By Chris Vogt
AP Tecmo Writer
MADISON, Wisc. — Tecmo Madison has now reached No. 10, and the best still haven’t been unearthed.
Tecmo X: The Gannonball Run, which takes place on March 8, in Madison, Wisc., will crown another Tecmo Super Bowl champion during its 10th-ever tournament.
Garnering an astounding 256 participants, Tecmo Madison — as expected year after year — will supply its usual, dazzling spectacle of talent on the 8-bit gridiron.
“When we first started the tournament, we never envisioned anything like this,” said Josh H., co-founder of the largest Tecmo Super Bowl tournament in the nation.
Josh H. and his brother Chet H. “were just looking to round up a group of friends, play a game we all love, and drink some beers.”
That small group of friends has now turned into a gauntlet of Tecmo’s best.
“The tournament continued to gain momentum in the next four or five years, and we feel that ‘Tecmo VI: He Went to Jerry’ was a real turning point for us,” Josh H. said. “We nearly hit 100 players in that tournament, garnered some national media coverage, and after years of trying, finally nailed a perfect way to fairly select teams before a game.
“We also found a great partner in Badger Bowl that year,” Josh H. added. “After that tournament, we were confident that we would continue to grow with each year, but even at that time, a number like 256 never entered our minds.”
The tournament is now held in two completely separate parts of Badger Bowl’s facility.
IS TECMO’S BEST UNEARTHED?
Tecmo Madison hasn’t just provided the elite of all things Tecmo. It’s also given those like-minded, nostalgic gamers the opportunity to enjoy the same childhood hobby today. And most importantly, everyone has fun doing it.
“We feel that the vast majority of the nation’s great players will be in Madison on March 8, but we can’t say for certain that we’ve unearthed all of the greats yet,” Josh H. said. “Every year, new players emerge that surprise the field and make deep runs. We expect no different in Tecmo X. And due to the videos out there of the classic battles from prior tournaments, we’ve found that players are able to go from ‘novice’ to ‘dangerous’ much faster than in the past. That’s why prior records in the tournament can be deceiving.
“You can’t talk about our tournament without talking about the buzz of nostalgia that players feel each time they pick up the controller, and the camaraderie that’s developed over the years in the Tecmo community,” Josh H. added. “What’s truly amazing is that people from all walks of life, from all areas of the country, have developed deep relationships playing this great game at live tournaments like Madison throughout the year.
“We tell new players that their goal shouldn’t be to win the tournament; their goal should be to enjoy the game of their childhood, make new friends, and escape from the real world for a day,” Josh H. continued. “Only one player will win the Madison tournament, but every player can have a blast, and that’s what brings people back to Madison every year.”
EACH TOURNAMENT IS UNIQUE
Josh H. said Tecmo Madison has a different feel to it every year.
“We work hard to establish the theme on tournament day by sweating every detail, from the starting lineup figures on the televisions to the prizes we hand out to the coins each player flips before a game,” he said. “Beyond that, we’ve continuously refined the tournament format and overall tournament experience with each event.”
In terms of Tecmo X, the introduction of the “Madison Madness” brackets will add a whole new dimension to the Madison experience, and make this an even livelier spectator event than it already is. Tourney participants and viewers will have the chance to fill out their tournament bracket and predict the winner, just like March Madness.
But reaching the mathematically gorgeous number of 256 gives the tournament a symmetry the Tecmo Madison committee hasn’t seen since the 64 players in Tecmo V: Ickey and the Boomdog in 2009.
“It’s an incredible amount of work,” Josh H. said. “From the time we announce the name and date of the tournament, it becomes a second job for me, Chet, and Tony (O.). Luckily, we have a team of people who help us with everything from media relations to tournament format to t-shirt design.
Josh H. said something that gets harder each year is the seeding process, which the committee takes seriously.
