Why we keep coming back - NHL94 Rewind


Recommended Posts

Growing up, I had NHL Hockey for DOS, but never owned NHL94 on console until later on in life.  It was and still is a great game, albeit not the easiest to fire up like a Genesis or SNES.  Scoring methods weren't as plentiful/repeatable as the console versions of 94, but I enjoyed the challenge, and the full season mode _ digitized narration was a major plus over consoles.

Once I got my first Playstation, I was drawn to the 97, 98, versions, and I eventually started getting PC version of EA NHL in 2000.  I also enjoyed the 2K series on Dreamcast.  While these games weren't perfect, they didn't take very long before you could find the cheaper ways of getting goals, and control schemes were all digital, meaning simple.  In retrospect, with the exception of the 2K series, and maybe NHL98's presentation, everything was more about the tech advances, and added features, enough to distract us from games past.

After the Dreamcast, I didn't buy another console for 6 years, gaming exclusively on the PC.  I was turned off by the short shelf life of the Dreamcast, and refused to get another console to replace it, in fear that the same thing would happen again.  I instead poured into the PC gaming universe.  For me, sports games ended up taking back seats to the wonders of LAN party games like Starcraft, Quake and Unreal Tournament, Battlefield 1942, and other big hits around 20 years ago.  Sports games to me belonged in the living room with a friend.

I don't claim to be a hockey video game historian, but it's my understanding that analog controls took over in a big way during the PS2/Xbox generation.  The focus towards online play, and continued simulation feel is evident.  I don't know when the digital control schemes of hockey games for shooting were replaced with "skill sticks", and countless jukes.  However, when I finally returned to try a NHL game by EA Sports for NHL 14, I saw they had the NHL94 controls.  Sadly, it didn't seem to help me control the players, and was more of a handicap by reducing what the players could do.  In short, I didn't have much fun with it, and the countless hours needed to get comfortable with everything really turned me off to it.  Even my son who is pretty decent at video games was never that proficient with it.  He could certainly function, but he didn't grow up playing 3 or 4 button hockey games like we did.

While I give credit to the "3's" mode that was added to recent versions of EA Sports NHL hockey games(fun novelty), I could never truly be converted.  I had a glimmer of hope that our "friends" at EA Sports would do us right with this NHL94 Rewind announcement.  Having a true living room experience from an official source on a timeless game engine was just what I wanted.  Don't get my wrong, I love the modding community, just turning on the PS4 and going without emulators, computers attached to PCs, or using flash carts is immediately appealing.  Unfortunately, at least for now it doesn't appear to be a stand alone product.  In addition, we've wanted an official source to play this classic game in a stable online setting.  I like many others have unfortunate technical issues with our current online solution that have kept me from doing the exis and league thing(This is no slight to anyone, as the support here is amazing).   In any other year, I may have been more forgiving about this exclusion, but given the ongoing Covid isolation that is killing the local tournament scene, not having a way to compete online is unforgivable.  

I'm interested in when the people of this community bounced away from the annual EA cash grab releases, and bounced back to NHL94.  My return was based on the suggestion to run a tournament for this great game.  Very few sports games hold a special place in my heart.  Tecmo Bowl/Tecmo Super Bowl, the NBA Jam series of games, and NHL94 are the big three.   NHL94 just felt right for me.  The players perform on the ice as you'd expect them to, scoring isn't too difficult to figure out, and likewise, there seems to be a counter to most things.  When you lose, most of the time it's because you were outplayed.  I'm also a big fan of having two different mainstream versions that have their own +/- that = double the fun.

Thanks for letting me vent.  It's been a long year.

 

-Trojan

 

  • Like 2
  • Love 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Edge of '94 Midwest said:

I'm interested in when the people of this community bounced away from the annual EA cash grab releases, and bounced back to NHL94.  My return was based on the suggestion to run a tournament for this great game.  Very few sports games hold a special place in my heart.  Tecmo Bowl/Tecmo Super Bowl, the NBA Jam series of games, and NHL94 are the big three.   NHL94 just felt right for me.  The players perform on the ice as you'd expect them to, scoring isn't too difficult to figure out, and likewise, there seems to be a counter to most things.  When you lose, most of the time it's because you were outplayed.  I'm also a big fan of having two different mainstream versions that have their own +/- that = double the fun.

Thanks for letting me vent.  It's been a long year.

 

-Trojan

 

Prior to buying myself a Switch for my 40th bday in March of 2019 (hey man, it was on sale!) I hadn't kept up with ANY console gaming whatsoever since the great Genesis/SNES wars of the 90's. I was a diehard Genesis kid back then and I played the absolute f**k of EA hockey (OG, 93 & 94) and Madden. My dog eventually murdered my Genesis and then when I moved to Colorado for college in '97 I discovered other ways to "spend my time". I moved back to Chicago after college in like 2002 and my best friend since the age of 6 (he was an SNES combatant in the great console wars) got me playing '94 hockey on SNES. So i went on ebay and bought a system/NHL'94 cart and started playing whenever possible so that i could f**king shut his ass up. I grew up on Genesis version, but since i hadn't played in forever i had no problem just becoming an SNES guy now since my friend was so adamant about it. We played all the f**king time and we expanded our circle of guys who played consistently to the point where we eventually started having an annual St Paddy's Day NHL'94 tourney. It was a total booze-fueled shitshow, and the "winner" usually just ended up getting hazed the hardest since most everyone else was eliminated and started hitting the gas lol. But it was really f**king fun, and that's all that mattered.

