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clockwise

The misunderstood self pass, and to a lesser extent, flip pass

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Just want to talk real quick about the self pass, and to a lesser extent, the flip pass. The former is somewhat misunderstood, the latter is something from the occult, black magic book of NHL'94.

I wanted to make a video to narrate and demonstrate exactly what I'm referring to, but I don't have a decent mic so I'll just post a few videos and try to explain.

Flip pass origins

The Fins, namely @swos and @Mahavishnu, were the first to use the flip pass or "keg toss," that I'm aware of. A keg toss being Nordic strongman-parlance for an event when a keg is hurled backwards over a bar. The puck is flipped with the (A) button behind the net in an attempt to get an odd bounce or setup a forward for an easy goal. 

Seeing videos of the Fins scoring these goals with frequency led me to experiment with how the puck behaves when it's 'flipped' or rolling. 

One thing I noticed is that it's easier to score goals in some respects when the puck is like this and you can get some wild bounces in your favor that make it a dangerous play. Here's an old video with some self passes and two flip pass goals:

The play is more of a parlor trick but does have a place in a 5on5 game, even in match-play once you learn that you can 'poke-stab' a rolling puck out of mid-air with your skater and shoot it in one motion.

E.G.

  1. flip to self
  2. poke-stab rolling puck to gain possession
  3.  
    • flick a wrister with the rolling puck
    • half-slap the rolling puck
    • flick a pass for a one-timer while the puck is rolling

@HABS doesn't demonstrate the poke-stab here, but he does show a good example of a flip pass goal:

It's also, basically, a giant neon middle finger to your opponent who would love nothing more than to bury you into the boards and shove that puck back into your net for showboating. 

Self pass usefulness

It actually does have a place in 5on5 for a few reasons, but first for anyone who doesn't understand how to do it:

  1. Get close to the boards
  2. pass the puck by holding the d-pad directly left or right
    • right side is more effective going 'up' ice, or home.
    • left side is more effective gong 'down' ice, or away. 
  3. Try to angle your skater to retrieve the puck in stride. You can also do it at a standstill in the attacking zone. 
  4. As a general rule, never ever do this in your own zone, unless you want to get burned badly or light a fire under your opponents ass.

Disregarding the goal, here's a quick example of how to do it in stride. When the pass is made the skaters stick is pointing directly, to the right, at the boards. This is the most consistent way to pass the puck to yourself while moving up ice:

So what, right? How is this anything more than hot-dogging, and what would ever be the point of trying this type of stunt when you can just try to capitalize on quality scoring chances? Well, it has a bit to do with how the CPU AI behaves in the game. I'll try my best to explain without a video or commentary.

Computer controlled skaters behave as if offsides are enabled even if they're not. When you enter the attacking zone, if you have to drop the pass back to your D because you have no options or are about to get nailed, and the puck goes out to the neutral zone, then the rest of your team that is setup in the offensive zone will leave the zone to get onsides again. 

Once your team is setup in the attacking zone, and all 10 skaters are on that side of the ice, the computer controlled skaters, yours and the oppositions, will get into their "spots," for lack of a better term.  They will basically stay here unless the puck comes near them by the puck carrier, whereby their attributes will basically determine how they will behave. If you want to try it out, play keep away in the attacking zone with a skater and just skate around and observe the behavior of the computer controlled skaters.

Passing the puck to yourself plays a roll because when you release it for half a second to yourself, the computer controlled skaters behave as if there's a loose puck, and will get out of position by beginning to move. They "reset," so to speak. This may be all the space you need to generate a chance if your opponent had you locked down and has taken away the primary passing lane, or that one-timer lane that is most likely to result in a goal. 

This fraction-of-a-second, personal-pan-pizza-pass can open up clogged lanes. It can also let you sacrifice your forward by doing this quickly and then getting rid of a hot potato before getting crunched that can result in a fast goal. 


I plan to make a detailed video later, at some point, but I hope some of that made sense. 

