When THQ announced its bankruptcy in 2013, there was a lot of concern over the fate of the WWE’s videogame franchise, which was particularly interesting since I thought everyone hated WWE ’13 (Attitude Era aside). But the worry toward WWE ’13 more than likely stemmed from the fear that there would not be a wrestling game this year, or worse, another full year with WWE ’13. But consider the first fear assuaged: Take Two Interactive, with their popular 2K Sports Series, has picked up the WWE videogame rights. But long before Yuke’s started motion capping wrestlers, the Superstars of the WWE and WCW competed in sprite action.
The appreciation for the history of wrestling in videogames is on display at PaletteSwap. We first came across this site after discovering the alternate covers for Street Fighter IV and Pro Wrestling. For this month, possibly to coincide with the Road to Wrestlemania, PaletteSwap is dedicating it time to classic Wrestling videogames. Rusty Shackles started the tribute by re-imagining the cover to WWF Wrestlemania for the NES, the first wrestling videogame created by the WWF for home systems.
Swapping Hulk Hogan for Macho Man Randy Savage makes perfect sense to me. He was the best wrestler (out of 6) to pick in the game. Well second best. If you could master Bam Bam Bigelow’s running cartwheel attack, then the game was yours for the taking. That is my lasting memory of the game. That and the tiny gummy candy looking icons that would scroll across the top of the screen to assist you during the matchups: The Honky Tonk Man, naturally, had a guitar while Andre the Giant had … a foot.
PaletteSwap is all about equal opportunity. They enlisted Tom Kelly who did a tribute to WCW’s first game for the NES, simply titled WCW Wrestling.
Rather than swap out the Road Warriors – Hawk and Animal – from the original cover as Rusty did to Hogan, Kelly decided to display them in silhouette, both as recognition of their iconic status in wrestling (you know exactly who they are) as well as a nod to their alternate attire, if you will: the red and white colors of The Legion of Doom in the WWF. Kelly even added a catchphrase to the packaging: Be a Video Warrior! which is something I would have desperately wanted to be in 1990.
Check out PaletteSwap’s Website and Tumblr for more Wrestling Videogame Tributes this month as well as their regular interpretations of videogames. Also, you can support Rusty Shackles via Twitter, Website and his new site, Insert Quarter Bin, that has an amazing Super Mario Brothers poster up right now. Show your appreciation for Tom Kelly via his Twitter and DeviantArt pages.