The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Coincidental Names in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Apr 01, 2022 4:46 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Coincidental Names in Basketball Games

Something that I'm sure is readily apparent across my various articles is that I'm a fan of interesting trivia and obscure tidbits. Whether it's the players that appeared in more video games than real NBA games, phantom stints captured on the virtual hardwood, rare features, or other unusual facts, I find them fascinating, and enjoy talking about them. Strange and humorous coincidences would definitely fall under that umbrella. To that end, today I'm talking about coincidental names that I've encountered in various basketball games over the years.

Generally speaking, the default rosters of an NBA game likely won't have too many coincidental names. At least, nothing out of the ordinary, or anything that doesn't reflect a real life coincidence, such as the time there were two players called Marcus Williams in the NBA. "Coincidence" is also a word that we use, shall we say, quite flexibly. Sometimes "coincidences" have flimsy connections, or are in fact deliberate and thus not coincidental at all. To that point, I'm taking some liberties with the term, as I suspect some of these coincidental names were intentional. They are fun though, so if you'll indulge me, here are five coincidental names that I've encountered.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Coincidental Names in Basketball Games

Postby RayRay_953 on Sat Apr 02, 2022 6:13 am

I always found it hilarious when the 2K generated names turn out to share a real-life coincidence. Speaking of coincidence, you could trace another example back to the generic players from 2K11 onward. Two of the generic player names also share names of real-life players: John Brown and Robert Williams. Obviously, the generic players have nothing in common other than their names, but it's definitely a coincidence nonetheless!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Coincidental Names in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Sat Apr 02, 2022 11:25 am

Well-spotted! Roster Player doesn't look like such a bad name after all. If nothing else, it's probably not going to turn out to be anyone's name in real life!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Side Effects of Unlicensed Players You May Not Know

Postby Andrew on Fri Apr 08, 2022 3:09 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Side Effects of Unlicensed Players You May Not Know

The vast array of historical content in NBA 2K is more than we could've dreamed of in the late 90s and early 2000s. Even the Legends and All-Decade teams that came along in NBA Live 2000 were obviously a big deal in their day. While there are issues with accuracy and detail, having retro content in the games is better than not having it at all. With that being said, players that remain unlicensed are definitely conspicuous by their absence. I'm sure that you're aware of the key names, with Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Rasheed Wallace, being among the most frequently mentioned.

Their absence has an obvious effect on the historical content that has been included, and what can't be included. The 2000 Portland Trail Blazers and 2004 Detroit Pistons don't look complete without Sheed in the lineup. We didn't get any challenges based on the 1993 NBA Finals in The Jordan Challenge, as they'd be pointless without Sir Charles. As it stands, the '85 76ers were an oddball retro team, as Chuck was a rookie on that squad. There are other teams that won't be officially included because Miller, Barkley, and other players are unlicensed. That's widely known and understood, but there are other side effects of 2K being unable to come to terms with certain players.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Side Effects of Unlicensed Players You May Not Know

Postby RayRay_953 on Sat Apr 09, 2022 6:05 am

I think it's interesting to examine the unlicensed players in the recent basketball installments. There are many other instances that you can find related to the five examples that you mentioned.

As you mentioned, Jordan's jersey can't be found in the United Center in the NBA LIVE installments, but I believe a banner and jersey for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (another player LIVE doesn't have the rights to use) can be seen in the later Live games (I've seen it in the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Live 16 for sure). Speaking of Live, they can't include the likeness or anything related to these players, but Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are explicitly name-dropped in The One during your rookie season in Live 18. There's also a commentary line in 18 that rarely plays after a five-second back-in foul is called, with Jeff Van Gundy calling it "The old Mark Jackson-Charles Barkley rule."

