The Friday Five: 5 Divisive Artistic Choices

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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby Andrew on Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:19 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

We're getting to the point in our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations where I'm talking about the fall of the series, and the struggles that it has endured for more than a decade now. It's unfortunate that the retrospectives aren't as positive as the earlier releases in the series, but it's the truth, and a part of its history that needs to be discussed. It's even more unfortunate that it's the prevailing image for NBA Live: a struggling series that hasn't been able to get things right for a couple of generations, and as such, remains lagging way behind NBA 2K; a game it once outsold annually.

After all, it wasn't always that way. Because it's been so long, it's all too easy to forget that there are many things that NBA Live innovated and did well. To that end, the series doesn't always get the credit it deserves, both from gamers who switched to 2K many years ago, and those who are too young to remember when the NBA Live series was king. On top of that, it's quite easy to focus on the negatives and take things for granted. With that in mind, I'll also be writing similar articles on things that NBA 2K and NBA Jam deserve more credit for. For now though, let's take a look at five aspects of NBA Live throughout the years that do deserve more credit.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby Lady Culture on Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:42 pm

Andrew wrote:The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

We're getting to the point in our 25th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations where I'm talking about the fall of the series, and the struggles that it has endured for more than a decade now. It's unfortunate that the retrospectives aren't as positive as the earlier releases in the series, but it's the truth, and a part of its history that needs to be discussed. It's even more unfortunate that it's the prevailing image for NBA Live: a struggling series that hasn't been able to get things right for a couple of generations, and as such, remains lagging way behind NBA 2K; a game it once outsold annually.

After all, it wasn't always that way. Because it's been so long, it's all too easy to forget that there are many things that NBA Live innovated and did well. To that end, the series doesn't always get the credit it deserves, both from gamers who switched to 2K many years ago, and those who are too young to remember when the NBA Live series was king. On top of that, it's quite easy to focus on the negatives and take things for granted. With that in mind, I'll also be writing similar articles on things that NBA 2K and NBA Jam deserve more credit for. For now though, let's take a look at five aspects of NBA Live throughout the years that do deserve more credit.


I'd love to play the NBA Live 2003 street mod. Can you help me install it?
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Live Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby Andrew on Sat Oct 24, 2020 1:47 pm

From memory it's an executable file that'll place everything in the right folders.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA 2K Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby Andrew on Sat Oct 31, 2020 12:52 am

The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA 2K Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Last week, I discussed five things that NBA Live doesn't get enough credit for. As I mentioned, I'd planned similar articles for NBA 2K and NBA Jam, and this week it's 2K's turn. It may seem odd to suggest that NBA 2K doesn't get enough credit for things given its current position as the brand leader when it comes to sim basketball games, not to mention its record sales and recurrent revenue figures. True, various issues with quality and a lack of goodwill have contributed to some low user scores on Metacritic in recent years, but it still receives a lot of acclaim.

Nevertheless, there are things NBA 2K doesn't get enough credit for, despite its popularity and positive professional reviews. For those of us who have been playing the games for years, it is easy to get jaded by legacy issues, though as I alluded to, there have also been practices in recent titles that understandably draw focus away from the good parts. We're well within our rights to criticise those aspects, just as we critique NBA Live and any other games, but it's only fair that we recognise the great things as well. After all, some of them don't get the credit they deserve, and to that end, here are five things in NBA 2K that are due some recognition and appreciation.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA 2K Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby [Q] on Sat Oct 31, 2020 3:45 am

I agree the free content in my team and the wheel often get overlooked. A lot of people criticize the my team mode for microtransactions but to me it's the nature of the beast and I was appreciative of the free packs and locker codes. I built up a decent team with no money spent and very minimal time invested in the mode
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA 2K Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby Andrew on Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:09 am

It depends on how you look at it. It's definitely possible to build a decent team without spending money and enjoy much of the mode that way, but there are also pushy mechanics. NBA 2K21 introduced a couple of sketchy ones in that regard.

For example, a lot of the challenges in the new Season approach require cards from new packs as they're released. To even attempt those challenges, you must have those players. They also introduced a new mechanic this year whereby cards are marked as being originally owned if they came from packs, but not if they're bought from the Auction House. Some challenges require cards to be originally owned, meaning if you want to attempt them, you can't just find the card in the Auction House; you have to rip open packs in the hopes of getting that card, with the low odds that entails. That makes the whole Season approach less gamer-friendly than it appears.

With that being said though, you can work the system in other ways and have fun with the mode without buying packs and investing real money to do so frequently. It's worth noting that the generosity does mask some sketchy tactics, but the free content does deserve to be acknowledged all the same.

