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Tecmo Bowl for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – Great Video Games

Updated on August 15, 2014
While the game might look fairly primitive by today's standards, this was mind blowing in the 1980s. For the first time you were playing the game while you watched it on television. So, so cool.
While the game might look fairly primitive by today's standards, this was mind blowing in the 1980s. For the first time you were playing the game while you watched it on television. So, so cool.

A True Classic

The original Tecmo Bowl for the NES is one of the most beloved classic video games in the old Nintendo library. It’s a sports game though, so you might think that it only appealed to certain audiences. Not everyone likes playing sports. This is one of those games that transcended its genre though, and actually appealed to almost everyone.

Football games that came before this one (and even after) really kind of sucked. This game set the standard for sports games of its era. It combined the easy playability of a Mario game with decent graphics and very responsive controls. Each team had slightly different plays, and the game even featured real football players. This was basically one of the first games where you could pretend that you were controlling real players that you were watching on television. That was way cool.

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Check Out Tecmo Bowl in Action

You really could throw the football further than any football had gone before in the this video game.
You really could throw the football further than any football had gone before in the this video game.
You would hit the buttons on the controller for which of the four plays you wanted. Don't let your friends see what button's you're pressing! Hehe - But go ahead and cheat and look at your friend's fingers. That's a good idea.
You would hit the buttons on the controller for which of the four plays you wanted. Don't let your friends see what button's you're pressing! Hehe - But go ahead and cheat and look at your friend's fingers. That's a good idea.

A Few Minor Problems... But Nothing That Wasn't Fun

Sure, the game had various limitations. Each team only had a small number of plays. The players all had their own individually coded abilities, with some running faster than others on the field. This meant that there were one or two players in the game that were virtually unstoppable, but that’s only a minor point to nitpick. You could easily throw the ball like 90 yards and people often caught it, which was funny and very unrealistic. Still, the game won over so many people with its flair, cute cut scenes, and overall simple yet fun style.

Strangely enough, Tecmo was able to license the players but not the teams. The teams were named via their locations because of this. That hardly detracted from the game at all. In addition to the amazingly addictive 2 player mode, the game had an interesting “coach” mode. This is where you make all the decisions for the team but don’t play. I’m not sure what kid would ever have wanted to use that mode of play. That’s just stupid.

The cut scenes were totally awesome in Tecmo Bowl. Tecmo realized how awesome they were and put even more into future incarnations of this game. The music was always very good in these games, too. They made the cut scenes so memorable. I love it!
The cut scenes were totally awesome in Tecmo Bowl. Tecmo realized how awesome they were and put even more into future incarnations of this game. The music was always very good in these games, too. They made the cut scenes so memorable. I love it!

Such a Fun Experience

The music was cute. It made football feel like it belonged on a Nintendo. Pure fun. I still get excited when I hear that first down music. Yay!

You know, I never really liked watching or playing football at all. I’m more of a basketball guy. This game, and the brilliant Super Tecmo Bowl, are some of my most favorite Nintendo games of all time. I think it’s the same for a lot of other kids. This game was just incredibly addictive on so many levels. Good job making football appeal to a wide audience Tecmo.

I would recommend this game in a heartbeat to anyone interested in old NES games, but Super Tecmo Bowl is where you really want to be. They took this amazingly good game and made it like 50 times better with the SNES version.

Just talking about this game makes me yearn to fire it up and play some football - and I seriously don't even like football very much. Amazing.

Did You Love Tecmo Bowl as a Child?

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© 2014 Rywads

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