Are You Ready for Some Football?! Tecmo Super Bowl & NFL Blitz – Wes’ Alternatives to Madden

Are You Ready for Some Football?! Tecmo Super Bowl & NFL Blitz – Wes’ Alternatives to Madden


Aww yeah, it’s my favorite time of year:
football season—which has me pumped up to play some football video games! The problem is, is that I don’t wanna play
Madden, and for the last decade that’s really the only choice that we’ve been given. What is up with that?! In June of 2004, Sega published its sixth
installment in the NFL 2K series: ESPN NFL 2K5, to rival EA’s own powerhouse franchise,
John Madden Football. For years the Madden franchise had dominated
the football-video game market, and the marketing geniuses at Sega hatched a brilliant plan
to compete with Electronic Arts by releasing NFL 2K5 at a suggested retail price of $19.99
right out of the gate, as opposed to Madden’s $49.99 price tag. As one developer at EA had stated, “It scared
the hell out of us,” which forced the juggernaut publisher to reduce the MSRP to $29.99. Regardless, NFL 2K5 sold extremely well, and
on top of that, was hailed by critics as a superior game to Madden. This allowed many football fans to indulge
in a new football video game experience, rather than having to resort to shelling out yet
another fifty bucks to basically play the same game with updated rosters. And Electronic Arts would have none of it. Five months after the release of NFL 2K5 EA
vowed to never let something like this happen again, and offered the NFL the golden goose—an
estimated $300 million dollars to retain sole licensing rights from the NFL—teams, players,
stadiums, coaches, hell, even the hot dog vendors! Well, not really, but you get the idea. And the National Football League—never an
organization to shy away from stuffing their already overflowing pockets—graciously accepted. That meant that beloved franchises such as
NFL Blitz and the aforementioned NFL 2K series could no longer use real NFL teams and its
players to give gamers an alternative to whatever EA decided to feed us, thus monopolizing the
market. This did not sit well with gamers or football
fans, but what could you do? The Blitz series attempted a comeback with
an over-the-top fictional league and players called: Blitz-The League, which included dirty
plays along with steroid use, borrowing elements reminiscent of the short-lived ESPN fictional
football drama, Playmakers–which, surprise surprise, was shut down by the NFL for portraying
football players in a negative light. Needless to say, without the NFL license,
the game failed miserably despite retaining the quick-paced arcade style football action
which was the epitome of what made Blitz so endearing to begin with. The exclusive partnership between the two
evil acronymed empires continues on to this day, with contract extension after contract
extension continually passing millions of dollars between the talons of these blood
sucking enterprises, denying fans of what they have coveted for years, an alternative
to John Madden Football. So what are us fans who refuse to shell out
sixty bucks each and every year for basically the same game to do when we want to enjoy
a fun football experience in the comfort of our own living rooms? What else? Play some of the classics. Let’s take a look at two of my favorites. In 1991 Tecmo released Super Tecmo Bowl for
the NES, a follow-up to the highly popular Tecmo Bowl which was released back in 1989. This latest addition included numerous improvements
over its predecessor, such as the ability to select any of the 28 NFL teams from the
1990 season, as opposed to Tecmo Bowl’s 12, while also including a majority of the
players from that same season’s NFL roster. The game offered a slew of new features and
play modes, which was pretty damn cool for an NES sports title at the time, and encouraged
replay by keeping track of standings, player stats and league leaders in numerous categories,
such as quarterback and running back play. The ability to simulate a full-length 16-game
season was a major draw for football fanatics and gamers alike, many whose team’s only
shot at winning the Super Bowl was done so vicariously through a little grey box on a
television screen. Other improvements over the original Tecmo
Bowl included twice as many plays to choose from, a coin-toss feature, and the ability
to allow a ten-second run-off in between plays in conformity to NFL rules. Aesthetically, the game looks almost exactly
the same as its predecessor with minor improvements such as superior visuals in the cut-scene
department. Typical of Tecmo, the originator of the video
game cut-scene, Tecmo Super Bowl is loaded with them here, often switching to an impressive
animated graphic when a close play occurs, heightening the suspense of the outcome. The game offers five minute quarters, with
the clock running at an accelerated rate, encouraging fast-action, arcade style gameplay,
which is one of the draws that makes Tecmo Super Bowl such a cult-classic and easily
the best football game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. The game is not without its faults, though. One of my biggest gripes with Tecmo Super
Bowl is the manner that a regular season is played out. In order to play each game week to week with
