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Tecmo Super Bowl’s world championship returns — with Tecmo and Bo Jackson aboard

Publisher and superstar have partnered with Tecmo Madison tournament

Tecmo Madison/
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Both Koei Tecmo, makers of the original Tecmo Super Bowl, and the charity foundation of Bo Jackson — sports video gaming’s greatest superstar — are aboard for the 13th edition of Tecmo Madison, the world championship of the classic NES cart, in Madison, Wis. next spring.

Tecmo Madison, originally planned to sunset after a 12-year run, has changed ownership and appears to be coming back bigger than ever. Billed as “Tecmo Madison XIII: Return of the Mack in association with Koei Tecmo,” the tournament will take place later than usual — April 8, 2017. In the past it was staged in late February or early March.

Registration is now underway, and in a Facebook message yesterday, Tecmo Madison's new administrator, Dave Murray, said that half of the field of 256 was filled in 24 hours.

Murray acquired Tecmo Madison from its founders, Josh and Chet Holzbauer of Madison, Wis., over the summer. He, in partnership with Matt Knobbe and Jon Bailey, the original tournament director, then secured a partnership with Koei Tecmo to ramp up the publicity and impact of the event.

Moreover, Bo Jackson now appears to be fully aware of his legacy as a video game icon, which is comparably as large as his accomplishments in real life. Jackson hadn’t been very public about his video game fame until a series of well received advertisements for Kia Motors this year, in which Auburn’s 1985 Heisman Trophy winner portrays himself, playing as himself, in Tecmo Super Bowl. Now his Give Me A Chance Foundation is aboard with Tecmo Madison.

Tecmo Madison will raffle tickets for a meet-n-greet event with Jackson at his annual golf tournament in Chicago. Two winners will be named. Other raffles include a signed Bo Jackson jersey and signed posters. Proceeds from the raffle go to Jackson’s foundation, a youth outreach organization that emphasizes education and character through sports participation.

Additionally, Donnell Woolford — a Chicago Bear on the original Tecmo Super Bowl — will challenge the winner of a shootout-style tournament in which participants attempt to rack up the most passing yardage with New England (the worst passing team in 1991's Tecmo Super Bowl) against the Bears (best secondary). That celebrity matchup will be livestreamed, as will the entire tournament. Tecmo Madison's organizers expect a viewership north of 50,000.

Tecmo Madison XIII: Return of the Mack is named for the Cleveland Brown road-grader running back Kevin Mack. All tournaments have had fan-voted subtitles punning the name of players in the game. ("Total Eclipse of the Hart Lee Dykes," a longtime nominee, has yet to be used.)

The tournament is one of the great all-comers championship events in North American sports. Registration is $50.

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