Recently, Mat Dickie boarded a sight out of London and came opposite a kid, face-down in a smartphone game, sitting in Dickie’s ticketed seat. As the mad drumming played out in front of him, Dickie contemplated either he should con this movement gamer or just find an dull mark elsewhere. The solution eventually suggested itself when the developer got close adequate to locate a glimpse of the boy’s screen: Wrestling Revolution 3D.
By now, the sports simulator gaming genre is as tried and loyal as sports itself. The Football Manager franchise has been delighting general audiences for 25 years-plus, nudging even stateside developers to take notice within the last decade (how else do you explain Madden spin-off, NFL Head Coach, sneaking into a recover cycle full of informed 2K titles?). But Wrestling Revolution 3D binds an surprising position within this landscape—it’s the genre’s many unexpected nonetheless successful mobile title.
In 2017, Wrestling Revolution 3D became the first sports sim to transcend 50 million downloads. Today, the Google Play Store lists it in the “50,000,000 to 100,000,000” download category. Officially protected games from the UFC and WWE, for comparison, case at around 10 million downloads. Dickie knows all this given he’s not only a fan—he’s a long-time eccentric developer better famous as MDickie. Wrestling Revolution 3D is his many successful diversion to date.
“I didn’t know either to chuck him off the sight or pat him on the back,” Dickie jokes.
Looking at Wrestling Revolution 3D, you’d never theory its ancestral turn of success or pervasiveness. The graphics are blocky and antiquated compared to complicated sports simulators. It doesn’t enjoy a professional-league chartering deal, so the characters are all weird knock-offs (“Nightshift” and not The Undertaker; “Jimi Sierra” and not John Cena; “Hank Slogan” and… you get it). And the gameplay, well… it may enjoy some turn of fandom given of just how objectively bad it is.
For many, MDickie may be to video games what The Room’s Tommy Wiseau is to film. Allow an Aug 2017 play-through from gaming site Giant Bomb—in which players call the knowledge “hell on Earth”—to partially explain.
“This diversion is 39 megs, and we feel like [Dickie] is in on it—I consider he knows these games are kind of bad,” horde Alex Navarro says in the introduction.
“I’ve been conference about the MDickie things for years… the thing people always speak about are the customization elements,” co-host Dan Ryckert says. (In fairness, the twin shortly scrolls by a clearly unconstrained volume of impression selections and compare customization options.) “But it’s the partial where you play them that people seem a little reduction prohibited on.”
Navarro goes on to call the diversion “goofy as shit” and “janky and broken, but in a way we find very funny. we may get some-more delight out of this than we do the 2K games.”
Ryckert compares the knowledge to personification with ’90s movement figures. “The kind of way you’d combat with them is to make all the moves at 2/3rd speed and you’d have to laboriously flip them to make the wrestlers do the moves,” he says. “That’s what this looks like—it looks like someone personification with movement total that are as unbending as early ’90s movement figures. There’s no reason they should have to pierce at this speed, but they do.”
So to lift the Wiseau analogy through, by some accounts Dickie has singlehandedly done some of the best misfortune video games in history. But distinct Wiseau—who done one singularly bad film and only after built something imitative a side gig from it—Dickie has enjoyed a scarcely 20-year career exclusively formulating a operation of surprisingly deep, accomplished, and janky video games by himself.
Wrestling Revolution 3D may represent something of a blurb and statistical breakthrough, but it’s merely the latest section in Dickie’s story of stability and peculiarity. And via it all, the developer has stayed loyal to himself while the whole attention changed right alongside.
Born in the early ’80s, Dickie grew up in the tallness of the console era. Accordingly, he wanted to be a diversion developer ever given he was a child, sketching out ideas for games with their own inner logic. And this looked like a sincerely picturesque idea for a immature child at the time. The story of video games before the late 1990s/early 2000s megaboom is characterized by committed amateurs and unique enthusiasts making games in their bedrooms. Even video games like PONG were, in reality, tiny productions coded by a singular person or a handful of collaborators. Many of the console games in the first 1980s gaming bang were constructed by hobbyist gamers who simply managed to sell their work to a distributor.
In 2000, when he was a small teenager, Dickie publicly expelled his first game. It was a 450-kilobyte .zip file named stunt.zip; the diversion itself was called Hardy Boyz Stunt Challenge. It allowed players to take on the role of one of the two Hardy Boyz, veteran wrestlers for the then-WWF who had a gusto for jumping off high places, like the tops of ladders or bleachers in sports arenas. Players radically gained points for the complexity of the stunts they performed.
It took Dickie two weeks to make the diversion after he walked by his internal bend of Woolworths and speckled a package on the program shelves called Div Games Studios. Created by a Spanish company, Div was a programming denunciation kind-of sort-of like C that was innate during the days of MS-DOS gaming.
“It betrothed to make diversion growth easy,” Dickie tells Ars. “I picked it up, took it home, and spent the summer of 2000 teaching myself how to use it from the examples.”
The 17-year-old was study computing at college at the time. So after just a couple weeks, he managed to build the simple mechanics of the game: burst off as high a indicate as possible, do some crazy stuff, earn points. He was more-or-less confident with his work, so he got in hold with a wrestling website called Tha Warzone that he used to frequent. “I said, ‘I’ve done a diversion about wrestling; it’s utterly topical. Why don’t you chuck it up on your website and let people download it?’”
The owners of the site concluded to do so, and around 15,000 people downloaded the game. “The feedback was really positive,” says Dickie. “I was getting fan mail saying, ‘Can we have some-more of this?’ That gave me the procedure to make more.”
Dickie shortly wrote down an confirmation he’d cribbed from his childhood hero, Bruce Lee (words from the martial arts’ fable still hail visitors to Dickie’s website). At an early age, Lee had created down that, in 10 years’ time, he’d be the highest-paid film star in Hong Kong—and, lo and behold, he finished up doing just that. Dickie’s confirmation was a little opposite and multifaceted.
“I wish to make games for a living. we wish to run my own wrestling company,” Dickie recalls. “Be rich. Travel the world.”
Listing picture by MDickie