Remember these early Nintendo games?


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We recently got our hands on WWE 2K22 and we’re enjoying how it could define wrestling games for the future. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean we should forget about wrestling games from the past.


Granted, some of them were truly god-awful. WCW Nitro left a kind of bad aftertaste, along with the same level of reading a lower-grade Vince Russo script. And don’t even get us started on WCW Backstage Assault, which wandered so far from a popular business model that it became a joke in itself, kind of like World Championship Wrestling in its final years.


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No, the games we’re talking about are the glorious Nintendo 64 wrestling games, when WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and WWF No Mercy ruled the roost with simple, fantastic gameplay and four-player support, so you could make those dream matches with your friends happen at any given time. Finally, we could settle the argument over who was better – The Rock or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. (Of course, who are we to take sides since they’re both so awesome?).

WCW vs. NWO World Tour

Where it all began, however, is with WCW vs. NWO World Tour, which came out for the Nintendo 64 during its heyday in 1997. This was all the wrestling joy that anyone needed at the time, featuring a number of popular superstars (at the time) from World Championship Wrestling, as well as a bunch of fictitious faces that made the roster even bigger than before, even if they weren’t nearly as recognizable as, say, Hollywood Hulk Hogan.


The game featured a number of popular names, including Hogan, Sting, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero, among others, even though they were barely recognizable with the N64 graphics filter. No matter – they looked like they knew how to wrestle, and for fans, that was certainly good enough.


In addition, wrestlers from the Dead Or Alive league (not to be confused with Tecmo’s fighting series), Independent Union and Whole World Wrestling, all fictional leagues, were also thrown in, adding some diversity to the line-up and giving fans a chance to topple a giant like, er, The Giant with the likes of Black Ninja or The Claw, Gran Naniwa. Take that, Giant!

Where WCW vs. NWO World Tour truly took off is with its modes. You could play single player through a series of matches, sure, but involving friends in a tag team match or even an all-out battle royal became the stuff of legend, as you flung each other around the ring using the wonderful control set-up employed by THQ and the combination of developers at Asmik Ace and AKI Corporation. It just felt right in every regard, from high-flying moves to nailing someone with a well-deserved pile driver.


Best of all, it was local. There was something about taking on your friends in the living room with a number of legends and newbies and coming up with the surprise victory in the process. Remember when Rey Mysterio pinned Kevin Nash out of nowhere? Kind of like that, but certainly on a more personable level.


Since that time, the formula has been well-copied with WCW/NWO Revenge, WWF Wrestlemania 2000, and WWF No Mercy, all effective in adding new tweaks and, more importantly, popular wrestlers, like “Stone Cold,” The Rock and The Hardy Boyz, among others. However, since that time, THQ lost its way, and even the likes of Acclaim tried to step up with its own wrestling line-up, failing miserably with WWF Attitude and (God help us) ECW Hardcore Revolution.


With WWE 2K22, 2K Sports is attempting to innovate, but nothing beats going back to that heyday of N64 wrestling games and enjoying a round. All of the games mentioned above in that era are still a lot of fun, even if some superstars have clearly retired or moved on. Maybe you can find an N64, four controllers, and a copy of one of those games for dirt cheap, around under $100 or so and experience the ’90s wrestling all over again. It’s so worth it, especially when you pin your friends with the likes of Rey Mysterio and prove that, yes, the little guys can get it done.


Check it out. But, again, avoid WCW Backstage Assault. We can’t warn you enough.


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Only Boomers & Gen-X will remember these Saturday morning shows


Once upon a time, Saturday mornings were for more than just sleeping in. The ’70s were filled with classic programs like Wonder Woman, The Brady Bunch and M*A*S*H that aired during prime time, but what about those Saturday morning shows?


Saturday morning cartoons were a rite of passage for children starting in the mid-1960s up until their unofficial end in the 1990s. During the 1970s, some of the best cartoons aired during this time slot and they remain as some of the most beloved and often watched shows today.


Before streaming platforms made it irrelevant to know what time your favorite show was airing, people dedicated time out of their weekend plans to settle around the TV and watch their favorite shows. Do you remember tuning into these classic Saturday morning shows in the 1970s?


The Tom and Jerry Show aired in 1975 as part of The Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show. The show, which was created by Hanna-Barbera Productions, began as a theatrical cartoon series that ran before movies in theaters.


ABC’s ban on violence meant the series lacked the slapstick violence that people had become used to in the theatrical shorts. It only ran for 16 episodes in its first iteration but remains one of the most beloved cartoons from the era.


