WWF Computer Game, 1987
Want to impress your video game geek friends? Then quiz them thusly: what, pray tell, was the first ever WWF video game?
Be prepared to laugh heartily at them when they no doubt blurt out…
WrestleMania on the NES!
Also, please mock them if they have any fond memories at all of this absolutely atrocious game. Rose colored glasses or no, sorry kids, that thing sucks and it always has.
Now there is an off-chance that your stinky pal will stroke his filthy beard, snicker, and gleefully tell you the first WWF video game ever was…
While you can’t make fun of them for liking this one (it’s great – in fact, I prefer it to WWF WrestleFest), you can guffaw at them for picking it as the first WWF video game ever. Superstars was the first WWF arcade game ever.
If you want to find what was truly the first licensed WWF video game in history, you have to go back to 1987…
…and get yourself a computer.
It was called Microleague Wrestling and yes, I owned it. Although the image posted above shows it as being a Commodore 64 game, I had it for my beloved Atari ST. It would later be ported to the Amiga and also to MS-DOS.
Oh DOS, I’d almost forgotten thee.
You see kids, back at the advent of home computers, things were so rudimentary and basic (or BASIC, if you were a programmer!) that you did nothing but TYPE.
That was FUN, you see.
Anyone remember Zork?
Is it just me, or do I get easily distracted writing these inductions anymore?
But hey, enough dilly dallying, let’s talk Microleague Wrestling!
You thought those warning screens on your Playbox or X-Station were something new? UH UH! They were there from the very beginning. Remember kids, don’t imitate these moves in any form.
USE YOUR COMPUTER!
Our first graphics (in color, no less!!!) hit the screen, in this case a stunning recreation of the WWF logo…complete with the Superstars of Wrestling theme!
Sure, it sounds like a tone deaf five year old is playing it on his Fisher-Price My Very First Piano, but it’s there and really helps set the mood for this game.
This truly, horribly, amazingly awful game!
Before we jump into the ‘action’, let’s set everything up. The first screen asks us if we want to play Hogan vs. Savage or choose a different match by popping in another disk. I like that they specify that it is a Microleague/WWF disk, because there was also a Microleague Baseball game and you may confuse kids who thought perhaps they could lodge that in the drive and get Dale Murphy suplexing Nolan Ryan.
(As if. Ryan would totally kick Murphy’s fanny.)
But yes, you could get different disks. As I recall, I had both Hogan vs. Savage and Hogan vs. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. I think that’s all that was ever available for the ST, but disks for the other systems featured the likes of the Honky tonk Man, Harley Race, Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Rick Rude.
Next you choose how you are going to control your character. You start to get a feel for exactly what you are in for when you see “Mouse, Keyboard, or Joystick” as your options.
Seriously, have you EVER played a good game when are you getting ALL of those choices as equal options?
Finally, we type in the name of the arena. From there you can either start the game or hit F10 and just say the nuts to this and fire up, I dunno, Llamatron instead.
To show what a good sport I am, F2 it is!
Before we get to the actual match, here’s UPDATE with Hulk Hogan and Mean Gene!
So Gene asks Hulk if he can beat Randy Savage, and Hulk ensures that he won’t let the Macho Man KILL the little Hulksters.
Well, I’d sure hope not.
Finally he ends the parade by noting that he loves all the little Hulkamaniacs who live like he does, which is apparently completely jacked out of their skulls.
And maybe constipated.
Randy Savage is in next, with Gene asking the tough questions like “How will you do?” Sadly, we don’t get audio of Macho ripping Gene a new one, instead just some kind of weird not quite white noise but not quite not white noise which somehow passed for human dialogue in the 80’s computing scene.
You had to use your imagination a lot more back then.
Holy crap, it’s HOWARD FINKEL! And he welcomes us to tonight’s main event!
Our challenger is of course introduced first, and yes, of course he has Miss Elizabeth leading the way! Beautiful pixelated Elizabeth. I am saddened that the back of the box didn’t list this as a feature. They could have called it “Pixel-Liz-ation!”
