It all started with NHL ’94 on the Snes (Super Nintendo) I was about 8 years old and wasn’t very good holding a controller. I was so ecstatic to play a Hockey game since I was a big hockey fan at a young age. Growing up on a farm I never really had the chance to play organized hockey, but I had a video game coping with the loss.
I remember using my favourite team at the time, the Montreal Canadiens, I wasn’t super good and first but i think i caught up quickly cause I never stop playing the game. The next 3-4 years I play NHL ’94 then move to ’96 which was mostly the same thing except with shout outs.
A few years later the N64 made it’s way to my house, with my own money since my parents didn’t believe in having a second Nintendo. I remember looking at the graphics of NHL ’99 and be like: “Holy Shit this game looks so realistic”.
Finally, in 2001, our family welcomes our first PC (then the other PC’s were coming from my pockets). I was playing NHL 2001, where I was open to the world of modifications and started making website and add-ons for the EA Sports Series. I updated my pc video card via my parents (I still can’t believe I was able to pull that off with my parents). The hours spent on the series from 2001 to 2007 was quite stupid for a video game. While playing on the pc I made a lot of friends from across the country and around the globe. Still today I keep in touch with some of them.
From playing hockey games to communicate with hockey fans the love for the game just kept on growing. With making friends above borders was something I wouldn’t of imagine for a bit from starting to play a simple game. In 2002 I started making a website from a tech course I had in high school where I ran multiple sub-sites. None of them panned out but made many connections still. One year after I started my biggest community called Crashthenet.ca at some point I had over 3000 members registered.
With the years following afterwards, something unimaginable happened soon after, being invited to EA Sports facility in Burnaby, British Columbia. Being invited was awesome and a great opportunity for me. From playing the unreleased version of games (4 years in a row) to visit the EA Sports Facility, Rogers Centre and a few more places around the region. The game just kept on growing on me even if I was a 25 soon to be married.
The love for the video game did take a turning point a few years later when I posted an article on my website stating that the vision of EA Sports was somewhat corrupted and was nothing for the gamers itself. Within the years and even now recently the NHL series has been put aside for new implementation. We haven’t had great new modes other than the cash grab that EA Sports have been pushing with the Hockey Ultimate Team, where you pay actual money to have a chance to get decent cards.
The game engine is okay but when you compare to what Fifa and the Madden series had for the few years, it would be nice if the Hockey series would get the same love. Now graphics are one thing but the gameplay is a totally different story, you can have mediocre graphics and get away with it with great responsive gameplay experience but this hasn’t been the case for almost ten years. Now hockey goals happen frequently and often in similar scenarios but what was more annoying was the lack of AI in this game, you could pull off the same scenario and score the same way at a rate of 80% and above which isn’t acceptable, you would think the AI would catch up, sadly it doesn’t. Since NHL 15 which was a disaster of a game with 3 modes, I haven’t been playing all that much probably 2 weeks after the release date. These games are just garbage and only focus on the loot system instead of hockey which isn’t the Canadian way.
I currently own 160 hockey video games. They are some great titles within the last 30 years but what hurts me the most is that the game quality has totally disappeared. Even now with NHL 20, there are flaws from 10 years ago still not taking care of they say the fix them in the updates but here we are with goaltenders passing the same way at NHL ’94, face-offs are boring and not realistic. NHL 2k10 did a much better job. I don’t want to even start talking about goalie passing, almost puts it in their own net every time.
One Day, I hope the hockey gamers get a game they truly deserve from a gameplay aspect, graphics become seconds if the experience is poor. When scoring is about taking advantage of the game engine flaws it suddenly gives a bitter taste to the consumer’s mouth.