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Who is the greatest video game athlete of all time?

And why is it Tecmo Bo?

1990 AFC Divisional Playoffs: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Raiders Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

I believe we’ve had a discussion similar to this in the past, but given that it is Video Game Week around here, it’s time to revisit it again.

When it comes to individual athletes in video games, there have been quite a few that have stood out over the years. There was at least one version of Madden where Michael Vick was so ridiculous that you could win games just by running designed quarterback runs with him for four quarters (provided that he didn’t get hurt or something). But for those of us of a slightly older generation, there is one name that is synonymous with ridiculous performances in video games.

That man. . .is Tecmo Bo.

For the younger crowd, Bo Jackson was just about as freakish an athlete as anyone we’ve ever seen. He spent his summers playing baseball for the Kansas City Royals, and then would jump to the NFL and suit up for the (then) Los Angeles Raiders. He put together his share of highlights in real life, but Tecmo Bo was a completely different thing.

How ridiculous was Tecmo Bo? This ridiculous.

That’s from Tecmo Super Bowl, the sequel to the original Tecmo Bowl that came out on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989. Tecmo Super Bowl came out in 1991. The sequel actually included all (at the time) 28 NFL teams, as opposed to the original which only had 12 teams.

But yes, that’s Bo Jackson taking up the entire first quarter by literally running circles around the opposing defense before casually strolling into the end zone.

Seriously, in both games, if your opponent was using the Raiders, you got to the point where you just picked one of the Bo Jackson runs when you were on defense and hoped for the best. You honestly didn’t even worry about Marcus Allen. . .you know, NFL Hall of Famer Marcus Allen. . .because there was a chance that you could actually take Marcus Allen down if he got the football.

Not Bo. If Bo got his hands on the football and you hadn’t picked that play as the defense beforehand, it was over. Wherever the Raiders were on the field, any halfway competent human opponent was going to score every time Bo touched the football.

And with Tecmo Super Bowl, even if you picked a run to Bo Jackson every time, there was only a 50/50 shot that you were going to get that right, because he had two designed runs in the sequel, as opposed to the original where he only had one. So if you picked the wrong Bo Jackson run play, you were still hosed. At least in the original you could just pick the one running play designed for Bo and know you had basically taken him out of the equation.

That’s why the greatest video game athlete of all time, without question, is the Tecmo Bowl version of Bo Jackson. I’m sure there are a lot of other great ones, and you can throw them into the comments section, but I’m not sure that any of them can approach the one-man wrecking crew from the Raiders.