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  1. Almost as soon as there were video games, there were worries about inappropriate content in video games. Before Mortal Kombat’s blood drenched fighting sparked Congressional hearings[1], there was Death Race. The 1976 game, based on the film Death Race 2000, saw a blocky little car squishing “gremlins.” Though quaint compared to Grand Theft Auto, the game sparked genuine outrage to the point it appeared on the CBS News program, 60 Minutes.[2] Tecmo Super Bowl set itself above its more controversial peers with good, clean, family fun. Well…mostly clean. As a child, when playing TSB with parents, there was always the moment of heart-clenching anticipation at the end of the 2nd quarter. 3 of TSB’s 4 Halftime Shows feature blimps and marching bands and fans doing the wave. But god help the 10-year-old version of you that had the misfortune of sitting through the 4th Halftime sequence with gran sitting on the couch behind you. Tecmo Super Bowl: You can’t spell “Half Time” without T&A.First, a Dallas Cowboys-esque cheerleader gives a sexy wink, showing acres of midriff that would make even Britney Spears blush. Then come Rockette-kicking cheerleaders with legs for days. After the Rockettes, a cheerleader is tossed in the air. Smiling, her skirt flies up just enough to show a white triangle of her panties. The parade of childhood embarrassment then ends with a kissy-face cheerleader, arms over her head, displaying maximum sideboob to your grandmother . It begs the question: in a game otherwise marketed to the whole family, why is a girl showing me her panties? Even the original Tecmo Bowl’s lone halftime show featured a line of cheerleaders, their hemlines so high a slight breeze threatened “wardrobe malfunction.” Certainly Tecmo programmers wanted to capture the feel of American Football, cheerleaders included. Bulging breasts and panty flashing, though, seem oddly sexual, almost out of place in an otherwise squeaky-clean game. Why Tecmo would include such material in TSB may go back to the early 80’s and a Tecmo company slightly different from the one famous for American Football. Before 1987, Tecmo was known as Tehkan, Co. The company, founded in the 1960’s, initially sold office supplies. In the 1970’s Tehkan shifted its focus to entertainment products, including early arcade machines. Tehkan’s games offered little innovation. Instead, they happily manufactured knock-offs of already popular arcade machines. As we’ll later see, if Tecmo had been more innovative, perhaps we wouldn’t have even had Tecmo Bowl. One of Tehkan’s clones, not likely to be found in your local Pizza Hut or comic book shop, was a risqué little cabinet called Lovely Cards[3]. From cave paintings to pottery, photographs to the internet, immediately after after man invents a new medium, that medium is filled with naked women. Video game erotica dates back to the very beginnings of the form[4]. Sexy pinball and sexy card games filled—shall we say—less reputable arcade facilities. Seeing the success of the genre, Tehkan created its own sexy video poker machine: Lovely Cards. Ohh…that sensible shrug IS “Lovely!”NOTE: Although all the pictures below have been edited to retain at least some pixelated modesty, past this point, we’re dealing with representations of a woman in various states of undress. Be advised, it’s ever so slightly NSFW from here on out. Just from the title screen we can see similarities between Lovely Cards and TSB’s Halftime sextravaganza. As a video game, Lovely Cards offers very little. It’s vanilla video poker: the player bets money on successive hands of 5-card draw. An alluring woman reclines atop the cards. A heart meter above the woman shows how “enamored” she is with the player. Max out the heart meter by betting and winning big, and the woman removes an article of clothing. Conversely, if the player bets too little and loses too many hands, the disgusted woman gets dressed. The same mechanic applies to countless games across almost every platform, from sexy poker to sexy mahjong, all the way to sexy Tetris.[5] *wink!*And…that’s it. Bingo, bango, bongo, boobs. Getting past the bingo and bongo of Lovely Cards, however, is a chore. Lovely Cards hates to lose. Because the game offers very little after the woman is disrobed, Lovely Cards sometimes cheats. Emulating Lovely Cards with savestates shows that the game sometimes deals bad cards if the player holds good cards. Let’s say Lovely Cards deals an initial hand of K♥, 10♣ 2♥, 5♠ and J♦. If no cards are held, the second round of cards are K♣, 3♦, J♠, 8♥ and A♥. Loading a savestate in the initial round and holding K♥ and J♦ should earn 2 pair: K♥, K♣, J♦, J♠, 3♦. This isn’t always the case, though. As the player amasses more money, Lovely Cards will increasingly deal random garbage to avoid winning hands. If a player had the quarters and attention span (or was that thirsty) winning Lovely Cards rewarded the player with a reclining nude. (Although for propriety’s sake we’ve censored a few pixels, let’s just say the programmers at Tehkan were probably happiest when their hardwood floors were freshly waxed.) Although not a straight line by any means, we can see the curved path between Tecmo Super Bowl and Lovely Cards. Lovely Cards only predates Tecmo Bowl by a few years. We know Japanese programmers sometimes misunderstood the cultural sensitivities–especially regarding religion and sex–of American audiences. The fact that the newly-topless woman in Lovely Cards winks just like TSB’s first cheerleader only strengthens the connection. It’s a small hop from bra-and-panties poker to the panty-flashing cheerleaders who made Friday Family Game night super awkward for everyone involved. Tecmo, who knew you were so naughty? NOTES: [1] Rob Crossley, BBC. “Mortal Kombat: Violent game that changed video games industry [2] http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/gaming.gadgets/06/29/violent.video.games/index.html [3] It seems there was also a version of the game called Lovely Poker, where the player could bet and win actual money. [4] The first game to use erotic graphics, 1981’s Night Life, was, coincidentally made by Koei. Koei purchased Tecmo in 2009 [5] Oof, that’s a risky click. The post Naughty Tecmo and Lovely Cards appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  2. We can trace a straight line from Atari’s Football (1978) and Irem/Taito’s 10-Yard Fight (1983) to Tecmo Bowl. We also know TB and TSB informed John Madden Football and NFL Blitz. All these games, from Tecmo Bowl and Mutant League Football to Jerry Rice and Nitus’ Dog Football [1], trace their lineage back to 300 lines of BASIC called FTBALL. Before Tecmo Bo, the first virtual quarterbacks guided Dartmouth to victory against Princeton in the 1965 Ivy League Championship. Dartmouth Championship Football, better known by its BASIC program code, FTBALL, represented not only the start of video game football, but a watershed in the history of computing. Without FTBALL, computing today could be wildly different. Defense and military applications shaped the early history of computing. Machines like the Colossus (1943) and The Harvard Mark I (1944) existed solely to aid Allied War efforts in WWII. They broke Nazi codes and predicted the power and fallout from proposed nuclear bombs. John G. Kemeny, a Hungarian immigrant, worked with such machines as part of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos Labs during WWII. Only 20 years old, Kemeny aided the calculations that built the atomic bomb. The experience shaped his views on both humanity and computing. After the war, Kemeny returned to academic life. He worked as a research assistant for Albert Einstein[2], before finding home in Dartmouth University’s math department. Shaped in part by his experiences at Los Alamos, Kemeny, together with colleague Thomas Kurtz, built a cutting-edge computing lab at Dartmouth[3]. They creatively re-appropriated the College’s furniture budget to buy its first computer in 1959[4]. In the early 1960s, Kemeny and Kurtz applied for and won a National Science Foundation grant. They used the money to create the Dartmouth Time Sharing System, DTSS for short. The DTSS went live in the fall of 1964. Up to 300 small computing terminals, wired to the DTSS master terminal, could simultaneously access a database of programs and information. Instead of running whole programs, one at a time, the master terminal ran small program packets for each user in sequence. This greatly increased the speed of computing. In an age where many computers still used laborious punch cards, DTSS users could key information and return calculations in less than 10 seconds. A schematic of the Dartmouth Time Sharing System from the DTSS brochure, 1971.Computing power by itself wasn’t enough, though. Contemporary computer languages such as FORTRAN and ALGOL used obtuse verbiage and required coding experts. Kemeny knew truly accessible computers required a truly accessible computing language. Together with Kurtz and some of their students, Kemeny created a language which emphasized simple commands such as “HELLO,” “GOODBYE” and “PRINT.” They called it “Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code” or BASIC, for short. BASIC proved easy to grasp. Hundreds of terminals running BASIC made it so even English and Theater majors could access the DTSS. The system proved wildly successful. Arms of the DTSS stretched into high schools, north into Maine and down into Massachusetts and New York City. Later versions of the Dartmouth Time Share System also included early e-mail and chat programs. Almost as soon as the DTSS launched, students filled its program library with games. This was not only allowed, but encouraged. Kemeny wrote in his 1972 book, Man and the Computer, that games spurred the DTSS’ success (p.35). Games lowered the bar to entry. Where only select of students needed advanced statistical analysis programs, every student could sit and play tic-tac-toe or football. Kemeny said, “[Games remove] psychological blocks that frighten the average human away from free use of [computers].” We see the same thing today: Solitaire comes bundled with Windows because it teaches the basics of navigating the operating system without overwhelming beginners.[5] One of the first games to appear in the DTSS catalog was a simulation called FTBALL[6]. Although never directly naming himself its author, John Kemeny almost certainly wrote FTBALL early on Sunday, November the 21st, 1965. Hours before, an underdog Dartmouth squad stunned heavily-favored Princeton to win the Ivy League championship. “My father loved football, especially Dartmouth football,” John’s daughter Jenny Kemeny would later say. “The math department would get blocks of tickets for home games and then take bets on first downs, interceptions, scores.”[7] Kemeny even took a page from football’s playbook in building his DTSS. Much like a football coach, Kemeny visited local high schools and personally recruited students showing an aptitude in math.[8] Kemeny himself would later recall, “[FTBALL] was written on Sunday after a certain Dartmouth-Princeton game in 1965 when Dartmouth won the Lambert trophy. It’s sort of a commemorative program.”[9] FTBALL, the first American Football video game, Tecmo Bowl’s granddad, was programmed by immigrant John G. Kemeny, a colleague of Albert Einstein, a genius of Los Alamos labs and the man who invented BASIC. Kemeny and Kurtz wrote an overview of their DTSS for the October 1968 edition of Science Magazine. Towards the end of their article they boast “over 500 programs” for the DTSS, including “many games.”[10] They go on, saying, “We have lost many a distinguished visitor for several hours while he quarterbacked the Dartmouth football team in a highly realistic simulated game.” Kemeny’s FTBALL in action, as emulated in Python.FTBALL is similar to what we’d now think of as a text-based adventure game. It looks more Zork than Madden. The program explains down and distance. As quarterback for Dartmouth, your options are: 1) a conservative run play; 2) a “tricky” run; 3) a short pass; 4) a long pass; 5) punt; 6) quick kick[11]; and 7) place kick. Tricky runs have the potential to gain more yardage but also result in more fumbles. The same is true for short versus long passes. By carefully choosing from the available plays, a skilled Dartmouth quarterback can march down the field and defeat rival Princeton. Kemeny even programmed in a quirk of mid-century Dartmouth football: wild dog stoppages. As Kemeny’s wife Jean would write in her memoir, It’s Different at Dartmouth, the university was infamous for dogs which sometimes ran free on campus. Come Saturday, these dogs would find their way onto the Football field. Play would stop while players and officials shooed the mutts away. True to its Dartmouth roots, FTBALL sometimes displays the following: “GAME DELAYED. DOG ON FIELD” A student using the DTSS, from the 1971 brochure.The popularity of FTBALL drew students in droves to Dartmouth’s computers. Men (as Dartmouth did not admit women at the time) would bring dates to the DTSS labs, trying to impress girls with computerized games of FTBALL. The games’ popularity helped to bring computing out from military bases and into the hands of the public. FTBALL proved the universal appeal of computers and helped make computers accessible. Later versions of FTBALL linked two DTSS terminals in one of history’s first PvP video games. It is entirely possible, that lacking Tecmo Bowl’s great grandaddy, personal computing as we know it today would be wildly different. Every football game produced today owes a tip of the cap to John G. Kemeny and FTBALL’s 300 lines of BASIC. FTBALL lives on today[12]. Kemeny’s original BASIC program, as well as a number of later iterations, are archived online. Dartmouth Professor Peter G. Doyle has transcribed Kemeny’s original FTBALL*** program into Python. Plug the Python code into any number of online Python executors and–voila–you’ve got yourself a time machine to the very beginning of video game football. …You’ll have to fill in the “Ready! Down! Hut hut hut!” yourself. NOTES: [1] Yes, this is a real WiiWare game where you control a team of football-playing dogs. [2] It is probable that Einstein even wrote letters of recommendation, urging colleges to hire Kemeny. [3] http://dtss.dartmouth.edu/history.php [4] Birth of Basic (film). Dir. Murray, Mike and Dan Rockmore. 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYPNjSoDrqwt [5] Kiewit Computation Center and the Dartmouth Time-Sharing System. Kemeny, John. 1966: p.17 [6] “History of Computing Project: Dartmmouth Timeshare System.” 1974 National Computer Conference. Pioneer Day Session (Transcript). http://dtss.dartmouth.edu/transcript.php [7] “Back to BASIC.” Blinkhorn, Tom, Valley News. [White River Junction, Vt] 02 May 2014. [8] See Note 4 [9] See Note 6 [10] Kemeny, John G.; Kurtz, Thomas E. “Dartmouth Time-Sharing”. Science. 