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You make a great point about the CPU A.I. that when the puck is loose (in the attacking zone) the opposition will move away from their defensive "spots". Generally they skate towards the puck when it is loose, as opposed to staying in their defensive formation. Of course it depends on their attributes, but really whether they will come off their position within the standard defensive formation has to do with whether a player on the attacking team is in possession of the puck or not. The puck being loose just means that since no player is possessing the puck, the CPU A.I. is no longer "defending" until it is regained of course. When you perform a flip pass in the attacking zone for some moments the puck is loose, and not possessed by the player while it is spinning in the air so in that time defenders will move off their position within the standard defensive formation. So it does force an "A.I. reaction" that takes them out of position. That's why it can be useful.

Pucks being loose in the opponents 1/3rd are typically hard to see this because there's not much room for the puck to be loose for all that long while all 10 players are in the attacking zone. (when you are outside of the attacking zone, of course the opposition will not be in a standard formation position like they are when you are in the attacking zone)

As you surely are aware, the distance an A button pass travels is greatly reduced once you cross into the attacking zone, and further there is a midpoint between the blue line and the goal line when you try to cross it laterally via an A button pass, the closer you get the goal line the more the puck will travel vertically down (away from the opponent's goal) instead of vertically up (towards the opponent's goal) as is the case when you try an A button cross from just inside the blue line. You don't have much control over the direction of these A button passes, as where you are in the attacking zone largely determines the direction the A button pass goes in. Through codes, I've explored this as I've been trying to find ways to have more control over the direction of both A and B button passes in the attacking zone, as a way to get more loose pucks and thus create the kinds of openings in the defense formation you are talking about.

In the 2 on 2 Impossible Angle video, I think that's a B button pass into the boards as I don't think it's possible to do an A button pass into the boards due to how the direction and speed of an A button pass is dependent on where you are on the ice, as it always angles the puck towards the horizontal center, or towards the goal. You can only do an A button self pass "in stride" from certain positions on the ice. The closer to the center point of the attacking zone "square" the less distance the A button pass will travel, the more it will just pop up over your player. Doing a B button pass into the boards does create that puck spinning effect though that may influence the physics of the shot in the same way that an A button self pass does. I have observed that when you regain a "loose" spinning puck it keeps spinning for a moment while in your possession, while you are winding up a shot for example.

If you can pull off one of these A button self passes, it can open up clogged lanes and be an effective maneuver. Of course, for anything involving A button passes to be effective in '94, you need to have Lines Changes turned to Auto or OFF. With Line Changes ON an A button self pass won't really be possible as the line change menu will pop up. Though codes I've found a way to turn manual Line Changes on and off on the fly with a hot key which allows me to test A button passes fully without having to disable manual line changes. (you need to start the game with Line Change ON and there's a code that will change line changes to Auto, OFF or back ON during the game)

There is a code that while held down disables the X and Y movement of the puck which enables you to pop up an A button pass directly over the player with the puck from anywhere on the ice. This requires a code that disables the X and Y movement of the puck while hotkeys are held down along with pressing the A button, so the puck will just pop directly up in the air without traveling in its normal A button direction. I think using these codes and pulling off A button self passes from anywhere on the ice is a great way to illustrate what you are talking about, namely what happens to defenders when there's a loose puck and defenders will switch off their "defending mode" and will be seen coming off their standard formation position, charging the puck, or in some cases just skating randomly as opposed to "defending". (which depend both on where the puck is and their attributes)

Good thought provoking topic, I am intrigued by discussions involving how the CPU A.I. react to certain types of passes and loose pucks and all that. I study this sort of thing a lot as I look for new ways to create loose pucks and cause defenders to react.

Edited by Brodeur30

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15 hours ago, Brodeur30 said:

In the 2 on 2 Impossible Angle video, I think that's a B button pass into the boards as I don't think it's possible to do an A button pass into the boards due to how the direction and speed of an A button pass is dependent on where you are on the ice, as it always angles the puck towards the horizontal center, or towards the goal. You can only do an A button self pass "in stride" from certain positions on the ice. The closer to the center point of the attacking zone "square" the less distance the A button pass will travel, the more it will just pop up over your player. Doing a B button pass into the boards does create that puck spinning effect though that may influence the physics of the shot in the same way that an A button self pass does. I have observed that when you regain a "loose" spinning puck it keeps spinning for a moment while in your possession, while you are winding up a shot for example.

