Celebrate a new NFL season with the greatest sports game ever
Tomorrow, America’s love affair with football will be rekindled as the new NFL season begins. But today, my love affair with the greatest sports game of all time has been rekindled. That’s right, Tecmo Super Bowl, 22 years young, has been updated and is ready for 2013. Read on for the details. I know what some of you are thinking, and no, I’m not crazy. Well, maybe a little. But Tecmo Super Bowl is seriously the greatest sports game of all time. Of all time! Released all the way back in 1991 for the NES, Tecmo Super Bowl was a revelation to not only me, but an entire nation of NES owners whose only exposure to football video games was junk 10 Yard Fight. This might be painful to watch.
Then came Christmas 1991. I was at my aunt’s house for the big family holiday get-together, and my cousin couldn’t wait to show me a new game he got for Christmas. He brought me into the living room, turned on the NES, and this is what I saw. My life would never be the same.
The memory is a little fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure I cried. I couldn’t wrap my kid brain around what I was seeing. Tecmo Super Bowl was a quantum leap beyond anything that had come before it. The game featured the full rosters of every NFL team, customizable playbooks, digitized voices, and fast, responsive gameplay. It was also the first home game to truly capture the sweeping, cinematic flair that is unique to American football. The game’s kinetic cutscenes and unforgettable music can still be played with perfect clarity in my rapidly aging head.
Thankfully, I’m not the only one who has a fondness for Tecmo Super Bowl. The game has such a following that twenty years after its release, NFL Films made a documentary about it. And then there’s tecmobowl.org. Part meeting place, part development studio, part holy shrine, it is the epicenter of all Tecmo-related activities on the web. For years, the site has been releasing new ROMs of Super Tecmo Bowl, containing updated teams, rosters, and playbooks.
Today, tecmobowl.org released their seventh iteration of the game, Super Tecmo Bowl 2014. Featuring current rosters for all 32 teams, the game is playable on pretty much anything that will run an NES emulator, and even supports online multiplayer. It’s a fitting tribute to a game that enjoys a rather unique place in history. Sports titles tend to have a very limited shelf life. Due to the cyclical nature of professional sports, few sports games are played for more than a year or two. For a sports title to still have a thriving fanbase twenty two years after it was released is a very special thing, and I commend the folks at tecmobowl.org for their dedication and hard work. For anyone who has fond memories of Tecmo Super Bowl, downloading this ROM is a no-brainer. But even if you’ve never played a sports game in your life, I still recommend giving this one a try. It’s that good.
And if you’re curious, my team was always the Falcons. Yeah, the Raiders had Bo Jackson. The Lions had Barry Sanders. But I’d put the Falcons of Deion Sanders and Andre Rison against any team on that game, and I’m not even a Falcons fan in real life. I just picked them that fateful day at my aunt’s house, and never looked back. I still consider beating the Dallas Cowboys 52-0 and holding them to 0 yards of offense in the NFC Championship as one of the greatest achievements of my life, if not the greatest.