11 October 1968: 223–228. [11] I had to look this one up: a “quick kick” is when a team punts out of a regular formation, intending to surprise the receiving team and mitigate any return yardage. [12] Former Dartmouth students have even coded an emulator to their original DTSS at dtss.dartmouth.edu, though, sadly, it mirrors an earlier version which does not support Kemeny’s FTBALL. The post John Kemeny and Tecmo’s BASIC FTBALL Granddaddy appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  3. Given the power to build a perfect Wide Receiver, few would make Drew Hill. WRs are meant to be towering, spidery men, all arms and legs, with an eagle’s wingspan and the ability to fly over defenders. Drew Hill stood 5’9” on his tiptoes. He barely cleared 170 soaking wet. Yet for 15 years, Drew dominated the gridiron. What Drew Hill lacked in physicality, he redoubled with work ethic and and ability. Andrew “Drew” Hill was born October 5th, 1956 in the affluent town of Newnan, Georgia1. Founded in 1828, Newnan earned a reputation as home to Georgia’s rich and powerful. That pedigree and wealth survived into the 1980s. “There are still a lot of rich people [in Newnan],” Hill told the LA Times in 1979, “…[my family isn’t] among them.”2 Hill grew up poor, one of 11 siblings. His parents, almost children themselves3, left the rearing to Drew’s grandmother, Ruth Dix4. At Newnan high, Drew excelled at football, basketball and track. Though he wanted to focus on basketball, Drew chose football at the urging of his father5. It proved a fruitful decision. Hill slashed defenses as Newnan’s running back. His sprinter’s speed and keen ability to move the football earned Drew collegiate attention. Just up Interstate-85, Georgia Tech’s young coach, Pepper Rodgers, needed world-class rushers to execute his triple-option offense. Rodgers offered Hill a scholarship. Hill accepted. Sting Like a Yellow Jacket Drew Hill smilin’ at Georgia Tech (image courtesy of the Trading Card Database)Drew Hill struggled at Georgia Tech. Though he quickly gained a reputation as a quiet, confident workhorse, Tech’s roster overflowed with talented rushers. Drew Hill faced a choice: change positions or warm the bench. Never one to back from a challenge, Drew Hill remade himself as a wide receiver. Tech’s triple-option offense had little need for receivers, though. In Drew’s freshman season, Georgia Tech threw a total–a total–of 46 passes. The Yellow Jackets infamously defeated Notre Dame in 1976 without throwing once6. For most of his time at Tech, Drew served as an option decoy and kick returner. Coach Rodgers finally opened the playbook in Drew Hill’s final season. The Jackets threw more passes in 1978 than they had in the previous five years combined. Drew ran with the opportunity. By season’s end, Drew Hill stood among Georgia Tech’s all time leaders in receptions, reception yards, yards per catch, kick return yards, and kick return touchdowns. Drew still holds Georgia Tech records for return yards, return touchdowns, yards per return, and longest return. And even though Tech’s football history boasts a wealth of names like Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas, Hill still sits third in yards per reception and 8th in total career yardage7. The NFL didn’t know what to make of Hill. He showed electric ability, but few owners wanted to gamble on a 5’9” receiver. Scouts crudely labeled Hill as just “another midget who could run fast.” The Los Angeles Rams, though, needed a kick returner. Given latitude to use the Rams’ final 1979 Draft Pick Draft however he pleased, team VP Harold Guiver used the 328th overall pick (out of 330), on Georgia Tech WR/KR Drew Hill. Rammed by the NFL Hill wowed Rams coaches from the start. Despite being an undersized 12th round pick, he made the team’s roster as a kick returner. After an injury-plagued 1982 season, Hill set a Rams franchise record with 1,170 return yards in 1983. Even better, he began to see time at WR. Struggling against poverty, struggling for playing time in college and the pros, it looked like Drew Hill was about to overcome and truly make his mark in the NFL. A series of disastrous choices put all Drew’s work at risk. At 2 AM on Monday, December 21st, 1981, Drew Hill was arrested for the rape of a 16-year-old girl. Drew met the girl following the Rams’ season-ending loss to Washington and invited her to the house Hill and some teammates shared. Hours later, the girl and her boyfriend arrived at the Fullerton, CA police department to report Hill had raped her at the party.8 At his arraignment, though, Hill was not charged with felony rape. Instead, the District Attorney brought misdemeanor charges of unlawful attempt to commit sexual intercourse, assault, battery, and contributing to the delinquency of the minor. It turns out the girl was known to Rams players. She was a football groupie, hanging around Rams practices, trying to befriend players. Further, a medical examination showed no rape occurred. Pressed with the facts, the girl changed her story a number of times. Investigation also showed it was the boyfriend, not the girl, who filed the initial report.9 What actually happened lives in the grey area between allegations. Hill initially pled not guilty to all charges. He eventually changed his plea and plead guilty to one just count of misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The other charges were dismissed. The maximum penalty for delinquency of a minor carried jail time; Hill received three years informal probation and 400 hours community service.10 In 1983, the Rams drafted sprinter Ron Brown 41st overall. Even though Brown sat out the 1983-84 season to complete in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, his arrival signaled the beginning of the for Hill in LA. After Brown’s 4×100 relay squad won gold in world record time, he joined the Rams. Hill and Brown shared kick return duties in 1984, but after the season ended, the Rams, not needing two undersized speedsters, traded Drew Hill to the Oilers for 4th and 7th round draft picks11. Hill Strikes Oil in Houston On the surface, the trade looked disastrous. With a recent Super Bowl appearance, two straight playoff seasons and Rookie RB Eric Dickerson, LA looked poised to win a championship. The Oilers, on the other hand were the league’s lovable losers. Journalists laughed that Houston bungled the 1983 Draft, trading away the pick which LA eventually used on Eric Dickerson. The situation in Houston wasn’t as glum as some said. When Canadian Football All-Star QB Warren Moon decided to jump to the NFL, the Oilers won a bidding war for his services. Better for Hill, Oilers coaches didn’t see Drew Hill as a kick returner. They saw Hill’s nose for the football, his ability to catch anything in a three-yard radius. The Oilers removed the “/KR” from Hill’s “WR/KR” duties and installed Drew as Warren Moon’s #1 target. Embed from Getty Images It was like the opening of Georgia Tech’s offense all over again. Between 1979-1984, Drew caught 60 passes total for the Rams. In 1985, with Warren Moon slinging passes, Drew caught 65. Hill finished the season with 1169 receiving yards, 5th best in the NFL. The talent had been there all along. News coverage of the Rams’ 1979 training camp praised Drew’s speed, his strength, and his fearless ability to catch balls over the middle of the field, where most WRs fear to tread12. It took Houston’s staff to finally accept that 6’5” of WR talent can live in a 5’9” body. In 7 years in Houston, Hill racked up nearly 7,500 yards receiving. Only a strike in 1987 and a broken vertebrae in 1989 (which only sidelined for two weeks13) kept Drew from eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving each year in Houston. His astounding performance earned Drew trips to the 1988 and 1990 Pro Bowl. Hill had an even better year in 1991–catching 90 passes for 1,100 yards–but the league picked Buffalo verteran James Lofton in his stead. Hill joked, “I figure [The Pro Bowl] didn’t want to take two 35-year-old guys.”14. Pro Bowl or no, 1991’s Tecmo Super Bowl shows the 35-year-old Hill outgunning kids ten years his junior. His 63 Max Speed puts Hill second, behind only Jerry Rice15. Hill’s insane 75 Receptions score recognizes Hill’s enduring ability to catch anything within his reach. Taken together, Drew Hill’s TSB stat line make him a no-brainer choice as the game’s 2nd best-WR, behind only Jerry Rice (who was 8-plus years younger). Drew Hill: This Guy Catches.A crowded AFC kept Houston from the promised land. No matter how well Drew’s Oilers played, another squad edged them in December or January. Teams like Cleveland, Denver and Buffalo crushed the Oilers’ Super Bowl dreams year after year. Hill played the final two seasons of his career with his hometown Atlanta Falcons. Even without Warren Moon, Hill put up respectable numbers. He caught 60 passes as Atlanta’s slot receiver in 1992. During the 1993 season, Hill’s grandmother, who had raised young Drew, passed away. Drew also wanted to branch out into the business world. So in January of 1994, after 15 seasons in the NFL, Drew Hill called it a day. He finished with 634 total receptions, then 9th-best in NFL history16. Had the Rams not wasted 5 years of Drew Hill’s career returning kicks, he’d undoubtedly have a bust in Canton. “When I first went out to Los Angeles, I expected I’d be coming back on the first bus out of there,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1994. “What I’ve accomplished — well, it’s not too bad for a scrawny kid out of Newnan, I guess.”17 Will the Real Drew Hill Please Stand Up? In September of 2009, a reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press wrote about a phenomenal artist working on the Santa Monica pier. The artist, down on his luck and near-homeless, produced amazing, kinetic portraits of Jimi Hendrix, Julius Erving and Kobe Bryant. The artist’s name? Drew Hill.18 Hill claimed years of alcohol, drug and steroid abuse had taken their toll on his body. Numerous health issues and lingering injuries from his NFL days kept him in constant pain. Only painting brought Drew Hill any measure of relief. The art of “Drew Hill”The Santa Monica Daily Press brought Drew back into the limelight. The art world took notice. Susan Wienberg, owner of a nearby art studio, called Hill, “the best painter I’ve ever seen in my life. [His work displays] a lot of emotion. Everything he does is very intense.” She offered Drew Hill money, set up a website to sell his work and gave him a full exhibition at her gallery. Hill repaid her by picking up crack cocaine. Hill, desperate to fuel his habit, was arrested for robbery and landed in LA’s Men’s Central Jail. Even imprisoned, Hill used art as therapy, turning skittles, envelopes and coffee grounds into masterpieces.19 The story, a former-NFL All Pro, ground down to nothing by his time behind the Shield, only to find redemption in art, sounds too good to be true. Turns out, it was. While “Drew Hill” the homeless artist painted in Santa Monica, Drew Hill the former Oiler was building a business in Atlanta. “It’s mind-boggling,” the real Hill told the Los Angeles Times. “You’d think he’d want to make a name for himself.” The artist’s real name is Broderick “Drew” Hill. “Drew” claimed excessive partying ruined his NFL Career. He claimed to have clashed time and again with NFL ownership. He claimed he’d dated a number of celebrities. He claimed his art dated back to his playing days, that only a select handful of teammates knew about his true passion. Perhaps most damning, the fake “Drew Hill” claimed he’d abused steroids in the NFL. It made for entertaining news copy, but was entirely false. “I’ve never picked up a paintbrush,” Drew Hill joked to the LA Times. Not even to paint the walls of his house. And steroids? Another joke. “Believe me, if I used steroids,” Drew laughed, “I’d have weighed more than 170 pounds.”20 “Drew Hill’s” height should have been a dead giveaway. The real Drew famously stood 5’9”. “Drew Hill” the artist? 6-plus feet and pushing 280 pounds. After the LA Times published a piece debunking “Drew Hill,” the Santa Monica Press issued a half-hearted apology. All the information “Drew Hill” gave reporters was public record; when the reporter fact-checked the fake Drew’s story, everything seemed to match. Everything except “Drew Hill’s” towering height, which the Daily Press never looked into.21 Forever a Tecmo Legend After Drew Hill quit football, he found another love: golf. It meshed his business interests and competitive nature. Deals often occur on the 18th green. On March 17th, 2011, Drew Hill went out for a round of golf in Atlanta. Something wasn’t right, though. He described feeling ill. Drew checked into nearby Piedmont Hospital, where he suffered two massive strokes. Oilers great Drew Hill died on Friday March 18th, 2011. He was only 54 years old.22 In the wake of The Santa Monica Daily Press’ faulty reporting, a number of obituaries for Hill erroneously attributed his illness to drug use. This is false. There is no proof of any such drug use. To the contrary, outside of his youthful indiscretion in 1981, Drew Hill lived an upright life. After his passing, friends and teammates spoke only of Drew’s work ethic, his kindness, and his faith. “[Drew Hill] was one of the toughest players I ever played with,” Oilers teammate Mike Munchak said. “He wasn’t a big guy, but he wasn’t afraid of anything and loved going over the middle making big catches for us. He was made for our run and shoot system. As a person, he was a quiet guy and a real pro.”23 Tecmo Super Bowl echoes the praise of Hill’s teammates. Even facing the game’s top defenders, Hill finds a way to come down with the football just when you need him to. Drew Hill lived a life exponentially bigger than his 5’9” frame. He battled adversity at every step, and, when given his chance, he shone. That is his legacy: a man who fought adversity and won. A Tecmo Legend, Drew Hill. NOTES: [1] There must be something in Newnan’s water. Though the town counted only 16,000 citizens in the 2000 census, Newnan is home to a slew of current and former NFL players, including GOAT WR Calvin Johnson. [2] “The Rams are Full of Hills.” Green, Ted. The Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, CA] 01 Aug 1979: F1 [3] “Celebrating Drew Hill’s Life.” Winklejohn, Matt. Sting Daily, 25 Mar 2011; http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/032511aaa.html ) Retrieved 9-8-2017 [4] http://www.memorialsolutions.com/sitemaker/sites/Seller1/memsol.cgi?user_id=334642 [5] http://www.ajc.com/sports/college/memorial-service-for-former-tech-player-drew-hill/IfysKPhAnFhQFgi43es8oL/#4 [6] “Beat Notre Dame without throwing a pass? Georgia Tech did it in 1976.” Newberry, Paul. St. Louis Post – Dispatch; [St. Louis, Mo] 27 Aug 2006: D.12. [7] All Georgia Tech records per their 2017-18 Media Guide: http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/geot/sports/m-footbl/auto_pdf/2017-18/misc_non_event/17_fb_info_guide.pdf [8] “Rams Player Charged with Rape.” UPI Newswire; 22 Dec 1981. http://www.upi.com/Archives/1981/12/21/Rams-player-charged-with-rape/4273377758800/?spt=su; retrieved 9/10/2017 [9] “Rams’ Drew Hill Arraigned on 4 Reduced Counts.” Roberts, Rich. Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, Calif] 12 Jan 1982: d1. [10] “Drew Hill of Rams Placed on Probation.” Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, Calif] 07 May 1982: f4. [11] “PRO FOOTBALL ’87 An Unexpected Catch Wide Receiver Drew Hill Is Best Gift Oilers Could Have Received From Rams.” Wojciechowski, Gene. Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, Calif] 12 Sep 1987: 15. [12] See Note 2 [13] “No Surgery, Just Rest Necessary for Hill.” Buck, Ray. Houston Post; [Houston, TX]15 Nov 1989: C1 [14] “Oilers top Pro Bowl selections.” McClain, John. Houston Chronicle [Houston, TX] 19 Dec 1991: 1. [15] Ironically, Ron Brown, who the Rams chose over Hill because of his speed, did not make the Rams TSB roster. [16] “So they say . . .” Austin American Statesman [Austin, TX] 06 Jan 1994: C2. [17] “Drew Hill, 54, Receiver For Run-and-Shoot Oilers.” Goldstein, Richard. New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast); [New York, N.Y] 21 Mar 2011: A.23 [18] “Ex-NFL Star Turns Artist.” Neworth, Jack. The Santa Monica Daily Press [Santa Monica, CA] 25 Sep 2009. http://smdp.com/ex-nfl-star-turns-artist/75042; retrieved 9/11/2017. [19] “CROWE’S NEST: Artist ‘Drew Hill’ paints an interesting picture, but it isn’t real.” Crowe, Jerry. The Los Angeles Times [Los Angeles, CA] 26 Sep 2010 [20] See Note 19 [21] “An Artist Imitates Life.” Neworth, Jack. The Santa Monica Daily Press [Santa Monica, CA]. 01 Oct 2010. http://smdp.com/an-artist-imitates-life/77295; retrieved 9/11/2017. [22] “Former Oilers Pro Bowl Wide Receiver Hill Dies at 54.” AP Newswire. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d81ed79e7/article/former-oilers-pro-bowl-wide-receiver-hill-dies-at-54; retrieved 9/11/2017 [23] See Note 22. The post Tecmo Legend: Drew Hill appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  4. The Supplemental Draft shaped Tecmo as we know it. When we think of how our favorite players ended up in Tecmo Super Bowl, we think of the regular NFL Draft. We see bright-eyed college kids mounting the stage at Radio City Music Hall. We see the NFL Commissioner at the podium. We hear Philly fans booing. We see newly-minted NFL players taking their jersey, putting on their cap. We see the inevitable Commissioner Bro Hug. Not all players arrive in the NFL through the draft. Some, such as former Browns Kick Returner Josh Cribbs and journeyman LB Jerome Harrison, went undrafted and signed to their clubs as free agents[1]. Still others arrive via a tertiary, more mysterious method: The Supplemental Draft. The NFL and NFLPA negotiated a regular Supplemental Draft in addition to the regular college player draft in the spring of 1977[2]. The Supplemental Draft allows players ineligible for both college play and the regular NFL draft to turn pro. Usually, this means players suspended or dismissed from their college teams. To illustrate: in 1977, Notre Dame suspended Senior RB Al Hunter for having a woman in his dorm room after hours, then a violation of the university’s conduct policy. This wouldn’t have been a major issue except Hunter was already on probation for a 1974 incident where Lawson was caught with a woman in his dorm room[3]. The Supplemental Draft process is fairly simple. Excepting 1984, which we’ll discuss shortly, teams place a draft pick “bid” on players. The team with the highest bid wins said player. However, any successful bid in the Supplemental Draft is lost in the next years’ NFL Draft. So, in the first year of the Supplemental Draft, Seattle bid a 4th round pick on the troubled Notre Dame RB. Their bid was the highest and they won the rights to Hunter. As a result, the Seahawks forfeited their 4th round pick in the 1978 NFL Draft[4]. The Supplemental Draft shaped Tecmo Super Bowl’s landscape perhaps more than any single year’s NFL Draft. 