Covid hit everyone hard, but for us sports fans it was especially hard. Out of work and got nothing else to do, want to take a break from life and do something relaxing? So how do you do that? You search your pockets and under the cushions of the couch and you scrounge up enough cash to get yourself a match ticket and a pint of beer. But covid put an end to all that. While we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations becoming available, there is still time until things get back to normal and we get to see our beloved teams crush the rivals. But until that happens, all you ice hockey fans can play some of the classic video games and reminisce about the times gone by. So here are a few of the best ice hockey video games of all time.
Bush Hockey League (or Old Time Hockey) – PC, Xbox One – 2017
Okay, okay. It is not a classic game, having been released in 2017. On the other hand, it is a love letter to the movie Slap Shot and to the sometimes comical, sometimes creepy universe of garage leagues where the coup punch is often more agile than the kick. Imagine being the movie world and getting to part of the team. Sure feels classic, doesn’t it.
NHL 97 – PC, PS1, Sega Saturn – 1996
It was the first ice hockey video game to be truly three-dimensional. To say that at the time we thought we had reached the pinnacle of realism in video games would be an understatement. Its Pc version was notably superior to all other games back then and its newer versions i.e. NHL 21 still corner the market today.
The best thing about NHL is that it is consistently bringing up new ideas and modes to diversify the game. From the classic modes to HUT mode, you have come a long way from simply selecting a few players and starting a match to creating fantasy teams and spending nhl 21 hut coins in the auction house to buy and sell players
Stanley Cup – SNES – 1993
Despite having a bad reputation, Stanley Cup innovated by exploiting SNES “mode 7” and allowing a perspective that simulated a three-dimensional game, as the camera follows the player on ice level. It was however more difficult to see the game well and develop a strategy. Don’t use the lob shot from the red line for easy scoring if you don’t want to break your friendships.
NHL 94 – SNES, Genesis – 1993
Why mention NHL again when I have already mentioned it above. Well that is because we are talking about NHL 94 here. For those of you, who have played the game, don’t need to ask but for the rest of you it is because this is where it all began. This here is the real OG, it laid the foundation for all NHL video games to come. Released on PC (DOS) and consoles like Super Nintendo and Sega, it was the life blood of all video gamers’.
Hit the ice – Arcade – 1990
An arcade classic where four players can compete two against two. It caricatures the violent aspects of hockey when all the players are “goons” and it encourages illegal violent acts to find the way to victory. Find three (adult) friends and go try it out at Arcade MTL.
Ice Hockey – NES – 1988
The same year, Nintendo offered Ice Hockey; similar in some ways to Blade of Steel, but a little more cartoony when we can choose the size of each of our players. Tip: just take the bigger ones and do some slap shots from the blue line.
Blades of Steel – NES – 1988
Although the teams and players do not have names, Konami has taken care to include cities that are home to NHL teams, including Montreal. If we grew up with this classic, the voice shouting “Blades of Steel” at the start of the game left an indelible sound imprint in our memories. The fights are one of the strong points of the game. Strangely, it’s only the one who loses the fight who is penalized.
Ice Hockey – Atari 2600 – 1981
Two buttons? Sorry. Only one was needed for hours of ice hockey fun on the Atari 2600. Published by Activision, it perhaps set the tone for all the milestones the gaming giant would achieve with its innovation.