Thursday, August 2, 2012

Wrestlefest: the Arcade Game

If you were a kid growing up with the dawn of video games and spent your Saturday mornings watching the superstars of professional wrestling then the perfect combination was the arcade game known as Wrestlefest.

Released by Technos in 1991, the peak of the WWF heyday, the game let you pick from 10  wrestlers plus the "boss" tag team of the Legion of Doom, Hawk and Animal.  It was the first wrestling game to offer the Royal Rumble feature which allowed you to run through a stack of quarters while battling the entire roster of wrestlers.

As a kid fully immersed in the world of WWF make-believe, the game had everything.  It was a huge step up from the early wrestling games on Nintendo with grainy graphics and indiscernible characters and moves.  Wrestlefest had comic book style graphics that made each character jump off the screen.  Their graphic artists managed to do even the impossible of making Earthquake and Jake "the Snake" Roberts appear ripped.  This for two guys that if you met them outside of the ring you could have sworn they were two of the bad guys in Patrick Swayze's movie Roadhouse.

You tell me, does that look like the Quake and Snake or what??

Not to mention that the game included the real voices of "Mean" Gene Okurlund and WWF ring announcer Mike McGuirk.  Gameplay wasn't rocket science meaning you didn't need to be a Zelda expert to get it.  In fact if you liked just mashing buttons this game was for you.  Most versions I encountered had at least one jammed button and and the rest covered in a film of orange soda.

In 1992 my family took a family vacation to Disney World in Orlando, FL.  My memories should have included rides at Epcot, MGM or Universal Studios but instead perhaps the most vivid was playing Wrestlefest at an arcade in the Magic Kingdom and kicking out of Ted DiBiase's "Million Dollar Dream" sleeperhold as the Ultimate Warrior on no power and my last quarter.  The game stands the test of time and we homage to it here at Shoot That S.

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