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History of a 2600 Football Video Game Rivalry That Just Won't Die!


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I have always been a fan of M-Network Super Challenge Football. My older Brother and I got the game when it first hit the shelves way back in 1981-82. My friends and I played the game on and off until 1989. When Baseball Stars came out for the NES it kind of replaced M-Network as our goto sports video game. Anyway, I was unbeatable at Super Challenge Football. As you all know when you are good at any sports videogame you don't mind playing all day long while the dolts line up one after another to only get their asses dragged out to the woodshed for the inevitable beat down that would ensue! I was having such a good time that I even started a league and we kept basic stats for the following areas.




First Downs

Scoring Progression each TD scored

Scoring by quarters

Tackles for loss

Give take ratio

3rd and 4th down conversions (This was huge a huge statistic since you couldn't punt)


We also outlawed the around the world trick where you could exit the back side of the screen on defense and come out the other side. I loved this because it made pick sixes possible further out from the goal line. Tracking yardage proved to be too time-consuming so we didn't do that. You also had to have a third person there to keep stats so the gameplay would move along at a regular pace. We started our league around 1984 before any of us could even drive a car. Fortunately, we lived close enough to ride bikes back and forth to get it on with our football action. Like I said earlier I was not only unbeatable, the games I played in weren't even close.


I remember once wondering aloud with my friend Will if the guy who made the game could beat me at it? It probably sounded arrogant but I was totally being sincere. Anyway fast forward to the late 80's we had a new friend who had come into our circle named Randy. Randy was attending college and working part-time at UPS loading and unloading trucks in the evenings. We played NES together and at this point, the 2600 was an afterthought for all of us. He was, however aware of my history when it came to Super Challenge Football.


Anyway, Randy had a co-worker at UPS named Spencer and at some point, the topic of gaming and Super Challenge Football came up. Spencer immediately made it very clear that he was, THE MAN at M-Network and had owned all the neighborhood kids on his block back in the day. Randy informed me of this and for the next few weeks, a trash-talking fest ensued that got pretty ugly. Remember this is 1991 no internet and cell phones were reserved only for the most privileged. Randy simply carried the garbage back and forth between Spencer and me as things continued to brew between two guys who had never spoken or even seen each other before.


Then in 1991, it was decided that this whole thing had to be settled on the video game gridiron once and for all. It was decided that the game would be held at my house so I had home-field advantage. Sure, it's not the same as the real thing but I was in my home environment which can't hurt. I got the 2600 out and gave it a good dusting and double checked the joysticks for accuracy and precision. Spencer and Randy came and I met my nemesis for the first time. After some chitchat regarding our dominate history of the game, we flipped a coin to decide first possession and got underway.


Now, remember my friend Will I mentioned earlier in the post? He was the perennial doormat of our league! I once scored 105 points on him in the first quarter and took great pleasure in totally destroying him whenever possible. He wanted to be there to watch the historical matchup simply because he hoped to witness my multi year unbeaten streak come to its end. Unfortunately, Will's Mother suffered from MS and on that particular day he was staying at home with her because she couldn't be alone.


Will insisted on periodic in-game reports by phone from Randy during the game. Early on after a 7-7 tie, I blew it open in the 2nd quarter scoring 21 unanswered en route to taking a 28-7 lead. At this point, I really thought I was going to blow this chump out of the water. The Bombers then turned the tables on me with his own run of 28 points and a 35-28 lead going into the 4th quarter. I tied the game at 35-35 before falling to the Bombers 42-35 and ending my 100+ game winning streak that spanned around 8 years.


Fortunately for me, Spencer was a gracious winner and after the game, we shook hands and went our separate ways. Then in the fall of 1994, I took an extra job at Circuit City selling computers for the holidays and I'll be damned if Spencer wasn't working there selling TV's. We became good friends and played in the same fantasy football league for almost 20 years. We still to this day try to get together once a year to play a game of good ole M-Network Super Challenge Football. We have literally split the wins and losses over the years. I have attached a pic of the last game we played which was last November. I totally blew his out of the water! It was on the same day as the Iron Bowl (Auburn vs Alabama) football game and he got his revenge when the Tigers spanked the Tide ass!




I'm kind of excited about our next matchup because I'm going to use Stella and try to hook my laptop up to my TV. I then can also record the game on the computer which means I can go back and record the stats for the game. Then I can post it here on this glorious forum where it will hopefully remain posted for many years to come! Well, if you made it to the end thanks for reading my story and now I will list the teams from our league so they will remain for all history.


Denham Destroyers (that's me:)

Barfoot Rebels

Maddox Madmen

Grubbs Brothers

The Beaters

Milstead Hornets

Jordan Jaguars

York Yellowjackets


Some other guys that played with us back in the 80's but were not in our league.


Singleton Saints

Maddox Men at Arms

Parsons Pirates




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I never had the chance to play it! It looks better and I believe you can punt and kick field goals on the Intellivision version. I have also read post here on Atari Age from Die Hard fans of that game. Most of the kids I knew had a system of some kind but I never had access to anybody with an Intellivision. I will say this though one of the cool things about Super Challenge Football was juking out your opponent to gain the yardage needed for a first down. It's hard to envision being able to do that with an Intellivision gamepad. The classic 2600 joystick though seemed to be born for this game. I remember one birthday my older brother got me a couple of Pointmaster Joysticks and I couldn't wait to try them out. I discovered very quickly that even though they looked cool they just didn't work all well as original 2600 sticks. I'm rambling but the "JUKE" factor was one of the coolest things about Super Challenge Football.pointmaster.jpg

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Thanks for sharing. I wish those sports games had AI in it. I usually didn't have anyone to play those with so I never got into the M-Network sports games. I did however buy an Intellivision years later that had AI built into their later sports games. That's what gave me the fever...

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