Another example of unlicensed content squeaking its way into basketball games is NBA 2K11. When reading the Jordan Challenge description for the 1991 Finals series against the Lakers, it talks about Jordan's double-clutch layup against A.C. Green (explicitly mentioned by name), with Green not even being featured in the game. In the song, Better Than You, the old Raptors arena, The Skydome is mentioned in the lyrics. Toronto had already long since moved to the Air Canada Centre, and none of the classic teams other than the late '90s Bulls and 1990 Pistons used their authentic arena names.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Side Effects of Unlicensed Players You May Not Know

Postby Andrew on Sat Apr 09, 2022 1:03 pm

Good looking out on Kareem's jersey being in the rafters! There's definitely some inconsistency to stuff like that. Those mentions on commentary are good examples of exceptions as well. I recall MJ being mentioned a couple of times in NBA Live 19's commentary, on top of the Charles Barkley mention that you noted. A.C. Green being mentioned in the description when he's not anywhere in the game is a great one too!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Presentation Options NBA 2K Should Have

Postby Andrew on Fri Apr 15, 2022 2:20 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Presentation Options NBA 2K Should Have

Since the early days of the genre, sim basketball games have made it a point to have presentation that resembles a real broadcast. From getting real commentators to call the action on the virtual hardwood, to studio shows and stats overlays, there's been a constant push to include as much authenticity as the current technology will allow. Some of those presentation elements can be adjusted in the game options, such as the frequency of instant replays, muting the commentary, or toggling fun features such as slow motion dunks in the oldest NBA Live titles.

Indeed, NBA Live has had some great presentation features and options that NBA 2K should implement, but for whatever reason, has yet to do so. On top of that, there are several other ideas that would enhance presentation and provide customisation options that neither NBA Live nor NBA 2K has featured to date, and have rarely appeared (if at all) in other NBA titles in years gone by. These features may not be vital, but could nevertheless have an impact on our basketball gaming experience through adding more immersion, quality of life customisation, or just plain fun. Whatever the case, adopting these presentation options would be beneficial in future NBA 2K releases.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Avoid Virtual Hardwood Burnout

Postby Andrew on Fri Apr 22, 2022 2:59 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Avoid Virtual Hardwood Burnout

No matter how much we love a hobby or activity, we will get tired of it eventually. Obviously we're passionate about basketball video games (and the real sport) around these parts, but there are times when the virtual hardwood brings us more frustration than joy. That's usually when burnout has set in, and suffice to say, it's not a good feeling. You want to keep playing as you definitely haven't lost your interest in virtual basketball, but it's hard to fire up a game and hit the court with the same enthusiasm. Somehow, an enjoyable pastime has become work; a chore.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid virtual hardwood burnout! I'm speaking from experience here, as I've felt that burnout in recent years. Changing up my habits has allowed me to really enjoy basketball gaming again, and not just sink a lot of time into it. There is a difference, and it's something that you really notice when you realise how addictive grinding can be. It's all too easy to get stuck in a comfortable rut, so it helps to have a few methods of breaking out of one. These suggestions may seem obvious, but when you're deep in that rut, you can easily overlook your options. If you're feeling burnout with your basketball gaming right now, consider these tips!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Tips & Tricks You May Not Remember

Postby Andrew on Mon May 02, 2022 8:07 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Tips & Tricks You May Not Remember

To state the obvious, success in basketball games comes from employing basketball strategies; at least to some extent. Older games have more primitive mechanics, arcade titles facilitated strategies that wouldn't work in sim games (or real life, for that matter), and even newer releases aren't entirely free of exploits. Still, then and now, most tips and tricks for basketball games adhered to concepts that also applied to real hoops: take the open shot, pound the ball inside for higher percentage looks and to draw fouls, position yourself properly, take advantages of mismatches, and so on.

Those are all important points to remember, and they generally apply to all basketball games, new and old. Of course, because they are video games at the end of the day, there are predictable moments and useful tricks that are more "video game tactics" than "basketball strategies". Outside of exploits such as Curry slides and zigzag cheese, these have become less common as games have become more sophisticated. Trying to play old games with a realistic approach that's more suited to modern titles can work, but you'll have more success if you use some antiquated tips and tricks. Here are five examples of such strategies, some of which you may have forgotten.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 12)

Postby Andrew on Fri May 06, 2022 8:20 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 12)

This is one of my longest-running series of Friday Five articles, yet somehow, I haven't posted a new instalment since 2019! It's not that I haven't had any ideas for retro teams that I'd like to see added to NBA 2K, either. In fact, I had ten further suggestions when I posted Part 11 in this series, all ready to be written about. I even had screenshots prepared for those articles. Indeed, the series has been on the shelf for so long while I discuss other topics here in The Friday Five, that it only felt right to get brand new screenshots using a newer game!

