I am looking forward to putting some cool updates out there, and I already have some good stuff for NBA Live 95 and NBA Live 96 ready to go…even if only five people end up downloading them.
5. A few other odds and ends
That covers the main content that we’ll be doing to mark the 20th Anniversary of NBA Live, but we’ll also be throwing out a few odds and ends to accompany the more in-depth features. Little nuggets of trivia and “Did You Know?” pieces, screenshots of old games, gameplay footage, guides to getting the older games to work on new PCs (and other such resources), old gems that we dig up and stuff that we find in the proverbial vault…if we feel it’s potentially interesting and/or entertaining, we’ll post it.
As I said before, I’m looking forward to doing this content. I grew up with the NBA Live series, they’re games that we obviously still cover, and dusting the old games off to prepare the content has been a fun trip down memory lane. My hope is that you, the basketball gaming community, enjoy the content as well, whether it stirs recollections of playing the games back in the day, or provides you with an insight of what basketball games used to be and how they got to where they are today. Look out for more information and the tip off, coming soon.
So, that’s what’s on tap. Again, I hope that you enjoy the content once it tips off, and if you have any suggestions or would like to get involved – I’d certainly be interested in featuring some recollections and thoughts from the community – please let me know. In the meantime, that’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.