1984 – The USFL Supplemental Draft As we’ve mentioned, the early 1980’s saw the startup United States Football League challenge the NFL. The USFL held their annual player draft in January, a full three months before the NFL. As such, they were able to lure stars such as Herschel Walker and Nebraska RB Mike Rozier. It soon became clear, however, the USFL’s heavy spending and declining revenues spelled disaster. Heading into the 1984 NFL Draft, some NFL owners their less scrupulous peers would bet on the USFL’s implosion and use mid-to-late round draft picks on USFL stars. A 5th round pick for Steve Young? Yes, please. Others worried, that should the USFL fold sooner rather than later, there would be massive bidding wars for USFL stars. To solve both problems, NFL owners and the NFLPA agreed to a special Supplemental Draft in 1984[5]. Owners promised not to select USFL players in their regular April Draft. In exchange, the NFLPA bargained for expanded rosters—from 45 to 49. The 1984 Supplemental Draft of USFL (and Canadian Football League) players, held in June, would eschew the bidding process and instead use the regular draft rules for a three-round affair. The 1984 Supplemental Draft brought in a number of Tecmo Legends. Tampa took Brigham Young University/LA Express Quarterback Steve Young. The New York Giants selected Hall of Fame Offensive Tackle Gary Zimmerman. Neither Zimmerman nor Young would hit TSB cartridges with the team that drafted them. Tampa, perhaps foolishly, gave up on Young in 1989 and shipped him to San Francisco. Zimmerman, who had no desire to play in New York, sued the NFL. Zimmerman and his lawyers argued the NFLPA had zero rights to bargain a special draft of players who, by virtue of playing in the USFL and CFL, did not belong to their union[6]. The USFL’s Philadelphia Stars also brought suit, arguing the Supplemental Draft constituted collusion among NFL owners to meddle in the USFL’s affairs. The Supplemental Draft also formed a major argument in the USFL’s 1985 antitrust suit against the NFL. In all three cases, the lawsuits fell the NFL’s way. Zimmerman eventually agreed to be traded to Minnesota. The USFL folded. The Chicago Bears, on the other hand, wanted no part of the 1984 Supplemental Draft. They traded all of their 1984 Supplemental picks to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a few late-round regular draft picks[7]. Instead of 3, the Browns selected 6 players in the 1984 Supplemental Draft. Among them: Clemson/LA Express RB Kevin Mack, Virginia Tech/Philadelphia Stars LB Mike Johnson and Baylor/Houston Gamblers WR Gerald McNeil. Without the 1984 Supplemental Draft, the Tecmo and TSB Browns squads would be very different indeed. 1985 – “QB Browns” Games the System The following year, the 1985 Supplemental Draft further cemented our beloved Tecmo Browns[8]. Consensus agreed, that should Miami University’s Bernie Kosar leave college, he would be the best QB available. Prior to the draft, the Buffalo Bills, holder of the #1 pick but committed to Jim Kelly, signed Virginia Tech DE Bruce Smith. Days later, Kosar decided to forgo his 2 remaining years of college eligibility and enter the NFL. Warren Moon’s Houston Oilers, not needing a QB, traded their #2 pick to the QB-thirsty Minnesota Vikings. QB Browns had other ideas. Kosar, born and raised in Northeast Ohio, wanted to play for his hometown Browns. So in a bit of cloak-and-dagger subterfuge, Cleveland traded for Buffalo’s 1986 1st round pick. The 1986 1st rounder, coupled with Buffalo’s worst overall record in 1984, gave Cleveland the most bidding power in the 1985 Supplemental Draft. Bernie Kosar, though he had announced his desire to enter the NFL draft, had not formally filed his paperwork with the NFL. So Bernie accidentally-on-purpose submitted his papers after the April 15 NFL Draft deadline. This made Bernie eligible for the 1985 Supplemental Draft. Houston and Minnesota, begged NFL Commissioner Rozelle to intercede on their behalf. Rozelle refused, saying neither Kosar nor the Browns had broken any rules[9]. Cleveland bid Buffalo’s 1986 1st Round pick in the 1985 Supplemental Draft and won QB Browns. In October of 1985, the NFL instituted what it called the Kosar Rule. Instead of Supplemental Draft order being based solely on a team’s previous season W-L record, the league instituted an NBA-style Supplemental Draft Lottery. Teams received lottery entries in proportion to their losses. The Supplemental Draft order was then drawn minutes before the regular draft[10]. This meant to guard the Supplemental Draft system against gamesmanship. Which isn’t to say some didn’t try anyway. 1987 – CC & The Boz Brian Bosworth tried to replicate Kosar’s gambit in 1987. Tampa had already agreed to terms with Vinnie Testarverde at #1 overall. Not wanting to play for sad-sack teams like Indianapolis, Buffalo or Green Bay, “The Boz” intentionally withheld his paperwork for the 1987 NFL Draft. Bosworth wanted to play for a big-market, win-now team. He stated he would only play for the Rams, Raiders, Jets, Giants or Eagles. New Supplemental Draft rules made it so Buffalo, Indy and GB still had a shot at the Boz. Instead, the lottery among losing teams awarded the #1 Overall Supplemental Pick to the Seahawks. Despite Boz’s warnings, Seattle selected him wits 1st round Supplemental Draft. He played only two years, and is most famous for being absolutely trucked by Bo Jackson. His play, though, is one of the few bright spots for a sluggish Seattle (Knights?) squad in OG Tecmo[11]. The 1987 Supplemental Draft also saw the Philadelphia Eagles bid a 4th rounder on suspended Ohio State WR Cris Carter. 1991’s TSB saw Carter struggling to catch Wade Wilson ducks with the Vikings. It wouldn’t be until subsequent SNES iterations of Tecmo that Carter would rise to Hall of Fame greatness. 1989 – Arizona Stumbles, Denver & Dallas Steal Stars Building on the Kosar/Boz template, the 1989 Supplemental Draft is perhaps the most important in NFL and TSB history[12]. The 1989 Supplemental Draft saw 5 players taken, three of them with 1st round picks. Arizona snagged Washington State QB Timm Rosenbach. Denver bid a 1st round pick and won Alabama RB Bobby Humphry. For Arizona, their first-ever Supplemental Draft pick busted. Rosenbach is a bad QB on a bad TSB Cardinals Team. For the Broncos, their Supplemental pick hit triple 7’s. Humphry is a TSB beast, with elite 63 Max Speed. The most important pick in the 1989 Supplemental Draft, both for Tecmo and the NFL, came when Dallas took Miami QB Steve Walsh with a 1st round pick. Walsh busted in the Big D. However, when Troy Aikman won the Cowboys’ starting QB job in September of 1990, Dallas exchanged Walsh for 3 New Orleans draft picks. One of those picks ended up being 1991’s #1 overall. Together with picks pried from Minnesota in the Herschel Walker trade, Dallas built an NFL and Tecmo Juggernaut. By the time TSB hit Sega and Super Nintendo, picking Dallas basically amounted to cheating. Walsh, for his part, played middling ball with New Orleans. Though the Saints’ TSB starter, backup QB John Fourcade actually possesses better stats. The Supplemental Draft has since changed again. Now teams are grouped into three tiers–losing teams, winning teams, and playoff teams. Supplemental Draft order is chosen randomly among those tiers. Any losing team can win the #1 supplemental pick. Teams with winning records then slot in randomly after the losing teams and playoff teams randomly fill out the rest. The Supplemental Draft is a strange bit of NFL ephemera, a back door into The Shield. Though instituted as a way to give a chance for troubled collegiate players, for a brief period in the 80’s, players used this secondary entrance to, ironically, “choose” their teams. 25 years later, we remember that handful of players who, determined to make their own way, made Tecmo Bowl and TSB as we know it. NOTES: [1] Both of whom attended Kent State University, aka, Undrafted Free Agent U. [2] Though most sources cite a spring 1977 NFL owners’ meeting as the genesis of the NFL Supplemental Draft, there seemed to be some mechanism for a supplemental draft dating back to the first NFL/NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement in July 1968. A June 16, 1970 article in the Baltimore Sun describes Notre Dame player Tom Lawson being chosen in a “supplemental draft” on June 15, 1970 for six players who became NFL-eligible after the regular draft. (“Notre Dame End Picked.” Baltimore Sun; Baltimore, MD. p.C5). However, I could find no other mention of the other five players being drafted and no mention of an organized “Supplemental Draft” prior to 1977. Until I can get the full text of the 1968 or 1970 NFL CBA to verify, we will say the “Supplemental Draft” as described in this article was instituted by NFL owners in 1977. [3] Irish’s Hunter Faces Suspension. Condon, David. The Chicago Tribune, 4 June 1977, Sec.2, p.1:1 [4] Seattle, Hunter Reach Terms. Chicago Tribune . 07 Sep 1977: c3. [5] “Players Agree to let NFL Hold USFL Draft.” Stellino, Vito. The Sun; Baltimore, MD. 21 Apr 1984: D1. [6] “Court Grants Giants Rights to USFL Offensive Lineman: Pro Football.” The Hartford Courant; Hartford, CT. 29 Mar 1986: D2 [7] “USFL Demise Hurts Bears.” Hewitt, Brian. Chicago Sun–Times. 08 Sep 1985: 12 [8] “Beloved” by me, anyway. [9] “Rozelle: Kosar Free To Choose…” Brennan, Christine. The Washington Post; Washington, D.C. 24 Apr 1985: D1 [10] “NFL Rejects Use of TV Replays in ’85 Playoffs.” Toronto Star; Toronto, ON. 17 Oct 1985: E10. [11] “Seahawks Defy Odds, Select Bosworth.” Wilbon, Michael, The Washington Post; Washington, D.C. 13 June 1987: c01 [12] “Walsh a Cowboy Too…” Cotton, Anthony. The Washington Post; Washington, D.C. 08 July 1989: D1 The post Tecmo’s Supplemental Draft appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  5. Before Tecmo’s Bowl, Tehkan had a Gridiron Fight. The golden age of arcade gaming followed a simple pattern: smash and repeat; smash and repeat. Space Invaders, the first arcade blockbuster, saw a slew of copy/paste imitators with names such Attack UFO and Beam Invader. Similarly, Hangly Man, Lock ‘n’ Chase, and Mighty Mouth all hoped to steal away some of Pac Man’s quarters. In many cases developers didn’t even change the graphics on their clones. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, the arcade market was big enough, and the public’s appetite intense enough, to allow multiple companies to profit selling, in essence, the same game. This booming arcade ecosystem allowed a former office supply company to elbow into the market with a game they called Gridiron Fight. Atari popularized arcade Football in 1978 with its aptly-titled, Football. Two players sat at a table-like “cocktail cabinet” and marched their x’s and o’s down a black-and-white field by spinning the everloving dickens out of a trackball. The machine proved a hit not only in arcades, but also restaurants, where patrons could sit and play while waiting for service. Like Pac Man and Space Invaders, Atari’s Football saw a number of competitors and clones. In 1983, the Taito Corporation released 10-Yard Fight. Though infamous for its clunky NES port, 10-Yard Fight’s original arcade cabinet improved over Atari’s Football in almost every way. Instead of x’s and o’s, 10-Yard Fight boasted animated player sprites. Housed in a standard upright arcade cabinet, 10-Yard Fight replaced Football’s blister-inducing trackball with joystick and button controls. We often think of “Ready! Down! Hut hut hut hut” as the hallmark of Tecmo Bowl, but a similar voice sample played in 10-Yard Fight a full 4 years before Tecmo Bowl made it famous. 10-Yard Fight earned Taito a tidal wave of quarters. At this point in history, Tecmo didn’t quite exist. Before 1985, the company was known as Tehkan. Founded in the 1960’s, Tehkan sold office supplies before transitioning into entertainment products and arcade machines. Given the voracious arcade market, Tehkan happily profited from re-treads of already popular arcade machines. Tehkan’s first offering, 1981’s Pleiads, aped Space Invaders and Galaxian. Shortly before changing their name to Tecmo, Tehkan combined the gameplay of Atari’s Football and the graphics of Taito’s 10-Yard Fight in a game called, Gridiron Fight. Like Football, Gridiron Fight used a cocktail cabinet with trackball controls. Like 10-Yard Fight, Gridiron Fight boasted a top-down view and full-color, animated sprites. Player 1 controlled the (oddly-named) “Red Impulse” in a pulse-pounding, rapid-fire game of American football against the blue “Gunners.” One quarter bought, well, one quarter. A full game cost $1.00. It’s not exactly fair to call Gridiron Fight a clone. Gridiron Fight improves previous football titles in ways that would eventually lead to Tecmo Bowl. Both Football and 10-Yard Fight devote sizeable chunks of the screen to the Graphical User Interface, or GUI, displaying the down, distance, time and score in thick black bands. Gridiron Fight, on the other hand, puts its GUI in small boxes directly on the field of play. Similarly, first downs are marked by arrows at the sidelines. This allows the football field to stretch from corner to corner, giving the game a larger feel over previous titles. Gridiron Fight also made better use of its graphics. Player sprites are bigger, with depth and shading. Additionally, Gridiron Fight created a faux-3D effect, one later used with great success in Tecmo Bowl, by growing the football sprite as it flies high in the air. We can also see echoes of Tecmo Bowl in how Gridiron Fight uses a separate play select screen. Similar to ads for Rygar and Ninja Gaiden on Tecmo Bowl’s scoreboard, Gridiron Fight includes banners advertising other Tehkan games such as Bomb Jack and Star Force behind the endzones. As for the game itself, Gridiron Fight is exceptional for its era but utterly whelming today. It’s cabinet design, using a trackball and only one button, makes passing a chore. When passing, players must first spin the trackball to position their quarterback, then hit the button to stop the QB and enter “passing” mode. With the QB stopped dead, players spin the trackball in the direction of their intended receiver. A short spin will result in a short pass, a long spin will chuck a hail mary. It is very easy to miss receivers. Additionally, once in passing mode, the QB is a sitting duck; even a moment’s hesitation usually results in a QB sack. Gridiron Fight also offers a few unintended quirks. First, there is no acceleration curve like we’d eventually see in Tecmo Bowl. Spinning the trackball hard enough will cause players to go from a stop to an instant sprint. This is most noticeable on kickoffs, where the kicker can practically outrun the ball and blast the receiver the moment he catches the ball. That’s one heck of a kicker.Gridiron Fight also includes safeties, but it seems Tehkan’s programmers didn’t quite understand them. Gridiron Fight awards 2 points to the defense but then makes the defense kick off to the offense, instead of the other way around. A good Gridiron Fight player will eventually get into a offense-free loop where they score a safety, kick it off to their opponent, score a saftey, etc., etc. Gridiron Fight’s biggest legacy, though, is its overall feel and appearance. In markets where the title Gridiron Fight didn’t translate well, Tehkan called the game All American Football. Like we’d eventually see in 1989’s Tecmo Bowl, Tehkan pumped its game full of “eff yeah ‘Murica!” A large, star-spangled outline of the United States covers midfield. Majestic eagles guard each 30-yard line. The crowd sitting in each endzone looks to be a cross-section of America, full of vibrant colors. Though lacking Tecmo Bowl’s signature “Ready! Down!” voice samples, Gridiron Fight ‘s sound design features bone-crunching hits and grunts as players fall to the ground. The ref blows his whistle. The crowd roars. Despite its sometimes-frustrating gameplay, Gridiron Fight truly feels like a game of American football. Once re-named, Tecmo would take the lessons from Gridiron Fight and make a better american Football arcade game. They’d change to a side-scrolling display. They’d make the action so big it needed two screens. They’d turn the dial up on everything that makes football so special. They’d make Tecmo Bowl. The post Tecmo’s First Gridiron Fight appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  6. Kyle Nelson, aka thegamer1185, is a childhood rumor finally come to life. Everybody’s childhood best friend boasted of rushing Bo Jackson to a billion yards in Tecmo Super Bowl. You knew the kid: their room piled high with Worlds of Power novels, Nintendo Power magazines, and of course, every How to Win at Nintendo Games book Jeff Rovin ever wrote. Put on the spot, though, your friend would struggle to get Bo over 100 and then mutter about how the computer “cheats.” Kyle doesn’t need any excuses. If anything, TSB finishes each game muttering that Kyle Nelson cheated. Kyle, under his tag thegamer1185, holds two TSB World Records at Twin Galaxies: Most Rushing Yards in a Single Game (1,937) and Biggest Blowout in a Single Game (175 points). Twin Galaxies, for those unfamiliar, is the Guinness World Record-recognized arbiter of video game world records. Founded by Walter Day in 1982, the Twin Galaxies Arcade made its name keeping meticulous records of arcade high scores. Twin Galaxies features prominently in the 2007 documentary about the battle for Donkey Kong’s World Record, King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Twin Galaxies has since expanded to keep records for console games as well as arcade cabinets and today includes a rich online presence at TwinGalaxies.com. With Bo under his control and Twin Galaxies on the horizon, Kyle Nelson sat down in front of Tecmo Super Bowl on November 12th, 2015 and made everyone’s childhood best friend eat their words. After countless hours of trial and error, Kyle pushed 8-Bit Bo to his limits and set the World Record for most rushing yards in a game. Given his feat, we had to sit down and have a Q and A with the record holder himself. TecmoBowlers: Kyle, thanks for talking with us. Can you start by talking a little bit about you got started in NES World Records? Kyle: I’ve always been a gamer. There really is no genre I don’t enjoy to play. I never thought about going for any world records until about 2014 when I discovered Twin Galaxies which records video game world records. TB: Was Tecmo the motivation? K: TSB wasn’t “the” motivation necessarily. I just happened to be getting into tournament play at the time I discovered Twin Galaxies and was playing TSB a lot. So it was my jumping off point. TB: Can you describe the process for setting up? Camera, Capture, etc? K: I used a capture card for a few records, but I just didn’t like