your desired team, tedious monotony is required. Prior to playing your next scheduled game,
you first have to check the schedule to determine who your opponent will be. Then, you have to go to the team control option
and select your team to be controlled by “man”, allowing you to take the reigns, and additionally,
you will need to select “com” for your opponent, thus indicating the intention of
that team to be commanded by the computer. Now, in between all of this, you’ll need
to ensure that all other 26 teams are set to “skip” to automatically simulate the
remaining games for the week to be played out. Thank god the skip option is set by default,
but going through each game, scoreboard watching, is unbelievably boring, and in all honesty,
this could’ve been designed much better by the developers at Tecmo. On the other hand, you could select any one
of these teams as com vs. com, and watch the match-up played out before you in live action,
but who would really want to sit through such a painful exercise in redundancy? Personally, I’d rather watch paint dry while
sitting in a tub of salt, inserting needles into my groin. But hey, that’s just me. Oh, and I almost forgot, make sure to wash,
rinse and repeat this procedure for all seventeen grueling weeks of the 1990 season. The gameplay on the other hand, is extremely
intuitive, and its simplistic manner makes for a fun and addictive experience. With only eight offensive plays to select
from for each team—four running and four passing—picking up the gist of the game
is child’s play. On defense, you basically want to predict
which play the offense will call, hopefully choosing a pass play to defend against any
pass selection and vice versa with the ground game. Selecting the exact same play as your opponent
results in a sack or loss of yardage. Now since the game is 25 years old, some handicaps
are put into place, ensuring that many of the match-ups aren’t completely one-sided. Take the Denver Broncos for example, who had
an absolutely abysmal 1990 season, finishing at 5-11. Despite having a wide open receiver three
plays in a row, all three of them result in incomplete passes. From a hall of fame quarterback, nonetheless! Its frustrating instances of bullshit as these,
which makes up for a supposedly “bad” team being able to blowout a seemingly more
superior team. NFL Blitz would perfect this intangible later
on, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Injuries can also play a role, as some of
the better players can be sidelined for a few games, needing to be replaced by back-ups. Of course, just like in real life, the back-ups
can often carry the slack, and I found that this didn’t alter the gameplay all that
much. I have to admit, Tecmo Super Bowl is an absolute
blast to play, especially 2-player mode, and even gamers unfamiliar with football can find
tons of enjoyment with its easy-to-pick-up, quick-n-simple arcade style. It’s what keeps the game relevant today,
despite its extremely outdated roster, cities and team names. The LA Rams?! C’mon, that was ancient his—um, yeah,
ok well, that one can be overlooked, but look at this, the Washington Redskins? I mean, what the hell were they think—ok, bad example. But hey, remember Steve Atwater? Or how about
Bo Jackson? Yeah, we all know Bo. “Bo, you don’t know Diddley.” Now Tecmo Super Bowl isn’t exactly expensive,
but it’s not the cheapest sports title for the NES, either. But the gameplay is without a doubt the archetype
for pigskin competition on the NES, making it the most desirable 8-bit football game
out there, and even has hacked homebrew carts with updated rosters available—for a pretty
hefty price of course. If the cost of a new modern gen game for updated
rosters seems worth it to you, then by all means, go for it. But for the rest of us, Tecmo Super Bowl offers
plenty of fun-filled hours of addictive gameplay with the Lombardi Trophy just an A button’s
press away from our fingertips. After acquiring the rights to Blitz following
Midway’s bankruptcy, Electronic Arts released the first NFL Blitz in years—on January
4th, 2012—three days after the conclusion of the 2011 season. Was this late release a marketing decision
by the big wigs at EA to prevent competition with their own Madden franchise? Most likely yes, and to also appease Madden
fans who had played the game into the ground up to that point. As a digital only game for the PS3 and Xbox
360, NFL Blitz returned to form and whetted the appetites of die-hard Blitz fans such
as myself, who had been having Blitz withdrawals for years. The purpose of NFL Blitz is to provide fast-paced,
non-stop, arcade-style football action for those who don’t want to spend the amount
of time it takes to play the life-like games that one experiences in Madden. NFL Blitz is the perfect title to play with
friends on the couch or *cough* online. A game takes roughly 15-20 minutes to complete,
so it’s easy to squeeze in three games within an hour. Now if you’re unfamiliar with Blitz, let
me run down some of the rules for you. In order to get a first down, you must gain
thirty yards instead of ten. There’s no penalties and dirty play is actually
encouraged. Nothing breaks up a pass better than some
good ‘ol fashioned pass interference! The quarters are two minutes in length with
