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Tecmo Super Bowl

Tecmo Super Bowl, released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1991, was one of the first console sports games with real teams and real players. Although the game is somewhat primitive by todays standards, it still has a cult following as it was a very successful game in the NES' final years and remains fairly popular.

Tecmo, at the time famous for the Ninja Gaiden[?] series, released an earlier football game, simply called Tecmo Bowl, in 1987. It was distinct for a huge cabinet (which featured 2 monitors), 4 player support, and the ability to break tackles, unique in football games at the time. It wasn't a big success in arcades but a sequel was released in 1989. The NES port released in 1988 faired a bit better. The NFL Players Assocation licensed the game, which featured 12 teams with real life players, but the NFL itself did not license it.

The Japanese company finally did get the NFL's endorsement, and it led to the release of Tecmo Super Bowl in Spring 1991. It managed to become a great success because of the game's cross of realism and fun game play. All 28 teams were featured with 30 real players rated realistically (3 players, however, Jim Kelly[?], Randall Cunningham[?], and Bernie Kosar[?] were represented by generic names, QB Bills, QB Eagles, and QB Browns respectively), and it featured a full season schedule, a full postseason and Super Bowl and a Pro Bowl, now commonplace ideas that had never been seen at the time in a video game. With all the realism added, it retained a lot of the fun arcade-style football gameplay that the original game had, retaining its unique ability to break tackles, but it was more refined and deeper than it was before, thanks to new plays (and editable playbooks), fumbles, and even injuries, ideas mostly foreign at the time to gamers.

The game was highly playable, and in 1997, it was named one of the top 100 video games of all time by Electronic Gamers' Monthly (EGM), for many of the reasons listed above.

Tecmo tried to capitalize on the success of Tecmo Super Bowl in 1992 by releasing an NBA Basketball game for the NES (and later the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis) which featured real teams and real players (including a rare appearance by Michael Jordan in a console game), but it suffered major gameplay problems and bugs. Gameplay problems also plagued baseball and hockey games that were released by the company after it went exclusively to 16-bit systems. They didn't seem to plague Tecmo Super Bowl as much, as it released 3 versions on SNES and Genesis. They weren't as popular as the original however. The last game in the series was subtitled "Final Edition", but in 1997, it was revived on the PlayStation, to fairly minimal press, and the series faded into oblivion.

In spite of this, the game remains popular among fans. Thanks to NES emulators and ROM editors that allow people to update the game's rosters, the legacy of the game lives on.

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