Thursday, March 13, 2014

WWE - Old School Daze

Professional wrestling has, and will continue to be, a bigger part of The Holidaze because, since I was a kid, it's always been a huge part of my life.  I've touched on my stories and passion for the WWE in a few recent posts, but I always wanted to grow up to be WWE Champion.  Suffice it to say - that plan didn't necessarily work out.  But if I could land one dream job, in reality, it would be designing graphics for the WWE.  Those are amongst my two greatest passions and it's always been something I wish I pursued in some way, shape, or fashion.  When I posted the WWE Ice Cream bars, the WWE reached out to me and the Paul Heyman design was actually featured on the WWE app!  That was insane.  It's the closest I'll ever come to Superstardom and, at the end of the day, I can say I was showcased by World Wrestling Entertainment.  If you knew how much that meant to me, you'd understand how big of a deal that is.

I wanted to capitalize on the last idea and continue onward with another.  When there's downtime and we're not celebrating "The Holidaze," I'm always going to find ways to implement and celebrate what I love.  Whether it's wrestling, basketball, food, cartoons, nostalgia or my own personal life, I like changing things up on The Holidaze and doing more than just what's expected from this site's tradition.  Basically, I place no rules or restrictions on what I talk about as long as it interests somebody somewhere.

So running with an idea that came from by high school buddy and true WWE fan, I found some time to take old school WWF products and modernize for today's WWE.  Essentially, that's what I did with the Ice Cream Bars and I absolutely loved taking the old and making it new without changing the nostalgia attached to the overall feel.  It's that type of art and approach that I love spending time on when I have it.  

So here are a few new designs based on two of my favorite childhood products - action figures and video games!

I had the original King of the Ring Gameboy game, as is the case with every game featured tonight, and it's a clear indicator of how far we've come graphically.  On the original cover, Bret Hart was featured as the prominent superstar and when I think back to the King of the Ring, I'll always associate the Hitman with the crown.  Owen is, of course, a close second as the King of Harts.  In my version, I used Dolph Ziggler.  He's one of my favorite in-ring performers and one of the guys I'd love to see get a well-deserved push in the near future.  Along with him, we have Sheamus (the last King of the Ring,) Fandango (another guy with great talent,) and Roman Reigns (the next big thing.)

When I think of "Superstars," the television show, I think back to the early 90s.  I remember watching Superstars with my cousin and grandfather at his house on warm, sunny, Saturdays.  Nowadays, Superstars is used as a tool to showcase the up-and-comers who have plenty of potential and are on pace to be the Superstars of tomorrow.  In this edition, I showcased Sin Cara, a favorite of children, Big E. Langston, the Intercontinental Champion and, one of my personal favorites, Zack Ryder.  Ryder is a guy who should be in the top tier of talent, but has been kept at the bottom for one reason or another.  Perhaps a change in character is needed, but I'm a big fan of Ryder and positioned him in place of the immortal Hulk Hogan on this modernized Superstars Game Boy Game.

Whenever I went down the shore to spend hours upon hours in the arcades, there were 3 games that always wiped me clean of my quarters - TMNT: The Arcade Game, The Simpson's, and WWF WrestleFest.  WrestleFest was one of the most amazing games I'd ever played because of the graphics.  Compared to Nintendo and Sega, arcade games were so far advanced that it was amazing to see my favorite Superstars in all their glory.  We were able to pick from a wide array of wrestlers and work our way up through the ranks to a title match.  Everything from the music to the visuals are a nostalgic hit for me and I still go back and play this classic on emulators.  This was an ad for WrestleFest that I updated to include today's top stars.

Super WrestleMania on Sega Genesis was never one of my favorites, but I really love the box art and definitely had to update this one for today's WWE and this year's WrestleMania 30.  I wanted to incorporate the three top matches represented in New Orleans so I chose the 5 Superstars you see above.  John Cena, the true face of the WWE, represents his match with Bray Wyatt.  The Undertaker, who goes into WM at 21-0, represents his match with Brock Lesnar.  And, of course, Randy Orton, Batista, and Daniel Bryan represent the main event at WrestleMania 30.

Royal Rumble on the Super Nintendo was always one of my favorite console games and even though the box art wasn't all that creative, it surely holds nostalgic appeal and had to be included in this Holidaze set.  There wasn't much to it - I simply replaced classic Superstars with current, but I wanted it to look the original.  The red and white ropes, along with the black & white background, had to stay true to the original Super Nintendo game

I remember when I first heard about Raw for Sega Genesis.  My cousin called because he had just read about it in a magazine and couldn't wait to tell me that we'd soon be able to play as Diesel and Doink in a wrestling video game.  I couldn't have been any more pumped.  Then, when I finally saw a magazine myself, so many things stood out to me.  Of course, the characters were the selling point, but even at my young age I was drawn in by graphic design and I'll never forget seeing that box art for the first time.  It was so rough and rugged.  It was edgy and featured all of the Superstars we could play as in the game.  It was amazing and I couldn't wait to play it.  The game-play can't be compared to today's games, but we had a blast playing it at the time.  With this graphic design and updated version, I tried to stay true to the original.  Instead of Doink jumping, we have Kofi Kingston.  Instead of the classic Undertaker, we have today's bald Undertaker.  I love the way it came out, but it was probably the most difficult to recreate of this bunch.

As a kid, I was a huge collector of WWF Hasbro action figures.  My parents bought me every one they found and I honestly think I had every single one of them by the time I was through.  Of course, I didn't keep them carded - I played with them.  I beat the hell out of those figures, especially during Royal Rumbles, to the point where they were covered in paint worn marks and had broken arms.  I remember when my Dad asked me to keep the 1-2-3 Kid packaged for when I'm older.  He knew it'd be worth something one day.  But before he even finished his request, I had that green card ripped open and the Kid in a match.  

As I grew older, I came to appreciate the art on cards and the design that went into them.  The TMNT cards will always be my favorite, but the WWF Hasbro figures are a close second based on nostalgia alone.  The originals, as recreated above, were red, white, and blue.  But as the series' continued, the card colors changed to signify each edition.  They were great and my favorite part was the little cartoon character on the front right.  For Zack Ryder, a true toy enthusiast, I recreated the classic card.  He's a big fan of the TMNT, Real Ghostbusters, and even liked a photo of Hermey on The Holidaze Instagram account.  If that's not enough to be immortalized in early 90s glory, then I don't know what it.  WWWYKI.

Hopefully you enjoyed this edition of WWE graphics because I think it's something I'll continue in the future.  Please feel free to share these images on the internet.  Maybe we can get back on the WWE app!

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