Some Tips for NHL 97 (SNES)

Be it SNES or Sega Mega Drive – I love NHL 94.  I just like it so much. In its time it was popular and appreciated ice hockey game. NHL 97 for SNES is very similar in many ways. I decided to pick this game and buy it because I liked NHL 94 so much and I hoped it would have a decent season mode.

I start to play this game. I am greeted with some title screens. There appears to be some kind of a menu. I decide to first play an exhibition game to find out how to play this game. Since I have so solid experience from NHL 94 I decide to try to play this in difficulty of Expert which is the toughest difficulty level out of three.

I picked Anaheim Mighty Ducks because I like to play with Selänne and Karyia. They are fast and good players also in overall. After three rounds I haven’t scored a goal. It seems that it is hard to make one. I seem to loose the puck all the time. I didn’t set fighting on but I guess I will have to test playing also with that setting on.

I finally loose the first game in overtime as computer scores the first, and last, goal of overtime. I decide to try to play a season. The menu is a bit confusing. I manage to create a new player and select a team. I also adjust the difficulty level to a bit lower setting.

This game feels a lot like NHL 94. There are many things done a bit differently althought. The graphics and sounds have been moulded a bit. There are fights which do not exist in NHL 94. Scoring a goal is more difficult or at least it is modified. This is all in all a good matter. I have played NHL 94 so much that it would simply be boring for me to keep scoring and winning games 10 to 0.

I have some tips for players of NHL 97. Don’t tackle a player that has a breakaway. If you do the opponent will almost every time get a penalty shot. It isn’t worth mking that risk. Just try to distract the player that has the puck without tackling. You can use pass button but the referee might consider that to be tackling also.

There is a sure way to score in NHL 94. You have to skate with your player that has the puck to the other corner of the ice and then start moving to the other side going on the front of the goal and goal keeper and then shoot the puck while moving from left-to-right or right-to-left depending on the point you started. This way, or at least the game thinks so, the goalie is put to a side-to-side movement and you will definitely score a goal this way.

However I didn’t get to try this. NHL 94 gets boring quickly if you use this method to score like 20 goals in every game. So that is the reason why I avoid using this way to score a goal. I have to play this more to find out more ways to score a goal. One sure way seems to be to get in a breakaway and then press several times left-right-left on the game pad or right-left-right depending once again how you start the combination of key presses.

You have to be careful when your goalie has the puck. Avoid passing the puck when you have the puck near the goal. Don’t pass the puck from another side to the other side so that it passes directly in front of the goal. If your opponent gets to intercept your pass and your goalie is positioned badly this might lead to your opponent to score a goal.

NHL 97 seems to be a different game if you compare it directly to NHL 94. It is a sequel after all. I played the SNES version. I also have a PC big box version which is of course completely different game since you get to run it on such a powerful platform. I am talking about the power of a PC compared to SNES. The PC version has 3D modeled graphics and the gameplay differs also a lot.

NHL 97 is a good hockey game. I think althought that it isn’t one for me to continue playing for a long time. There are better hockey games. Some nice ones are NHL 08 on PS2 and NHL 2000 on PS1. I think you should check them out in case you like ice hockey games. NHL 97 was a cheap one to buy for me. I got it for 15 euros. I ordered some other SNES games with the same order so that’s how it goes this time.

Why Am I a SEGA Person?

Sega was my key to this whole video gaming hobby. I think it was 1993 when I got my Sega Mega Drive. I played a lot of it. This was of course making me not to play so much NES, SNES and even later Nintendo 64 and GameCube. Lately I have tried to catch up on Nintendo’s retro stuff. I have even studied some Game Boy games.

Nothing created such a rage inside me than a Mega Drive game that I was trying to beat. You can say that Mega Drive games are a bit repetitive in their nature so you had to be perfect on a try and if you failed you had to start all over again until you eventually would run out of lives and after that continues. Yeah. We didn’t have lots of memory for saved games back then.

Sega also made me to be angry to my mates that were playing some Streets of Rage 2 with me in collaboration mode. It became aggresive so suddenly. As I was playing with my brother we had many arguments. We were told that we took the game too seriously. We were separated and we both couldn’t play Mega Drive for that day anymore. This made me think even when I was a small ten-year-old child. And I didn’t take it so seriously. There was just something about how Sega made players a bit frustrated. I think that is some of the appeal of this franchise.

