After a nice break for the holidays, it's back to the sketchbook. A recent offering of excellent videogames has put a cramp in my productivity, though.
One game was a bargain-bin find, Electronic Arts' all-but-abandoned "Slapshot Hockey" for the Wii, which had been released way back in 2010. Maybe you recall the television commercial with retired hockey legend Wayne Gretzky re-living his all-star career by standing in front of his television and waving the crazy little Wii controller like a hockey stick.
The gimmick to the game, other than that it plays a sweet, fun brand of no-fighting hockey, is that the set comes with a miniature foam hockey stick used for mounting the Wii controller. Once the stick is assembled, you hold and brandish the stick much like you would as if you were a player. You handle the puck, deke with the blade, and fire off your best wrist shot or haul away with a massive slapper. On defense, you can deftly use the crook of the stick to hook your opponent or smash with it like a club to jam the wood into the other player's dental work (no blood, and everyone gets back up when knocked down).
It takes just a minute or two of practise with the stick. In no time at all, you feel like you are a major-league player. You're slipping past the defense with a spin-o-rama and gunning for it up the slot with a wrist snap that zips the puck clean over the goalie's shoulder and into the net, blasting his water bottle. The all-powerful feeling of hockey goodness and mightiness lasts just until you discover that your wife bought a second foam stick controller and wants to play.
With me against her, we duelled on the ice. Hockey is not usually a co-ed sport, and now I know why. Although my wife's charming little Hailey Wickenheiser dance was awfully cute the first time she scored a goal against my team, the charm turned to alarm when she followed it up with five more much like the first. It was all I could do to answer with two measly points of my own.
Curse that I was more interested in Star Trek than the hockey's three stars when I was little! I have a lifetime of booksmarts and indoor leisure to overcome if I am going to ever gain the skill to defeat my wife at Wii hockey.
For a little drawing of Hailey Wickenhiser in a gold medal winning dance, please click here.