using my computer monitor as a display. Plus, no commentary. Now I just point my webcam at my high tech CRTV and go. It’s better IMO because you get the raw emotion of the gamer as things happen. After all, who doesn’t like hearing a 31 yr old cursing at a TV by himself? TB: How long did it take to set the records? How many attempts did you make? K: Holy crap, how long did it take? I’m honestly glad I don’t know. It was about 4-5 hours a night for at least 3 weeks on the blowout record. That doesn’t even count the random 40 minutes of free time here or there. The rushing yards record was much easier and less stressful but just as time consuming. Other than dropped passes/picked plays/condition changes it was all pretty much up to me. TB: Talking about condition; during the video, you often check the condition of certain players. Could you explain for the uninitiated how a player’s condition affects your record run? A below-average condition subtracts from the players stats, no? K: Yes. Condition changes are vital to certain players depending [on what record you’re pursuing]. For rushing yards I used Bo Jackson (obviously). He must be in excellent from the 3rd Qtr on, or you may as well restart. I kept my fastest blocker in WR2 to chase down the safety. WR 1 was typically Ethan Horton. A WR in excellent [condition] can make a big difference depending on the conditions of the defensive players. For [the biggest blowout record], condition only matters for Rod Woodson, Greg LLoyd, and your RT Tunch Ilkin for KR speed purposes. Then it’s all up to how well you can kick the ball off and what plays you have set for the opposing offense. A little help from the Tecmo Gods recovering those fumbles doesn’t hurt. I had very good success using Philly as well, but they just don’t have the Rod God factor. TB: Can you describe the feeling of finally setting a record? K: It was pretty awesome. Anybody who plays the game like us tournament players knows exactly what kind of [garbage] Tecmo can throw you in one play, let alone an entire game. [The 175-point blowout is] by no means close to being “the” biggest blowout possible. I’m going to best it this winter so keep a look out for that. TB: Yeah, the Facebook comments under your rushing record video included a lot of trash talk. Now there’s a little more exposure, how long do you expect your records to stand? K: I don’t expect my records to stand much longer…I’m going to beat it in the next month I think (laughing)! The blowout score can be beaten by anybody right now. I think the best possible score, without using an emulator/save states to get the perfect scenarios, would be just above 200 points. That’s what I’m going for. TB: Once you’ve captured your record, what’s the process of actually certifying it through Twin Galaxies? Is it difficult? K: You can submit directly to Twin Galaxies just like Youtube. It’s very easy. TG does have upload issues for some gamers, including myself, so I would personally rather upload to Youtube. TB: Do the Tecmo records feel greater than the others knowing your ties the community and Tecmo Madison TSB World Championships? K: I can’t say that the TSB records mean more, but they are fun to talk about with everybody. I’m a young buck when it comes to tournaments in the Tecmo community. My brother Cory Schultes (noonan) is the one who got me started in all the tournament stuff. We used to write down in a notebook all of our stats from seasons we had played. He was the last and first person I had played in over 14 years. My first ever big tournament was…[Lincoln Tecmo] in 2015, then it was Madison in 2016. TB: Do you have your eyes set on any more Tecmo records? K: There are so many records you could in TSB. Most points scored using only Defense/Special teams. Most passing yards in a game/season. Etc. TB: Do you have a specific record you’re proudest of? K: I’m very proud of all the records I currently hold. [I’m] going all out on NES Light Gun games next month. I think the one I’d be most proud of in the sense that I’m never doing it again because it sucked so much would be Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (N64), “Fastest Time on Raid on Sullust using the Millennium Falcon.” I hold the record by over 13 seconds. It’s not the fastest ever done on the level, but it’s the fastest ever done using the Millennium Falcon. I’ve got a fun little challenge for everybody: play Super Mario Bros. 3 trying to get the fewest points possible for every level. A buddy and I created that challenge this last winter. It’s super fun, especially for a game everyone knows so well. I’ve got so many records I know I will get, but some of them will take sooooo long to get them. Just need the time. My Wild Gunman marathon will be over 24 hours…that will be the worst day of my life. So boring. Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you guys. A big thanks to Kyle Nelson for taking the time to talk to all of us. We highly recommend you check out the full videos of Kyle’s TSB records. The videos show just how thin the margin between success and failure can be. One dropped pass and 4-plus quarters of work can go down the toilet. Kyle’s Twin Galaxies submission for most yards in a single game can be viewed above. Likewise, the video for his record-setting 175-0 blowout win is https://youtu.be/RYGC446oRE4. Those interested can also view a complete list of Kyle Nelson’s 43 World Records at his Twin Galaxies page. Some standouts among thegamer1185’s achievements include Fastest Time Completing The Legend of Zelda (no glitches) at 01:12:52.0 and his record for most points in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 game, 893. Childhood best friends worldwide can also view the Twin Galaxies TSB leaderboard. What TSB fans will notice, and what Kyle Nelson hinted at, is how relatively empty the TSB leaderboard is. Twin Galaxies currently lists only Kyle’s records for TSB. Obvious records like Most Rushing Yards in a Season, Most Passing Yards in a Season, Most QB Sacks (no Lurch) in a Game, and Most Interceptions in a Season simply don’t exist yet. So next time you get a free moment, sit down in front of TSB, point your camera at the screen and, to quote Captain Falcon, show us your moves! Who knows, you could be our next player profile. The post Kyle Nelson: Tecmo’s Leading Rusher appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  7. Everyone knows Tecmo Bowl is cool. But did you know it’s Cool as Ice? 1991 was an interesting moment in pop culture. Tecmo, boosted by the smash success of 1989’s Tecmo Bowl, neared release of its sequel, Tecmo Super Bowl. Hollywood gave us a bizarre mish-mash of phenomenal films: T2: Judgement Day and Silence of the Lambs share 1991 with Father of the Bride and Beauty and the Beast. Grunge music (perhaps inspired partly by Tecmo) hit mainstream with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind. On the other side of the music coin, the pseudo-feud between pop-rappers M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice spilled over to TV and film. In the fall of 1991, M.C. Hammer debuted a Saturday morning cartoon, Hammerman. Hammerman followed the adventures of Stanley, voiced by Mr. Hammer, a rec center employee with a pair of magic dancing shoes. Whenever trouble came around, Stanley put on his magic shoes to become the superhero Hammerman! It sounds bad, but trust me, its much worse. That tag line…Not wanting to be outdone, Vanilla Ice made a movie. Let that sink in: Vanilla Ice made a movie. Not just a cameo, like his scene-stealing “Ninja Rap” in TMNT 2: The Secret of the Ooze, but a whole feature film. Cool as Ice, released on October 18, 1991, is best described as a cut-rate Dirty Dancing clone, replacing Patrick Swayze and dancing with bad rap and Japanese-made motorcycles. Vanilla Ice plays Johnny, the leader of a traveling group of motorcycle rappers. After breaking down in a small town, Johnny falls for good girl Kathy. Unbeknownst to Kathy, her family is in witness protection, on the run from crooked cops. The arrival of Johnny’s gang spells trouble for everyone. There’s excellent 90’s fashions, a number of hilariously bad music sequences, and, for some reason, supermodel Naomi Campbell. It sounds bad, but trust me, it’s much worse. This is only worth mention because 67 minutes into Cool as Ice, Johnny gives Kathy’s little brother Tommy a motorcycle ride. After, Johnny leaves the kid unsupervised in an empty home. In a stroke of bad luck (and lazy writing) Johnny zooms off just as–oh no!–two dirty cops approach. The screen goes black and then… “Ready! Down! Hut hut hut!” Just before getting himself kidnapped, little Tommy plays some Tecmo Bowl. As you can see, little Tommy knows his Tecmo. A match of TB superpowers has his San Francisco facing Chicago. Even smarter, Tommy takes control of SF’s all-world DB, Ronnie Lott just before the snap. However, dirty cops arrive before Lott can snag yet another interception. Hearing commotion outside, Tommy leaves his Tecmo game. As he does, a keen eye will notice a few odd things. Although we’ve just seen little Tommy controlling San Fran’s defense, it’s the 49er offense that is on the field as Tommy walks to the door. Weirder, the game continues play even after Tommy puts down his controller. What black magic does Tommy possess, that he can make his cart play by itself?! (It also appears that the NES deck is powered off, but that could just be owed to supbar video quality.) Once at the door, Tommy realizes he’s staring down two bad dudes. Worse, they don’t want to play Tecmo! As Tommy backs through the living room, his TB game continues playing, even though Tommy hasn’t touched the controller. Again, despite CHI’s offense in the establishing shot, its clearly SF and their three pass plays driving through this sequence. The NES deck lid, up in the earlier shot, is magically down as Tommy backs through the living room. It’s almost like the producers of Cool as Ice simply didn’t care about NES continuity and just wanted to quickly cash in on Vanilla Ice’s 15 minutes of fame. If there was any doubt that its San Francisco’s offense playing in this sequence, compare the play selection screen above with the San Francisco’s playbook. The upper right play has a longer text string, PASS instead of RUN, and the lower left box has PASS 3’s distinctive crossing route: Tommy leads the wet bandits crooked cops to his dining room where he attempts to call 911. The game continues playing even with Tommy and Co. a full 20 feet away. If you think about it, Cool as Ice is 4000% more interesting if you imagine it’s secretly about a magic Tecmo Bowl cartridge that can play itself. It seems, though, Tecmo’s magic needs Tommy to work. As soon as the dirty cops drag him away, the game goes back to its play select screen. Kathy returns to an empty home. Without Tommy’s magic, Tecmo Bowl can only blink SF’s 4 plays. Kathy, the monster she is, turns off the TV with her toe, but LEAVES THE NES DECK RUNNING! The console will overheat, Kathy! With magic Tecmo gone, the plot to Cool as Ice resolves exactly how you’d expect. Vanilla Ice’s Johnny saves the kid, wins Kathy’s love, and performs one final (hilariously bad) musical number. Tommy’s magic Tecmo is emblematic of Cool as Ice’s Swiss cheese of plot holes. The sentient game makes no appearance after the film’s 70th minute, leaving only two interpretations of its presence: either Cool as Ice‘s filmmakers couldn’t be bothered with continuity and used a looped gameplay vid during filming, or the film hides a secret sub-plot about a magical boy technomancer and his sentient copy of Tecmo Bowl. Given the plot deficiencies of Cool as Ice, I prefer the latter. Tecmo’s inclusion in Cool as Ice may have even been at the request of the Vanilla One himself. Vanilla Ice readily proclaims his admiration for Tecmo (even if he can’t pronounce it): There you have it; Techno Bowl is the greatest game of all time. There’s even a bad 90’s movie to prove it. The post Tecmo is Cool as Ice appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  8. Nintendo’s Limited Palette The NES has a very limited color palette. From Super Mario Bros. to Wario’s Woods, NES games use only 64 colors. 10 of those colors are pure black. Four more are indistinguishable shades of gray. Two more are pure white. Many of the lightest values are indistinguishable on a standard TV. Capcom’s Mega Man became the “Blue Bomber” simply because the NES palette features more shades of blue han any other color. Had the NES used a red-heavy palette, perhaps Mega Man would instead be the Red Rocket1. The NES color palette.Even more limited is the palette of NES heroes. Quick, name three black NES protagonists. Uh…Bo Jackson, Bo Jackson… and… can I say Bo Jackson again? In terms of its heroes, the NES seems to be whites-only. To be fair, most NES games were programmed in Japan. The cultural sensitivities of American race relations simply didn’t register across the Pacific. Also, home console graphics had only recently advanced to allow differing skin color2. NES gamers didn’t mind the lack of diversity. Most were just happy to have an arcade machine hooked to their living room televisions. Black retro gamers, when asked for this piece on their thoughts regarding the NES’s relative lack of black heroes, answered with a resounding, “meh.” The NES’s lack of blackness would be a complete non-issue if there weren’t a fair number of black villains on the console. If I were to now ask, “Quick, name three black NES antagonists,” the answers, though still difficult, would come easier. Mike Tyson, though not a “villain,” per se, is perhaps the most famous. The Double Dragon series heavily features Abobo, the bald-headed brute. Kung Fu, launched along with the NES console in 1987, features a black, bald, wife-beater-wearing thug as one of its level bosses3. It’s not that the NES felt whites-only. It’s that programmers seemed to use blackness as shorthand for “evil.” Scientific studies have shown time and again that representations of race in popular culture tend to limit children’s ideas of their own race. This is not to cast dispersion; NES games represent blackness much as other toys of the era did. Think of G.I. Joe, Barbie or Saturday Morning Cartoons. Blacks in 80’s pop culture were often used as tokens or stereotypes. We also shouldn’t blame game programmers for using blackness to connote a threat. The Clark Doll Experiment, initially done in 1939 and repeated since then, has shown a bias among children–even black children–of equating “blackness” to “badness.” America’s original sin permeates the culture even today, creating ingrained images of blackness and whiteness. Nintendo or film or television, 80’s pop culture used images of skin color much the same as those in the 40’s and 50’s used to smoke, ignorant of the damage done. Black = Pro Athlete Most NES games featuring black playable characters are sports titles, like Double DribbleGiven the limited number of black playable characters on NES, it may surprise some to find blackness in a launch title. Soccer (1987) features a Brazilian team composed of entirely black players. Soccer is doubly appropriate because the vast majority of NES games featuring black playable characters are sports titles. Double Dribble features black basketball players, as does Tecmo Basketball, Jordan vs. Bird, Arch Rivals, All Pro Basketball and others. When Tecmo Bowl saw release in 1989, it was only the fourth title which included black playable characters. Other football titles such as Play Action Football and Touchdown Fever would follow4. Baseball titles such as the Baseball Stars and Bases Loaded series also depict black players. This…is…Jeopardy! The first game to not relegate blacks to sports heroes or arch-villans (or both), surprisingly enough, was the Rare/GameTek 1988 game, Jeopardy!. Jeopardy! didn’t just include a just black avatar, it included nine. Again, we’re not dealing with the march on Selma, here. The black characters (and for that matter, the Latino and Asian characters also included in Jeopardy!) are clunky-looking recolored Caucasians. On the other hand, Rare deserves recognition. They could have shipped their game with five white avatars and no one would have batted an eye. The fact that black, Latino and Asian palette swaps even exist in Jeopardy! points to Rare’s realization that, yes, everyone plays–and therefore deserves representation–on the NES. And again its worth mention that Rare is a British video game company. So if you’re ever on an answers-and-questions game show, and the clue, “This NES game was first non-sports title to include black protagonists,” comes up, you know the answer: “What is Jeopardy!?” Jeopardy!, though, is the exception rather than the rule. Looking at the whole of NES games, it would seem black people can only be 1) villains, or 2) athletes. Only three titles let black people be the hero. Three Black Heroes 1. Friday the 13th Horror as a genre isn’t often lauded for its depiction of race. Black characters are often the first to go when a slasher appears on the scene. It is with a certain dose of irony, then, that the first NES title featuring a non-competition black protagonist was Atlus/LJN’s Friday the 13th (1989). The NES title shares very little with its movie counterpart. The action takes place at Camp Crystal lake where a hockey mask-wearing slasher terrorizes campers, but the characters and action are fabrications. In the game, Paul is identical to the other 5 protagonists in everything save appearance. They all jump, gather items, and throw projectiles, trying to save children from Jason Vorhees. Tedious gameplay aside, its satisfying to turn the slasher flick trope on its head by having the black kid survive the longest. 