Despite not being a huge time commitment, Tecmo Super Bowl will only satisfy the most passionate fans of the Tecmo game.
Tecmo Bowl must be one of the most seminal sports video games ever made not only because it shaped the genre, but also because it was the introduction to American football to a lot of people. This short documentary tries to convey the importance of the game through a series of interviews with tournament organizers, players and professional athletes who grew up playing and loving the NES game. It may not be the deepest documentary that could be made about the game and there aren’t any interviews with the developers or explanations about the mechanics or the game’s intricacies, but if you’re interested in the competitive aspect of a classic game for the NES, this is as good as it gets.
Nowadays everyone either plays or has heard of Madden football, but before the annual EA franchise became the king of the genre there was Tecmo Bowl, a football game that came out for the NES in 1987. But while most people keep playing the newest Madden, there are still people out there organizing and participating in Tecmo Bowl tournaments. The biggest of those tournaments is Madison Tecmo, where some of the best players in the world gather to play the game and try to get a prestigious trophy.
Now that competitive gaming is extremely popular thanks to games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and Dota 2, the idea of a documentary about professional Tecmo Bowl players doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it might have looked when this originally came out. But I think this film fails when it comes to explaining why is it so important and what’s the skill involved when it comes to playing it competitively. So if you’ve never played the game before, you’ll struggle to grasp certain concepts. Also, I would have appreciated a different perspective on the game in the form of interviews with people who worked on the game, reviewers, experts or people outside the competitive scene.
Since this is a 25-minute film, watching Tecmo Super Bowl isn’t a huge time commitment (everyone interested can do a quick YouTube search and watch it,) but I think this short film will only satisfy fans of the game who remember it fondly.