Right, I don't play online and I know f**k all about modding, but I can, at least, get in on this...
My first experience with video games came with Super Mario Bros, on the NES, way back in 1987. It was my Christmas present for that year. Despite being a kid who was into comics, sci-fi, Planet of the Apes and Godzilla films, (an expected natural video game addict), it wouldn't be until a few years later, with Duck Tales, that I came to appreciate just how fantastic the NES was/still is. I later received Chip 'n Dale the following year and, (as a SNES was out of the price range of my parents, at the time), TaleSpin, in 1992. These three are still my favourite games on the NES, a console I still own (not my O.G. one though), and play a fair bit.
The following year, however, I did receive the prestigious SNES, although, certainly in the U.K., the Megadrive/Genesis was infinitely more popular... It was also cheaper. I went through the entire life span of the SNES, NEVER ONCE playing a sports game, on it. Instead favouring games such as Super Mario World, Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country, Mario Kart and Street Fighter II - which every kid, whether a SNES or Megadrive owner, played, when I was growing up.
My first sports game came with the N64 console, which, by the time it came out, I'd bought for myself, as I was working at this time. Once again Super Mario dominated the time that I spent playing - remember I would have been around 16/17 at this point, when you're making your own money and can pass for eighteen in pubs and an eager weed smoker, video games get put on the back-burner. (Nowadays, I would say they go together like whiskey and impotence, but I was young and still had to learn.) A game which came to overtake SM64 was GoldenEye 007. I worked with a Canadian guy, a year or two older than I was, who also owned an N64. One day, following some ribbing and friendly banter over GoldenEye times...
'I can finish "Frigate," on double-O agent, in less than three minutes, you f**king Canuck ****.' (Forgive me, I'm Irish. That word is religious to my people.)
'Yeah, well I've got it down to two and a half, you f**king thick-Mick Irish ****.' (And, as I said, he was Canadian, so it was also pretty close to his heart too.)
That sort of thing.
He invited me round to his, for a beer and smoke and to settle our dispute.
Without wishing to brag, I beat him like a ginger stepchild, most times, out of however many games we played. We started to drink heavier and smoke more, as you'd imagine, both of us suffered greatly with our aim. I suggested he put on Mario Kart, as drunk-kart-driving, is not only big and clever, but it was also damn fun to boot. Instead, he put on Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey and I whinged like a bastard, lit a joint and watched him play.
'Stupid American team names... Redwings, sounds like a panty-liner. Blackhawks, that's racist! Maple Leafs? Is that a f**king joke, Maple... Leafs? Seriously?'
'The last one is a Canadian team, you stupid (*guess what came next*)'
I got stoned enough to want to have a go and I was awful at it, I mean, seriously bad. He set it to "play game" mode for me and the first team I played was Hartford and I was beaten, something like, 9-0. I got pissy about it and said if he didn't put Mario Kart on, then I was going to tell everyone in work, that he tried to touch my winky when I was drunk. The following week, I was reminded about just how bad I was and, I know this probably says more about me than it does him, I went out after work and picked up a copy of the game for myself. I was pleased by the fact of how cheap it was, I believe I paid around £25 brand new, (hockey isn't big in Britain, then or now.) I didn't mention it to him and came to learn the basics of the game over the next few nights, playing into the early hours of the morning. At the end of the week, I said I wanted a rematch, he laughed and said okay... When I started playing, right away he asked, when I'd bought it for myself, I said, I didn't know what he was talking about and he pretended that he believed me. On the wall, in his living room, he had a large Edmonton Oilers flag, from first playing the game, at home, I chose to play as the Oilers because I wanted to beat him with his own team and I was happy to choose any team that Satan was on. While we were playing, my pal said something to the effect of, "Yeah, this is good, but it's no 94." I asked him what he was talking about and he went on to explain how fantastic NHL'94 was. I balked at the idea of a game from a previous console being better than the 3D graphics of the one we were currently playing, he told me, the graphics don't matter, the game play was awesome on 94 and he was thinking of buying a SNES and a copy of the game again. I have no idea if he ever did, as not long after, he'd decided he'd had enough of Britain and moved back to Canada.
Without the competition of it, I stopped playing Gretzky's 3D and went back to playing my usual type of game, mainly GoldenEye. Every now and again, I would give 3D another go, still playing as the Oilers, for old time's sake. The first NHL game I ever played was 99, still a favourite on the N64, I bought it mainly due to remembering being told how good NHL'94 was. My logic being, well if 94 was good, 99 should be fantastic. In my opinion, it was good and, overall, better than 3D. The N64 I have today is still my original console, I kept it purely for GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, I never bought another games console after it and a few years later, 5-6, I repurchased an NES and SNES. I bought back all my old games and a few (hundred) that I never had the chance to play first time round, one of which was NHL'94. The game was outstandingly brilliant, I mean, I, to this day, do not feel as though my friend did it justice, when he explained how good it was. It was/is far superior to both 3D an 99, (as well as every other hockey game of the 16 and 64-bit era's, although NHLPA'93 is definitely up there as a favourite too.) I quickly developed a passion for, both, the game and the sport itself. I watched hockey games on cable television and adopted the Edmonton Oilers as my team. I've been playing 94 for fifteen years and have loved hockey and my Oilers, for nearly as long. My Missus of seven years is an Oilers fan, because I said she can sleep in the shed if she even dreams about cheering for anyone else, and she is f**king good at 94 too... Even if she does have a tendency to beat me with Hartford. As well as that one time with the Sharks, THAT WE DEFINITELY DON'T TALK ABOUT!!
I only found this forum and (cult) community, earlier on this month, but I have already realised, I am in the presence of (sad old men like myself) like minded aficionados of the greatest video game on the planet. Half of whom seem to have more talent for programming games than EA themselves.
**** = The naughty C-word, just in case you're curious.