INDUCTION: WWF Microleague Wrestling – The FIRST – and perhaps WORST – WWF Videogame Ever!

33 Submitted by on Thu, 28 April 2016, 20:00

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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…

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WrestleMania on the NES!

WRONG!

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…

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WWF Superstars!

WRONG!

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…

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…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.

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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?

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Is it just me, or do I get easily distracted writing these inductions anymore?

But hey, enough dilly dallying, let’s talk Microleague Wrestling!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Holy crap, it’s HOWARD FINKEL!  And he welcomes us to tonight’s main event!

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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?

It sure does!

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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!

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And by “action” I mean “SELECT MOVE”.

THRILLING!

I am going to start off with SELECT MOVE Hd. Smash, while my computer foe SELECT MOVE Ax Handle.

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SUCCESS!!

With not one, but TWO exclamation marks, so you know it’s got to be good!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Let’s counter with a Wrist Lock.

SUCCESS!!

Where’s Gorilla Monsoon to tell us that this proves that Hulk does know a wrist lock from a wrist watch?

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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!

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Ok, 8-6 now, I am creeping my way back into this courteous of a stomp by the Hulkster!

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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.”

NOPE.

In the hole 12-6.  Grrrrr!

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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.

ME WIN.

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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.

Again.

It didn’t help much.

But hey, only down 12-10…

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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.

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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!

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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.

atomicdropAtom. Drop for the tie!

Cry all you want, Liz, we’re all knotted up at 16 each!

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MORE tears for Blade Braxton’s first crush, as I take a 2 point lead!

STOMP STOMP STOMP!

I’m feeling it tonight!

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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.

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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!

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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!!!

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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.

Wait, what?

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Yeah, consoling myself again.

Still, only down 2.  There is a chance I could take this.

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Especially as I score AGAIN with the Hd. Smash!

Stop reading that newspaper, kid!

You may be witnessing history!

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Dangit!  A stomp gets Macho a 2 point lead.

Yes, Bruno – it MUST hurt!

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Clothesline gives me the advantage as we approach the 8 minute mark…gotta calm down here…

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…take a deep breath, don’t get too excited that I am now UP BY SIX…

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…ok, up by TWO…still in the lead…

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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.

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And by two I mean of course six.

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And by six I mean of course two.

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And by two I mean of course six.

punchpaperIf 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???!!

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AGAIN WITH THE PAPER!

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And again with the stomp as the geeks in the crowd cheer my inevitable defeat.

Sigh.

Now I remember why I hate this stupid game.

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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.

Seriously.

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.

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Oh come on, just get it over with.

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Really, I’m not joking.  Just stick a fork in me.

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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:

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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!

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Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
33 Responses to "INDUCTION: WWF Microleague Wrestling – The FIRST – and perhaps WORST – WWF Videogame Ever!"
  1. AK says:

    I had this game back in the day for my Atari ST and I honestly believe there is no algorithm whatsoever that determines who wins each turn and what not. In my 30+ years I don’t remember if I ever won. I know I did get a leg drop on Macho and he kicked out emphatically at one. I also remember that there were a couple matches where I got less than 10 points of damage on Macho. He would go on an incredible 127 turn streak and that would be that. I believe the only way to beat Macho is to take away all his energy while he can beat Hulk even if he has a bar or two left.

    I still played the heck out of the game, if so I could always wrestle at the Butthole Memorial Arena.

    Spoiler Alert: For the Hogan/Orndorff disk they gave Orndorff Hulk’s theme because..I don’t know but it confused the heck out of me then and still does.

    Also wondering RD, what was your favourite ST game? Out of the ones I actually had I’d have to go with Strider 2 which I remember getting at a store that sold only Atari ST products. There were good ports of other games like Street Fighter 2 and Double Dragon which I never had. I also had Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which was a point and click game similar to that of Maniac Mansion. I never beat that game either but that’s because I lost the papers which had the “codes” you needed to enter to even play the game.

    Still have many fun memories of the computer and then Y2K happened and the computer stopped working. The calendar even went back to January 1, 1900 so despite what most people would say, Y2K was real to me damnit.

    • RD Reynolds says:

      Wow, too many to choose from! I loved Llamatron (which is why I mentioned it), Zany Golf, Secret of Monkey Island, Batman (both the movie and the older Ocean game), North and South…man, tons of great games on that computer

    • John C says:

      For awhile after Mr. Wonderful did the heel turn on The Hulkster he was using Real American as his theme song to further antagonize his former best friend and now bitter rival.

      This was more compelling of a match than Roman vs Triple H at ‘Mania.

