A Tribute to One of the Last Sports Game Gods

As any sports gamer - or anyone who's seen Swingers - can tell you, Jeremy Roenick in NHL '94 was the definition of unstoppable force. Score, win fights, deliver punishing checks, it was all automatic for Roenick.

Roenick retired this past week, and Patrick Hruby (Hey! I know that guy!) writes an eloquent tribute to one of the last deities of sports gaming. Roenick had the fortune of being written into a game back when sports titles' gameplay were still loosely based in reality. Of course, none can eclipse Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson. But Roenick's retirement leaves very few of these athletes still active, and blessed to be remembered for otherworldly talents within a video game.

By my count, only two remain: Ken Griffey, Jr., completely superhuman in his eponymous game for the Super Nintendo; and Michael Vick from Madden 2004 probably the only modern game player whose skills just turned everything into a cartoon, like Jackson, or Lawrence Taylor, or the run-and-shoot Houston Oilers of Tecmo.

As sports game developers perfect, incrementally, the realism of games, we will still be able to play as the greatest performers of our time. But their performances will not dominate the screen the way Roenick did in NHL '94. His talent was so pure, white-hot and lasting, it transcended a single sport, and put him and his game into one of the most memorable sequences of a cult classic.

Remembering Jeremy Roenick: The Video Game God
[ESPN, via Wired]