There was a time when wrestling videogames transcended the boundaries of wrestling fandom and gamers everywhere found themselves sucked into the world of pro wrestling. That time was the 90’s on the N64 when AKI’s Virtual Pro Wrestling was brought over to the United States under the WCW license with WCW/nWo World Tour. After that we got WCW/nWo Revenge before the license bounced over to the WWF, kicking things off with WWF Wrestlemania 2000. WM2k coincided with the release of the Japanese-only Virtual Pro Wrestling 2, which to this day might be the greatest pro wrestling game ever, although fans of the ultimate AKI game, WWF No Mercy have something to say about that.
All of this is to tell your — or remind you — that there was a time when pro wrestling games were fun, really fun. I have vivid memories of playing WCW/nWo World Tour with friends who had zero interest in pro wrestling but would get really excited about the game and became obsessive over it. I’d do stuff to them that seemed crazy, like take Sting out onto the apron and then do a slingshot shoulder block onto them, showing them that there is a whole lot more to the game than they originally thought, that there were other moves they hadn’t seen yet. That magic has been sadly lost in what I’d consider now is the most shallow time for pro wrestling games.
Fans of pro wrestling games used to be able to turn to Japan for their fix of something new, something different, but companies like Spike, Square and yes, even Yukes, have been quiet on the pro wrestling front in Japan. This leaves us with just the WWE offerings and a few odd games here and there that don’t seem to do much for anyone (AAA, TNA, etc.). Even if I don’t always like pro wrestling, I always like pro wrestling games, which is why many moons ago I gave Dave Wishnowski my hard-earned money to preorder a game that he had no clue how he was going to make. Last year I finally got to play what was the first public release from those years of labor by the way of PWX: Uprising and, well, I was disappointed, then again, so were they in even releasing it.
Incredibly the passion is still there and having learned from past mistakes Dave and his crew at Wishbone X are at it again with making a full, proper version of Pro Wrestling X. They are taking advantage of the fact that gamers became disenchanted with the last generation and started turning to PC more and more for their gaming fix, leading to the spike in popularity for Steam. Steam’s Early Access program has become huge for indie games and is the current goal for Pro Wrestling X. To get there they are trying to get over the hump by going through another round of Kickstarter after a failed first campaign. This time around, though, there is a strategy and it seems to be paying off.
I already earned “lifetime access” to anything they produced years ago, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t help fund something that I would like to see happen, so give this a look and help bring pro wrestling games back to where they should be – the realm of fun.
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