Weekend Links: Game On

Aw yeah.

Hello, old friends, it’s been too long. Anything happen in the last two weeks that I missed? Oh, the Draft? Probably should have been up on that. Free agency rumors? Brodeur, really? Wow. The things that happen when you look away. Anyway, lack of awareness aside, it’s nice to be back.

I come here today to discuss something very near and dear to my heart. Something, I would think, that many of us can relate to. Let’s go all the way back to the dark times of 1994. My sporting purview was very different back in those days. I think I’ve mentioned that I was not exactly a hockey fan when I was a young’n, I mean, I liked it, but it wasn’t something I was dropping everything for. I was always partial to baseball (a fact likely helped along by living in Toronto in the early 90s) and hockey was that sport that everyone seemed wild about but I just didn’t get. It took me years to figure out what an offside was and icing, how does that make sense? I was not super quick on the uptake as a child.

That all changed, or at least began to, in the spring of ’94. The Leafs were fresh off a deep playoff run and, despite not knowing exactly what was going on, I found myself invested in their fate (though I had no idea why my dad seemed to spend most days talking about someone named “Fucking Kerry Fraser”). However, it was not by reality that my love of hockey turned from minute to massive (oh good, now this sounds like a Pitchfork review). That was with the help of any six-year-old’s favourite thing, the Super Nintendo.

See, as a young, impressionable idiot, I was easily taken in by commercials and, one day, I saw this:

Ho-ly shit. That commercial blew my mind. That was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Slapshots? Body checks? Mode 7 graphics!? It was on. I was a hockey fan if for no reason than to understand this game. Why couldn’t I bring the puck up the ice with my goalie? Why did it keep saying that G#29 (the game didn’t have player names) kept “freezing” the puck? What did that mean!? I didn’t know, but damn if I wasn’t going to find out.

Here’s all you need to know about what makes this game awesome, this is from the game’s Wikipedia page -

This game mimics real ice hockey in that the player can shoot, pass or dump the puck, and he can perform hip, shoulder and poke checks. The player can even fake a slap shot and aim his shot on goal to a particular corner of the net. Hockey is an overtly brutal sport, and this game reflects that, but there are numerous penalties that the player can commit, including tripping, cross checking, slashing, roughing, hooking, interference, icing and offsides.

Come on. I dare you to tell me that you want to do anything else other than play this game right now. It mimics real life! You can shoot, pass OR dump the puck! Madness, I tell you. Utterly awesome madness. I was hooked. I was a hockey fan. Nothing would ever change that.

See, that’s the power that nonsense games have on kids. I’m sure this isn’t an argument I have to make to many of you but for all the talk of rotting brains and whatnot, there’s a definite positive to these games, especially where sports are concerned. Especially if you can find a game that seems unique to you. Obviously, I was not the only person to own this game but while my friends were concerned with their NHL95 and making Little Wayne’s head bleed (two things, 1) kind of a dark thing for kids to be psyched about and 2) Little Wayne has very different connotations now), I was concerned with the fact I could see a player’s back. And could see up the ice. Like I was really playing hockey. This game ruled. Without this game, I probably wouldn’t be here boring you with this story. But I am. So now you know what to blame.

Links To The Past

  • One of those things I missed in the past couple weeks? Sidney Crosby signing a very big check. Thing is, Sid the Kid has had some injury problems you may have heard about. You know how you have to pay an ungodly amount of insurance on your car if you keep crashing it? This is kind of like that. (Puck Daddy)
  • As you may have heard, Free Agency is tomorrow. It’s going to be a busy day but it’s going to be a fun day. I can’t wait to see how my Leafs make a move that will inevitably end horribly. In the meantime, here’s a preview of the fun ahead. (Down Goes Brown)
  • That huge contract Crosby signed? Don’t expect to see very many of them after this year. In fact, that may have been the last. (The Hockey News)
  • Seems like I’m more excited about Martin Brodeur’s pending free agency than New Jersey is. That probably shouldn’t come as much of a shock. (The Star Ledger)
  • The Stanley Cup puck has been found! And it was found by…Patrik Elias? (NHL.com)
  • I know you were all worried but it turns out that yes, we will be able to get drunk at the Winter Classic. (The Globe and Mail)
  • Ian Laperriere: gone but not forgotten. Actually, he just retired and took a job with the Flyers front office. (Broad Street Hockey)
  • I didn’t want to go too in-depth into this because I’m sure we’ll be talking about it a lot in the coming weeks but CBA talks have officially begun. Let’s hope for a faster resolution than last time. (SB Nation)