(Do people still think I am funny? If they do, did that just convince them I’m not?)
Did I mention that “Pomp and Circumstance” accompanies the pair to the ring?
The champion comes out next, and if you though Savage’s theme above sounded bad, you ain’t heard NOTHING yet. Brother, I completely missed the boat when I put together that Hulktrolla sound effect for WrestleCrap Radio years ago using the NES music and not this ear-splitting rendition.
It’s so atrocious I may make it my new ringtone.
Don’t know about you, but I am now completely amped and ramped and ready to get into the action!
And by “action” I mean “SELECT MOVE”.
I am going to start off with SELECT MOVE Hd. Smash, while my computer foe SELECT MOVE Ax Handle.
With not one, but TWO exclamation marks, so you know it’s got to be good!
And yes, we get vide…two to four still frames jammed together in a loop to show the damage on screen.
Sorry, I probably should have put two exclamation marks at the end of that sentence to make it more exciting.
Before you ask, yes, this is the entire game. You choose a move, then you get a ‘video clip’ of the action in the ring. What you see above is EXACTLY what you get in the game. I am not doing a more simplistic version of it to be funny.
THIS IS THE ENTIRE GAME.
Sorry, there is one more aspect that I don’t want to leave out, and that is the running commentary provided by Vince McMahon and either Bruno Sammartino or Jesse Ventura. I know in previous inductions I’ve mentioned my love for commentator Bruno Sammartino, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to have him immortalized on a 3.5″ floppy.
If any of these sounds even remotely thrilling, believe me, it ain’t. But hey, since you are here and I am here, let’s see if I can do what I’ve never been able to do in my entire life – beat the computer at this stupid game. I like to believe there is some kind of internal logic to the game that I’ve never quite deciphered. Like maybe you start with nothing but smaller moves (the ones at the top), then slowly, gradually head to the higher impact stuff. As I’ve had the game since it’s original release, you’d think I’d have come up with some way to beat it.
That’s not a joke – I’ve tried for THIRTY YEARS to beat this game.
Seriously, there are people reading this that weren’t even born when I first popped it in and attempted to beat it. I’m not sure what is more depressing – that I’ve never won or that I am that old.
Wait, no, got it – that I’ve wasted God knows how much of my life trying.
Yep, that’s it.
But hey, I got SUCCESS!! with the first move!
And just like that, my 2-0 lead evaporates. Apparently Savage punch > Hulk punch, even if it looks like Macho missed him by a good four feet.
And here we go, as I get clobbered with a Dbl. Chop on the second move of the match. Down 6-2 just like that.
The last frame there where a kid appears to be reading a newspaper isn’t helping my mood any either.
Let’s counter with a Wrist Lock.
Where’s Gorilla Monsoon to tell us that this proves that Hulk does know a wrist lock from a wrist watch?
And of course Savage gets the next move. “More to come, I’m sure,” notes Bruno.
Sounds like even he’s tired of seeing me play this stupid game!
Ok, 8-6 now, I am creeping my way back into this courteous of a stomp by the Hulkster!
ANOTHER Dbl. Chop from Savage. Seriously, I saw the computer pick that and I thought, “Ok, Macho already did that, so a simple punch here, that would be a simple move the game will give me.”
In the hole 12-6. Grrrrr!
But my simplistic strategy does pay off here – Savage going for the Fl. Bd. Blck. (see if you can figure out what THAT is) while I go for the Elbow.
Before you ask, no the game doesn’t smash Randy Savage’s head into the turnbuckle that fast. I just sped it up in Photoshop to help console myself in the fact I am going to inevitably lose.
It didn’t help much.
But hey, only down 12-10…
Decided to roll the bones and attempt to take the lead (the first block is worth 2 pts, the second level is 4) with a Shldr. Blck. Fail. Savage wins with a “beautiful elbow smash” that Bruno felt “way up here”.
