HAMILTON, Ohio — As rare as it is, nearly every professional sport has its own sibling dynasty. One of the newest to the scene is the Vogt brothers out of Ohio. Though if you ask them, they’d say the dynasty has been alive and well for years.
One of the more decorated brothers, Matt Vogt, has played the game of Tecmo Super Bowl for 20 of his 29 years on this earth.
By day, Vogt’s the consummate professional for his job at a steel company — but get him on any random night or weekend, and you’ve got one terrifying beer-chugging, heart-punching Chicago Bears fan to contend with.
FROM SNOW DAYS TO GLORY DAYS
Vogt’s love for Tecmo began early on in his childhood, taking advantage of snow days and long weekends playing painstakingly designed seasons with his brother Chris, each controlling a different team — Matt with his beloved Bears, and Chris usually running Washington. When it comes to their inevitable Week 6 matchup on the original version of the game, Matt’s quick to claim “That’s usually a guaranteed win for Chi-Town.”
While that same blood-fueled rivalry still rages on today, the Vogt brothers have come together to be a cornerstone in the growing Tecmo community. Like many elite players before them, however, the Vogts had to prove their meddle. After showing their fastest-fingers in the Midwest reputation was no joke, Matt and two of his brothers finished in the Top 3 of their first live tournament and haven’t looked back since.
Asked if his Tecmo greatness came naturally or if it was a learned skill, Matt chooses to take the middle ground. “If you are naturally good at Tecmo, then learning the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of the game comes easier.”
ONLINE PRIME TIME
Like other top tier players, Matt has developed past the toss-and-hope offenses of most others in the Tecmo community, and uses his strengths to develop a well-rounded strategy. “The ability to out-grapple opponents got me to have a run-heavy offense…But that’s where I feel there is always room to make yourself better. I had to learn to pass better, or use pass plays to help mix up the offense.”
The strategy has worked out well for Matt so far. In addition to his tournament prowess, Matt is a dominator in the wild world of online Tecmo play. After casually playing for years, the growing amount of players and competition has seduced Matt like many other Tecmo victims.
“I’m now back in 4-5 online leagues. Trying to add to my 9 Championships is the goal for any league I join.”
Nine championships. A rare accomplishment for any athlete. However, Matt knows where the true glory lies.
“I will always prefer live play over online play. There are quite a few other online gamers that show up at the live tournaments also. Having played them in the past helps with your game plan.”
In fact, Matt’s most endearing memory in his Tecmo life came during the Championship of the 2009 Midwest Tecmo Super Bowl Tournament.
“The biggest highlight in my Tecmo Career was when I beat Tecmo GREAT Chet (Holzbauer)*.”
THE THREAD OF TECMO
Online or live, the face of Tecmo wouldn’t have the same features if it didn’t include Matt and his brothers. Matt acknowledges the instant familiarity and bonding that goes on within his Tecmo brotherhood.
“It’s nice to go out and meet the fellas you play online for years and put a face to their online name.”
Twenty years of experience and dedication to one game can entirely change the roadmap of a person’s life. Meeting new friends. Obtaining countless glories. Things that are hard to put by the wayside, even when other life-changing events occur.
“I, recently married, told my wife: ‘By the way, I am not going to stop playing Tecmo…I mean, I could be addicted to drugs.”
It’s hard to argue with that. But Matt’s new wife, as well as his friends, know that when your name precedes you, it’s not something you can fight.
It’s a persona that was catapulted to the top when Matt became one of the featured players in the Emmy-nominated ESPN feature on Tecmo Super Bowl.
“That was a wonderful experience. It was an honor to be a feature on that show,” Matt recollects. Though, like 175 other competitors, Matt had to feel the sting of losing—only his sting was a bit more painful. “The way I lost was so heart-breaking, it’s hard to watch the film again!”
The loss was so bad, it’s caused Matt to deal with night tremors surrounding one of the many 8-bit characters on the game.
“I FEAR Nick Lowery.”
At least the newly-wed Matt has another attribute recorded for his children and grandchildren in the annals of history.
“Now the whole world knows I chug beer about just as good as I play Tecmo!”