Wide World of Retro Sports Game Videos Vol. 1

September 25, 2012 at 12:13 am | Posted in Videos | 3 Comments
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There are a lot of great retro sports game videos on YouTube and across the internet.  We highlighted the excellent Polygon mash-up A Brief History of Sports Games recently and it prompted me to explore the medium further for our readers.  Our newest feature, the Wide World of Retro Sports Game Videos, gathers five videos all in one place for your viewing pleasure.  We’ll look to share sports game highlights, reviews, mash-ups, and more.  If it is retro sports-themed, then it belongs on Retro Sports Gamer World.  Volume One features one of the most popular sports game videos of all-time, an ambulance montage from John Madden Football ’92, crazy defensive plays from a softball game, the fastest “tool assisted” fingers to ever face Mike Tyson, and a “Lets Play” review of the classic NES game Ice Hockey.

Bo Jackson goes crazy in Tecmo Super Bowl

If you ever needed to show someone proof of Bo Jackson’s power in Tecmo Super Bowl, witness the hapless New England Patriots chasing him around for an entire quarter before he finally completes a 99-yard touchdown run.  I would love to know how many takes this video took to complete as there are some really close calls.  Bo knows YouTube views.  This video has surpassed an audience of 1.25 million.

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Behind the Scenes with Tecmo Super Bowl 2013

September 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Posted in Features | 6 Comments
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Tecmo Super Bowl.  I would like to channel John Facenda’s stoic voiceover of “The Autumn Wind” while I wax nostalgic about one of the greatest sports games ever.  There was the joy at finding a copy at the video store to rent with a buddy for the weekend, followed by hours of play, eyes bleeding from a lack of sleep when my parents would pick me up for church the next day.  There were the stories a friend would tell over lunch after staying home sick from school the day prior to play through another season.  The game had every NFL team with real players and a complete regular season mode.  These were dreams coming true for sports gamers in 1991.  And if you didn’t witness Bo Jackson with your own NES controller, you’ve probably seen him in YouTube videos racing around defenders or on someone’s list of the greatest video game characters of all-time.  How do you recapture this video game magic of decades past?  With hard work, passion, and a dedicated community, the team from Tecmobowl.org keeps Tecmo Super Bowl alive with an updated game each year.  Here is the story of Tecmo Super Bowl 2013.
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The Collector’s Guide to Tecmo Bowl

September 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Features | 10 Comments
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Tecmo’s football franchise is a true flagship in the world of retro sports gaming.  Fueled by 8-bit success on the NES with the still very popular Tecmo Bowl and Tecmo Super Bowl, Tecmo expanded to the 16-bit era before one last hurrah on the PlayStation in 1996.  Spanning just seven years, the series that mastered two-button football gaming retired as sports gaming moved to 3D.  As with many vintage video games, there have been attempted reboots of Tecmo Bowl to stoke the nostalgic fire of gamers.  All told, if you are a fan of the series or looking to experience it for the first time, the Tecmo Bowl library is very manageable from a collecting standpoint. The big question as always is, what are these retro titles worth?  The Collector’s Guide to Tecmo Bowl sets out to cover the entire Tecmo Bowl cannon, from the late 1980s through the re-releases of late.
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Tecmo Bowl in Monochrome

August 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Reviews | 4 Comments
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When Tecmo Bowl for the Nintendo Game Boy was released in September of 1991, the game broke the stereotypical mold for handheld sports games.  Often stunted because of hardware limitations and developer resources, portable sports gaming has always taken a backseat to its big brother on the home console.  Sculptured Software’s work on porting Tecmo’s NES classic to the two year-old phenom Game Boy did more than just mirror the NES game to four monochrome colors.  They also introduced gamers to something Sony would boast about their own handheld twenty years later
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Mario Tennis Open: Suit Up and Serve Against the World

July 8, 2012 at 9:42 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
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When we last saw an original Mario Tennis title, Camelot and Nintendo had us traversing the halls and sidewalks of the Royal Tennis Academy in search of opportunities to level up our main protagonist in hopes of advancing through the school’s leader board of tennis prodigies.  It has been almost seven years since Mario Tennis: Power Tour for the Game Boy Advance uniquely blended the role-playing and sports genres, giving us a relatable sports narrative to go along with the already successful formula of Mario & friends squaring off on the tennis court.  With the storytelling of Power Tour not replicated in their new game, just what could we expect as progress with Mario Tennis Open for the 3DS?  And most importantly, would it be enough for gamers to want to come back?
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The Ten Most Valuable NES Sports Games

