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Wayback Wednesday: NCAA March Madness 08 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NCAA March Madness 08 Retrospective

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 NCAA March Madness 08.

I wasn’t able to enjoy any of the college basketball games while they were still being developed, as they couldn’t be licensed for release outside of North America. As they were console-only releases, and none of the consoles I owned were region-free, I wasn’t able to import NTSC games with my PAL hardware. Since then, a friend gifted me their old PlayStation 3, which means that I can finally import NTSC games! Needless to say, the college basketball titles from EA Sports and Visual Concepts were the ones that I was the most interested in.

As such, I’ve been able to get my hands on NCAA March Madness 08, NCAA Basketball 09, and NCAA Basketball 10 by EA Sports, and College Hoops 2K7 and College Hoops 2K8 by Visual Concepts. I’m very happy to have finally added them to the collection; after all, I find that checking out basketball games that I missed the first time around can be just as fun as dusting off some old favourites. Obviously, I enjoy sharing my thoughts on them as well, and in that spirit, I’m beginning with NCAA March Madness 08. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began

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 returns that were over before they began, with a representation of how they’d look in games.

Although our content is obviously focused on the virtual hardwood, I like to mix in topics related to the real NBA as well. After all, it directly influences our experiences in video games, and the games in turn capture a snapshot of what the league was like when they were released. To that end, I’ve enjoyed branching out with topics like Familiar Faces in Strange Places, and its counterpart Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places, in previous Wayback Wednesday features. It’s easy to bring it all back to video games, because of the way they act as interactive almanacs.

This is a spinoff of those two series that came to mind as I was researching them. I recalled players that were reacquired by their former teams, but didn’t end up playing for them again. As I noted in my Familiar Places articles, there’s something fun about seeing players rejoin their old teams; especially when they end up wearing an updated uniform we never thought we’d see them don. Likewise, there are some interesting “What If” scenarios involving NBA returns that were over before they even had a chance to begin, or otherwise didn’t result in an official appearance. We can see and make NBA returns happen in games however, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Space Jam Video Game

Wayback Wednesday: The Space Jam Video Game

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 Space Jam video game.

Happy 58th Birthday to my all-time favourite player, Michael Jordan! You know, it kind of blows my mind that I’m now older than MJ was when he won his final title with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. Appropriately enough, that was 23 years ago; a fact that’s also difficult to wrap my head around! In any case, I figured that since it is His Airness’ birthday today, it only makes sense to cover something related to him. The problem is that I’ve already covered The Jordan Challenge (from several angles, too), as well as Michael Jordan in Flight, his history in games, and his comeback in 1995.

What else is there? Well, how about the Space Jam video game? Yes, there was a lot of merchandise related to Space Jam when it came out, and like so many movies in the 90s, there was a video game tie-in for PC, PlayStation, and Sega Saturn. I didn’t actually play it back in the day, but I’ve since added it to my collection. We got a real jam going down, so let’s take it into overtime…I mean, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 2002 Rosters

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 2002 Rosters

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 rosters in NBA Live 2002.

As I’ve previously discussed, NBA Live 2002 is a game that I’m oddly nostalgic for. To echo the assessment I made in my 25th Anniversary of NBA Live retrospective, it’s a mixed bag. It has some problems and it wasn’t everything we hoped it would be, but it also featured some welcome improvements. It’s arguably slightly underrated, and I’ve come to look upon it more favourably over the years. Still, if you do go back and spend some time with it, the same issues that were an annoyance when the game was new will soon become apparent. I do enjoy revisiting it, though.

One of the reasons I’m nostalgic for NBA Live 2002 is that it came along at a very memorable time for me. I was entering my final year of high school, I’d just taken over as webmaster of the NLSC, and the NBA landscape was continuing to change. To that last point, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards, and while I wasn’t overly thrilled with it at the time – I am a diehard Bulls fan, after all – it was obviously an interesting development. Whenever I look back through the rosters of NBA Live 2002, I’m reminded of that time in my life, and in the NBA. I’m feeling that nostalgia today, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K15 & The Forgotten Generation

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K15 & The Forgotten Generation

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 2K15 on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, part of a forgotten generation of NBA 2K titles.

Way back in the mid 2000s, the launch of the Xbox 360 (and then the PlayStation 3) forced us to change our approach to our content and coverage. At the time we were still more or less exclusively about NBA Live PC, but we now had two generations to cover: the PlayStation 2/Xbox version, which we covered because it was the one that was ported to PC, and the Next Gen version on the new consoles, as it was the release receiving the most attention from EA Sports. When NBA Live was discontinued on PC, and then PS2 a year later, we only had the 360 and PS3 version to cover.

