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Insert lame "puck" pun here.





Hockey is today's "sport port" from the real-world to your television through the magic of . . . Odyssey!!!


I'm not sure I "get" this game of Hockey. I do get it in the real-world, alright, but not this variation.


The game starts with a "face-off", which is refreshingly different from the first three games we played. (Table Tennis, Tennis and Football) You set the two paddles across from each other and maneuver the "PUCK" between them so that it is whizzin' back and forth at an amazin' speed. You each place your hands on the floor on either side of your controller. One of you counts to three, and you both race to perform the face-off by using your ENGLISH control to drive the "PUCK" past your opponent. This is actually a little fun. No, really, it is. Once! But then what?


(aside: PUCK is all-capped in the Odyssey manual. I all-cap it here to mock that standard, um, while adhering to it...)


Invariably, the PUCK goes off the screen and that leads to another face-off closer to the goal. I guess the person who loses the face-off is supposed to race their paddle across the screen to try to deflect the PUCK back. The PUCK does exhibit a small degree of deceleration, so I guess that, in theory, deflecting the PUCK after face-off would be possible, but neither my 7 year-old nor I were able to achieve this level of mastery. It's possible that this game is supposed to happen in a series of face off plays (like Football) but we thought it was supposed to be faster moving than that. Maybe we just couldn't keep up with it. Neither of us were able to goal against each other, nor were we able to start any kind of a "volley" between us. We stopped playing, unsure if: we sucked; didn't understand it, or; the designers had left a great big hole in the design.


One interesting aspect of the game, that I do like is the penalty given for a "FOUL". A FOUL occurs when a goalie backs into his own goal. The penalty is: the goalie can only play with one hand for the next two plays! Isn't that so metaludological? The idea of a videogame with a rule extending into the outside world? Kind of like "if your opponent scores, drink your beer!" or "if the puck goes off the screen, you can't drive for two days!"


I'm going to have to give this game credit for confusing us enough that we would've missed about half of Ultraman, accidentally, while trying to figure out what the instructions meant. So . . . it gets half a point.


The Score: Ultraman: 3, Odyssey: 0.5


Tomorrow it's . . . what the hell is tomorrow? uh. Ski, I think. I might be wrong.



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The idea of a videogame with a rule extending into the outside world? Kind of like "if your opponent scores, drink your beer!" or "if the puck goes off the screen, you can't drive for two days!"


LOL, the first augmented reality game!


Well, it's interesting that such a simple system had sometimes to resort to very complicated mechanics. A necessity given what the Odyssey really is. It's actually impressive they could simulate so many sports and games in this system.

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I agree! They were establishing the "sports game" genre! I do find a lot of these games to be difficult to enjoy but that doesn't mean I don't respect that all of them were "the first" and that someone who'd never seen a videogame before had to create them out of thin air.

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This uses a game card that allows both players to "serve" the "ball" at any time by pressing their reset button, doesn't it? The instructions are incredibly unclear, but the illustrations makes it seem like the idea is that the player that wins the face-off is meant to then move his player into the opponent's field and then press the reset button to send out a new puck, which gives the losing player time to get into position to potentially block it (especially since you're meant to play at the slowest setting). This explains all the various rules about what happens depending on where the puck ends up when shot from various positions - the player needs to quickly move across the red line and make a shot BEFORE the puck flies off screen. This also prevents the defender from pretty much being able to automatically score without fail if he manages to block an incoming shot, since the offensive player would have no real time to move into position to defend the goal.

It kinda makes sense this way (and doesan okay-ish job translating the sport of hockey to a Pong-typegame), and I think this was the intent, they just forgot to include a note explaining that "players make a SHOT ON GOAL by pressing the RESET button".

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