As popular as professional gaming has been, unfortunately WWE games have not always followed suit. The early days of clumpy arcade games were a huge hit, before the late 90s brought us a whole new way of experiencing pro wrestling.
So which WWE games have been the best?
It would be difficult not to put a retro arcade game on the list. WWF Wrestlefest really got things started. It had colorful gameplay and graphics, with a classic 8-bit soundtrack. The game had 10 stars of the late 80s to early 90s to complete a solid roster. Given this was a standard arcade game there was also a surprisingly good variety of moves, which was sufficient in getting participants comfortable addicted.
WWF Attitude 1
Nintendo 64/PlayStation 1
A brilliant way to bring wrestling into the evolving games world. Released in 1999, WWF attitude was revolutionary and opened a whole new door for the franchise. There were proper wrestler entrances, as well as a host of new match types. The now-standard Triple Threat, Fatal Four-Way, Handicap and Battle Royale were all featured in true blood and guts fashion. It was a gigantic leap in the right direction.
In terms of game play for a PlayStation One it was quite sophisticated. Players could actually complete signature moves without button mashing, or memorizing a jigsaw puzzle of buttons to hit.
WWE Smackdown vs Raw
As consoles got better, so did the games. It is easy to forget just how many hours you could spend hitting the living daylights out of Dwayne Johnson in the early noughties games. Some interesting perks were added to Smackdown vs Raw, with clean and dirty tactics coming into play, along with mini-games within the matches.
Voiceovers from WWE talent also showcased the popularity of the game, as well as giving it more realism. John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker all put their voices on the mini-screen.
WWE Smackdown Here Comes The Pain
Arguably the best game in the original Smackdown series. There were some big characters in the game. The Rock, Steve Austin, Triple H, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, Randy Orton and Chris Jericho were only the start of a very impressive Roster.
The game itself was full of great features. There were key components which helped create an all-around better gaming experience. Things such as weight detection, damage display, submission meters only enhanced the great array of stars which were playable.
WWF No Mercy
Nintendo 64/PlayStation 1
Was there really going to be a better game? In terms of all out fun and outrageous wrestling, No Mercy really grabs the bull by the horns. Admittedly there have been other games with better formatting, but for pure entertainment, No Mercy gives the best value for the money.
The game gives you the option to create a wrestler who you can then take into career mode. There are tons of interactive environments and even a ladder match! It’s mutli-faced stoyline mode, had backstage fights, interviews and even in some cases plain assault! No Mercy was definitely ahead of its time.
There is no doubt that as consoles have improved, so have the games we can play on them. But that doesn’t always mean they’ve got it right. In terms of overall fun and enjoyment surely these ones are the best. But as Rumble favorites John Cena, Seth Rollins, Brock Lasner and Kevin Owens put their voices on WWE 2K16, could it be the best WWE game yet?