Time logged before Full Steam Ahead: none
Welcome to the final post of the month of Adam. Over the past month, I’ve explored a variety of games chosen by Adam Nordquist. These games have been confusing. These games have been terrifying. These games have be difficult to enjoy and difficult to play. These games have, almost without exception, been as weird as hell. What’s more, these games have been a real challenge to write about.
For most of my posts, I can usually get at least a paragraph or two out of my previous experiences of the game. For the month of Adam, I’ve been handed a series of games so far outside my wheelhouse that I often have no idea where to even start writing. I can’t speak with experience about Russian biological science fiction. I don’t have a lot to say about Swedish horror. I am probably the least qualified person in the world to write about queer bondage or demon hunting. I don’t know that anyone can talk about whatever the hell The Norwood Suite is about.However, for the last game of the month, Adam has given me, to use his words, a reward for getting through everything else.
Adam has given me a professional wrestling game. I’ve been a fan of pro-wrestling for some time. I watch wrestling shows when I can. I try to keep abreast of the storylines in a handful of promotions. I just finished Mick Foley’s autobiography Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, and enjoyed it. And yes, I play wrestling video games. However, Adam is still Adam, and he would never pass on an opportunity to make me regret giving him this power. Thus, Adam has chosen the worst wrestling game I’ve ever played.
Adam has chosen Wrestling Revolution 3D.
As a person who likes pro-wrestling and games, and probably overthinks both, I’ve spent some time figuring out what I like about both hobbies, and what I want to see when those interests cross paths.
I like interesting stories with compelling characters. I like the contrast present in pro-wrestling: pageantry balanced with punishment. While I’m aware that wrestling is not 100% legit, I admire the athletic prowess and coordination that pro-wrestling takes, and respect the people who can do it well, especially given the demanding schedule that wrestlers and their families face.
There are plenty of games that capture aspects of what makes wrestling compelling to me. But we’re not talking about those games today. Adam didn’t slap down a donation to the Calgary Distress Centre to see me write about a good wrestling game. Instead, we get this mess.
Designed by indie developer Mat Dickie, this game is not only the worst game about wrestling I’ve ever played, it may be one of the worst games period I’ve ever played. I might not have liked some of the other games I’ve played in the month of Adam, but I’ve been able to respect the designers of these games. Not so for Mat Dickie.
I know not every game is going to have the budget behind it that the annual World Wrestling Entertainment release does. Many games still manage to have better, or at least more interesting graphics than Wrestling Revolution 3D. Beyond the wrestlers and rings looking remarkably bad, the user interface is also a nightmare. Navigating menus is, put simply, a slog. This is good warmup, because actually controlling the wrestlers is, likewise, a slog. It feels like the characters are all hip-deep in molasses.
In an effort to prevent this post from turning into a cut-and-dry review, let’s talk about what really bugs me about this game.
Wrestlers spend a lot of time developing their characters. Finding a persona that you can drop into every day, that connects with the fans and allows you to tell stories well is no easy task. I’m sure most of this blog’s readers are familiar, at least in passing, with John Cena, the Rock, and the Undertaker, but it took a lot for those people to develop their characters into the names that we recognize today.
What’s more, wrestling doesn’t pay nearly as well as most people think it does. We’re talking about a profession that incurs a lot of travel expenses, treats its athletes as contractors, and, lest we forget, frequently injures them. For every wrestler who makes it big, there are several who are broken by the gruelling nature of the job.
What does this have to do with Wrestling Revolution 3D? The game’s roster is filled with wrestlers who are just different enough to avoid giving any credit or payment to their real-life counterparts. Instead of Bray Wyatt, we get “Brad White”. Instead of Shinsuke Nakamura, we get ‘Nico Moron”. Instead of AJ Styles, we get “Agent Kyle”. In a particularly morbid case, we get “Oje Goodman”, which the creators website admits is clearly meant to be tragically deceased Calgarian wrestler Owen Hart. And believe me, that’s hardly the worst offence on the roster.
Wrestling Revolution 3D is like a dollar store action figure, covered in lead paint and named something like “Hero Man”. It is a cheap knock-off, poorly made, and giving itself just enough legal cover to avoid litigation.
Adam knew this game was bad when he added it to the list. He has admitted to me, however, that that this isn’t the game he actually wanted to finish with. He wanted to make me play The You Testament, another game by Mat Dickie starring Jesus and a player-made disciple.
It uses the exact same mechanics as Wrestling Revolution 3D.
The only reason Adam didn’t include this game is because he couldn’t find it on Steam.
Good grief. I won’t pretend that wrestling is a purely noble profession, or that religion is without its faults. But surely they can be treated with more care and intelligence. And maybe they shouldn’t both be made by the same person, and that person definitely shouldn’t be Mat Dickie. If not, maybe the person playing these games shouldn’t be me.
In order to inflict the month of Adam upon me, Adam needed to make a donation to the Calgary Distress Centre, an organization which provides, among other things, a free 24 hour hotline to those in need of emotional or mental support. It’s an amazing service, and I can safely say that it has done significant good in my life and the lives of those who care about me.
All jokes about me suffering and Adam being a sadist aside, this has been a fun month, and considering the cause, I will gladly play some less than stellar games to benefit it.
I’d like to take this time to thank Adam once again for his generosity, as well as Graham for agreeing to host this cavalcade of nonsense. If anyone else is interested making me suffer for a good cause, please leave a comment below, or contact me.
Next Episode: Double Header! The Ship Tutorial and The Sims 3.