the clock stopping after every play, so no timeouts are required. And in typical Midway fashion, players can
catch on fire just like in NBA Jam, making the players quicker and stronger with unlimited
turbo meters. With a limited number of plays, NFL Blitz
simplifies the play-calling on both offense and defense, and even includes audibles. This allows for casual sports fans to enjoy
the game as well, where dissecting plays before the snap is not required, although it does
help. In this regard, Blitz is very much like Tecmo
Bowl and I have often referred to Blitz as Tecmo Bowl’s spiritual successor. And similar to Tecmo Bowl, Blitz puts into
play what I’ve always called “Blitz bullshit”. When you’re blowing out a team, you all
of a sudden find yourself fumbling at the most inopportune times or witnessing your
opponent break out of every tackle just to give them a chance. While in my opinion, playing defense is the
key to winning at Blitz, you’ll have a hell of a time shutting the other team out. The game has several modes to immerse yourself
in, such as the Blitz Gauntlet, where you face off against a tower of foes akin to Midway’s
Mortal Kombat series, with goofy-ass bosses to take down such as a team of Yetis, or quite
possibly my favorite, The Hotdogs. Blitz doesn’t take itself seriously, and
that’s one of the biggest attractions to this over-the-top football romp. By defeating these outrageous bosses, you
unlock codes and the comedic boss-teams themselves, for use in future games. Entering codes prior to certain match-ups
unlocks all kinds of football abnormalities to change-up gameplay, again, similar to the
Mortal Kombat series. And during boss battles the field is littered
with power-ups to be collected to affect the outcome of the game such as the ability to
freeze time, instant fire and super speed. What a freakin’ blast! NFL Blitz is a complete caricature of professional
football, from its near-impossible over-the-top plays to the comedic banter of the play-by-play
and color announcers with hilarious quips such as these: Announcer 1: “Nice return there–or was it? I wasn’t really paying attention, Brian, I’m trying to open this bag of corn chips.” Announcer 2: “Hey, anyone see what I did with my nephew? I’m supposed to keep an eye on him. Ah, he’ll turn up.” And don’t forget the late hits, a long-running staple in the Blitz series! There’s nothing more gratifying than delivering
a leg drop to your opponent after you give up that first down. Exacting revenge has never been sweet—wait
a minute…what?! The late hits were removed from the game?! That’s right, the NFL made EA remove the
late hits. I’m dead serious, the “No Fun League”
forced EA to remove the late hits which was one of the most satisfying aspects of Blitz. No more hitting the “virtual punching bag”,
as the NFL’s focus on “player safety” overrode this overly-exaggerated exercise
in bad sportsmanship. Roger Goodell, you’re my hero. NFL Blitz 2012 is still a ton of fun to play
and absolutely addicting, despite its outdated roster. I mean, God’s favorite son isn’t even
in the league anymore. How awesome would it be if EA allowed us to
purchase updated rosters every season for five dollars, seeing as they refuse to release
a new game?! I’d gladly shell out five bucks ever year
for this. But alas, this would most likely cut into
Madden’s sales, and god knows that fat bastard needs another million dollars to stuff under
his mattress. What does Madden even have to do with the
franchise anymore? Argh! Ok, let me reel it back in here, I’m getting
off track. NFL Blitz is still worth picking up today,
but not for fifteen bucks. Usually the game is on sale for about five
dollars, but seeing as we’re about to start a new football season, the cost of this four-year
old game has gone back to its original price. Don’t pay this, especially since the online
game has been completely ruined with bogged-down play slower than the reflexes of an aging
linebacker suffering from CTE. I honestly believe EA sabotaged their own
game by making the online game virtually unplayable to push more Madden sales. God bless EA and the NFL! Despite this atrocity, NFL Blitz is still
a suitable alternative to John Madden Football, and is highly recommended for those of us
who desire a change in how we want to play “America’s Greatest Game” in the comfort
of our own living rooms. It’s just a damn shame that it still supports
EA’s monopoly of the football video game market. Announcer 1: “This has been a great game so far, Brian.” Announcer 2: “Speaking of great games, Tim, did you see the new Madden game this season? Unbelievable. I gotta talk to my agent, see if we can get a job doing that next year.” Announcer 1: “But doesn’t Madden do it?” Dammit, I really wish they would release another
Blitz, but whatever. Anyway, those are two of my favorite games
that I like to play other than Madden. What are some of your favorite football games
that you like to play when you like to avoid Madden? And, what do you think of the EA and NFL relationship
that monopolizes the market? What are your thoughts on that? Hit me up in the comments below. Thanks a lot for watching this video. Hopefully the 2016 NFL season will be a pretty
damn exciting one. Until next time, I’ll catch you guys later.

