tecmobowl.jpgBefore Madden, ESPN/All-Pro 2k, NFL Gameday, NFL Blitz, or any other football game, there was Tecmo Bowl. Tecmo’s 1989 NES port of its arcade game was way ahead of its time. It had rosters and playbooks for each of its twelve fictional teams. Although there were no real teams in the game, (as Tecmo couldn’t get the NFL’s permission to use actual team names) an NFL Player’s Association license allowed the game to feature real life players such as Bo Jackson and Joe Montana. The game was surprisingly deep even with the small amount of plays available. Even though the gameplay was a bit unbalanced at times, the game was still downright fun. A sequel, Tecmo Super Bowl was released a year later, this time featuring actual NFL team names. In fact, TSB was the first home football video game to use actual NFL teams. The series continued on Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis before a final entry on Playstation. It didn’t do so well in its final years, but it was still loved by its fans. In fact, many rom patches exist on the internet that update the rosters for Tecmo Super Bowl on the NES. Thankfully Tecmo will be bringing back the series later this year to unspecified gaming platforms. Until then, football fans owe it to themselves to play one of the classics of the genre. It may not have a franchise mode, superstar mode, color commentary, or fancy graphics, but it has a certain charm that can’t be found in today’s games.

By the way, the virtual console version of Tecmo Bowl has obviously been edited, due to the fact that EA has exclusive licensing rights to the NFL and the NFLPA.