(Also, I actually wrote the article before the release of NBA 2K21 so I hadn't anticipated those new tactics, and I figured I'd save them for another article once I was getting ready to run this one. Besides, it doesn't change the fact that there is still free content.)
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Jam Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby Andrew on Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:40 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Jam Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Following on from my articles about the things that NBA Live and NBA 2K don't get enough credit for, this week I'm giving NBA Jam the same treatment. As with NBA 2K, that may seem strange as NBA Jam is still held in high regard and remembered quite fondly. When it comes to games from the 90s, NBA Live's image has easily suffered more, due to its struggles dating back to the mid 2000s. Although there have been some forgettable NBA Jam games (mainly the ones made by Acclaim), the best titles - including the sequels under different names, like NBA Hangtime - are revered.

And yet, there are times when it feels like NBA Jam doesn't receive the credit that it deserves. I've seen gamers say they don't get what's so special about it, either because they prefer sim games, or in some cases, that they're fonder of NBA Street. It's been nearly ten years since the last NBA Jam game was released, and I imagine there's a large contingent of the current basketball gaming demographic that didn't grow up with it as I and other 90s kids did. Whatever the case may be, NBA Jam should be appreciated for its impact on basketball gaming. In particular, I would suggest that NBA Jam unquestionably deserves credit for these five things.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Jam Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby [Q] on Sat Nov 07, 2020 5:43 am

Man, phrases like heating up and he's on fire would not exist without this game. I had to explain this to my girlfriend who had no idea that the concept of being on fire when playing Beer Pong came from Jam

Good point about the balance. You could play and win or lose with any team. No huge disadvantages for playing as bad teams. Hell, the worst team Dallas actually had pretty good players on their team. I can't say the same thing about Playgrounds where there was no point in playing with lower rated players unfortunately
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things NBA Jam Doesn't Get Enough Credit For

Postby Andrew on Sat Nov 07, 2020 8:24 pm

Absolutely, and I really do think that's an often-overlooked aspect of NBA Jam. For example, you could still hit threes with a player who had a low-three point rating, albeit not as consistently or reliably when it mattered. Any rating under 6 in NBA Playgrounds (or 60 in Playgrounds 2; basically anything that isn't a green rating in either game) is pretty much useless.

One school holidays, my cousin and I made it a point to play and win with every team in NBA Jam Tournament Edition on PC in a single day. We had an awesome time doing that because as you said, it was viable to play with every team and be competitive.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Amusing Graphical Glitches

Postby Andrew on Fri Nov 13, 2020 4:39 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Amusing Graphical Glitches

Generally speaking, nothing spoils a game quite like glitches. In the worst case scenario, glitches impede progress and render games unwinnable, or perhaps corrupt save data. They can be advantageous to exploit, yet frustrating if you're not the one benefiting from them. Graphical glitches tend to be ranked much lower on the scale of annoying bugs and gameplay quirks, though they can still detract from the atmosphere in a title that's aiming for stunning, realistic graphics. If nothing else, they don't represent a game at its visual best.

Of course, graphical glitches in particular can be very amusing, and few games are immune to them. Basketball games are no exception, and over the years, various hoops titles have included some funny graphical glitches. To the developers' credit, some of them are only noticeable in instant replay, where it's possible to advance frame by frame and really scrutinise the animations. Graphical glitches from the early days of basketball gaming are obviously the result of primitive technology, but are nevertheless good for a laugh. With that in mind, here are five graphical glitches from an assortment of games that I hope you'll also find amusing.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Spot a Shill

Postby Andrew on Fri Nov 20, 2020 5:43 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Spot a Shill

Contrary to what some people might think, I don't relish writing critical articles. It's something that I like to balance, because I believe that we should enjoy and celebrate basketball gaming. After all, my motto for the NLSC is fans, not fanboys; critics, not haters. However, it's also important to point out issues with the games, as well as our community, and the wider basketball gaming community in general. It's vital that we stand up for ourselves as consumers, which means not remaining silent when there are problems, or defending bad practices. In short, it means not being a shill.

Now, what's the difference - if any - between a fanboy and a shill? There's obviously a large amount of overlap between the two, but I would say that a shill tends to take things much further. They also tend to be louder voices in the community, wielding some level of influence, and enjoying certain perks as a result. Fanboys contribute to very frustrating discussions and muddy our attempts to provide constructive feedback, but a shill shuts down the conversation, and throws their fellow gamers under the bus. The shills aren't going anywhere, but if you know how to spot them, you can at least take their words with the scepticism that they deserve. These are the tell-tale signs.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Unfixed Bugs in NBA 2K21 Current Gen

Postby Andrew on Fri Nov 27, 2020 2:10 pm

The Friday Five: Top 5 Unfixed Bugs in NBA 2K21 Current Gen

Whenever a new console generation launches, you can guarantee that the version of the game that the existing platforms receive is going to be an afterthought. It only stands to reason that Next Gen is the focus, given the new technology that developers have to work with, and the desire for strong sales numbers that the suits desire. In the best case scenario, the Current Gen version will still be a solid release for gamers that aren't ready - or this time around, able - to upgrade to the new consoles. It's certainly not uncommon, however, for the Current Gen release to be a sloppy or subpar one.