It’s been different with NBA 2K. When it landed on PC, it was the same version that the 360 and PS3 received (give or take an online feature). We covered both the last gen PC port and Next Gen version of NBA 2K14 following the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and then when the PC received a PS4/X1 port from NBA 2K15 onwards, we simply left the prior gen behind. Simply put, there wasn’t much reason to cover it, and I personally stopped buying NBA 2K on that generation. I’ve wondered what it was like though, and to that end, I picked up a copy of NBA 2K15 for PS3 to check out. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: adidas Live Run in NBA Live 10

Wayback Wednesday: adidas Live Run in NBA Live 10

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 adidas Live Run in NBA Live 10.

These days, we take the concept of online team play for granted. Although there’s still interest in single player experiences and local multiplayer, the various modes that allow us to play with up to nine other gamers online are extremely popular. Of course, MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, to say nothing of the multiplayer scene in first person shooters and good old fashioned LAN parties, had already popularised the concept. As soon as the online infrastructure was developed for basketball and other sports titles, it was clear that the concept would find an enthusiastic audience.

It’s interesting to look back at those early iterations of online team play. With adidas Live Run in particular, you can see that the concept was already starting to evolve into the experiences we now enjoy (well, sometimes enjoy). Unfortunately, with the NBA Live series being rebooted following the cancellation of NBA Elite 11, the developers weren’t able to expand upon the idea of adidas Live Run until NBA Live 16. It was nevertheless an innovative mode in its time, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Super Dunk Shot Teams

Wayback Wednesday: Super Dunk Shot Teams

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 teams in Super Dunk Shot.

One of the first games I covered in a video retrospective for Wayback Wednesday was World League Basketball. It’s the PAL release of Sculptured Software’s NCAA Basketball for the Super Nintendo, replacing the college teams and tournament with a fictional global basketball league. The change was made because no college sports games have been licensed for release outside of North America, but the Japanese version – Super Dunk Shot – made an even crazier alteration to the teams. The game is basically a bootleg NBA title, from the season structure to the teams and players.

I’ve talked about the names of teams in Super Dunk Shot in previous articles and on the NLSC Podcast, but I believe they deserve their own feature. Some of the names really are ridiculous, but in the best possible way. These days I have all three versions of the game in my collection, but I wish I had them all those years ago. I loved World League Basketball, but I would’ve spent a lot of time with a college hoops and bootleg NBA game as well. Again, the teams in Super Dunk Shot deserve to be spotlighted, so Division by Division, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam vs NBA Street

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Jam vs NBA Street

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 comparing the NBA Jam series to the NBA Street series.

It’s been over a year since I posted my first “Versus” feature, which compared The Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest. My intention was for it to become a recurring feature, similar to my Familiar Faces in Strange Places/Familiar Places series. To that end, I’ve been sitting on a few ideas for other comparisons. Since I compared two modes in back-to-back releases in the same series for the first instalment, it only makes sense to go bigger for the second article. As such, today I’m comparing the two heavyweights of the arcade basketball scene: NBA Jam, and NBA Street.

There are many factors to consider here. There have been more NBA Jam games than NBA Street games, as well as a number of releases that were spiritual successors to NBA Jam under different titles, after Acclaim acquired the name from Midway. To that point, three different developers have released games under the NBA Jam brand, while every NBA Street game has come from EA Sports BIG. Nevertheless, I believe that all of the evidence must be considered, as we compare, contrast, and ultimately pick the winner out of these classic arcade hoops series. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live Street 2003 Retrospective

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live Street 2003 Retrospective

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 Live Street 2003.

Yes, you read that correctly: NBA Live Street 2003. No, this isn’t some spin-off game of both the NBA Live and NBA Street series that you’ve forgotten all about! NBA Live Street 2003 was a mod for NBA Live 2003 PC, inspired by the NBA Street series. It was one of the first major total conversion mods in the community, one that went on to inspire several other street mods and big projects. It demonstrated what a team of modders could accomplish when they worked together, as well as many of the possibilities with player-specific custom textures.

NBA Live Street 2003 is still available to download. With a little bit of work, you can run NBA Live 2003 on a modern PC, and check it out for yourself. Before you jump into that though, how about a preview of what you can expect to find in this classic mod? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9

Wayback Wednesday: Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9

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 some of the unusual Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9.

In the mailbag segment of Episode #354 of the NLSC Podcast, Dee4Three and I talked about bad ratings in basketball video games throughout the years. There are plenty of examples, from odd ratings in NBA Jam Tournament Edition, to the new ratings scale in NBA Live 2004 producing some weird results. Derek brought up the Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9, which is an example I wasn’t too familiar with. NBA 2K9 isn’t a game that I’ve spent too much time with over the years, and when I have fired it up, I haven’t paid too much attention to the Overall Ratings.

Once it was brought up, however, I figured I had to check it out and perhaps discuss it further in Wayback Wednesday. Now that I’ve gone through the rosters, I would agree that there are some weirdly overrated players, considering their performance during the 2009 season, and the way that Overall Ratings above 90 are usually treated (or at least were, several years ago). With so many questionably inflated Overall Ratings in NBA 2K9, it’s worth taking a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

Monday Tip-Off: 2020 Year in Review

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 look back at the year that was 2020 here at the NLSC.

