Happy WrestleMania weekend, everyone. The showcase of the immortals is back for its 38th year, and for the second year in a row World Wrestling Entertainment has spread the even out over two days — Saturday and Sunday. But this isn’t a history lesson on the grandest stage in all of sports entertainment, we’re going to talk about the first video game inspired by the event — WWF WrestleMania.
In 1989 fans got their first WrestleMania video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Created by Rare and produced by Acclaim, this game allowed up to 5 players, boasted some good graphics, and even had a decent soundtrack.
Players could pick from Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, Ted Dibiase, Bam Bam Bigelow, and oddly enough, The Honky Tonk Man. This game features your standard kicks, punches, and even allowed certain players to jump off the top ropes, or perform body slams.
The game offers exhibition-style matches (players versus player or player versus computer) as well as a tournament for two or more players. The winner of the multiplayer tournament is decided by who has the best record, while in the exhibition-style gameplay the player must defeat the computer (or player).
Gameplay takes place in a ring and is otherwise your typical fighting game. As stated earlier, the graphics are good. Each character looks like they should. The soundtrack isn’t in your face but adds a nice ambiance. Even the sound effects are great. The controls on this game are smooth and don’t lag, which is crucial in fighting games. While there were no direct sequels to the game, LJN did produce and release WWF WrestleMania Challenge in 1990.
Aftermarket sales for sealed, graded copies of this game are strong. In December of 2021, a WATA graded sealed 9.8 sold for $4,200, but in January of 2022, a similarly graded copy sold for $8,100. While there is no rhyme or reason to that price jump, interest possibly spiked as that was in peak Road to WrestleMania season. A sealed WATA 9.4 sold for $4,080 in December of 2021, only to drop to a sale price of $1,260 in February of 2022. Prices on the game are all over the board for anything graded above an 8.5, while lower graded games can be found for under $500.
Is this a game to invest in? It’s hard to say, as prices have not been consistent. Wrestling video games are always popular and have a strong fanbase, but if you’re eyeing this up as an investment piece, I would be cautious.