Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting NBA Live 2003

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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Shaq & His Superman Tattoo in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Wed Sep 28, 2022 1:15 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Shaq & His Superman Tattoo in Basketball Games

Not only is Shaquille O'Neal one of the greatest players in the history of basketball, but he's one of the most prominent faces in basketball video games. By virtue of a 19-year NBA career and the inclusion of historical content, Shaq has appeared in at least one video game every year going back to 1993; a streak that rivals his "teammates in the NBA Finals" record! Of course, when it comes to depicting the Diesel in video games, accuracy demands that he's sporting his ink. On that note, as you're probably aware, Shaq has a prominent tattoo of the Superman logo on his left arm.

As the detail on player models improved, virtual Shaq likewise began sporting his Superman tattoo; or did he? As RayRay_953 pointed out in the Forum, there's an interesting history with Shaq's ink and its appearance in basketball video games over the years. Certain games have achieved a degree of accuracy with the tattoo, while others have taken some creative liberties with the design. I've scoured the games in my collection to bring you an overview of how different titles depicted Shaq with his Superman tattoo throughout the years. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: The Eco-Motion Engine

Postby Andrew on Wed Oct 05, 2022 6:44 pm

Wayback Wednesday: The Eco-Motion Engine

Over the years, we've become more aware of - and concerned with - the technology under the hood of video games. The announcement that a game will be running on a specific engine may excite gamers, or disappoint them. Sometimes, we assume too much here. After all, the same engines have powered good games and bad games alike. Time, resources, and design choices that harness the power of the engine, are paramount. In-house solutions can also offer an advantage over widely-used engines such as Unreal, since they're custom-built for a title or series.

Perhaps the most famous basketball game engine is Eco-Motion. It debuted in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of NBA 2K14, facilitating a landmark release in basketball gaming. Many basketball gamers remember it fondly, and are wistful that it was replaced by tech that many say hasn't felt nearly as good. What was it all about? Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Retro Teams You Can Create in NBA 2K14 PS4/X1

Postby Andrew on Wed Oct 12, 2022 12:10 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Retro Teams You Can Create in NBA 2K14 PS4/X1

While I was on my extended retro kick with NBA 2K14 for PS4, I played several games with the retro teams. There aren't as many to choose from as in later games, and while inter-era games can be fun, I do like to re-create historical matchups. As such, after a while I tried my hand at creating some alternative retro teams. I've already discussed my fondness for minimalist modding, and given the content that's available and the lack of Create-a-Player in NBA 2K14 PS4/X1, it was a stimulating challenge to see how many new retro squads could be assembled.

To that point, there are some obvious limitations when you don't have the benefit of mods and external roster editing, to say nothing of having to destroy the lone custom roster save file. However, as long as you have a backup on hand - either via USB or cloud storage - you can mess around and add some new retro teams to NBA 2K14 PS4, and later restore a cleaner custom roster as necessary. If you're keen to find out how you can change up your retro gaming, let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: NBA Finals Series, Portrayed by NBA 2K14

Postby Andrew on Wed Oct 19, 2022 12:19 pm

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Finals Series, Portrayed by NBA 2K14

The time I've spent with the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K14 is one of the longest retro basketball gaming kicks I've ever been on. It's been extremely rewarding to play through four full seasons in MyCAREER, leaving me with a save file jam packed with memories that I can pick up again whenever the mood strikes. I also played a number of exhibition games with retro teams and then-current 2014 rosters alike. In short, I was making up for not spending that much time with NBA 2K14 when it was released almost ten years ago.

Much like my extended NBA Live 10 kick in 2021, I've felt inspired to continue to explore NBA 2K14 through some Wayback Wednesday features. Today, it's a look at all of the NBA Finals series that can be portrayed through NBA 2K14 screenshots. As with my features looking back at the players in NBA Live 10 whose rookie jerseys were included as retros, as well as the makeshift classic teams that could be created and using it to reflect on "What If" scenarios, it was an interesting challenge to see just how many NBA Finals series I could represent using NBA 2K14. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: 11 Historical Screenshots in NBA 2K14

Postby Andrew on Wed Oct 26, 2022 12:28 pm

Wayback Wednesday: 11 Historical Screenshots in NBA 2K14

When I was capturing screenshots for the feature re-creating NBA Finals matchups with the classic teams in NBA 2K14, I ended up replicating some other scenarios as well. As I said in last week's feature, for me a big part of being on a retro basketball gaming kick is to get as much as I can out of the game, including messing around with rosters, classics teams, and whatnot. Once again, even though there are problems with the accuracy of the retro squads, I still enjoy putting them out there on the virtual hardwood, and playing out some historical matchups.

