NHL from EA Sports is the longest running professional hockey simulation game currently available. It has been around since 1991, although back then it was known by a different name. The game itself is developed by EA Canada and sold by Electronics Arts through the EA Sports branding. Everything in the game is approved through the direct license with the National Hockey League, which allows the game to have all of the colors, arenas, names and faces of players designed specifically for the game. Currently, the latest release of NHL is NHL 15, although this stands for 2015 and not the number of releases the game has gone through.
The first release of NHL came out in 1991, although it was known as NHL Hockey. At the time, Kelly Hrudey from the Los Angeles Kings graced the cover of the game. The game was also only available on Sega Genesis. The following year in 1992, NHL PA Hockey ’93 came out with three different individuals on the cover. This version was available on both SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) and Sega. Yeah three saw NHL ’94 with the release coming on SNES, Sega (Genesis and Sega CD) and for DOS based computer operating systems. This version marked the first time the game would be simply known as NHL followed by the specific year of the release.
The NHL ’95 version came out and supported gameplay on GameBoy and the Sega Game Gear as well, marking the first time the gaming handheld market received the game. However, NHL ’96 dropped the Game Gear and only stuck to GameBoy for the mobile market.
NHL ’97 saw its widest release ever, with not only SNES and Sega supported, but also Sega Saturn, the PlayStation, DOS and Windows 95. By the ’95 release though,EA’s NHL dropped Dos support, and the ’99 version was only released for the Nintendo 64, PlayStation and Windows operating system. In 2000, it even dropped Nintendo 64 support, only offering mobile GameBoy Color options.
NHL stopped offering any computer support in 2008 and now only supports the Sony and Microsoft gaming systems.