Wayne Gretzky has endorsed countless products, including equipment, food, toys and video games. Here are five games bearing his name released during his playing career.
Wayne Gretzky Hockey
(Amiga, Atari ST, DOS & Mac computers, 1988)
The first video game endorsed by ‘The Great One’ was Wayne Gretzky Hockey, released for home computers. It is more of a hockey simulation than an arcade-style game – even the ice gets continuously scratched up during gameplay. Gamers had the option to control players directly or sit back and watch.
Gretzky contributed his knowledge towards the game’s design and modestly stated on the back of the box, “While I may not be an expert on computers, I do know a little about hockey.” Wayne Gretzky Hockey was named “best sports simulator of the year” by the Software Publishers Association. Two sequels – appropriately, Wayne Gretzky Hockey 2 in 1991 and Wayne Gretzky Hockey 3 in 1992 – followed up its release.
Wayne Gretzky Hockey
Three years after its initial release, Wayne Gretzky Hockey was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System. It featured two box covers, picturing Gretzky in either a home or road Kings uniform. While the packaging was snazzy, the game didn’t translate well to the NES. Graphics and sound effects were downgraded, the controls were bad and it wasn’t fun to play.
Wayne Gretzky/Brett Hull Shootout
(Handheld game, 1991)
Before Gretzky and Brett Hull briefly teamed up in St. Louis, they lent their names and likenesses to Wayne Gretzky/Brett Hull Shootout, a handheld game made by Tiger Electronics. The two do not appear in the game but rather on the packaging and the game’s decal. Shootout had crude graphics drawn on an LCD screen and looks more like a calculator watch than a video game.
Wayne Gretzky and the NHLPA All-Stars
(SNES, Genesis & PC, 1995)
Wayne Gretzky and the NHLPA All-Stars was developed around the time the NHL and its players had a labor dispute. Thus, the game uses real NHLers but doesn’t feature NHL team names, logos or colors. That didn’t matter much, though, because gamers could edit the team names and uniform colors to match the real NHL. The Super Nintendo version also advertised a contest on its box where the winner would meet Gretzky.
Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey
(Nintendo 64, 1996)
Released in late 1996, Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey has the distinction of being both the first sports title and the first four-player game released for the N64. The game featured fast, 3-on-3 action, tons of scoring and hilarious in-game animations, like goalies who morph into brick walls and nets bursting into flames. It was re-released a year later with updated rosters and improved graphics as Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey ’98 for N64 and PlayStation.