At first I thought it said “Way up IN here” which would have been very bothersome.
If there’s one thing Hulk is good at, it’s punching. Maybe I should just keep hitting that the entire game and see if that would lead me to victory. Down only 2 at this point…I think this may be the best I’ve ever done!
Another wayward Macho haymaker is deemed “SUCCESS!!”. Seriously, I lose two points for what? The wind flying past my face? Shouldn’t I RECOVER points for that?
Alright, time to gamble and go for a bigger move.
Atom. Drop for the tie!
Cry all you want, Liz, we’re all knotted up at 16 each!
MORE tears for Blade Braxton’s first crush, as I take a 2 point lead!
STOMP STOMP STOMP!
I’m feeling it tonight!
Too greedy trying the clothesline there. Savage makes me pay for it with a Dbl. Chop that has the fans in the front row bowing before him like he’s Ric Flair in Charlotte or something.
The city not his daughter, pervs.
Block, Savage? Really? You ain’t blocking no Hulkster stomp!
Tied up again – if you ever wanted to know what Twitch would be like with a 24o0 baud modem, you’re witnessing it right here at WrestleCrap.com tonight!
What Vince calls a “TEXTBOOK wrist lock” puts me up as late in a match as I’ve ever been.
This is turning into a real nail biter. Seriously, 30 years I’ve been trying to do this…keep that in mind.
Cheer for me kids!
CHEER FOR RD!!!
Savage hits the Fl. Bd. Blck. (yes, you were right, it’s a flying body block) to puts me down by four. I was baffled as to how this was even possible, but then I discovered that Savage had blocked a move prior to this that somehow subtracted two damage from his pile.
Yeah, consoling myself again.
Still, only down 2. There is a chance I could take this.
Especially as I score AGAIN with the Hd. Smash!
Stop reading that newspaper, kid!
You may be witnessing history!
Dangit! A stomp gets Macho a 2 point lead.
Yes, Bruno – it MUST hurt!
Clothesline gives me the advantage as we approach the 8 minute mark…gotta calm down here…
…take a deep breath, don’t get too excited that I am now UP BY SIX…
…ok, up by TWO…still in the lead…
Completely and totally PANICKED.
What on earth was I thinking going for the Leg Drop there?!!!
That six point lead is now long gone, gotta get it together here.
Still only down two.
And by two I mean of course six.
And by six I mean of course two.
And by two I mean of course six.
If I see that kid reading the paper one more time I may shove my fist through the screen.
Seriously, what on earth is so fascinating in there that he’s ignoring a Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage match with both guys in their primes???!!
AGAIN WITH THE PAPER!
And again with the stomp as the geeks in the crowd cheer my inevitable defeat.
Now I remember why I hate this stupid game.
An “Ax Handle” clobbers me outside the ring as Savage just piles on the points, with Bruno becoming so bored by the proceedings he asks Vince for some Brom0-Seltzer.
I did not Photoshop that in (I didn’t even know what it was until I Googled it and discovered it was some ancient hangover cure that also assisted with, and I am quoting here, “DEAD-FISH EYES”).
It’s in the game.
Oh come on, just get it over with.
Really, I’m not joking. Just stick a fork in me.
Poor Bruno. He “wasn’t sure how it ended.”
I know how it ended.
The same way it’s ended for the last 30 years.
Only one thing I can say to sum up my last three decades of never-ending suffering:
As an aside, I obviously have a passion for video games…and that has led to me helping to open an honest-to-goodness retro arcade! It’s located just south of Indianapolis at The Skyline Drive In Theater (which would, yes, be an honest-to-goodness drive in movie theater). We have all kinds of awesome games there, including (but not limited to!) dueling Hydro Thunders, WWF WrestleFest, Street Fighter II, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac, Centipede, Asteroids, Out Run, the GameTrolla WayBack Random Game Generator, and no less than five pinball machines including WWF Royal Rumble! If you are in the midwest region, I urge you to come and check it out!