After Sega my life with Nintendo’s gaming products was again pushed towards later times because it happened that I bought a Sony PlayStation in 1997. This of course made me distant also to Sega Saturn. I have only lately been again interested in it. As PlayStation had real 3D games I thought it would absolutely have so much more to offer compared to Saturn. This thinking has changed, maybe just this year, and I have been interested in Saturns games which aren’t actually so much 3D games but it has some very interesting titles that Sony doens’t have.

So these choices made me to play certain games. Today I understand that the variety of different and good or decent game titles are from many different consoles and every consoles have at least some good or decent games be it that many of the best games are released on certain systems. This makes me definitely interested in exclusives. And this interest hasn’t faded when it comes to modern consoles.

What I was essentially missing a lot as a child were mainly NES, SNES and Game Boy titles. Later I missed some Saturn titles and N64 and GameCube titles. I also didn’t ever get a Dreamcast. So what caught my attention was first Sega and then Sony. Did I follow Sony a lot? Maybe not. I never had a PS2. Can you think about this? I hardly can.

All in all we can say that there are for all of us these gaming consoles that brought us to the hobby or maybe to some to the profession. It is your own curiosity that makes you want to dig deep and try to discover some old games that you haven’t yet played. And this is also what makes video gaming interesting.

Who Is This Guy (Super Mario)?

What’s the game you start to play when you want a nice platform game and you don’t mind if it is a bit retro? Of course you play Super Mario Bros or Super Mario Land or Super Mario Bros 3 or the New Super Mario. Whatever your choice is one thing is certain – there are lots of options here. That’s basically because there seems to be no limit to how many and how varying game titles have been released in this video game characters lifetime.

The featured image of this blog post is the cover of a book about how Nintendo and Mario “conquered” USA. Of course this character made its way into the minds of all gamer’s across the whole wide world. Super Mario was chosen to be the main character that represented the whole Nintendo as a company. There are lots of games and also some other material in which Super Mario has been used.

But who is this guy actually? We get to understand that he’s a plumber. He has a brother named Luigi. I think he’s a plumber too. Mario has the tendency to try to be a hero and he is always trying to save the princess. Mario is a bit softer than Sega’s mascot Sonic. Basically Mario is a product of the beginning of 80s while Sonic seems to be from the end of 80s and also from the beginning of 90s.

Of course all the real hardcore retro gamers know that Crash Bandicoot took the title of the most fascinating video game mascot back in the 90s. But you have to realize that Mario was the first of them. Nintendo was the brand that made gaming great again after Atari had effed up the whole game with it’s foolish strategy on releasing poor quality video games. Basically, back then, Atari just got too greedy.

And only Nintendo is able to come up with this kind of material. At the same time it seems a bit naive and childish but do you know what kinds of mushrooms he actually is able to consume? A mushroom that looks like Amanita Muscaria and makes him to grow. Wow! How did that happen and how did it happen so fast. Maybe there is something more to it than we at first can observe. Maybe parents should look after their children despite the fact that Nintendo seems to be so settled with its in game content.

Super Mario remains as a character that is a bit mysterious. You don’t get to talk with him in deep conversations. You might remember him from your childhood. Is he the one that is responsible for luring all these people in to video gaming? There haven’t been so many interviews or story lines in games that would have described his personality. Yet you definitely recognize his voice as he says “It’s me…Mario!”.

Why are things this way? Maybe it has everything to do with how under developed video games were. We had two dimensional pixel graphics and the audio quality was poor. There just weren’t enough space for this character to form some kind of a more progressed image in our minds. I think this is also a strength for him. He is kind of abstract figure. He was made to be simple and easy to approach. So Mario is at the same time very simple and also very attractive in a mind of a determined retro gamer.

A Very Nice Hockey Game

You know how many sport games are, don’t you? The game stays almost like same and there is a release every year. So there aren’t big changes in the game every year. But something always changes if we compare these games closely or then compare a game that is ten years old to the most recent one. I thought that I would bring up a game from a bit over twenty years ago and tell all of you how it is as a hockey game.

There have been many good hockey games in the whole wide history of gaming. One of my favorites is NHL 94 for Mega Drive. I played also NHL 97 for PC for a while. NHL 94 was good but if you compare NHL 95, 96 or 97 to it you find that it’s basically the same game that is released for Mega Drive and there aren’t so many updates. NHL 97 for PC is offering already 3D graphics and the gameplay also has an appeal.

The latest hockey game that I got in my hands was NHL 2021 for PS4. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get the difficulty level to something that would have been correct for me as a gamer. It was too easy and I scored almost everytime I made a shot and I won my opponent with ten goals every time or it was a bit too difficult and none of my shots would find their place. It was nice that the game had Patrik Laine and all other real and recent players in it. I couldn’t understand the gameplay completely.

