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Tecmo Super Bowl Lives on 20 Years After Release

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“Down! Set! Hut, hut, hut, hut, hut, hut, hut, hut, hut…”

If you don’t recognize that sequence of simple sounds, you probably aren’t a male between the ages of: 22-38. For if you were you would undoubtedly recognize that string as the glorious pre-snap sounds of Nintendo classic: Tecmo Super Bowl.

If you do fall into that age group, it would take you all of about 3 seconds to flashback to being 8 years old and not only name your teams and your players, but also to also mentally picture that cheerleader during the halftime show who has her skirt flip up. Full disclosure, I’ve always been a Broncos fan, but more often that not I played Tecmo Super Bowl with the Oilers or the Redskins. I know, I know, the 49ers were the most talented and the Giants had the (literally) unstoppable, Lawrence Taylor, but I picked my teams and I stuck with them. Well, over the weekend one of my guys ran his last route in life as Tecmo Super Bowl Legend Drew Hill tragically passed away. Hill had a nice NFL career, four 1,000 yard seasons and 60 touchdowns. However, when pixilated and combined with Curtis Duncan, Ernest Givens, and the misspelled name of Haywood Jeffires he was 1/4th of the most feared video game wide receiving corps of all-time.

It’s been a tough year for Tecmo Super Bowl. In April of 2010 Jeff Feagles, the last of the players from the life-changing game hung up his cleats. Feagles still lives on though, as will the legacy of Drew Hill, Reggie White, and all of the players from Tecmo Super Bowl… well except for Randall Cunningham and Jim Kelly who were clouded with greed and short-sighted thinking and wouldn’t allow their likeness to be used. These two will forever immortalized as QB Eagles and QB Bills. With judgment like that, it’s no surprise neither ever won an actual Super Bowl.

One of the beauties of the game is found in its simplicity. On offense you select between 4 pass plays and 4 run plays, that’s it. Defense has the same options and if they select the same play as you, watch out. Unless you are playing with the Lions and Barry Sanders, the Raiders with video game god Bo Jackson … or for some strange reason the Jets and Blair Thomas, you will be thrown for a loss…in a hurry.

Oddly enough, I have been privy to conversations where people openly ridicule Tecmo Super Bowl, but one thing I’ve learned in life is that people mock what they don’t understand. True, it was ridiculously easy to flat-out destroy the computer opponent, but that wasn’t the point. Tecmo Super Bowl is like darts or coitus; sure you may be able to have a decent time by yourself, but in order to fully enjoy the experience you need two people.

The number of life lessons learned from hours upon hours Tecmo Super Bowl play is staggering and the quality is boundless: here are just a few:

  • You aren’t the best at everything: Let’s face it, for about the first eight years of your life or so, you believe the world revolves around you and people take it easy on you or let you win things. Well Tecmo Super Bowl is the great equalizer and helped get that thought out of your head. No matter how good you are, there is someone just as good if not better and they will beat your brains in while letting you know just how bad you are. This to me is one of the reasons Paris Hilton, despite looking like a freak-nosed alien with no redeeming qualities still believes that the world revolves around her. Someone needed to sit her down at a young age and kick the crap out of her with the Buccaneers. Nothing says “you’re not special” like getting run up 56-0 by the combo of Vinny Testaverde to Danny Peebles.
  • You will know who your true friends are by who peeks at your controller: The ultimate sign of pre-teen disrespect was catching someone peek at your controller when you were selecting your play. It nearly guaranteed a sack or a run for a loss and was grounds for said controller to be thrown in the direction of their eye socket. Peeking was strictly prohibited and I don’t doubt that it has ended thousands of friendships. Sure you can grow out of it, but once a peeker always a peeker, and I don’t associate with peekers.
  • It’s not just a game: You can judge a man’s passion by the number and quality of their controller throws. Everyone has thrown their controllers, some people I know have even thrown systems. Nintendo knew this was going to happen, that’s why they designed it with 2 main buttons and a directional pad. No fancy joysticks or motion control. Just a sturdy, throwable controller on a cord that you can throw and retrieve without getting up. Growing up how many times did your mom yell “it’s just a game?” Tackling Christian Okoye is not a game. Sadly, most of you reading this may have progressed regressed in life to the point where your wife is the one now yelling “it’s just a game.” Just realize that some women don’t get it and never will, choose carefully when committing your life to someone that is Tecmo Super Bowl illiterate.
  • Sometimes taking a step back is the right thing to do: Sometimes it’s more than a step, sometimes it’s 90 steps, and sometimes after those 90 steps you will be able to throw a once-brown, now-golden football 105 yards in the air for a touchdown to a receiver who is desperately trying to continue his streak route and run through the end zone. If not for taking a step back, artificial boundaries and a little luck, where would we be?
  • The pause button is for emergencies only: Nothing ruins a game like an impromptu pause. Pauses are to be clearly spoken, planned, and agreed upon. If you physically can’t play because of uncontrollable laughter due to Ivy Joe Hunter running over Ronnie Lott a pause is acceptable. A pause to crack your thumbs is not, man up, life’s rough sometimes.
  • It’s extremely permissible to reset a game with computer-aided cheating: We have all experienced this one. You have them backed up to 4th and 17 on their own 10 with ten seconds to go in the 4th quarter of a 6 point game. The computer opts to run a draw play. At that precise moment, your entire team gets advanced stage leprosy and falls over on the field.  Not even Lawrence Taylor can run down Cleveland Gary as he mocks you by running in a straight line towards the goal line. If this happens to you, the next sound you should hear is “THWACK,” as in a controller throw at the front of your system that not only resets the game, but makes it blink on your TV. No, sometimes life isn’t fair, but you’re in control of it.
  • Life goes fast: Average time of an NFL game? About 3 hours. Average time of Tecmo Super Bowl game? Twenty minutes. I advise using the 3-score rule. If you get down 3 scores, you lose. Even if it’s in the first quarter, there isn’t enough time left in the game to come back. I’ve successfully run off an entire half… without scoring. The Tecmo Super Bowl clock moves faster than Kirstie Alley during last-call at the buffet. You won’t get back wasted time, so make the most of what you do have.