Yeah, I didn't clarify that passing yourself the puck is done with (B).

I have tried this with SNES and it appears to be about the same. I haven't spent that much time to figure out if there are any subtle differences or not. 

Also, what "codes," are you referring to, exactly? Do you mean, like, Game Genie codes or something?

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11 hours ago, clockwise said:

Yeah, I didn't clarify that passing yourself the puck is done with (B).

I have tried this with SNES and it appears to be about the same. I haven't spent that much time to figure out if there are any subtle differences or not. 

Also, what "codes," are you referring to, exactly? Do you mean, like, Game Genie codes or something?

I've been studying A button passes in the attacking zone for some time. I found that in most cases their effectiveness is rather limited due to how short A button passes are in the attacking zone, compared to A button passes outside of the attacking zone which go much farther, and due to how their trajectory is tied to where you are on the ice. The exceptions though are what you described : 1) A button passes from behind the opponent's net, which can be very effective and can lead to goals, like when they bounce off the top of the goal, and also like you described : 2) self-passes which from certain spots in the attacking zone can be used to make defenders react and take them out of "defending" but require timing to launch an A button pass above the player and in stride with the player who had the puck, and needing to be in certain spots on the ice.

I wanted to find a code, for example, that would allow me to make a cross-ice A button pass in the attacking zone from one side of the rink to the other, so I could lob a pass laterally over defenders to a teammate on the other side of the attacking zone. The best way I can show you what I've accomplished is by sharing some of my saved replays (which I saved through emulator save states) which I plan on video recording at some point. It's still a WIP but I've managed to sort of accomplish this.

I've found a bunch of codes that when used as hotkeys in conjunction with A button or B button passes (or even C button shots) can alter the direction or trajectory of passes or shots. For example, there's two separate codes I found that allow you to turn off the X direction or the Y direction of the puck's movement at any given time by setting the code to 00, tying it to a hotkey then holding the hotkey button down during gameplay as you make a regular pass. (so like instead of just pressing A or B like usual, to do a horizontal pass I hold down my the L trigger while pressing A or B, get it?) So anotherwords, while the hotkey of the code that controls the Y direction of the puck's movement is set to 00 and pressed during a game, as you aim a B button pass, instead of passing the puck to a specific player, the puck will travel horizontally cross-ice to no particular player, instead of directly towards a teammate. However, the speed of the pass is still related to where the nearest player you are aiming at is located. So you will get slow or fast horizontal passes depending on how far away from your player the teammate you are aiming the pass to is, but when holding down this hotkey button, the pass will always be completely horizontal (left or right) and not in the direction of any teammate since you are zeroing out the Y direction of the pass while holding down the hotkey. It's been a dream of mine to find codes that give you the ability to have more control over your passes in NHL 94, by linking these codes to unused gamepad buttons. Horizontal B button passes are a great way to create loose pucks in the attacking zone and allow to avoid pucks being intercepted which happens a lot when passing directly to a teammate in the attacking zone.

I have also found codes that allow you to control the lift of the puck, which I showed some videos of in the past. So you can make the puck float in mid-air and when used with A button passes in the red zone you can make A button passes travel as far as you want in the attacking zone by this puck floating code.

I do want to share some of these codes that I'm talking about, but you really need a way to map these codes to your controller as hotkeys or else you won't really be able to use them on the fly as part of your controller. Gens for example lets you input Game Genie / RAM codes but doesn't let you map a code's value to a keyboard or controller hotkey. With these RAM / Game Genie codes I found I've essentially created a 12-button NHL 94 controller for the Genesis version that allows me to make directional passes from anywhere on the ice instead of being forced to pass directly to a teammate. It's still a WIP but I've created something really special for NHL 94 Genesis that I plan on demonstrating. I've already shared a bunch of codes that I have found and if there's interest I am happy to share more of my discoveries.

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That's really cool stuff. Looking forward to seeing some videos of cross-ice (A) passes, for sure. 

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