I think many PS4 games have this issue that playing the game has been made a bit hard. I don’t know if this is a choice that has been made to make the games more appealing to eSport hobbyists and professionals. This can also be a thought only in my mind. You should definitely have your own opinion on this matter. There are propably games made for PS4 that are very playable and enjoyable. But in my opinion NHL 2021 isn’t a game that would inspire me a lot.

So why to play NHL 2000 for PlayStation 1? It’s appealing and inspiring game. You can definitely adjust the difficulty and I found that playing was the most enjoyable with second easiest difficulty level for me. I picked Mighty Ducks as my team since it had Teemu Selänne and also Paul Kariya. These both are fast players and their shot is very accurate. They both play in the first attack line of Anaheim.

As a hockey game NHL 2000 feels very nice to play. There is a lot of randomness. Situations change quickly. One of the best ways to score a goal is to have a breakaway. I have made lots of goals with Selänne or Kariya as they are fast. Another way to score is to give a pass and shoot the puck as a one-timer. It helps if you are closer to the goal and if you can make the goalie to move sideways there is a strong opportunity to score a goal.

One thing I hate about NHL 94 is that it offers only playoffs as a game mode. NHL 2000 has different kinds of seasons for you to pick. You can have a season of only a bit under 30 games, a season with about 60 games or a full season. Of course as is common you can adjust the play time and how often fights occur and also some other options for modifying rules of the game.

This is a hockey game for you if you don’t mind a bit retroish feel to the graphics and like fast, easy and enjoyable gameplay. There could maybe be more statistics, I don’t know. I am not the kind of a gamer that spends lots of time inspecting some deeper statistics  but it is nice to see how many goals the best scorer of my team has made, what is my goalies percentage of preventions or some other stats like this. This is definitely your game if you are into PS1 games all in all.

The Xbox Experience

I have a history with Microsoft’s game console, Xbox. Sony had already entered the field back when they released their first console, PlayStation. Back then I remember some of us, players, felt that Microsoft was only after big profits. They had already shown their somewhat greediness in operating system business. Why do they have to enter the gaming field?

PlayStation 2 was released before original Xbox. In next years it sold a lot and  it sold over 100 million units as Xbox sold “only” about 30 million units. This figures aren’t as accurate as could be but I think they give a tip about how the markets were formed. As Sega retreated their efforts to bring new gaming to markets, Sony and Microsoft kept competing against each other. And of course there was also Nintendo.

Today we can compare the most powerful home gaming consoles and we can talk about PlayStation 5 versus Xbox Series X. Actually, I just got my Series X yesterday. I have been using Xbox Series S for over one and a half years. I do have PS4 but I don’t really have any experience from PS5 be it digital or a device with an optical drive in it. Of course I have experience from latest games of Nintendo Switch and PC also. But it seems to me that I could compare PS5 and Xbox Series X, since they are, in my opinion, really close to each other.

I have very good experiences of Xbox. The thing that I have liked the most is the Android app that I can use to share my screenshots, see the time that I have spent on a Series S/X game and also to see what trophies I have achieved. It has been really easy to work with my account. It was really easy to move all my data, like saved games, to a new gaming console as I made the transition from Series S to Series S. I can also see how my player points look like. The account and the app also can show how many points I have gathered playing Xbox 360 games. I currently have 76 percentage of all of the trophies of Forza Motorsport 3.

My experiences with PS4 aren’t as convincing. I got my PS4 back in 2014. So I have used it for several years. Today, I find that if we compare this experience in overall to the new generations experiences that I’ve had I would like to tell you that…I actually like Xbox Series consoles more. PS4 has some kind of Android application also. But, for sharing a screenshot, you have to plug in a USB stick. That’s a bit wack. Also I didn’t like the overall feel of most games. I think they went after eSports players and made many games too difficult for an average gamer. In my opinion these games also lacked some playability.

Don’t get me wrong. I think PS4 is a great console. Although when compared to Series X/S it cannot compete. There are many really good games on PS4. I especially have enjoyed NBA 2K14, Dirt Rally (1 and 2.0), Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 and many others that I really don’t recall as I am writing this.

What I mainly wanted to say in this blog post is that I have enjoyed Xbox Series S/X very much. I don’t know if you should think that Series X is better than PS5. I think you should make up your own mind and maybe have a conversation with a friend about this. Xbox is nice but I have some very meaningful history with PlayStation. And of course – don’t forget Nintendo and if you are a bit of a retro type don’t forget Sega…and maybe even Atari.

