Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks on winning the Stanley Cup last night! It was an arduous post-season, one that saw the Hawks down to their rivals the Detroit Red Wings three games to one in the second round of the playoffs. This Blackhawks team is truly one of the toughest squads I’ve ever seen in any sport, and it was a joy to watch them. Excellent job, guys!
Now for the business of the day. In 1996, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky hit the arcades with Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey, a fully 3D sports game. Developed by Atari and released by Williams, WG3D is an action-sports title rather than a hockey simulation. The game features licenses by both the NHL and NHLPA, and includes (at the time) all 26 teams as well as team logos and nicknames. Each team has 17 players who all play their actual positions.
WG3D’s gameplay pits two teams of 4 players (including the goalie) against each other over 3 two minute periods. Players can shoot, pass, and defend with the assist of a turbo button to quicken and strengthen their actions. Footage of the game (captured by N64Guide) can be seen below.
WG3D’s gameplay is similar to its contemporary NBA Jam, the action-arcade basketball title. Both games focuses on fun and chaos while following only the basic rules of each game’s respective sport. Physical play is encouraged in WG3D, and fights can break out just like the actual sport. As in NBA Jam, if a player scores three goals in a row, they become “on fire” and are awarded with an infinite turbo meter.
Perhaps the goofiest thing that can happen during a game is when a goalie turns into a brick wall.
In November of 1996, Midway Games ported WG3D exclusively to the Nintendo 64 console. This version of the game retains the arcade version’s 3D polygonal look and features support for up to 4 people for multiplayer matches. Penalties can be turned on or off, and there is a choice between playing an arcade-style game or a simulation-style game.
In 1997, a sequel to WG3D was released, the Midway published Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey ’98 for the Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation. Developed by Software Creations, the sequel also included a simulation mode that sought to more accurately recreate an actual game of hockey.
In 1998, Midway published the Treyarch developed Olympic Hockey Nagano ’98, which uses the WG3D game engine but did not feature Gretzky’s endorsement. Instead, the game features Olympic and NHLPA licenses. OHN’98 has the unfortunate distinction of being gaming site IGN’s lowest rated game ever with a score of 0.0
Again, big congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks for the victory, and respect to the Boston Bruins for fighting hard during the Stanley Cup finals. Maybe the Blackhawks’ success will influence a certain baseball team on the city’s north side.
Sigh… until next time.
Peace & Pucks