Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Cover Players Who Changed Teams

Postby Andrew on Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:43 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Cover Players Who Changed Teams

The choice of cover players is an aspect of basketball gaming that has become a bigger talking point since the early days of the hobby. The earliest NBA licensed basketball games tended to use photographs featuring a handful of players. Even in the late 90s, not all titles featured a single cover player, and more than a couple of cover players weren't among the league's elite. Since then, landing a big star has become an essential part of a game's branding, and cover players have also influenced bonus content, including special game modes.

Sports game covers in general have their own lore and trivia. The infamous "Madden Curse" has been used to describe a string of misfortune suffered by NFL players who have appeared on the game's cover. Basketball games have generally avoided such superstition, though a handful of players haven't been so lucky. Arguably, it's been their teams who've had the bad run of luck, as several cover players have ended up moving on not too long after becoming the face of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other titles. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: A MyCAREER Scoop for NBA 2K16

Postby Andrew on Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:43 pm

Wayback Wednesday: A MyCAREER Scoop for NBA 2K16

Back in July of 2015, we were all awaiting further previews and details of what to expect from NBA 2K16. There had been rumours that MyCAREER would include some college gameplay, due to the leaked achievement list and research unearthing a licensing agreement between 2K Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company. As screenshots continued to leak, it seemed increasingly likely that MyCAREER would indeed feature a collegiate career as part of its story. By September, trailers confirmed those details for Spike Lee's MyCAREER joint, "Livin' Da Dream".

Although I was posting rumours and confirmed details alike as they made the rounds, there was one post that I didn't make. An anonymous source sent me a scoop via the NLSC's contact form, offering up snippets of information on what to expect from the MyCAREER story in NBA 2K16. Obviously anyone covering video games enjoys being able to break news and confirm rumours, but I was hesitant, and ultimately elected not to post a bulletin discussing those details. Why did I make that choice? Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 4)

Postby Andrew on Wed May 06, 2020 11:27 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Players I Remember Because of Video Games (Part 4)

It's time for Part 4 in an ongoing series for Wayback Wednesday, in which I take a look back at players that I remember thanks to basketball gaming. I've joked about it a few times before in articles and on the NLSC Podcast, but I can't remember a single thing about quadratic equations or pretty much anything else I learned in high school maths. However, I can still recall the "dunk from anywhere" code for NBA Jam Tournament Edition on SNES, the location of bonus barrels and DK coins in Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3, and a ton of quotes from classic episodes of The Simpsons.

Oh, and a bunch of lesser known NBA players from the 90s and 2000s. I may have also seen them play in real games, and basketball cards have also played a role in helping certain players to stand out in my mind, but playing video games (and in particular, creating roster updates for them) is what truly embedded them into my memory. As I said, I've got another list of ten players to share today, so let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Postby Andrew on Wed May 13, 2020 2:20 pm

Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Cover players are an aspect of basketball gaming that has become more important over time. The player on the box and the title screen may not always have much of an impact on the game beyond pre-order cosmetic items in career modes and a card in the team building modes, but they're nevertheless a talking point. After all, the reveal of the cover player generally signifies the beginning of a new game's preview season, tipping off weeks and months of discussion about what we're hoping to see from an upcoming release.

As basketball games have increased in popularity, cover players have become selling points and an indication of a game's brand strength, if not necessarily its quality. Both EA Sports and 2K Sports have sought to appeal to local markets with regional covers that feature a player from the country in question (or in a pinch, have some connection with said nation). They've resulted in the international editions of games becoming collector's items due to their novelty, and are of course interesting trivia notes. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Postby [Q] on Thu May 14, 2020 3:23 am

Funny, now Japan has a few NBA players currently. It's really cool to see more Asians in the league!
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

Postby Andrew on Thu May 14, 2020 2:14 pm

Rui Hachimura for the cover of NBA 2K21.
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 08 Draft Camp & Summer Camp

Postby Andrew on Wed May 20, 2020 3:50 pm

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 08 Draft Camp & Summer Camp

With NBA Live's struggles over the past decade, it's easy to forget - or indeed, not be aware of - just how popular the brand once was. Although NBA 2K received positive reviews since its inception, NBA Live remained the best-selling NBA sim up until the 2009 season, when NBA 2K9 edged out NBA Live 09 in sales. Even then, NBA Live remained competitive and popular among basketball gamers, until the cancellation of NBA Elite 11 changed the course of the series. As such, these days it's NBA 2K that's prominent in pop culture and the cool brand among NBA players and gamers alike.

Around the time of NBA Live 08 however, it was EA Sports that was touting their relationship with NBA players, and bringing them in for events. In fact, during the development of NBA Live 08, EA held two events that served as mo-cap sessions and a source of promotional materials: the Draft Camp, and the Summer Camp. A quick Google search reveals that there isn't much in the way of information about or media from those events, so I thought it'd be fun to chronicle them for Wayback Wednesday. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 2)

Postby Andrew on Wed May 27, 2020 11:09 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 2)

As I said in my first Wayback Wednesday article covering this topic, there's definitely something oddly fascinating in seeing familiar faces in strange places. We often claim that we wish that those stints didn't happen or that we could forget all about them, yet they're burned into our memories. It's hard to forget something that looks strange and out of place, and that certainly describes the image of players wearing the uniform of a team other than the one we associate them with the most. The time capsule-like nature of video games helps us to remember - and also replay - these unusual stints.