Playing Game Boy Games (And Not Taking It Too Seriously)

This thing in this featured image is Super Game Boy. Can you guess what it can accomplish? Yes, to play Game Boy Games on Super Nintendo. So there’s an adapter and a Game Boy game which happens to be a good Game Boy game and it is…Super Mario Land.

Why and how did I start getting into Game Boy games? I just figured that there might be something interesting here. It all started as I played Zelda – Link’s Awakening. You know, that’s a Game Boy game and a good one, I can tell you that. So I started to get an idea out of this.

So, there are games being developed for some system. If you happen to be a game developer you have to take in consideration many things about on what device the game can be played on. Game Boy certainly has limitations but just look at these two games that I have mentioned here. They are of very good quality.

How limited is Game Boy as a gaming system? We can start from the screen resolution…or so called resolution. Game Boy actually has a resolution of 160×144 pixels with an aspect ratio of 10:9. That’s a small screen for a handheld gaming console. It’s actually so small that sometimes while I was testing Super Mario Land, just moments ago, I felt a bit of clumsiness because there just are so few pixels for controlling and actually moving your character.

What are some other limitations? There are only a limited amount of colors. Originally Game Boy had four shades of green on the screen. Where Game Boy really excels is the battery life. You can play 16 hours with four AA-batteries. To make a comparison Game Gear provided playing time of three to five hours with six AAA-batteries. Also Game Gear had a colour screen of 32 colors. What about sound? It is a bit limited. But you have to consider that this handheld gaming device came to markets in 1989.

Playing Game Boy games with Super Game Boy is fun. I have a total of five games for Game Boy at the moment. I also got myself a Game Boy Color some time ago. I am not so excited right now about it. Actually I found out that the screen was very dim and it makes playing it a bit of a pain. So I prefer my Super Game Boy adapter.

So I found some time today to spend with games and gaming. I am content that I also had time to write this blog post. I have been lately busy with work, reading books and making music.

The Original PlayStation Controller

So I bought Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 about a week ago. I was going to play it with the PSOne console that I’ve had for about five years already. I got my PSOne from a flee market for a low price of fifteen euros. It has worked since the day I bought it. I’ve had no issues.

I had a cheap accessory controller for PSOne. I figured that I would need a gamepad that would be more accurate and that would feel better. I first checked some prices of DualShock controllers. DualShock 1, which was for PS1 originally, was sold for about 25 euros. I found DualShock 2 and it would cost from 35 to 40 euros. As you might already know DualShock 2 was the original controller for PS2.

I have a PS2 console also. It is currently broken. It was finally not able to read any of my game discs. I still have about fifty or sixty games for PS2. So I still have some controllers. I just didn’t yet know or remember if they were in a reasonable shape and could I use them with my PSOne.

As you might also know PS2 was backwards compatible with controllers of PS1. So these controllers work with PS1 and PS2 and of course PSOne can use also them. You can play PS1 games also with PS2. And to mention also PS3 can be used to play them.

Unfortunately my only DualShock 2 controller was a  bit broken. It had been for many years in storage. It didn’t fully recognize a press to the right on the controller. I had another controller which wasn’t original one. It felt a bit wack also. I had to buy a new Dual Shock 2. I thought it was worth it.

Only a week had gone since I had ordered my fresh and cool skateboarding game. I made a new order to the same store one more time. I just had to buy also some other games. I might write something about them later. I have tested the controller and it works very nice.

The Book About Console Wars

In the beginning of 1980s there were lots of games and gaming systems available. All of the products targeted for home gamers just weren’t good enough. Some of them were actually garbage. It didn’t take long for consumers to understand what was going on. Remember that E.T. game that is called the worst video game ever? Well, that’s what we are talking about right here.

This however wasn’t the end of home gaming consoles. Nintendo released their Entertainment System in 1983. As they kept in mind all mistakes that earlier game consoles had made with too low quality in released games they were actually able to release a gaming system that was good enough for consumer markets. Gaming became popular again.

The demand for a home gaming console was still there. NES delivered a good quality 8-bit console. They didn’t have so much competition. This was about to change as Sega released their new 16-bit system in 1988. This is when the console wars started to take their form. And this is what the book “Console Wars” is all about.

So as you can figure I haven’t yet read this book all the way through. I have currently read maybe 150 pages of it. The book starts off with a funny foreword by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The book is actually written by Blake J. Harris and it was released in 2014.

As the book starts to describe how Sega entered the game with their 16-bit gaming console Sega Mega Drive it gives a view of what kind of a situation it was in the beginning of this console war. Of course Sega already had some experience of gaming markets as they had released Master System already. What really changed the scheme was the design of Sega’s own mascot Sonic The Hedgehog.

