On the surface, Raphael Frydman is pretty unassuming.
The 38-year-old grew up in Queens a New York Rangers fan.
“My favorite player on the team was Sergei Zubov,” he said. “I still have a game-worn Zubov jersey from the year the Rangers won the Cup.”
He works at Alvarez & Marsal, a professional services firm in Midtown. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two kids (ages 7 and 8), is a soccer coach and is part of a bowling league. During much of his free time, “I work on the house,” he says, laughing.
It’s what he does during the rest of his free time that is remarkable.
That’s when Raphael Frydman becomes KingRaph, one of the most prolific NHL 94 players in history.
NHL 94 is widely considered to be the greatest retro sports game of all time, certainly among hockey titles. MSG Networks fans selected the game convincingly in an online tournament last March. And KingRaph sits at the top of the zamboni-curated snow mountain.
Frydman holds the world record for largest margin of victory in the game (70-1, a score most of us who grew up playing the game would only dream of).
The record is recognized by Twin Galaxies, the official sanctioning body for world records in gaming (made popular by the 2007 documentary “King of Kong”).
Frydman, or I should say KingRaph, will participate in the second-ever World NHL 94 Championship Tournament, happening on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Las Vegas. In the city where large crowds of competitors typically gather for high-stakes poker tournaments, this time it will be hundreds of nostalgic gamers battling their pixelated heroes against their foes for a chance at the crown … or golden hockey stick. Or something.
On Friday, KingRaph joined me for a game of NHL 94. He played as the Sharks and I played as the Vegas Golden Knights.
Because the tournament is being held in Vegas, a special tournament edition of NHL 94 was created to include Vegas in the game (as well, a pretty cool broadcaster! 🙂 ).
So how did I do against one of the best players in the world? Pretty well, actually.* Enjoy the video below where we play the game and I ask him about how he chased and captured the world record, why this game stands the test of time and much more.
I’ll have full coverage of the NHL 94 World Tournament from Las Vegas where I will not only be the MC but I’m entering the tournament, which of course will end very well for me.
*Spoiler alert: I was awful.