All Toned Up: Illinois native made name known at Tecmo MADSION XII

By Chris Vogt | @MWTecmo
TSB Writer

MARTINSVILLE, Ill. — The Tecmo Super Bowl contingent know him. Now.

His performance at Tecmo Madison XII registers as one of the greatest Cinderella stories ever to be told in the history of Tecmo Madison.

Aaron “The Kid” Toner is his name. And he’ll walk into High Noon Saloon in Wisconsin’s capitol on April 8 with a hint of familiarity amongst him.

“It was a weekend that I’ll be able to tell my kids about and have them laugh at me for being a nerd,” said Toner, 22, whose magical run at last year’s Tecmo Super Bowl world championships fell short against Joseph Chiltowsky (Joeygats) in the title game.

“I’m not really sure where to start with that whole day,” Toner added. “It was a cool moment, that’s for sure.”

With minimal experience at Tecmo Madison, Toner’s conservative, turnover-limited play continually pushed him over the top with victories over powerhouses Regulator and Mort on his way to last year’s finals.

“I really should have lost my loser’s bracket group game. I played a pretty sloppy game, but was gifted a generous turnover margin,” Toner said. “I just got in a rhythm after my round of 64 game and didn’t look back.

It was a weekend that I’ll be able to tell my kids about and have them laugh at me for being a nerd. – Aaron “The Kid” Toner

“The best part about the whole experience was having my brother, Matt (tecmorox81), and friend, James (Player121Xk) cheer me on,” Toner added. “After kicking the game-winning field goal against Regulator, Matt and I high-fived and hugged. We almost did (the high-five) over Regulator, so I need to apologize to him for that. It was a really cool brother moment.”


Toner, an Information Systems Technologies graduate from Southern Illinois-Carbondale, remembers when his Tecmo days started.

It didn’t even have anything to do with the 1991 version of Tecmo Super Bowl.

“My uncle, Jim, edited the original Tecmo Super Bowl ROM using a hex editor,” Toner recalled. “I was probably six or seven and was fascinated by how he could change the code of the game.

“My brother and I started playing on Nesticle (emulator) on our father’s computer and became hooked,” he added. “My brother helped start TCS (Tecmo Championship Series), and I played in that when I was 12.

“I stopped playing online when I was around 14 because I just started losing interest,” he continued. “However, Matt and I would always fire up some games from that point on randomly.”


But Toner’s current Tecmo playing style doesn’t have much fire to it.

He said it’s conservative at best.

“My main focus is the turnover margin,” Toner said. “I try really, really hard to not make mistakes and put myself in positions in which the numbers favor me.

“For me, it is just a conservative, boring style of play,” Toner added. “Take what the defense gives and try to limit big plays on defense. I run with my QB quite a bit as well. My biggest strength is probably my patience. Outside of that, I’m pretty average with a lucky streak.”


While Toner confirmed a little bit of luck went his way at #TecmoXII, his game was on point after the Round of 64.

That included wins against Miller (Regulator) and Holzbauer (Holzy11), two of the world’s most renowned Tecmo Super Bowl players to ever pick up controllers.

“I just remember thinking that I don’t want to play Regulator. He’s the one I’ve feared. Regulator. Regulator. Regulator. There I am, playing him,” Toner said. “He was the only person against whom I felt overmatched last year.

“Chet and Joey are both unbelievably talented, but there’s just something about Regulator that was different.”

Toner pinpointed his top 3 moments of TecmoXII, and No. 1 was, in fact, playing against Miller.

“Honestly, I don’t remember the specifics of any game I played last year. In fact, I just watched them on YouTube for the first time a couple of weeks ago, which was really interesting to watch,” Toner said. “The game winning kick against Regulator by far ranks as the best. It was an extremely close game, and I got some lucky bounces to try and put together a game-winning drive.

“That was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in terms of Tecmo,” Toner added. “Trying to line the arrow up (on the kick) was really something else.”

