Madden Really Does Have Some Competition This Year

Since Electronic Arts decided to be cowards and rob football fans of another year (five, actually) of video game football competition, gamers need to start exploring other options. Enter Tecmo Bowl. No, not just the classic version on cartridge. We're talking the hacked ones available on the internet with fully updated stats, rosters, schedules, and logos. Life is good.

Probably the best and most varied is the "Tecmo Super Bowl Repository." They offer a wide ranges of ROMs, and not just for the latest season of the NFL. Defunct leagues like the USFL and World League co-exist with a fully featured NCAA hack. These people are dedicated to not only keeping an absolute classic game alive, but also do a stunning job especially when it comes to the rosters.

Even more impressive is the wide range of titles offered. It's not just the NES version getting worked over. Those versions released for the Genesis and Super NES are available for download too. Actually, they don't even limit themselves to football. Dig into their site for roster updates to other games in the Tecmo sports series (there's a fantastic NBA one with ESPN logos and everything).

Not every ROM you download will be great. You might have to play around with a few to find one that you like. While everyone obviously puts in plenty of their own time to do this work, some just don't pull it off. I came across a really nasty one for "Tecmo Bowl III: Final Edition" in which all the players attributes were exactly the same. It's not a big deal since they can be deleted real easy.

If you find yourself frustrated and for whatever reason don't feel satisfied with what they've done (you'd have be REAL picky) or just want to try this for yourself, they offer a slew of easy to use programs to hack your own version. Just think how awesome it would be to have you local high school teams immortalized in a classic video game!

For the most part, you'll have to download an emulator to play these newly updated versions. You can select from numerous ones at Zophar's Domain. Most of them are really easy to use even if you're new to the entire process. If you really want to prove just how hardcore you are, you can have any of the NES ROMs put onto an actual cart at NES Reproductions. He's very reliable and trust worthy.

If you go the emulator route, things get even better. How about some online leagues? Totally Independent Tecmo Society offers this service, though I haven't actually tried it. People who have seem to be happy.

So there you have it. EA can keep their Madden franchise exclusive for the next five years. I've got Tecmo Bowl for 2006 and beyond. Unless EA decides to become real pricks and slap some ludicrous lawsuit on them, there's no reason this community won't continue for as long as we need them. So here's a heartfelt thanks for your time, effort, dedication, and talent. You all deserve it.

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