[youtube id=”zlNqtY76ho0″ width=”633″ height=”356″]
It was early 2004, I had just finished graduate school at UCF and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Typical. My savings was starting to dry up and I needed money fast. I went around filling out job applications. I actually got hired at Lowe’s first off. I was sent to push shopping carts on the second day instead of going through the typical orientation session. By the third day I was left alone in the lumber section all by myself. I quit that afternoon. Days later while wallowing in shame and fear, I saw an advertisement on careerbuilder.com for a video game tester. I knew that was something I could do. When I found out it was for EA Sports Tiburon I got excited. I filled out the application and days later I got a call from one of their screeners who gave me the phone interview. This consisted of some basic experience questions, and some sports specific questions like:
“What is the difference between overtime in college football and the NFL?”
“Name the major BCS bowls”
“Name as many NASCAR drivers and their sponsors as you can”
I was able to pass that pretty easily so I was invited in for another interview at their office. Here I had to answer a ten page multiple choice test where we shown pictures of controllers and match them to their consoles. It was video game and sports stuff. I did good there too so then we were given a console and told to follow a procedure where we would get a video game to crash. Then a panel interview where I chatted with three people. I remember being asked if I could remember what the interviewers names were and I only could remember the chick’s name. Again, typical. I was told I had the job and I had to come in Monday morning for a week of training which consisted of learning the bug database and learning from the previous year’s titles. At the end of the week we got our assignments and I was on the NCAA team for PS2. We all felt sorry for the guy who was given Madden for Game Boy Advance.
The work started out good. We worked 10AM-630pm, there was a fridge and a soda machine there. In the break room there were arcade cabinet machines such as Q-Bert, Mortal Kombat 2, and Golden Tee. We had some good competitions there. Soon our days went from 10am to 10pm. Beta got closer and we split into different shifts. Some worked 10am to midnight, some worked 12pm to 2am. It was a grind. No days off, not when you are putting out one of the best selling video games of the year. The people at the 7-11 store got to know us rather well for coffee and energy drinks.
It was an interesting job. There were barely any women around. For a group of guys who barely got to see women outside the office, work life brought out the caveman in everyone. Think of that boobs episode of South Park if it helps. Also, I found that the people in charge took what they did waaaay to seriously. They’d pump us up as if we were on the mission to kill Bin Laden. And they were the kind of bosses who used the old “We work hard but we play hard” catchphrase. I always thought anybody who used that should be locked in a closet with bees. There was a divide too among the full time programmers and staff and the seasonal Quality Assurance testers like me. The “people upstairs” got better snack machines, benefits, and we got to read some messages which revealed that they pretty much thought we were peons. But we weren’t, at least not all of us. We had lawyers, cops, college graduates, parents, all guys just trying to make a living and pay the bills. I know they had their struggles too. There was a controversy awhile back about the wife of an EA Employee there who didn’t like the long hours and lack of overtime her husband had to deal with. Google “EASpouse” and you’ll see the story.
Eventually I moved on but every year I would check the credits of all the football games and see who was still there from my day. Some testers actually got promoted to game producer. That was something good about the job, if you showed dedication, you were rewarded. I often wonder where I would have gone had I stayed there. I surely would have made a better Superman Returns game, that’s for sure.
You might be too young to know this and it saddens me that I know this so well but back in the day before many television shows they would tell you who their sponsor was. The show would tell you; “This show is brought to you by…” and following that would be some images of some product or company and their tag line. Well, Obscure Internet is bringing that back internet style with a new series of screen captures that are just a bit off, enjoy.
It may not have had the correct team logo’s or jerseys, but at the time Tecmo Bowl was the best football game out there and to this day still attracts fans of the series. It was easy to learn fun to play and even the music got you into it. Just recently Tecmo Bowl throwback was launched for XBL and PS3. There is no doubt this game was a classic.
Tecmo Bowl was released to the arcades in 1987 where it had moderate success, but when it was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System it became a huge hit. While it was not the first football game for a console it was considered to be the best because it used the real rosters from twelve top NFL teams. However, Tecmo Bowl was not able to get NFL consent to use real tram names which is why it uses the home city or state instead.
You could play as the following teams, the Indianapolis Colts, the Miami Dolphins, the Cleveland Browns, the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks, the Los Angeles Raiders, the Washington Redskins, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears, and the Minnesota Vikings. Each team had its specialty for instance Miami was known for passing and so instead of the normal two running, two passing plays they had three passing and one running. If you were unlucky enough to pick Minnesota you would find yourself at a great disadvantage because at the time they did not have the best talent or playbook.
The key to the gameplay was speed. What mattered most was avoiding defenders because while the mechanics to break tackles were there the best thing to do was to avoid them altogether. If you were passing the key was to look for the route that went toward the out of bounds line or the route that would hook back toward you. Doing this allowed you to almost always complete a pass. On the other hand if you tried to “thread the needle” and pass to someone covered nine times out of ten your pass would be intercepted.
Tecmo Bowl wasn’t perfect and the fact was that if you picked San Francisco or Chicago versus Minnesota you pretty much was guaranteed a win. Also there were many cheap plays you could select that almost never failed. Another funny thing was you could pick a running play, run backwards and bunch together the defense and then run around them for a touchdown. This worked with better players like Walter Payton, but could be done with almost everyone.
I lived in Chicago at the time which was great because they rocked in Tecmo and I was actually good at this game and could best almost anyone. Tecmo Bowl is one of those great games that was designed so well that even in the days of 2K and EA it is still fun to play.
Quick, what is the best arcade football game in history? If you said Blitz I won’t hate you, but you’d still be wrong. Tecmo Bowl was football in the 80’s and early 90’s and though it didn’t achieve superstardom in the arcades when it was ported to the NES in 1987 it became a mega hit.
What was so great about TB was not only to use of real NFL teams, but the gameplay incredibly was fun. Now I will admit the idea of fading back and getting the whole opposing team to follow you only to run a circle around them for a touchdown was a little cheap, but it was still wildly fun. Now you can experience that again on the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Here’s the official rundown:
The legend is back! Tecmo Bowl® Throwback is a remake of the classic Tecmo Super Bowl, with the same rules and fast-paced gameplay as the original, but with the option to play it in brand new high definition 3D graphics. Switch it back to old school in real time with the same graphics and music from back in the day! Tecmo Bowl® Throwback brings back the gameplay you loved, and stays true to the Tecmo Super Bowl legacy!
With updated 3D graphics or the option to use the original 2D classic look and additions like online tournaments you can defiantly relive the past or introduce Tecmo Bowl to a new generation of gamers. Tecmo Bowl Throwback is available now for 800 Microsoft points on XBL. Currently there is no release date for TBT on PSN.