Well, then came marriage, and buying a condo (or "borrowing" a condo from the bank, whatever), and having kids and just general adulting-type s**t. I always thought to myself how awesome it would be to be able to play 94 online, but I'm too dense in re: computers, the internet and just in general to ever imagine that a place like this existed. But since finding this place earlier this year, I've been having more fun than ever before in my life playing this f**king game. Other than some very casual gaming on my Switch (and that's usually just when i'm on the shitter haha!), 94 is the only f**king game i play anymore. Meeting and playing against a wiiiiiiiiiiide of excellent motherfuckers who call this place home has opened my eyes to how much more there still is to this game. I got humbled immediately upon entering my first classic league here, but it was f**king fun as s**t! Now i know that i kinda suck at this game, and so i go into every game (even exi's) hoping to see something and/or learn something new that i can try to incorporate or at least come up with a counter for. This game truly is merit-based in terms of winners/loser. If you lose, barring some crazy f**king s**t happening, it's usually just your own damn fault and so you gotta wear it! I love that. It's instant feedback as to how good you are or how good you played during that game. 

As to your last point, THANK YOU for venting! Not until i read your post did i even think about much of the bullshit i just wrote up above. But I'm damn glad to be here with other like-minded idiots such as myself. And I'll f**king drink to that "It's been a long year", buddy! My only advice is to just keep mashing that Bodycheck button! (or speedburst/shoot button, whatever, i guess it does multiple things...)

DanK

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was newly married in the early 90's and me and 4 buddies played a lot of Madden, but when the OG, 93 and then <heavenly music> NHL '94 came out, it was OVER.  We didn't play anything else.  Then we got the 4-play adapter, and it got better.   Then we got the CD version and it got even BETTER.  The only thing that could have made it better, we said, was to be able to edit/move/create players.

After a couple of years, the wives tired of it, we all moved apart, and we stopped playing.  

Fast-forward to 2015.  I moved home to CA from Hawaii.  I stumble upon this website and learn that you actually CAN edit/move/create players (and more).  Me and one of my buddies re-draft the entire league and burn it to a CD and play on a SegaCD bought on Ebay.  Brilliant.  The only problem was trying to hook it up to modern TV's (nothing but HDMI inputs on the back of the TV, only coaxial outputs on the Sega).  Then we learned of all the programs that people have created to edit players/teams/etc.  It made re-drafting and creating a new league much easier.  We kept a logbook of every game and stat.  Played a whole season and playoffs. 

Then someone created the stat-extractor.  Now we have literally every stat the game keeps and we keep it in a spreadsheet.  We are on our 14th season of doing this.  Covid hits, and we now play via Parsec.

I'm 50 now, and haven't tired of this in the least. 

image.png

 

image.png

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

- IV:XX

**** = The naughty C-word, just in case you're curious.

Edited by illegalsmileIV:XX
Explaining my birthright.
  • Love 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Jesus tittyfucking christ, @illegalsmileIV:XX, between you and James Joyce you Irish sure are pithy with your storytelling yeah? Just f**king with you buddy. Based on your usage of the pound sign for money, i gather you're either in "naarthern eyerland" or in great britain, and based on your implied love of weed, booze and GoldenEye, once us f**king yanks are allowed to travel again i'm gonna  have to stop by and challenge you to a weekend of "IS THAT ALL YA GOT?!?!?" where the first one to tap-out loses. Your story was f**king hilarious man, thank you for sharing. And i played australian rules football here in the states for about 13 years, so i am WELL aware of the word to which you are referring, but that which gets censored here on the boards. I believe it's spelled very similary to the word CUNTY but without the Y, yeah? Haha cheers buddy!

DanK

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote
8 hours ago, DanK said:

CUNTY

 

I only realised after writing, I could have written it as "c**t." I'm not used to censoring my cursing. :angry: So far, I have realised, I can get away with Motherfucker, tittyfucking and, now, cunty... Without the use of the last one, my vocabulary would literally be halved, so I owe you an enormous thank you for that one! :thumbs_up:

Oh yes, I've met one or two Aussies, and if there was ever a nation that values this, oh so sacred word, it's them. I've read posts on here that are censored and I didn't realise it was done automatically... Really, it's a good thing, I'll just have to get more creative with my cursing and expletives. Aussie rules, I am positive, isn't even a sport, it's just a way for Aussies to beat up people they don't like, under the guise of a sport... It's like they have looked at rugby and American football and thought, "yeah, they're both good, but unless someone dies on the field, then it isn't a real sport."   

I'm in England, by the way... I absolutely love your spelling of Northern Ireland, the only flaw I can point out is, it's actually legible... From my experience with the Irish, legibility is not at the top on their list of priorities.

I know my post went on, (as my ol' man would say, 'you're a f**king wordy c**t, m'boy'), and I did intend to put a thank you at the bottom of it - "well done, if you read all of this, I wouldn't have bothered m'self" -, y'know, that sort of thing. But I forgot due to incapability... No, I wasn't drunk, you racist bad C-word, I was actually as high as a motherfucking-tittyfucking-bastard! So there! :)

I had no idea if my explanation, for my edit, would be understandable to people, (**** = The naughty C-word), or whether folks would just think I was drunk. As I say, I wasn't, but having mentioned the Irish thing, I knew it was a safe (and fair) assumption.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This thread just became magical.  @DanK there is an awesome group of guys who play in Chicago, both versions that meet at DMen Tap on Belmong Monday nights.  Some of them attend my NHL94 tournaments.  You should lock it down with them and have an amazing time.

  • Love 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.