Orenga fumbles at the 1yd line, surrounded by the @OrengaPosse.

Tony Orenga, who is accompanied by a posse of 20-plus screaming friends during each of his games, fumbling at the 1 yard line against Toner in the Sweet 16 also ranks up there in the Toner TecmoXII memory bank.

“The photos from that game are unbelievable,” Toner said. “I would have been knocked out if that fumble didn’t happen.”

Toner booting a game-winning kick to outlast Rikster falls in there as Toner’s No. 3 Tecmo Madison XII moment.

“I remember thinking that I’m kicking this field goal for several hundred dollars,” Toner said. “Outside of that, the tourney was just a complete blur.”


Last year was Toner’s third Madison tournament. He said things didn’t really start to click successfully until about a week before it.

“I practiced and changed the way I mashed buttons and a few things about the way I played, which certainly helped me get to where I got,” Toner said.

His first Madison, Toner was matched up in a tough group with Madison’s own Rico Rieck and 2015 winner Derek Ruble (TecmoPsycho).

“I played them both close.”

His second Madison, Toner won his group and won his first round game. In the round of 32, Toner matched up against Chet and “I just completely freaked out. Instead of playing my normal game, I just tried to overthink every little detail. That loss probably helped just as much as anything. I realized that no matter how inexperienced you are or what the talent discrepancy is to just be confident, play your game, and let Tecmo handle the rest.

“That is probably my best advice I can give to anyone,” Toner added. “Also, a lot of luck doesn’t hurt either.”

Toner also noted to have a complete day of success at Tecmo Madison, you simply have to stay awake.

“I would have practiced staying up later last year,” he said. “I’m a go-to-bed-at-8:30 kind of guy, so my biggest struggle was trying to keep my eyes open. As the night went on, I was just pretty exhausted, which probably cost me more than anything else I did.

“I probably would have brought more peanut butter crackers to snack on, as well, because I wasn’t planning on being at Madison that long.”

Toner will be toned up for Tecmo  Madison XIII, now. Watch his journey unfold on the livestream. Broadcasts will be on and

Chris Vogt (@MWTecmo) is a Tecmo Super Bowl writer and enthusiast. He is a journalism graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the director of Midwest Tecmo.

Basic Matchup Advice In Tecmo Super Bowl

In this article, you’ll learn more tricks that can help you win more games. Most Tecmo Bowl players would find that matchup selection is quite difficult, especially if one lacks the experience and expertise of the different basics of Tecmo Super Bowl.

Step 1: Select two teams that are ideal matchups

It’s important to take note of each team’s advantage over the other team, as this is very essential. In my experience, it’s hard to find two dead even teams and, often, it’s easier to find two teams with a weakness that the other team exploits.

 Dallas vs Phoenix

In this popular matchup, Dallas would seem to have an advantage over Phoenix due to the 56 MS RB and a decent passing game. However, the two safeties on Phoenix, low INT in the Dallas’ secondary and the 19 MS QB on Phoenix can make for a very close game.

Cincinnati vs Detroit

This is a great matchup since the two teams have good offensive plays that are difficult to counter. Winning this matchup would solely be based on Detroit’s ball control or Cincinnati’s turnovers with David Fulcher.

Step 2: Pick two teams that you’d want to use

It’s a good strategy to refrain from putting teams that you’re not good at in a matchup. If you’re good at running the ball, simply choose two running teams. Likewise, if you’re better at passing or defense then select two teams ideal for your strategy.

I, myself, don’t like playing with ATL or TB defense. This is why I rarely select them in a matchup. Also, I don’t like playing against TB so there’s another reason not to have them in a matchup.

It’s wise to practice matchups you’d want to use in a tourney. I’ve practiced the ins and outs with my key matchups teams and feel confident using them in key games. If you have even just one go-to matchup that you practiced out then you have an advantage.

