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“Though it was the first video game to showcase real NFL stars and real teams, Tecmo Super Bowl remained true to its predecessor’s ethos. “We did not aim for reality,” Yamaguchi said. “Instead, we emphasized both the sense of speed and strength demonstrated by NFL players.”
That approach led to the creation of a cast of mini superheroes, each of whom had his own heightened set of attributes. In 8-bit form, Joe Montana, John Elway, Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, and Reggie White were unstoppable forces with extraordinary powers. (I’d add Randall Cunningham, Jim Kelly, and Bernie Kosar to that list, but their names didn’t appear due to licensing issues. In TSB, they’re known only as QB Eagles, QB Bills, and QB Browns.)
Okoye was another superstar?—?his “hitting power” made him into a human battering ram. “I really liked that he could make his opponents fly away whenever he was just touched by players of rival teams,” Yamaguchi said. But as invincible as he was, Okoye conceded that the Tecmo crown belongs to someone else.
Nobody is more closely associated with Tecmo Super Bowl than Bo Jackson. The real-life two-sport star was a marvel. Tecmo Bo was a legend. “I think the only player who’s better than me is Bo Jackson,” Okoye said. In the game, the Raiders running back is unstoppable. While developing the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary You Don’t Know Bo, director Michael Bonfiglio kept hearing the same refrain. “Every time I mentioned Bo to somebody they would always say, ‘Tecmo Bowl!’” said Bonfiglio, who slipped footage of Tecmo Bo into the 2012 film. “It was always the first thing that anybody said.”
Jackson’s Tecmo Super Bowl dominance isn’t just part of his own lore. Without the electric presence of Tecmo Bo, the game might’ve ended up buried in a box in America’s dusty attic.”