(Ed. Note: EA Sports’ influential hockey video game classic “NHL ’94” was released 20 years ago. In its honor, we’re running a multi-part celebration of the game this week on Puck Daddy. Here’s blogger and radio host Scotty Wazz on the 10 greatest things about the game.)
By Scotty Wazz, Faceoff Hockey Show
On March 15, 1993, Electronic Arts released NHL ’94 for the Sega Genesis. It was the third game in their NHL series and two decades later, it is still fondly remembered by many as the hockey game that set a standard for what hockey games were to become in the future. Luckily for EA, it was a golden age for hockey players in the ‘90s, many of the players being known beyond the hockey fans themselves.
Unlike its cousin Tecmo Bowl, who had their last remaining player retire 19 years after the game’s initial release; there are a handful of players who were in NHL ’94 that continue playing to this day. Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne, and Roman Hamrlik are the few players in NHL ’94 to still be around in the NHL today. There are even a small few in Europe who are still active (Sandis Ozolinsh, Mike Craig, Petr Nedved), but the numbers dwindle down each off-season, killing a small part of our childhoods in the process.
Even after 20 years, why does NHL '94 get remembered more fondly than other NHL titles that EA has put out after that?
1. The Partnership of the NHL and the NHLPA
When the first in the NHL series came out in 1991, the NHLPA did not sign off on it, thus you couldn’t play with your favorite players getting the recognition. In NHLPA '93, the NHL didn’t sign off on it—thus you don’t get the team logos and had the Islanders only recognized as Long Island. However, with NHL '94, it was the first time that you could get the best of both worlds playing as your favorite player on your favorite team.
2. Super Fan #99
Though it may not be completely accurate with the game itself, the scene in “Swingers” where Trent Walker (Vince Vaughn) makes 16-bit Wayne Gretzky’s head-bleed is attributed to the NHL '94 game, when it actually was the NHLPA '93 version, seen by the lack of logo at center ice. That mistake is due to the talk of taking the fighting out of the release, but in doing that EA also took out the blood spilling from little Gretzky’s head.
It was a lasting moment for the game and seemed to stick with the actors, as Vaughn then went on to become that annoying glass-banging fan during the 2011 playoffs, sans the big yellow cowboy hat.
Read More »from The 10 greatest things about EA Sports’ NHL ‘94, from Roenick to one-timers