illegalsmileIV:XX - SNES
1. Name, age, occupation, location?
Clement, 40. I'm a freelance writer/journalist, living, and working, with my missus of 10 years in Birmingham, England.
2. What hobbies or other interests do you have?
I'm two-thirds of the way through writing a semi-autobiographical, though mainly fictional, novel, at the moment. Interests outside of writing include reading, Blues and Country music, painting, guitars, Cigar Box Guitars, harmonica, stand up comedy, retro technology and, obviously, Hockey. I also enjoy collecting vinyl records, rolling papers and typewriters, all while staying 4:20 friendly and being the best exponent of Dudeism I can be.
3. When did you get introduced to the game NHL'94? How did it happen? I was around the age of 18 and I worked with a Russian guy, who I used to get drunk and stoned with on the reg, while we played GoldenEye and MK64. He introduced me to Hockey games with Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey and I introduced him to "Alternative Comedy," with The Young One's, Bottom and The Comic Strip Presents videos. He happened to mention how good the 16-bit generation of Hockey games were, NHL '94 particularly. I'd never played any sports games, back in the day. I was more into Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, as a kid. I have been a complete Nintendo fanboy since around the age of twelve, so it wasn't long before I went and bought a long forgotten SNES again. (I'd owned one previously to the N64, but had sold it, along with all the games, to help pay for the brand new N64 console.) It was around the year 2000 when I repurchased the Super Nintendo, the console and the games could be found for pennies. I bought a ton of games from charity and junk shops, some of which were awesome titles you'd pay a fortune for today - Chrono Trigger, Earthbound, Super Metroid and Harvest Moon, all of which I bought for no more than £1 each. One of the games I'd picked up was NHL '94, the game I'd been told so much about, on many a drunk and stoned N64 and Young One's marathon night. I played '94 and fell in love with it, I realised quickly, after getting hold of '95-'98, and NHLPA '93, NHL '94 was hands down the best Hockey game of the 16-bit era. Even then, I knew it was special. From that point on, twenty-two years later, '94 is still the game I play more than any other. (With honorable mention's going out to NBA Jam T.E., M.K. 2 and UMK 3.)
4. When did you get introduced to nhl94.com and the online community? Were you playing between these two dates? (That is, between first becoming aware of game, and first becoming aware of nhl94.com.)
Without this video popping up in my YouTube feed, I'd have never have known about the community. But, yes, I was definitely playing prior to finding the community.
5. What are a couple things that you love about the game?
The sheer simplicity of it, it isn't something you need to dedicate a huge amount of time to, before gaining a full understanding of the controls. Once you get to know the controls and a little understanding of the game itself, you start to see how differently weighted different teams are. You see the differing play-styles, the skating, you want to experiment with every team, the lines, manual goalie and off sides. And before you know it, you've been playing for twenty years, or more...
6. Are you a gamer in general? What other games do you play? Definitely. It started at the age of eight with a Commodore 64 and copies of Wonder Boy and Silk Worm, then I moved onto the Amiga 500, Cannon Fodder, Elite and Lemmings. Before I knew it, the Console Wars had started and I enlisted to serve my country, serving my time and fighting alongside Field Marshall Mario and Nintendo. This, I did with pride, right up until the release of the PS2. The PS2, for me, was the most exciting console since the release of the Super Nintendo. I later went on to buy a PS3 and felt cheated by the console, from that point on, I purposely turned away from modern gaming. By this time, I'd already bought a SNES and still owned my PS2, so I sold my PS3 and bought an Atari VCS. I followed that up with a NES, another N64, a ZX Spectrum and an Amiga 500. Nowadays, all I own are "retro" systems and computers. I prefer pixels over perfection.
7. Do you follow hockey in real life? Any other sports?
Hard Yes! I'm an Oilers supporter, but also enjoy watching the Wild and Bruins as well. Sadly, I decided upon the Oilers as my team, I still have no idea why, but there we are... Now, I'll watch pretty much any Hockey game, from any league. The only other sports I can really watch and take an interest in are Basketball, (Go Celtics!), and Baseball, (Go Red Sox!), but neither are as interesting, or as exciting to watch as Hockey.
8. If you have been to a live tourney, what was it like meeting the real people behind the screen names? Any big surprises?
I have never been to a live tournament, would like to, but haven't yet.
9. What is behind your screen name? (Origin story, if there is one.)
Illegal Smile was the name of my first band, it was named after the John Prine song. The IV:XX is just 4:20 in Roman numerals. I lowercase the "i," at the beginning purely because it's more aesthetically pleasing.
10. Favorite NHL94 player in game (and why)?
It's got to be The Great One. I mean, just out of loyalty... [Taking off the rose-tints] Besides Gretz, I'd have to go with Yzerman. He was the first player who truly stood out to me as being different. Mistakes are non-existent with him, he's one of the few completely fully-rounded players, he can turn on a dime and shoot as quick and direct as a bullet from a gun.