The classic-era video game NHL ’94 celebrates its 20th anniversary this season, and remains as popular as ever. Originally released for Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega CD and PC computers, NHL ’94 is still enjoyed by gamers today. This year’s release by Electronic Arts, NHL ’14, even included an “NHL ’94 Mode” that let’s players experience the run-and-gun style of the old game.
But some gamers still seek out the old-school, pixelated experience. Using emulation software, many play head-to-head via the internet in online leagues hosted by the website NHL94.com. Several of these gamers who still live and breathe NHL ’94 today share their fondest memories of the game.
“I was in high school at the time and a quick game of ’94 was what I used to de-stress from homework or studying. ‘Just one more game’ would end up being a full playoff series into the late night hours. I lowered the volume so as not to attract attention from my parents. Still, that siren noise seemed to cut through walls at any volume! “
– Raphael F. (a.k.a. “kingraph“), Cranford, New Jersey
– Randy C. (a.k.a. “c4outlaws“), St. Cloud, Minnesota
“What struck me most was the satisfying weight everything had; the players bumping into each other, the thud as the puck hit the boards, the way the goalies seemed to be knocked back by the force of a shot — and they gave up tons of rebounds! It was unlike any other hockey game to date.”
— Oliver H. (a.k.a. “annatar“), Montreal, Quebec
– John G. (a.k.a. “chaos”), East Brunswick, New Jersey
“I remember playing it with my dad. Whoever was on a winning streak had to switch teams and play as the Ottawa Senators. When one of us would use the Blackhawks, my dad would laugh hysterically because of how easy it was to body check Steve Smith.”
– Joe B. (a.k.a. “NHL94 minpind”), Weymouth Massachusetts
– Jake H. (a.k.a. “trudatman“), West Medway, Massachusetts
“I was in second grade. The pre-game screen with Ron Barr was so cool to me back then. I used to do my own play-by-play and color commentary, pretending that each NHL team was a team that I played against in real life.”
– Adam M. (a.k.a. “beavers33″), St. Cloud, Minnesota
“My fondest memory of NHL ’94 is the crowd noise getting louder and louder for long stretches of time due to continues sequences of body checks during a shift. For this reason, players like Marty McSorley and Mike Eagles were my favorite players in the game because of how skilled at checking they were in the game.”
– Darren B. (a.k.a. “Oilers442″), Winchester, Tennessee
“Once I figured out how to do the new one-timer play, I fell in love. No other version of the NHL games even comes close to NHL ’94. To this day, it still feels like the most realistic and the most fun version of hockey all wrapped into one 20 year-old game.”
– Adam G. (a.k.a. “Bob Kudelski“), Ottawa, Ontario
“It´s the intro music. It´s even the ringtone in my cell phone for my friends who play the game.”
– Janne K. (a.k.a. “corky”), Jyväskylä, Finland
Of course, no article about NHL ’94 would be complete without mentioning Jeremy Roenick, the best playable character in the game. Here’s an excerpt from my recent interview with J.R. on the subject:
“The NHL ’94 game is the one topic that is mentioned to me most often to me in my lifetime. I have more people who come up to me — that know me — because of NHL ’94. People that got through college playing as the Chicago Blackhawks and Jeremy Roenick. Some had rules that you couldn’t be Roenick in the game because how good he was. I wish I was as good in real life as I was in that video game. But that’s my claim to fame — being the best video game hockey guy in video game history.”
– Jeremy Roenick, former NHL player and best video game hockey guy in history
So, did you play NHL ’94 back when it came out in the 1993-94 season, or later on in life? If so, what was your favorite memory of the game?