Turn­ing games jour­nal­ists i nto sports en­ter­tain­ers in Fire PRO Wrestling World

Will the PC Gamer team sur­vive the un­for­giv­ing and elit­ist world of pro­fes­sional wrestling?

PC GAMER (US) - - EXTRA LIFE - By Matthew El­liot

I’m go­ing to make a new sta­ble in FirePro WrestlingWorld. My goal is loftier than sim­ple recre­ations of fa­mous wrestlers, though. I’ve set my­self an ob­jec­tive of Promethean ar­ro­gance: I’m go­ing to cre­ate a compelling sports en­ter­tain­ment story us­ing mem­bers of the PC Gamer team.

I’m go­ing to limit my­self to mem­bers of the team I know, be­cause the only thing stranger than metic­u­lously cre­at­ing a col­league is do­ing it to some­one you’ve only met once. I’m also go­ing to be re­al­is­ti­cally un­re­al­is­tic about stats. PC Gamer might be the most phys­i­cally im­pos­ing team in the games in­dus­try, but they’re not wrestlers. To rep­re­sent this, I’m giv­ing them stats that are good, but not great. FirePro is as much about the qual­ity of the match as it is about who wins and loses, which is handy, be­cause I’m ex­pect­ing a few fail­ures.

I start with Phil. I could have saved time by down­load­ing Damien Sandow from the Work­shop, be­cause he and Phil have the same face, but the rules dic­tate I make him my­self. This is my first cre­ation in a FirePro game, and I strive for per­fec­tion. I get the height about right—Phil’s six foot three, which is wrestler-big any­way—but I ex­ag­ger­ate the weight. I’m struck by how creepy this idea is around the time I’m check­ing Facebook to get the birthdays right. I can’t stop now, though, be­cause de­tails are im­por­tant and I’ve al­ready been com­mis­sioned. Thus, Big Daddy Sav­age is born.

Mak­ing his model is more com­pli­cated. The char­ac­ter cre­ator in FireProWrestlingWorld is a lovely para­dox—it looks ba­sic, but ev­ery­thing slots to­gether to al­low a stag­ger­ing de­gree of cre­ativ­ity. I get stuck early on— there’s a blank space where a hu­man ass should be—but I get the hang of it. I sub­con­sciously cast Phil in the im­age of Decker from a long-for­got­ten Taito coin-op called Cham­pi­onWrestler, a game that was al­most cer­tainly ter­ri­ble, then move on to tweak­ing stats. I de­cide to give him insanely high de­fence, be­cause fight­ing Big Daddy Sav­age should be like punch­ing a mul­ti­storey car park, but again, the rules dic­tate that I’m not al­lowed to max him out. His fin­isher is a chokeslam I call ‘Sa­vatage’.

Mon­ster Fac­tory

Sa­muel Roberts is next, and he’s rel­a­tively easy—I call him Sla­muel (be­cause why wouldn’t I?), give him mas­sive arms, then spend 20 min­utes try­ing to find the right face. I give up when I re­al­ize there are over 300, and just go back to my first choice. He’s a mon­ster: If you say ‘su­plex’ three times in the mir­ror at mid­night, Sla­muel will ap­pear and drop you on your neck. My fa­vorite cre­ation, how­ever, is Tom Se­nior. Be­cause his Twit­ter name is PCGLudo, Tom be­comes The Lu­dodor— the world’s only videogame-based lucha li­bre wrestler, com­plete with a PC Gamer-themed color scheme. You can add an­other layer of au­then­tic­ity to his char­ac­ter by pro­duc­ing Tom’s sur­name in the style of Speedy Gon­za­les (don’t do that). I’m tempted to keep go­ing—art edi­tor John Strike has a name that screams ‘spin kicks’, and Drew Sleep al­ready sounds like a fin­ish­ing move—but it

The char­ac­ter cre­ator in Fire Pro Wrestling World is a lovely para­dox

takes ages to make each one, and I’m keen to get my slam on. The only thing left is a name for my new sta­ble. Af­ter dis­card­ing some dogshit ideas (The Beta Males, The 4K Horse­man, and The Roguealikes), I set­tle on The Noob Day. Yes, that was hon­estly the best one.

I set up a three-on-three tag match be­tween The Noob Day and a team of NPC wrestlers. I was aim­ing for a bois­ter­ous tor­nado match, but I miss the op­tion to change it from a nor­mal tag team bout. It’s not bad for a de­but, but the chem­istry isn’t there—that’s an­other way of say­ing it takes me ages to find the tag but­ton, and that The Lu­dodor re­fuses to tag out even though he’s get­ting pul­ver­ized. He reaches Big Daddy Sav­age, who charges in and chokeslams Bobby Bobby (yes, that’s re­ally his name) for a mus­cu­lar win. The match gets 82%. Not bad.

It’s then I re­al­ize I’m do­ing FirePro all wrong. Not the fight­ing it­self—the match was a slob­ber­knocker—but the struc­ture. Why the hell am I us­ing cab­bagey de­fault wrestlers when I could down­load a su­per­star? The game’s only been in Early Ac­cess a week and there are al­ready over 150 pages of cus­tom cre­ations fea­tur­ing ev­ery no­table wrestler that is, was, or ever will be. I open up the Work­shop to find pris­tine ver­sions of the big­gest names in sports en­ter­tain­ment. I think about pit­ting The Noob Day against Shin­suke Naka­mura, Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada, but then some­thing changes my mind.

