58: Tecmo Bowl

Genre: Football

Developer:  Tecmo
Publisher: Tecmo
Year: 1989

Basic Idea: Block extra points with Lawrence Taylor.

Review:  The first good football game made for any system, Tecmo Bowl set a standard that was quickly exceeded but helped show the rest of the business what it took.  Unlike every other game that had been out, Tecmo got a license from the NFLPA, which makes the game imminently more interesting.  They didn’t get a license from the NFL, but they got the more important one.  Sadly, they only include a dozen teams for some reason (space?), so only some of the great players of the day are included.

More than just the stats, the game is fast-paced, where as other football games looked like they were going in slow-motion.  Players have different abilities, forcing you to think of who you wanted to use on each play.  There is a playbook.  It is very small, but again it was the first game to include one.  Finally, there is an awesome touchdown cut scene that makes scoring all the more fun.

The game does have its flaws.  As alluded to, Lawrence Taylor is capable of blocking 100% of all field goals and most extra points, so if you are playing the Giants you have to rely on touchdowns only to win.  Also, 99% of all covered receivers get intercepted, so the only strategy of the quarterback is to throw to the open guy.

Much like Blades of Steel, there’s little reason to play this game today as there are much better football games on classic systems.  But it is the only video game in history to have Walter Payton and Tony Dorsett, so there’s that.

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11 thoughts on “58: Tecmo Bowl

  1. Tecmo Bowl only had twelve teams?! I couldn’t have told you that for a million dollars. This is the same game I played eight billion times, right? Where Bo Jackson is unstoppable so everyone picks the Raiders? Or is that the successor to this? I’m ever so confused.

    • Wuddn’t there only like 9 guys on a side, too? I seem to remember that, for some reason. Anyway, yeah, I really didn’t play this one a lot because I don’t think I even knew about it until after Tecmo Super Bowl was around. I might have rented it once because I was a dumb kid and didn’t know it was older.

        • Hey, thanks. I’ve been reading the list, but for some reason I never got around to commenting on anything even though I played my fair share of the NES back in the day.

  2. Theres plenty of reason to play Tecmo Bowl. We have a TON of strategies for Tecmo Bowl that will surprise you, as to how in-depth and complex the game can get. Check out our strategy page here to learn more….. http://www.tecmobowl-vs-rbi.com/tecmo-strategy.html

    Those are just the basics. For more indepth pass and rush defense strategies, these pages really bring it…. http://www.tecmobowl-vs-rbi.com/tecmo-pass-defense.html
    http://www.tecmobowl-vs-rbi.com/tecmo-run-defense.html

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