Tecmo Bowl (universe)

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Tecmo Bowl is a series of football-themed video games developed by Tecmo with the first game being released in 1987. The games are notable because the designers took liberties with the sport resulting in something that is closer to a video game than a simulation. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Tecmo Bowl games were the most popular football video games on the market, not just because they are good games, but also because they were licensed by the NFL which allowed them to include the actual team names, logos, and player names. In the mid-1990s, players began to appreciate games that more closely simulated the actual sport, like the Madden franchise, and the Tecmo Bowl series waned in popularity.

Tecmo Bowl games were "gamified" by using a couple different mechanics. For example, the offensive team had a limited number of plays available, which the defensive team would try to "call" resulting in the offensive team's linebackers failing to stop the onslaught of defense. Tecmo Bowl games alos used a graduating difficulty level for the AI based on how far along in the season you are. Each individual player has a set base level of stats, but there is also a difficulty modifier that increases throughout the season making your opponents faster and stronger. This isn't quite a dynamic difficulty because it's pre-defined, but it's pretty close.

Personal

If I recall correctly, my first experience with Tecmo Bowl was from my step-brothers bringing the game over when they came to visit from Illinois. Both they and my brother loved football and video games, so it was only natural they would adore Tecmo Bowl. My brother got the game for himself and frequently bugged me to play it with him. At almost four years his junior, and with little interest to get good at football games, he always beat me, so I rarely wanted to play the game with him. My step-brother bought Tecmo Super Bowl right after it came out, and the next time he visited, they locked me out of my brother's room so they could play it all night without me offering unsolicited commentary. My cousin, with whom I spent most of my time gaming with, was also really into football and spent countless hours playing Tecmo Super Bowl as well. When the SNES version of Tecmo Super Bowl came out, my friend Kevin rented it, and I watched him play a bit of it. I was impressed by the weather conditions, but, otherwise, it just seemed like a graphic upgrade to the NES game, so I wasn't impressed.

As a child, I liked playing football recreationally with friends who were my size, but all the goading to play the game with multiple friends and family caused me to loathe the Tecmo Bowl games. After about a decade had passed since the last time anyone urged me to play, I became nostalgic and sat down and played the two NES games and beat both of them. Although I was frequently frustrated at the idiotic actions of my AI teammates, I found both games to be quite enjoyable and solidly constructed game. I haven't played any of the subsequent games or the original arcade game.

Works

Video Games

Released Title Platforms
1987-12-?? Tecmo Bowl Arcade
1989-02-?? Tecmo Bowl Game Boy, PlayChoice-10, NES
1991-12-13 Tecmo Super Bowl NES
1993-11-23 Tecmo Super Bowl Genesis, SNES
1994-12-20 Tecmo Super Bowl II: Special Edition Genesis, SNES
1995-12-22 Tecmo Super Bowl III: Final Edition Genesis, SNES
1996-08-10 Tecmo Super Bowl PlayStation
2008-11-18 Tecmo Bowl Kickoff Nintendo DS
2010-04-28 Tecmo Bowl Throwback PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Related Games

Media

Links

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