With that out of the way, what other retro teams could I possibly suggest that haven't been mentioned already? Obviously I've covered a lot of ground so far, and a few of the teams I suggested in earlier instalments have actually been included since. I'm not claiming credit here, but since I was genuinely keen to see those retro teams be added to the games, I'm pleased that it happened! Once again, I've been delving into some unorthodox suggestions, since 2K already made the wise decision to expand beyond conventional choices of champions, their opponents, and other celebrated squads. Without any further ado, here are five more retro teams that'd I'd really like to see.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 13)

Postby Andrew on Sat May 14, 2022 3:45 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 13)

This isn't the first time I've revisited the topic of retro teams that I'd like to see in NBA 2K in back-to-back weeks. Although I do like to spread out sequel articles in the name of variety, sometimes I'll stick with a topic if the next part is in the can, and it still feels relevant. Parts eight to eleven of this series came out in consecutive weeks back in 2019, and as I mentioned in part twelve, I've already shelved the topic for so long that I needed to take new screenshots from the latest game. Also, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to post the thirteenth instalment of the series on Friday the 13th!

With that being said, let's get into the next five retro teams that I'd be in favour of the developers adding in future NBA 2K games. Actually, I'm cheating and suggesting six teams in a list of five, but you'll see why when you get there. As I've previously noted, since 2K has ventured beyond the parameters of iconic teams, such as former champions, their opponents, and other perennial powerhouses, my lists have likewise explored some more unorthodox choices. My aim is to suggest teams that are fun to play with, historically significant in some way, and would allow for some handy new assets to be included for modding projects. I believe these five - uh, six - fit the bill.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Live Flopped on PS4/X1

Postby Andrew on Fri May 20, 2022 2:10 pm

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

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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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways Your Turnovers Are Inflated

Postby Andrew on Fri May 27, 2022 5:13 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Ways Your Turnovers Are Inflated

In an era where stat-padding is encouraged - in real life and on the virtual hardwood - the turnovers column is one that you don't want to fill. They indicate ballhandling blunders, and only serve to help the other team; especially live ball turnovers! Of course, a perfect game is easier said than done, as mistakes will happen. If you look at some of the best playmakers throughout NBA history, you'll see that their turnovers are often high. The downside of handling the ball so often is that you will be targeted by master thieves, and you'll have more passes to be intercepted or mishandled.

Turnovers in sim basketball games generally reflect the ways that players cough up the ball in real life, but the numbers can be inflated. The goal of representing real life mistakes can lead to contrived situations where the ability to keep control of the ball and make smart decisions is taken out of the user's hands. In the worst case scenario, this leads to losses when the game decides that despite doing everything correctly, the user will commit a costly turnover at an inopportune moment. If nothing else, it will lead to inflated numbers that don't quite tell the truth about a gamer's ability to take care of the rock. Here are five ways that your turnovers are bound to be inflated.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Made the Finals The Same Year

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 03, 2022 3:25 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Made the Finals The Same Year

The 2022 NBA Finals are upon us! Fittingly, in this 75th Anniversary season, the two teams squaring off are the Golden State Warriors, and the Boston Celtics. Not only are they two of the original three BAA/NBA teams - the New York Knicks being the third - but the Warriors and Celtics have plenty of championship history between them. The Warriors were the inaugural BAA champions, and have gone on to win another five titles since. Boston, meanwhile, were long-time record holders for total NBA championships, and are currently tied with the Los Angeles Lakers with 17.

While there's plenty of real life history involved with this year's Finals matchup, it is lacking a tie-in with the virtual hardwood, namely involving cover players. There was only one game on the market for the 2022 season - NBA 2K22 - and while it boasted a few different covers, none of them featured a player that will be competing in this year's championship series. Popularity and marketability are obviously the deciding factors when EA Sports and Visual Concepts choose their cover players, rather than likelihood of winning or at least competing for a title that year. Of course, it's quite fortuitous when they do! Here are five cover players that made it as far as the Finals.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Won Titles The Same Year

Postby Andrew on Sat Jun 11, 2022 1:19 am

The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Won Titles The Same Year

Last week, I listed five players who graced video game covers in the same year that they made the NBA Finals. More specifically, I was referring to players who made the Finals, but were ultimately the runners-up. Obviously, cover players who won titles while being the face of a game technically qualify as examples for last week's list as well. However, I did want to draw a distinction between the cover players who "only" made it to the Finals that same year, and those who actually won titles. While both are accomplishments and interesting trivia, the latter is naturally rather more special.

