The Tecmo Siouxper Bowl celebrates the groundbreaking sports video game with tournament this Sunday
What started with a few people in John Boerigter's basement has grown into a fundraiser for the Family Visitation Center.
SIOUX FALLS – When a bunch of friends get together in a buddy’s basement to play video games, the outcome is usually – predictably – less than productive.
Don’t tell that to John Boerigter.
Seven years ago, what started as just such a gathering, focused on the 1990s football video game legend Tecmo Super Bowl, has turned into a full-blown event.
This Sunday, the Tecmo Siouxper Bowl will host 50 or so of Boerigter’s friends and acquaintances in a decidedly larger basement at the Blarney Stone in downtown Sioux Falls.
The core of the gathering is a tournament bracket pitting players one-on-one in a test of 1991-era video gaming prowess.
“It was my favorite video game growing up as a kid,” Boerigter said in an interview. “For our generation it was a big deal. It was one of the first games that the full roster of NFL players licensed. It had all the players. You could build your teams and seasons. It was a lot of fun.”
Considered by many as the greatest sports video game of all time, the graphics and capabilities of the game are decidedly dated when compared to the commercial behemoth that is the Madden NFL franchise.
But its allure has spanned the years and generations.
It was an article marking the 25th anniversary of Tecmo Super Bowl that originally inspired Boerigter to host a tournament in his basement. The event has since expanded into a kind of celebration of 1990s culture, including other 8-bit classic games from Nintendo and Sega universe.
Mario Cart in all its iterations and GoldenEye 007 are popular options.
Attendees are encouraged to don their favorite classic 90s concert shirt or other iconic looks from the era. Flannel is definitely an option, said Boerigter.
This is the third year that Tecmo Siouxper Bowl will be held at the Blarney Stone, 333 S. Phillips Ave. The festivities begin at 2 p.m.
The winner of the tournament takes possession of a traveling trophy. There also will be 90s themed prizes and souvenirs.
Playing old video games has proven a good way to make community connections. Players may not know each other when they sit down for a first-round matchup, they may leave friends, running into each other at the grocery store at their kids’ soccer games.
“It’s like, ‘Hey, it’s that guy from the Tecmo tournament. I remember him. He’s a good dude,’” said Boerigter.
There’s no fee to enter. Players and attendees are asked to make a contribution to support The Family Visitation Center.
The center provides supervised visitation and exchange services for divorced or divorcing parents in custodial situations or court-ordered supervision.
Boerigter and his wife learned about the Family Visitation Center when they became foster parents in 2020.
“It’s a safe place for those visits and can really be a big thing toward keeping those families connected and together,” he said. “It’s a highly stressful time for the kids going through it.”
Boerigter hopes to have more than 50 players this year. Not everybody has to jump into the tournament. There will be additional classic Nintendo and Sega video game platforms open for play.
The Tecmo Siouxper Bowl is primarily a chance for people to get together, he said.
“What I have found to be the most fun about it is seeing some guys who didn't know each other, meet and sit around and crack jokes and relive being 12 years old.”