Tecmo Bowl (NES)

Game Profile

Tecmo Bowl pits the player versus the computer in 11-game, single-elimination playoff action. Players also can go head-to-head with a human opponent in action or coach mode. The player can select from 12 teams. On offense there are usually two run and two pass plays to choose from.

The player takes control of the quarterback before the snap and then either hands off to the running back or works through his receiver progression from the top to the bottom of the screen.

Defense consists of trying to guess which offensive play the opponent will select and then taking control of one of the defensive players before the snap. A very simple power-meter system is used for kicking field goals, extra points and punts.

Game Review

Wii U eShop Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Evan Chambers

​Move over Madden 16, Tecmo Bowl is back and stealing the NFL spotlight

1989 wasn't just an amazing year because that's when this writer was born. It's an also amazing year because that's when Tecmo Bowl received its home console release on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Boasting an impressive roster from the 1988 NFL...

Game Review

3DS eShop Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Watch that 3DS hinge on the snap

Before video game football became just as complex as real-life football, there was Tecmo Bowl. There weren't hundreds of plays with varying formations or special spin moves to worry about, in fact you didn't actually have to know much about the game of...

Game Review

Virtual Console Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Will you be bowled over by this one?

Before video game football became just as complex as real-life football, there was Tecmo Bowl. There weren't hundreds of plays with varying formations or special spin moves to worry about, in fact you didn't actually have to know much about the game of...

Game Screenshots

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Game Trailers

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User Comments (35)



Flemmonthang said:

Oh man.....I used to take Bo Jackson to the end zone every play....Ah, those were the days. Bo knows sports!



CrawfordTexasJingoJango said:

I think the game is dreadfully boring and after playing it for free on tons of other platforms, I'd actually REFUSE to spend $5 on it. You're better off holding out for StarFox 64 or something.



socrates said:

I remember this was thee game to play back in the days. Everyone loved it, and couldn't wait for their turn when you had more than 2 peeps. Sure, it's in the "it's an old game" dept. but i'm sure it's still fun to play. It's simplicity is it's charm.



FencerMusashi said:

Tecmo Bowl is great, worth the 5 bucks and all but where is the NES version of Tecmo Super Bowl thats where it is at.



Vann_Styrke said:

I was really hoping the far superior Tecmo Super Bowl would make it first. While it was the one I grew up with and had the most memories playing, comparing it to Tecmo Bowl, this feels like an incomplete game. Super had every team in the NFL at the time, a season mode, twice as many plays per round, cooler music, better graphics in cutscenes, etc. I'd say 3 stars is a more appropriate rating. Just because Tecmo Super Bowl IS a much better game in the series.



Joseph said:

This one DOES NOT have player names. Yes it has numbers, but no names. No "Bo Jackson" or "Lawrence Taylor" Just their numbers and their kick assery so you assume its them. I love when you make a touch town with Bo and yet 2 white guys hug in the end zone.



GarrettCRW said:

The original Tecmo Bowl had player names, and was specifically endorsed by the NFL Player's Association-in fact, there are three versions of the rosters: the original, with Eric Dickerson on the Colts, a revised version without Dickerson, and the Japanese release, which updated rosters from the '87 season to the '89 season.



Matt said:

The original Tecmo Bowl had the names as well, but with EA Sports having the exclusive rights to the NFL license, there was no way Tecmo was going to be able to include them.



terrene said:

Seems pointless to me until Nintendo implements an online play system for VC games. :/



SnakeEyes said:

This is one of THE best Nes games every made! But you need someone to play against to make it any fun. Simplicity, an craziness of throwing a pass the entire length of the field, LOL! Absolutely an awesome game
An ya Online play? Over the top fun if they could do it, an allow 4 players just like the original arcade version.



nephew77 said:

This is one of the most enjoyable two-player games that I have ever played. The one-player mode is a bit too easy, but I have not played a more addictive football game since this. Tecmo Bowl gets 5/5.



tditty said:

It's a good game, but wait for Tecmo Super Bowl. We all love the Tecmo Bowl game play, but what made TSB great was the full season, stat tracking, injuries, and so on.



Vladimir said:

I agree, if they were going to release a Football game it has to be Super Tecmo Bowl. **Off subject, If there was a game I would love to see released as a virtual Console game. BaseBall Stars (first one), the ability to make your own team, add abilities, trade, release and play any team (Friends), that did not get the chance to play that day it did not matter. For an NES game, that felt like a whole game, that could still be playable (not comparable) to todays games.

__Mii be you


Mii be you said:

I played this at my nephew's house and instantly fell in love with it. Although i never won, but that'll change!
(There's a code that'll make your team invisible! I'm not saying what it is, though!)

__Jade Louise


Jade Louise said:

This is a good game but the VC version is ruined by licence issues. The real names made a big difference. Its fun but not as fun as it used to be.



