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Knobbe

Is the December 13, 1991 release date of Tecmo Super Bowl a lie?

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For as long as I can remember I have never thought that the official North American release day for Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES was known. Wikipedia, your encyclopedia in the cloud has always listed the North American release as "December, 1991" while listing a very specific "December 13th, 1991" for the Japanese release. Any other sort of internet deep dive would come up with the same result: no one listed the specific day on which this game was released. Try searching for "Tecmo Super Bowl release date" on Google or Bing now.  The result is quite different because wikipedia is now different.  I had noticed back in Oct of 2018 that the Tecmo Super Bowl Wikipedia page had been updated with the North American release day.

 

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Google result from Dec 13, 2018

 

 

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Bing result  from Dec 13, 2018

 

 

Anyone can update a Wikipedia page and anyone can view what has been changed and who changed it.  It's possible to create an account on Wikipedia and this will show you what pages or talk has come from this specific user. If you don't create an account, you can still update a page but the site will list your IP address instead.  

 

 

On Dec 10 of 2017 someone updated the release date of Tecmo Super Bowl from December of 1991 to Friday, December 13th, 1991

 

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The updated user wasn't a registered account on Wikipedia so the IPv6 address "2600:1700:8880:6410:3935:833B:C73E:466F" was credited for the update.  This is an address registered through AT&T and unless there is some other record associated with this address around this time there is no way to trace this short of having AT&T search through there records for it.

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When you drill down into the contributions of this user, you find a pattern: This person, or bot, systematically updated 23 different game release dates over the course of an hour on Dec 10, 2017. One could surmise from this list of completely random games that this was the work of someone with a general interest in NES games, not a Tecmo Super Bowl enthusiast. Why were these particular games selected and if someone did have a list of releases dates for video game in North America 25+ years ago where exactly did they get it?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/2600:1700:8880:6410:3935:833B:C73E:466F

 

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At the end of the day though the question remains: Was Tecmo Super Bowl released on Dec 13, 1991?  The answer is doubtful and let me explain why.  Tecmo was a Japanese company and like many while they maintained a office in the U.S. most were headquartered out of Japan.  If you look through dates for video game releases you'll see a couple of things.

  1. Japanese video games are most often released on a Monday or a Friday
  2. US releases rarely, if ever, occur on the same calendar day as the Japanese release.

It makes sense for a release to occur before a weekend, right? Friday before a weekend seems the most logical as a person might purchase the game with the intent of playing it for the weekend.  You'll see that December 13, 1991 is a Friday.  However, while it is Friday in Japan it's actually Thursday in the US. As you start to find some games with actual release dates in the US you'll see Thursday and my guess would be because this is Friday to the bosses back in Japan.  If there was an official release date for Tecmo Super Bowl that paralleled the Japanese release, it would most likely be Thursday, Dec 12, 1991.  It's most probable though that even though this would have been a very highly anticipated sequel worthy of an official release date that the company most likely shipped product to retailers to be sold upon arrival.  While unsatisfying, "December, 1991" probably is most accurate.

 

I would welcome any sort of help in answering this question and please comment on this article or send an email to [email protected]

 


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The article references gamefaqs for the release date.

 

Which lists the following

 

Region Publisher Product ID Distribution / Barcode Release Date Rating
49792_thumb.jpg Tecmo Super Bowl
JP Tecmo TCF-4U 4960677250183 12/13/91  
49793_thumb.jpg Tecmo Super Bowl
US Tecmo NES-4U 018946110127 December 1991

 

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20 hours ago, SBlueman said:

All I know is the date is in the right ballpark. I picked the game up the Friday before the Oilers were at Cleveland that weekend:

 

 

 

 

I'm of the same mind. Upon seeing this thread I tried to see what I could definitively remember about this time. 

