In 1985, that son of a bitch Milton Bradley outdid himself (at least... I'm assuming he's a guy and not just the name of some faceless board game-making corporation?) by creating the WWF Wrestling Superstars Game.
Borrowing elements from Snakes 'n' Ladders, Candy Land and.... well, just about every other board game on the market back then, WWF Wrestling Superstars was an opportunity for YOU, the stupid mark wrestling fan, to enjoy the red-hot action of the fine folks at the World Wrestling Federation.
While I first had this game at some point in the late 1980s, the game went the way of about a billion other board games collecting dust in my parent's basement. Recently, I found this on sale (with NO pieces missing) at a collectibles shop in Buffalo, New York and realized I HAD to own it again.
The back cover of the game claims "You're The Manager!" and suggests you are guiding the career of a WWF Superstar (it even references Captain Lou Albano, Bobby The Brain Heenan, Classy Freddie Blassie and Mr. Fuji as examples)... that description is kind of a bullshit one.
According to the actual instructions on the inside of the front box, you're leading two wrestlers, and the first "manager" to have three wins for each member of the team wins the game.
The mechanics of how you do that are.... not complicated, per se, but kind of unnecessary for this particular article. So instead, let's go through the various components MB provided us with.
The game pieces are miniature works of art, and should probably be on display in the Louvre or something.
Picture little cardboard standees of the WWF's 12 biggest names at that point, each able to move via a stand that you can attach to each wrestler.
The photography itself is incredibly nostalgic, albeit most of the Superstars didn't bother to pose for their photos. The Magnificent Muraco is standing there in a "The Magnificent One" bootleg T-shirt, while JYD just looks like he's kind of walking around backstage.
The cards for each wrestler you "manage" are equally badass. In addition to spaces for your "peg" to be placed each time you get a pin, etc., there's also biographical information about each wrestler. My favorite one was explaining how Big John Studd's favorite hold is the "Back Squeeze." WTF?
I can't say I have particular memories of playing this game -- I remembered owning it, mind you, but not really much about the gameplay.
And yet... when I set the whole thing up and played a round of two to get the hang of the rules... something about it just screamed "nostalgia rush" to me, and I need to let that sink in for a while.
Was this one of the better Milton Bradley (the person or the soulless corporation) games? Probably not, it was probably "the same" as other MB games in a best-case scenario. But this was the only one to feature the stars of the first WrestleMania in such prominence; this was also the only one to gamify the wrestling "craze" that hit America right around this time.
And if nothing else.... it introduced a new generation to the Back Squeeze.