Questions for Michael Brook (?)


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I landed an interview with NHL '94 producer Michael Brook. I'm compiling my list of questions for him and wondering if you guys had anything question you would like to be asked.

Remember Mark Lesser was the designer of NHL '94 but Michael Brook was in charge of what features the game got and was also involved in all the versions of the ports. He also got the deal for the NHL and NHLPA licences.

Basically what was and wasn't in NHL '94 was his call.

So if you had a chance to talk to him, what would you ask?

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IceStorm, the fighting was removed at the behest of the NHLPA. They didn't like the optics of fighting in a video game that small kids were going to be playing. If EA didn't remove fighting then the NHLPA wasn't going to issue their license and without the NHLPA license that would mean no player names or likenesses. Essentially, a reversion back to what we had in NHL Hockey (the original version of the game). http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=660713

My questions for Mr. Brook would be...How did the "illegal, offsides one-timer" make it past beta testing? And as a follow up...On a delayed penalty, if the team who the penalty was called on executes a one-timer the system reads that as possession and the whistle blows the play dead and the penalty is assessed. Why does a one-timer satisfy possession on a delayed penalty but not an offsides call?

~LeftistGorilla

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Why are the players (in Genesis version) that were drafted in the 1993 Expansion Draft on both rosters, the expansion team that drafted them and their original team? Why were they removed from the original team in the SNES version?

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Who's idea was it to include the one-timer?

Why was the NHL 94 gameplay, graphics, ect. changed for NHL 95?

What restrictions or conditions did the NHL & NHLPA have for their approval to be used in the game? (Obviously one was no fighting for the NHLPA)

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I would ask him:

1. Who came up with the vertical scrolling, birds-eye view? (Way before Nhl'94, obviously)

2. Who programmed the original game engine (and possibly the whole thing)? (Again, way before Nhl'94.)

My feeling is, this game was great before Mark Lesser got involved, and I hope the early innovators that set the stage for '94 get due credit!

Edited by aqualizard
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I always thought it was the NHL not the players who objected to fighting????

I thought that is why NHL pulled out of 93???

I actually heard Gretzky getting pummelled in 92 was why the NHL objected, so in 93 they just went with NHLPA and kept fighting, then in 94 EA gave in and got both licenses.

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A couple general questions

What parts of the game were you most happy/proud to see?

What parts do you wish you'd been able to change, or which features do you wish you'd been able to include but couldn't?

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I would ask what his opinion is on WHY given NHL94's super high ranking all time on the video game list and basic formula for how to make a fun hockey video game that no one ever seems willing to go back to it as a blue print? Easy one timers, speed burst, dekes, checking and the occasional knockout w/ games taking about 10 minutes with NHLPA & NHL in game, seemed like a straight forward winning formula to me.

I mean nhl 95 was bad and received as such and all version of EA after seemed to get further & further away from the '94 formula of getting more & more complicated, and less & less fun.

I think the closest I felt a game came to going "back to" it's style was NHL Hitz ("Man down" would be yelled by the announcer Harry Teinowitz after you flattened the goalie), but it was obviously MUCH more over the top & lacked EA's features/players and was more of a cartoon.

Curious about his take on the direction all hockey games went POST NHL94.

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word that, but in particular the series shows token appreciation for '94 without actually going for the feel it had.

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How were injuries programmed for the game? It appears like a random component but when I used to manually track stats way back when, there was somewhat of a pattern of guys who injured more and those who were more susceptible to injury.

Is there a specific attribute or combination of attributes that leads a player to dish out more injuries or get injured more often?

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Any good stories regarding the development of the games on different systems at the time - video/sound limitations etc..

Any good play-testing stories?

Were the individual line-ups tweaked in order for better playability?

Is he aware that 20 years later, people are using the gaming engine to power online leagues?

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Oh good question. Same with the checking stats, those were recorded but not displayed.

And the "shot bias" player attribute (that we used to call "roughness" because we didn't know what it was until some random guy posted his only message and explained it). (players who had a high goals/assists ratio had a high number for this attribute, while players who had way more assists than shots had a low value)

And, any clue what the Aggression attribute actually does?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Full_Size_Render_jpg_2.jpgWant to know the real reason Fighting was removed from NHL '94, why NHL '95 turned out so different and the surprising twist when it comes to the SNES version of NHL '94 ... you are going to have to wait for the movie lol :)

Edited by McMikey
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Full_Size_Render_jpg_2.jpgWant to know the real reason Fighting was removed from NHL '94, why NHL '95 turned out so different and the surprising twist when it comes to the SNES version of NHL '94 ... you are going to have to wait for the movie lol :)

I love it! I'm going to pre-order my copy as soon as possible!

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I would ask him:

1. Who came up with the vertical scrolling, birds-eye view? (Way before Nhl'94, obviously)

2. Who programmed the original game engine (and possibly the whole thing)? (Again, way before Nhl'94.)

My feeling is, this game was great before Mark Lesser got involved, and I hope the early innovators that set the stage for '94 get due credit!

I have done some research and can answer my own questions.

Jim Simmons did the original programming, and all programming for the hockey series, up to and including NHLPA'93. He also came up with the vertical scrolling 3/4 view. He also did the original Madden. He did this all in his early 20s! Sooooo...

I would ask Mr.Brooks to comment on the programming skills of Jim Simmons, and to compare him to other developers he has worked with. (My feeling is the guy must be the Mozart of Sega Genesis programming.)

EDIT: DARN IT! I just saw you already did the interview. Oh well.

Edited by aqualizard
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