It's not every day I get to talk about my love of video games here and, in fact, for some reason, it never clicked for me that I COULD write about video games here. But, as I checked this book, Hardcore Gaming 101's Wrestling With Pixels, for the millionth time as a resource, I decided it was time to share my secret weapon with the wrestling world.
As some of you may know, my day job is working at an independent video game store. We deal with a lot of retro games and we also get a lot of wrestling fans. I get asked about which games came out for which systems, and in what order, that I often forget - or just plain didn't know. So, in addition to just reading this book myself for fun, it's become a valuable resource at work.
Wrestling With Pixels was written by Audun Sorlie and seeks to be a complete list of wrestling games. The book covers the earliest releases in arcades and for Atari, all the way to WWE 2K19 in the printing I have. The very first thing I like about the book is the glossary of translated Japanese words for consisted. So if you see "Shin Nihon Pro Wrestling", you know right away it's "New Japan Pro Wrestling".
The book gives attention to every single game and, more specifically, its development. It includes a lot of information about the developers behind various video games, such as Human Entertainment, Spike, AKI, THQ, Yuke's, and so many more.
Interestingly the book also includes non-wrestling wrestling titles: games like WWE Crush Hour and Adventures of Dino-Riki, which aren't about wrestling directly, but feature pro wrestlers in them. It helps provide a larger view, not just at wrestling video games, but wrestling's impact on the entire industry.
Wrestling With Pixels has tons of bonus material after listing the games. It goes over pinball tables, Tiger LCD games, Pachinko machines, canceled games, how video games have impacted wrestling, and other wrestlers in video games. The coolest things though are the interview with Suda 51, and the summary of MDickie games.
Suda 51 has let wrestling majorly influence his games, including No More Heroes. Early in his career, he worked on multiple Fire Pro Wrestling games. He infamously wrote a storyline where a Ric Flair stand-in named Dick Slender ruins your character's life and leads to their suicide. before returning in Fire Pro World to take on the player, this time in the role of the dead man's son.
MDickie is a one-man studio making weird but incredibly customizable wrestling games for PC - and now Switch as well. It's so refreshing to see someone talk about his work.
Like I said earlier, I don't just read the book cover to cover, I use it as a reference. I get questions like which games are on PSP, how many Fire Pro games came to the West, and which was the last wrestling game on the Wii? Being able to have a resource like that is fantastic because instead of just going to Wikipedia, I have more information on hand including thoughts on the game and what separates it from the last. That curation aspect of information is important to me.
Given how many ways I use it, it would be hard to not recommend it. There are some very small issues here and there: for example, they list Lucha Libre AAA as only releasing on PS3 and 360, while it did get a Wii release in Mexico. Not every resource is going to be 100% perfect, and things like this can even be fixed in future printings.
For what the book seeks to be, for the wealth of bonus material, and good writing style, I give it a 9/10.