WILW: WWF Wrestlemania – The Arcade Game

Usually I’m not one to get caught up in the whole so bad it’s good thing. I’m not a fan of shitty movies, games, tv shows, comics, etc., just because they are shitty. I am absolutely not the target audience for Mystery Science Theater 3000, or its relaunch. Now, I’m not knocking people who are into those things because of their inherent cheese quotient, all I’m saying is that some people are Taylor Swift people and some people are Katy Perry people. (team taytay all the way, btw) And while it may not be my favored cup of tea, there are a few things that I genuinely love that could be considered bad by some. (they would be wrong, but i digress) Team Troma movies, Ed Wood movies, anything Sam Raimi, Rob Liefeld comics, and this month’s featured game, WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game by Midway. If you are of a certain age, you’ve seen this game before. If you are among the younger set, strap in for some grade A, high quality, certified bullshit.

Hot digitized action!
Hot digitized action!

Oh this game. How many quarters did I drop into you during weekly family outings to dinner and the grocery store? How many hours did I spend with your home versions trying, and failing, to understand just what in the fuck I was doing with my life? How were you developed by Midway at the height of their powers? Released in 1995 for the Arcade, PlayStation, SNES, Genesis, 32X, and in 1996 for the Saturn, WWF: WTAG was developed by Midway to be a wrestling game in look and character only. Playing more like NBA Jam mixed with Mortal Kombat than a wrestling sim, this game had the balls to digitize the actual wrestlers like it was going to be serious, name itself after the biggest wrestling show of the year like it was going to be serious, include the tippy top stars of the day (and Doink) like it was going to be serious, and then, THEN!, include special moves like the Undertaker hitting his opponent with a literal tombstone. Or Lex Luger, who had surgery once upon a time on his elbow that was then turned into a storyline because bionic elbow=cheating, hitting opponents with a fucking mace after his arms turn metal for some reason. Or Razor Ramon whose arm turns into a giant fuck-off razor blade. On top of that, there is no simulation aspect to this game at all. It’s all special moves and nonsense and two out of three falls and handicap matches and silliness and even with all of that, I loved it. I loved it for how over the top it was. I loved it because it was NBA Jam meets professional wrestling. I loved it because it was ridiculous even by Midway standards. And being a Midway game, there were a ton of secrets hidden away in the game and even fatalities, though these were scrapped last minute with only Undertaker’s appearing online.

If you’ve never played this game before, I highly recommend that you do. It’s best enjoyed with others as the game is fairly cheap and ratchets up the frustration levels quickly. On a lazy afternoon though, there is a ton of fun to be had. You see, I know this is blasphemy to some, but there was a time where ridiculous bullshit had a place in the games industry. It was insanity, and it wasn’t very good, but it was made with love by talented people. Midway did not make bad games back then and WWF: WTAG is not a bad game. The home versions, other than the Playstation version, are bad. But they are bad because of the limitations of the systems they were on, not the game itself. I promise, if you have a copy or access to a PC, giving this game a shot with friends will result in a damn fine afternoon.

And that’s it for this month. Make sure to check back next week for another reason to love professional wrestling and to follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, for more high quality, grade A, certified bullshit. Until then…

Dan Ryan

Dan Ryan was once the most feared and respected luchador in the world until the "Great DDT Disaster of '85" where Dan unfortunately DDT'd his opponent so hard into the ground that he opened a gate to the underworld that let unholy things into this world. After that, Dan refused to wrestle anymore but he's found new life writing and talking about his favorite hobbies here at Geekade. He pens the weekly Why I Love Wrestling series, co-hosts The Stone Age Gamer Podcast, expertly pairs video games with beer, and much, much more. Dan is a personality that Geekade simply would not be the same without.

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