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Two NES football classics get you ready for the NFL's new season

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Right before the first Sunday of the NFL's regular season there's a double-dose of news from a classic football series for the NES.

The first is that Tecmo Bowl — the original game from 1989 — is now being offered on the Wii U eShop as a $4.99 Virtual Console game.

Tecmo Bowl was at the time licensed by the NFL Players' Association, but not the league itself. (It also featured just nine players on a side, not 11. Many people forget this.) In this edition, it is licensed by no one though team colors remain the same. Uniform numerals and, in some cases, skin tones have been altered to avoid resemblance to real players.

That said, the player who occupies Bo Jackson's slot on the Los Angeles team is just as invincible as the original guy.

The other bit of news is, once again, the mad modding magicians of TecmoBowl.org have updated the all-time classic Tecmo Super Bowl, which launched in 1991, to include all players for the 2015-16 season (and, as always, every NFL team, in its proper division, with their current uniforms and logos.)

This year's game adds the ability to check on defensive players' condition, which change at random through the game. Features introduced last year, such as 4-3 defenses (where a defensive tackle is shown as a linebacker in the roster, but plays the proper slot on the field) and in-game playbook editing also return.

Tecmo Super Bowl 2016 is the work of of a six-man modding team. The file is free and available at this link, along with instructions on how to get it to work.

TecmoBowl.org has been pumping out an updated version of the game for several years, but the original — using the original 1991 teams and rosters — is still widely played by a dedicated group of enthusiasts. The annual Tecmo Madison tournament — the unofficial world championship for the video game — plays the original on original hardware and CRT televisions. It's a hell of a great time, even if it is in Madison, Wis. in early March.