Today’s reason you love hockey comes from the inestimable and incomparable Earl Sleek, who really, let’s be honest — needs no introduction. It should be mentioned, though, that he was the one who suggested we run this series in the first place, so a million thanks for the idea, as well as this post! (As always, if you want to see your name in lights here, just email us your reason for loving hockey at interchangeablepartsblog [at] gmail [dot] com.)
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this “Reasons We Love Hockey” series, but I think there’s one area that’s been awfully neglected, and it’s about time I did my fucking homework anyway.
One reason why I love hockey: NHL 94 (SNES)
Hockey, above all sports, was made to be a video game. The physics of a puck moving along a flat, confined ice surface is relatively simple compared to the 3-dimensional programming required for football, baseball, basketball, or golf. It’s not surprising that in the infancy days of video games, hockey was the first sport to translate really well into pixels.
That said, the best thing about NHL 94 was its simplicity, not its sophistication. There were always two options, shoot/pass or hit/switch player. You knew your options as a skater, and you knew your opponent’s options as a defender.
If I can rant a bit about modern hockey video games, I think they have complicated things quite a bit—not just in terms of buttons, either. I have no idea in today’s games on a given play whether a goaltender will make a save or not—it just seems to rely on a complicated algorithm where great plays are stymied while simple-looking shots go in. There’s not any clear rhyme or reason to it, and while it does capture the bounce-luck of actual hockey more realistically, it doesn’t necessarily make for a better game.