Tecmo Super Bowl is an American football video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) that was released in 1991. Developed by Japanese video game company Tecmo, it was the first sports video game that had licensing privileges with both the league it sought to emulate (National Football League) and said league's player's association (National Football League Players Association), thus allowing the game to use both the names and attributes of real NFL teams and real NFL players. (Prior games used the real teams or the real players, but not both simultaneously.) Although the game was released in late 1991, all team rosters and player attributes were based on the prior 1990-91 NFL season, which means no '91 drafted rookies and no newly signed or traded players prior to the beginning of the 1991 season were added to the game.
The original game utilized the 1991 NFL schedule only; therefore, playing multiple seasons with alternate schedules was not possible. The game was very successful in the final years of the NES and, although more than 20 years old, it has maintained an extensive cult following.
The main menu of Tecmo Super Bowl provided the player with options for NFL Preseason, Season Game (Regular Season) and Pro Bowl play. Team data could also be accessed from the main menu. In the original NES Tecmo Bowl, each team had 20 players on its roster, with nine players for offense, nine players for defense, a kicker, and a punter. In Tecmo Super Bowl, each roster had 30 different players. Each team had eleven defensive players, which could not be substituted, nor injured. Each team had seventeen offensive players, which included eleven starters and six substitutes. At any given time, eleven players were on the field for each team, consistent with NFL rules. A kicker and a punter were also on the roster.
In addition to using real teams and players, TSB incorporated the full-length 1991 NFL regular season schedule for the game. The playoff format, including the Super Bowl and the post-season Pro Bowl game, was also used.
Tecmo Super Bowl retained the arcade-style football gameplay of the original which included no penalties and the ability to break tackles. However, the game added new features, such as the coin toss, fumbles, five-minute quarters, timeouts to avoid ten second runoffs, stat tracking, single season NFL Records page, expanded and editable playbooks, the ability to substitute players, varying health conditions of players and player injuries. As it had previously, the game used cut scenes for important events like touchdowns and halftime shows. Tecmo Super Bowl also added cutscenes when injuries or big plays occurred.
As part of the gameplay, players can adjust offensive plays and substitute players for each NFL team and for the two Pro Bowl teams. The Pro Bowl team's roster can be edited as well. Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams players could be viewed as an individual 'player card' with their statistics and attributes and their status, which can improve or decrease, making the player better or worse.
The game has multiple modes, including season, preseason, and Pro Bowl. In season, a player controls a team through the entire NFL season. Multiple teams may be controlled. In addition, players can choose three styles of play in either season, preseason or Pro Bowl. The 'MAN' option means the player calls plays and runs plays. The 'COA' ('coach') option means players call the plays, but the computer runs them. The 'COM' option means the computer plays all aspects, but the player can watch the game.
In all instances, season, preseason and Pro Bowl, unless the player (or players) edit the Team Data beforehand (setting plays and starters), the default team depth chart and play selection would be used.
In preseason and Pro Bowl, injured players returned immediately after the game, statistics are not kept, and the computer AI was easier than season games.
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