2. Maniac Mansion Maniac Mansion’s Michael is a non-stereotypical, fully-formed black character.Over a year after Friday the 13th gave us Paul, the NES port of LucasArts’ point and click adventure, Maniac Mansion (1990), gave us Michael. The beauty of Maniac Mansion‘s Michael is that he’s not a black brute like Abobo. He’s not a star athlete like in Double Dribble or Baseball Stars. He’s not even a simple palette swap like Paul in Friday the 13th. Maniac Mansion describes Michael as an “Ace photographer for the college newspaper.” Michael is a fully-formed character, complete with dialogue and nuance, a character decidedly separate from existing tropes for blackness in popular culture. In today’s parlance, we’d lovingly call Michael a “blerd.” Maniac Mansion‘s Michael is a proto-Donald Glover. In the game’s opening, he compares the gang’s “save the girl” quest to–appropriately enough–a cult slasher flick. Michael, being a photographer, is the only player in the game who can develop film. In one branch of Maniac Mansion‘s knotted plot, Michael’s film expertise is the only way to advance. Although Maniac Mansion deserves laud for its diverse and rounded cast of characters, it should be noted LucasArts originally developed the game for PC. Only after Maniac Mansion proved a success did LucasArts port it to the NES. One could argue Maniac Mansion isn’t a “true NES” title in the sense of the word, but an alien smuggled onto the console. 3. M.C. Kids The third and final black NES protagonist appears in a game often derided for being little more than hamburger advertising. The quest in Virgin Games’ M.C. Kids (1992) has two kids–Mick and Mack–adventuring through Ronald McDonald’s magic land, collecting iconic Golden Arches and battling the Hamburglar. It’s a wonderful NES side-scroller, second only to Super Mario 3, dragged down by its overt advertising. A cynic would say Virgin Games included the black, flatop-sporting Mack to maximize market saturation. After all, black and white kids alike eat at McDonalds, right? Neither Mick nor Mack have any dialogue in M.C. Kids. Both jump and run and throw blocks in the exact same manner. Like Paul from Friday the 13th, M.C. Kids’ Mack is little more than a palette swap given a flat-top haircut. But hey, at least he’s included. It’s interesting that though most NES games were programmed in Japan, 2 of the 3 titles featuring black protagonists were not. LucasArts made Maniac Mansion entirely on American soil. Virgin Games, programmers of M.C. Kids, were based in Great Britain. Importing Blackness Film crossovers brought two more black protagonists to the NES. Winston Zedimore appears in both Ghostbusters II (USA; 1990) and New Ghostbusters II (PAL/JP; 1990), but curiously not in 1988’s Ghostbusters. Sergeant Roger Murtaugh appears in Lethal Weapon (1992). Of these games, only New Ghostbusters II is even remotely playable. Like other black NES protagonists, Winston and Murtaugh are recolored sprite tweaks of white characters. Neither offers any specific upgrade or characterization. In Winston’s case, he’s not even black so much as blue5. Those playing Lethal Weapon may not even realize Murtaugh is a playable character. Riggs is the default player one. A player must first lose a life or walk left off screen to tag Murtaugh into the action. These film adaptions are emblematic the NES’s odd relation to blackness. Of the six non-sports games featuring black playable characters, four are based on films. Of those three, only Friday the 13th presents an original black character. One, Maniac Mansion, is imported from another video game system. Even sports titles like Double Dribble and Bases Loaded are essentially importing existing black characters. A great number of basketball players are black, so NES programmers knew their sports titles had to include black players. But what does that relationship between representation and games say about the lack of black NES heroes? Nintendo of America licensed 633 NES games6. Only three–Friday the 13th, Maniac Mansion and M.C. Kids–feature original black heroes that aren’t athletes. Depending on the survey data, blacks account for 10-15 percent of the American population. The numbers here aren’t perfectly representative, but 3 out of 633 is obviously out of whack. That’s only one half of one percent to represent 15 percent of all Americans. Is Bo the Only Real “Hero?” There’s a journalism trope that whenever a headline asks a question, the answer must be a resounding “no!” “Has this Whacko Proved the World Coming to an End?” “Have Scientists Finally Found the Cure for Cancer?” Of course not. But in this case, if we ask “Was Bo Jackson the NES’s only black hero?” the answer has to be yes. Certainly there are other cases of black protagonists making appearances in NES games. However, in each of the above examples, in Jeopardy! or M.C. Kids or Maniac Mansion, the default player one is white. A player has to go out of their way to choose a black protagonists. Tecmo Super Bowl took a decidedly different approach. Recent interviews with TSB music maestro Keiji Yamagishi, director Shinichiro Tomie and programmer Akihiko Shimoji have revealed Tecmo’s desire to put Bo Jackson front and center in their games. Bo Jackson wasn’t a “player two.” TSB lead programmer Shimoji says this of Bo Jackson: “When I first saw [Bo Jackson] play on television, it was quite a big impact. This raised the question, ‘How do I represent that big impact…his uniqueness in [Tecmo Bowl]?” Shimoji uses words like “impact” and “uniqueness.” From the very start, Shimoji and Tomie wanted to portray Bo Jackson–and indeed the other TSB stars–not as palette swaps, not as meaningless paeans to diversity, but as impactful, well-rounded video game characters. It just so happened that Bo Jackson was black. In discussing what is a “hero,” we have to discuss cultural impact. Shimoji mentioned “impact” in his desire to make TSB Bo Jackson. Certainly games like Maniac Mansion and M.C. Kids presented black playable characters, but did those characters have any lasting impact? Super Mario‘s eponymous plumber is a “hero” in part due to his lasting impact. Mario, Link and Donkey Kong have permeated popular culture. Outside of a very select group of retro video game enthusiasts, “Mick” and “Peter” mean absolutely nothing. How do we know? Because the character from Friday the 13th is actually named “Paul.” Only a few column inches removed, we’ve already forgotten his name. There is no forgetting Bo Jackson. The cultural relevance of Bo’s 8-Bit avatar proves itself time and time again. Bo Jackson’s cameo on a 2016 episode of Family Guy quickly became a viral video sensation. When Nintendo opened voting in 2015 to determine the next DLC character in its Smash Bros. video game franchise, reddit’s /r/NFL started a drive to include Bo. TSB Bo Jackson has become a cultural shorthand on ESPN and on sports talk radio. NFL Broadcasters often describe Wide Receivers as putting up “Video Game numbers.” That original video game was Tecmo Super Bowl. Those numbers belonged to Bo Jackson. Yes, Bo Jackson isn’t a character original to the NES. Like Winston Zedimore or Maniac Mansion‘s Michael, Bo’s black hero is imported. But on a system that tends to misrepresent blackness as token baddies, Bo Jackson is neither. He stands head and shoulder among his peers. He is not a palette swap or a graphical tweak to satisfy diversity. He is independently black and great. Bo Jackson is the only true black hero the NES has to offer. Notes: 1 Y’know, on second thought… Red Rocket probably isn’t the best nickname for a G-rated hero. 2 Atari’s Boxing (1977) is widely regarded as featuring the first black–as in dark skinned and not simply pure black–protagonist. 3 Why Kung Fu‘s programmers didn’t go the extra mile and give their black villain a Colt 40oz. is beyond me. 4 Although it’s interesting to note John Elway’s Quarterback and NFL Football used only white-skinned player sprites. 5 An excellent hack entitled New Ghostbusters II Plus by DarkanX and Em_Tee fixes Winston’s skin color as well as a number of other graphical quirks. 6Micro Machines (1991) features two black racers: Bonnie and Jethro. However, Micro Machines maker, Code Masters, was not a licensed NES producer. The post Is Bo Jackson the NES’s Only Black Hero? appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  9. Tecmo fans are familiar with The Nigerian Nightmare. What about the German Tank[1]? Give Christian Okoye a few pixels of open field and it’s a quick trip to popcorn city. But even Okoye can’t make popcorn in a cold pan. For Kansas City, it’s Left Tackle John Alt, born in Stuttgart, Germany, who preheats the popcorn. With 81 Hitting Power, John Alt is Tecmo’s Strongest Lineman. Outside a handful of power running backs, whose strength stats are inflated to balance gameplay, Alt is TSB’s strongest player, period. Lawrence Taylor, for all his speed and tenacity, has only 75 HP. Reggie White? Alt can handle “the Reverend” with one hand tied behind his back. John Alt is an irresistible force against TSB’s otherwise unstoppable defenders. If it wasn’t for his criminally low 19 Maximum Speed (more on that later), Alt would be an 8-bit god. Though born in Germany, John Alt grew up in Columbia Heights, Minnesota. In High School, Alt garnered All-State honors as a Tight End and Punter/Kicker[2]. Highly-recruited, Alt decided to play TE for the University of Iowa. He caught only one pass his freshman season for a grand total of 13 yards. The summer before his sophomore season, Alt bulked up from 230 to 270 pounds. It quickly became clear John was better suited to moving defenders than moving the chains. Alt found his home on the interior line, playing blindside tackle. In 1983, Alt earned All-Big Ten and Second Team All-America honors for his offensive line play. How intimidating was John Alt? Before the 1982 Peach Bowl, a would-be robber confronted John on the streets of Atlanta, gun in hand. Although details are sparse, apparently the assailant saw the 6-foot-7, 275-pound Alt and thought better of his decision. According to Iowa Coach Hayden Fry, “There wasn’t a fight or anything.[3]” Kansas City selected John Alt with the 21st overall pick of the the 1984 NFL Draft. KC, after selecting DT Bill Maas at 5, traded back into the first round by shipping All Pro CB Gary Green to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for LA’s 21st and 134th picks[4]. Alt was the third offensive tackle selected in 1984, after Dean Steinkuhler (Houston, No.2 overall) and TSB legend Ron Solt (Indianapolis, No.19 overall). He outshone both. It’s interesting that Ron Solt and John Alt went so closely together in the NFL Draft. Solt, as we know, jumped out of the gate swinging. He was named to the AP’s All-Rookie team in 1984. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1987. Alt, on the other hand, stumbled. He shuffled around KC’s offensive line his rookie season. Knee and back injuries hindered his performance. Some threw around the “b” word when talking about John Alt: “Bust.” Except where Solt began to fizzle out, John Alt was just getting started. After the 1985-86 NFL season, John opted for surgery to fix his back. Reporters, certain he’d miss the entire ‘86 season, grumbled over another futile season for the first round pick. They’d traded an All-Pro CB to get Alt and received only injuries in return. John, though, knew better. Possessing a tenacious work ethic, Alt rehabbed with a mission and returned by week 10. A three game win streak to close the season, including victories against the Broncos and Raiders, helped the Chiefs secure a slot in the AFC playoffs. In 1987, with Alt clearing paths for a rookie RB named Christian Okoye, KC’s total rushing jumped from 1,400 to 1,800 yards. By 1989, that number ballooned to over 2,200. Opponents threw their best defenders against Alt, only to see them flattened to earth. In September of 1990, Alt’s Chiefs traveled to Minnesota for a game against his hometown Vikings. One of the big stories that week was Minnesota signing (now Hall of Fame) defensive end Chris Doleman to a 1-year, $1.6 Million dollar contract. With 36 members of Alt’s family in the stands and hundreds more watching across Minnesota, he squared off against Doleman snap after snap after snap. Minnesota’s highly-touted (and highly-paid) defender finished the game with 1 tackle, zero pressures, zero sacks, zero deflections and zero forced fumbles. Alt attributed his success against Doleman to film study and “a lot of prayers.” Certainly his hulking frame and unstoppable work ethic didn’t hurt. Image Courtesy of the Trading Card DatabaseIn fact, John Alt was so integral to Kansas City’s offense that he may be responsible for Joe Montana’s retirement. In an attempt to finally make the Super Bowl, KC brought in Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana prior to the 1994 season. KC coach Marty Schottenheimer figured even an aging Montana could shine behind his Pro-Bowl Left Tackle. What Schottenheimer didn’t know was John Alt’s surgically repaired back wouldn’t make it through the 1994 season. Alt struggled through 14 of Kansas City’s 17 games. With Alt diminished, Joe Montana became a sitting duck. Buffalo LB Bruce Smith nearly took off Montana’s head in a week 9 game against the Bills. “The loss of John Alt…was a major setback,” Schottenheimer said. “I changed [our] pass protection [to keep Joe Montana from getting] the devil knocked out of him.[5]” KC finished the season 9-7 and lost yet again in the opening round of the playoffs. Joe Montana, his body beaten, retired. Alt returned to form in 1995. Even without Montana, KC went 13-3 and won the AFC West. A disastrous performance from KC placekicker Lin Elliott in the Divisional Playoff, however, handed the underdog Colts a 10-7 win. Who knows what Joe Montana could have done with a healthy John Alt protecting his blindside. Nagged by lingering neck, back and knee injuries, John Alt hung up his cleats for good in July of 1997. Coach Schottenheimer was effusive at Alt’s press conference: “As a coach, it’s very, very important that you can rely on an individual’s ability to play to a certain level all the time… I have never been around a player who I believe was more committed…than John Alt. He was the standard bearer for [Kansas City] football.[6]” Hall of Fame LB Derrick Thomas, speaking after Schottenheimer, offered the highest praise he could: “In eight seasons I’ve faced almost every tackle in the National Football League, and I’ve beaten them all,” Thomas said. “But in eight years of practice and scrimmage, I can only remember beating John Alt once. I think that is the highest compliment I can pay John.” TSB backs up Thomas’ praise. Altering the game data to put an All-Alt KC Offensive Line vs. an All-Thomas Defense (in this case, the Broncos) shows the German-born Tackle buying insane pocket time for his QB even against an invading DT army. Alt buys his QB over 10 (10!) seconds against an army of DTsWhy exactly TSB programmers gave John 19 Max Speed is a mystery. Despite lingering back and knee injuries, Alt started every game between 1989 and 1993. There are exactly zero news articles (in English, anyhow) citing Alt’s slowness. On the contrary, Alt was a Defensive End and Tight End through high school and college; we know he was faster than the average lineman. We can only assume TSB programmers heard about his injuries, his back surgery, and guessed Alt must have the foot speed of a drowsy sloth. Even with his criminally low foot speed, Kansas City’s John Alt manages to be one of the better offensive linemen in Tecmo Super Bowl. His Herculean strength cuts double-wide lanes for the Nigerian Nightmare. Tecmo Super Bowl manages to catch John Alt at his absolute best: a gifted man of supreme ethic, pushing around elite athletes like children’s toys. NOTES: [1] I will readily admit this is a terrible nickname. Alt wasn’t a nickname kind of guy and this is the best I could come up with. [2] Yes, you read that correctly, TSB’s most BA OL player started as a kicker. [3] Philadelphia Inquirer; Philadelphia, Pa. 09 Jan 1983: E.2. [4] This turned out to be a pretty good deal for KC; though Green continued at a high level, he played only two more seasons before retiring. [5] “Pro Bono.” Whitlock, Jason. The Sporting News; St. Louis. Nov 6, 1995: 30. [6] “Alt Retires.” Doug Tucker, Associated Press. 22 July 1997. The post John Alt: Tecmo’s Strongest Man appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  10. Tecmo Tampa is bad. Thanks for the update, captain obvious. Did you know, though, Tampa had every opportunity to be the defining team of the 1980s and 90s? What if the TSB Buccos boasted Bo Jackson? That wouldn’t be half bad. Now imagine adding Steve Young as well. Can you imagine the nightmare of play-action passing with Bo and Young? While you’re at it, add WRs Irving Fryar and Willie Gault to catch Young’s passes. And since Tecmo GOAT Wayne Haddix can’t defend the whole field, anchor the LB corps with Cornelius Bennett. That’s one hell of a team, right? This isn’t a rum-fueled fantasy. