The 30-Year Evolution of Hockey Fights in EA Sports NHL
Ah, the oldest of ice hockey traditions. A donnybrook, a scrap, dropping the gloves, whatever you want to call it. Fighting is one of the most intriguing and polarizing aspects of the game of hockey.
So it was only fitting for EA sports to include chucking knucks in their first iteration of NHL Hockey in 1991.
Obviously EA has come a long way since '91, and thanks to Video Games Evolution we present the evolution of hockey fights.
The first hockey game by Electronic Arts.
NHLPA Hockey '93
The famous 'make Wayne Gretzky bleed' hockey game referenced in the movie Swingers.
Obviously with the release of Playstation, gaming and graphics changed forever. NHL '97 was no exception, and we finally saw a different fighting template.
In '99 we start to see details in the fight sequences, including reaching for and grabbing your opponent's jersey.
In the early aughts, we start to see some risks being taken. NHL 2000 allows you to actually knock your opponent out which is fun.
In 2001 we get this weird close up fighting template. I'm not a fan but I appreciate EA Sports trying to do something different.
In 2002, this kind ref helps the loser up off the ice. We also get more before and after fight transitions in general, which is nice.
EA really takes a leap in 2004. We can now knock the opponents helmet off. The camera angles while fighting are revolutionary in this game. Unfortunately we do get stuck in this template for a few more years.
Xbox 360. Ovi on the cover. You knew this game was going to be fire. Just look at the jump in graphics from '06 to '07.
More pre-fight stuff in this one. Your player skates around literally antagonizing the opponent until they drop the gloves.
"Oh no sweetie, what is you doing???" EA Sports introduces this dreadful first-person-shooter-esque fight mode. Buckle up because they hang onto this gaming template for years.
Finally in 2014 EA Sports gets rid of the first-person fighting mode, and goes back to something simple. Honestly '14 might be the most fun I've had playing a hockey game.
Obviously in a world of Xbox One and PS4 the graphics look damn near perfect.
In this day and age fighting is just as realistic as the gameplay itself. Peep the cameraman in the top left corner.
As suggestive as this photo is, you can now land on top of your opponent...if you're into that sort of thing.
Clearly EA Sports has grown leaps and bounds since 1991. There has definitely been some trial and error - if we're being honest mostly error.
Now if only they'd bring back head contusions so I can make Gretzky bleed again, all would be right with the world.
Here's the full video courtesy of Video Games Evolution.