Jason’s comment on the last post spurred me to actually think for a moment about the game I’m playing. ESPN NHL Hockey is probably the closest thing to the hockey game I (we) drempt of when I was a kid. “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” was always the statement, usually followed by a desired game element that was obviously too complex for the time. Playing NHL’94 on the SNES and wishing and hoping that you could check someone through the boards, or get into real looking (read: well designed) fights, or push people over the boards and into the benches. Those are things that simple 8-bit sprite based games simply couldn’t give us. I’m very proud to say that this new game make old school hockey fans very happy. Seriously, when I put someone through the glass for the first time I was jumping around the living room like a little girl. Unlike NHL 2004 (EA-Sports francise) the pace is much slower, you can still score on a wrap around, the characters react accurately, the fights make sense and it’s not a scoring free-for-all. Don’t get me wrong, NHL 2004 is also a very good game, I happen to own it. But it’s a completely different kind of hockey game. ESPN hockey is more a a purists game. It’s a simulation, complete with John Buccigross and Bill Clament giving the play by play. I don’t think I’ve had more than 5 goals in a game the entire time I’ve been playing it. That’s accurate. Rarely (read: never) would you see the Boston Bruins winning 75 to 2 in real life. Also, that’s an actual score I’ve gotten in NHL 2002. I’ve yet to top it since. Anyway, I just wanted to spread the good word about that game and say that finally, real solid hockey games are back. Oh, and by the way, the Bruins beat the crap out of the Rangers the other night. Go B’s!