Hockey isn’t the same sport it was 40 years ago. You could certainly say the same for the other three major professional sports in North America, but here’s some perspective: It wasn’t until the 1979-80 season that the NHL mandated the use of helmets for all incoming players, and thanks to a grandfather clause, there was still one person playing without headgear as recently as 1997.
Everyone’s hair flows freely in Old Time Hockey, an upcoming arcade sports title that is more nostalgia-focused than any modern 16-bit side-scroller. Vancouver-based developer V7 Entertainment’s motto might as well be “they don’t make ’em like they used to” — both for the kind of video game that Old Time Hockey is, and for the take on hockey that it’s aiming to deliver.
“We wanted to also have a good emphasis on all the stuff that you usually don’t get to see, you know — the dirtier side of hockey, let’s say,” Torillo continued. “We do appreciate how it used to be. You hear these stories of back then, with Gordie Howe, how tough he was; all these ridiculous situations.”
Torillo name-dropped sports touchstones like NBA Jam, Tecmo Bowl and Blades of Steel, explaining that V7 is designing Old Time Hockey to be the kind of simple sports game that anyone can pick up and enjoy — even with one hand. (More on that later.) But there’s a deeper level of nostalgia at play, too.