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Tecmo Super Bowl NES


MCM0313
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As a kid, I once rented an NES game that had all 28 at the time NFL teams, and their helmet logos, and actual players. I forgot the name of that game (Tecmo Super Bowl) until college. Lately I’ve been learning more about Tecmo Super Bowl and found it interesting that they could manage to be as accurate as they were given the technological limitations of working in 8-bit programming, especially when the helmet was automatically the same color as the pants. 

 

I also find it interesting that approximately half the NFL teams have alternate uniforms in this game, presumably to avoid clashes. There really was a great deal of attention and effort put in. 

 

Anyway, I’m meaning for this thread to serve as a piggyback from this excellent thread on a Tecmo forum: https://tecmobowl.org/forums/topic/52933-tecmo-super-bowl-uniforms-nes/

 

The Tecmo thread is good but leaves out a few alternates plus doesn’t show pictures of the various uniforms in action. Now we can play the game on our phones and computers and take screenshots, so I think it would be nice to visually catalogue the various uniforms used in this impressive game. I should be able to post a lot of them in the coming days if anyone can tell me what the preferred image-hosting site is these days. Also, if a mod wants to move this to a different forum, I don’t object. 

 

I'll show images of all the uniforms a given team wears in the game, and also give a brief description of the team itself in TSB. 

 

All uniforms are described as (helmet-jersey-pants). For instance, the Colts are white-blue-white.

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1. Buffalo Bills

(pink-blue-pink)

 

Right away we run into some of the game's graphical limitations. The Bills are one of only four teams in the NFL at the time whose helmet, dark jersey, and pants were three different colors (Browns, Bengals, and Broncos were the other three; no non-B teams allowed, apparently). The programmers' first priority was getting the helmet color right, or as close to it as possible. For whatever reason, though, the programmers seemed hesitant to code in plain red as a uniform color. The Bills' helmet and pants, the Chiefs' primary helmet and pants, and the Patriots' and 49ers' jerseys all have pinkish tints to them. At the same time, though, the game is capable of displaying normal red - when the Bills play the Chiefs, Kansas City's helmet and pants change to a shade close to what they wear in real life.

 

The Bills have no alternate uniforms. As far as I can tell, the Chiefs are the only team that wears an alt against them. This photo shows the Bills playing against the Packers.

 

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The 1990 Buffalo Bills' narrow Super Bowl loss to the Giants was still fresh on everyone's minds while this game was being programmed and fine-tuned. The 1990 team had been a truly elite squad, a veritable buzzsaw that blew through the AFC playoffs with ease. Unsurprisingly, then, they are a strong team in Tecmo Super Bowl, and one of the game's most balanced. Jim Kelly was not an NFLPA member at this time, and was thus represented as "QB Bills." He was a strong quarterback, and the defense was solid, with reigning real-life Defensive Player of the Year Bruce Smith and a strong linebacking corps. The Bills are one of the best teams and most popular picks in the game.

 

The real-life 1991 Bills would repeat as AFC champions, though their path to the Super Bowl would be much trickier than that of the 1990 squad. They would get blown out by the Redskins in Super Bowl XXVI, however, and by the Cowboys in the two after that. To this day, the 1990-93 Bills are the only team to appear in four straight Super Bowls. This game captures them at the height of their powers.

 

 

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In real life 1991, the Bills would have beat the ever loving piss out of the Packers.

But on Tecmo?  Packers nose tackle Bob Nelson, who had a very pedestrian career in real life, is somehow Superman in NES form.  Between him and Sterling Sharpe on offense, they're a surprisingly decent team.

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23 hours ago, NicDB said:

In real life 1991, the Bills would have beat the ever loving piss out of the Packers.

But on Tecmo?  Packers nose tackle Bob Nelson, who had a very pedestrian career in real life, is somehow Superman in NES form.  Between him and Sterling Sharpe on offense, they're a surprisingly decent team.

The Bills are definitely a better overall team than the Packers in TSB. I don't think I finished that game, but I'm pretty sure I would've won had I done so.

 

 

 

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Tecmo Super Bowl has AI that will make some games (especially in the playoffs) basically impossible to win.

 

I've found that the Eagles are the best team in the game (against the computer at least) because of QB Eagles/Randall Cunningham. Either throw to an open receiver or run for a first down and you'll score almost every drive unless you're unlucky. They have a good defense too. 

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The Eagles became one of my go-tos for that reason. This being Wisconsin, a lot of the people I played took the Packers and knew the Bob Nelson "cheat." So, naturally, I needed a QB who was quick enough to escape the onslaught down the middle. QB Eagles running for 300 or even 400 yards wasn't uncommon when I played.