That's exactly how I would describe NBA 2K21 Current Gen. I'm tempted to call it a copy and paste job, except that it lacks the quality of NBA 2K20. Not only does the game feature a myriad of legacy issues that have persisted throughout the generation - or even longer in some cases - but there are new bugs and gameplay problems, too. Furthermore, the post-release support has likewise been disappointing. Although the game has received a number of patches, there are still some major bugs that remain unfixed as of the last update. Please note that I'm only referring to technical issues and not gameplay problems here, as that's a whole other topic for another time.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Best Daily Spin Prizes

Postby Andrew on Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:03 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Best Daily Spin Prizes

The Daily Spin is one of the features in NBA 2K that, as I've previously noted, arguably doesn't get enough credit. Sure, it's a gimmick that encourages us to fire up the game every day - something that's great for NBA 2K's engagement numbers - but it can also yield some useful prizes. It can also hand us a few duds, of course, but that's a matter for another time. This week, it's all about the best prizes that are available on the Daily Spin; the ones where it actually makes sense when your MyPLAYER pumps their fist in excitement after the wheel lands on them.

Now, keep in mind that at least a couple of these are subjective, and do depend on which modes you play. For example, if you don't play Park and/or have little interest in outfitting your player, certain prizes will never hold any appeal. You can also get to a point where a particular prize loses it appeal as you've got everything you want or need in that regard, and landing on it again just feels like a waste (free though it may be). In any case, as someone who has spent a lot of time in MyCAREER over the past few years and relied heavily on the Daily Spin for freebies, these are my picks for the best prizes that you can be lucky enough to spin on a regular basis.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Worst Daily Spin Prizes

Postby Andrew on Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:21 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Worst Daily Spin Prizes

We've taken a look at the best, so now it's time to check out the worst! Last week, I listed my picks for the best Daily Spin prizes; the most desirable freebies that the wheel had to offer. This week, it's all about the prizes that feel like a slap in the face. You'd almost rather win nothing than see the wheel land on these prizes, and when your player pumps their fist at seeing the result, it's like it's rubbing it in. Sure, free is free and we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, but in our disappointment, it's difficult to even call these "prizes".

Once again, these are my personal picks, and at least a couple of them are subjective. The usefulness of certain prizes does depend on your choice of modes, and what's useful to one gamer may be utterly useless to another. There's certainly room for discussion and disagreement, just as there was when it came to the best prizes to get on the Daily Spin. However, based on my experiences and habits in MyCAREER, as well as taking into account how appropriate certain prizes are for different gamers, these are my picks. By all means feel free to disagree and suggest your own picks in the comments. With that being said, here are the worst Daily Spin prizes, in my view.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Coincidences in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:14 pm

The Friday Five: Top 5 Coincidences in Basketball Games

Coincidences are everywhere in basketball gaming. As Thunder Shaq and Dee4Three pointed out, NBA 2K used very similar phrasing to my Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of Wayback Wednesday articles to describe a themed set in MyTEAM. Of course, there are only so many ways to phrase things, and similar ideas will end up with similar titles and terminology. As this 2015 post about joke stealing explains, the phenomenon of parallel development accounts for many similarities, especially when something is topical or a common point of interest.

Beyond that, a lot of coincidences are fun, owing to the way they seemingly predict the future. We've seen coincidences like that occur more than a couple of times in basketball video games over the years. It's easy to call them predictions in hindsight, while conveniently ignoring a lot of things that aren't...well, anything! The ones that do look like predictions and foreshadowing are merely coincidences, but that doesn't make them any less enjoyable. Today, I'm counting down my picks for the Top 5 coincidences in basketball gaming. There's some overlap with my previous article on predictions, but there are also some new coincidences that you might find amusing.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Traditions in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Dec 25, 2020 2:30 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Traditions in Basketball Games

Merry Christmas and Season's Greetings, basketball gamers! I'm sure that most folks around these parts are spending time with loved ones, as am I (I scheduled this a day in advance, so presumably that's what I'm doing!). If you've decided to check in and read this week's Friday Five, I definitely appreciate it! It's always my intention to bring you features that entertain, spotlight, and advocate, and hopefully I've been able to achieve that goal throughout the year. Since it's both Christmas Day and the last Five of the year, however, I'm opting for a lighter topic this week.

