I present to you a Tecmo Super Bowl video of Bo Jackson evading defenders for an entire quarter. Well, the quarters in TSB are five minutes long on a fast clock, but still.

I used to play Tecmo Super Bowl a lot. It was a groundbreaking game, for both good and ill. I played several teams, including the Los Angeles Raiders (Bo’s team) for a few seasons. The Bo Advantage really cannot be overstated. Just hand it to him, and you’re golden.

I never won the Super Bowl with Bo, however. I found it difficult to win with any team because it cheated. Hard. The better you were, the better your opponents would become. It would start injuring your players. You’d start fumbling incessantly. The opposing players would start knowing your playcalls. And they’d suddenly become really, really fast. Passes would be turned into interceptions. In the case of Bo Jackson, I threw the ball all of nine times all season. Eight of those times the passes were intercepted. And then Bo would get hurt.

And eventually you would have to play either the New York Giants or Buffalo Bills or some other impenetrable team.

There was a time when I would start the season just throwing games. Trying to lose or cut the magin of victory. But the early season – before it ramps up – is so incredibly easy that it’s simply no fun.

I finally gamed the system by simulating the first eight games and then choosing the worst team with the most potential. It turned out that was the Philadelphia Eagles, at 2-6. Randall Cunningham (known as “QB Eagles” in the game because he was one of the few players that didn’t sign over his name rights) was really all I needed.

Not that I could use Randall Cunningham, mind you. Because as soon as it got wind of how good it was, Cunningham would be hurt. So I went ahead and started Jim McMahon, the capable backup. So if someone was going to get hurt, it was going to be him (they never hurt all of the occupants of any position). They took out my runningback for a game. Which was a good reminder that I needed to play only backups.

Which I did, finishing out the season at 10-6. They must have known was I was trying to do, however, because they never injured any of my players once I put the backups in. In the second half of the Super Bowl, I finally decided that it was “now or never” with Cunningham and the rest of the started. Randall Cunningham was hurt within four plays and a runningback followed.

But I still won my first and only Super Bowl. I played the Eagles again for another season. I used the same tricks, but I still won too many games and couldn’t overcome the Giants at superspeed and lost before making it to the big game.

Category: Theater

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