“When we first introduced the group play format, we felt obligated to ensure that the best players, along with friends and brothers, were spread evenly across the different groups,” he said. “Now, we need to do this not only for 32 groups of 8 players, but also 4 regions of 64 players. It’s a painstaking process that begins en route to the Lincoln tournament in early January, and doesn’t end until we publish the groups in late February.
“With all that said, the tournament remains a labor of love for us, and it’s a pleasure to watch it unfold every year in March,” he added. “But we absolutely breathe a deep sigh of relief the day after the tournament each year, and take a nice long break before we start discussing whether we’ll host the event the next year.”
But before that decision is made, Tecmo X still needs to crown the best.
CHET AND DOM DELIUSE
The conversation starts, as it always does, with two-time defending champion Chet H.
He headlines Group 9 with two to three other legitimate Tecmoers. Although Holzy11 is the man to beat, there are people in Group 9 that can give him a run.
Look for Chet H. to advance, but point differential could cause some seeding problems for the three-peat.
“Don’t let Dom Deluise’s beret, silk scarf and jolly cheeks fool you,” said Tecmo X analyst DotDon, who previewed the region. “This year’s Deluise bracket will be filled with intensity, angst, and bad intentions.”
Group 10 has another icon in the Tecmo Super Bowl world, BigMV54. He is coming off of his impressive victory at MWTecmoVI and is looking to add the crown jewel, a Madison title, to his resume. Seth S., the Bombjack, and Juice made from Beef are all looking to cancel MV’s ticket to the dance, but look for BigMV to advance, while the Seth S. blesses his way into the single elimination as well.
Group 11 pits Tecmo’s biggest talker, Flo, against the charity entry of online phenom JoeeGats.
“Although these two are the ones to beat in this group, there are a couple of dark horses that could upset Flo or Gats,” DotDon said. “If Flo loses, make sure to follow him on Twitter — if you want 100 tweets in 10 minutes that he is still the best.”
Group 12 contains OTool, a perennial Madison success story.
“Toolie seemingly always makes a deep run in Madison with his solid play,” DotDon said.
Attempting to knock him off is the Tecmo Godfather (Knobbe), Rod Woodson, along with six others. Look for OTool to survive and the Godfather to make someone an offer they can’t refuse and advance.
Group 13 is a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Only Mattrick Swayze, Diaz, has significant tourney experience. Look for him to advance, and potentially the Cinderella of the bracket to come out of this group, according to James.
Group 14 may have one of the best head-to-head matchups, assuming the top two seeds in TecmoPsycho and Rico R. advance to the winner’s final. Both players are seasoned, tested veterans of Tecmo. That being said, Johnny Tecmo’s experience or the Pizzmop could shock the world and send one of these titans packing early.
Group 15 has west coast flavor as Kamphuna8 joins to pop his Madison cherry. Kamp will be tested by a group of Madison veterans, including Matt T and Heechy. Both of these guys will be looking to take the next step and attempt to shock the world, James said.
Group 16 rounds out (pardon the pun) the Dom Deluise bracket, with relatively new blood all around battling for group supremacy. AEK has a strong resume, but Michael B. and a couple of others will have something to say about who advances as the group winner.
“All in all, Chet and Matty V look to be the ‘kingpins’ of this bracket,” James said, “however, there are more than a handful of other players that can advance to the Elite 8 Double Elimination Extravaganza. Will be fun to watch.”
DEAN MARTIN AND DARKHORSES
The Dean Martin Region represents its namesake this year. With a few major players and a mix of dark horses, it may be easy to mistake this priestly region for the scam artists they truly are, according to Tecmo X analyst Butt Douglas, who previewed the region.
Tecmo X represents a milestone for the Tournament, and there is no shortage of interesting names making their first appearance for the affair, he said.
Two come out of the Ohio region, one being Midwest Tecmo regular Aaron H. and the other representing the next arrival of the Vogt dynasty, 513Boy4Life, who is coming off a run at Midwest Tecmo that included a win over Tecmo Kumite’s founder, Eric O.
