NHL '94 returns in NHL '14

Perhaps just as important as what was happening on the ice 20 years ago was the NHL experience that Electronic Arts ( ERTS) was creating off it.

EA's NHL '94 was not only a video game milestone, but a cultural touchstone for a whole generation of gamers and sports fans. Its blue ice, organ music, stiff-armed goal celebrations and pixelated graphics are seared into the memory of just about any member of Generation X who ever owned a Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo game console.

If you loved to cut and deke through defenses as Jeremy Roenick, crank long-range goals as the New Jersey Devils' Darren Richer or pick the Toronto Maple Leafs' Tie Domi just to make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed Swingers style, there's a strong chance you still don't think a better hockey video game has ever been created. In some ways, EA agrees.

With recent incarnations of its NHL series derided as bland and overly technical, EA decided to include an NHL '94 mode in its latest game and bring the experience into the Sony PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era just as it ends. The gameplay is just as fast, the physics make the checks and dekes a bit more believable, but the important stuff such ass the star-shaped indicators and retro players including Roenick, Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are all still there. Unlike the original, however, you're actually allowed to drop the gloves and fight in this one.

Times may have changed a bit, but the formula for bringing Gen X back to hockey still involves NHL '94.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.

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