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers either drafted or had the opportunity to draft every player above. This SHOULD have happened. A LOT.Many forget that Tampa stood on the brink of greatness. Yes, they infamously started as an 0-14 expansion team in 1976[1]. But the Buccos surprised the NFL with an appearance in the 1979 NFC Championship game. They followed with playoff appearances in 1980 and 1982. Circumstance and malfeasance, however, doomed the Buccos. The 1982 players’ strike, locker room strife, and, above all, the blundering of owner Hugh Culverhouse[2], crashed the Buccos ship into rocky shores. Between 1982 and 1987 Culverhouse’s Buccaneers gave away some of the best talent in NFL history. It started with an ill-advised trade in the 1982 NFL Draft. After making the playoffs in two of the previous three seasons, the Buccos looked to cement their status as a contender. They prized Bethune-Cookman DE Booker Reese. However, Culverhouse and Co., through an accident of miscommunication, accidentally selcted Penn State Guard Sean Farrell with their 1st round pick. Yes, you read that correctly: Tampa took the wrong player in the NFL Draft. Without a pick in the draft’s second round, and desperate to get their man, Tampa traded with Chicago: Tampa received Chicago’s upcoming 2nd round pick in exchange for Tampa’s 1983 first round pick. It’s a trade that looks terrible on paper and even stupider in practice. Tampa used Chicago’s 2nd-Rounder on Reese. Tampa’s vaunted player, however, couldn’t quite make the transition from college to pro. He developed a nasty cocaine habit and was out of Tampa by 1984. Chicago used Tampa’s 1983 pick, which turned out to be the 18th overall, on speedster WR Willie Gault. Gault proved a pivotal part of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl win and remained one of the fastest players in the league until his retirement in 1993. Aided by a strike-shortened season, Tampa made the 1982 playoffs. Thinking an upgrade at QB would get them over the hump, Culverhouse traded Tampa’s 1st round pick in the 1984 draft to the Cincinnati Bengals in return for “The Throwin’ Samoan,” QB Jack Thompson. Though highly touted out of college, Thompson is commonly listed among the biggest draft busts of all time. Like Reese, Thompson would be gone by 1985. Tampa finished the 1983 season a woeful 2-14. The pick traded to Cincinnati turned out to be the #1 Overall selection in 1984. Cincy traded it to New England, who drafted All-Pro WR Irving Fryar. So for those keeping tally, in just two years, Tampa screwed themselves out of (at least) Willie Gault and Irving Fryar. It gets worse. In 1984 NFL owners held two full drafts. In addition to the regular college draft, NFL owners held a draft of United States Football League and Canadian Football League talent. This was to prevent owners overspending one another, trying to lure away other leagues’ best players. By virtue of their 2-14 record, Tampa held the first overall pick. Tampa, in perhaps their wisest move of the 1980s, drafted Steve Young, QB for the USFL’s LA Express. Young, inked by LA to the richest contract in pro sports history at the time, initially declined Tampa’s invitation. He sat out the 1984-85 NFL season, instead playing in the USFL. However, with the USFL financially struggling and Tampa in need of a franchise QB, the two sides jumped the necessary legal and financial hoops in the fall of 1985. Young signed with the Bucs, where he was promptly installed… as the team’s backup QB. Even with Young starting the team’s final 5 games, Tampa stumbled to another 2-14 record. With the #1 overall pick in the 1986 draft, Tampa’s choice seemed so easy, even Hugh Culverhouse couldn’t screw it up: Just take Bo Jackson. Except Culverhouse screwed up. Royally[3]. Culverhouse wanted to travel to Auburn in the spring of 1986 to feel out his future star. Bo Jackson, in the midst of Auburn’s baseball season, worried Culverhouse’s wining and dining would run afoul of the NCAA’s rules. Culverhouse insisted he wouldn’t break any NCAA rules and visited Auburn against Jackson’s wishes. Culverhouse violated NCAA rules. A dinner with Jackson ran afoul of the NCAA’s compensation rules and Bo was ruled ineligible for Auburn’s baseball season. Incensed at Culverhouse’s idiocy, Bo Jackson vowed never to play a snap in Tampa Bay. Culverhouse picked Bo Jackson #1 overall in 1986 anyway. Bo Jackson, true to his word, signed a deal with MLB’s Kansas City Royals. Steve Young’s Buccos, bereft of weapons, went 2-14 again in 1986. Culverhouse cleaned house. He fired 2nd-year coach Leeman Bennett. He turned over the roster. He waived Tampa’s draft rights to Bo Jackson, clearing the way for the Raiders. He traded Steve Young, who he considered a massive bust, to the San Francisco 49ers. Tampa received San Fran’s 2nd and 5th round picks in the 1987 NFL draft in return. With Young off the roster, Culverhouse used the #1 overall pick in the 1987 NFL draft on Miami’s Heisman Trophy-winning QB, Vinnie Testaverde. He used San Fran’s picks on LBs Winston Moss and Henry Rolling. Moss proved a reliable pick, remaining with the team long enough to make TSB‘s roster. Rolling… not so much. Young, of course, went on to win a handful of Super Bowls in San Francisco and earned a place in Pro Football’s Hall of Fame. The 1987 NFL Draft is considered the year of the Linebacker. Had Culverhouse held steady with Steve Young at QB, it’s very likely that instead of Testaverde, Tampa would have drafted the best Linebacker in the class at #1: Alabama’s Cornelius Bennett. So in the course of 5 short years, Hugh Culverhouse’s Buccaneers passed on four Pro Bowlers and a Hall of Fame QB. Is it fair to say Young would have developed as the same HoF QB without the guidance of Joe Montana and SF Coach Bill Walsh? Is it fair to think Bo Jackson would have slashed defenses in Tampa the way he eventually did with the Raiders? Maybe, maybe not. What is undeniable, regardless of location, is talent. Gault, Fryar, Young, Bo and Bennett possessed massive potential. Young managed over a 50 percent completion percentage with even the infamously bad USFL’s LA Express. Jackson crushed baseballs and safeties alike. Gault had world-class speed. Tecmo Super Bowl allows us a fun game of “what if?” What if Hugh Culverhouse hadn’t goofed himself out of Bo, Young and the others? We’ll assume the Steve Young Buccos didn’t draft Testaverde and instead took Bennett. Otherwise, we’ll preserve all draft picks, regardless of who made them: Tampa gets Willie Gault with the 18th pick in the 1983 draft, etc, etc. We’ll also, assume, with a stocked offense, Tampa runs a balanced attack leaning a bit more toward the passing game. And instead of worrying about trades, we’ll keep each player on their original team as well: Young as SF’s backup QB, Bennett with BUF, etc. Given sim stats in line with their upgraded personnel we end up with a perennial Super Bowl contender. A no-doubt-about-it Tampa Bay playoff squad. An orange and cream steamroller in the NFC Central. Young instantly becomes a top-10 TSB QB. Gault is a force to be reckoned with. Jackson’s speed and power translate seamlessly to Tampa Bay. With Haddix in the backfield and Bennett in the center, Tampa’s defense can hold its own against even San Francisco and Buffalo. And in a MAN/COM or MAN/MAN game? Forget about it. I wouldn’t want player 2 controlling an un-effed Tampa Bay squad. It would be pick your poison trying to defend the Bucs. The magic of Tecmo Super Bowl shows us just what could have been if Tampa had a decent front office in the 1980s. If only. NOTES: [1] In fact, of their 14 losses, Tampa failed to score in 5, and didn’t score at all until week 3. [2] Another “What if:” Culverhouse wasn’t the intended owner of the Bucs. He was only brought in when financial troubles muddied the relationship between intended owner Tom McCloskey and the NFL. [3] See what I did there? The post Tampa’s Tecmo All-Stars appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  11. You wouldn’t think President Trump has much to do with Tecmo Bowl. You’d be wrong. Bigly. Without Donald J. Trump, Tecmo Super Bowl would be vastly different. We wouldn’t have TSB’s superpowered Bills. Heck, if not for Trump, Buffalo might not have the Bills, period. It all comes down to four little letters: U, S, F, and L; as in the United States Football League. The USFL played three seasons between 1983 and 1985. The brainchild of New Orleans businessman David Dixon, the USFL was founded not to compete directly with the NFL, but to scrape together the considerable change left on the NFL’s floor. The USFL played its games in spring and early summer, when pro and college stadiums sat silent. Where possible, USFL targeted NFL-free markets like Memphis and Oklahoma. Preaching fiscal responsibility and a wise pursuit of TV money, Dixon set a blueprint by which careful franchise owners could make copious amounts of money. Dixon’s plan didn’t work so well in practice. The USFL’s failure certainly wasn’t owed to bad timing. The league arrived hot on the heels of a 1982 NFL players’ strike. Promising better treatment, the USFL lured top-flight college talent and a number of established NFL veterans. Three consecutive Heisman Trophy winners chose the USFL over the NFL: Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie and Mike Rozier. Other collegiate stars such as Jim Kelly, Reggie White and Steve Young likewise chose the USFL. Together with established players like Cleveland QB Brian Sipe and KC Pro Bowl Safety Gary Barbaro, the USFL’s on-field product came close to rivaling the NFL’s. Except preaching and practicing fiscal responsibility are two entirely different things. Even before play started, USFL franchises were bought and sold among owners. Teams wandered from city to city, searching for stadium deals and TV money. In 1984, the USFL’s LA Express infamously inked Steve Young to perhaps the dumbest contract in pro-sports history: a 4-year, $40 Million dollar deal payable over the span of 43 years. Yes, 43 years[1]. Young smartly negotiated contract insurance should the USFL fold, so even though he retired from pro football in 1999, Young will pocket over $1 Million a year until 2027[2]. By September of 1983, Trump was a 37-year-old real estate mogul. His newly-completed Trump Tower added a golden sparkle to Manhattan’s skyline. Trump, looking for his next challenge, wanted in on the world of pro sports. Lucky for him, the New Jersey Generals’ owner, J. Walter Duncan, tired after a season of flying back and forth from his Oklahoma home to the Meadowlands, put his Generals up for sale. Trump cut a $9 Million check[3] and, like Homer Simpson before him, became owner of a pro football team. Despite Herschel Walker’s league-best 1,800 yards rushing, the Generals struggled through the USFL’s inaugural season. Donald J. Trump, upon arrival, did what came naturally: he spent bags and bags of money. Trump signed QB Brian Sipe from the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City CB Gary Barbaro, along with a handful of other NFL stars. He came within a hair’s-width of signing Lawrence Taylor away from the New York Giants[4]. Trump even attempted to pry Hall of Fame coach Don Shula away from the Miami Dolphins. Their deal allegedly fell apart when, according to Trump, Shula asked for a condo in Trump Tower[5]. Instead, Trump settled for former NY Jets coach Walt Michaels to lead his shiny new team. Trump’s un-USFL spending spree paid off. The 1984 Generals boasted two 1,000-yard rushers in Walker and fullback Maurice Carthon. The team finished an impressive 14-4, losing to eventual champion Philadelphia in the playoffs. Trump continued his spending in the offseason, trading Sipe to make way for Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie. Trump inked Flutie to what was–before the Steve Young deal–the biggest contract in pro football history: 5-years and $7 Million. Success on the field, though, did not translate to success off. Owners lost millions over millions of dollars. The USFL’s Michigan Panthers–the first league champion–ran $6 Million in the red. The LA Express, unsurprisingly, went bankrupt after the 1984 season. Other teams relocated, merged, or simply folded. Dixon, frustrated by out of control spending, sold his interests in the USFL and quit. Trump, having invested heavily in his Generals, pushed for a radical strategy: compete directly with the NFL. Trump made little secret that, for him, NFL ownership was always the goal (he claimed to have passed on purchasing the Dallas Cowboys because of limited earnings potential). In the fall of 1984, at the urging of Trump and Chicago Blitz owner Eddie Einhorn, USFL owners voted 12-2 to move the USFL season from spring to fall. Teams like Pittsburgh refused to do battle with their NFL counterparts and were sold. ABC and ESPN, owners of the USFL’s TV rights, offered $250 Million to keep the season in spring. USFL owners refused. For Trump, the USFL’s blueprint for success lie not with Dixon, but a much earlier model. The emergence of the AFL in the 1960s showed how the NFL could be challenged and beaten. Trump envisioned a similar arc for his USFL. “I’d like to challenge [the NFL] to a championship game,” he said at the time. ”That would be a lot of fun… I think a couple of our teams can play equally with some NFL teams.” All the while, Trump continued spending on his Generals. After the 1985 season, he purchased the remaining assets of the folded Houston Gamblers, including yet another star QB: Jim Kelly. Kelly famously graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in full Generals gear. “Look out, Marino” the cover boasted, “the USFL’s Jim Kelly is ready to prove he’s pro football’s top gun.” Desperately needing cash and a cut of the NFL’s TV rights for their fall 1986 showdown, the remaining 8 teams of the USFL brought an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. They claimed the NFL represented a monopoly and sought a billion dollars in damages. Trump, perhaps, had ulterior motives. During the trial he claimed NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle promised him ownership of an NFL franchise if the USFL dropped its lawsuit. After a two-month trial, the court found in the USFL’s favor: the NFL was indeed a monopoly. Unfortunately, the jury also decided the USFL’s financial woes were self-inflicted. Instead of $1.6 Billion in damages, the court awarded the USFL $1. As in one single dollar. Adjusted for inflation when the USFL’s appeals ran out, the NFL cut a check for a whopping $3.76. The check was never cashed. Without money or TV coverage, the USFL didn’t have a 1986 season. It folded for good in 1987. Trump pushed all in on the USFL against the NFL and lost. Players who we think of as Tecmo Super Bowl beasts–Reggie White and Jim Kelly, among them–transitioned to the NFL. The USFL’s lesser players, underpaid when they were paid all, retired to civilian life. In the intervening years, Trump has done his best to retcon his involvement in the USFL. Contradicting his own quotes, Trump has claimed he never wanted to own an NFL team, that he only bought into the USFL because other owners begged him, and that his purchase price of the Generals was well below their $5 Million market value. While it isn’t fair to say now-President Trump single-handedly killed the USFL, he certainly sped its demise. Trump’s flashy spending ignited other owners to cast aside Dixon’s fiscal responsibility. Sports reporter Charley Steiner describes Trump as, “…the air pump into the tire. He gave the league the air it needed, elevated it to another level, pumped it up real good, and kept pumping till it exploded.