I have a set of key matchups that are my go-to matchups:

  1. DET/MIN
  2. CHI/KC
  3. DEN/DAL
  4. HOU/BUF
  5. DAL/ARI
  6. MIN/MIA

When playing against players who aren’t at the highest level, I use matchups I don’t trust against great players. Most of the time I’d go with a MIN/TB/WAS matchup in opening rounds in order to save my best matchup calls.

I advise you to explore every level of the matchup from SF vs NYG to SEA vs IND. This would definitely make you a better Tecmo Bowl player. You’d never know what other people would call. In most tourneys, every team tends to get used once.

Matchups leaning towards running games:

  1. DET/DEN
  2. CIN/DET
  3. CHI/OAK
  4. SD/DET

Matchups leaning towards passing games:

  1. MIA/MIN
  2. BUF/HOU
  3. SF/HOU
  4. IND/SEA
  5. TB/WASH
  6. RAMS/TB
  7. CLE/GB

Matchups leaning towards defensive games:

  1. CHI/OAK
  2. PIT/DAL
  4. SD/MIN

Note: If you play a great player and you’re not as good, go with a matchup with two great offenses. Typically, great players are also great defenders.  Taking a HOU/BUF or NYG/BUF might negate their advantage.

 Using your experience to your advantage

Advancing through tourneys and TPC ranks will help you learn about the weaknesses of each team. You can easily put this to your advantage when you go against different teams. Key players on defense can be countered by running plays to negate their effectiveness:

Byrd on SD at DB2 can be neutralized by sweep plays. 

Haddix on TB can be countered by plays running up. 

Several of those plays like R and S sweep L are also devastating on tough LB1s. A great LB4 can easily destroy a lot of plays but R and S sweep R will give him fits.

You should remember that each team does have its own weakness. There are some teams that can’t run or throw well while others are pretty bad in defense or have one great defender in a bad position. The more you practice and play games the more flaws you will find in each team. SF’s only flaws are intangibles. These make people play overconfidently and slow down just a tad in the red zone. Compare that to IND which has no useable defenders and one fairly decent QB.

But sometimes a team’s weakness can make it go up the proverbial ladder to play a higher-level team. Teams in a matchup don’t have to be right next to each other on the TPC ranking list. They also do not have to be in the same tier or level. These are rare but valid matchups.

For example:

One of my toughest games in a recent tourney was CLE/DAL. CLE is a great team to call if you’d want to go up the ladder. They possess a hard to stop passing game. With the high MS of QB Browns, he makes it a tough match for opponents.

Here is a list of common CLE matchups I have seen that goes up the ladder:

  1. CLE/TB
  2. CLE/DAL
  4. CLE/DEN
  5. CLE/NYJ
  7. CLE/ARI

I’m not suggesting to call any of these in a tourney. What I am saying is that if you’re really strong with CLE, you have a chance against these teams. At the same time, don’t go into a call against CLE less serious because you have a way better team.

Note: QB’s with a high PC can change games around. Just like RBs with sick MS, WRs with high MS and DB’s with high INT.


Until matchup calling is eliminated, you must have some idea of what to do if you’d need to call matchups. If you get good at calling matchups, you’d definitely learn how each team could win the game against the other team. You’ll still need to learn and practice how to execute your game plan.

Originally posted on — edited by davefmurray

Tecmo Super Bowl Hacking Guru – Bruddog

Dave Brude (Bruddog) has been looking under the hood of Tecmo Super Bowl for years.

His twitter feed (@BruddogTecmo) is a-flurry with the progress on his latest project: commenting on the source code for TSB.

Bruddog’s Twitter Avatar – @BruddogTecmo

“This has been a ridiculous amount of work, but I enjoy it as well. It would be something cool to give back to the [online Tecmo Super Bowl] community.”

It can’t be understated how valuable Brude’s contributions have been to the Tecmo community. He is a moderator and frequent presence on, where he leads and responds to discussions concerning the brass tacks of TSB.