 

When Tecmo Super Bowl first came out, me and a few friends of mine played a full season of it that weekend at my friend PK's house. Most of us were in our first year of college (we graduated 1991) and me and PK wore the original Tecmo Bowl out. Always as CHI SF and he was always SF. His favorite team (at that time, home boy is a Seahawks fan now) was the Eagles as he was from the Philly area (and Cincy area too) before moving out to the PNW. We would go on to have my one of 2 epic TSB rivalries with me as the Cowboys and him as the Eagles (he ended up dominating the all time series after a time where he pushed the above .500 lead to like 30 or 40, and I was able to keep it 50 50 after that). But this is about the release of TSB. 

 

Us guys got the game ( I'm fairly sure I bought the cart ) and played around with it and saw we could do a season mode, so we started a season and ended up spending most of that weekend in his family's entertainment room learning and learning to love all the additions and advancements this game had. The teams included were of course Dallas and Philly, one guy was the Raiders, another the Chiefs and another was the Giants. We might only have had 5 guys. During that weekend, I fondly remember leaving PK's spot on I believe the Saturday night to go see our alma mater Edmonds Woodway play one of the Shore- schools, Shoreline or Shorewood. I tried looking up that date and our WESCO AAA Basketball scores or schedule but no luck other than this season preview from the Seattle Times back then

 

That preview was dated Thursday Dec. 12 and I found the WESCO AA preview for Friday DEC 13. Both seemed to suggest that the conference schedule was about to start. 

 

We left mid season (and FUNKY, as in we hadn't really showered since starting the season Friday night) and caught the game, and Edmonds-Woodway lost. 

 

I'm fairly sure we finished that season early Sunday after running games all night and guys waking up whoever had to play next. I did end up winning the Super Bowl, although I don't remember playing a human for it, I think the Raiders and Chiefs owners lost to the computer. I'm pretty sure I snuck into the playoffs that season with an 8-8 record too. Now, for the date, I also considered what was going on in the NFL at that time. 

 

1991, my favorite team was in the middle of a resurgence that was semi expected, but surprising in that the run of wins started with a game in which Aikman got injured and Beuerlein stepped in and finished the eventual Super Bowl Champs the Redskins off with a play that I was reminded of when Amari Cooper caught that ball that bounced off the Eagle DB in OT and then hurried into the end zone. To beat the Redskins, Beuerlein hit Irvin near the 5 yard line with Darrell Green closing in from behind him, Irvin bounced the ball up, caught it, pivoted and took it in the end zone for a 21-7 lead against the 11-0 Redskins early in the 4th quarter. Here it is queued up on this YouTube vid. Later on you can see this pick of Aikman injured walking the sideline in front of Tommie Agee with Craig Kupp (Cooper's Dad) in the foreground. 

 

Kupp.PNG

 

Well, to get back on point, the last 2 games of the season I recall where I was, and it was with PK both games. 

 

Week 16 saw Eagles vs Cowboys. Winner basically had the playoffs locked up if I recall correctly. The Eagles D was absolutely a TERROR! I think they sacked Aikman 11 times in the first meeting, a bludgeoning shutout. Well the Eagles had their own QB issues as Jeff Kemp was needed because both Randall and McMahon were injured. Kemp started that season sucking for the Seahawks who lost Dave Krieg pretty early that season as well, so I had some faith that the Cowboys might be able to pull it out, even though that D was literally a threat. They did, thanks to a huge Punt Return from Kelvin Martin for a TD to give them a 15 - 10 lead I think. I remember watching this game at PKs house with just PK upstairs in his parents room because I think his Dad had some sort of NFL Ticket back then, because I didn't have a way to watch it at home. I've never connected this as part of that same weekend of the first weekend of Tecmo, although it very well could be. Pretty sure it was a 10am start here in the PNW and it was just me and PK, so the rest of the guys must have bounced ( I might have too, to go home and shower and come back, just can't recollect). 