Also walking through the doors for the first time will be Bruddog, Tecmo hacker extraordinaire. If you’ve played any of the Tecmo Super Bowl ROMs available at the Tecmo Repository, chances are Bruddog had a hand in it. Now, he’ll be attempting to prove his mettle in person in his first-ever tournament appearance.
Of course, the big guns coming out of this region include Tecmo celebrity Mort, who hopes to find time in between posing for photos to continue the momentum from his championship at Detroit’s Tecmo Kumite II. Matt M. is once again favored for a strong run, despite a shocking early exit from last year’s Marino Royale. Don’t expect this fluke again; he’ll be building off a win at Tecmo Kumite over 2-time Madison runner-up, and brother, Regulator. Another man who’s had a few disappointing exits the past few years, Skunker, will be looking to reclaim his glory days of the early Tecmo Madison tournaments.
Then there’s Tony O., who will also be creating some noise out of the Dean Martin region—but this time, it won’t just be because of his posse. Tony O. is hungry after his Flair/Steamboat-esque trilogy of games against 2-time Tecmo Madison Champion, Chet H., at Nebraska IV.
Finally, there are those dark horses to watch out for. First is Lucas S., who made it to the Elite Eight of last year’s tournament after knocking out names like BigMV and Josh H. And then there’s Josh A., who, after exiting in the first round last year, went into the first-ever Tundra Bowl and nabbed a third-place showing, maxing out his point differential in the Round Robin portion. Both men will be sure to present many problems for those with high hopes coming out of the Dean Martin region.
“All we can say is: keep your eyes on these guys from the Dean Martin region,” Butt Douglass said. “If not, they may slash your tires and keep racing on to a surprising Tecmo Madison X Championship.”
BURT REYNOLDS AND PURE TALENT
As in the other three regions, the Burt Reynolds Region isn’t shy of pure Tecmo talent either. Spearheading the region is Regulator, who has fallen victim to Holzy11 in the title game the last two years.
He will advance to the single elimination portion of Tecmo X from Group 1 with ease. Justin L. will join him too.
“Regulator will be Regulator,” said Tecmo X analyst VogtCD11, who previewed the Reynolds region. “He just knows how to overwhelm his opponents on all facets of the game.”
Group 2 dons the consistent Jeff B. He’s one of those “pure talent” players who finds a way to win. Leonardite is shunned by ChaosRison, who will advance to the Big Dance.
Sconnie wins Group 3 and punches his ticket into the single elimination gauntlet, while Gridiron also finds his way in.
Two extremely solid and well-rounded players from the far Midwest who will no doubt represent Group 4 are Steven M. and Luke C. Those two play with more consistency than anyone in the tourney. They’ll for sure provide an intense match-up.
Arncoem is probably playing his best Tecmo. A few good runs at the most recent Madison and Midwest tourneys leave him as the man to beat in Group 5. QBBrowns and Retro Nathan will interlock in the loser’s finals to see who will advance. QBBrowns could have the upper-hand.
Group 6 features two seasoned veterans. Detroit’s fearless founder TecmODell and Garbage look to be the favored in this one.
With one of Madison’s former champions in Peter K. not suiting up for play, Group 7 got a little interesting. Troy H. seems to be almost a lock in advancing to the 64-man single elimination tourney, and a few others could make an interesting run — including the new and improved Ryan S.
Group 8 features two strong performers in the Rikster and Vikingmoe. Vikingmoe will enter Tecmo X full steam, despite it being his first-ever appearance. Those two prevail as a dejected and hardworking Kevin C. fails to take down either of the two.
THE FORMER-CHAMPION-INFESTED FARRAH FAWCETT REGION
Three of five former Tecmo Madison champs playing in Tecmo X are located in the Farrah Fawcett Region.
They are Josh H., Buzzsaw and Jim B. Enough said.
Daboy and Josh H. could be your No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in this region. Daboy eases out of Group 25, while Josh H. comes out on top in Group 26. Schuk and Moulds snag an entry into the single elimination tourney from those groups respectively.
