AP Tecmo Writer
GOSHEN, Ind. — Kyle Miller? Who’s that?
He’s that guy the Tecmo Super Bowl community calls Regulator.
“Would you rather play Kyle Miller?” he questioned. “Or would you rather play Regulator?”
The alias certainly has helped the 25-year-old Fort Wayne, Ind., native boost his TSB career.
But it’s his recent online — and live tournament — success that has Miller labeled as one of the best Tecmo Super Bowl players to ever play the game.
A couple of runner-up finishes the last two years at Madison Tecmo are enough evidence.
“Growing up playing had a lot to do with how I play,” Miller said. “Just being familiar already with the game before entering the online world helped.
“Nothing could outweigh the knowledge I gained from playing online,” Miller added. “From different strategies, plays, defensive positions and understanding the importance of attributes.”
Miller will test his own attributes as he makes his first Midwest appearance in July.
GROWING UP WITH A UNIQUE STYLE
Miller said his success with Tecmo specifically stems from his unique ability to mimic what works against him.
“I try and tweak it to where I do it better than the person I saw it from,” Miller said.
“The perfect player applies the right blend of knowledge and skill,” Miller added, “which is what I strive for each time I take the 8-bit gridiron.”
Miller has taken to the Tecmo gridiron ever since his younger days, when he watched his brother Matt Miller and a couple of friends play.
“I would just sit and watch,” Kyle Miller said. “One time they asked me to play, and it caught on ever since.
“His friend tapped as fast as I did,” Kyle Miller added. “It was always a good laugh listening to us grapple.”
AN ONLINE PHENOM EMERGES
When his brother moved away after introducing him to the game, Kyle Miller stopped playing for roughly five years.
It wasn’t until 2010 when Kyle rediscovered his interest in Tecmo.
Matt found out and attended the Midwest tourney a few years ago and eventually informed Kyle about the talks of an online Tecmo community.
“It took off from there,” Kyle said.
Now, Kyle is one of the fastest grapplers, has registered more than 15 online titles, finished runner-up at Madison Tecmo twice and won Detroit’s Kumite tournament in 2012.
“There is no substitute for the original game live on console,” Kyle Miller said. “It’s how the game was made to be played. People complain about this and that and create online ROMs that take aspects of the game away. You don’t see those people winning Madison.
“Live trumps online, but that is in no way insinuating that online Tecmo is lacking of any sort,” Kyle Miller added. “Different ROMs make for great leagues and a great community. You just can’t top having 200 people (at Madison Tecmo) over your shoulder watching you play live.”
But Kyle Miller said playing online has undoubtedly shaped him into a better Tecmo player.
It also has calmed a nerve or two.
“I’m not the same hot-headed guy I was when I first entered the Tecmo community,” Kyle Miller said. “I take it upon myself now to be more of an example of how people should act. That’s not to say I won’t fire off a ‘WTF’ every so often in a game.”
The last few years have been filled with plenty of Tecmo success for Kyle Miller.
There also has been a couple discouraging moments. He’s overcome being accused of turbo.
“Really though, I have just enjoyed progressively getting better at the game,” Kyle Miller said. “I can remember the first time I remembered the progression of motion shotgun pass 4. I try to learn something new from each game I play, or apply different strategies against different defensive sets to see what works the best.
“I have enjoyed being able to consistently beat the ‘elite’ players of Tecmo.”
There’s still someone better than Kyle Miller at the moment. That’s Chet Holzbauer, who beat him in the finals the last two years at Madison Tecmo.
“No doubt. Chet was the better player in 2012,” Kyle Miller said. “His Vikings took me for a ride up and down the field. I was more disappointed in what happened during the game than the way I played (in 2013). Obviously that is the way of Tecmo, and to be the best, you have to be able to overcome adversity. I was unable to do so.
“Until I take Madison from Chet, you would be accurate in saying I’m No. 2,” Kyle Miller added. “I don’t, and have not for a while, consider myself an underdog against anyone except Chet.”
SETTING AN EXAMPLE
Kyle Miller said he makes an attempt to keep the Tecmo Super Bowl reputation going.
“It’s funny how a 20-plus year old video game actually carries some prestige with it,” he said. “I enjoy being part of the community and take it upon myself, as of recently, to set an example. Nothing beats the Tecmo brotherhood.”
There’s a sense of stature that comes with being labeled one of the best Tecmo players.
”I think it’s the camaraderie of the entire Tecmo community that makes it all worth it,” Kyle Miller said. “It’s almost like there is a prestige factor that amplifies the Tecmo experience.
“Going to Madison and hearing someone whisper behind you ‘I think that’s Regulator’ or having someone bluntly say ‘holy #$%@, you’re Regulator!’ is fun,” Kyle Miller added.
“Where else in life do you get that kind of acknowledgement?”
He’ll continue to get acknowledgement from his wife — as long as he continues his Tecmo success.
“She has become more accepting to it after a couple of nice Madison paychecks.”
Chris Vogt is a national Tecmo Super Bowl writer. He can be reached on Twitter @vogtcd.