“Stop looking at my controller!”

Publisher: Tecmo + Keeps Track of Stats
+ Has both the NFL & NFLPA Licences
+ Play for 3 seasons straight
Developer: Tecmo
Genre: Sports
Released: 1993  
ESRB: NA - Once the ball is snapped you can’t change defenders.
- Friends who cheat!
Platforms: SNES, Genesis


What’s the story?: Anyone who owned an NES and enjoys the great game of Football knows what Tecmo Super Bowl is all about. Fun…and Football! The original NES Tecmo Bowl was monumental in its release for including such featuers as the real names of real NFL Players, nabbing the “NFLPA” license. Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES took another giant step for sports games by allowing for the saving of gamers’ statistics, seasons, and the use of the “Team NFL” license - allowing for real NFL team names and logos.


So what’s new in this Super NES installment? Some bugs found in the first two were fixed and NFL team logos were added to end zones. Gamers could play “season mode” for three seasons straight and choose weather conditions (rain, clear, snow). An automatic “dive play” was added for leaping over the pile for that tough one yard. Oh, and, of course, gamers were able to experience updated 16-bit graphics and sound for Nintendo’s new system. As far as actual gameplay, there are no major changes. Hey – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

retro_review_tecmo_super_bowl_snes_010 What’s to like: Unlike every current Football series, TSB is played on a horizontal field of play. Although a vertical field may in fact be the better overall choice for a Football game (losing track of a deep receiver is common here), there’s no denying that playing left to right works just fine. In my opinion, the horizontal view is actually what gives TSB its addicting arcade feel that made the series such a success.

retro_review_tecmo_super_bowl_snes_013 The Tecmo Bowl series has a certain knack for being simple, yet incredibly addictive. On offense – choose a play out of a selection of eight (four runs, four passes), snap the ball, switch receivers by pressing “A” and fire a pass with “B”. If you chose a run, simply snap the ball, find and opening run through it – jam on the “A” button to break tackles, or, if you’re using Barry Sanders, just run.

retro_review_tecmo_super_bowl_snes_014 TSB for the SNES follows its predecessors by including both the NFL and NFLPA licensees – this allows for the use of real NFL teams and players (except for Joe Montana). Being the only game at the time, this was a huge selling point for the Tecmo Bowl series. Going through every team to see how your favorite NFL players were ranked in the digital sports world of TSB was as addicting as playing the actual game.


retro_review_tecmo_super_bowl_snes_006 What’s not to like: Throwing down-field in TSB is “a shot in the dark”, as you can only see about 30 yards of the field. With the game being played horizontally, there’s really nothing Tecmo could have done about this. Of course, they could have made the game zoom out, expanding the field of view, but this would have change gameplay drastically, and was definitely better left untouched.

retro_review_tecmo_super_bowl_snes_009 My biggest gripe with TSB is the inability to change defenders once a play begins (this can actually go for the first three TB games). If your opponent “breaks one” and your selected defender misses his tackle, you’re screwed. You’ll have to hope your computer controlled A.I. defenders can handle the job. I don’t see why devs never let players do this on defense.

retro_review_tecmo_super_bowl_snes_015 One more negative – If you have a buddy that doesn’t play fair, your QB will be on the ground more often than not. You see, all a dishonest friend would have to do is take a quick look at your thumbs when you’re selecting a play. It’s fairly easy really. An exact match of plays will result in some seriously bad news for the offense. You must protect against this by “shielding” your controller from the cheater’s sight – selecting a play with the controller at face level seems to work best.

Check out some offensive domination TSB style in the video below. B. Sanders, Novacek, Marino, and even the great J.J. Birden wreak havoc in this one. Enjoy, and happy Super Sunday.


Without a doubt, the first two Tecmo Bowls changed Football games forever. By the time this SNES version was released, the series had some pretty intense competition (especially from EA’s flagship title – John Madden Football). But this really doesn’t matter – the arcade feel and simplicity found in TSB, gives it a fun, “pick up & play” feel that just can’t be matched. Squatty players and all, TSB is a true American classic worth all the hours you will spend playing it.

User Score: [ratings]