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On this Christmas Eve, it's time for the next installment in this series:

 

2. Miami Dolphins (white-aqua-white)

 

The Dolphins have one of the most accurate uniforms in Tecmo Super Bowl, instantly recognizable even by folks who aren't football fans per se. It's a little ironic that a team which wears its dark jerseys just a few times a season would be wearing them full-time in the game, but aqua-white-aqua wouldn't be accurate. They have no alternate uniform, and why would they? Their aqua color is unique to them, both in-game and in real life.

 

 

...or do they? Like several others in the league, the Dolphins' primary color can change shades based on who they are playing. First, a still from their game against the Rams, followed by a highlight celebrating a quarterback sack (their uniforms within the highlight never change):

 

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Now, a still from a game against the Cardinals:

 

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Definitely a darker shade of aqua against the yellow-jerseyed Rams and a lighter one against the cardinal-jerseyed...well, Cardinals. The programmers seem to have put a lot of thought into establishing sufficient contrast between not just colors but shades and saturations as well, lest a colorblind player become confused as to who was who.

 

 

As far as the Dolphins' team, it's pretty much what you'd expect from the early-1990s Dolphins: superstar quarterback, middling talent around him. The running game is okay: halfback Sammie Smith is middling in both speed and hit power, but fullback Tony Paige is strong enough to popcorn lots of defenders, and backup halfback Troy Stradford is fast enough to make a difference at times. The defense is mostly just a couple good players (inside linebacker John Offerdahl, shown in the highlight, being one of them) and a bunch of duds. They did manage to get me a key interception or two off Jim Everett to help preserve my win over the Rams, but they gave up a ton of yards too.

 

 

The question is, were the programmers really fair in terms of the Dolphins' talent level? When this game was made, the real-life Dolphins were coming off a fine season: they were 12-4 in 1990, snagging the top AFC wild-card spot and beating the Chiefs in the first round before running out of gas in an Orchard Park shootout against the stalwart Bills. The 1990 Dolphins' defense was top-ten in most categories, too.

 

Perhaps Tecmo simply took the long view here. The 1990 season was great, but they had missed the playoffs every year from 1986-89. Overall, they were a slightly above-average team over the course of those five years, not too much different from the middle-of-the-pack ranking TSB gives them. In 1991 they would fall to 8-8, missing the playoffs as a direct result of being swept by the hated (and mediocre) Jets, with those Jersey (A) rivals squeezing into the last wild card spot. The 1992 squad would take Marino to his final AFC Championship game, but the Dolphins have never so much as had a first-round bye since.

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Ark said:

Tecmo Super Bowl has AI that will make some games (especially in the playoffs) basically impossible to win.

 

I've found that the Eagles are the best team in the game (against the computer at least) because of QB Eagles/Randall Cunningham. Either throw to an open receiver or run for a first down and you'll score almost every drive unless you're unlucky. They have a good defense too. 

 

The Eagles defense from that year was #1 against the run, pass, and total yards.  In 2017, ESPN named it the best defense of the past 30 years (I assume that goes back to 1987.)  IIRC all the teams used a 3-4 defense, so the Eagles line in TSB was all 1st team All Pros, and they had Eric Allen and Seth Joyner behind them. 

 

The funny thing is that because of the 3-4 defense, one of the LBs that starts in the game barely saw the field in RL.

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17 minutes ago, BringBackTheVet said:

 

The Eagles defense from that year was #1 against the run, pass, and total yards.  In 2017, ESPN named it the best defense of the past 30 years (I assume that goes back to 1987.)  IIRC all the teams used a 3-4 defense, so the Eagles line in TSB was all 1st team All Pros, and they had Eric Allen and Seth Joyner behind them. 

 

The funny thing is that because of the 3-4 defense, one of the LBs that starts in the game barely saw the field in RL.

 

Didn't the Eagles D have, like, 7 pro bowlers that year?

 

The 91-92 pro bowl was the first one I ever watched. It seemed like the entire NFC defense was wearing Eagles or Saints helmets.

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34 minutes ago, BringBackTheVet said:

 

The Eagles defense from that year was #1 against the run, pass, and total yards.  In 2017, ESPN named it the best defense of the past 30 years (I assume that goes back to 1987.)  IIRC all the teams used a 3-4 defense, so the Eagles line in TSB was all 1st team All Pros, and they had Eric Allen and Seth Joyner behind them. 

 

The funny thing is that because of the 3-4 defense, one of the LBs that starts in the game barely saw the field in RL.

Nah, they still had an accurate starting lineup for 4-3 teams. Tecmo just would just move a defensive lineman (usually a tackle) to linebacker (usually inside). In Philly's case that was the late Jerome Brown. Other ersatz linebackers include Hall of Famers Dan Hampton and the late Cortez Kennedy, as well as Pro Bowlers Ray Childress and Keith Millard.