To that end, the number of cover players that won titles in the same year is smaller than the already select group of names who made the Finals while being the face of NBA Live, NBA 2K, or another title. As I noted last week, publishers like EA and 2K are no doubt more interested in a player's popularity and marketability than whether they'll be in the Finals, or NBA Champions. I have no doubt that they're happy when it does occur, but given that it's a gamble even if they ink a deal with a player from a contender, it's a bonus boost to the brand at the end of the day. NBA Champion cover players are something that a handful of titles can boast however, including these five.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Reasons NBA Jam: On Fire Edition is the Best Jam Game

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 17, 2022 11:02 pm

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

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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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Season Games I Wish I'd Finished

Postby Andrew on Fri Jun 24, 2022 10:57 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Season Games I Wish I'd Finished

As I've said in a previous article, completion is what you make it in basketball video games. In other words, you don't necessarily have to finish a season in franchise and career modes, collect every card in team building modes, or unlock all of the Trophies or Achievements, just to feel a sense of completion and closure. If you've enjoyed a basketball video game and felt like you got your money's worth, that's what matters at the end of the day. Of course, there is something special about playing through an entire season from start to finish, hence my kick with NBA 2K14 MyCAREER.

I've finished seasons in a number of basketball video games over the years, and they've become some of my most treasured virtual hardwood memories. It's always felt incredibly rewarding, as I prefer to play every game on twelve minute quarters. Due to that preference though, there are some franchise and season games that I didn't play through to their conclusion, having run out of time before the release of a new title. With that in mind, they'd make excellent retro gaming opportunities, which I'm obviously quite open to. Unfortunately their save files are long gone, meaning that these old franchise and season mode games can never be revisited and finished.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 01, 2022 11:08 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Frustrating Restrictions in Basketball Games

There are obviously going to be restrictions in basketball video games, some of which we'll find frustrating. In some cases, those restrictions are due to technical limitations. Others are design choices, and those are the ones that we find more bothersome, as we know it didn't necessarily have to be that way. In all fairness though, these restrictions can sometimes be for the best. If not for some of them, games would be unbalanced and far less enjoyable. When cleverly implemented, restrictions can prevent exploits and ensure that games are challenging, without ruining the fun.

Striving for realism in sim games also results in restrictions that can be frustrating, but ultimately in an enjoyable way, since they reflect obstacles that teams and players do actually face in real life. To that point though, we're bound to grumble when we're restricted in a way that doesn't accurately represent an NBA rule. As for frustrating restrictions that are simply design choices, there have been some over the years that just haven't been good ideas. Alternatively, they're good and sensible ideas in theory, but were poorly executed. Some of those restrictions are recent or rare, but others are recurring issues that we've been encountering in basketball games for generations.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Events That Shake Your Confidence in a Game

Postby Andrew on Sat Jul 09, 2022 1:37 am

The Friday Five: 5 Events That Shake Your Confidence in a Game

Although we can sometimes seem like a cynical bunch, I believe that a majority of basketball gamers do want to see a great new game every year. Sure, there's a certain catharsis in a smug "I told you so", but when it comes down to it, I expect most of us want to at least be satisfied with, if not blown away by, the latest release. It's wise to keep our expectations realistic, and not get our hearts set on something that hasn't been promised. At the same time, we can still be optimistic without getting carried away, or ignoring troubling signs.

