262: What Hulk Hogan Taught Videogames

What Hulk Hogan Taught Videogames

Professional wrestling has portrayed clear-cut villains for over a hundred years. Colin Rowsell examines the history of faces and heels in pro wrestling and how its simple storytelling techniques inform videogames.

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as a giant Pro-Wrestling fan you made one slight mistake.

The Rock was a despised Baby-Face as 'Rocky Mavia' a third Generation superstar who always smiled.

His transition into the Heel 'The Rock' was also different as he was originally just the Heir Apparent for The Nation, it was after feuding with Triple H (Once a Blue Blooded Heel named Hunter Herset Helmsley) that he really hit his stride.

Steve Austin is another case, starting out as 'Stone Cold' with nary a smile or emotion so he could be as hated as possible, then he became the beer drinking hell raiser.

Also I loathe that you didn't mention Good Old Harley Race, AKA the real life version of a badass, quoted as saying "If I hit him with my left hand, and he does not fall over. I will walk around him to see what is holding him up"

You forgot to mention that Wrestling and video games know how to work the 'circle of ages' simple beginnings when we wanted the hero, it innovated to become 'darker and edgier' as the 90's came in, and recently it's got a nice mix of cheese and dark. Comics do this as well.

You know, speaking as an Anime fan, this is probably why One Piece is so successful. In spite of its relatively formulaic and predictable plots and the constant repetition of the "good guy gets into a fight, gets beat up (usually pretty bad), but finds a way to come back from behind and win" sequence, it's impossible not to get excited when Luffy beats the shit out of Bad Guy from Season 8 because each one is magnificently built up to be the biggest bastard you ever met, and even worse than all the bastards Luffy's already beat up.

A lot of people look at Wrestling and say "You do know it's fake?", as if they're talking to some sort of retard.

At that point, I do my best Rock eyebrow and say "It is?" and then DDT them casually point out that the level of acrobatics/endurance required to perform these "fakes" is as intensive as most other sports. (Especially Football - whether Gridiron or Soccer))

And then there's the "kayfabe" - the mystery world where they make up reality to change them into heroes or villains.

My, that sounds a lot like Escapism, doesn't it? But these guys are doing it for real.

Here's a group of grown men paid to play games and pose in pantomime/vaudeville posturing.

image
Tell me Mark Calaway isn't just cos-playing and getting paid for it.

As for the Women...sadly, there's a awful lot of T&A and very little skill. The female body, even Chyna, can't take the sheer force of impact without dramatically reducing their speed/mic. ability - and the T&A tends to dominate. The few good female wrestlers are often forced into matches against the guys, and one power-slam later, they slow to nothing.

And with no good female Villains that aren't latexed wonders, it's really difficult to have a female villain image that isn't all cleavage and ass.

Personally, I think it is important to acknowledge that Hogan is not exactly remembered fondly by the wrestling world. He, and Vince McMahon, made wrestling a joke and took away respect or credibility that the wrestling industry had. He had a pretty bad cocaine habit during the 80's. His backstage politicking and favoritism led to the WWF stagnating, since it hadn't been creating any new stars. His ego was the size of a planet. He refused to put anyone over, ever, and would outright refuse to work if the money wasn't good enough or he didn't like the guy he was going to have the match with. He would fake legit injures as an excuse to take time off and play political games with the people backstage. His antics, later on, caused WCW to go bankrupt. Seriously, Hogan has done more to hurt the business in the last two decades than anyone else in that position. If anything, games didn't learn jack from Hogan. If they had, they'd would be boring as all hell.

By the by, do you know that in the old 'Territory' days a heel was so despised that if something happened like he died in a car crash the audience would cheer "YEAH HE'S FUCKING DEAD!" The heels were the Vilest, Cruelest, Meanest fuckers to ever live and the only thing standing in there way was the faces.

The_root_of_all_evil:

As for the Women...sadly, there's a awful lot of T&A and very little skill. The female body, even Chyna, can't take the sheer force of impact without dramatically reducing their speed/mic. ability - and the T&A tends to dominate. The few good female wrestlers are often forced into matches against the guys, and one power-slam later, they slow to nothing.