I think it’s fair to say that 2020 has been one of the most unusual years that many of us have ever experienced. For me, it’s both flown by – as the years seem to do as you get older – yet it’s also dragged. The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously disrupted life as we know it in so many ways, and contributed to 2020 being somewhat miserable. On top of that, we’ve lost some beloved athletes and celebrities, including Kobe Bryant. Although the hardships of the pandemic are not over yet, it’s safe to say that a lot of people are looking forward to a fresh start in 2021.

At the same time, there have been bright spots. The Next Gen consoles launched, and while it hasn’t been easy getting hold of one, people who do own them generally seem to be happy with them. Here at the NLSC, we were able to keep doing our thing for another year as far as producing content and supporting the modding community, and we also officially added a new member to our team. 2020 is a year that I’m sure a lot of people would rather be done with and soon forget, but since this is the last Monday Tip-Off of the year – there will be a Wayback Wednesday this week, and then The Friday Five will open 2021 – I’m taking the opportunity to look back at 2020.

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Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

Wayback Wednesday: Europe Live Jerseys in NBA Live 07

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 Europe Live jerseys in NBA Live 07.

A new season is now underway! Two games opened the 2021 NBA season, with the Nets defeating the Warriors, and the Clippers besting the defending champion Lakers. We’re obviously in for a lot of basketball, even with ten games being taken off the schedule to accommodate the later than usual tip-off. With the unveiling of this year’s City Edition jerseys, we’ll be seeing some creative (and divisive) uniform designs all season long. While alternate jerseys are far from a new concept, they’re definitely more prominent – and commonly worn – since Nike took over the NBA uniform deal.

Over a decade ago, alternate and special occasion jerseys were becoming far more common, but they weren’t worn as frequently. Indeed, some jerseys were only worn once a year, while a select few were only worn once. Some of these rare jerseys show up in video games, while many others have to be modded in. And then, there are the uniforms that are exclusive; not just to a single year, but a single title. Such is the case with the Europe Live jerseys that can be found in NBA Live 07. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 5

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 5

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 revisiting NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4, on my PlayStation 5.

Ahead of the new generation of consoles launching and the release of NBA 2K21 Next Gen, I posted a retrospective of NBA 2K14; the launch title for the previous generation. Normally I wouldn’t revisit a game so soon – especially after writing what was intended to be an in-depth retrospective – but the idea of testing out the PS5’s backwards compatibility with a PS4 launch title is too tempting to pass up. There’s something poetic about it, on top of the usual appeal of firing up old releases on new tech; a certain novelty in addition to the curiosity.

Obviously, the PlayStation 5 isn’t going to enhance the gameplay of NBA 2K14. It won’t address bugs or AI quirks, and it’s not going to add the depth and features that were sorely missed. Nevertheless, I’m interested to see how the game performs on the new console, as well as run a general compatibility test for the PS5. I’ve got the console, I’ve got the game, so let’s combine them to take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Former NBA Teams & Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: Former NBA Teams & Video Games

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 former NBA teams, and their now-nostalgic appearances in video games.

Something that I’ve explored in several of my Wayback Wednesday features this year is the way that old video games act as interactive almanacs. Yes, it’s fun to revisit old hoops titles simply to remember what the gameplay was like. Certain games hold up quite well, and for some gamers, their simplicity can even make them more appealing than the newer releases. However, as I’ve said on many occasions, there’s something really enjoyable about looking back at a snapshot of the NBA by scrolling through the rosters and seeing now-retired players, as well as familiar faces in strange places.

To that point, I’ve mostly been focusing on the players, but there’s a lot of nostalgia with the teams as well. Not only is it a fun trip down memory lane to see lineups that we’ve forgotten – some of them full of “What Ifs” – but it’s great to see all of the old branding as well. From logos that teams used for years, to short-lived uniforms and the classic jerseys that still rank as our favourites, we can see it all when we dust off old games. With a handful of franchises relocating and/or changing their names over the past couple of decades, we can also see those former NBA teams live on through the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 08 Practice Arena

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 practice arena in NBA Live 08.

For artists working on sim basketball games, there isn’t always a lot of room for creativity. Since the aim of the genre is to depict the NBA, its teams, and its players as realistically as possible, there aren’t as many opportunities to take liberties and utilise creative license. However, there are a few areas of the game that invite an artistic flourish, including settings such as The Neighborhood and The City, special effects in MyTEAM, fictional street courts, certain clothing items, and the frontend in general. Oh, and the practice arena.

Over the years, a lot of creativity has gone into creating an appealing practice arena for us to shoot around in, particularly in NBA Live. We’ve had The Temple in NBA Live 06 and 07, The Hangar in NBA Live 10, and the adidas-branded gym in NBA Live 15. NBA Live 09 introduced us to the NBA Live Academy. In NBA Live 19, we were even invited to design our own court where we could shoot around. A setting that is often overlooked, however, is the humble practice arena in the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 08. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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