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4 hours ago, MCM0313 said:

Nah, they still had an accurate starting lineup for 4-3 teams. Tecmo just would just move a defensive lineman (usually a tackle) to linebacker (usually inside). In Philly's case that was the late Jerome Brown. Other ersatz linebackers include Hall of Famers Dan Hampton and the late Cortez Kennedy, as well as Pro Bowlers Ray Childress and Keith Millard.

 

Jessie Small was who I was talking about.  Dude was a borderline special teamer, but was put in the game with an all-time defense.  Wonder why William Thomas wasn't in the game.

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I've typically been more partial to the SNES version (which had more accurate uniforms due to technology marching on ), though I do remember the approach taken to the Giants and Jets...the Giants' alternate used black helmets and pants, while the Jets alt was basically the Namath set.

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On 12/24/2019 at 11:38 PM, BringBackTheVet said:

 

Jessie Small was who I was talking about.  Dude was a borderline special teamer, but was put in the game with an all-time defense.  Wonder why William Thomas wasn't in the game.

Huh. That’s odd. Contract dispute, perhaps? That was the reason for the absences of Eric Dickerson and Bobby Hebert. 

 

 

On 12/24/2019 at 2:13 PM, MCM0313 said:

On this Christmas Eve, it's time for the next installment in this series:

 

2. Miami Dolphins (white-aqua-white)

 

The Dolphins have one of the most accurate uniforms in Tecmo Super Bowl, instantly recognizable even by folks who aren't football fans per se. It's a little ironic that a team which wears its dark jerseys just a few times a season would be wearing them full-time in the game, but aqua-white-aqua wouldn't be accurate. They have no alternate uniform, and why would they? Their aqua color is unique to them, both in-game and in real life.

 

 

...or do they? Like several others in the league, the Dolphins' primary color can change shades based on who they are playing. First, a still from their game against the Rams, followed by a highlight celebrating a quarterback sack (their uniforms within the highlight never change):

 

KW4cqNeVIFSpXvgwr7f5LKz5Kfo85WWG86iIwgCXJYpSS_NScP6keJpu-jeIEhB1KmYsJBodeRugkcxQ

 

Now, a still from a game against the Cardinals:

 

CWtMVgt_J9-Thk8eh2sVPtNgXRt-D_6bTBEnEwAL

 

 

Definitely a darker shade of aqua against the yellow-jerseyed Rams and a lighter one against the cardinal-jerseyed...well, Cardinals. The programmers seem to have put a lot of thought into establishing sufficient contrast between not just colors but shades and saturations as well, lest a colorblind player become confused as to who was who.

 

 

As far as the Dolphins' team, it's pretty much what you'd expect from the early-1990s Dolphins: superstar quarterback, middling talent around him. The running game is okay: halfback Sammie Smith is middling in both speed and hit power, but fullback Tony Paige is strong enough to popcorn lots of defenders, and backup halfback Troy Stradford is fast enough to make a difference at times. The defense is mostly just a couple good players (inside linebacker John Offerdahl, shown in the highlight, being one of them) and a bunch of duds. They did manage to get me a key interception or two off Jim Everett to help preserve my win over the Rams, but they gave up a ton of yards too.

 

 

The question is, were the programmers really fair in terms of the Dolphins' talent level? When this game was made, the real-life Dolphins were coming off a fine season: they were 12-4 in 1990, snagging the top AFC wild-card spot and beating the Chiefs in the first round before running out of gas in an Orchard Park shootout against the stalwart Bills. The 1990 Dolphins' defense was top-ten in most categories, too.

 

Perhaps Tecmo simply took the long view here. The 1990 season was great, but they had missed the playoffs every year from 1986-89. Overall, they were a slightly above-average team over the course of those five years, not too much different from the middle-of-the-pack ranking TSB gives them. In 1991 they would fall to 8-8, missing the playoffs as a direct result of being swept by the hated (and mediocre) Jets, with those Jersey (A) rivals squeezing into the last wild card spot. The 1992 squad would take Marino to his final AFC Championship game, but the Dolphins have never so much as had a first-round bye since.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thinking maybe the bright shade of aqua was Miami’s default, since it seems to be used a lot and matches the shade used for the team in Tecmo Bowl. 

 

I found an old page (https://archive.kontek.net/tsb.sportplanet.gamespy.com/tecdyn.htm) which states that all teams have alts except the Colts, Cowboys, Eagles, Bears, and Vikings. Haven’t been able to completely verify that yet, but have discovered that the Steelers, Rams, and Falcons all have alts; I had believed none of them did. 

