Tecmo Bowl is an American football arcade game developed and released by Tecmo in 1987. The game was both successful in the arcades, and as a 1989 port for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The NES version was the first console game to feature real NFL players. Although LJN's NFL was the first NES game to feature NFL team names, it was not as successful as Tecmo Bowl. Because of this, and combined with the scarcity of the arcade version, the NES version eclipsed its arcade counterpart in popularity. The NES version was ported to mobile phones in 2004.
The original arcade version was distinguished by a large two-monitor cabinet, support for up to four players, and the ability to break tackles. Only two fictional teams can be chosen: the Wildcats and the Bulldogs. The 2D graphics were also more advanced than the NES version, with the arcade original having a larger color palette and more detailed sprites.
The NES version allowed two players rather than four from the arcade version. The player could choose between three modes: one-player, two-player, and coach. In one-player mode, the player picked a football team and played against the computer. After every game that the player wins, the computer picked another team to play as, and the player stays with his/her original choice. In the two-player and coach modes, the player and another human will play one game but the players only chose the plays in the coach mode (which cannot be done in the arcade version).
In both versions, the playbook consisted of only four offensive plays. When on defense, a player selected which play thought to be the one that the offense would select; if chosen correctly, it would result in a collapse of the offensive line and well-covered receivers.
Tecmo Bowl contains twelve teams, each equipped with four plays. Most teams have two running plays and two passing plays. The exceptions are San Francisco and Miami, who have three passing plays and one running play. Tecmo was not able an obtain an NFL league license to use real team names, as that had been given to LJN's NFL video game for the NES. As a result, the teams in the game are identified solely by their home city or state. However, through the NFLPA license, each roster mimics that of the NFL team based out of the same city or state. Tecmo Bowl only uses players from twelve of the best and most popular teams of the time. The teams featured in the game are Indianapolis, Miami, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles (Raiders), Washington, San Francisco, Dallas, New York (Giants), Chicago, and Minnesota.
How to play:
Click on the joystick icon in the Tecmo Bowl online emulator to see how to control the Tecmo Bowl game