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The original Tecmo Bowl is coming to PS4 and Nintendo Switch

Tecmo’s 1987 arcade football game features just two teams, both of them generic

Jubilant fans tear down the goalposts in a cutscene from the arcade version of Tecmo Bowl
The arcade version of Tecmo Bowl had different, and better, graphics than the NES version most remember
Hamster Co./Koei Tecmo
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Tecmo Bowl — the original arcade version of the game, not the one most remember from the Nintendo Entertainment System — is coming to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 tomorrow, just in time for Super Bowl LIV. It’s $7.99 through both consoles’ online marketplaces.

The game is part of Hamster Corp.’s ongoing Arcade Archives series. The arcade version of Tecmo Bowl, which launched in 1987, pit two generic teams against each other, the Wildcats and the Bulldogs.

The teams’ rosters were likewise fictitious; sorry, no Hanford Dixon, Cap Boso, or Bo Jackson here — the NFLPA license that put the league’s players in a console video game for the first time has long since expired. There are 10 players on each side of the ball, as opposed to 11 in real life. But the graphics are better than its console adaptation (see the gallery below).

The Tecmo Bowl most are familiar with was the 1989 NES cartridge, which had nine players on each side, but featured 12 teams stocked with real-life NFL players, the first console game to do so. But the game was never licensed by the league itself, so it lacks the teams’ nicknames and symbols. Tecmo Bowl was followed by Tecmo Super Bowl in 1991, the first fully licensed (by a league and its players) sports video game for consoles.

The NES version of Tecmo Bowl has been available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers since it launched in September 2018.

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