Sunday, August 20, 2006

Top Five Sports Video Game Countdown # 5

I'm going to begin this post with another apology. I'm sorry for the lack of updates over the past week but I've been very busy with getting prepared for school, attending to birthdays, and my closest friend Kevin, whom I've known since I was 6, step-father passed away this week. All of these events made it nearly impossible for me to find the time to write a post, (also sleeping in until 3 P.M. and acquiring and watching the entire Simpsons Season 8 DVD's didn't help either.) and for this I apologize to the one person who reads this site.

Every red-blooded, virile, American male born since 1980 eagerly awaits with bated breath and sweaty palms for the end of August. Why? A hysterical woman might ask. For the
Montrose, Michigan Annual Blueberry Festival? Certainly not. Rather the excitement is over the release of the latest installment of EA Sports Madden NFL Football. An event so magnificent that it nearly balances out the soul crushing experience of having to go back to school the following week. And if you can't relate to the reverential terms I'm using to describe the Madden series, well.....I just don't know who you are anymore. Anyways to honor/celebrate the release of the new Madden game and to shatter any idea that I have/had any semblance of a social life I'm going to count down my Top 5 favorite sports video games of all-time, (and to avoid talking about the suddenly free falling Tigers, but I'm not going to panic........ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod). I'm limiting this list to the major pro sports, so if you have an e-mail or comment about how great Ivan "Ironman" Stewarts Off-Road was or how I overlooked the brilliance of Kings of the Beach save it. So without further adieu The List.

#5 NHLPA '93 Sega Genesis

My first memory of playing NHL '93 was when I was ten years old and staying the night at my
friend Greg's house. Greg's stepdad had made the trip to the local video store and rented a game to prevent a couple of energetic ten year olds from interfering with his plans of getting blind drunk and watching Mrs. Doubtfire. Needless to say it worked as Greg and I played the game for the next 12 hours matching the Detroit Red Wings v. The Chicago Blackhawks in a best of 165 series. To say that this was a transcendent game, which appealed to everyone regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation would be a gross understatement. For example my friend Greg, whom I spent my first several hours playing this game with grew up to be a homosexual Wiccan, (I only wish I were joking about that), and when I've run into him over the years during......... I mean between, rave party orgies and brushing up on his Book of Shadows studies, he still talks about the game in hushed tones.

Anyways enough about my introduction to the brilliance of NHL '93, the key question is what made the game so great and since I'm no good at writing transition sentences, I'm going to list them numerically beginning with.......

1: The opening music which was so shrill and grating that it made your ears bleed and you were forced to listen to it for at least 10 seconds as the game scrolled through a list of programmers and producers. It's impossible to describe how horrendous this music was but I'll try. Imagine if John Tesh's magnificent NBA on NBC theme was played by deaf retarded chimps on synthesizers, and produced by Satan, Pol Pot, and Ty Cobb, then multiply that by 100x and your almost there.

2: The unstoppable force of Jeremy Roenick. Some guys are so ridiculously good in a video
game that playing with them isnt even a challenge, such as Michael Vick in any Madden game, Terry Pendelton in RBI '93 and David Fulcher in Tecmo Super Bowl. Jeremy Roenick is better than all of them. He's nearly impossible to knock down, lays devastating checks, is the fastest guy on the game, and if you really make him mad he'll beat the hell out of you. He was so devastating that my friends imposed a temporary ban on the Blackhawks to keep the game competitive.

3: The Deke Move. Approach the goal hit left right left and plant the puck top shelf. My friend T.J. has mastered this move to a point that elite goalies like Ed Belfour and Patrick Roy look like run of the mill
Peter Sidorkiewiczs'. The one man in Saskatoon with internet access is nodding his head knowingly at that last statement.

4. Fighting and blood on the ice. The NHL didn't approve of this aspect of the game and it disappeared from the NHL series for the next several years even though it was arguably the most exciting part of the game. My friends and I have vivid memories of some of the most
classic fights including the complete destruction of Bob Probert (played by my friend Kevin) at the hands of Bob Bassen (me) a fight that quickly turned into the final scene of Rocky IV and had real life implications cementing my friend Kevin's status as a pretty boy. The fighting also allowed the player to administer some frontier justice as nothing was more satisfying than seeing Theo Fleury sliding on his back towards the boards as blood spilled out of his skull, especially after he had lit you up for a triple hat trick and you were losing 11-3 and you were so goddamn frustrated that you thought your head was going to EXP........ok, ok I'm calmed down.

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