Tecmo Super Bowl (1991) was the first modern sports game. You could play a full season. You could win the Super Bowl. If you had no imagination, you could even do the Pro Bowl. TSB kept full statistics. It had injuries and changing player attributes. It even had 11 guys on the field. And from a data standpoint, this is all you need. Contemporary sports video games have become an unwinnable labyrinth: all drafts and dynasties and negotiating contracts.
TSB was a puzzle you could solve on a rainy Saturday morning or in a matter of minutes with auto-skip. There is a reason that TSB has become one of the most popular video games for bar tournaments. TSB’s controls were simple to learn but a pleasure to master over repeated playings. TSB has a simple elegance to its appearance in keeping with the best of Nintendo classics, namely Super Mario Brothers. A person who has captured a few flags with Mario and Luigi can quickly transition those skills to popcorning Patriots defenders with Christian Okoye. TSB is the only video game I’ve never grown sick of playing.