 

The next weekend, I remember going with PK and some of our crew to the Northgate mall for some last minute Christmas shopping, and I was listening to the radio really tuned in to the final standings for who would lead the league in rushing (and receiving, but I think Irvin had a much bigger lead, and Emmitt had competition Barry (who missed week 1 in a Lions 45-0 loss to the Redskins). I'm pretty sure I heard the confirmation that Emmitt won the rushing title as we left the mall when all the games with Barry and Emmitt ended. It feels more likely that our Tecmo weekend happened the previous weekend upon reflecting on it. 

 

Basically, I kind of feel Dec 13 feels right. We were excited to play it. Probably planned on getting together to play it on that day because it was just coming out, but also guys were coming back from college (not really that far, they mostly went to UW a few miles south, and I was at Shoreline C.C. and living at home). Perhaps it was S.O.P. for these games to be released on Fridays? IDK. That's what I can add...

 

PS I'm also going to try and hit up those guys to see what they recall, maybe we can hammer that date down and get some other memories from that weekend. 

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I remember reading the instruction manual as my mother drove my 12yo ass home from wherever we bought the game... and how the fanciful descriptions of gameplay and soaring narrative arcs hinted at in the team capsules so completely spun my imagination that the first I thing I did when I checked the game was to see if Barry Sanders bounced off tacklers just like he did so amazingly in real life... so after setting it up I gave Barry a run and YEP! he was bouncing off tacklers... (you know, like how all tecmo ball carriers bounce off grappling tandems on the field)... but I didn't know that at the time, and that was all I had time to check that first night... so the next day at school (7th grade), I am telling everybody how realistic it is, it even has Barry Sanders bouncing off guys, just like in real life!... heady days.

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21 minutes ago, manYo720 said:

I remember reading the instruction manual as my mother drove my 12yo ass home from wherever we bought the game... and how the fanciful descriptions of gameplay and soaring narrative arcs hinted at in the team capsules so completely spun my imagination that the first I thing I did when I checked the game was to see if Barry Sanders bounced off tacklers just like he did so amazingly in real life... so after setting it up I gave Barry a run and YEP! he was bouncing off tacklers... (you know, like how all tecmo ball carriers bounce off grappling tandems on the field)... but I didn't know that at the time, and that was all I had time to check that first night... so the next day at school (7th grade), I am telling everybody how realistic it is, it even has Barry Sanders bouncing off guys, just like in real life!... heady days.

 

Gracias.

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Posted (edited)

Not to be the douche, but technically the original date of games released is the date it was first released to the market, regardless of region. So yes, Tecmo Super Bowl was officially released on Dec 13, 1991. However, I believe by the this time games where released almost at the exact same time. So I'd say late Dec 1991 is accurate for the US release date. If you look at the release dates of games released from 1985-1989 you will see that the US release is almost always over a year. However, if you start looking at games released from 1990 onwards, those dates are significantly closer together and by the time you get to 1991, the dates seem to be exact and some games are even released in the US before JP. I would also bet by that time Nintendo knew it's market in the US and Japan and started releasing games specific to regions accordingly. Do you know how many JRPG games we have missed out on or the insanely awesome shoot em ups we Americans have missed out on because the games where "to hard" for us Americans? A shit load. Thanks god for emulators.

 

I think technology and marketing caught up allowing Famicom/NES cartridges to be copied/transferred much easier and the knowledge of the selling of certain game types made the release dates much closer. That's my take. Here are some fun examples just from Tecmo released games that back up what I'm saying.

 

Rygar - JP Apr 17, 1987 - US Jul 1987

Mighty Bomb Jack - JP Apr 24, 1986 - US Jul 1987

Solomons Key - JP Jul 30, 1986 - US Jul 1987

Tecmo Bowl - US Feb 1989 - JP Nov 30 1990

Ninja Gaiden II - JP Apr 6, 1990 - US May 1990

TSB - Dec 13, 1991

 

It does appear that when it came to sports games, Tecmo seemed to release them in the US at the same time as Japan or even before Japan. 