I mentioned that there were more examples than the ten I covered in my first article, and to that end, I have another ten to share today. This time, not all of the players were perennial All-Stars, but they are familiar names who ended up in strange places. In fact, a couple of these stints were so brief that the only way to experience them again on the virtual hardwood is to load very specific roster saves - assuming that you still have them, of course - or by recreating them. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Quick Strike Ballhandling

Postby Andrew on Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:43 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Quick Strike Ballhandling

I don't think it's an exaggeration to call right stick dribbling controls one of the biggest, best, and most important advancements in basketball gaming. Although we were able to perform crossovers, spins, and other dribbling moves before Freestyle Control made its debut in NBA Live 2003, we were at the mercy of a button press as far as the specific move that was performed. Not only were we in complete control with Freestyle, we could perform moves on command that would've been far harder to implement using the old approach of face buttons for random dribbling moves.

As the years passed, EA Sports expanded on their player control concepts with ideas such as Freestyle Superstars, eventually dubbing their control scheme Total Freestyle Control. In the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of NBA Live 08 however, the controls were revamped once again. Freestyle Superstars was replaced by Go-To Moves, shooting went back to two buttons (a jumpshot and a combined dunk/layup button), and the dribbling mechanics were now called Quick Strike Ballhandling. Although it was a familiar system, it was more than just a new name. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

Postby Andrew on Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:11 am

Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

It's strange how certain memories will randomly pop into your head. Last year, I whipped up a video illustrating a tall tale that I heard about Michael Jordan many years ago. It's something I hadn't thought about in years, but something jogged my memory, and I felt like reflecting on that ridiculous story. The same thing happens with basketball video games. I'll randomly remember a feature or something that I once experienced, and it strikes me as a good idea for a Wayback Wednesday feature. It's as good of an excuse as any to revisit some old favourites, too.

Of course, our memories aren't always reliable. I've discussed the phenomenon of having false memories of basketball video games in The Friday Five, and indeed, I had enough examples for second column. It pays to double-check, and there are Wayback Wednesday features I've had to amend (and in one case, re-write completely) when I haven't done my due diligence. With that in mind, on this occasion I'm making the research itself into the feature! There's an error that I vaguely recalled encountering in the PC version of NBA Live 96, so this week, I'm going bug hunting. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

Postby [Q] on Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:08 am

I remember playing seasons with the Clippers in Live 95 a few times back then and I remember the Japan games on a generic court but I think they had an accurate court for the Anaheim games. If they weren't going to put a generic court (or forgot somehow) in Live 96, I see the Grizzlies court as being a good court to use as the color scheme was pretty close to the way it was at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim at the time.
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Bug Hunting in NBA Live 96 PC

Postby Andrew on Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:42 pm

Ah, that's the one thing I forgot to do; check the Anaheim games in NBA Live 95 PC as well! I'll have to follow up on that. I'm guessing the Grizzlies court being suitable is a coincidence, since it's used for the Bullets' Balitmore games as well.
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: Euroleague in NBA Games

Postby Andrew on Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:14 pm

Wayback Wednesday: Euroleague in NBA Games

For as long as we've been able to mod NBA Live and NBA 2K, people have made total conversions that replace the NBA teams. College basketball mods are quite popular, but foreign league projects have also been in demand. The popularity and prestige of Euroleague has made it a mainstay of total conversion mods, not to mention a league that a lot of gamers would like to see receive its own game. There has been an official management game, of course, but we're yet to see a gameplay-oriented Euroleague title.

Of course, we have seen Euroleague teams featured in NBA video games as bonus content. Their inclusion has expanded upon the traditional NBA-oriented experience, but has also drawn criticism due to inconsistent quality. It remains to be seen if any developer sees enough interest and potential profit to produce a Euroleague game, but for now, we've at least been able to get a small taste of Europe's premier basketball competition via a handful of NBA titles. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: The Saga of DJ in NBA 2K18

Postby Andrew on Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:53 pm

Wayback Wednesday: The Saga of DJ in NBA 2K18

I know, I know. I've talked about the story in NBA 2K18's MyCAREER a lot, from running jokes on the NLSC Podcast to discussing my issues with it as part of my article on the game's legacy. However, there's something really fascinating about it; if nothing else, it provides so many examples of what not to do with the story-driven approach to MyCAREER. Since I've already taken a look back at "Livin' Da Dream" and the tale of Orange Juice, and will no doubt reflect on the stories of AI and Che at some point, it's only fair to give DJ one more moment in the spotlight.

There's another reason why it's worth looking back at NBA 2K18's MyCAREER story featuring DJ. With the servers being shut down earlier this year, it's no longer possible to play a connected MyCAREER save, and unlike in previous games, that renders the story completely inaccessible. For better or worse - and spoiler alert, but I'd definitely say it was for the worse - the saga of DJ proved to be a turning point for the mode. Let's take a look back...way back...
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Re: Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

Postby Andrew on Wed Jul 01, 2020 2:14 pm

Wayback Wednesday: The Unbelievable Starting Five

There aren't too many members of our original Forum who are still active, so the legacy and impact of the infamous "I Cannot Believe My Starting Five" thread may not resonate with a lot of people in our community today. I've covered it in-depth in a previous Wayback Wednesday retrospective, and mentioned it as one of the most bizarre moments in the history of our Forum, but the short version is as follows. A member by the name of A.L. made a post describing a lineup they'd put together in NBA Live 2001's Franchise mode, which included Kevin Garnett at point guard.

A.L.'s insistence that point guard was KG's "natural position" unfortunately derailed an interesting discussion about fantasy draft and trade logic, as well as experimenting with a fun idea for an unorthodox lineup, before it even began. The thread quickly turned into a catch-all for jokes and general banter, and became the first thread in the old Forum to surpass one thousand posts. However, as much fun as it was to take part in, it's extremely unfortunate that A.L. felt unwelcome due to the way his post was received. Furthermore, it's a creative idea that's at least worth messing around with, so that's what I'm going to do at long last. Let's take a look back...way back...
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