Given that it's Christmas time, my thoughts have turned to traditions. Apart from spending time and eating Christmas lunch with my folks, one of the traditions that I've adopted for the holidays is pulling out old favourites for some retro gaming. Some of that is in aid of content for the NLSC, but I like to break out classics across a variety of genres: Donkey Kong Country, Sid Meier's Pirates, Jazz Jackrabbit, Epic Pinball, and even a more recent favourite like Fallout 3, just to name a few. Basketball video games themselves have a few traditions, so in the spirit of familiar things that bring us warmth and joy - not just at Christmas, but all year round - here are five examples.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Traditions in Basketball Games

Postby [Q] on Fri Dec 25, 2020 4:02 pm

Oh man, I have all of the NBA cities in alphabetical order memorized thanks to NBA Live so it's a bit irritating having to find teams in order by team name
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Traditions in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:21 am

I was the same, which is why it really threw me when I started playing NBA 2K as well and the teams were alphabetical by name. Like I said though, now I go back to an older NBA Live and that throws me because I'm scrolling through the teams and feeling like they're out of order, because I'm used to what 2K (and newer Live games) do.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Things You're Too Late To Get

Postby Andrew on Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:44 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Things You're Too Late To Get

Happy New Year, basketball gamers! Welcome to the start of another year here at the NLSC, and another twelve months of basketball gaming. With another nine months before we see the next NBA 2K game, we can expect to see plenty of content for both the Next Gen and Current Gen versions of NBA 2K21; especially in MyTEAM, as there's cross-generation progression. Of course, with the new Seasons approach, some rewards are already off the table. If you didn't level up or finish the challenges by the time the previous Seasons ended, you're now too late to get those goodies.

That's not uncommon these days, what with the "games as a service" model that more and more developers are gravitating towards, including Visual Concepts. We've seen similar tactics in NBA Live too, albeit mostly with cosmetic items in LIVE Events. Developers are looking to capitalise on FOMO whenever they can, and as much as we may hate to admit it, it's a highly effective tactic. With that being said, it's not just new games where we can feel as though we've missed out. Certain content, and even full games that were digital-only releases, are now gone forever. These five things are no longer available, so if you want them, then that's too bad; it's now far too late.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Odd Technical Issues in Basketball Games

Postby Andrew on Fri Jan 08, 2021 11:19 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Odd Technical Issues in Basketball Games

Games (and software in general) having bugs are a fact of life. Among older gamers such as myself, there's sometimes an erroneous belief that the games we grew up with didn't have such technical issues. Before patches were viable, developers did have to ensure that games were as bug-free as possible before they shipped, but many of the all-time classics have glitches of some description. Of course, on top of the need to stamp out bugs before games were finalised on cartridge and disc, the simplicity of those older games avoided some of the pitfalls of their more complex descendants.

To put it another way, the bigger video games have grown, the more bugs and other technical issues they're prone to having. When it comes to PC games, the need to support a variety of hardware also provides further challenges. To that end, while there are several valid criticisms we can and should make of basketball video games, the mere presence of technical issues doesn't indicate laziness, incompetence, or a lack of care. If making games and software that were entirely bug-free were easy - or indeed, possible - we'd see it happen. With that being said, various hoops titles have had notably odd bugs and technical issues, and today, I'm looking at five of them.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Times NBL Players Appeared in Classic Games

Postby Andrew on Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:03 am

ICYMI, forgot to post this here on Friday.

The Friday Five: 5 Times NBL Players Appeared in Classic Games

After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the original start of the season, the Australian NBL is tipping off its 2021 campaign today. I've always been more of an NBA fan, but I do have an affinity for my country's league; even if my hometown has lost two teams since the league was founded here in 1979. In any event, it's been great to see the NBL grow, and become a viable path to the NBA. Not only have more and more home-grown talents made it to the NBA, but American players are opting for the NBL over college. Examples include Terrance Ferguson, and more recently, LaMelo Ball.

