WrestleMania – The VCR Game

WrestleMania VCR

It wasn’t that I didn’t try.

I want you to know that.

I want you to know that, for this induction, I tried to get no less than six people to go through the exercise of playing the WWF VCR Game with me. No takers. I finally gave up, and thought maybe I would just photograph my dog sitting next to the game board, and pretend he was playing against me. But once he took a whiff of what was coming, he was a blur as he sped out the doggie door.

Most you probably don’t remember the short-lived fad in the late 80’s of VCR games. If you don’t, here’s the gist: players pop a tape into their VCRs and hit pause. They roll a dice, move around a playfield, and on the rare chance that of landing on a spot that says “VCR!” you hit play, watch a bit of footage, then continue the game.

You’re no doubt thinking that this sounds like a totally horrible way to spend an evening at home, and you’re right. That didn’t stop companies from marketing such games based on licenses such as Robocop, Clue, and the PGA. Yes, GOLF. I mean, far be it from me to ever get up off my ass and do anything even in the realm of being considered “athletic”, but even I can’t imagine the nerdiest of nerds sitting in front of the TV and the little gameboard, rolling a dice to see who gets to hit the play button for the next 20 seconds of exciting golfing action.

Of course, this coming from the dork who owns a WRESTLING VCR game, so I really have zero room to talk.

I’d like to say finding this brought back all these wonderful memories, but I am pretty sure I played the game a sum total of one time, then threw the thing back in the box and never thought of it again. Many years later, when my dad decided to move, he called me up and told me I had to get all my crap out of his basement. I’ll never forget his exact words: “There’s some really cool stuff down here!” Then he snickered over the phone. My mind began to swirl with thoughts of Michael Jordan rookie cards and rare comic books, and thus of the 42″ plasma screen I would buy when I cashed those bad boys in.

Instead, I showed up and found ten thousand Pedro Borboun cards that aren’t worth a dime, pictures of my ex-girlfriends, and the WWF VCR GAME.

Another red letter day for RD Reynolds.

For sitting down in my dad’s moldy basement, this thing had held together pretty damn well, though come to think of it, that’s probably due to the fact that no one in their right mind ever thought, “You know what would be fun tonight? If we played that idiotic VCR wrestling game sitting down in RD’s corner of the basement!” Indeed, all the cards were there, and every piece was intact. Of course, that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot since the pieces consisted of a standard dice and two plastic pegs.

Speaking of those pegs, I remember opening the box as a young’un and being extremely disappointed with the player pieces. I guess I was hoping Acclaim would rip off Monopoly and we’d be moving tiny die cast versions of Billy Jack Haynes’ hat or something.

After blowing the dust off the box, I had to read the directions (still there, of course, in pristine condition) to remember what the hell you even did. It goes like this: at the start of the game, each player draws an Interview Card, and does their best King Kong Bundy impersonation. Just for grins and giggles, I decided to pull one of the cards out of the stack: “You’re nothing until you beat me. Then, if you do, maybe you’ll be something.” Now THERE’s a catchphrase someone needs to steal!

Ok, so next up you roll the dice. Depending on your roll, you land on different spaces like “counterhold,” “offense,” or the big money spot, “VCR!” Upon landing on VCR, you’d hit play on the machine and watch a 30 second or so wrestling clip, followed by this:

Anyway, after watching the action, a little scorecard would pop up indicating how many points were awarded and to whom. So, for example, let’s say you had the Hulkster and he bodyslammed the One Man Gang. It would read “Red + 10!” and you’d move your little peg up ten spots. After that, it would be to rolling the dice, with the game going on and on like this until finally someone made it to the WWF title in the center of the board. Of course, you’d have to assume that anyone stupid enough to be playing this thing would just want to land on VCR over and over and over so they could at least watch some decent wrestling action.

And as I fast forward through the tape, it does look like a fairly worthwhile collection of stuff of the WWF circa 1989. There’s Hogan vs. Harley Race…

and Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase…

Yeah, this isn’t too bad. Let’s see what else is on here…

Hmmm…things seem to be moving downhill pretty rapidly. Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m stuck playing this stupid game, when I finally hit the jackpot of a VCR space, the last thing I want to see is Ron Bass waddling across my TV screen.

Still, at least it wasn’t like they just threw jobbers on the tape or anything.

Looks like I spoke too soon, as RICK GANTNER makes an appearance. You know, no knock to Gantner, but if I drew him (or fellow future Jobber of the Week Dusty Wolfe who is also including on the tape!), I’m not too optimistic about my chances of moving up the board. But that’s probably just me.

And did I mention that most of the matches are commentated by Craig DeGeorge? Remember him? Take Michael Cole, clamp his nuts with a vice grip to make him even wimpier and more annoying, if you can imagine such a thing.

The tape runs about 90 minutes, and at less than a minute a clip, odds are you could play the game for about six years without repeating anything. Not that you’d want to, but at least the game makers didn’t want you to feel ripped off or anything.

Still, the thought of sixty seconds of wrestling, followed by fifteen minutes of more or less nothing…hey, wait a minute…am I playing a crappy VCR game from the 80’s or watching this week’s Raw?

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