LikwidSnaque said:

I totally had a flashback and laugh @ Joseph's comment. I guess football wasn't integrated in Nintendo cut-scene land. And I agree with everyone. Tecmo - get your heads straight and bring out Tecmo Super Bowl so I can run for 225 yards on eight carries with Barry Sanders in average condition, run up the score and throw my classic controller at my tv in disgust when I throw my first interception of the year with Montana in week 14 bringing my 325 qb rating down a point or two.

__Mii be you


Mii be you said:

Guys, you can't say Tecmo bowl's a bad game just you think Tecmo Super bowl is better. To be honest, I think TB is better.

__Mii be you


Mii be you said:

I disagree with Vann Styrke on the music factor. In my opinion, This one has better music.



pricetag said:

I'm among the "Tecmo Super Bowl is far better" crowd, but the original Tecmo Bowl is better than nothing.

I'm scared that they won't be able to bring TSB to the Virtual Console. Taking the names out is easy (although I prefer fake names to blank space), but there are tons of NFL logos in the game that would need to be removed, aren't there? I don't think it would be worth Tecmo's while to do that extensive an amount of work on that ROM.

__Mii be you


Mii be you said:

What?! Gametrailers says that Tecmo Super Bowl is one of the Greatest games ever made? And I thought Tecmo Bowl was better. (sigh)



XCWarrior said:

It's amazing how a game so simple can be so addicting and so fun. I still can remember 15 years ago when my friend and I were playing and we intercepted the ball from each other on six straight plays. Just picked up the actual cartridge this past summer and love it.



MrLopez said:

Why isn't Europe getting this, there are football fans here too!!
(Not many, but some )



Adamant said:

^Yeah. Come on, we get tons of baseball games, but they can't hand us one tiny football game?



slangman said:

There are probably better games for the VC but it would be cool if it came over here in europe as it sounds like a title that is well worth a look.



sephiroth79 said:

Good game (walter payton is all I have to say), but Tecmo Super Bowl improved on it massively.



Ricardo91 said:

I thought about getting this, despite the fact that I don't care that much about sports games, especially old ones, but I think i should just wait for Tecmo Super Bowl, or that new Tecmo Bowl coming out for DS. Plus, the removal of licensed players does suck.



KISSman said:

Even though Tecmo Super Bowl is significantly better, it wouldn't exist if this masterpiece didn't come first. The thing that nulifies this normally sure-fire purchase is the lack of player names. There were video football games before Tecmo Bowl, but none had the real player names. That was the charm of Tecmo Bowl. You were the real guys. It's just not as fun not having them on there.



jones2929 said:

Despite the fact that the players' names have been removed, this is the best possible type of nostalgia. Played this one (and Super Tecmo Bowl) constantly while in high school and college. It's a classic that really was the first great video football game.



thwipp89 said:

i remember really liking this game as a kid and maybe madden has spoiled me...i ended up getting this and got real bored, real quick. i wish i hadn't spent the $5. in 2008, this game leaves a lot to be desired. i don't know how anyone wouldn't get bored of this game very quickly. not recommended.



The_Bear said:

Tecmo Bowl is legendary. Although not the original Arcade game, it's the first of it's kind on the NES. Yes, Tecmo Super Bowl is better than Tecmo Bowl - but that's besides the point.

This game's simplicity, even to that of Tecmo Super Bowl, is something that can allow nearly anyone to pick up a controller and play (only 4 plays). Personally, I love this game - as I grew up playing this (as well as the Gameboy version) more so than Tecmo Super Bowl. Unfortunately the real rosters could not be used on the VC version... because the slightly older rosters than Tecmo Super Bowl in this version were real neat. I will not be buying this most likely, only because I still have the original cartridges for both systems.

In terms of gameplay, very rarely are there incompletions. This adds up to a very interesting dynamic. Nearly every single pass in this game is either completed or intercepted. I've honestly only seen about 5 incompletions in nearly 50 games played.

I have extremely fond memories of playing through the entire season with the password system (some days even just playing the entire way straight through). Ahh, back in the glory days of my beloved 49ers...

If you are a football game fan or nostalgic NFL fan like I am, you will love this game. I gave it a 5/5, partially because of my bias... a more honest assessment would be 4/5, I suppose.



LordJamak said:

"Hut hut hut hut hut hut hut hut..." Oh man. I forgot how fun this game was. It's tough to remember what teams were really good back in those days. I am a Seattle Seahawks fan but back then (when I was like 9) I was a NY Giants fan. They were good in the game... Seattle was not. Ah the memories.



Corbs said:

I spent more then a few hours with this game back in the 8-bit era. Me and my friends spent many a Friday night playing away at this game. It's certainly not for anyone expecting an in-depth football experience, but it's the best arcade-style football game ever made.

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