  • It’s easy to make friends: Relocating for work? Moving to a new place for a fresh start? Don’t know anybody? There is an easy way to guarantee that you aren’t stuck with a bunch of duds. On a Sunday in the fall head to a local drinking establishment that caters to sports fans, belly up to the bar near some guys in your age groups and commence dropping Tecmo Super Bowl lingo. There are a few situations where talking to yourself is acceptable, one is when you are drinking, and two is when you are watching sports. Combine both, mix in a little Tecmo Bowl, and you will show which of the patrons is worthy of being your friend, and which losers are permissible to kill first in case the apocalypse hits.

  • Never stop running: No matter how big of a lead you have or how much quicker you are than everyone else, under no circumstances should you ever stop running. Odds are you will get run down no matter what, but don’t make it any easier for them. Alternately, if you run in a zig-zag pattern like a 3-year old that has to pee, you can stay ahead of the pack.

  • You are never truly prepared for death: It will happen, whether you are ready for it or not. You may be having the game of your life when it does, but inevitably at some point the system will freeze up or reset itself. There’s nothing you can do, quickly go through the five stages of grief and move on. Blow in the game, jiggle it a bit and you are back in business. No matter what, you will always have the memories.

That brings me full circle. Upon hearing of Drew Hill’s untimely death, I fired up the NES and fired up Tecmo Super Bowl. No, I didn’t have to knock the dust off of it or any clichéd maneuver, my NES is in my living room, right next to the HD box, PS3 and Wii. The 474 Nintendo games that I own and that make up nearly 61% of all of the games ever produced are just a quick trip upstairs. Call me nostalgic, but no video games are as fun as original Nintendo games (although Nintendo 64 games are a moderately close second).

After I saw the Tecmo rabbit greet me, I selected the Oilers and dedicated the game to Drew. Every play aside from a Warren Moon scramble went to Hill.  He was back in his glory days living his dream. His Earthly presence may be physically gone, but thanks to Nintendo and Tecmo, he will forever be the speedy 5’9 receiver that only runs streaks.



6 Responses to “Tecmo Super Bowl Lives on 20 Years After Release”

  1. “Tecmo Super Bowl is like darts or coitus; sure you may be able to have a decent time by yourself, but in order to fully enjoy the experience you need two people.”

    ~Eat Your Heart Out Billy Shakespeare

    Posted by Bobby Digital | March 25, 2011, 9:10 am
  2. I love seeing 402 yards, but just 2 first downs….that’s a lot of TD Bombs.

    And looks like Moon’s Scramble was for a solid 10yards. Was that one of the first downs? Does that mean one of Drew Hill’s catches was NOT for a TD??? Was he caught from behind by Jeff Lageman?

    Posted by Bobby Digital | March 25, 2011, 9:21 am
    • Moon’s scramble was indeed a first down. You are also correct that one of Hill’s catches was not for a TD. He caught a 50 yarder in traffic and was brought down at the 3. Made scoring a TD to him very difficult as he only runs “go” routes. Took about 3 plays before they foolishly left him uncovered and he could celebrate with his hand in the air.

      Posted by Jason Marlo | March 25, 2011, 11:20 am
  3. There was a third quarterback who’s name did not appear in the game. Bernie Kosar was known as QB Browns.

    Posted by Jon | July 9, 2011, 6:26 pm
  4. as a buccaneer fan i loved this game. so many memories. still have it and fixed my Nintendo and the game (get a kit for cleaning, its easy , but it helps if you have a brother in law who works for geeksquad to do it for you) and play a lot. back in the day, i got over 100 points with the bears vs the predictable Cardinals. IT takes alot of luck and good timing (kicking off when the clock runs out so all that time is nt wasted). other accomplishments are winning the bucs a superbowl a bunch of times (though within the last five years it takes changing other teams to predictable plays as i lost my edge from not playing that much) getting something like 220 sacks with LT (shoulf have had 20 more but nintendo shut off during an eagle game and i replayed and only got 2 sacks cause “QB eagles”rana lot.) and found out that if you play raiders, run out of boundsat the 5 yard line to get Bo Jackson as many yards as possible, you could get up to (i think this is the number, long time) 5,092 yards and the game stops counting anyting he does. samewith that 100 bears game. i think it stopped at 99 if i remember right. My favorite part of the game, as a Buc fan, is the Japanese programmers thought Harvey Haddix the corner back, had skills that bested Rod Woodson and made his super fast and interception prone. fun fun fun.

    Posted by mike | July 12, 2012, 12:15 am


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