Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Book Review: Wrestling With Pixels

We are one week away from WrestleMania, and everyone is cooped up in their houses; so, now is a great time to revisit some epic professional wrestling video games. Not sure which ones to fire up? Wrestling With Pixels, a new 242-page book all about the history of pro wrestling video games, is your guide.

Here’s what this book features:

  • Reviews for over 300 wrestling games from 1983 – 2017, across both North America and Japan, including Fire Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Wrestle Angels, Kinnikuman, WWE SmackDown, and more!
  • LCD games, pinball, and pachinko machines
  • Cancelled wrestling games
  • Wrestlers inspired by video games
  • A catalog of wrestling-themed characters in other video games
  • Interview with Goichi “Suda 51” Suda

Since its inception, this book has had a tumultuous history, which you can read about here. I’m not going to get into any of that because I just discovered this book’s existence recently and don’t have any first-hand knowledge of it prior to that point.The premise of this book is brilliant, especially for someone like myself who loves wrestling and video games. Who doesn’t have fond memories of playing WWF games on NES, SNES, or SEGA Genesis? With this in mind, below is a list of some of my favorite pro wrestling video games from over the years.

Michael’s All-Time Favorite Pro Wrestling Video Games

  • WWF WrestleMania (Nintendo Entertainment System)
  • WWF WrestleFest (Arcade)
  • WWF Royal Rumble (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
  • WWF RAW (Super Nintendo Entertainment System)
  • WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game (PlayStation)
  • WWF In Your House (PlayStation)
  • WCW vs. The World (PlayStation)
  • WCW Nitro (PlayStation)
  • WWF War Zone (PlayStation)
  • WWF Attitude (PlayStation)
  • WCW/NWO Revenge (Nintendo 64)
  • WCW/NWO Thunder (PlayStation)
  • WCW Mayhem (PlayStation)
  • WWF Smackdown! (PlayStation)
  • WWF Smackdown! 2: Know Your Role (PlayStation)
  • Showdown: Legends of Wrestling (PlayStation 2)
  • WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 (Xbox 360)
  • TNA IMPACT! (Xbox 360)
  • WWE Legends of WrestleMania (Xbox 360)
  • WWE All Stars (Xbox 360)
  • WWE 2K15 (PC)
  • WWE 2K18 (Nintendo Switch)

The games above are some of my favorites because I put a lot of time into them or have fond memories associated with these digital grapplers. Everyone will have a different list, and that’s to be expected. What makes Wrestling With Pixels such a fun read is it includes over 300 games across two dozen consoles. This means, like me, you’ll discover many games you never heard of or didn’t take the time to try out. Reading about these games in this book literally made me seek them out. With this in mind, Wrestling With Pixels is an invaluable resource if you’re looking to be inspired as to which wrestling game to play next. It’s also a great way to reminisce about video games you played endlessly and love.

There’s only one complaint I have when it comes to this book: grammatical errors. I teach grammar, so I have to point this out. Many times I noticed punctuation that was supposed to be deleted but was left in, grammatical errors, and poorly written sentences. If you can get past this, what you’ll find here is an excellent book that succeeds on all levels and provides readers with a treasure trove of content.

Wrestling With Pixels is a book I didn’t realize I needed but always wanted. It’s a celebration of wrestling video games past and present, and it’s the perfect way to gear up for WrestleMania. I highly encourage buying a physical or digital copy so you can revisit the classics you love and those you’ve yet to discover. Game on, brother!

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