By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
From Left Field: Retro gaming in the Frozen Tundra
Adam Krebs, Reporter - photo by Adam Krebs

As I’ve stated before, I like video games. Especially retro games. In fact, I like them so much I travel the country to compete in tournaments. 

My most recent endeavor took me to Green Bay Jan. 25-26 for the annual Tundra Bowl competition. My friend Nate Smithson and his team of GB misfits runs one of the nation’s premier tournaments. It’s classy, fun and goes incredibly smooth compared to other events around the country.

While Tecmo Super Bowl for the original NES is our main course, Nate also orchestrated a Retro Mania night for Friday, Jan. 25. The mania included a 2v2 (2-on-2) Tecmo Super Bowl tournament, something gaining in popularity since Tecmo Madison last April and Midwest Tecmo in Cincinnati in July. My partner Jake and I went 1-2. Jake, from Dubuque, runs his own tournament each year, Tomczak Bowl, named after former Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak. This year will be his 11th tournament, and it takes place in March. 2. (Due to playoff basketball, I unfortunately will not be able to attend.)

Also at Retro Mania was an eight-game challenge. Tallies and places added up for each game with one player being named the winner. Games included Paperboy, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Duck Hunt, RBI Baseball and Super Mario World for SNES. Some of the games I had never played before, like Bubsy (which I intentionally mispronounced as Busby all weekend), and Daytona USA for Sega Saturn.

I didn’t place well, but I had a boatload of fun.

I brought my eldest daughter, Perla, with me. She played and impressed many of the 20-50-somethings with her skills on Gameboy and Mario. She also liked getting free Sprite all night.

The main day of the tournament I was the top seed in my group in Division 2. This year the Tecmo Super Bowl tournament was broken down into two divisions. Players signed up based on a mix of talent level and experience. I normally get creamed by the top dogs and didn’t feel like getting smoked, so I dropped a bracket. Seeing what all major players showed up, it was a smart choice.

I went unbeaten in group play (4-0) and then won my first two playoff games. Perla was getting antsy to leave the bar and go back to the hotel after hanging on for eight hours. I lost back-to-back games, including to the eventual runner up — another guy who dropped a division because he didn’t want to get creamed. 

I considered the day a success.

Later in the evening, after taking Perla back to the hotel, I met up with many of the players at Aunt Ethel’s, a retro arcade bar in De Pere. It was like a Chuck E. Cheese without the bad pizza and screaming kids. 

Skeeball, four-player PacMan, air hockey, bubble hockey, pinball and my new favorite game “Willy Crash,” where for a couple of coins you hit the launch bar and send an animated daredevil into the sky flipping and flopping in hopes of getting him stuck on a roof in San Francisco. Different roofs have different ticket amounts, and if you miss, you get to watch him haplessly bounce off of railings and telephone wires until he smashes on the ground. So satisfying, and I won enough tickets for a pint glass.

— Adam Krebs is a reporter for the Times and wants to remind you that this cold weather will all be over soon. Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training in just eight days. Adam can be reached at