      I love having two retro arcades near me in Vermont within a ten minute drive apart from each other. It’s amazing to realize not only am I older than the games themselves but I’m twice as old as the kids playing them. Now time to take a couple of power pellets and show Ms. Pac Man a real good time.

  2. The Doctor of Style says:

    I’m afraid the pixel-Liz-ation makes both Liz and Hulk Hogan look 20 years older. Savage and Okerlund escaped okay.

    Good luck with your arcade, RD! Good thing you’re providing WrestleFest instead of Microleague Wrestling!

  3. The Million Cent Man says:

    Macho Man with the ’87 World Title just looks cool.

  4. Geoff says:

    Maybe it’s me but that doesn’t look like Bruno Sammartino. It’s look like a closed shaved middle aged Shawn Michaels.

    I don’t remember Zork but I do remember Oregon Trail for the early comp and Cops and Robbers and Tank for the Atari 2600. Later 7600. Then came Sony and NES

    Because SUCCESS!! is spelled with two exclamation points. Three would be a crowd.

  5. PlasticDiverGuy says:

    I’ll bet RD Jr beats the game the first time he plays. Then he’ll beat RD repeatedly. RD will then learn how to win from a kid at his retro arcade. Back home, RD is about to drop a successful leg drop on Jr. and win the match. The first time in forever. Even newspaper kid is watching. Mrs. Deal then unplugs the computer to make an announcement. RD Jr. decides to retire undefeated.

    I can’t be the only person who thought of that reading this entry.

  6. Sean Bateman says:

    I think Joe Gagne’s Funtime Arcade reviewed this one too.

  7. Raven7309 says:

    3 Questions:
    1. Are the “video clips” from Hogan and Savage’s first encountervat MSG, given that the Fink is using the old MSG microphone that descended from the rafters, and Hogan comes out through the old MSG back hallway?
    2. In the close ups of Hogan, is he bleeding? Kinda odd to see, especially given the fact that this game was released in the mid-80s, squeaky clean era for the WWE.
    3. Anyone else brsides myself read the text of Vinny Mac and Bruno in their voices?

    • Jason S says:

      I can vouch that the footage from this game is in fact from the first Hogan-Savage match at MSG back on December 30, 1985. I remember it vividly because it was my first-ever house show.

      Savage did bust Hogan open midway through the match en route to winning by countout (one of only two ways he ever got to beat Hogan!) While WWF was at its kid-friendliest back in the mid-1980s, you have to realize that “kid friendly” back in the 1980s meant something a whole lot different than it does these days. It was a much simpler, less PC-conscious time where kids weren’t expected to freak out if their heroes showed some blood and it wasn’t in grayscale. Even though for the most part, WWF was a live action cartoon, they still incorporated realism like occasional bloodletting, bone breaking, and even hanging (poor RIcky Steamboat).

      It was during the match where after Savage won, he stole the belt, had Elizabeth snap it around his waist and paraded around with it, thus the footage. Hogan naturally returned to the ring to beat the bag out of Savage and send him scurrying to the back. The following month, there was a rematch where this time Hogan made Savage bleed (and heavily too!) but Savage still got another COR win. The third & final encounter for this early-stage of their lifelong feud was a month later in a lumberjack match that Hogan won by pin, thanks to George “The Animal” Steele tripping up Savage to set him up for the legdrop.

      Horrible game, but great memories of mid-80s WWF action. Who would have thought this feud would start in 1985, and extend until nearly the Year 2000 with Hogan amassing a 4,554-0 record against the Macho Man? Most certainly Hogan, and most definitely not Savage.

  8. #OPC says:

    The beta Hulktrolla. I guess it’s actually used to spit out Hulk’s vitamins, because they have BETA carotene.

    I’ll go punish myself by playing this game.

  9. D2Kvirus says:

    Fl. Bd. Blck. = flying body block

    Consider that mystery solved!

  10. Gotchism For Life says:

    RD, you made the match compelling…I was getting into it 🙂

    If you won I would have marked out bigger than when I heard Nakamura”s theme at NXT Takeover: Dallas

  11. Gerard says:

    Remember seeing this in an old WWF magazine and wondering hmmm I wondering hmm that looks interesting I would like to have that….but…after today I can now say after actually watching how you played I can glad I never got it!!! Man that is awful terrible and just plain bad looking !!!

  12. Big Josh says:

    I just witnessed history – the first time Savage ever pinned Hogan clean.

  13. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    All I can say is I love this induction! Nicely done, R.D!

  14. Tim says:

    You should also check out Tapper’s in Fountain Square in Indy. It’s amazing. Tons of free arcade games and beer!