Expect BGBoud to make his quiet move deep into the Madison gauntlet from Group 27. Runner-up will be Dot Don.
Hoigaard, who was ousted from last year’s tourney by VogtCD11, will win Group 28. Dave N. will make his way in as well from this group.
Group 29 will be represented by Jay H., who again will pose as a threat deep in the tourney. He edges out former champion Jim B. to win the group.
Immortal reigns out of Group 30, but is well-contested by new contender Ashman from Texas.
An online powerhouse and live tourney threat, 8-Bit could see himself playing for a Tecmo X title. He’ll come out on top of Group 31, while CubanPete will Jason Vorhees his way into the single elimination thriller.
Former champion Kevin Miller, Buzzsaw, will contend with Midwest Tecmo founder VogtCD11 for the top spots from the final group, Group 32. Buzzsaw ousted VogtCD11’s brother BigMV in the Elite 8 of Tecmo V on his way to his first title in 2009.
Dot Don and Butt Douglas contributed to this story. Chris Vogt is a national Tecmo Super Bowl writer. Follow him on Twitter @vogtcd.
Midwest Tecmo’s Projected Group Play Winners:
Burt Reynolds Region
Group 1 Winner, Regulator; Group 1 Runner-Up, Justin L.
Group 2 Winner, Jeff B.; Group 2 Runner-Up, ChaosRison
Group 3 Winner, Sconnie; Group 3 Runner-Up, Gridiron
Group 4 Winner, Luke C.; Group 4 Runner-Up, Steven M.
Group 5 Winner, Arncoem; Group 5 Runner-Up, QBBrowns
Group 6 Winner, TecmODell; Group 6 Runner-Up, Garbage
Group 7 Winner, Troy H.; Group 7 Runner-Up, Ryan S.
Group 8 Winner, Rikster; Group 8 Runner-Up, VikingMoe
Dom Deluise Region
Group 9 Winner, Holzy11; Group 9 Runner-Up, Kris K.
Group 10 Winner, BigMV54; Group 10 Runner-Up, Seth S.
Group 11 Winner, Flo; Group 11 Runner-Up, Gats
Group 12 Winner, LuckyOtool; Group 12 Runner-Up, Knobbe
Group 13 Winner, Diaz; Group 13 Runner-Up, James K.
Group 14 Winner, TecmoPsycho; Group 14 Runner-Up, Rico
Group 15 Winner, Kamphuna; Group 15 Runner-Up, Heechy
Group 16 Winner, Adam K.; Group 16 Runner-Up, Michael B.
Dean Martin Region
Group 17 Winner, Mort; Group 17 Runner-Up, AHake
Group 18 Winner, Bruddog; Group 18 Runner-Up, Ding
Group 19 Winner, Lucas S.; Group 19 Runner-Up, Tim U.
Group 20 Winner, Ones11Fahzu; Group 20, JimSocks
Group 21 Winner, Orenga; Group 22 Runner-Up, 513Boy
Group 22 Winner, Coconuts; Group 22 Runner-Up, Adversity
Group 23 Winner, Kweh11; Group 23 Runner-Up, Manyo
Group 24 Winner, Skunker; Group 24 Runner-Up, EdRex
Farrah Fawcett Region
Group 25 Winner, Daboy; Group 25 Runner-Up, Schuk
Group 26 Winner, Josh H.; Group 26 Runner-Up, Moulds
Group 27 Winner, BGBoud; Group 27 Runner-Up, DotDon
Group 28 Winner, Hoigaard; Group 28 Runner-Up, Dave N.
Group 29 Winner, Jay H.; Group 29 Runner-Up, Jim B.
Group 30 Winner, ImImmortal; Group 30 Runner-Up, Ashman
Group 31 Winner, 8Bit; Group 31 Runner-Up, CubanPete
Group 32 Winner, Buzzsaw; Group 32 Runner-Up, VogtCD11