Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Tecmo Bowl

Go To
Tecmo Bowl is a video game series. It is based on American Football and was released in arcades in 1987. It was later ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989 (and ported twice again - once in 1991 for the Game Boy and again for the Virtual Console in 2007; albeit in the VC release, the players' names are removed and represented by their number) You can choose from 12 teams, a password option, and started a trend. In December 1991, a sequel was released called Tecmo Super Bowl. Nearly two years later, Tecmo Super Bowl was brought to the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Despite having a similar name to the NES game, it is not a port. Two years later, Tecmo released two more sequels - Tecmo Super Bowl 2: Special Edition and Tecmo Super Bowl 3: The Final Edition. Despite the last one implying it was the final edition, another Tecmo Super Bowl game was released for the Sony PlayStation in 1996. Nearly twelve years later, the franchise was reborn with the release of Tecmo Bowl: Kickoff for the Nintendo DS in November 2008. The most recent release in the series was Tecmo Bowl Throwback for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 in April 2010.

The series in general include:

  • Cut Scene: Every once in a while, the game will temporarily cut from the game and show, for example, a short cutscene of a field goal or kick. There's more ways to trigger these cut scenes. The older games also had a short halftime show cutscene.

The Arcade and NES versions include the following tropes:

  • Cap: Scores top out at 99 points on the NES version. Even if a team were to score or allow 100+ points in a game, only 99 gets counted toward that team's total.
    • This cap is removed from the 16-bit versions, as scores of 100 or more points are now displayable on the scoreboard.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The NES version in particular has only four plays by team, two minutes per quarter but a clock that stops every time a play ends, unable to edit your roster, no injuries, and more.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: If the defense play matches the offense play that is used, the offensive line will explode and render the quarterback and running back helpless to a sacking.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: On the NES version, inputting certain passwords will cause the game to freeze if you call an offensive play.
    • In Tecmo Super Bowl, controlling the nose tackle and making an inside move on the center will always result in a tackle for loss, no matter what. Many competitive TSB leagues consider controlling the DT cheating because of this.
    • In Tecmo Bowl, it's possible for a glitch to allow you to play an ultra-powerful team of bugged players with solid grey uniforms and superhuman stats. Sadly, the grey team is too glitchy to play an entire game with.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Washington's team is well-balanced. Doug Williams has two potent weapons to use in players like Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders. They retain that distinction in TSB, only with Mark Rypien replacing Doug Williams.
  • Joke Character: Steve Grogan is typically seen as the worst player in Tecmo Super Bowl.
  • The Juggernaut: Many games will feature a running back with such high hitting power that they can basically plow through defenders. The only way to stop them is with a diving tackle, which always works.
    • In the original Tecmo Bowl, Herschel Walker of Dallas and to a slightly lesser extent Kevin Mack of Cleveland.
    • Advertisement:
    • In the NES version of Tecmo Super Bowl, there are a few: Reggie Cobb of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Christian Okoye of the Kansas City Chiefs, Michael Haddix of the Green Bay Packers, and Craig "Ironhead" Heyward of the New Orleans Saints (NES version of Super Bowl) and Atlanta Falcons (SNES version of Super Bowl, II and III).
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bo Jackson of Los Angeles. If the other player doesn't stop his run, he'll score a touchdown before the other player can react. Same with the barrage Jerry Rice and Joe Montana can prepare on unsuspecting players.
    • Christian Okoye and Ottis Anderson in TSB.
  • Off-Model: Due to sprite color limitations, in the original Tecmo Bowl, Seattle (whose blue-green color scheme was too close to Miami's) was stuck wearing pink uniforms. Less gratingly, Chicago wore black instead of navy blue since their blue was too close to the New York Giants.
    • In the sequel, the Chicago Bears and New York Giants (against certain teams) wear black helmets to make up for a lack of navy blue. Even more puzzling: the Phoenix Cardinals wear powder blue helmets in their secondary color scheme.
  • Stone Wall: Lawrence Taylor can block field goal kicks and can shut down any offense plays, if timed right. Fredd Young (Seattle) is almost as good. Chicago has two stone walls - Steve McMichael and Mike Singletary.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The original Tecmo Bowl hadn't gotten a license to use the actual NFL team names and logos, only the player names. The teams were referred to only by city/state, and the logos were completely different.note 

Tecmo Super Bowl II and III include the following tropes

  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In Tecmo Super Bowl III, if a player fumbles, the word 'FUMBLE' scrolls across the screen. If the ball is recovered before the scrolling word is finished, the game does not recognize change of possession. So, should the defender return the fumble for a touchdown, they score a safety instead. Should the defense recover a fumble after a long pass and fail to return it far, first down for the offense.
    • In Tecmo Super Bowl III, if the computer is behind and happens to score a touchdown as time runs out, the computer will get caught in an infinite loop of going for the two point conversion, changing its mind, deciding to go for the two point conversion, changing its mind, deciding to go for the two point conversion...
  • Lightning Bruiser: Daryl Johnston of the Dallas Cowboys has one of the highest hitting powers in the game, and is pretty fast. Combine that and he's so good that it's common for Cowboys players to switch up their playbook to give him more runs, and sometimes even switch him and Emmitt Smith.
  • Mighty Glacier: Craig 'Ironhead' Hayward, of the Atlanta Falcons in III. He's not quick, but if he's in any condition above 'bad' he'll steamroll almost everyone who tries to tackle him. In 'excellent' condition he's a Lightning Bruiser as well.
  • Obvious Beta: Tecmo Super Bowl III had several features that had been implemented without perfecting them, including but not limited to...
    • Players had a chance to avoid a direct contact tackle by spinning. After the spin, if there were any computer controlled players on top of them, they wouldn't be able to tackle, they'd just go through the player. This resulted in easy 50+ yard runs for computer controlled running backs.
    • Players could jump to avoid a diving tackle. If they were too near the top of the screen and jumped, the game considered it out of bounds.
    • If a runner and a defender collided, the runner would sometimes attempt to either push the defender back, or run dragging the defender who was hanging on his leg. If a player controlled player had this happen to them, they'd be easily slowed down for a tackle, but computer controlled players could sometimes drag or push a character for 20 yards at full speed.

Video Example(s):


Bo Jackson

"I won the game, and now I'm gonna jump. Bo Jackson!

How well does it match the trope?

4.82 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / GameBreaker

Media sources: