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Tecmo Bowl might be a simplistic take on the sport but it has some fantastic controls and entertaining gameplay that still feels solid today. It really shines in two-player mode and overall it's miles ahead of other American Football games of the time.
Not only are some of the players hanging on the wall of the Hall, some of them are still playing (like Jerry Rice). That's the type of player that something in common with Tecmo Bowl. Pure timelessness. This is one of those games that simply defines what classic gaming is all about, not to mention this is a rare sports game that is still just as fun today as it was during its initial run in stores.
A catchy melody plays throughout the contest, and there's a modest amount of voice synthesis as well. As an added treat, half-time features some surprisingly suggestive cheerleader graphics. Tecmo Bowl's computer opponent is competent, but the game excels at head-to-head competition (trash talking optional but recommended). Tecmo Bowl is pure football joy, and it's held up surprisingly well over the years.
Choose your favorite NFL team and make a run for the Tecmo Bowl championship! Tecmo Bowl is the granddaddy of all football simulations, and it's still one of the best. The greatest thing about Tecmo Bowl is its realism: the strengths and weaknesses of the real-life team (circa 1988) are the strengths and weakness of its Tecmo Bowl counterpart. Choose between four different plays (two running, two passing) and work your way down the field. The players are big and easy to see, and you can really feel those bone-crushing hits they lay on each other. Defeat all the other teams in the Tecmo League and earn a shot at the Tecmo Bowl championship!! While Tecmo Bowl may be old, it's certainly not a forgotten cart in the crowded football arena.
I’m glad that simulation games have progressed to the point they have now. Being able to audible different defensive packages to compensate for mismatches makes the game more true to life, but there’s just something fun about the simplicity of picking a play and running it. Even now, I can see just how easy it was to get hooked on a game like this. Tecmo Bowl is good to have around for those moments where I want to play football, but don’t want to do too much thinking. Which is actually quite often.
But to be brutally honest, I should not be reviewing this game. It's not in me to play sports games. I don't personally own many sports games, aside from Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64 (but I am entertained by that one). Still, this game didn't leave me completely befuddled, so it's clearly not an absolutely awful game. If you have any idea what football is about, you might like this joyous archaic 8-bit representation of a nationally-praised sport, so you could give Tecmo Bowl a try. For everyone else, take the cartridge and give it a punt kick.