Tecmo Super Bowl came out in 1991 following in the footsteps of the highly successful Tecmo Bowl. The new game had real NFL players and tons of other improvements. I was 14 at the time and I played the heck out of it for several years after that. I ended up owning several different versions of the game for Nintendo and Sega Genesis. I even had it on my Game Boy (the original one). The graphics were crappy but it was still awesome.
It’s my all-time favorite video game. Sure, it can’t compete with today’s graphics or game play but it’s about more than that to me. Just thinking about Tecmo Super Bowl makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Here’s why I think it’s the best video game ever made:
1) The Houston Oilers and the Run-and-Shoot offense. I always played with the Oilers. They had Warren Moon at QB, Lorenzo White at running back and four awesome receivers (Ernest Givens, Curtis Duncan, Haywood Jeffries and Curtis Hill). I don’t think I ever ran the ball (ever). How could I with so many awesome receivers catching the ball?
2) It’s why I became an NFL fan. I cheered for the Houston Oilers because I loved them. In 1993, I followed Warren Moon to the Minnesota Vikings and have been a Vikings fan ever since. People always ask me how on earth I became a Vikings fan. When I tell them the story about Tecmo Super Bowl, they get it. I love NFL football more than any other sport. It’s not even close.
3) It tracked my players’ stats. I loved passing the ball and had one season where all four receivers and my running back had over 100 receptions each. Plus, I broke the passing yard counter with Moon. It reset around the 7,000 yard-mark. When I play a lot of sports video games now, I get obsessed with the stats. Thank you Tecmo Super Bowl!
4) The game play and controls were so simple. Two buttons and a control pad was all I needed. Plus, there were only 8 plays to choose from on both offense and defense. I could focus more on playing and less on trying to figure out which pass play I wanted to use because I sure as heck wasn’t running the ball. With football games today, I feel like I need to hire an offensive coordinator to call plays for me. Not to mention, there are so many buttons and button combinations used in today’s games. I feel like I need a cheat sheet to know which buttons do what. (I know. Get off my lawn!)
5) I could play the game for hours and not get tired of it. I once played an entire season in two days. Now, I’m lucky if I can play for an hour or two without being interrupted. See #5.
6) I played 100’s of games with my friend Ross S., live and in person. In one night, we would randomly pick teams and play against each other until we worked our way through all 28 teams. These days, I rarely play games with friends in person anymore. Playing on Xbox Live might be more convenient but it’s not the same.
7) I’m reminded of a simpler time. I was a teenager and didn’t have a care in the world. I was too young to have a job and the worst thing I probably had to worry about was my homework or chores. On a side note, I remember my step-father coming down into the basement one day and interrupting one of my games. He sat across from me and asked, “Jay, when are you going to get a job?” It was a defining moment in my life. I had a job the following summer.
Now I’ve got “adult” responsibilities like going to work every day, paying the bills and providing for a family. Don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I wouldn’t change a thing but it still doesn’t hurt to reminisce about the good ole days.
I’d love to see this game re-released on Xbox for real (not a lame arcade version of the game) but stupid Madden has a lock on NFL games for eternity. Maybe I need to get my hands on an old Nintendo or Sega Genesis. At the very least, I’m going to check out TecmoBowl.org where it appears that you can download versions of the game on your PC. Looks pretty cool.
Did you love Tecmo Super Bowl as well? If not, what’s your all-time favorite game? Why? Jump into the conversation below.