From the category archives:

Video Games

… Let me count the ways. Much to my sister and her boyfriend’s chagrin I brought my PS3 down from Canada with me and have been thoroughly enjoying it most nights after we all return to the Charlestown house from our respective jobs. Sometimes I can get it to function as a media center, wirelessly streaming the many movies I have on my laptop and playing them through the gaming console. It’s quite cool. But more often than not it skips too much to be watchable… so a gaming console it tends to remain. On these occasions there tends to be heated discussion on who gets to do what, but if I have to sit through the Real Housewives of Orange County a couple times a week, Janet and Damo can surely suffer my ongoing rivalry with the Portland Pirates a time or two.

The reason I brought the Playstation 3 with me is because, well, I’ve loved video games since the first time I ever played one, probably 32 years ago. To say I was an early adopter would be a major understatement. I was playing Adventure on a terminal my Dad had hooked up to a 7-foot-tall mainframe in his workshop at the age of 4. I remember a campground in the very early 80’s that had an arcade with Space Invaders, Defender, Sub Hunt and a few other pioneering hunks of fun. My friend Oliver wins the prize for the first home system I ever played, which was a combination of pong and a light gun target game with abysmal accuracy. The Atari 2600 and Commodore Vic 20 came along soon afterwards and pretty soon my obsession turned to Pitfall and the text adventure games of Scott Adams, The Count being my favorite, even though I never managed to finish it.

Fast-forward another year and I was writing my own games on my Vic using basic and well… you get the point. Considering the era in which I grew up, and who my father and Uncle were, I think that if I didn’t still have any affinity for video games – there’d be something far more wrong with me. That’s what I keep telling myself each morning when I wake up next to two Boston Terriers, at any rate.

Time has marched on mercilessly, as it does, and my current pixelly fascination is the latest version of Electronic Art’s juggernaut, NHL 2010, or NHL10 as it’s been branded. 16 years ago I beat every kid in Mills Hall at the University of Guelph in an NHL ‘92 tournament that someone set up. We chose to use 92 as opposed to 93 or 94 because more kids were familiar with it and I went through my competitors like… I should probably wrap this post up about now while I still might sleep with a woman again someday. My point is, I have a long history with the franchise.

Marco and I enthusiastically trying out the new first-person fighting feature the day of the game’s release back in September 2009.

So this post isn’t a complete informational bust for folks who may have found it via a search engine, here are my favorite bits from NHL10 – all of which have to do with the new “Be a Pro” mode.

  • In “Be a Pro” mode you start on an AHL team (currently the Providence Bruins for me) and have to prove yourself in order to make it up to the show.
  • At the conclusion of every shift your coach provides bullet points in a popup window of what you did well and what you need to work on. “Good positioning out there. Keep firing them at the net. You picked a good time to start a fight and get the team’s energy up but you have to hold your own.”
  • Speaking of fighting, it’s in first-person perspective for the first time ever and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. I’m getting better, and win the odd fight, but it’s been hard to master thus far.
  • I love the fact that if you set the style to “Authentic” if you’re in the penalty box, or even just resting on the bench, your viewpoint switches to first-person and you have to turn your head back and forth to keep your eye on the action like you’re at Wimbleton.

A super game, and well done to Electronic Arts. Who else has played it? With the strength of EA’s offering this year, is it even worth renting the competition’s 2K10? Sound off, my hockey nerds of the evening. I know you’re out there.