Growing up, I thought the idea of buying the same game over and over again every year seemed ridiculous. That’s what sports games were to me, and I couldn’t help roll my eyes at people who did it. Drop $60 annually for a glorified roster update? No, thank you. It certainly didn’t help that I wasn’t interested in any sports.
Look at me now. I’ve got every NHL game going back to 2005. Every year I think, ‘This’ll do me. It’s got everything I need.’ And then, every summer, they start rolling out the new features. Oh, this year it’ll have Legends in it. We’ve upgraded the GM AI. Now you can be a woman. And every summer, I get sucked in and decide I must upgrade.
When I do end up getting the latest edition, I find the cool new upgrades aren’t quite as good as promised. Some things that were good in previous years have ended up broken in some way. This means that I’ll have to get the next one in the hopes that it will be fixed.
The most recent edition – NHL 13 – hooked me with the promise of an online GM mode. Regular old GM mode is my favorite thing in any version of NHL, so they knew that an online one would hook me instantly. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of playing an NHL game before, GM mode means that you are the boss of a team for up to 25 years. You make trades, draft players, and sign free agents. You also get to play games if you want. One of the upgrades that they introduced a few years ago was the ability to be fired if you’re not doing a good job.
The online mode means that you can do all that good stuff, but you’re up against up to 29 other real GMs. On top of that, they created an APP so that I can participate even when I’m at my day job. That sounded too good to be true. And, it was. The APP is okay, but it’s a little finicky and needs to be rebooted often. Also, you can’t play games on it – just check stats and make trades. I guess those are petty complaints for something which is essentially something the Jetsons could never have dreamed of.
The real problem that I’m having is something that I encounter every time I try and play against real people. I’m not actually that good. I’m pretty good against the computer, because it’s the same as playing against the same person over and over again without them ever changing or learning. Sure, I’m not playing on the highest difficulty, but I still lose now and then. When I play against an actual human, I inevitably end up getting destroyed. Or at the very least, stalemated into the ground.
Another slight complaint is that when you’re playing against 29 other people, their schedules rarely line up with yours. Or, they’re not as committed. Then, you end up waiting a month for 2 weeks of game time to go by. I suppose this can be sped up by a committed commissioner, but it’s not as fun as having every game being determined by two actual players.
With all that being said, I am definitely interested in playing with anyone who’s interested. Send me a message if you’re interested in showing me whose boss.
Graham Becksted is the online GM of the St. Louis Blues. He is also the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 69th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.