[6]” As early as 1983, Trump had advocated the USFL move to fall. And although Trump now claims he didn’t push for the antitrust suit against the NFL, he hand-picked its New York venue and the USFL’s stable of lawyers. What does that mean? It means, without Donald Trump, Tecmo Super Bowl as we know it simply wouldn’t exist. We might have Jim Kelly’s Houston Gamblers instead of Jim Kelly’s Bills. In fact, we probably wouldn’t have the Bills at all: during the three USFL seasons, the Bills struggled to draw fans. Many saw declining attendance in Buffalo as a direct result of the upstart USFL. Had Trump not drove the USFL into the ground, it’s entirely possible the Bills would have gone out of business. Image from Denny & jstout’s USFL/WLAF TSB hack. Instead of Tecmo Bowl and John Elway’s Quarterback, we could have played Tecmo NFL and Jim Kelly’s USFL (or vice versa). Who is to say, if both the NFL and USFL had existed, which game Tecmo makes? It’s easy to imagine the upstart USFL, a league that innovated instant replay and 2-point conversions, giving a sweetheart deal to Tecmo. Who knows? Without Trump, we could have Kia commercials featuring Herschel Walker’s Generals instead of Bo Jackson’s Raiders. So, all politics aside, we can all thank President Trump for at least one thing: he helped deliver the Tecmo Super Bowl we know and love. NOTES: [1] And you thought Bobby Bonilla’s 25-year contract with the Mets was stupid. [2] http://www.celebritynetworth.com/articles/entertainment-articles/steve-young-is-still-earning-millions-off-his-usfl-contract-from-1984/ [3] http://www.nytimes.com/1983/09/23/sports/generals-are-sold-to-trump.html [4] http://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/01/sports/trump-building-the-generals-in-his-own-style.html [5] Shula has said off-record he soured on the deal when Trump prematurely announced it to local news. [6]https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/and-then-there-was-the-time-donald-trump-bought-a-football-team-/2015/10/19/35ae71ca-6dd6-11e5-aa5b-f78a98956699_story.html The post Donald Trump’s Tecmo Bowl appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  12. Who is Philadelphia’s worst starter? Easy: Ron Solt[1]. Ron Solt is terrible. Ron Solt wins the booby prize as Tecmo Super Bowl’s worst offensive lineman. Only two stats count for TSB’s big ‘n’ uglies: Max Speed and Hitting Power. Solt, a one-time All-Star at the end of his career by 1991, scores a 19 and 38, respectively. For comparison, teammate Harper Le Bel[2], TSB’s worst TE, hits harder than Solt. Only a handful of backup QBs–among them BAMF Steve Grogan–run slower. On the other hand, how often does a player really notice Solt? The Eagles entire O-line is a bag of hot garbage (assuming that bag is made of swiss cheese). Ron Heller, the Eagles’ best lineman ranks 112 out of 140. So really, Solt isn’t so bad. Plus, most people playing with Phillly are too busy breaking land speed records with QB Eagles to notice that all their O-linemen have collapsed and died. The real stinker for the TSB Eagles is QB2 Jim McMahon. Forget that McMahon is TSB’s 5th-worst quarterback. McMahon is TSB’s reminder that life is short and cruel. You’re playing a season, racking up literal miles with QB Eagles, and then — BAM! The screen goes black for a quarter second longer than it usually does. Your stomach drops. That damn music plays. “Not Randall,” you say, “Not Randall.” But then there he is, slung between those beefy male nurses: “Injured! QB Eagles.” Might as well burn your cart and buy a new one. Without QB Eagles, Tecmo Super Bowl just ain’t as “super.” This isn’t to rag on McMahon. He was a Pro-Bowler. He played 15 years in the NFL. He won a Super Bowl with the ‘85 Bears. Even as an aging veteran in Philadelphia, McMahon still had juice in the tank. When Randall “QB Eagles” Cunningham blew out his knee in Week 1 of 1991, McMahon stepped in and led Philadelphia to a 10-6 mark. If not for a stacked NFC and a series of tiebreakers, McMahon’s Eagles would have made the playoffs[3]. McMahon is Philly’s achilles not due to his bizarrely low stats (more on that in a bit), but because he is the anti-QB Eagles. Most TSB squads have a QB2 with similar skills but lower stats. If Phil Simms goes down during the Giants’ season, at least Jeff Hofstetler can still throw the ball reasonably well. Philadelphia, though, is another story. The Eagles aren’t built on pocket passing. The Eagles thrive on QB Eagles’ ability to break plays and make things happen both with his arm and his feet. With most teams, the drop from QB1 to QB2 is like going from a Corvette to a Datsun; both will get you there. Going from QB Eagles to McMahon, though, is like totaling Doc Brown’s Delorean and replacing it with a ham sandwich. McMahon’s depressed stats magnify the o-line’s deficiency and completely kill the Eagles’ offense. Wait. What? McMahon gets a 6 for Max Speed? He’s one of the few players slower than Ron Solt? McMahon had a history with injury, yes, but a 6 MS, 38 Pass Control and 38 Avoid Pass Block seem cruel. He scores at or near the bottom in every statistical category. As subsequent NFL seasons would show, however, Jim McMahon was a capable signal caller. His Eagles went 10-6 in 1991. In 1993, the Minnesota Vikings went 8-3 with McMahon under center. Sure, his accuracy and total yardage never came close to the likes of Montana and Marino, but for TSB to say Cody Carlson and Jack Trudeau are better QBs is insane. Why all the Jim McMahon hate from Tecmo? The answer is San Diego[4]. Jim McMahon was a character. His off-field flash and joie de vivre never gelled with Coach Mike Ditka’s button-down Bears. Prior to the 1989 season, Ditka dealt McMahon to the Chargers for a conditional draft pick[5]. The Chargers were near rock-bottom of the complete rebuild which would eventually see them in Super Bowl XXIX. But as the TSB Chargers show, 1990 was a rough year in San Diego. With limited offensive weapons, McMahon and the Chargers struggled. McMahon’s oft-abrasive quirks, tolerable when a team is winning, became the Chargers’ scorn. Even though the Chargers lost 4 of McMahon’s starts by a combined 11 points, the front office and coaching staff, exhausted by his antics, benched McMahon in favor of rookie Billie Joe Tolliver for the season’s final 4 games. When the Chargers campaign came to a merciful 6-10 end, the team gave McMahon an outright release. McMahon signed with the Eagles in time to make TSB’s roster cuts. TSB programmers took his stats, depressed by a horrible San Diego team, and simply plugged them into the Eagles’ QB2 slot. The rest, unfortunately, is Bad Tecmo Player history. McMahon should be a capable TSB backup. Instead, haunted by a bad year in San Diego, he is the Tecmo Eagles’ version of a punch in the groin. NOTES: [1] With DB Andre Waters a close 2nd. [2] According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, “The Fresh Prince of Le Bel Air” had one catch for 9 yards and a single 1-yard run in 10 NFL seasons. Still better than me. [3] Side note, 1991 was the first post-season with 3 Wild Cards. [4] Stay classy, San Diego. [5] Eventually a 2nd-Rounder the Bears used to snag LB Ron Cox. The post Bad Player, Good Team: Jim McMahon appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  13. I think Batman once said, “You either retire a Tecmo Legend, or play long enough to become Steve Grogan.” Something like that. I may be misquoting slightly. The point is, not every NFLer became Bo Jackson. But even the unspectacular, the Jessie Clarks and Steve Grogans, have stories worth telling. Consider the following statements, both made about the same TSB player: “[He is] as good on the field as anybody around and an outstanding citizen.”[1] And: “He has been a disappointment… He had to give up steroids…and hasn’t been the same player since.”[2] Batman was right. You either retire as Lawrence Taylor or play until you’re TSB’s worst offensive lineman, Ron Solt. Our conversations on QB Eagles and Jim McMahon have mentioned Solt, but his story is too rich, too emblematic of 1980’s NFL football, to relegate the big man to a footnote. TSB’s Ron Solt is an All-Star in twilight, struggling for one more day in the sun. His Max Speed is glacial. Solths zip past. A 38 Hitting Power means most plays see Solt end up as popcorn. This wasn’t always the story, though. As a prep player at Coughlin High in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Ron Solt possessed elite ability and a fire to match. A 1980 expose by the Baltimore Sun practically swoons over the teenage Solt. Early news articles dwell on Solt’s chiseled face, his barrel-chested physique and dark hair[3]. They also describe a big, tenacious offensive lineman, prized by colleges such as Michigan, Southern California, Maryland and Penn State. Born in Baltimore but raised in Pennsylvania, Solt ultimately chose to attend college at his native Maryland, eschewing his hometown Nittany Lions as a middle-finger to JoPa’s crew. “It seemed like [Penn State recruiter Jimmy Williams] felt like he would doing be me a big favor by giving me a scholarship.” Solt said. “I won’t even make an official visit. I might drive down for an unofficial visit just to satisfy myself.[4]” Fueled by the perceived slight, Solt became a gym-rat at Maryland. He bulked up. He gained coaches’ praise for his work ethic[5]. By 1983 Solt anchored Maryland’s o-line, buying QB Boomer Esiason all the time in the world. The Terrapins bowled through their ACC schedule, undefeated in conference play heading into a Nov. 11 game against Clemson. Clemson won the National Title in 1981. However, in 1982, the NCAA levied a 2-year TV and Bowl ban against Clemson for “major recruiting violations.[6]” Facing a team with literally nothing to lose, given the task of blocking Clemson’s William “The Refrigerator” Perry, Ron Solt remained all smiles and bombast: “Heck, I can bench press 410 pounds, so I ought to be alright.” The Terps got blasted, 52-27. The Refrigerator kept Boomer Esiason off-kilter all day. Maryland lost 3 of their final 4 games, including a 23-30 Loss to Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl. Still, Solt earned praise. He was a finalist for the Outland Trophy, awarded to College Football’s best interior lineman. He earned invites to the NCAA’s All-Star showcases. Draft gurus projected him in the first round, some saying Solt would land in the top 5. In a draft infamous for its preponderance of busts–now-anonymous names like Dean Steinkuhler and Mossy Cade litter the top selections–Ron Solt was drafted 19th overall by the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles, Solt’s TSB squad, strongly considered nabbing him at #4, but instead took Penn State WR Kenny Jackson. Again, a lot of swings and misses in 1984. The draft’s best players, Solt’s Maryland teammate Boomer Esiason and East Carolina RB Earnest Byner, were selected in the second and tenth rounds, respectively[7]. Like Solt’s jump from high school to college, his climb from college to the pros proved turbulent. Colts owner Jim Irsay had a miserly reputation and Solt wasn’t one to quietly accept pittances. Irsay, having just moved the team from Baltimore to Indianapolis, hemmed and hawed over his rookies’ contracts. Remember, this is in the relative dark ages of NFL/Labor relations. There were no strict rules governing draft pick compensation. Leonard Coleman, Indy’s #8 overall pick, opted to play in the fledgling USFL rather than sign Irsay’s lowball contract. It was the Penn State snub all over again. Solt held out for a contract commensurate to his worth. Irsay refused to budge. The battle drug well into the preseason. In the end, the Colts’ laughable preseason performance scared Irsay into abruptly upping his offer. Solt signed a three-year $1.8M contract, just in time for the 1984 season. Some said missing his first NFL camp would hinder Solt’s rookie campaign. Ron Solt, though, loved proving his critics wrong. In contrast to those drafted around him, Solt lived up to the hype in Indy. By season’s end he was named a top rookie. The next two years saw continual improvement. Solt only missed a single game of his initial contract. By 1987, with Solt clearing paths for Eric Dickerson, the Colts were a force in the AFC. They finished 9-6 and won the AFC East. For his performance, Solt was named to the 1987 AFC Pro-Bowl squad. Those who prefer their Tecmo 8-on-8 may remember Indianapolis’ potent rushing attack in the original Tecmo Bowl. This is in no small part owed to Ron Solt. Solt is Tecmo Bowl’s 2nd-best O lineman. Similar to TSB, Tecmo Bowl uses Max Speed, Rushing Speed, Rushing Power and Hitting Power to rate its linemen. Solt scores 7/1/3/90, a close second to MIA Center Dwight Stephenson’s 8/1/3/92[8]. The question then, is what the hell turned a Tecmo Bowl beast into a TSB joke? Solt’s rookie contract ended after his Pro-Bowl year. Naturally, he asked Colts’ owner Jim Irsay for Pro-Bowl money. Irsay, of course, said no. A 10-week back-and-forth ensued between Solt’s camp and Irsay. In late August of 1988, Solt relented and signed a 5-year, $2.6M contract. Not only was this $400k under Solt’s ask, but the Colts also refused to insure Solt should he be injured during play. ”Essentially, they told me if I go out and break my neck, they’re going to turn their back on me, which is what I’d expect from this team,” Solt said[9]. Solt only signed Irsay’s lowball offer after Irsay promised not to trade Solt. He owned acreage near Indianapolis and dreamed of building a ranch. He’d integrated into the local community, investing in a number of local businesses. He wanted his career to begin and end with the Indianapolis Colts. Promised that the Colts would not ship him away, Solt re-signed with Indy. Irsay traded Ron Solt to the Eagles less than a week later. Eagles Coach Buddy Ryan expressed excitement at the prospect of Solt blocking for Eagles QB Randall Cunningham: “[Ron Solt] is a young guy who has only been in the league a short while, and I think he’ll come in and really put us over the top.[10]” Solt, however, had other ideas. Lied to and traded away from his home, he arrived in Philadelphia demanding fair-market value for an All-Pro Guard. “The only reason I did [Irsay’s] deal was to stay in Indianapolis and I’m not going to go to Philadelphia with the contract I have right now,” Solt said. “Either they’re going to have to make it right and make it an offer that I can’t resist or I’m not going.[11]” Solt held out until the middle of October. The Eagles, desperate to improve their run game, caved in and upped Solt’s 5-year contract to $3.6M. Some would say Solt stuck to his guns and got his fair value. Others said he fleeced a desperate Eagles team. True, Ron Solt missed only one game in 4 years. However, he battled knee injury almost from the very start. The one game he missed came at the end of the 1986 season, when the Colts–”the bastards,” in Solt’s words–placed him on Injured Reserve to prevent him from playing and further injuring his knees. He often took numbing injections to keep him upright. He racked up offseason surgeries. Tempers flared during Solt’s month-long holdout in Philadelphia, causing some to question his health and physical ability. As if predicting the future, Solt played only a few quarters for Philly in 1988 before being placed on the Injured Reserve list. It only got worse from there. As part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between owners and the Players’ Union, the NFL instituted a one-time steroid test prior to the 1989 season. Ron Solt tested positive. He appealed the test, claiming he’d only used doctor-prescribed steroids to recover from a knee surgery. He provided NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle a complete itinerary of his doctor visits and a log of his prescriptions. Rozelle wouldn’t be swayed. Solt was the biggest name on the list of positive tests, and the Commissioner needed to prove his point. Ron Solt was suspended for one preseason and three regular season games in 1989. When he finally returned to action, he seemed a shadow of his former self. Word leaked that he’d also tested positive for steroids with the Colts (an accusation vociferously denied by Solt and never corroborated). Many wondered if his outstanding play had been owed to steroids all along. In Indianapolis, Solt had been surrounded by talent. He spoke of playing alongside fellow Pro-Bowl lineman Ray Donaldson, how they would often switch their blocking schemes on the fly with little more than a shared look. In Indianapolis, Solt had RB Eric Dickerson carving up defenses and breaking ankles downfield. In Philadelphia, Ron Solt was the talent. Philly’s o-line was a collection of replacement-level players. The mutual disappointment culminated during the Eagles’ 1990 Wild Card matchup against Washington. Eagles’ coach Buddy Ryan benched Solt following a 1st-quarter sack of QB Randall Cunningham (despite video evidence Solt had been pushed off his block by the Eagles’ fullback). The Eagles led 6-0 when Solt was removed. Washington went on to score 20 unanswered and won 20-6. Tecmo programmers’ last image of Solt wasn’t a block, but of a dejected man sitting on the bench while his team floundered. Offensive line performance is difficult to distill into bytes of hexadecimal. Often, a team’s running game is used to judge its o-line. In the 1989 Wild Card game, Randall Cunningham led all Philly rushers, scrambling for 80 yards. The rest of the Eagles only managed 68 yards on 21 carries. Regardless of fault, Ron Solt ended up being odd man out on one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines. You can see the logic behind TSB’s rating: if Solt was bad enough to be benched on a famously bad offensive line, it would go to follow that he has to be the worst o-lineman in the league, right? It’s certainly not fair, but, then again, very little is. Solt would return to his Colts, signing as a Plan-B free agent[12] in March of 1992. In Solt’s absence, Irsay had run a promising Indianapolis team into the ground. He infamously mismanaged and then traded Eric Dickerson to the LA Rams for little more than magic beans. Solt joined a team which had finished the previous season 1-15. The offensive line was a revolving door of injury and spot-starters. Solt was glad to be back in Indy[13], but the magic was gone. Ron Solt struggled through 12 games in 1992 before his body again gave out. The Colts placed Solt on Injured Reserve in mid-December, ending his NFL career. Years of accumulated injuries forced him to retire after the 1992 season. Ron Solt never played another professional snap. Ron Solt was was a player of grit and intensity. Unquenchable fire fueled him through college. As a top-flight pro, it kept him burning even when his body told him to stop. He had no qualms about calling BS on owners and teammates. When NFL/Labor negotiations went south in the late 80’s, Solt tried to organize a second player’s union. His intensity was a blessing and a curse. Ron Solt, now watching his own sons navigate a life through football, still lives with the scars of his past. Ron brought a class action suit against the NFL in 2012 regarding concussion care[14].By his own admission, he deals with forgetfulness. Some days the clouds over his mind refuse to part. The aches and pains of years in the trenches linger. Ron Solt’s NFL career is a story of two digital snapshots. On one cartridge, he’s a beast among men, able to throw aside the best in the world. In the next cartridge, Ron Solt’s avatar is thrown like a doll. Solt’s is a case of the sequel not surpassing its original and a bitter end overshadowing the dizzying heights of a career. Notes: [1] “Recruiting: Maryland Takes Football on Off-Season Road Tour.” Free, Bill. The Sun [Baltimore, MD] 06 Jan 1980: C1 [2] “Lining up to Tackle Unfinished Business: Ron Solt is Still Bitter Over his Benching in the Eagles’ Playoff Loss to the Washington Redskins.” Bowden, Mark. Philadelphia Inquirer [Philadelphia, Pa] 16 June 1991: G.1. [3] An amusing picture, unfortunately not included here due to copyright concerns, shows young Ron Solt lounging in a bitchin’ white leisure suit which must have driven the ladies WILD [4] Free. ibid. [5] “Terps’ Solt just keeps improving.” Free, Bill. The Sun [Baltimore, MD]; Nov 11, 1983: E2 [6] http://www.nytimes.com/1982/11/23/sports/severe-sanctions-levied-on-clemson.html [7] The 1984 NFL Draft is also notable for producing zero hall of fame players [8] Its also important to note Solt’s teammate Ray Donaldson gets an identical score, making Tecmo Bowl Indy’s offensive lines among the game’s best. [9] http://www.nytimes.com/1988/09/29/sports/sports-people-colts-sign-solt.html [10] http://www.upi.com/Archives/1988/10/04/The-Philadelphia-Eagles-Tuesday-acquired-offensive-guard-Ron-Solt/3449591940800/ [11] http://articles.mcall.com/1988-10-05/sports/2670005_1_ron-solt-future-draft-jim-irsay [12] The NFL’s free agency system as collectively bargained in 1989 used a 2-tier system, allowing teams to protect their biggest stars but requiring them to make available lesser players–Plan B players–for free agency. [13] http://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/06/sports/sports-people-pro-football-solt-signs-with-colts.html [14] http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/7479705/more-retired-players-bring-concussion-lawsuit-vs-nfl-pennsylvania The post Beyond the Stats: Ron Solt appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
