Are You Ready For Some Football?

As fall unofficially gets underway, and my beloved Washington Nationals continue to dismantle their team piece by piece, the sports landscape turns its collective attention to America’s most beloved sport: football.

Not that stupid World Cup kind, mind you, real football.

I’m not a hardcore fan of the game, but I begrudgingly give it the #2 spot in my favorite sports list as it seems to function in society one must have at least a faint grasp of the goings on in this sport.

Otherwise, what would I have to casually chat about with strangers by the coffee machine on Monday morning?

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With the inevitability of each coming football season is the cash-in of the new version of Madden for the current video game consoles.

That’s right kids, pay full price for essentially the same game you bought last year, but this time the rosters are updated along with a few other tweaks no one gives a shit about besides weird loners (too soon?).

I could go into how EA monopolizing video game football has long killed innovation in the genre and how ESPN 2K5 feels like a distant memory, but there is a glimmer of hope for those of us who have a passing interest in the sport and would like to take a team of gladiators for a spin on the virtual gridiron.

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All My Rowdy Friends

Some would argue the problem with modern football games is the player needs the equivalent knowledge of a football head coach to get any enjoyment out of it.

Players need to know about different package options and enough plays that would make Vince Lombardi’s rotting head spin.

What if we could return to the days of our playground showdowns where there were basically two options: run the ball or pass the ball?

Thankfully, a few years ago, people started saying “enough” to these overpriced yearly updates and started putting out their own yearly updates for the old NES game, Tecmo Super Bowl.

While the main appeal of these games is playing as the current players on an old game, the developers add in a few other tweaks and touches that make it more enjoyable for people playing this game in the 21st century.

The yearly ROM update includes all 32 NFL teams and as close to accurate team uniforms the game can muster.

It’s certainly odd to see teams that didn’t even exist during the heyday of the NES to be represented.

What’s An NES?

Along with the teams are accurate rosters that include all the latest wheelings and dealings. The version I downloaded was last updated on August 27th and includes Adrian Peterson on the Redskins’ squad.

I don’t know enough about teams outside of my own precious circle of hell to verify if they’re completely accurate. It also looked like this version was still in beta, so additional updates will most likely be released once the season gets underway.

Either Way, The Super Bowl Is Already Determined

For me, the updated teams would be enough to download it every year just for Esses & Gees, but the developers try to make it as realistic as possible.

The player stats are tweaked, so they perform realistically to their real-world counterparts.

While this most likely means there’s no over-powered Bo Jackson wannabe, it does mean that Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers play above the likes of whatever poor soul is offered up as tribute by the Cleveland Browns this season.

Good or bad, the game also incorporates the updated rules the NFL recently implemented. While this mainly involves the positioning of kickoffs and field goals, it’s nice to see the attention to detail these people put into this effort.

Added to this are technical updates that make it feel less like you’re playing on a 30+ year old piece of hardware. Depending on the version downloaded, the sprite flicker is reduced, which makes getting tackled by an invisible man a thing of the past.

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The game plays pretty much as I remember it. It may take me a game or two to shake off any rust from the previous year, but once I do, it’s a blast to go through the upcoming season as my team of choice.

I don’t follow NFL teams as much as I do certain players, so I picked the Minnesota Vikings as I’m still applauding Kirk Cousins for sticking it to the ass-hats in Washington.

A Common Occurrence This Season

The offensive and defensive sides of the game are about as simple as they can get. There are three pass plays and three run plays to choose from or defend against.

What the other team selects to run can determine the success or failure of the play, so don’t peek at your friend’s controller, asshole.

My View From The Cheap Seats Looks The Same

Players can either go through a complete season as the team or teams of their choice, as well as play a preseason, or exhibition, game. There is also the option to take control of the entire team, which includes calling the plays and controlling the players, or players can select the Coach option which leaves only the play calling up to the player and lets the computer handle the players’ movement.

There’s a Pro Bowl option, too, but since no one cares about that in real life, I won’t discuss it here.

As player’s progress through a season, injuries can hit players, completely derailing the season. Most of these guys have eighth-grade educations, so they have that to fall back on if they never play another down again.

He Always Has His Degree in…Communications!!

Stick It To The Man!

At the time of this writing, the game is only available via download; however, in recent years, some enterprising people have made carts of the games. I’m assuming once a final version is released, someone will slap it on a cart and sell it on Etsy or someplace.

There’s Money To Be Made

In the meantime, if you have a Raspberry Pi or some other form of emulation, you can jump on it now. There is also an option for a version to add to the NES Classic, and since those are readily available nowadays, there’s no excuse to not get your retro game on.

I’m not the biggest football fan, mostly I just take pleasure in the local team sucking it up, but I do enjoy playing these yearly updates around the start of the season.

Given that the price tag is free, it’s worthwhile just to check out each update. Since the legality is up in the air, I won’t provide a direct link, but if you Google “Tecmo Bowl 2019”, you’ll find it sure enough. Now, here’s what we all came for:

Hey There, Sailor!

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