Newsletter 14

In this issue
1) Game progress
2) ICQ and mailing address mix ups
3) Guest editorial
4) Name that wrestling game
5) Thank you's
6) Dear THQ

1) Game Progress
Our game has taken some solid steps from fantasy to reality this week. A few of the people that applied for the animation positions couldn't wait for the interviews next week so I decided to let a few of them try the animation test I had prepared for all the applicants. Each animator was given a worst case senario from which to produce a move animation. In this case, I had them take a grainy, low frame rate, gif animation of a particularily intricate combination of moves from a recent pay-per-view and turn it into a game ready animation. I've seen some of the results and I have to say I was floored. A team made up of talented animators like the ones tested so far will produce some absolutely gorgeous moves for the game. Interviews aren't officially taking place until next week so I'll have more news for you then. But so far, the eager animators that answered the call are proving to be exactly what we need.

2) ICQ and mailing address mix ups
In another classic "microsoft moment" I lost about 15 ICQ confirmations early last week. If you've been waiting for a confirmation for more than a few days please try again as you were likely lost during a nasty crash. The ICQ number again is 140047363

Also, the postal code given for the WGU mailing address was wrong. I am fairly certain it hasn't affected anything sent to us so far but just in case please update your info to the following...

Wrestling Gamers United
p.o. box 28585 4050 East Hastings
Buraby, B.C. Canada
V5C 6J4

3) Guest editorial
I try to be as diplomatic and impartial as possible when discussing the merits and dissapointments of certain wrestling games. But every once in a while I get something sent to me that just begs to be shared with the people on the WGU mailing list. Mel Hauser is a writer and reporter from Los Angeles who has penned some of the most precise, intense, and venomous crticisms of the gaming industry I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

I invited Mel to share his opinions with us on a regular basis. This is his first contribution to the WGU newsletter and it is presented here in it's original form, uncensored and unedited.

*Telling the Big Lies: Consumer, Know Your Role and Shut Your Mouth*

Aside from the weird, complacent void now currently existing in the wrestling gamer's community, the arrival of TH*Q's insta-quik Gamecube offering of Wrestlemania X-8 has been good for one thing: reinforcing the shitheaded blabbering of a few devoted poultry chickens that we, as customers, fans, game players and most importantly, consumers, do not make a difference to the major gaming companies. That we are merely digits, ciphers and otherwise ants in a qeue leading up to the counter of the local Toys R Us or Babbage's, money in hand, blindfold securely in place over our collective eyes.

In reality, it's a tough nut to crack. As people who love video games, we're usually so cranked up on the next big title to come down the pike that we sometimes miss how profound our stake in the big software pond really is. When something as hackneyed as WM X-8 is shit down our throats by a company who was raised up from obscurity on the strength of our dollars--and trust me, for those of you old enough to remember when TH*Q's major part in the video game industry was being routinely mocked for its horrible Home Alone games by EGM and Gamefan, they OWE your ass--it's easy to find yourself in a consumer slump. It happens. For every decent film that Hollywood manages to cough up, there's at least fifty other offerings that make you ashamed to be a human being on a yearly basis. But we aren't coughing up sixty dollars earned behind the counter of Burger King or Hollywood Video to see Pootie Tang--yet. And theirein lies the real rub.

In the grander scheme, you make all the difference. Your decisions created the superstar status Shigeru Miyamoto, made "AKI" a household name, and earned Grand Theft Auto III the title of best-selling game in the entire world last year. Your money determined the outcome of the greatest hardware war of the 20th century--Sega versus Nintendo wasn't fought by some guys locked in a basement with controllers and garrote wire. It was fought by gamers. Passionate gamers who followed their loyalties and made ripples in the consumer pond that eventually became tidal in stature.

If you need the slightest reminder that you, as a video game player, buyer and afficianado are the real catalyst for change, then I offer you this little nugget of joy. Coming from the creaky experiences of a lifetime spent in the video game trenches, from age three and an Atari paddle in my fist to the shelves upon shelves of games and systems that currently piss my girlfriend off.

Less than ten years ago, a company with pitiful prior experience in the programming realm announced that it was releasing a game system on a propietary format that had been, up to this point, the death knell for progressive hardware. People laughed. It couldn't compete with the big licenses, the established players. Anyone else who had tried to wade into that sharkpool had been sent home in a sack wrapped with red tape and their legs chewed off to the knees. When the company announced that it would be launching its new undertaking with three games, the buzz was acid cynicism. It couldn't last. It wouldn't last. The guys with the big names, the big licenses and the big money were going to use these pissant newcomers for a toothpick.

The company was Sony. The system was something called "The Playstation".

The gamers realized that they were seeing something they had never seen before, and reacted accordingly. On the strength of their dollars, and the fact that the system they were pulling for responded in kind to their interest with innovations in software and hardware that Nintendo and Sega weren't selling, the gaming community made Sony the most dominant force in the video game industry since the heyday of the 8-bit Nintendo.

Today, there's the Playstation 2. And somewhere in the dust, there's the big names, the big licenses, and Bill Gates. The casual gamer kicked up that dust. You kicked up that dust. In less than a decade, the decisions of little, burger-flippin' mofos like you and I turned the landscape of the billion-dollar video game industry on its ass. You and I convinced Bam! that there was a democratic market Stateside for an obscure little game called Fire Pro. You and I showed TH*Q that it can't take us for granted by not kowtowing to its spin doctoring, its flimsy product, or its abuse of a license. They feel that fifty bucks. Trust me. It may not crumple the company in the span of a few hours, but the hairline cracks are the ones that do the most damage in the long run.

And the next time some pinprick bitch tries to tell you that you don't make a difference when you're criticizing the lackluster actions of a programming company that depends on you to pay its bills, just laugh. And keep in mind that when the seeds of what Dave's setting out to do with the WGU and all of us eventually bears its fruit, that guy'll be talking about how he was inv olved in the process all along.

How 'he' made a difference.

-Mel Hauser

4) Name that Wrestling Game
Thank you to everyone who sent in ideas for naming our game. I thought you'd like to see some of the more creative ones...

-Screw Yukes Wrestling
-Peoples Choice Wrestling
-Super-Suicide Twisting Crazy Plancha Time!
-Insane Championship Wrestling
-It's Da Powerbomb
-Blood and Piledrivers (The anti-WWE game)
-We got Masks!
-WGU vs. THQ Revenge

Keep sending in those names and making my day

5) Thank you's
I'd like to thank Gordon Dutrisac from Digipen for announcing the WGU project to students and graduates. I'd also like to thank all of you once again for sending in page after page of great ideas for our game. Some of you have sent up to fifteen pages of things you'd like to see in our wrestling game! Keep 'em coming...

6)Dear THQ
And finally, of all the bad reviews and rants I've read about THQ's latest wrestling game, the picture at the link below seems to sum it up perfectly. This link should be posted at every message board containing WMX8 reviews. Warning, if the sight of cat droppings offends you do not follow this link...

That's all for this week. Keep rollin' rollin' rollin'...

Talk to you next week,guys.

Dave W.