It’s Bob Ross. Some­one has ac­tu­ally made Bob Ross, and he’s per­fect. The clothes, the beard, the trade­mark sun­rise of curls. Even the height is cor­rect (a sur­pris­ing six foot two inches, not in­clud­ing permed Afro). I de­cide that pit­ting The Noob Day against niche wrestlers will only en­ter­tain 50% of read­ers, so I cast my net wider. I scroll past Solid Snake, Chris Red­field and A Bear (de­scrip­tion: ‘IT’S A BEAR’), but they’re not good enough. No, I need to pick cul­tural touch­stones that ev­ery PC Gamer reader will un­der­stand and adore. I chose Gabe Newell, Ger­alt of Rivia (com­plete with three dif­fer­ent cloth­ing op­tions) and, erm… Bob Ross. I was al­ways go­ing to pick Bob. I’m not apol­o­giz­ing.

I set up a mighty Bat­tle Royale and pick the teams, for­get­ting that a Bat­tle Royale, by its very def­i­ni­tion, is all-against-all. I de­cide there’s a very good wrestling rea­son why Sa­muel, Tom and Phil are en­e­mies now—fast friend­ships strained to de­struc­tion by ar­gu­ments over the po­si­tion­ing of DragonAgeII in the Top 100. Per­haps it doesn’t mat­ter. What­ever the cause, as soon as the bell goes they’re kick­ing the hot takes out of each other.

I’m play­ing as Big Daddy Sav­age (BDS for short, which is an ‘M’ away from be­ing a far more sin­is­ter gim­mick). Phil locks up with Gaben first—two mastodons of the squared cir­cle, smash­ing into each other like an­gry ice cream trucks. The match breaks up, and Sav­age hits a mon­strous dou­ble power­bomb on Bob Ross, helped by Ger­alt of Rivia. A high spot early in the match? This is go­ing to be good.

I no­tice a red stain in the cor­ner of the ring—Gaben has been busted open. He stag­gers across the ring wear­ing a crim­son mask that matches his shirt. On the other side, Bob Ross has mounted Sla­muel, and is head­but­ting the devil out of him, blows ap­par­ently not soft­ened by Bob’s fuzzy hair. The ref­eree checks to see if he sub­mits. Roberts is made of sterner stuff, but the dam­age is done.

Happy Ac­ci­dent

The trauma of be­ing bru­tal­ized by the man fa­mous for pop­u­lar­iz­ing the wet-on-wet oil paint­ing tech­nique has left Sa­muel phys­i­cally and men­tally wrecked. He stum­bles around the cen­ter of the ring like a child lost at a yard sale, and the canny Ger­alt sees an op­por­tu­nity. He wraps Roberts up in a La Magis­tral cra­dle, pins his shoul­ders to the can­vas, and we have our first elim­i­na­tion. Sam leaves the ring, dis­gusted with him­self, but maybe, just maybe, re­lieved to be a safe dis­tance from Bob Ross.

Bob Ross lurks in the cor­ner, like a pan­ther in dou­ble denim

Phil for­gets the prob­a­bly-be­trayal of his for­mer col­league, picks up Ger­alt, and hits the Sa­vatage. It’s enough to keep Ger­alt down for three, but the match doesn’t let up. Gabe takes a su­per­kick from Tom Se­nior, and Phil cap­i­tal­izes, snap­ping Newell into a fig­ure four le­glock. There is no es­cape. Per­haps this is re­venge for those bankrupt­ing Steam sum­mer sales. Or per­haps Phil was try­ing to hurt Tom and got con­fused. What­ever, Gaben taps, and we’re down to three com­peti­tors. Phil, Tom, and softly-spo­ken sub­mis­sion ma­chine Bob Ross.

But there are no friends here. Tom and Phil go at it, and Bob Ross lurks in the cor­ner, like a pan­ther in dou­ble denim, dart­ing in to ap­ply cruel sub­mis­sion holds to any­one un­lucky enough to fall. Tom is next. Bob locks him in a mod­i­fied ka­bel naria—a type of surf­board stretch with a face­lock, which I’ll re­name to The Happy Lit­tle Tree if I ever re­mem­ber. Phil could save his for­mer col­league, but this has be­come more than just a wrestling match: This is war. Bat­tle war. The pain of be­trayal and ac­tual pain is too much for Tom, who sub­mits, and we’re down to the fi­nal two.

Big Daddy Sav­age isn’t un­der­es­ti­mat­ing Ross. He might be a paci­fist with a fond­ness for wa­ter­falls, but he’s dan­ger­ous. He locks Phil in yet an­other hor­ri­ble sub­mis­sion move, but Sav­age pow­ers free and takes his chance. He draws a deep breath, grabs Bob Ross and ham­mers him into the mat with a chokeslam. He falls on top of him and the ref­eree counts. The un­holy blood­bath ends. The dance of slams is over. The lights in the night­club are on, and Vi­o­lence and Spec­ta­cle are leav­ing to­gether. Phil has done it. The Noob Day have splin­tered af­ter just two matches, but a long and il­lus­tri­ous sin­gles ca­reer awaits the one they call Big Daddy Sav­age.

”Lis­ten all of y’all it’s a Sa­vatage!”

Bob Ross spe­cial­izes in bring­ing the pain.

Who’s do­ing what to whom? No­body knows.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.