Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pixels and Pucks, pt. 1

With October a few heatstroke-laden months away, I cannot help but be nostalgic about summers long gone...

When going to sleep at 5 a.m. and waking up at 3 p.m. was not necessarily "acceptable" nor was it anything but reprehensible, but it was a fact of life. Times when a couple plastic nets and many more shredded knees were the prominent images of months that melted away into nothing more than memories.

Ah, yes. Summers when video games were the perfect air-conditioned supplement for real-time hockey. After all, isn't life better when you can turn injuries off, score an embarrassing amount of wraparound goals and simply reset the game when Ty Conklin coughs up a puck behind the net?

With that in mind, I'm going to count down my Top 5 Hockey Video Games of All-Time. Hell, when the mood strikes me, I might even throw in some "lesser known" games that are worth playing and the occasional Eternal Hockey Video Game Bug (I'm looking at you, piss-poor goalie passing controls).

So break out your boxy NES controllers and your Kleenex, because we're about to get nostalgic in here...

5. Blades of Steel (NES)

Maybe Blades of Steel isn't the greatest place to start, since a lot of the experiences I have playing this Nintendo classic are hazy memories.

But, for what it's worth, I remember being in awe of the game. Funny enough, the thing I remember the most was that after the end of the 1st period, Konami would either display a random ad or better yet: let you play Gradius.

Hell, I don't remember much from the early Playstation versions of Tekken, except that Konami did pretty much the same damn thing. Does this really mean that I'm just a slut for entertaining loading screens? Probably.

Blades of Steel was one of the first games to use voice recognition. A voice screamed words like "Faceoff!" during the game and "Blades of Steel" at the title screen.

Fighting was one of the main attractions in Blades. What made fighting especially kick ass was that only the defeated goon would sit in the penalty box. Imagine that? A situation where a team's dancing grizzly bear could actually yield a huge strategic advantage.

Somewhere, Bob Probert is stifling a tear. Let's just hope he isn't wearing an ankle braclet.


Zanstorm said...

Oh sweet Lord in Heaven! I played Blades of Steel for about 5 years of my young life! That was a hell of a good time, considering all we played prior to that was Commodore 64 hockey and knob hockey! But I haven't played it since. I remember the scores being really high as well.
Blades of Steel and CONTRA were my faves.

Drew said...

Light years ahead of 'Ice Hockey', Blades of Steel was a great time killer.

In college, the band I was in spent many long weekends in the recording studio rehashing take after take. To break the tedium, we didn't do the usual 'wannabe rock star' stuff. Nope, we closed the door to the kitchen and had Blades of Steel battles.

Unfortunately, that's the best memory of the time because the album didn't turn out so hot.

Thanks for reminding us of a great relic!

Alana said...

I used to love the Blades of Steel title screen. It was almost as good as Skate or Die's ("Skate...or Die! Die. Die. Die.")

Mike Chen said...

I still have my copy of BoS. It's on my bookshelf on display next to my Nintendo , Genesis, and copies of Metal Gear, Faxanadu, and NHL 94. This is what happens when your live-in significant other is also a gamer and debates with you about the merits of Castlevania 2.

I think you're forgetting the most important voice sample it had...


Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

Pure gold! I loved playing Blades of Steel at my friends place, because I was stuck with a shitty Sega Master System.

I remember you could score some goals if you shot the puck from the goal line down in the corner.

Talk about impossible angles.

Doogie2K said...

Gotta love the cover art, too. Gretzky vs. the Islanders, except...not. Kinda.

But why is that Flame beating up on the Colorado Rockie? That's not fair, they already had to play on a shitty team, give or take Lanny MacDonald.

Kent MacDonald said...

all your blades enthusiests out there, bow down to your master... here is my living room -


Zanstorm said...

No F---ing way Kent! That is something...