"I have loved football as an almost mythic game since I was in the fourth grade. To me, the game wasn't even grounded in reality. The uniform turned you into a warrior. Being on a team, the mythology of physical combat, the struggle against the elements, the narrative of the game..." ~ Steve Sabol (NFL Films)

Sunday, February 26, 2023

It's a Tecmo Bowl World

Well, here we are in final game of week two of the XFL season, and I write this at my kitchen table here in   Japan on a Monday morning tomorrow as I watch the game on my laptop and write this missive on my laptop.  It is amazing how much technology has allowed all of us football fans to connect and interact (for ill or will depending on how you read my ongoing Twitter battles with the right wing XFL media and spin doctors).  Even more amazing are the content creators, and for this article I am focusing all of my love and attention on Rick 8-Bit, the creator of the world’s first XFL video game, which is available for free at TecmoBowl.org.

It is because of guys like Rick that football Twitter does not suck, for he, like me, is clearly a 12-year-old at heart, and in this world, we need so much more of that. The real-world sucks, but when we can escape back to our childhood fandom, even for a few hours, we can reset ourselves by revisiting the joys of youth. Such is the magic of Tecmo Bowl, for it allows us all, for free through PC emulation, to be a kid, or in my case, a 21-year-old college student, all over again.

I am a 55-year-old retired big kid who, prior to the move to Japan (which is a geek’s paradise), had a massive Commodore computer, DC Comics, football book, and football memorabilia collection.  However, as any move to the far side of the world demands, I needed to downsize, thus the comics and football books all went digital, and I embraced the world of console emulation, which helped lessen the pain of selling my vintage Commodore collection. I kept the football memorabilia though, and fortunately, despite all the dirty looks from my wife, the mini helmet collection pretty much fits in my office/podcast studio.

Grey Cup Tecmo Bowl is how I learned of TecmoBowl.org

But I digress…

The Only CFL Game Available
Let’s talk Tecmo Bowl and how much the simple 8-bit game changed the world of sports gaming and how it continues to be constantly reinvented and improved upon by the content creators who contribute to TecmoBowl.org, where there are now seemingly countless free flavors of a game that once you could only find on cartridge for the NES or Sega. Among the many flavors are those for CFL and USFL fans, and with the simple to use emulation program available there and a cheap old school USB version of an NES, SNES or Sega controller you can get on Amazon, you can relive your childhood or young adulthood for hours on end.

When I first got here to Japan I knew technology, sports and gaming were and are going to be key to my survival here, for I don’t speak the language.  With technology now, everything is basically science fiction come to life as my smartphone is able to do things that scribes of the future like Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury could only dream about.  Sports has a universal language and one does not need to speak Japanese to figure out what is happening on a Japanese gridiron, pitch or diamond. While gaming is how I learned that my Japanese brother in law knew the rules of the gridiron because he played… Wait for it! Tecmo Bowl!!

So, if you are kid like me, go and download Rick’s great new game and tomorrow on Monday there in America, step away from XFL Twitter and fire up XFL Tecmo Bowl!!!


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