13 comments

  1. what about college football games? i am not a big football video game player (likr play-action football for nes and original blitz for ps), but i remember seeing some game based on ncaa football (also primarily made by ea, unfortunately). are they still around and are any a good or better sub for nfl?

  2. Hey Wes!! A video about football? You're the only one who could get me to sit down for an 18 minute football video. At least so far anyway. I honestly haven't watched a game in my life. I wouldn't put it past EA to even buy the rights to the hot dog vendors! Maybe if I leave Tecmo Bowl on and have it show me all the computer run matches I would learn something about football.

    Great video, dude! Very entertaining all the way through. Too bad NFL and EA keep their little deal going. Oh well, not really my concern, but I can totally understand the frustration!

  3. I don't have much to say about football games (as I don't really play them, Blitz on N64 is fun though I can't believe they took out the late hits in recent games, "No Fun League" for sure), but I just wanted to say that your editing skills are on point. A++++ would watch again.

  4. Nice video as always Wes. I haven't played a football game since Madden 94 on the Genesis, when it first came out lol. I don't mind football (mostly because my wife is huge into it, college that is) but I don't watch it otherwise. But I agree 100% with your sentiment about EA and their bullshit monopoly on the NFL licence. I was incensed back in 04 when it happened and it still pisses me off now. I'm glad you looked at it in a humorous way :P.

  5. westapo. you can skip to your game in the schedule screen in tecmo. I think hit a, then skip to week 2. you don't need to set your opponent to computer either. just have yourself as man.

  6. 7:45 If the defense correctly guesses the offensive play, the outcome isn't guaranteed. Human players might be able to complete a pass. For instance, if the 49ers run a Pro T Flare, Montana can beat the blitz by quickly throwing a pass to Brent Jones. That means the play is massively OP!

  7. You're not real familiar with the TSB menus are you? You only have to select a team to man once at the beginning of the season, not every single game. All other teams are on skp by default, but when they play you the simulation will stop so that you can play your game. it wont just keep going since your team is set to man. also you can select to auto skip games in the schedule which will simulate games much quicker since they will only show the scores and not the stats.

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