In the last few weeks, there have been several major announcements related to the NHL 14 video game that will be released by developer EA Sports. The first is that New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was voted as the player to be on the cover of the video game.
The second announcement is that the game will be released on September 10 in North America and on the 13th in the rest of the world. Neither of those two announcements alone got me as excited as the one which was announced last week and that is the NHL 14 will be paying homage to NHL 94!
The manner in which the 2014 edition of the game will be paying homage to the 1994 version is that gamers will be playing the newest edition with features that made the classic 1994 version so famous and a cult legend in the form of blue ice, player indicators in the form of stars, music played in the game, button controls, and uniforms.
While I do hope that EA Sports does something along the lines where you can play classic mode and unlock certain teams from the game, and let you fight and draw blood as it was immortalized in the movie Swingers, the fact that they have included some of the classic elements from that game alone I will but NHL 14.
After having heard about the how NHL 14 would honor NHL 94, this got me to thinking as to why myself and many many others love this game and place it on a Mount Rushmore of sports video games. Frankly, what made the game so great was the it was ahead of it’s time in perfectly merging quality game play and flash into a sports video game.
I still recall spending hours and hours playing the game with friends from elementary school, their older brothers, and with my cousins. This game was one of the reasons that ended up becoming a fan of the NHL and of hockey in general. It was also the game, which saw me become a fan of the New York Rangers as I would choose to play with them more than any other team on the game.
For anyone around my age and older who remembers playing the game, there where a number of teams which you wanted to play on that game. Aside from playing with the Rangers a team that had Mark Messier, Brian Leetch, and Mike Richter, you had the Pittsburgh Penguins who still had Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, the Chicago Blackhawks with Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios and finally the Los Angeles Kings with Wayne Gretzky.
I am certain that NHL 14 will be a great game and fun to play especially given it is paying homeage to NHL 94. Yet what NHL 14 and other sports video games of today miss out and lag behind those of the 1980’s and 1990’s is that it lacks the ability to make an emotional connection between gamer(s) which last a lifetime.
Prior to the fancy graphics, simple graphics and quality gameplay are all that was needed. NHL 94 had all that and more. Just like Tecmo Superbowl and Mike Tyson’s Knockout, NHL 94 was a game ahead of its time and its allure just grows with each passing year.