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Gaming

Classic WWE/WWF games of the 1990s

As news breaks of Vince McMahon’s sale of the WWE to UFC parent company Endeavor, now’s a good time to look back at a few classic World Wrestling Federation games of the 1990s (and one that wasn’t quite released in the 90s but was close enough!).

WWF Super WrestleMania for Super Nintendo

WWF Super WrestleMania was released for the Super Nintendo and Sega Megadrive/Genesis in 1992, back when Hulkamania was still running wild. In the SNES version, players could choose Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Jake the Snake Roberts, The Undertaker, Sid Justice, The Natural Disasters – Earthquake & Typhoon, The Legion of Doom – Animal & Hawk, and one half of Money Inc – Ted DiBiase.

The game was released around WrestleMania VIII, which explains many of the character selections. Hulk Hogan was feuding with Sid Justice and main evented WrestleMania in an anticlimactic disqualification ending. Undertaker took on Jake Roberts; wrestlers don’t sell the DDT like that nowadays. Macho Man wrestled Ric Flair for the WWF Championship but the Nature Boy wasn’t licensed to appear in game. And while The Legion of Doom were supposed to wrestle Money Inc for the WWF Tag Team Championship, Hawk was suspended and so The Natural Disasters replaced them. By that point development of the game was well underway and it likely was decided to keep Animal and Hawk as available character selections instead of removing them.

WWF Super WrestleMania was prone to unfair gameplay (cheating?) by those who had turbo/auto-fire gamepads. These gamepads would let you automate quick-fire button pressing, which was a large component of getting an advantage over your opponent.

WWF Royal Rumble for Super Nintendo
WWF Royal Rumble for Super Nintendo

WWF Royal Rumble was released in 1993, again for the SNES and Sega Genesis/Megadrive. Noticeably absent was Hulk Hogan and a new crop of standout superstars such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were featured on the game cover. The game was a slight step up from WWF Super WrestleMania, allowing for “6-in-the-ring simultaneous mayhem” and “Dirty Trick choke-holds, eye gouges and back-breaking chair slams”. Temporarily taking out the referee was always worthwhile…

WWF No Mercy for Nintendo 64

And while WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 wasn’t released in the 1990s (it was released in the year 2000), it’s close enough and is considered one of the best wrestling video games ever. By 2000 the Attitude Era was in full swing and WWF hype was peaking, so the developers Asmik Ace and AKI had a lot of inspiration to work with. The ‘Big Three’ of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H had emerged but the game didn’t overly focus on a few characters. There were over 61 WWF superstars to choose from. The storylines were varied. Create-A-Wrestler mode made for some humorous match-ups. And of course… there were Tables, Ladders & Chairs matches, pushing the boundaries of wrestling gameplay; just as WWF was pushing the boundaries of sports entertainment.

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