Tag Archives: Sega Genesis

Throwback Thursday: NHL Hockey for the Sega Genesis

With the NHL playoffs really heating up, and teams most people in the hockey world thought would never advance far blowing people away, it got me thinking back to the days of old, playing NHL Hockey for hours on end, thinking this was the most awesome sports game ever. The days where every goal my older brother scored on me was “cheap,” ah, how fondly I remember them. I even used to keep a blank tape in the VCR, and when I had an amazing goal or epic bone-crunching hit, I’d record it and show it to my mom, who did her absolute best to feign enthusiasm.

Well, it’s been 20 years since the first NHL Hockey game (which if it had a year attached to it like all of the games that followed it, would be NHL Hockey ’92) was released by EA, and needless to say, EA has gotten a bit more advanced in their game development department. Yet, to this day, when you ask people about their options on the best hockey game ever made, or even the best sports game ever made, more often than not you have people pointing back to the NHL games from the Genesis era. Usually, it is NHL ’93 or NHL ’94 (which many people herald as the greatest sports game of all time) that people site as their favorite, and personally, I think those games have the original NHL Hockey to thank for testing the waters and seeing what needed to be worked on and added to make the game better.

Rare is it that sports games withstand the test of time, especially when it comes to hockey, which is arguably only America’s 3rd or 4th most favorite sport. I mean seriously, do you ever hear about how awesome Madden ’98 is these days? Nah. How about NBA 2k1?  Not likely. What about Sports Talk Baseball? Don’t bet on it.

So what is it that makes the Genesis hockey games so beloved by hockey fans and non-hockey fans alike? Right out of the gate, Electronic Arts created a formula for a hockey game that simply worked.

A far cry from its predecessors like Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel for the NES, NHL Hockey looked and played much more like a real hockey game. All of the NHL’s teams were there to be played, with jerseys in the team’s proper colors and the team logo emblazoned at center ice. One major part that was missing was that they did not have the player name licensing agreement until the following year, so unless you knew the numbers of your favorite team’s players, that’s all those guys were…numbers. Nevertheless, the players were each given their own individual stat ratings and abilities, which at the time, was a huge accomplishment Another aspect of the game were the settings that really made this game set the tone for future games in the series. The entire team’s roster was accounted for, and if you chose to, could change lines between the scoring lines and checking line as you saw fit. Penalties, whether you loved them or hated them, could be set they way you wanted. To be able to turn penalties off, on, or on except for off-sides, was nothing short of revolutionary at the time.

The gameplay had all of the major elements that made a hockey game work, from fighting to slap shots, and especially considering it was the first go that EA had with it, NHL Hockey, even when compared to the others in the series, is still very playable. It is light years ahead of previous hockey games in terms of playability and realness, although it admittedly falls short when compared to even NHL ’93. They made sure that ’93 was faster and smoother, and obtaining the NHLPA player naming rights cemented the game as a true squeal to ’92.

Is NHL Hockey the most memorable one of the series? Certainly not. But it set the framework for some of the best sports games of all time, and considering that was twenty freakin’ years ago (way to make myself feel old), I think it’s definitely worthy of praise, and has its own unique charm that differs from the others in the series.

Also, the intro music is totally boss.

Now, go play a game featuring the Hartford Whalers vs. the Minnesota North Stars…because you can.



Throwback Thursday: Captain America and the Avengers

[box type=”bio”] Matt “Pixxel” Papa is a retro-game enthusiast, collector and touring bead sprite artist. He will be joining VideoGameDJ every Thursday to highlight an under-appreciated retro game.[/box]

Captain America and the Avengers Title ScreenAvengers assemble!

With the hours counting down to the release of the new Avengers movie, I’m sure many of you are itching for sweet, sweet Avengers goodness to tide you over until your butt is planted in a cushy movie theater seat. It is with this in mind that for the very first edition of Throwback Thursday, this one is gonna be about none other than Captain America and the Avengers!

Released in 1991 by Data East in the arcade and later ported to the Sega Genesis in 1992 (it was also ported to the SNES by Mindscape, but that version sucks), Captain America and the Avengers is a classic side scrolling brawler par excellence.

The gameplay is very polished and solid, with classic beat-em-up stages that are mixed in with some side-scrolling shooter segments. This is a nice balance of varying types of action that not only keeps the game exciting, but it also prevents it from getting too repetitive.

CAatA features some of the most prominent Avengers throughout history such as Captain America, Iron Man, and Hawkeye. Filling out the roster with 4 characters, Data East threw us a little bit of a curveball by rounding out the cast with everyone’s favorite “synthezoid” baddie turned good guy, The Vision.

Seriously, Vision is just a weird choice. The dude walks around with his arms crossed for cryin’ out loud! That’s just silly.

The Vision has the derpiest of walks

But, I digress.  As with many games from way back when, there is usually one thing that stands out about a game that makes us remember just how totally kick-ass rad a game was, and still is to this very day. With CAatA, it can be a tough call.

Is it the fact that it is a fantastic game that features beloved comic book characters that otherwise did not get a lot of love in the video game world? Hmm, yes, that’s possible.

Or, is it the fact that is it’s a finely crafted brawler, in which you can utilize the superb combative prowess of some of America’s finest super heroes?  Cap’s tried and true shield toss, Hawkeye’s pin-point accurate arrows, Iron Man and Vision’s pew-pew laser beams are all to be found. Pretty awesome, right?

Yes, but, if you have ever played this game, chances are there is one key element to this game that stands above the rest. It’s something that when you revisit the game, you can’t help but remember and recite with the derpiest of grins on your face.

That’s right people, we’re talking about the one-liners.

Oh my stars and garters, the one-liners!!

Like pretty much every game back in the day, this game was developed in Japan, and having spent 2 years of my life there, I can tell you that English is still a language that is very misunderstood there.  The end result is hilariously bad dialogue that you simply can’t help but love.  Better yet, there is almost no variation in the voices, and it truly sounds like it is one dude who is changing the pitch of his voice a little bit. Observe:

This game is rife with linguistic gems like this one, and others such as:

The Mini Bosses: Don’t disturb us!

Avengers: Why should it go well?

Why should it indeed…

Avengers: What’s this?

Red Skull: It’s another trap! You stupid men! Ha ha ha!

Avengers: We’ll teach you the meaning of “Justice

Ahahaha, stupid men. That’s a thing of beauty.

Mandrin: See my power!

Fwooo man…there’s plenty more where this came from, but it really needs to be experienced to be enjoyed to the fullest.


I hope y’all enjoyed the first of many sessions of Throwback Thursday. Check back next week, where you can once again SEE MY POWAAAAH!

Oh, Mandrin, you loveable scamp.

Bizarre but Awesome Making of MK1 Video

I’m not sure how i found this video, but it’s pretty interested / totally bizarre clip from a 1992 tv show “Games Master TV.” Pretty cool behind-the-scenes look at the making of Mortal Kombat 1, and the revolutionary techniques they used to make the most brutal fighting game of the time.

Later in the video, they get the actual actors of the characters play each other (in costume) in MK1. Sonya is a cheap bitch.

Mortal Kombat (Holy Shit!)

If I can use the word “literally” figurativly, I literally shit all over the room when I saw this video. Someone is actually trying to make a bad-ass Mortal Kombat movie. This short film was released with no credits as a pitch for a reimagined Mortal Kombat film.