I'll never forget the first time I played this game. I had had my PS2 for a few months before this game came out and was still playing my old PS1 copy of NHL 2001. This came out and I decided to give it a try. I was absolutely blown away by this game in every way. After playing the way too arcadey NHL series since I was just a kid on the SNES, this game came out of nowhere and actually felt like a real hockey game. Not only the gameplay, but the amazing production values and presentation just pulled me in. I played about until 6 AM the nigh I bought this game, and it took up an almost permanent residence in my PS2 for about 3 months, and even after that I came back to it at least 3 or 4 times a week. For almost a year I played this game relentlessly, and then then the 04 sports games came out. For some reason, I decided I would give my old series another try after hearing it was pretty good. I bought NHL 04, played it for a week or so and than 2K3 went right back in my PS2. It was my game for another year and than in 04 I did the smart thing and bought 05. I've been a loyal 2K supporter ever since, although I still give NHL a chance every now and than. Both series are top quality right now, and I look at this game as the launching pad for years of competition, innovation and great hockey games.