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The most popular American football game to hit the NES console, Tecmo Bowl pits the player vs. the computer in 11 game single-elimination playoff action, or you can go head-to-head with a human opponent in action or coach mode. There are 12 teams of real NFL players (circa 1988) to choose from, but don't look for official NFL team logos or mascots like Bears or Dolphins--Tecmo Bowl has the NFLPA but not the NFL license.

The play perspective is top-down and the screen scrolls horizontally. Player graphics are large and colorful, which is made possible by limiting the number of players to nine per team. Animated cut-scenes are shown following touchdowns and at half-time, and crowds are shown filling the endzone seats.

There are four plays to choose from on offense--usually two runs and two passes. The player takes control of the quarterback before the snap and then either hands off to the running back or works through his receiver progression from the top to the bottom of the screen. Defense consists of trying to guess which offensive play the opponent will select and then taking control of one of the defensive players before the snap. A very simple power meter system is used for kicking field goals, extra points, and punts.

There are no game or season stats and there is no way to save your season, but there is a password feature allowing you to resume tournament play where you left off.


Tecmo Bowl NES Dramatic situation...
Tecmo Bowl NES Touchdown!
Tecmo Bowl NES The ball is marked with X. This field goal wasn't very successful...
Tecmo Bowl NES Come and get me!

Promo Images

Tecmo Bowl Screenshot
Tecmo Bowl Screenshot
Tecmo Bowl Screenshot
Tecmo Bowl Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Arcade Archives: Tecmo Bowl" -- Nintendo Switch / PS4 title
  • "アーケードアーカイブス テクモボウル" -- Japanese Nintendo Switch / PS4 spelling
  • "テクモボウル" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for this game.

Critic Reviews Sep, 2013 A- 91
Retro Game Reviews Sep 13, 2015 9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars9 Stars 90
Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library 2016 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Jan 03, 2005 9 out of 10 90
The Video Game Critic Aug 11, 2004 B+ 83
All Game Guide 1998 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Gamervision Jan 15, 2008 7 out of 10 70
Random Access 2005 5.2 out of 10 52


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Wii Virtual Console version

For the Wii Virtual Console version of Tecmo Bowl, all the actual football player names from each team have been replaced with only the player numbers to identify each team member.


  • Game Informer Magazine
    • August 2001 (100 Issue Spectacular) - voted #38 in a Top 100 Games of All Time poll
Information also contributed by Guy Chapman
PCGamer77 (3229) added Tecmo Bowl (NES) on Dec 28, 2002
Other platforms contributed by PCGamer77 (3229), Michael Cassidy (21110), Rik Hideto (460710), Kam1Kaz3NL77 (456470), chirinea (47006) and Sciere (778423)
atari yars