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
“I enjoyed breaking the glass behind the net and some of the team songs. My favorite is the ‘Jaws’ theme music when playing as the San Jose Sharks.”
– 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
“My favorite memory of NHL ’94 was playing against my friend every day after school. We would play about 30 games a day and keep track of our records.”
– 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
“NHL ’94 for Super Nintendo was a big deal in college. I love the fact that, after 20 years, I still have moments of ‘I can’t believe that just happened!’ It is always fun.”
– 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?
3 thoughts on “Gamers’ fondest memories of NHL ’94”
When I think about this game (which I still own for my Sega Genesis) I am transported back to my early days in High School as well. We used to go on hockey tournaments and someone would bring their SNES or Genesis along and we would have that hooked up to the TV in the hotel room long before we would even unpack. Then hours and hours of game play would ensue as we waited for our next game on the ice. Usually someone would be crowned champion of that weekend and then we would do it all again on the next road trip.
Great post Sal and thanks for the transport back to fun and simpler times.
The “b-button special” as I liked to call it.
Skating up the middle of the ice, hitting the center line and “passing” the puck into the offensive zone. Half the time it would just slide right through the goalie and into the net.
It got so frustrating at times that we had a no “b-button special” move allowed. I would then just call them “accidents”.
I had the PC version of this game. At that time, it came in the box with the near complete edition of the NHL Records Book featuring the Montreal Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup on the cover of that book. The rest of the book was the game manual. (Yes… game manual with good pictures also used to exist). Being myself a Montreal Canadiens fan make this the most amazing complete package ever. I still have the whole thing at home in perfect conditions… the box, the book, the floppy disk and all! The game itself was amazing! The colors, the sounds, the game play… everything from that game was and still is exceptional! I loved the menu design, the waiting screen before the game with the city in the background and the team lines. The nationals anthems and the “elsewhere in the NHL” feature between periods are good memories. So much little details that are missing in modern games. It would be so easy for the game producers to put pictures of the cities you’ll play in or the arena before each game instead of the boring “new in this edition” screen or so. What I liked very much in NHL 94 for PC was the statistic pages… the design and writing font are the best I’ve seen for sports game. And you could see like 50 rows and 10 columns at the same time. Well I could continue for a long time talking about that game… I really need to download it on my PC and play again. Just hope it won’t affect the good memories I have from it.
And Sal, congratulations about your articles and the one with JR in the Beckett! I was very happy to read them. By the way, your articles in Beckett are by far the best in years in that magazine!
Continue your amazing work!