Saturday, 13 July 2013

Buyer Beware

I won't deny that EA Sports has basically dominated the hockey market when it comes to video games. They have been making NHL-based video games since 1992 for all sorts of consoles, and NHL '14 is the next greatest thing to come along in this series. Long regarded as the first close-to-perfect-as-possible NHL game was NHL '94, and this year's edition in the NHL series reportedly features an NHL '94 Anniversary Mode to commemorate the 20th anniversary of NHL '94's release. Gamers everywhere went nuts about this, and were even more excited when it was announced that every team would have updated rosters in the anniversary mode.

There's just one problem with this: it's NOT NHL '94, ladies and gentlemen. Not even close.

Back in 1994, there were six current teams that didn't have rosters, let alone franchises. They are the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and Phoenix Coyotes. Those six franchises can't have updated rosters because they hadn't been conceived at that point in time. Are you telling me that EA Sports is just going to toss six teams into the NHL '94 world and completely mess up the historical timeline?

The answer to that is "no". And the reason for that "no" is that all EA Sports is doing is giving players a chance to lay NHL '14 in a retro-stylized NHL '94 look. As the information states, "All built within the NHL 14 game engine, NHL 94 Anniversary Mode showcases its hockey video gaming roots through a retro presentation including blue ice, classic star-shaped player indicators, 16-bit arena powerbars, no adboards, and throwback organ music. Relive the glory days of NHL '94 with NHL 94 Anniversary Mode in NHL 14!"
Doesn't quite look like NHL '94 did, does it? Instead, we just get NHL '14 repackaged to look like NHL '94 so that EA Sports honors its roots through this anniversary. While I appreciate EA Sports bringing more attention to a game that I feel is the best of its time by a wide margin, I probably won't be buying NHL '14 because it has a retro-looking NHL '14 game.

I want the real thing. And thankfully, my Sega Genesis works and my copy of NHL '94 is still going strong today! We even hold an NHL '94 tournament at the radio station! Honestly, it's one of the greatest games of all-time, and that's why I have a few of the sprites on my blog today. I absolutely love the game, and it will always stand on its own for its merits.

NHL '14 looks fantastic, but EA Sports shouldn't repackage it in NHL '94's colors. That's just wrong. Caveat emptor, kids.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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