March 2, 2012 at 12:36 am | Posted in Features | 13 Comments
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Video game collectors often overlook the sports game genre and it is easy to understand why.  First, as talked about in the Retro Sports Gamer World gospel, the number of retro sports collectors and gamers is a small percentage of hobbyists.  The ratio of memorable and replayable retro sports titles is considerably smaller than that of classic role-playing games or platformers.  While the laws of supply and demand can deflate the prices of even the most popular retro sports game titles, the sports gaming marketplace is not void of games that are rare and valuable.  The Nintendo Entertainment System is stocked with a large number of 8-bit sports games thanks to the success of the system and growth of the industry overall.  As you’re sorting through stacks of games at the next convention or flea market, here are the ten most valuable NES games to keep an eye out for.
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SNK’s Cure for Touchdown Fever

December 14, 2011 at 12:51 am | Posted in Reviews | 7 Comments
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SNK’s Baseball Stars is one of the most popular baseball franchises in video game history. While best known for the Neo Geo and some of the best arcade action ever, SNK also dabbled in the home console market with a number of NES releases. The original NES Baseball Stars game is always a trendy choice in debates about the best baseball game ever because of the customization and options the game provided. Baseball Stars gave you the ability to create your own players and teams, and boasted the ability to earn money by winning games which could then be used to upgrade the attributes of your created ball players. It was essentially a sports game / role-playing hybrid that stood out despite the familiar look of 8-bit baseball titles at the time. With Baseball Stars a hit in 1989 and with a precedent now set for success in sports gaming, would SNK make a successful foray into the North American Football market with Touchdown Fever?

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Retro Replay Diary: Tecmo Bowl

November 24, 2011 at 12:35 am | Posted in Features | 11 Comments
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In the retro sports gaming world, there is and will always be universal love for the Tecmo Bowl franchise on the NES. If you poll any retro gamer and insist they provide you with nostalgic sports titles from their youth, there is a 92% chance they include Tecmo Bowl (or its sequel) and make a reference to Bo Jackson being really good. To this day, Tecmo Super Bowl still has updated rosters put out by dedicated fans, either in a rom format for emulation, or for those inclined, a NES reproduction cart complete with label. The Tecmo Bowl series is also one of a handful of sports game franchises that have either online or in-person season play or tournaments (the other games being R.B.I. Baseball and NHL ’94). The passion around analyzing and playing those games today, while also reflecting on the nostalgia of our youth and how those titles created our perception of what a sports game should be is exactly what Retro Sports Gamer World is about. I loved every opportunity I had to play Tecmo Bowl growing up. Be it at a church youth group event or even if it was just watching a friend’s older brother play, seeing the same players (with real names!) I watched on Sundays in a fast-paced football title was unbelievable. Seeing that my friends and I always played against each other, I had never experienced the full single player campaign available to awestruck gamers in 1989. This drive to beat the game 22 years later proved to be the inspiration for my first Retro Replay Diary.
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This One’s Not For John: On the NES Port of John Elway’s Quarterback

November 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Reviews | 6 Comments
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“This one’s for John” is what Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen exclaimed (in a somewhat canned tone) while holding the Lombardi trophy after the Super Bowl win in 1997 over the Green Bay Packers.  This was the ultimate retribution as Elway had been drafted #1 overall (and then traded from the Colts after refusing to sign) and had lost his three prior Super Bowl appearances.  He never had a running game or much of a defense but was always known for his 4th quarter comebacks, most notably at the expense of the Cleveland Browns in two AFC Championship encounters.  While his career would end in storybook fashion after another Super Bowl win in 1998,  Elway’s losing streak (after losing a third Super Bowl in four years in 1989) would not be helped by his soon-to-be mainstream video game title.  Synonymous with being a choker, Elway’s name was already being used for the same game in the arcades and other home computer systems, until Tradewest came along looking for a quick buck with their first NES sports game.  Taking what was already produced by Virgin and porting it to the NES,  Tradewest would license and distribute one of the worst sports games ever for the Nintendo Entertainment System in John Elway’s Quarterback.

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Opening Tip

October 18, 2011 at 12:16 am | Posted in Reflections | 3 Comments
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When I was eight years old, I would carefully set up my grandparents’ Atari 2600 so that both joysticks were within my tiny grasp. There was no such thing as a CPU opponent in those days. You played games like Baseball and Football with a friend, cousin or sibling. Being the oldest grandchild in the family, my options were pretty limited. With this the case, I did what any other resourceful sports-obsessed youth would do – I played against myself. Sitting Indian style, I would pitch with one controller, quickly grab the other to swing, and then immediately switch back and field. This display of advanced hand-eye coordination impressed my Dad and Uncles so much that no one would ever accept my offer to play (or perhaps they were adults that couldn’t be trivialized by such things).

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