Does all of this nuts and bolts info give him an advantage when it comes to tournament play?

“Probably not any more so than many other top competitors,” says Brude. “Many of the probabilities and inner workings of the game have been shared amongst the community, so there isn’t much edge to be had from the inner workings of the game as there might have been in the past.”

While Brude’s work has unearthed secrets that can help players elevate their game, much of Brude’s Tecmo study has resulted in fun twists of the classic title. Brude cites two hacks as his favorites.

DL pushing back OL in the push-pull hack.

In October 2013, he released an amazing hack that caused players engaged in grappling to slide backwards or forwards depending on their hitting power. This “Push-pull” hack gives depth to the game’s realism, but also gives the gameplay an added eye-popping element.

Given that it affects scoring, perhaps even more game-altering is his two-point conversion hack.

“That one eluded people for so long,” says Brude.

Two-point conversions play a critical role in TSB, especially in games between top competitors where possessions are a premium.

Matches that enter halftime with a one point difference are a prime example. If you’re the losing team, you may want to go for two if you score a Touchdown to make the match a 7-point game. Then again, the winning team may dare to go for two if they score first, hoping to make the match a two-score game.

When it comes to competitive Tecmo Bowl, Brude admits he leans toward passing and big plays, but he’s not stringent on this method.

“You have to be fairly adaptable to keep moving on since there are so many styles of teams you can be forced to play within a tournament setting,” says Brude.

“I definitely adapt my game plan depending on the teams being used and the opponent. With some of the top competitors you know some of their tendencies and adjust accordingly but when you play someone new you have to feel them out a little bit and see what they like to do.”

Bruddog has been one of Tecmo Madison’s consistent competitors. He has advanced to the Round of 32 in each of his last three three Madison appearances.

“It was great to see two new competitors make the championship, and specifically Joeygats since we had spent a good amount of time practicing against each other online before the tourney,” says Brude.

“Of course it’s always great to see the friends you’ve made in the community. Living on the west coast, it’s the only time of year I really have a chance to hang out with them in person.”

On April 8th, Bruddog will seek to get his circadian rhythm in check where he faces the competitive pool at Tecmo Madison XIII. Look for him to get that West Coast offense pumping all the way to another Round of 32 bid.

Tecmo Madison has partnered with the Let’s Play Gaming Expo this year. They have sponsored our field to extend the tournament payouts further but also to add a bit more to our tournament circuit.

The Let’s Play Gaming Expo is one of the most interactive conventions in the land, celebrating all of gaming, be it board, card, or video. Their third year will feature all the things you loved from the previous years, only bigger and better again! #LPGE has featured 85+ vendor tables, 80+ arcade cabinets, the national Smash Bros tournament Low Tier City, the only Classic Tetris World Championship regional qualifier, a Tecmo Madison qualifier, retro game tournaments, modern game tournaments, panels, special guests, and much, much more!

Yes, you read right. We, Tecmo Madison, are taking our talents to Dallas! August 5th, 2017 will be the first qualifier of the Tecmo Bowl XIV season, kicking off with our first qualifier in Dallas. More details to come. If you’d like to keep up to date with the upcoming Dallas qualifier, please sign up to the mailing list below:

Tecmo Madison: Dallas Sign-Up

Tecmo Madison field stacked more than ever

By Chris Vogt
TSB Writer

MADISON, Wisc. — The mayhem isn’t over.

On the brink of calling it quits, Tecmo Madison will instead showcase its largest — and most competitive — field of Tecmo Super Bowl talent it has ever provided.

An astounding 292 gaming enthusiasts will take to the 8-bit controllers in what is coined the world championship of Tecmo Super Bowl, Tecmo XIII: Return of the Mack, on April 8 at High Noon Saloon in Wisconsin’s capitol.

“This tournament is the largest, the deepest, and the most talented field we have ever assembled,” said tournament event administrator Jon Bailey. “Every year seems to be the best.”


