Friday, January 4, 2008

Dart’s Rant Of The Day: The Wii Virtual Console Version Of NES Tecmo Bowl

To those of us old enough to remember the classic NES game Tecmo Bowl it has stood the test of time as one of the most storied and revered video games ever. It was one of the first games that carried an NFLPA (National Footbal League Player's Association) license that actually meant something. You got to play with the actual NFL team featuring actual player with their stats from the previous season right there on the screen for you to see. Who doesn’t remember running back kickoffs with Dennis Gentry, gaining yards even when your play was picked with Bo Jackson or busting through the line to block every goddamn field goal attempt with Lawrence Taylor?

Those of us that played the game enough were so adept that they could avoid sacks by throwing the button hook pass to the curling player in motion for a completion (AKA the Cap Boso Rule) or intercept passes with the fastest player on the field by covering multiple receivers in the same space at once until the ball was delivered and then you broke to that receiver and stood in front of them right before the ball got there for the into (Ronnie Lott & Dave Duerson were best for this). When you played another person who was an expert in the game and knew every nuance or glitch in the game it made for a chess match of the highest magnitude (especially if you tried to follow the player during the hook and you were repelled by the invisible force field that let them catch the ball each time). These experts were known as Tecmologists and people were in awe at how they could win games even while using crap squads like Dallas and Indianapolis.

If you know the game inside and out in that way (like I do) and you recently purchased the game for the Wii’s Virtual Console (like I did) and downloaded it recently you probably said exactly what I did after playing it for a short while:

“Ayo! What the fuck is this bullshit?”
I noticed that none of the players on the Chicago Bears had actual their names which sucked, but I also realized at the beginning of the game that there was no music and/or scrolling of the screen displaying all of the players in the game. I thought that it sucked that none of the player’s names could be used but as long as their numbers and stats were still correct, you could still figure out who everyone is supposed to be, right? Wrong, son. The NFLPA licence had expired and there was no re up made. Do you remember how pissed off consumers were back in 1989 when the first run cartridges for Tecmo Bowl had Eric Dickerson (“Dicker”) as the Colts RB and the second run replaced him with “Bentley” instead? Multiply that by 100.

Not only are player numbers’ and stats different then they are in the original NES game but sometimes so are their ethnicities. It pissed me off to see the games only Black (and I mean black) quarterback changed to a white dude on Washington and it irked me that Herschel Walker on Dallas was replaced with a white dude with wack stats.

Horrible stat lines are given to good players and mediocre ones have worldbeater stats...even for someone who knows the game insides and out this is confusing and takes away from the game’s overall appeal. I know that the guy I’m picking is Howie Long but not according to the game. At least I know it’s Bo Jackson when I run for an 80 yard touchdown while defenders repeatedly bounce off my back. Yep, a great run by # much better than his 950 yards and 4 TD’s on the season would lead you to think!

All of that aside it still PLAYS like the old Tecmo Bowl...even if you never get to see the name of the player that scored the touchdown on the screen or you don’t get the old school celebration ending after you finally win the Tecmo Bowl in Week 11. You already know that Ronnie Lott, Kenny Easley, Mike Singletary or the amazing corner tandem of Cleveland (Dixon & Minnifield) are the best ways to stack up cheap points...even if their names aren’t present and they may have different numbers the players have the same game ratings. It’s not so bad that Walter Payton is #35 instead of #34...right?

Let’s say you don’t care and you can live with the fact that Nintendo slightly altered Tecmo Bowl since the licensing agreement ran out and Nintendo decided to put it out...would you be willing to take it if Nintendo replaces all of the names/numbers and changes some of the ethnicities in Tecmo Super Bowl as well? I know for a fact that would be a deal breaker for a lot of heads!

Say goodbye to the names “QB Eagles”, “Christian Okoye”, “Jerry Rice”, “Barry Sanders”, “Reggie White” and “Bo Jackson” flashing across the screen when you get an interception, get a sack, force a fumble and recover it or kick a field goal. As lame as it is that you can’t have the players names or stats, it really doesn’t matter because thanks to technology I can just play the original game on my desktop or laptop and the information is out there for me to be able to alter the data if I wanted to and even update the rosters on Tecmo Bowl or Tecmo Super Bowl for NES & SNES so they include modern day players (if you think I’m kidding then just do a search or check YouTube for proof).

I can’t get too heated because it only cost $5 dollars (500 Wii points) to buy, but I was playing the original game for years on my Macs devoid of alterations...and for free! I've just started posting drops on new blog started by Raven Mack of called Armchair Linebacker. Read our drops during these NFL playoffs and afterwards.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up man. I rock that No Mas Tecmo Bowl Hoodie from time to time and you know people are with it when they say "oh shit, Tecmo" versus "what is that?" I gotta get my router hooked up again, but I def woulda dropped money on this only to be like wtf. Do they have RBI baseball on there yet? That is my shit.

Dart Adams said...

@ Peter Divito:

It's a matter of fact Nintendo got wise and posted all of the upcoming releases up. You can find them all scheduled on the Wii Virtual Store Wikipedia page.


Anonymous said...

i hadnt been here in a minute, and the post you did regarding the 80's songs that werent hip-hop...

what about "africa" by Toto?
i mean who doesnt love that song, and the cover Phonte did is also wicked dope.

Dart Adams said...

@ Andrew:

"Africa" by Toto ended up in the mid 60's, just missing the list next to classics like "I Confess" by English Beat and "Lights Out" by Peter Wolf.


Unknown said...

Nice review. Screw the wii version, I'll just play my 8-bit emulator.
Speaking of old school, don't forget about Konami's Double Dribble. That game was the shit.

Brad said...

The reason Doug Williams and Herschel Walker were white in the game is on account that they used the 1990 Japan version of Tecmo Bowl. Those players were Mark Rypien and Daryl Johnston on that version.

That # 35 on Chicago is actually Neal Anderson as well. This version was released in Japan only for the famicom system.

If you notice, Johnston is slow as a snail as well. Walker was very fast.

Great write up. Tecmo and RBI are the best games out there.