The Consolations of Tecmo

Oh man, do you know what it’s like to support a sports team that lets you down every year? I sure do. See, I’ve been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys (American football) since the early 1990s. They won the Superbowl in 1995 and… that was pretty much it. They’ve been crushingly depressing more or less every year since then. Which is like 17 years, my friend. The usual strategy they follow is to look like a pretty exciting team on paper, and then to fail miserably in actual play. Luckily there’s Tecmo.

I’ve written about Tecmo Superbowl before, perhaps even on this very topic. But I can’t remember it, so I’m writing it again since it’s once again pertinent to my life. That is, the Dallas Cowboys are playing and doing very badly. So I turn to Tecmo, where the Dallas Cowboys, under my stern and watchful eye (and deft and sprightly fingers) are undefeated and have already won their division. Even more wonderful is that there are people out there in internet land who create ROMs of Tecmo (we’re talking NES Tecmo) that reflect the present day league – importantly that means the actual schedule for this season, and the actual rosters.

The AI in Tecmo pretty much sucks, which means it’s relatively easy to win games unless the AI decides – as it does now and again – that you will lose, in which you will probably lose in a torrent of bad “luck”. But by and large you win by huge margins, all your favourite players play amazingly well and lead the league in their respective categories, and on and on. It’s a big love fest.

It’s an important love fest. It’s hard to be a fan of a team like the Dallas Cowboys. It’s hard to suffer bitter defeat over and over in reality. It’s good to be able to go digital and win. It’s important, damnit. It’s like a weird corollary of how it’s also great to lose in sports games, because it feels “right” somehow. Sometimes there’s just too much losing in the real thing, and you need some virtual wins.

So I’m playing a lot of compulsive Tecmo right now. And, yes, I do sometimes find myself believing, faintly, that if I do well in Tecmo, the Cowboys will do well in real life. So sue me. A guy’s gotta dream.

19 October 2012
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