Tecmo Super Bowl
The sequel to the immensely popular Tecmo Bowl on the NES followed through with flying colors as Tecmo Super Bowl dropped on the Super Nintendo in 1991, complete with not only real players, but now with real teams.
According to Wikipedia:
…it is the first sports video game that was licensed by both the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association, thus allowing the game to use both the names and attributes of real NFL teams and real NFL players. Prior games use either the real teams, the real players, or fictional substitutes, but not real teams and real players together.
Yet, that wasn’t the only excitement surrounding a game which is still competitively played to this day.
Starting up a copy of this title showed you that Tecmo meant business immediately. As with almost all “Super” upgrades on the 16-bit Nintendo console, TSB boasted superior graphics, sound, and controls to its 8-bit counterpart.
Being able to play with more teams, and almost all of the real players (several were still not part of the NFLPA’s marketing deal, including Jim Kelly, Randall Cunningham, and Bernie Kosar) was just the icing on the cake.
The traditional side-scrolling, arcade style football action was as good as ever. Several modes showcased a quick exhibition (preseason) game to play with friends, or a full season mode was also available. Additionally, the NFL’s all-stars were available on the two conference Pro Bowl teams, and you could even set the season mode to play out as a coach (limiting you to play calls and no on-field action) or the CPU, totally played out by the computer.
Some elements of the roster and playbook could be edited, but unlike the forthcoming Madden series, those had to be setup prior to kickoff: there’s no in-game modes to speak of here.
Still, TSB is one of the greatest football games created. It captures an innocence and magic of playing sports games before realistic simulations were all the rage. Anyone could pick up the controls and play a quick game, and the classic animated cut scenes still give chills as to whether a catch would be completed, or not – or intercepted by the opposing team!
While TSB spawned sequels with more features, this is the title that really encapsulates a sequel which superseded its predecessor. It is a must play for any true football fan.