We'll consider this the Super Bowl special edition. I was trying to think of what game or games would be most relevant this weekend. What did I come up with? Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES. Before there was Madden, there was Tecmo Bowl, which I played a fair amount of when it came out. But it wasn't until I could play out an entire season, complete with rosters, stat accumulation and the Pro Bowl teams that I first fell in love with the NFL. I was discovering Barry Sanders on my Detroit Lions around the time this game came out, and they really were what developed my interest in sports games.
So how did the game hold up when I put it back under the microscope this weekend? Surprisingly well! There's only 8 plays on offense and defense. It's a guessing game, you call defensive plays and if you guess the same one the offense guesses, you decimate them. Call something similar to what they call, and you have better odds of defending it. Offense is 4 running and 4 passing plays. They vary up a bit by team. I usually used the Lions, the Bills or the 49ers back then.
Calling a run play with Barry Sanders had me grinning ear to ear the first time I 'juked' (that's putting it nicely. I ran at diagonal angles is all) a defender, and when I got a sack with Ball after he tossed the blocker aside like a rag doll, I laughed aloud. It's really a gimmicky offense most of the times: drop back basically forever. Toss the ball really deep. 100 yard passes are not as impossible as they should be. It was still a blast taking control of Chris Spielman at linebacker and drilling the running back with a dive tackle.
In the video I made, I played the Pro Bowl rosters and had one play that epitomized the game for me years ago as I dropped back, immediately identified the bottom wide receiver with no one covering him, threw the ball very badly, but he leapt up, grabbed it, sprinted to the goal line and shed the defender for a touchdown. The cut scenes were fun to see as well - and I got that last sequence in the video I provided.
I don't know if this was the first game to use all NFL teams, have full NFL rosters, or to have full season stat tracking - but it was the first one I ever played and it set me down a path of more than 20 years (and counting) of NFL licensed football games and a lot of good memories playing them. Appropriate for Super Bowl Sunday, wouldn't you say?
Now for the videos... I've got Youtube first, Screencast 2nd
The Screencast one looks better, but it auto-sizes better, doesn't re-encode either. Youtube however doesn't attack my bandwidth the same way an offers the option of other people finding it. I'll probably do some tweaking and do one more comparison next week, but I am leaning toward Youtube at the moment - I just need to get better with the dimensions.