  14. Multiverse theory suggests that all possibilities exist in infinite parallel universes. In some glitch of an alternate Earth, Super Bowl XXV saw the Buffalo Bills' Scott Norwood miss a field goal as time expired, securing a hard-fought win for the opposing Buffalo Bills. The Super Bowl Champion Bills fought through a viscous playoffs schedule, defeating the Buffalo Bills and then the Buffalo Bills before finally besting the NFC Champion Buffalo Bills. Thanks to @JoeStraatmann for the image and general info. No, this isn't one of Jim Kelly's fever dreams. And you don't need to surf spacetime to see 8 Buffalos vie for football supremacy. The Buffalo-only playoff bracket is a Tecmo Super Bowl glitch. In April of 1993, GamePro Magazine posted a curious screenshot, one showing a TSB playoff bracket populated entirely by Buffalo Bills. The accompanying text claimed one could trigger the glitch by ensuring at least one division came down to the very last game of the season, then resetting the NES deck during the ensuing Division Champion screen. As our collective memory of GamePro faded, tales of the Bills Playoff glitch morphed. Fans asserted the glitch required a tie atop each division. YouTube user SuperHenryJones, remembering this "tied divisions" iteration of the Buffalo glitch, recorded a video to test the hypothesis. Though putting multiple teams atop each division is needlessly complex, the end result is the same: all Buffalo, all the time! First, each team in TSB is given a numerical value. The Bills, being the first team on the team select screen (and the rumored favorite of the TSB programmers) are given the first slot at value 0. Second, whenever something "happens" in TSB--say your player gets injured, or the season schedule advances from Week 1 to Week 2--the game sets a "flag" in memory. Flags keep track of game events so you can save and come back later. After the final game of the regular season, the game checks that each division has a champion and then sets a flag to indicate the season is ended and the playoffs are starting. In blackout before TSB shows the divisional standings, the game sets flags to indicate which teams have made the playoffs. Now, if any division depends on the Green Bay/Minnesota game at the end of the season, instead of going to the Division Standings screens (and storing the playoff teams to memory), TSB instead shows a "Division Champs!" cutscene. At this point, the game has ensured all divisions have champions and set the "playoffs" flag. However, it has yet to flag its playoff teams. So resetting during the "Division Champs!" cutscene will push TSB into the playoffs with a playoff roster full of zeros: The Buffalo friggin' Bills. The 8 Buffalos Glitch comes with a few catches. First, if more than one division is decided by the GB/MIN game, the player must reset during the final Division Champs screen. TSB checks that each division has been won before setting the playoff start flag. Resetting the game before final "Division Champs" screen will put the player back in Wk.17 with the GB/MIN game yet to be played. Conversely, if all the divisions are decided before the GB/MIN finale and the season is in Skip Mode, resetting just as the screen goes black after the final score is shown will wipe out all season data and send the player back to Week 1. The reasoning here is slightly more complex, but essentially resetting at this point causes a memory error. So no, contrary to countless bulletin board postings, TSB players needn't bother with ties atop every division. Just so long as the GB/MIN game at the end of Week 17 decides at least one division title, players can hit reset after the playoffs start, but before the teams are chosen, giving rise to QB Bills' dream: Bruce Smith vs Thurman Thomas in the Super Bowl. But if you do happen to stumble on a multiverse wormhole, let me know; I wouldn't mind living in a world where Art Modell never moved the Browns to Baltimore.
  15. 25 years ago today, Tecmo Super Bowl hit American stores. Video games would never be the same. It’s no understatement to say TSB is one of the most influential video games of all time. Tecmo Super Bowl stands beside Super Mario Bros. 3 as a title that defined the Nintendo Entertainment System. It sold hundreds of thousands of cartridges. Tecmo Super Bowl was the first sports title to feature a full license from a sports league and its players. It paved the way for juggernauts like Madden and shifted relations between the NFL and its Players Union. And still, the game endures. “Tecmo” has worked its way into popular vernacular, shorthand for athletes who seem to defy what is possible. The yearly Tecmo Super Bowl World Championships in Madison, Wisconsin draw players from all over the globe, not to mention coverage from the likes of CBS and ESPN. The fact I’m even writing this column is a testament to the lasting impact of Tecmo Super Bowl. You didn’t see any 25th Anniversary celebrations for John Elway’s Quarterback or Clu Clu Land, did you? Tecmo Super Bowl is more than bytes of code on a game cartridge. To a great many people, it has meant friendship, fun, and memories that stand tall 25 years later. JJ Birden – WR, Kansas City Chiefs “I think it’s pretty awesome to be associated with the game. I can recall being with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1991 when the game was released. The season before was a breakout year for me. I caught quite of few long passes and touchdowns demonstrating my world class speed. Fortunately, the designers of the game took note and gave me some nice skills. As players, we spent many off-season days, training camp lunch-breaks and the day before games having Tecmo Bowl tournaments. To think 25 years later the game is still around and going strong! I haven’t played for some time, yet I was not bad back in the day. Coincidentally I just found my original game and Nintendo in my garage. It will certainly be a keepsake item. I only had one complaint with the game. If you threw me the ball too many times in one game, I was known to get injured! I always blamed it on a programming glitch.” Christian Okoye – RB, Kansas City Chiefs “I was aware of Tecmo Super Bowl when it came out, but was surprised when I found out how I was in the game a few years after that. I think I am still associated with the game because of the role, or the Legend, of Christian Okoye. Watch out for me.” Owen Good – Journalist, Polygon Tecmo Super Bowl is a landmark work in video gaming. It is the first title licensed by both a professional sports league and its player’s union to launch in the United States on a console. It created the most fundamental expectation we have today of sports video games — every player, under his own name, on every team, wearing their own uniforms. In that sense, Tecmo Super Bowl is a father of today’s billion-dollar family of FIFA, Madden, NBA 2K, NHL, and all the rest. Yet Tecmo Super Bowl is my favorite video game of all time not for these historical distinctions or for any grand claim of lineage. It’s not because I play it that much, or even play it well when I do. It is my favorite video game for what it has meant and still means to the happiness and friendship of so many. That counts for something. It has to.” Keiji Yamagishi – Sound Designer and Composer, Tecmo Super Bowl “I’m shocked at the fact that there’s still people in the 21st century who continue to enjoy the games of the past. And at the same time, I’m really happy and honored. Of course, it wasn’t only my effort, but also the efforts of those programmers and artists who spared their sleeping hours in order to devote themselves to the development process.” Lou Raguse – Reporter, KARE 11 TV (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) “For me, TSB has always been about growing people closer. When I got the game as a 10-year-old, I got to play against my older cousins whom I all looked up to. They were star high school athletes and I couldn’t keep up in a pickup basketball game, but with TSB, we were on a level playing field and we all loved it and had so much fun. Then when I moved to Buffalo in ’12, I was able to make several good friends there through the local TSB tourneys held. In Fall ’99 and Spring ’00, I was an HS senior and started TSB tourneys in our study hall for last day of the semester. Was so much fun we still talk about it. And it started a tradition that continued at least until 06-07 when finally the HS kids were too young to have ever played the game.” **And in case you haven’t already, Lou’s interview with TSB director Shinichiro Tomie and lead programmer Akihiko Shimoji is an absolute must read.** Matt Knobbe – Founder, TecmoBowl.org “That 25 years later we’re still seeing interest in the game is a testament to Tecmo Super Bowl’s cumulative greatness in the pantheon of sports and NES games. To this day, we’re still trying to piece together how it was done. Here is a story I don’t know that I’ve ever told: Back in 1995 during my first year of college I purchased a used guitar because I thought it would be cool to play some songs on the guitar. It turns out that you actually need to try and practice a lot if you want to be good, which I did not. At the end of the year, I ended up trading that guitar that I had spent my time practicing on to my college roommate for an NES and a Tecmo Super Bowl cartridge . It’s quite possible I don’t start a Tecmo Super Bowl fan site if I had been more musically inclined.” Keith Good – Editor, Tecmo Bowlers “Tecmo Super Bowl, to me, is beautiful simplicity. It’s a game that demands no special skill. It’s just two buttons and a D-pad. It’s an emblem of a simpler time, of riding my bike down the street, leaning it on a tree, and playing a magical season where me and my friends could finally watch the Browns win it all. “Today, Tecmo Super Bowl continues to be a force of profound connection. TSB has provided me with the opportunity to talk with NFL Pro Bowlers like Wayne Haddix. I’ve picked the brain of master NES composer Keiji Yamagishi. I have the pleasure, through these columns, of talking with a wide Tecmo community. We share our stories, our memories, and together create connections which will hopefully last another 25 years.” Dave “Bruddog” Brude – Tecmo Super Bowl Hacking Genius “Tecmo Super Bowl has and still means a great deal to me over the years. It’s been a way to bond with friends and make new friends. It’s provided tons of entertainment, puzzles to solve, strategies to explore, and a way for me to express creativity through my ROM hacking and roster edits . Some of my best friendships were created from the simple love of this video game. It’s truly been one of the instrumental parts of my life. My life would be so much different without it. “I remember when my best friend got Tecmo, four of us got together at his house and had our first tourney. I won the tourney on a last second 40-yard pass from Montana to Craig. This moment and the whole game is actually on a VHS tape in my closet. This would be the first of many tourney’s and games we would play together. Then in college, I discovered the Tecmo online community. I found it so cool that people were playing with updated rosters. Then, attending Tecmo Madison for the first time was so cool. It gave me the chance to finally meet so many people who I had only talked to online.” Tony “Garbage Man” Orenga – Tecmo Madison Staff & Original Webmaster When I was a kid, I played this game mostly for the stat tracking and season simulation. I loved that aspect of the game. Gameplay-wise, I loved the flea-flickers – so that tells you the level of sophistication for this kid. In my 20s, I found an online community that appeared to love the simulation and stat-tracking aspect as much or more than me. It was awesome to find that world. There are some really passionate people who love volunteering their time to make leagues and websites to help facilitate those experiences. It has been great over the years to meet many of those people. During that time, I also moved to Madison and found a group of crazies that played the game religiously. I originally felt very out of place, but a shared love of the game kept me coming back. It was great to have a weekend ritual of playing the game with a group for a few hours and then enjoying the evening at the Plaza. Some of that group has become some of my best friends over the years. More recently, as some of us have matured (not quite sure I can say that for myself), we play the game less and less. However, these guys still remain some of my best friends. The game and its mythological-like characters have brought me joy and life-long friends. Also, it was pretty surreal to meet David Fulcher! Even more surreal may have been joining a group of North Dakota folks in the woods for an all-day Tecmo tournament! Dave Murray – Proprietor, Tecmo Madison XIII & Tecmo Bowlers “Tecmo Bowl means friendship. 25 years later I still play the same game with my friends. Ten-year-old me was freakin’ pumped when I got TSB. I had basically worn out my copy of Tecmo Bowl by Christmas 1991. I played TB solo 99% of the time. My crew wasn’t that into it. TSB became another story. Once TSB hit, it changed the ‘game’ for us. Already being on a Bo Jackson & Michael Jordan high, being able to overpower each other with the battle of taps and out thinking the other was the greatest feeling. My brother, my neighbor clan and I would play out seasons, keeping a spiral notebook full of stats and world records that we thought no one could beat. We would spend an obscene amount of time learning and playing football because of TSB. We played touch football in the streets and our sidewalk chalk plays were TSB plays. Sweeps were the favorite and easily the most ridiculous to re-enact in a 3v3 game. Fast forward 25 years, what do I do with my spare time? Play (or talk about) Tecmo Bowl. I’ve flown across our beautiful country to play in TSB tournaments. I have made lifetime bonds from this game. I’ve been invited to weddings because of this game. I’ve been on ESPN, Fox Sports and in numerous articles because of this game. I’ve been speaking to Bo Jackson because of this game. BO JACKSON! I can actually say that Tecmo has changed my life, for the better. Thanks to the Spring Lake crew and thanks to Knobbe for feeding my obsession. Thanks to Bruddog for all the hacks and becoming one of my best friends. Thanks to Casey for making Madison and Gridiron Heroes realities and for a lifelong friendship. Thanks to Josh and Chet for trusting me to carry the TSB World Championships’ torch and for being super great dudes. No thanks are given to Tony the Garbage Man. April 8, 2017, I am throwing the greatest Tecmo party that there has ever been – Tecmo Madison XIII. I am excited to show honor and respect to our favorite game in the greatest way possible. I will do my best to make this a lifetime memory for those who attend. Long live Tecmo.” Tecmo Super Bowl – 1991-2016 I suspect very few of us expected to mark December 12, 1991, one year later, let alone 25. For all the friendships which have lasted these past 25 years, we’d be remiss not to mention those few taken early. Junior Seau. Reggie White. Derrick Thomas. The friends and family we’ve shared controllers with. For them, we play on. Every game, every QB Eagles scramble and Bo Jackson run, keeps the memory alive. And every time we power on that NES deck, we create more of those memories. Tecmo Super Bowl continues to give us endless hours of fun. The Tecmo family has grown from friends up the street to an online community that spans the globe. Tournaments like Tecmo Madison create new friendships and bonds that defy geography. Every “Ready! Down! Hut!” both calls us back to 1991 and pushes us forward. Because when the NES lights up and that familiar opening song plays, we know, that for at least the next few minutes, we’re in for a treat. Thanks for 25 great years, Tecmo Super Bowl. Here’s to 25 more. ——— The post 25 Years of Tecmo Super Bowl appeared first on TECMO BOWLERS. View the full article
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