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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Special: 10-Yard Fight vs Tecmo Bowl

It’s that time of year again, Super Bowl Sunday. Today it’s the 48th edition of the NFL’s championship game. The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks are squaring off in New Jersey for the Lombardi Trophy. For some it’s a chance to cheer for their favorite team in the biggest game of the year. For other’s it’s a chance to watch the commercials, and enjoy the company of friends and family for a few hours. And of course it’s a chance to eat great food, and imbibe various forms of alcohol. No matter what you enjoy about the game, it’s a big part of American culture, and today I will be sharing my thoughts on the two football-themed video games I experienced growing up.

10-Yard Fight.

By today’s standards, the NES game 10-Yard Fight is pretty weak. Simple graphics, basic plays, and probably the slowest controls ever made. This was the first football video game I ever played, if you don’t count the hand-held football game that my friend Ryan had. My friends and I would play 10-Yard Fight, with me almost always on the losing end. I was never good at it, and always got blown out.

The actual game play is pretty terrible, even for the time. The players run in slow-motion, so trying to gain yards is tedious and tiresome. The basic plays are running and passing, and you don’t always seem to be able to control where the ball is thrown. Defense isn’t any better, you move slowly, and if you are playing against the computer you usually have to wait for the motion man to cross the field before the ball is snapped. It may be football, but it’s a horrible rendition.

Tecmo Bowl.

The second video football game I ever experienced was the 1989 Tecmo Bowl, also on the NES. When compared to 10-Yard Fight, Tecmo Bowl is a masterpiece. By today’s standards it’s a much simpler game than what you find on the modern consoles, but it still has a certain nostalgic value for most people. The music is memorable, and the game play itself is a much richer experience than that of 10-Yard Fight. Tecmo Bowl provides a team with real NFL players on it, and allows you to control players like the legendary John Elway, or Walter Payton. Too bad they couldn’t get licensing for the team logos. That’s right, they use real player names, but when you see a close-up of the helmets, they look nothing like the actual team helmets of the day.

At this point it’s probably easier to just use video and screenshot comparisons to really tell the story of these two games. So with out further ado….

 First we will look at the differences between the title screens.

Ok, so there is no real differences with the title screen themselves. Both tell you the name of the game, the year(s) published, and who made it. The biggest difference is the music. Tecmo Bowl uses a catchy tune right from the get go, while 10-Yard fight just sits there quietly, almost daring you to press start.

Next is a look at the scoring sequence. Compare this:

To this:

I couldn't get my own game footage to load properly for Tecmo Bowl, so I found a different one on YouTube. But it really highlights the differences in game play between these two games. It's worth noting that it was common place to purposely run backwards in Tecmo Bowl and try to run a 99 yard touchdown using Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, or Bo Jackson.

To end this thing, I present the intro for Tecmo Bowl on the NES.

And the winner is....Tecmo Bowl!!!