  15. Jon says:

    First time commenter, but long time reader (since the 1st load of crap!). I just wanted to say that I come by this site weekly and it is always hilarious. I read the Christmas inductions every year (especially the He-Man special) and laugh like I’m reading them for the 1st time.

    I was actually rooting for you… I clearly have too much free time at the moment.

    The computerized version of “Pomp and Circumstance” was actually beautiful. Instead of the piano, I’m requesting that they play that version when my child graduates from kindergarten.

    “Stop reading that newspaper, kid! You may be witnessing history!” If by history you mean Savage pinning Hogan cleanly and not the other way around, then you are 100% correct.

  16. Barronmore says:

    Just finished reading Death of WCW. Great book. I can’t believe I kept watching all the way through to the end…i must have been on something…

    Anyway…i was expecting Thu, 28 April 2016, to go down in wrestling history, but i guess it wasn’t meant to be….but i still enjoyed this match over anything TNA’s put out for the last several years! It was as exciting as watching George South wrestle Ric Flair on Saturday Night (and if you’ve not seen that match i really do mean it as a complement. All us marks at home BELIEVED…even if was just for a few minutes). But in the end…..

    Now you just need to start the WrestleCrap Wrestling Fantasy league with all these games! That will put butts in seats!

  17. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    Joe Gagne (who does great wrestling game reviews) did a video review of this one that’s worth checking out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0MJN6rJnWY

  18. RobVanDamIsABallerina says:

    How many other people made that Hulkster theme their ringtone before they finished reading this induction?

  19. Larry says:

    I actually had this game as a kid and…actually liked it. It was actually one of the first RPGs ever, if you think about it. What’s the difference between this game where you’re picking moves and counter moves one at a time and waiting around seeing what damage it inflicts during your turn and say, Final Fantasy where you’re…basically doing what I just mentioned.

    It was also one of the few times where, as some have mentioned, you can see Hogan getting pinned clean and having a “new” champion seen with the belt around his waist. Alas the Hogan-Orndorff match, ( yes I had that one too), did not have that option of seeing Mr. wonderful parading around with Hogan’s belt if he indeed beat the Hulkster.

    It was a fun, albeit repetitive and slow, game for its time.

  20. Kyle says:

    I had this game for my Amiga and also the Ted DiBiase disk. I think I got them from the States which was a big deal back then – I may even have the instruction book as well, and the original disks!

  21. Rick Blade says:

    I used to have this game for MS-DOS. It had two disks, one with Hogan/Savage and one with Hogan/Dibiase. It also featured two commentary teams: Vince and Jesse or Monsoon and Heenan. The insert claimed there was one featuring Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect but I never have seen it, even on websites dedicated to old DOS games. I managed to beat the computer quite often so they might have dropped the difficulty from the ST version.

    Does the version you played have the option to have Savage cheat? Mine did (I don’t remember if it was a choke or a cheapshot but Virgil interfered for Dibiase) and it could get you a DQ if you overused it.

  22. Geoff says:

    I never did understand why Savage had Pomp and Circumstance as his theme song.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Awesome article for a TERRIBLE game.

  24. Ed says:

    I had this game for my ST and I really loved it. Graphics of course sucked but it was kind of fun in a way.

    It had a great rendition of the theme for Wrestling Challenge I think it was.

    And it a small way it had some strategy – picking the right move to follow up with or when to hit the key to have the manager interfere.

  25. tsstevens says:

    Still a better game than WWE 2K16.

  26. John Evans says:

    Hey, Zork was awesome! Text adventure games have a long history. SPEAKING OF…As of right now, you can play a text-based game called “SLAMMED!” on your phone, or on the “Choice of Games” website. And for all those people who don’t like typing (if you don’t like typing why did you make a website filled with text?), anyway, this more modern game just lets you pick from a few choices at each point…but it’s a lot more complicated than a Choose Your Own Adventure, you have to choose whether to build up your Strength, Technical or Promo abilities, decide whether to be heel or face…Honestly you guys would LOVE this game. It’s like a love letter to wrestler, where the author took decades of wrestling history and created this crazily plausible alternate history, with fictional promotions and wrestlers that somehow sound completely authentic! And the plot twists…man, I could go on about this game for hours.

  27. Hitfan says:

    I have this game (including the 2 expansion disks) for the Commodore 64 and I thoroughly love. It recreates the atmosphere of 1980s WWF very well.

    As for strategy, the best way to win is to select the less powerful moves at first and then go on to select your power moves later in the match when you have an adavantage.

    And if you ever hopelessly fall behind, you can press the “Speical” key to change the momentum in your favor: press H to “Hulk Up” as Hulk Hogan or press S to hit Hogan with a tire iron as Randy Savage.

    I always won 50% of the time against the computer.

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