Clues from the NHL'94 Manual

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I was reading the NHL'94 Sega Genesis manual (I have a goal to read books this summer), and came across a few "clues" that can help us understand parts of the game we don't fully grasp yet.  I found these to be of particular interest:

During use (p.2)

  • "Rest for at least 10 minutes per hour while playing a video game"

Ummmm, this was before the 2v2 ROM was created, so they didn't know resting 10 minutes per hour was going to be impossible.

The Face Off (p.18)

"As you learn the game you will find that certain centers are tougher than others, and that some are more skillful with the stick.  You will want to be aware of your center's particular strengths and weaknesses if you want to make full use of him on face offs"

I feel like this suggests a players attributes (stick handling, awareness?) will lead to more faceoff wins.  I think we generally believe button smashing is not key to winning and it's random, but perhaps not!  

The manual also doesn't say smash B to win.  It says when the puck hits the ice it's live and you can "Hold the D-Pad in the directions you want to pass, then press B".

Passing (p.20)

"The best passing method is to press the button, then press down on the D-Pad, then release the button.  The pass is launched when the D-Pad is pressed while the button is down."

What?  I THINK I press the direction before a pass, not after.  However, I did learn from @PlabaxV2 that if you hold the b button the player just holds the puck in a frozen motion until you release the button.

Change/Remove Goalies (p.35)

"In NHL Hockey '94, the goalie is chosen randomly for computer controlled teams in regular season games, when line changes are ON.  Otherwise, the first string goalie starts"

ORLY?  Didn't know that.

Hot and Cold Streaks (p.39)

"The player ratings will vary hot and cold (+/- 10-30% in each category) depending on what kind of streaks the players happen to be on"

We know this, but I like that the manual puts in a percentage range for us to verify

Goalies / Def. Awareness (p.47)

"Goalie's sense of what's going on around his net."

Interesting, I think this attribute may help auto goalies position themselves better....just a hunch.

Line Players (p.48)

"Off. Awareness Player's offensive instinct
Def. Awareness Player's defensive instinct
Pass Accuracy Player's accuracy in passing the puck
Stick Handling Player's overall skill with the stick
Aggressiveness Player's likelihood of being penalized"

Passing (what is called in-game) is categorized as pass accuracy.  That's always been somewhat of a mystery.  I also think the language around Stick Handling is related to the faceoff notes from earlier as well (skill with the stick).  

Crowd Meter (p.49-50)

"The Crowd Analysis screen displays the statistics on decibels recorded from the crowd's cheering.  These include the current decibel level, the average decibel level recorded over teh course of the game, and the highest, or "peak", decibel since the opening face off.  Analysis of the crowd is based on readings of the Crowd Meter throughout a game.  

Don't just blow the Crowd Meter off - the higher the reading, the BETTER the teams play!

If you break the Arena record, gameplay for both teams speeds up (about 10%)."

Ok, clearly this Crowd Meter has some effect on players given the BOLD statement made at the end of the manual!  I have done initial investigations on what moves the crowd meter, I have to check my notes, but I know winning a faceoff at home is an instant boost vs losing, etc.  Now, we just have to figure out how it affects the teams.  According to the manual, "gameplay" speeds up 10%.

Timeout (p.50)

"When playing with line changes off, the players do not lose vitality, and so the timeout has no real function."

Still...momentum man.  I will call timeout damn it.


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Do higher rated players poke check faster on the draw or am I imagining things? 

Could be easily tested as to which attribute , if any, contributes to the speed that you can poke check during face offs. I’m just not sure.

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Probably the most interesting thing here is regarding the pass button. The puck doesn’t leave the stick until the button is released?! Any idea if it’s the same for snes? Probably not.


update: I checked and can confirm that this doesn't apply to SNES. The puck is passed when the B button is pressed, not when it is released.

Edited by Bob Kudelski
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I think the clues about Face Offs and the clues about Passing are related. For B button passes, of course the natural inclination is to hold a direction on the D-pad just before pressing B, and it will pass to the closest player to the direction you are aiming on the d-pad. But if you do not press the D-pad you can hold the B button (while your player is gliding with the puck) and the puck will not be passed until you either release the B button OR until you press a direction on the D-pad while still holding down the B button.

It seems that this tip about passing by holding the B button down then pressing a D-pad direction (instead of just tapping the B button with a d-pad direction held) relates to Face-Offs in that I seem to be having more success at winning face-offs by using this method.

Anotherwords when in the face-off, just before the referee drops the puck (this is important, don't just hold down the B button from the beginning, instead wait until right before the ref is about to drop the puck to start holding B down) so when the ref drops the puck you are already holding B, then you press on a d-pad direction (while still holding down the B button) when the puck is actually being dropped and it seems that you will have a better chance of winning it.

It requires some practice, because on face-offs it seems that if you start holding down B too far before the ref is about to drop the puck it just won't work. You have to wait until he's just about to drop it, then hold down the B button then as the puck is being dropped press a direction on the D-pad while the B button is still being held down. (if your team is skating up, you want to press either down, Down / left, or Down / right on the d-pad while holding B )

I even managed to win a face off without pressing B at all, just by timing a D-pad direction press when the ref drops the puck, but I think that only happens when the B button timing of the opponent center is off. When playing the CPU, you will observe that the opponent center will be spamming the B button prior to the ref dropping the puck. The CPU center's spamming of the B button stick movement on face-offs seems to be random as it relates to the ref dropping of the puck, but sometimes the CPU center will mis-time his B button stick movement to when the ref drops the puck and when the CPU center mis-times it, the puck will hit the ice and you can actually win the face-off just by pressing a D-pad movement towards your teammates when the ref drops the puck without ever pressing the B button. This isn't something that you will be able to do often, but it is possible.

But more times then not the CPU center will time their spamming B button stick movement well enough to win the face-off unless you time your B button press better than they do, and this seems to involve not just tapping B, but using the passing tip of holding down the B button just before the ref drops it and then pressing a d-pad direction while the puck is being dropped with the B button being held down. I encourage you to try this method, and see if it helps you win more face-offs.

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Good stuff, funny how none of us have really read the manual closely.   

Gonna have to crack open 95 manual again.  I remember in 95 they talk about that directional passing too.  Passing really took a step back in 95 and you can't really pass it anywhere but straight ahead, a wicket angle to corner of rink that's useless  or to a player. 

I was just amazed that the manual goes past 50 pages, albeit smaller pages.  They really filled those up.

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  • 2 weeks later...

That View Master pic brings me back. The nostalgia just hit me when I saw that pic. I think I totally forgot about those View Masters. Has anyone tried using that holding B button then pressing a direction trick for passing on face-offs? Is it just me or is this method like the secret to winning face-offs that has been a mystery for decades? It seems to me that there's a real subtle timing mechanism involved in winning face-offs, involving holding down B right before the ref drops it then pressing a D-pad direction. But I can't be sure if it's just my imagination or not but doing it this way has resulted in me winning a lot more face-offs than I ever have before. I don't win every face-off but it seems that I can win more like 75% of face-offs if I really concentrate on the timing of that. When I just press B I seem to win a lot less.

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