The number of players who spent time in both leagues has resulted in several NBL alumni appearing in NBA video games. Luc Longley played two games for the Perth Wildcats in 1986 before he was drafted in 1991, and became the first Australian to play in the NBA. Journeyman point guard Doug Overton played a season for the Illawarra Hawks before beginning his NBA career with the Washington Bullets. You may be familiar with them thanks to their NBA careers and video game appearances, as well as more recent NBL alumni such as Joe Ingles and Torrey Craig. There are some older appearances you may not recall however, such as these five examples.
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Antagonists in MyCAREER Stories

Postby Andrew on Fri Jan 22, 2021 2:11 pm

The Friday Five: Top 5 Antagonists in MyCAREER Stories

It's often said that a story is only as good as its villain. We love our heroes and all, but we need them to overcome obstacles, and ultimately, a worthy antagonist. After all, what would Batman be without The Joker? The most popular professional wrestlers have always had great heels to make them look heroic, even if they're a bit of an anti-hero themselves. Name a popular franchise, and it'll be sure to have a memorable antagonist that made the protagonist's journey exciting and meaningful. Conversely, the absence of a strong villain tends to water down a tale.

Of course, that isn't always the case. Indeed, it's possible to tell a good, coherent story without an antagonist. The complication the protagonist faces instead comes from the challenge of accomplishing a task, or resolving conflict that wasn't caused by any act of maliciousness or villainy. This is often the case with MyCAREER stories, in which the protagonist is a young basketball player with aspirations of making the NBA, and must face all of the hurdles that go hand-in-hand with achieving that dream. However, we've also encountered a few antagonists, and they've undoubtedly made the road to the NBA bumpier. Without further ado, here are the Top 5 MyCAREER antagonists!
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Re: The Friday Five: Top 5 Protagonists in MyCAREER Stories

Postby Andrew on Fri Jan 29, 2021 3:00 pm

The Friday Five: Top 5 Protagonists in MyCAREER Stories

Although it's often said that stories are only as good as their villains, it's still vital that their protagonists are likewise well-written. There's arguably more wiggle room here as some stories have successfully utilised protagonists that are audience surrogates; blank slates that we can project ourselves onto. MyPLAYERs certainly can qualify in that regard. Since the adoption of the story-driven approach in MyCAREER, the player character does have established personality traits, yet there are also moments where we can role-play and choose how they react to a situation.

A problem that many of us have had with the protagonists of various MyCAREER stories is that the aspects of the character and story we can't change have a negative impact on the experience. For example, the NBA 2K15 MyPLAYER isn't a very sympathetic character. In NBA 2K16's "Livin' Da Dream", Frequency Vibrations (aka Freq) has a very specific background that doesn't gel with the RPG mechanics of the mode, and makes decisions many of us wouldn't. A good MyCAREER protagonist is one whose shoes we do want to jump into, whichever brand they may be. To that end, these are my picks for the Top 5 Protagonists that have become our avatars.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Side Characters That Should've Been MyPLAYERs

Postby Andrew on Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:04 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Side Characters That Should've Been MyPLAYERs

So, I've looked at the best antagonists and protagonists in MyCAREER stories, but those tales have also featured a number of interesting side characters (and B-Fresh). It may be an overused idea at times, but whenever you have a cast of good supporting characters that have interesting stories of their own, you can't help but wonder about spinoff ideas. Alternatively, you may feel that they should've been the main character all along. There are certainly some examples in the various MyCAREER stories, and so I'll be exploring those possibilities today.

Of course, it should be noted that oftentimes side characters are in those roles for a reason, and promoting them to the lead or one of the main characters exposes why they weren't in the spotlight in the first place. The same traits that made them such enjoyable side characters can make them unsuitable protagonists. It may be that they work better in small doses, or aspects that made them funny as a side character are grating when they're the lead. Conversely, a lack of flaws may make them too boring in the role of protagonist. With that being said, I do believe there's merit in these side characters being cast in the role of MyPLAYER avatar, albeit with a few changes.
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Re: The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Roster Mod Ideas (Part 2)

Postby Andrew on Fri Feb 12, 2021 9:43 pm

The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Roster Mod Ideas (Part 2)

March Modness is fast approaching, and I'm once again hoping to be a more active participant this year. Having finished the bulk of the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live content and built up a significant buffer for my weekly articles, I've been able to clear some space on the workbench for a bit of modding. There's only so much that I'll be able to get done though, which is a shame because I can't help thinking of fun - and sometimes crazy - roster mod ideas. I'd love to be able to give them a try, but I want to finish up the projects I've already started before I move on to something new.

That shouldn't stop someone else from considering these roster mod ideas though, if the crazy concepts appeal to them. Obviously, there's more interest in comprehensive retro season mods, current rosters for old games, enhanced current rosters for the latest game, NCAA mods, Euroleague rosters, and so on. I don't want to discourage the creation of those roster mods at all, because they're fantastic projects and it's always great to see them. However, if you're in the mood to create and play with something that's a bit different and quirky, then you may want to consider one of the crazy roster mod ideas that I suggested before, or one that I'm putting forth today!
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