So, a few weeks back I wrote about the history of wrestling games. I was the type of gamer who had to get the new games the day they were released. But with wrestling games it was more than a need; it was my duty and purpose to get these games first. In my neighborhood, wrestling games were not easy to get and the local game store would only order the maximum of five copies. I also wanted to get the Japanese ported games like Fire Pro Wrestling but never had the right connections at the store outlets that sold them. Luckily for me, I can appreciate the games now on emulators and other ports. Playing the video games made me feel like I could be a wrestler. I never really pursued the dream of in-ring action, but I felt being an on-air personality or a creative developer was my area of strength. That is why when the games began to evolve and have features such as Create-a-Wrestler and GM Modes, I was felt the sense of someone hearing my wishes and I could possibly create my own federation and promotion the way I wanted and use my imagination as I always wanted to. These days, wrestling games have become more realistic and involve the players more deeply than years past. But for this article I want to acknowledge the best and the worst of years earlier. So, with that being said, I bring to you…
Face and Heel of Wrestling Video Games (1990s-2000)
Face Video Game: WCW/NWO Revenge (N64)
I really wanted to hate this game years ago. Why you may ask? Because I didn’t have a N64 and was upset because I had to go to my friend’s house everyday to play it. I had played some pretty good wrestling games in the past such as NES Pro Wrestling and Tecmo World Wrestling which had commentating and a loosely based storyline. I had a Playstation and I had to deal with the worst wrestling games in existence. WCW Nitro and WCW Thunder was not what I called solid wrestling games, but WCW/NOW Revenge was an eye opener. The game had entrances, signature moves and finishers, crowd interactions, changing of ring gear, and a HUGE roster. I would literally play for hours on end and my friend would have to remind me it was time to go home. I begged almost every night to borrow his system just so I can break night and try to conquer the game to no avail. The moves were easy to connect, the wrestlers were easy to recognize, and the crowd was loud. If you have never played this game you are NOT a gamer or a true wrestling fan. This game was the groundwork for the games we have today. WCW/NOW Revenge is now and forever will be a classic game.
Heel Video Game: WCW Nitro (PS1)
This game actually made me cry. No seriously, I cried tears of sadness and disappointment. The game was highly anticipated and with the promos on Monday Night Nitro I was sure this game was going to be, well, a game changer. A large roster and different arenas were promised so as a fan I asked the local game store owner to hold a copy for me. When I popped the game in and the screen flickered the images of the WCW stars I was excited. The wrestler select screen, with mini videos of each wrestler shooting off at the mouth made me when to play using all the characters. As soon as the game started, my jaw dropped and I began to tear up. The gameplay was horrible, the control was clunky, and the graphics reminded me of a 3D game trying too hard. I really wanted to get into it but it was god awful. About two weeks after I bought it, I went to FuncoLand, which is now known as GameStop, and traded it in for store credit. To this day, Nitro has to be my most embarrassing video game purchase ever.