To that point though, there are warning signs that we must pay attention to. These are the events that shake our confidence in a game, and for good reason. While it's easy to jump to conclusions, there are recognisable patterns and red flags when it comes to the development of basketball video games. The longer you play them, and the more preview seasons that you experience, the better you get at recognising those signs. Also, while social media giving us access to the devs has been great for feedback, it can also leave us concerned about the people responsible for our favourite games. One way or another, these events will shake our confidence, and dampen our enthusiasm.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things That I Carelessly Lost

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 15, 2022 3:16 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Things That I Carelessly Lost

You don't know what you've got until it's gone. It's an old adage that's been lamented in the music of Joni Mitchell and the band Cinderella alike. The sentiment usually refers to more important things in life than video games, but since that's what we cover around these parts, I'll appropriate it for this occasion. After all, while I think we can and should acknowledge that other losses are far more significant in the grand scheme of things, it's still a bummer when we lose save files, data, and other content in video games. Life goes on, but it sucks to have all that progress go up in smoke.

It's bad enough when it occurs due to a glitch in a game, but at least you can turn your anger and frustration outwards towards the developers and publisher. When you've carelessly done something that's resulted in your progress being lost, it's tougher to shift the blame onto somebody else! Even if there's something clunky in the game that's partly to blame, you're stuck with the knowledge that it could've been avoided if you were just the teeniest bit more careful. The times when I've been careless with my save files are undoubtedly among my biggest regrets as far as basketball gaming is concerned. Here are five things that I've lost due to a lack of care and foresight.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (Part 4)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 22, 2022 2:16 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (Part 4)

It's time for some more video game roster trivia! As I'm so fond of saying, old NBA video games are like interactive almanacs, capturing snapshots of the league at the time of their release (or indeed, their most recent roster update). Revisiting those titles reminds us of players who became familiar faces in strange places, as well as those who later returned to familiar places. We can see comebacks that were over before they began, as well as odd situations such as Michael Redd's appearance on the Dallas Mavericks in NBA Live 2003 PC.

Those are the stints I'm taking about again today: the players that only appeared on certain teams in video games. There are several reasons why this happens, from an offseason acquisition that was cut in between the rosters being finalised and the real season tipping off, to injuries resulting in a stint that only occurs on paper and the virtual hardwood. Unless you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of trades and free agent signings over the years, it may not be until you dust off an old game that you remember a player only technically appearing on a roster. Of course, you may not be a crazy collector of old games like I am, so allow me to provide some more examples!
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 6)

Postby Andrew on Fri Jul 29, 2022 4:20 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 6)

When it comes to trivia like this, I'm always concerned about running the topic into the ground. I always want my features to be fresh and interesting, and going back to a particular subject does invite repetition, while potentially appearing to be lacking in imagination. At the same time, I want to be thorough, covering all of the relevant and interesting examples. It's why I've repurposed some topics that I originally planned as Friday Five series into longer lists for Wayback Wednesday. Since this one goes back a few years and has five instalments already, I figured I'd keep the ball rolling.

Meta musings about my "process" aside, I do have another five examples of players who appeared in more video games than NBA games. It's not an unprecedented phenomenon - obviously, since we're up to Part 6 - but it's still somewhat unusual. You'd expect there to be more examples of players who made the NBA yet were left out of games, but that's become rarer thanks to official roster updates. Alternatively, you might expect players who fall just short of officially debuting in the NBA to be absent from video games entirely. When the timing is right though, those players get to play on the virtual hardwood, while having some interesting stories in real life.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

Postby Andrew on Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:11 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Modding Ideas

As the stigma fades and retro basketball gaming increases in popularity, inevitably we start thinking about modding as well. After all, classic games are a blast to revisit as-is, but mods can breathe new life into them, too. Many of the modding tools are still available for retro basketball games, along with resources and archived mods to learn techniques from (or indeed, build upon). Even with the limitations of older titles, we're capable of creating some outstanding mods that will facilitate new experiences on the virtual hardwood.

Needless to say, there are some challenges to overcome here. The audience is smaller, so anyone engaging in retro modding will be toiling on projects that are seen and used by fewer people. To that end, there are also fewer active modders for retro games, so some of the more ambitious projects may not have the level of detail we'd like, or be truly viable. Major roster mods in particular may need to use placeholder artwork, or whatever assets are available. That shouldn't stop us from looking into retro modding, however. There's always lingering interest in seeing new updates for old favourites, and there are plenty of retro modding ideas that we can and should at least consider.
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