Edited by thegamer1185

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12 hours ago, thegamer1185 said:

However, if you start looking at games released from 1990 onwards, those dates are significantly closer together and by the time you get to 1991, the dates seem to be exact and some games are even released in the US before JP.

 

I found that a lot of the US dates didn't really exist.  Also I found that in addition to TSB someone had updated other games in the same capacity.

 

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4 hours ago, Knobbe said:

 

I found that a lot of the US dates didn't really exist.  Also I found that in addition to TSB someone had updated other games in the same capacity.

 

Correct. I believe that is because much like it is now, games where just finally starting to be released on the same dates. Just what my research is telling me I guess. If you look at the release dates for the SNES, they really stick to the process of worldwide release dates being the same. Some of the earlier games have different release dates because Japan got the SNES before we did, but once the US got the SNES, it seems the games where released very close to the same dates. At least in the US and Japan since they are both NTSC, where as Europe is PAL and the games run at slower frames.

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2 minutes ago, thegamer1185 said:

If you look at the release dates for the SNES, they really stick to the process of worldwide release dates being the same

 

I did and I can't necessarily make the same generalization for NES.

 

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I can't either but it's an educated guess. Before 1990 you can still see significant lengths in release dates for Japan and the US. After 1990, you will see that gap shortens significantly. Not all games, but most games I would say began being released in both regions very close to each other. I think the games that still had big differences were being tested out for sales figures before being released further. Again, all educated guesses, but makes sense. Hell, the NES itself was released in select few cities for market reasons before being released in full. So I'm going to just say that is the reason most of these games where released the way they were. If they did good in Japan, they came to the US. Unless they where to hard for us simple minded Americans of course, haha. Also, Tecmo Bowl did so well I don't think Tecmo was worried about how well TSB was going to do so they pumped it out in both regions. 

 

Don't know for sure, either way I believe the release date is Dec 1991

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10 minutes ago, thegamer1185 said:

Don't know for sure, either way I believe the release date is Dec 1991

 

Prior to the change of wikipedia this was the generalized release date. The question is whether it was specifically on the 13th, another day, or there was no specific release date.

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Only way to know for sure would be to somehow find a receipt or sales records of a store with the earliest date. Honestly, the best way but hardest way would be to call Nintendo and see what their records say. I'm good with just Dec 1991

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18 hours ago, thegamer1185 said:

Only way to know for sure would be to somehow find a receipt or sales records of a store with the earliest date. Honestly, the best way but hardest way would be to call Nintendo and see what their records say. I'm good with just Dec 1991

 

I think potentially finding an add in a paper might be a way as well.  I don't know if Nintendo would have monitored something like that and Tecmo is no longer Tecmo.

I'm going to revert the date on wikipedia for now.

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Nintendo Power starts calling listing it in the Paks "Coming Soon" in April 1991.  By May, they say to look for it in time for the football season.  But one issue includes an apology from the Editor that some games come out late, so a cover feature on Robin Hood was published long before the game finally dropped.

 

---> April 1991: Pak Watch: Coming Later

---> May 1991: Special half-page "Just around the Corner" article.  "Look for Tecmo Super Bowl in time to kick off the coming football season."

---> June 1991: Pak Watch: Coming Soon

---> July 1991: Pak Watch: Coming Soon

............... Top 30: Game 28. Tecmo Super Bowl (438 pts.)

---> Aug 1991: Pak Watch: Coming Soon

............... "August Issue Game List"

---> Sept 1991: -----

---> Oct 1991: -----

---> Nov 1991: -----

---> Dec 1991: -----

---> Jan 1992: Four-page feature on Tecmo Super Bowl

 

I have no idea what the "August Issue Game List" means.  Some issues have a game list; some don't.  Also, the Top 30 list in July 1991 may be a typo, because Tecmo Bowl is a regular in the list.

Edited by BalloneousAssault
update

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