And with no good female Villains that aren't latexed wonders, it's really difficult to have a female villain image that isn't all cleavage and ass.

True, IF you're an American...And you don't watch the indy circuit.
There IS respectable women's wrestling out there, problem is that it usually happens in Japan.
If you want examples of good female heels, take a look at girls like Combat Toyoda, Candy Okutsu or Akira Hokuto (if you consider her a heel.) The problem is Americans aren't used to good women's wrestling, and so the first thing that they think of is probably related to strippers. Seriously, I once tried to recommend an old AJW tape to this guy, and he siad "sorry, I'm not into that kinky stuff." It's not my fault that the American media doesn't understand that women can be something other than tennis players or beach volleyball stars.

As a professional wrestler, of the indy sort around the beloved Philadelphia region of the US, I can say comic books was a big factor on both prowrestling (Golden Era) and video games. Most wrestling in the world doesn't have the benefit of performing in front of a consistent televised audience so each night that Hero's Journey as described in the article has to be told within 7 to 8 minutes and it's a real task.

Great article. Going to share it with some pals.

Colin Rowsell:
What Hulk Hogan Taught Videogames

Professional wrestling has portrayed clear-cut villains for over a hundred years. Colin Rowsell examines the history of faces and heels in pro wrestling and how its simple storytelling techniques inform videogames.

Read Full Article

In your article, you refer to the WWF interviewer as "Mean Gene" Simmons. In fact, his name is "Mean Gene" Okerlund.

Gene Simmons is the guy from KISS.

SpaceMedarotterX:
as a giant Pro-Wrestling fan you made one slight mistake.

The Rock was a despised Baby-Face as 'Rocky Mavia' a third Generation superstar who always smiled.

His transition into the Heel 'The Rock' was also different as he was originally just the Heir Apparent for The Nation, it was after feuding with Triple H (Once a Blue Blooded Heel named Hunter Herset Helmsley) that he really hit his stride.

Steve Austin is another case, starting out as 'Stone Cold' with nary a smile or emotion so he could be as hated as possible, then he became the beer drinking hell raiser.

Also I loathe that you didn't mention Good Old Harley Race, AKA the real life version of a badass, quoted as saying "If I hit him with my left hand, and he does not fall over. I will walk around him to see what is holding him up"

You forgot to mention that Wrestling and video games know how to work the 'circle of ages' simple beginnings when we wanted the hero, it innovated to become 'darker and edgier' as the 90's came in, and recently it's got a nice mix of cheese and dark. Comics do this as well.

You're absolutely right that the Rock spent more time as 'Rocky Maivia' than Flex Cavana, and that he tried several different approaches before hitting on the classic Rock persona. But Flex was just so AWESOME: http://wrestlingmania.blogs.sapo.pt/arquivo/Flex%20Kavana.gif

:-)

I take your points about not spending more time on other classic heels and applying it more to the history of videogames. The article actually had a bit of a tortured development, I'd lined up some indie wrestlers to provide commentary but they pulled out at the last moment, forcing a very late rewrite. Glad to see everyone seems to still enjoy it, though.

Cheers

Colin Rowsell

SadakoMoose:
It's not my fault that the American media doesn't understand that women can be something other than tennis players or beach volleyball stars.

Hey now, let's be fair!

...they throw in Soccer, too. >.>

Shjade:

SadakoMoose:
It's not my fault that the American media doesn't understand that women can be something other than tennis players or beach volleyball stars.

Hey now, let's be fair!

...they throw in Soccer, too. >.>

You recognize the problem too, then.
I'm going to recommend Ayako Hamada matches for you.
I think you'll fully understand my meaning then.

No thanks, I'm not really big into wrestling regardless of gender.

As I recall "Mean Gene's" last name was Okerlund, and not Simmons but no worries; love the article!

Well, now we leran from where the fighting games guys and girls come from.

