An Ode to Tecmo Super Bowl

I love my older brother for no bigger reason than he gave me his copy of Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES when he went to college. I was 8 years old in 2001, playing a game that came out in 1991-and loving it. An 8-bit console game had me hooked worse than Tyrone Biggums on The Chapelle Show. Hooked so bad, I have shoes with Bo Jackson’s Tecmo likeness on them. But the best part about this game when it came out was that it included real players and real NFL teams, the first video game to do so.

Remember what the Bible says: He who is without sin, cast the first rock. And I shall smoketh it.

The best players in the game back in 1991 are well represented in this game. Bo Jackson is actually unstoppable, Christian Okoye really is the Nigerian Nightmare, Lawrence Taylor is a bad Mo-Fo, and Deion Sanders picks off everything thrown his way. The game built my historical knowledge of football by itself. Who is David Fulcher you might ask? A ballhawking safety that dominated the NFL in the early ’90’s. Tecmo taught me that. Through Tecmo, I know that the Seahawks were still terrible even in 1991.

Playing the game is magically simple. Four run plays and four pass plays per team to pick on offense, and defensive play calls were simply trying to pick whatever play the opposing offense called. No three dimmensional players, 25 different offensive formations, absolutely zero connection to reality. And that is what made Tecmo amazing. Take a gander.

Not my fault if you don’t get the reference

Yes, he just ran from his own one yard line, to the opposing team’s one, back to his own endzone, and then all the way back for a touchdown. All with a dope music track going on in the background. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that in the context of this game. Nothing wrong with me having Christian Okoye running for 4,000 yards and 80 TD’s in a season. God no. Nothing wrong with Lawrence Taylor getting 100 sacks in a season. Cocaine is a hell of a drug. I would play this game so hard I got what is known as “Tecmo Thumb”. A disease caused from 3+ hours of consecutive Tecmo where your thumb nail turns a sort of cherry red color. Outstanding.

I loved the game (and still play it to this day) more than I will ever love any Madden game, no matter how real they can make the graphics look or how much they can incorporate a player’s “Swag” rating into the game. Tecmo to me is the gritty white running back wearing ripped up cleats and no gloves. He’s going to get murked in a fashion show, but blow the whistle and he’ll be just fine. The game will forever hold a place in my heart. A 20 year old game on a forgotten console, but a stalwart piece of nostalgia nonetheless.
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