After operating Tecmo Madison for 12 tournaments, the original founders had their sights set on nixing the event due to life-altering matters.

In comes Florida native Dave Murray.

“Tecmo Super Bowl has such a huge reach. I think we are learning this more and more each year,” said Murray, who is running Tecmo Madison for the first time since local brothers Josh and Chet Holzbauer handed it over in 2016.

“It was such a big game for so many people and now we are seeing more younger players get involved,” Murray added. “Like it has been said a million times before — the simplicity and ultra competition drive the Tecmo Bowl scene.”

What has specifically driven attention Tecmo Madison’s way this upcoming tournament, according to Murray, is media.

“The stream is going to be awesome. The commentary is going to be awesome. The venue is going to be awesome. The format is going to be awesome. The pressure is going to be intense.” — Jon Bailey, Tournament Administrator

“We are refocusing on all things media and it has reinvigorated the Tecmo Super Bowl scene,” Murray said. “With that, we are fielding not only the biggest tournament ever but possibly the most competitive.”

Murray noted that the sponsorship support and other added events have taken Tecmo XIII “to a new level.”

Koei Tecmo, Hyperkin and the Bo Jackson Give Me A Chance Foundation have teamed up with Madison Tecmo this year.

Murray said Tecmo Madison: Friday Night Retro “is a going to be a big time event as well.”

NBA Jam: Tournament Edition and NHL 95 take center stage the night before the main event.

Said Murray, “Do not miss out on a good time and make sure to come out on Friday night too.”


Region Description: Veteran

Filled with veteran bruisers, the Badger Bowl Region packs one of the biggest punches.

“This one stands out the most,” Bailey said. “It has a great mix of tournament vets, league pros, Tecmo legends, and is just deep, deep, deep.”

Defending champion Joseph Chiltowsky (JoeyGats) is the headliner.

“Gats is super focused,” Murray said. “I feel like he could double-up and go back to back.”

Adding to the mix of seasoned vets are Lucas Streiber, Erik Johnson, Matt Vogt, Louis Buennagel, Eric O’Dell, Rico Rieck, Kyle Floetl and former Madison champion Jim Bontempo.

“Other regions have obvious choices for players some want to avoid, but you could make a list of 10 or more players in that region alone that every other player would want to avoid,” Bailey said. “When half your field is dangerous, that is a stand out region.”

Not only do contenders in the Badger Bowl Region have to go up against the previous champ in JoeyGats, but they’ll also have to go through last year’s runner-up, Aaron Toner.

“The biggest surprise player perhaps ever is Toner,” said Tecmo analyst Ryan Stewart. “This player experienced very average Madison tournaments prior to his big run playing some of the best players including Chet (Holzbauer) and (2015 champion) Derek (Ruble), but ultimately losing. Then he goes on a dream run to make the final four leaving two prior Madison champions in his path.

“He won’t sneak up on anyone that’s for sure,” Stewart added of Toner.

Other notable contenders in the Badger Bowl Region include Tony James, Ryan Stewart, Barry Anderson, Todd Daniels, Corey Schultes and Jordan Willis.

Region Winner: Joseph Chiltowsky (JoeyGats)

Region Top Finishers: Jim Bontempo (JimmyB), Matt Vogt (BigMV54) and Erik Johnson (Rikster)


Region Description: Talented

The nation’s top player leads the way in the Plaza Tavern Region, which houses the most Tecmo talent overall.

Kyle Miller, also known as Regulator, undoubtedly enters every single tournament as the top seed.

“I think Regulator is always on a mission,” Murray said. “He is playing unbeatable Tecmo right now.”

The fact that Francis Buennagel (Mort1237) is participating in Tecmo XIII automatically makes him a title contender. The now-Illinois native has a decent shot at taking the Plaza Region as well.

“I think Mort is due for a huge comeback,” Murray said. “He has had some lackluster Madison performances in recent years, but he is coming in more focused and ready to rock this year.”