 

Next post, on the Jets, coming soon. 

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Tried to do the Jets tonight, but the site I've been using for embedding my screenshots is giving me grief. It's midnight, way too late to troubleshoot, so instead I'll give you some interesting TSB uniform tidbits I've discovered!

 

There are two kinds of alternates: regular alternates involve a significant change to the color of one or both uniform elements (jersey and/or helmet-pants). These show up both on the field and in cutaway highlights. 

 

"Shade" alternates, on the other hand, leave one element untouched and change the shade (but not the basic color) of the other element. These show up only on the field; highlights treat them the same as the defaults. They're fairly uncommon (six teams have them that I've been able to tell) and seem to be done to enhance contrast between the two teams on the field. The Dolphins' two jerseys that I posted above are a great example of a "shade" alternate. Dolphins highlights always show the darker aqua regardless of what they are wearing on the field. 

 

As far as I've been able to tell, the Chiefs are the only team to have both a regular alt and a shade alt. 

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

3. New England Patriots (white-pink-white)

 

Until I can get back to embedding my own images, I’ll do teams that are easier to find pics of online. First we have the New England Patriots, made infamous by the viral video of Bo Jackson running out the entire quarter while scoring a touchdown. “Family Guy” riffed on this, with Peter as Bo’s Raiders and Quagmire as the inept Pats:

 

 

Fun fact: New England defensive end Garin Veris, the default user-controlled Patriots defender, is from my hometown. The game kind of screwed him over a bit by making him terrible - he was the 1985 defensive rookie of the year, and a solid player for most of his career. Injuries had slowed him down by the ‘90s, and he would finish his time in the NFL with a single season with the 49ers in 1992. A Stanford grad, he would go on to become an attorney and work for the city of Boston. 

 

The Patriots always wear the same white helmet, pink jersey, and white pants as far as I’ve seen. The archived site I mentioned above doesn’t list them as one of the teams with no alts, but I’ve seen them wear no other colors, or even other shades that I could notice, despite testing them against a wide variety of opponents. They are one of the few teams to force the Cardinals to wear their light blue alt helmets and pants. They also force the pink elements of the Chiefs’ and 49ers’ uniforms to adjust to more of a standard red. 

 

Here's a screenshot of the Patriots playing (I think) the Seahawks:

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRDvVDTl9ZOBsFThQh-ZIs

 

 

As far as the team itself, it's terrible. The 1990 Patriots had gone a league-worst 1-15. Quarterbacks Steve Grogan and Marc Wilson appear in the game, but each had made his last NFL appearance by the time it was released. Grogan is the single worst quarterback in the entire game. I know age had eroded his skills somewhat, but this feels unfair - he was probably the most successful dual-threat QB in NFL history prior to Randall Cunningham, and the game gives him a 6, the lowest possible rating, in maximum speed. Wilson is significantly better, but for some reason the game has him as the backup, even though he started more games than Grogan did in 1990. Tackle Bruce Armstrong, tight end Marv Cook, and wideout Irving Fryar are all respectable players in the game. Cook had caught 51 passes in 1990 and the programmers did a good job in making him one of the game's best tight ends; he would make the Pro Bowl in 1991 and '92, and would also be named All-Pro in '92. Hall of Famer Andre Tippett is respectable but not great; the cornerbacks are both solid, but the rest of the defense is pretty much a mess.

 

The real-life 1991 Patriots would improve somewhat to 6-10, but their statistics would seem to indicate that some of the improvement was due to luck. Sure enough, they crashed to 2-14 in 1992. 1993 brought coach Bill Parcells, the #1 overall pick (which became Washington State QB Drew Bledsoe), and a radical new uniform set to Foxborough. They would become a contender under Parcells, culminating in an 11-5 record in a 1996 season that ended with a Super Bowl loss to the Packers. Parcells would then leave to take over the moribund Jets, and would be replaced by Pete Carroll, who ironically enough had been the Jets' head coach in 1994. Carroll kept the team treading water until Bill Belichick's arrival in 2000. Belichick selected QB Tom Brady of M*ch*g*n in the 2000 draft, and went 5-11 his first year, with Brady sitting behind Bledsoe. Then, in 2001, Bledsoe got hurt, Brady stepped in, and the Patriots ended up hoisting their first ever Lombardi Trophy.

 

The franchise hasn't looked back since then. They now have a whopping 19 consecutive winning seasons, with 17 division championships, 12 AFC Championship Game appearances, 9 Super Bowl appearances, and 6 Super Bowl titles in that span. Brady may (or may not) leave town this offseason, but they're already comfortably the greatest dynasty in NFL history. Their TSB representation is a reminder of the laughingstock they once were.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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