Originally, these were going to be bonus screenshots in last week's feature. With twenty-nine NBA Finals series being represented however, including these screens as well would've made it an even longer article. To that point, I'm spinning them off into their own feature, as I had a blast getting these historical screenshots in NBA 2K14, and want to share them with everyone as I reminisce about league history. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: My 1996 Roster for NBA Live 2001

Postby Andrew on Wed Nov 02, 2022 7:34 pm

Wayback Wednesday: My 1996 Roster for NBA Live 2001

Whenever I've contemplated making a retro season mod, the 1996 campaign is always the first to come to mind. The reason is simple: not only is it a memorable year in NBA history, but it's also the season when my basketball fandom truly blossomed. Revisiting the 1996 season, whether by watching real highlights and recaps or via the virtual hardwood, always brings back such fond memories of that joyful time of fully falling in love with basketball. My nostalgia was already firmly entrenched by the early 2000s, leading me to create a 1996 roster for NBA Live 2004.

However, it wasn't my first attempt at bringing the 1996 season into what was then a new generation of basketball games. It was also far from the first retro roster for NBA Live, as the updates for NBA Live 95 and NBA Live 96 PC had famously included rosters for earlier years as well as the current season. Looking back, it wasn't the most complete retro project, but I still have fond memories of making the 1996 roster for NBA Live 2001. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Virtual Stadium Technology

Postby Andrew on Wed Nov 09, 2022 12:21 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Virtual Stadium Technology

In our desire to see games and gaming technology constantly improve, we obsess over specifications. This isn't a new phenomenon, of course. One only needs to look back at the console wars of the 90s, where the number of bits and jargon such as Sega's "blast processing" were thrown back and forth in the eternal fanboy debates. These days, we're also aware of the most popular game engines, and the use of technology that we hold in high esteem is often celebrated. We also speculate on how it could help the games we're interested in. "If only NBA Live had used Frostbite!"

It's interesting to see how the engines and tech of different basketball games have been hyped through the years. Eco-Motion may not have lasted, but it was definitely well-received in NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Conversely, although EA Sports' IGNITE engine worked out well for other titles, it didn't make NBA Live better than its predecessors. The Playmaker Engine in NBA Live 13 sounded good on paper, but the game shaped up so poorly that it was cancelled. And then, there's NBA Live's Virtual Stadium Technology. What did that entail? Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: The Missing Rookies of NBA Live 2002

Postby Andrew on Wed Nov 16, 2022 12:25 pm

Wayback Wednesday: The Missing Rookies of NBA Live 2002

Official roster updates are something that we take for granted these days, especially on console. As long as we've had modding tools on PC, adding missing rookies and other players - eventually complete with their proper faces - has usually been a fairly straightforward task. Of course, there's always been value in players being added through official updates. It allows them to appear in the default rosters, and in some cases utilise correct audio. They also don't stand out from original players, as was the case in older games with more primitive Create-a-Player functionality.

Since playing with the new rookie class is an appealing prospect every year, it's disappointing when a noteworthy draftee is absent. In older titles, that could arguably be more frustrating than the absence of holdouts such as Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. At least in their case, developers were unable to license them. With missing rookies, their absence came down to simply not being signed to an NBA contract in time. Funnily enough, NBA Live 2002 did include MJ as an active player due to his comeback with the Washington Wizards, while a handful of prominent rookies were missing instead. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting NBA Live 2003

Postby Andrew on Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:49 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting NBA Live 2003

I've profiled NBA Live 2003 in a number of articles now. In addition to the in-depth retrospectives for the 20th and 25th anniversaries of the NBA Live series, I've also taken a look back at Freestyle Control. I've reminisced about the Courtside Comedy Cutscenes, a myth about the gameplay style settings, the soundtrack, and even my attempts to replicate a move seen in the game's intro. In short, not only did I spend hours playing and modding NBA Live 2003 when it was new, but I've often gone back and revisited it years later. As such, this may seem like a well-trodden path.

However, I do believe that I have some new things to say after revisiting NBA Live 2003 more recently. We've also reached the game's own 20th anniversary, and with my twenty year high school reunion right around the corner, it's another game that I've been reflecting upon. This won't be an in-depth review along the lines of my previous retrospectives, and I do still stand by observations I've made in the past. Nevertheless, even though I played it frequently upon release compared to games like NBA 2K14, NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360, and NBA Live 10, I appreciate NBA Live 2003 far more after revisiting it in 2022. Let's take a look back...way back...
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