Some veteran contenders in the Plaza Tavern Region include Matt O’Toole, Josh Holzbauer, Troy Hansen, Chris Vogt, Isaac Wright, David Tompkins and Eric Gardner.

“Plaza is a murderers row,” said JD Fox, one of Tecmo Madison’s coordinators. “Not only does it contain Regulator, who has been at the top of his game lately, but this region has four guys with above 80-percent Madison winning percentages. That is just crazy.”

Other notable contenders in the Plaza Tavern Region include James Persin, Travis Belsky, Jeremy Schroeder, Teddy Beresford and James Kuhn.

“The tournament has become one of the best all comers events around,” Bailey said. “We will take literally anyone at the tournament, give them a seat at the table, and let their game do the talking for them. We weren’t the first to do that. We just happened to have a strong local community that keeps the attendance higher than average, and everyone else comes for the spectacle and the chance to knock off a big name.”

Region Winner: Francis Buennagel (Mort1237)

Region Top Finishers: Kyle Miller (Regulator), Josh Holzbauer (SonOfPatBeach) and Isaac Wright (DisastaMasta)


Region Description: Focused

The Logan’s Region includes two recent Madison champions in Chet Holzbauer and Derek Ruble.

“The winner of this year’s tournament is definitely going to earn his title through at least nine grueling, pressure packed games,” Bailey said. “I love being part of this kind of thing and we’re going to make sure the event, venue, and the format are worthy of the players who will be participating.”

Some veteran contenders in the Logan’s Region include Matt Miller, Jay Hasselwander, Russell Sloan, Matt Billmyer, David Thompson, Gerald Smith, Erik Merliss, Kevin Cabarello and Neil Roesler.

Kyle Nelson, who placed fourth in his first Madison tournament last year, could turn some heads again this year in the Logan’s Region.

“He’s a really good player out of Iowa,” Bailey said. “A big surprise in that players don’t usually do as well as he did at his first Madison. I’m excited to see if he can build off his performance at Tomczak 9 and overcome Regulator who took him down at Tundra 4.”

Other notable contenders in the Logan’s Region include Joe Moskwa, John Freeman, Nick Giordana, Jake Ironside,

Region Winner: Matt Miller (Ones11Fahzu)

Region Top Finishers: Chet Holzbauer (Holzy11), Derek Ruble (TecmoPsycho) and Russell Sloan (Neerm)


Region Description: Darkhorse

The High Noon Region has it all — from veteran powerhouses to darkhorse contenders.

One of the top Tecmoers in this region is Josh Aaronson, who took second 2015.

Jon Jones, William Kuether (Sconnie), Dave Brude, Tony Orenga, Jeff Bernard and former Madison champ Peter Kerins also highlight the High Noon Region.

“If I had to pick a sleeper region, High Noon would be it for me,” Fox said. “I would not be shocked if someone wins it all out of that region.”

Matt Diaz, Justin Peters, Nate Smithson, Tom Burkhardt, Nick Sovell, Joey Schmidt and Matt Knobbe could all make deep runs from the High Noon Region.

“I think Nate Smithson is on the right track to build towards an Aaron Toner like run in this year’s tournament,” Bailey said. “If I were to pick a player to make it to an Elite 8 from that second group of top seeds, Nate would be the guy which would be surprising because his overall record is not the greatest, it just seems like he’s trending the right way for success.”

Region Winner: Jon Jones (Daboy)

Region Top Finishers: Josh Aaronson (Coconuts), Jeff Bernard and Peter Kerins (Moonwalk)

JoeyGats will be competing in his third Madison tournament. Those first two years of experience will carry him to another championship title. JoeyGats does not have slumps, and he plays consistent. His silent confidence shines through an ability to match anyone, skill for skill.

Champion: Joseph Chiltowsky (JoeyGats)

Chris Vogt is a Tecmo Super Bowl enthusiast and Journalism graduate from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the director of Midwest Tecmo.