Tecmo Madison field stacked more than ever
By Chris Vogt
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.”
BADGER BOWL REGION PREVIEW
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)
PLAZA TAVERN PREVIEW
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)
LOGAN’S REGION PREVIEW
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)
HIGH NOON REGION PREVIEW
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.