Tecmo Bowl

I’m ready for some football!

Review Date: April 9, 2021

Release Date: February 1, 1989

Platform: NES

Publisher: No idea. I think it began with a T?

Genre: Sports

Today, it’s going to be Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cows.

Anecdotes: Before 1985, nobody in my house cared about football. The 1985 Bears, however, changed that. They were a phenomenon that took over Chicago. Naturally, the video game medium started trying to take advantage of that. Before the Madden games, which are annual cash-in football games that copy a product I can already watch on TV, there were much simpler football games that were just plain fun.

Description: This is simple, fun football, especially when playing against another person. Special teams plays are limited to kickoffs and punts; both of those have a power meter to determine how far the kick goes. On plays from scrimmage, four plays are put on the screen based on the offense’s “playbook.” The offense chooses a play to run while the defense chooses a play to guard against. The game does not reveal what either team picked. If the defense picks the same play as the offense, it shuts down the offense for that play. Any other combination will be better for the offense. Games are four quarters; each quarter is 90 seconds, but the clock stops after every play.

Chicago has four plays. Passing is too risky in this game, so Run 1 was my choice most of the time.

Positives: The game is so simple to pick up and play that even non-fans of football should be able to easily understand it. Silly concepts from real football such as clock management are removed. Things that make sense, but slow the game down are gone, too, like penalties and injuries. Two point conversions and coach’s challenges didn’t exist in that era, so they’re not there either.

Walter Payton was THE MAN. I don’t know who these two guys in the picture are, because Payton wasn’t white and McMahon was #9, not 12.

Negatives: Because there are no fumbles in the game, but there are interceptions, it is much wiser to run running plays than passing plays. Once players realize that, the game becomes too easy against the AI.

More Screenshots:

Dallas kicks the field goal, but they’re still two touchdowns behind.
Hey, who brought the balloons?
Who does this woman cheer for? Neither team uses pink as a team color.
Up 21 with less than a minute to play, I have this one in the bag.
I lost my momentum in the second half, but I won easily. Fast forward to 2021, and we now know this is a typical score for Dallas. (This post is sponsored by Rygar.)

Grade: B

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