NBA Live series
The NBA Live series of basketball games, published by EA Sports, is currently one of the leading National Basketball Association simulations on the market. Its main (and only major) competitor is Sega's NBA 2K series. The series started with NBA Live 95. Subsequently, NBA Live 96, 97 and so on, until the naming was changed from last two digits of the year to the entire year, plus NBA Live. For example, the latest in the series, NBA Live 2005, uses this naming system. (Starting with NBA Live 06, the franchise will be returning to the original two-digit naming system.)
The game is based on the NBA Playoffs series, starting with Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs, released in 1990 for the Sega Genesis and SNES, as well as PC DOS. This game was played from a horizontal view (while later versions moved to a isometric view before ultimately moving to 3D on newer consoles). The game was one of the first to feature an NBA license, containing both real NBA teams and player likenesses and signature moves. For example, Kareem Abdul Jabbar's goggles are clearly visible, and his sky hook shot is of very high accuracy. Detailed player numbers were visible. The game featured all eight teams that made the NBA playoffs that year, as well as both NBA All Star teams.
The next game in the series was Bulls vs. Lakers and the NBA Playoffs released in 1991 followed by Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs in 1992. Unlike the first game, these two releases were titled after the two teams who were in the NBA Finals the previous season, while the original release apparently chose the Lakers and Celtics due to both teams' historical success. Each revision added more teams and players, as well as signature moves. The series also included an Olympic basketball game, Team USA Basketball (1992) which uses the same engine. The final game in the series was NBA Showdown 94 before the transition to the NBA Live series.
The NBA Live series was originally released for the Sega Genesis and SNES. Both versions usually have the same features; players can play against each other, or against the computer in exhibition, season or playoff games. One difference was that the SNES version did not allow users to create their own players, but the Genesis version did.
Due to licensing problems, some players did not appear in certain versions of the game. Michael Jordan (although he previously gave his likeness to EA's Jordan vs. Bird one-on-one and Jordan In-Flight) and Charles Barkley (who endorsed Barkley: Shut Up And Jam! games) for instance, appear in NBA Live '97 as Roster Guard and Roster Forward. The former, however, returned in NBA Live 2000, which received a special mention in the game cover. (In NBA Live '96, Jordan and Barkley, as well as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and others could be unlocked simply by giving that name to a created player.)
NBA Live games have been released for Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, Sega Saturn, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and PC. It will debut on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PSP with the release of NBA Live '06.
- EA Sports, publisher of the NBA Live series
- NBA Live Series at MobyGames
- nbalive.org, features "mods", roster updates, editing tools and more for the NBA Live series
- UAAP-NCAA Live Series Center, hosts the UAAP NCAA Live mod for the NBA Live series