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I interviewed the lead programmer of SNES NHL 94...


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Cool interview, I love reading anything I can on the old NHL games since where I was from, everyone had NHL and no one had the RPGs and shit everyone on the internet talks about these days.

 

I am the absolute rare breed in this whole NHL 94 being the best hockey game of all time fiasco. I think NHL '95 is a much better game for dozens of reasons. The fact that the game has the season mode and trades is really an end of story thing right there. With that said, 255 points is the maximum you can get in one season. Granted, I played with my favorite line (Fedorov, Bure, Gretzky) (Bourque/Coffey) against Ottawa, the shittiest team, but I was able to score like 140 goals once in a 60 minute game (real Genesis, no save states). After 99 goals, the scoreboard wraps to a series of shapes and lines, if I recall correctly. I'd like to see what the world record for most goals scored in NHL '95 is because to get that, I basically had to win every face off and do the deke fake out move to score each time. The clock moves at like double real time, so doing the math, it'd be hard to skate from center ice face off and score more goals.

 

Anyways, I don't like how slow the other NHL games play. If you've ever watched a hockey movie, the cameras are low to the ice to put emphasis on speed. NHL '94 had speeds that I could basically skate end to end with, not NHL players. It also seems like the animation has your player move on a slant, it just doesn't seem natural. The player animation doesn't flow in a circle like it does in '95. I'm sure people have issues with timing in NHL '95, but I found the slow speed of '94 makes getting where you want to go an absolute chore, combined with the slanting animations. I'm sure if you grew up with that and are used to it, it's fine, but to go to that from '95 seems like you're playing a game with cement filled skates.

 

I know absolutely no one is gonna agree with me on the '95 being better than '94 stuff, but it's how I seen it. I was so excited to revisit '94 (my cousin got all of them yearly, but I could only ever get '95 as a kid) and after playing a couple games I was almost put to sleep. The SNES version of NHL '95 was based on the Genesis version of '94, so I think others consider SNES '95 better than Genesis '95.

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Shit, the NHL games were the only reason I started following hockey! I think that 94 on the Genesis was awesome, if not the best. The last year I gave a shit about the EA hockey games was 95, though...and that game was good for a bunch of reasons. We had a lot of fun with it, but the whole thing peaked with 94, IMO. I prefer the Genesis versions over all the SNES ones, personally. There was just something about the flow that I didn't like on the SNES. NHLPA 93 for SNES was quite bad compared to the others.

 

I can't remember if you could fight in 94, but one of them they decided to bring it back. We loved that feature. The Hot and Cold streaks were interesting in 95. I don't play any of the new NHL games because I could care less, but from the original to 95 on Genesis, we had tons of laughs. I was a huge Bure/Canucks fan, and these games really catered to their strengths. Let's not talk about the Canucks, though...the pain, the pain.

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