One of my favorite parts of going through these old wrestling magazines for this column is looking at the random ads sprinkled throughout. While official WWF catalog items are my favorite (and thus proved to be the inspiration for our long-running Someone Bought This feature), often there are other items that are even more fascinating. Especially if you, like me, are a video game fan. Rest assured, there’s no shortage of vintage ads for you to find so today, we’ll crack open the March 1990 ish of WWF Magazine and see what we have!
Over the years, I’ve gotten myself into mega trouble for my opinions of the first NES WWF game, one simply dubbed WrestleMania. If you’ve not been around, I’ll be blunt – that game totally sucked and if you think otherwise, time to take off those rose colored glasses. I say that because at the same time in the arcade we got WWF Superstars in the arcade and there was quite simply no comparison. And I ain’t talking graphics, I’m talking gameplay. Because the original NES Pro Wrestling was released well before this and was a zillion times more fun.
But let’s focus on the ad instead. Here we get a soliloquy from Chris “The Crusher” Johnson who explains that he beat his friend Johnny Sterner. And do you know why he did? Because Chris was playing as Hulk Hogan and ain’t nobody can beat him! Further, he explains his strategy of using head butts and Hulk’s legendary drop kick. You ever seen Hogan do a drop kick? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, this allowed him to keep Macho Man from getting any “energizers”. Was a drum playing bunny a secret character I missed? If so, I may need to give it a second chance.
Anyway, only plus of that game was this video that we got 30+ years after the game came out.
Well, that and the Hulktrolla on WrestleCrap Radio.
We also got an ad for another game, this one for home computers, WWF Microleague Wrestling. I inducted that years ago and it drove me absolutely INSANE. Like ready to drive myself to the nuthouse Ned Flanders level. The ad here is completely baffling – despite this magazine being full color, it is black and white! Now keep in mind, the game itself wasn’t (the screenshot even says “Features Full Color Graphics”!!!), and the box art was as 1990s neon as you can get. Zero idea why the decision was to do this – even if they only had done greyscale ads before, it would have taken no time even pre-PageMaker to change that.
Interestingly enough, it notes the two versions available. I had an Atari ST, so I got the one with Hogan vs. Savage and Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff. The so-called “1990 version” had Hogan vs. Savage and Hogan vs. DiBiase. Also, the line about “approximately every 2 months there will be 2 more exciting, bone-crushing matches to choose from” was a total lie – to the best of my knowledge, only a disk with Macho vs. Honky Tonk Man and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan against Harley Race and one with Hogan vs. DiBiase and Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Rick Rude ever made it out. And I think that may have only been for the C64; I sure never saw that for the ST. I was so annoyed we never got those. Not sure why, I am sure I would have lost just the same no matter who I was playing as.
Finally near the back of the magazine we got THIS. Holy smokes, they must have given these guys a discount on yellow ink or something! This, kids, is how a LOT of folks used to get their video games – via a ridiculous order form. There was no internet, so you just looked and hoped and prayed that whatever the name was or the cover art depicted got you something good. I won’t go through them individually, but I can tell you I pretty much hated that Batman game as it felt way more Ninja Gaiden than anything resembling the movie. I do remember that Super Off Road was a decent arcade port, which is something the NES was generally horrible at; heck, even poor Toobin‘ pictured here was a shoddy port of the original. And I can confirm that for fact; I currently have the original arcade game running down at Rupert’s Kids Arcade!
I hope this look back at old game ads was as fun for you as it was for me! Leave some stories about old games in the comments section below, won’t you?