WWF ROYAL RUMBLE (1994) - Pinball Review

I spent a big part of my childhood in Video Game Arcades. That was the early 90’s, before home consoles weren’t at all comparable to arcade games. They weren’t even close.

The year was 2015, and a “White Whale” appears on eBay Australia.

 It’s a pinball that I’d personally never seen in Australia. Ever. There were only 3,500 released worldwide.

At $12,000 AUD the listing was pretty absurd to me, but I kept it on my “Watch” list, just out of curiosity. After a month it dropped to $9,000 and stayed there for another month. Then it disappeared.

After seeing that it didn’t sell, I figured I’d try my hand and make the guy an offer via eBay messages. I got it for around half of what he’d originally listed it for, as long as I picked it up that weekend.

Hooray for me! Hooray for my wife for allowing such a ridiculous purchase, considering we’d just had our baby girl arrive 6 months earlier.

Fast forward to 2018, we have moved into our newly built house and got all our things out of storage, which had been there for nearly two years since the process of selling our old place and the completion of our new house had finished. I almost forgot I even had arcade games...

So a week ago, I ordered some replacement rubbers for the flippers and replacement some light bulbs and even the flipper buttons. They arrived fairly quickly and just happened to fall on one of our daughter’s day care days. So I got to work and changed the parts over and it really sunk in how beautiful the machine is. Now I don’t mean the condition of the machine, because in my head, there’s a lot more that I would like to refurbish on it. The artwork is fantastic for that time and the little extras, like the upper playfield and especially the miniature Undertaker casket (Located just above Undertaker to the left).

I didn’t even remember all the World Wildlife Fund Performers, World Wrestling Entertainment Superstars, sorry, World Wrestling Federation Wrestlers that appeared on this game. Yes, this is a WWF game. Don’t censor me WWE, I own this machine!! You can’t change my history. On that, just because I am venting, “WWE” never defeated WCW, the WWF did.

In the time it took me to type this, World Wrestling Entertainment has been to my house and censored my machine...

Being that this Data East pinball machine was released in April 1994 and Hulk Hogan signed with WCW in June 1994, the whole thing just seems weird. This game must have been in production for a few years, based on the original designs. The Prototype cabinet and Translite (Backbox Artwork) were completely different.

I’d honestly love to see what the playfield looked like for that version. At least I can dream of some rambling Ultimate Warrior sound clips playing, and maybe a Ric Flair “Wooooooooo” when you launch the ball
And when I first got the machine, I was pretty sure they just painted Hulk Hogan over Ultimate Warrior on the side of the Translite Box.

 I might actually just paint Ultimate Warrior over the top of Hulkster..

Wrestlemania VI FOR-EVVVVVVERRRR!!!!

The game has three targets where when the ball goes through, it lights up one of three wrestlers, plays an 8-Bit style version of their entrance music (Except Lex gets the “I’ll Be Your Hero” instrumental) and they get some screen time on the display in under the backboard artwork. Pretty weird selection though.
Left Ramp:
  1. Yokozuna 
  2. Doink The Clown 
  3. Tatanka 
Center Ramp:
  1. Bret “Hitman” Hart
  2. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
  3. Lex Luger
Right Target:
  1. Crush 
  2. Big Bossman 
  3. Shawn Michaels

This is all pretty weird, considering who else appears on the machine:

Mr. Perfect and Razor Ramon have artwork, but are hidden down the bottom. The Steiner Brothers get a small image, as do the Bushwackers in the “TAG” area. The Smoking Gunns get their own little in-game feature, as does The Undertaker and also “Macho Man” Randy Savage get his own “Macho Madness”. Even “El Matador” Tito Santana is in there, getting pinned, nonetheless.

Personally, even in 1994, I would not have Duggan or Bossman on the machine. You could’ve easily replaced them with “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel and Owen Hart.

The playfield looks so great, but the game is actually pretty difficult to play if the legs levels are even the slightest bit off level. As in, you launch the ball out and it can go straight back down the gutter or whatever it’s called when the ball goes dead. I might like arcade games and pinball machines, but I’m not up to speed with terminology and if I go onto Google right now, I’ll never finish this.

The audio on the game is also pretty fun. Vince McMahon is constantly screaming over the music with “Get back in the ring” or the classic McMahon-ism of “Arrrggghhhh!!”

Once you turn the machine on, if you have what is called the “Attract” music turned on, get ready to be bombarded with an instrumental version of “Real American”. I love that song, but I worked out how to turn it off to avoid smashing the machine with a folding chair, because on repeat, it sucks.

Now if Rick Derringer was constantly standing next to my pinball, I could probably handle it.

Speaking of which, I came across this video, with extra lines thrown in:

I’m not even a “Fake” American, but if I heard this in public, I’d probably run through a brick wall...

It’s really amazing that there wasn’t another legit Arcade WWF Pinball released during the Attitude Era. Covered in Stone Cold, Undertaker, Kane and DX.

So all in all, Data East’s WWF Royal Rumble is not an amazing game, but it’s fun to play and probably more than that, it fills a void of when I really enjoyed wrestling. Like any game, it takes you briefly away from this pretty awful world we are living in. And the best part of me owning this pinball machine is: My daughter has had a pinball since not long after birth, and always wants to play it, which leads to her running around the house screaming “Ohhhhh Yeah Daddy, I’m the Macho Man!!”.

Good girl!!


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