Editor’s Note: To get everyone excited for the season to start, we’ll be running a #TBT post every Thursday, focused on your memories as a Sharks fan. You can keep the conversation going in the comments or head over to the Fanposts section to tell your own story! If we like your story, we’ll feature it on the Fear the Fin Twitter. This week, we’re throwing it back to your first hockey video game!
“NHL 18” just came out, but let’s not forget the classics. The Fear the Fin staff is here to kick it old school and talk about their first hockey video game they ever played or owned.
Here’s what they had to say:
The first hockey game I played was “NHLPA ‘93” for the Super Nintendo. It was rife with fighting and blood on the ice and was the precursor for “NHL '94,” the beginning of the EA NHL series and the first game I actually owned. Unfortunately, the Sharks were awful during the first couple of years and though the 1993-1994 season was a pretty good one in San Jose, the roster for “NHL '94” came from the previous year, in which the Sharks managed to lose 71 games, as well as 17 straight (both NHL records which still stand today). No Makarov, Larionov, or Irbe, though I scored more than a few goals with Kelly Kisio, Pat Falloon, Sandis Ozolinsh, and our current GM, Doug Wilson. I've played a lot of hockey games since, but none beat the feeling and fun of those first two.
My first hockey video game was “Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey” for the N64. Not only did I have this game, but my friends had this game, so no matter where we were, we could play. If you aren't familiar with this title, think less EA Sports realism and more “NBA Jam.” WG3D featured goalies turning into brick walls, nets catching fire, and ambulances taking away injured players. It was an arcade style game through and through, but let me tell you, winning a game 14-12 was the most fun. The replay ability in today's age is pretty horrible, but it's still fun to fire it up and watch Patrick Roy literally become a brick wall.
My parents wouldn't let me have video games as a kid, so I had to wait until I had sleepovers at my friend's house on the weekends to play. I can't remember if it was “NHL '94” or “Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey '98” that I first played. We definitely dabbled in both. Either way, it makes me miss the days of a more crudely drawn, cartoon-like Sharks logo and the bright teal that accompanied it. Bring those back, please.
My first hockey video game I played was “ESPN National Hockey Night” made exclusively for the Game Boy Color in 2001. Despite the pixelated graphics compared to today’s standards, this game was an absolute blast to play. I would always play as the New Jersey Devils, because they were just too nasty back then. I managed to sort through all my old childhood things yesterday and find the game still in perfect shape.
Ah, the first hockey video game I played and owned. How could it be anything but the great “NHL 94?” I inherited the gem on my older brother's SNES as a kid in the early 2000s and man, I was the king of wrap-arounds, one-timer slapshots, and nasty checks. I made Pat Falloon look like Gretzky in those amazing teal-laced white and gray jerseys. This game objectively had the second best soundtrack in video game history - second only to SNES's criminally underrated “UN Squadron.” Undisputed.
I'd spend countless middle-of-the-nights, weeks, and eventually years on this game on my own and with childhood best friends. “NHL 2001” on the computer with Owen Nolan menacingly staring you down on the cover was great too, and deserves a nod, but man, “NHL 94” is something else. It'll always hold as special a place in my heart as a video game can hold.
I love video games. They're literally the only passion I have ahead of hockey.
Maybe it was my mom's foresight or knowledge that I'd “waste all my time” playing video games rather than getting my schoolwork done as a kid, I wasn't allowed to have many video games, and the only console she ever did let me have was a Wii. When I left home at 18, naturally feeling rebellious and ready to blow my hard earned cash, I bought myself a PS3, and eventually a copy of “NHL 12.” I've since traded it back to the secondhand bookstore where I first bought it, along with the copies of “NHL 15” and “NHL Legacy Edition” that I came to acquire later, and I probably used that cash to immediately buy new games. Like I said, I love video games. All kinds.
At present, I own “NHL 13,” “NHL 17,” and now “NHL 18.” I haven't had much time to mess around with the latest iteration of the game, but I've had loads of fun with it so far.
I'll never forget the first time I picked up the sticks and played my first game of “Chel.” When I was in the second grade, my grandma got me a used PlayStation 1 with a few different games. One of these games happened to be “NHL 99.” It featured Eric Lindros in his orange Flyers jersey on the front cover. The game play and graphics were brutal. You couldn't even switch players on defense and the players looked like they were running on the ice. While I can't say that it was the best game, it paved the way for many years of NHL video games to come. I just went out yesterday picked up “NHL 18.” The game is dope and I've been working my roommates all day, but I'll never forget where I came from and my humble beginnings with “NHL 99.” Shoutout to EA Sports.
The first hockey video game I ever played was “Blades of Steel” on the NES. I remember I used to try to start fights because I thought that was the best part of the game. The first one I owned was “NHL 94” for the Sega Genesis. I played as the Sharks with my go-to line of Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov, and (I think) Ray Whitney. While I could never seem to focus long enough to play a full season, I do remember winning a Cup or two.
The first hockey video game I owned was “Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey” on N64.
I got it for Christmas when I turned six in 1998, along with the N64. For awhile it was the only game that I had, but it was the only game that I needed. To this day, I think it may be the best hockey video game of all time. They were three-on-three, fast paced, high-scoring games. My brother, my dad, and I would sit around for hours at a time playing and my dad would always whoop us by about seven goals. I was able to dig it up not too long ago and play a few games against the computer with old man Jaromir Jagr, who I always laugh about still being on the game whenever I bring it out every three or four years!
If you still have an N64 get on Amazon and grab a copy ASAP!
The first gaming system I had was the Atari 2600. There was a hockey game, and I vaguely remember it being a glorified Pong. This clip shows me that the graphics were actually better than I remember.
The first game that I remember playing regularly was “Ice Hockey” for the original Nintendo. It was my neighbor who had the game, and he stopped playing against me after the first time I beat him. The first hockey video game that I ever owned was “Blades of Steel” for Game Boy. This game was awesome and I played it all the time, until I lost it. Or at least I thought I lost it. Turns out that one of my classmates stole it from me.
But the first hockey game that I ever owned was not a video game. It was a Coleco Table Hockey game, and it was incredibly fun.
What about you?