THE CASE FOR: Everyone knows about Tecmo Bowl. There were a lot of football games before it, but it was the first "real" one. By comparison, when you go back and look at the older games, most of them are barely more than a colorful version of the old handheld electronic football game, which was itself only a slight upgrade from the old (completely unplayable) vibrating electric football game. Compared to all that ol' bullshit, Tecmo Bowl looked a lot like... Tecmo Bowl. Tecmo Bowl walked right up to every football game - no, screw that, any sports game, period - that had previously existed, and just slapped it straight in the mouth and said, "fuck you, you are toilet trash for idiots, screw you, fuck you right in the balls," and stomped off like Ice Cube. Except like, Death Certificate Ice Cube, and not Daddy Day Camp Ice Cube. You young-ass motherfuckers don't know about Cube. Seriously though, I don't care, every football game that was published prior to this game was garbage, and I'm old as hell and remember when the Atari 2600 still mattered, SO GET OFF MY LAWN with your Maddens, and your... Maddens... and uh, I guess it's just Madden now. (Fuck Roger Goodell forever)
2K5 NEVER DIE
Anyway, yeah, it had real players doing real plays, and not that old style where you just had some vaguely man-shaped, amorphous blobs kind of smacking into each other until the game told you that the CPU had scored. It was like an actual football game all of a sudden, except just arcadey enough to allow for things like The Legend of Tecmo Bo. It was the first good football game ever released and remained the best one until Tecmo Super Bowl came out in '91.
THE CASE AGAINST: The only problems were mainly just nitpicky things, like not having a license for actual NFL teams, (real players, but fake teams) teams playing with nine guys instead of the standard eleven, and the weirdness of the roster, which is a mix of the 1987 and 1988 versions of the teams. (hence Walter Payton and Tim Brown both being there) But this is still more of an arcade game than a full simulation, so that's the price you pay for running laps around the field with Bo Jackson. Also, most of the copies of this I ever played were the updated ones with Eric Dickerson replaced by Albert Bentley, which sucked partially because Dickerson was still one of the biggest star running backs at the time, (and along with Walter Payton, low-key just as good as Bo) but also, because his name showed up as "DICKER" when he'd have the ball.
Dicker? I hardly know 'er!
CHICAGO BEARS THROUGHOUT TIME - 1987: This game was based mostly on 1987 roster, (aside from having Wilber Marshall on the Washington Racial Slurs, which happened a year later) which was the weird strike year of the "Spare Bears" scab replacement team, a few of whom ended up sticking around once the strike was over, thanks to union-bustin' head coach Mike Ditka. Most notable of these were probably Saints head coach Sean Payton, offensive lineman John Wojciechowski, who actually started a decent amount of the time until 1993, and Glen Kozlowski, who never contributed anything of note, but helped found the Cult of the Slow White Wide Receiver along with Tom Waddle, which lives on to this day in the form of blog commenters calling for Daniel Braverman to supplant Alshon Jefferey as the #1 guy. Anyway, none of those guys showed up on Tecmo Bowl, so eh, whatever.
"Eh, whatever" was Glen's nickname.
Aside from that, it was pretty much 90% of the legendary '85
Super Bowl team and the '86 team that was probably better, at
least until The
Assassination of Jim McMahon by the Coward Charles Martin.
So the Bears were really, really good and made the playoffs, which
as always, was where it all fell apart. The big deal of the season
was the it was the last one for Walter Payton, leading to one of
the most traumatic events of my childhood. You see, I was seven
years old, was barely aware of my surroundings, and had little to
no understanding of how football works. So when the announcers
said something about it being Walter's last game if Washington
won, my brain went into conspiracy mode, thinking it was because
Joe Gibbs or whoever had hatched a fiendish plot to force him out
of the NFL. So when the Bears lost, it devastated me, and even
when I figured out football enough to know how retirement works, I
still hated the Washingtonians for years after that. Fuckers.
CURRENT RANKINGS AS OF September xx, 2016
1. Fallout: New Vegas (XBox 360, 2010)
2. Castlevania (NES, 1986)
3. Tecmo Bowl (NES, 1989)
4. Brütal Legend (XBox 360, 2009)
5. Mike Tyson’s Punch Out !! (NES, 1987)
6. Fallout 3 (XBox 360, 2008)
7. Fallout 2 (PC, 1998)
8. Fallout (PC, 1997)
9. Rampage (NES, 1986)
10. Fallout Shelter (Android, 2015)
11-10,000,000,000,000,000 - TBD
Release Date: 1989 (originally an arcade game in '87)
Cool Football Card I Have From That Year: 1989 Sports Illustrated for Kids Mike Singletary
Cool Movie From That Year: The 'Burbs
Cool Heavy Metal Album from That Year: Slowly We Rot by Obituary