(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
While the “face” of NHL '94 in the end could be Jeremy Roenick, as he was actually tied to that game in such a pop-culture manner, the real face of NHL '94 has to be Ron Barr.
The sportscaster, who won an Emmy award for his piece about San Quentin convicts getting the chance to try-out in front of San Francisco Giants personnel, was tabbed by EA Sports to be their lead "voice" for their game titles.
Despite being in a lot of previous titles for the EA Sports contingency, his role in NHL '94 may be one of the longer lasting moments to hockey fans and sports gamers around the world. However, there is much more to Mr. Barr’s career than just being at the EA Sports Desk.
Q: Let’s start with how you got involved with EA Sports in the first place.
BARR: It was back in 1990 and at that time EA and EA Sports were really a smaller company and everything sports wise fell under the umbrella of Don Transeth and Chip Lange. They were the sports marketing guys for all the brands at EA Sports and they came to know me because I was doing the national show (Sports Byline USA). As they were the sports marketing developers, they said, “Why don’t we create the EA Sports Desk?”
They needed someone with creditability and they brought me in on that. As they continued to develop the games as they do each year, adding different elements; they wanted to add a live broadcaster to do the introductions of teams, players, and everything—it was ground breaking at that time.
[Previously: The 10 greatest things about EA Sports’ NHL ‘94, from Roenick to one-timers]
What was reaction from people who knew you and saw you in the game?
Those two guys were smart, especially Don Transeth. What they did was have someone who was a real live person and not a comic person. When people would call my show, people would tell me, “I love your video game.” I don’t know why people thought I stayed up late at night working on the video game, but when they would call saying that; I asked them what they liked about it. They would say, “Well, I like the music, the commentary, I like this, that” and that would be consumer endorsement you can’t pay enough money to get. And that’s why that game was so successful. It was ground-breaking from a technological standpoint and it had a lot of consumer endorsement to it.
Read More »from Puck Daddy chats with Ron Barr, the unforgettable face of EA Sports’ NHL ‘94