Sega got their idea for the icon of their gaming system through thinking about other cartoon figures and action hero’s of children and young human beings. There were several figures that influenced the shaping of Sonic. We can mention Turtles and Masters Of The Universe and even Barbie dolls. There is something also in these first 150 pages about Electronic Arts which had many very good quality sport games out there in the 1990s. Of course this gave its own influence in this console war.

Finally Nintendo answered and delivered for all of these gamers another even more powerful gaming console Super Nintendo. Of course there is also the battle between all these handheld consoles released. There were handhelds released by Nintendo (Game Boy), Sega (Game Gear) and Atari (Lynx). Game Boy finally became the most popular one of these three. It had some nice games and while Game Gear delivered a color screen their console battery life was way worse than Game Boy’s.

I find this book very interesting. I am glad that it is available for residents in my area (Finland). While it is written in English I still can understand it clearly. I find reading books written in English to work for my benefit. If you like to reminisce over some classic retro systems and are curious about how the actual history was written I can recommned this book for you.

Game & Watch – How Nintendo Got In to Video Game Business

I watched a video on YouTube about how Nintendo got the idea of producing original Game & Watch devices. I will link the video to the bottom of this blog post. That video inspired me to write this post.

You might not know what Nintendo Game & Watch device is. It reminds a calculator a bit. The idea was born when Gunpei Yokoi, the designer of Game & Watch, and later Game Boy, saw a man traveling in train. The man had a pocket calculator. He was looking very bored and seemed to tap randomly some numbers in his calculator.

Yokoi visioned that Game & Watch would be somewhat a tool to avoid boredom during for example long train trips. Nintendo needed some help to come up with a product like this. So, the design would rely strongly to the technology of pocket calculators. The device had a LCD screen. It was powered with batteries and it featured a D-Pad and some other buttons to control the game.

This was all accomplished in a world that wasn’t yet conquered by Nintendo Entertainment System. We had maybe some Atari 2600’s or something like that in our living rooms but the world and also Nintendo were very different from what it became in the 1980s later.

Game & Watch became very popular. There were several products released by Nintendo between years 1980 to 1991. Of course there was recently two Game & Watch consoles released. I got myself a Zelda one. The other Game & Watch had Super Mario games on it.

I can tell you a bit about my Zelda Game & Watch console. I think it cost about 70 euros. It came with Zelda games that were originally released for NES and Game Boy. It can be charged with a USB-C-cable and it has a good battery. You can see how the game can be controlled from the picture above this blog post.

And here is the link to the video that  got my inspiration for this blog post:

Grand Theft Auto

Do you find the mindset of Grand Theft Auto a bit weird? You go around driving a car and you accidentally drive over a person. Oops. The next thing that goes on is police starting to chase you. So what do you do? It wouldn’t be GTA if you wouldn’t shoot all the cops coming after you. Next thing you know is military coming after you. Maybe you end up driving a tank.

This is all a reality in Grand Theft Auto. But did you know that this game wasn’t at first meant to be as violent and somewhat absurd? That is the case. They were developing something and as they were working they got the idea of how the game actually could turn out to be. This of course was something that was never done before.

The first GTA game was released in 1997. At this time gangsta rap was dominating musical entertainment. Games like Fallout were released. This harsh realism seemed to be the trend. Hopes for better technology were rising. And there was also a hope for better tomorrow through using latest technology.

GTA series definitely wasn’t a one hit wonder. The sequel was released in the end of 1990s. What really pushed the gaming industry forward was the release of GTA III for PlayStation 2. It provided the player a full open world experience of violence and stealing cars in the midst of completing different kinds of missions for gangster bosses. At its time this was something revolutionary.

This wasn’t however the end for this game series. It wasn’t the end. It was only the beginning. There were more games released. The first of them was GTA IV. It was a deep experience in this dark criminal world. This was followed some years after as GTA V was released. There were several remakes done for the fifth game. Now we are hearing some talk that there would be a sixth game coming to stores soon.

Grand Theft Auto manages to bring different aspects of gaming together. It has an open world to explore. The driving in this game has an important role. It takes influences from shooters also. So this game brings you a solid experince for almost any gamer not depending on what kinds of games you like to play. It is a very diverse experience in overall.

I have enjoyed playing GTA. I remember seeing it the first time back in 1997 being played on a PC. It has remained at its spot as one of the most popular games though the history of playing games. And I am hoping to see the sixth game also soon.

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