Very interesting article, as were a lot of the comments from other wrestling fans. I'd never really given much thought to where pro wrestling came from. I always kinda assumed someone said, "Hey, let's take a really old sport and make it as ridiculous as fucking possible. It'll be awesome!"

RebellionXXI:
Snip.

Most of that is true of DragonBall Z, Naruto, Bleach and every other popular shounen anime that revolves around fightan. That's actually kind of why I preferred the original DragonBall to DBZ. To me, it always felt like, while there was certainly plenty of action, DB was more about being a kid and going on adventures than trying to beat the next guy up on the "sheer badass" ladder.

SadakoMoose:

You recognize the problem too, then.
I'm going to recommend Ayako Hamada matches for you.
I think you'll fully understand my meaning then.

She wrestles for the American TNA promotion. Their women's division is really rather good. They've got a small number of T&A valley girl types, but their characters are spoiled, arrogant valley girls, which they gleefully play to the hilt. They've then got a couple of lasses schooled out in Mexico (Sarita and her tag partner), monsters (Awesome Kong and Rosie Lottalove), nutters (Tara and Daffney), hardcore specialists (Roxxi), and whatever ODB classes as. They're almost all good looking women, but they're wrestlers first (including the valley girls), and T&A second.

fiendil:

SadakoMoose:

You recognize the problem too, then.
I'm going to recommend Ayako Hamada matches for you.
I think you'll fully understand my meaning then.

She wrestles for the American TNA promotion. Their women's division is really rather good. They've got a small number of T&A valley girl types, but their characters are spoiled, arrogant valley girls, which they gleefully play to the hilt. They've then got a couple of lasses schooled out in Mexico (Sarita and her tag partner), monsters (Awesome Kong and Rosie Lottalove), nutters (Tara and Daffney), hardcore specialists (Roxxi), and whatever ODB classes as. They're almost all good looking women, but they're wrestlers first (including the valley girls), and T&A second.

Sadly...
Awesome Kong, ODB and Roxxi were let go of.
Roxxi was actually only made aware of her contract being dropped the very night of a PPV.
Angelina Love is a face (protagonist, for non wrestling fans) and is now no longer part of the Beautiful People. As it turns out, she is really really bad at cutting promos.
Daffney hasn't done an interview or promo is what seems like months, and mainly does the job (loses, for non wrestling fans) for said valley girls.
Lottalove is probably going to be dropped too.

Fortunately, Dreamer is on creative now, and it looks like Russo is going to be let go of.
Sarah Stock will probably start using her Dark Angel gimmick, and Alysa Flash will probably get call back.

Also, more luchadores will be coming in from Triple A.

There's a good Hamada match on her profile page on the TNA site:

http://www.tnawrestling.com/roster/superstar-roster/item/1590-ha

SadakoMoose:

Sadly...
Awesome Kong, ODB and Roxxi were let go of.

Kong asked to be released after the Bubba the Love Sponge incident. ODB, I hadn't realised was gone. Letting Roxxi go was insanity.

Lottalove is probably going to be dropped too.

It'd be a shame, as I do like a larger lass (I miss Kong), but if she's injuring people because she's not being careful, then that's not good, and she needs to go back and work on that.

Fortunately, Dreamer is on creative now, and it looks like Russo is going to be let go of. Sarah Stock will probably start using her Dark Angel gimmick, and Alysa Flash will probably get call back.

Also, more luchadores will be coming in from Triple A.

Just so long as we see the back of Hogan sometime soon. And the back of hiring every old WWE and WCW has-been, cos hiring Scott Hall, the Nasty Boys, Val Venis and X-/Sixx-Pac worked out so well... Ric Flair is about the only one I can think of who's turning out to be a good hire, and that's because of his sheer presence, not because I ever want to see him wrestle again... (Van Dam was on his way up when they hired him, so he's not a has-been.)

More X Division. More ladies. More folk who've never been with the WWE. Less has-beens and never-beens. Less Hogan. Less Sting.

Edit: Ken Anderson was a superb ex-WWE hire as well (the man's subtle touches on the mic are beautiful), but he's also still in his prime.

 

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