What Lockout?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a hockey fan, but haven’t talked about it much on this blog, nor have I said anything about the lockout. For me, my interest in watching hockey has waned a bit since I dropped cable, and thus can only get the “Hockey Night in Canada” feeds. But just this past fall, I started watching NFL football games because I’ve found that sports are the perfect thing to watch when you want to read or do something else, because if you just half-listen you’ll hear the announcers’ voices change when something interesting happens and you can watch the replays to see what it was. Baseball is actually the best sport for this, because it has plenty of time to show replays so you never miss anything exciting.

But I digress.

Anyway, when the lockout started I saw a news report of someone playing a PS3/360 version of a hockey game and doing the play-by-play himself. And this got me musing that maybe you could have the game play itself and just watch. But I never got around to trying it. Today, wandering out into the world before heading back to work on Monday, I thought about trying it and snagged a used copy of NHL12 for about $20, and decided to try it. I set up a league of 12 teams — unlike other versions, I had to find a league that had 12 teams and then substitute teams into it — that included all of the Canadian teams and a few others, started a fantasy draft to get a random set of players, and watched the first game.

It’s actually really fun.

The commentators aren’t bad, but I’ve definitely heard better. But they say enough to keep you into the game without having to keep a complete running commentary in your head (although having one is a good idea). The graphics aren’t quite life-like, but they’re good enough that you quickly stop caring about them. The play — on Superstar — isn’t NHL quality but interesting enough to watch. And it keeps what’s important about watching sports: the ability to care about one team or the other winning, and the inability to know how it’s going to turn out.

It also, of course, lets me run a full game in about an hour, and watch a game whenever I want, which is a big improvement over the NHL.

So, with this, do I really care if the lockout ends, other than to pay attention to see if my favourite team(s) do well or do poorly?

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