At last year’s Tecmo Madison, EatSh*tOrenga (center left) competes with The Kid (center right).
That’s why Dave Murray and Casey Paquet — who both live in Tampa, Florida — say they’re taking over Tecmo Madison.
The event is the largest and longest-running public tournament in the United States dedicated to Tecmo Super Bowl, an ancient video football game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Tecmo Madison was facing fourth-and-long odds after Josh and Chet Holzbauer, brothers who founded the event in 2006, decided to step aside last year.
“I jumped at the chance to keep this awesome tournament running,” Murray says. “After gauging Josh and Chet’s interest in allowing the tournament to continue under new management, I asked Casey to come along, utilizing his marketing and event planning expertise. Tecmo Madison — and retro gaming as a whole — is just getting started in its long-term growth, so getting a chance to take what Josh and Chet built and then maximize all the untapped potential is an exciting prospect.”
How exciting? Murray, 35, and Paquet, 39, have secured cash prizes totaling $4,725 for Tecmo Madison XIII, happening April 8 at the High Noon Saloon. A total of 300 players from as far away as California and Connecticut are registered, including some faithful 13-year veterans.
“It has been challenging getting everything ready for the tournament from way down here in Florida,” Murray says, although he and Paquet have received local assistance from the Madison Area Sports Commission. “The home of the championships has always been Madison, so we wanted to keep it where it was born.”
Tecmo Madison relocated from the Badger Bowl to the larger and more upscale High Noon this year for practical and aesthetic reasons. “The Badger Bowl was a great venue for many years, but [physically] it split our crowd in half,” Murray says. “We want everyone in the same room duking it out. We want it to be loud, pressure-filled and full of interaction. The upstairs balcony affords an awesome place for spectators to take in all the action, and the stage gives us the opportunity to build a miniature early-’90s living room scene where the finals will take place.”
Games will be projected on massive video screens and livestreamed to an estimated audience of 75,000 viewers.
Nintendo introduced Tecmo Super Bowl in 1991. It quickly gained a cult following and used both the names and primitive likenesses of real teams and players. All rosters are based on the 1990-91 NFL season.
Meanwhile, the Holzbauers haven’t hung up their NES controllers; Josh will be the Tecmo Madison emcee, and both brothers will compete.
For the love of Tecmo.