MGM Television / IMDB


In the 1960s, The  Action for Children’s Television began boycotting the gratuitous violence that they perceived to be in the cartoons of the era. Because of this, Hanna-Barbera quickly developed a new series that lacked the “excessive violence” that led to a number of cancellations in 1969. This led to the birth of Mystery, INC.


Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! first premiered on CBS in 1969 and the series ran until 1976 on the network. That year, the series was moved to ABC where it ran until 1991. The franchise spawned a number of subsequent revivals, spin-offs, crossover episodes, and live-action and animated movies.


Hanna Barbera Productions / IMBD


The “Golden Age of Cartoons” didn’t just stop when the 1960s ended; they lived on in syndication on Saturday morning. One of these common reruns that could be found on TV was The Sylvester & Tweety Show, which aired every Saturday morning on CBS. Sylvester has been around since 1939, while Tweety first arrived on screen in 1941. Their legacy continues today with The Looney Tunes.


Warner Bros. Entertainment / Amazon


The Bugs Bunny Show is another series that made the jump between networks in the middle of its run. It originally aired on ABC in 1960 and remained there until 1973 when it switched to CBS.


In its early days, it was actually a prime-time cartoon that aired on Tuesday nights, but in 1962 it began running Saturday mornings, where it remained until the ’80s. The original 52 episodes of the series aired in black-and-white.




Woody Woodpecker is yet another member of The Looney Tunes. Woody first appeared in “Knock Knock” in 1940 and went through several iterations before he became the Wood we’re all familiar with. His own series, The Woody Woodpecker Show, aired during the Saturday morning cartoon lineup.


Interestingly enough, Woody has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


Universal Television/ABC / IMDB


The Pink Panther Show aired on Saturday mornings on two different networks during the ’70s: – NBC from 1969 to 1978, and ABC from 1978 to 1980. When it moved to ABC, it was re-titled as The All New Pink Panther Show and Pink Panther Encore, where it lasted only two seasons after nine years on NBC.




Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle was an animated adaptation of the classic novel by the same name and it was the first animated version of the story, predating Disney’s Tarzan film by two decades. Robert Ridgely voiced Tarzan, who was a far more well-spoken version of the character. In this cartoon, Tarzan’s sidekick was a monkey named N’kima.


From 1977 to 1978, CBS aired The New Adventures of Batman and Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle during the same hour, creating “The Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour.”




Jana was essentially the female version of Tarzan and had been abandoned in the rain forests of South America after a boating accident where she was separated from her father as a child. Like Tarzan, her sidekicks in the series are animals, including Ghost the white jaguar, Croco the crocodile and Tico the water opossum. Jana’s weapon of choice bore a striking resemblance to the chakram that would later be used in Xena: Warrior Princess. Jana of the Jungle was part of “The Godzilla Power Hour” on NBC from 1978 to 1979.


There were a lot of popular live-action series that ran during the week and during the 1970s, networks had the ingenious idea to blend together their live-action series and their weekend cartoons, which resulted in the advent of “Filmation” and animated spin-offs.  Most of these series were created by Hanna-Barbera Productions.


Hanna Barbera Productions/NBC / IMBD


Star Trek: The Animated Series was an animated spin-off based on Gene Roddenberry’s that was launched after Star Trek’s cancellation in 1969. The production was able to bring in most of the original cast to voice their characters, except for Walter Koenig who played Chekov. Initially, Nimoy refused to voice Spock unless they brought on Nichelle Nichols and George Takei to voice Uhura and Sulu, respectively.


The series served as the fourth season of Star Trek before the storylines were revisited in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.


Paramount Home Entertainment / IMDB


Lassie’s Rescue Rangers aired from 1973 to 1975 on ABC, and its hour-long pilot “Lassie and the Spirit of Thunder Mountain” is a part of the “ABC Saturday Superstar Movie.”


In the series, the beloved collie Lassie lives near Thunder Mountain with Ranger Ben Turner and his family. Ranger Turner works at Thunder Mountain National Park where Lassie is the leader of the Rescue Rangers, a group of wild animals that work alongside the Turners to help protect the park and its visitors.




Pierre Boulle’s novel Planet of the Apes was adapted into a Saturday morning cartoon series for 20th Century Fox Television. It ran for only a season from 1975 to 1976. It aired during the same era that Boulle’s novel was adapted into a comic book series by Marvel Comics from 1974 to 1977.


Return to the Planet of the Apes differed from its live-action adaptations, featuring a completely advanced society with automobiles, films and technological advancements, which bore more of a resemblance to Boulle’s original novels, where the apes were far more advanced.


20th Century Fox / IMDB


At the start of the fourth season of The Brady Bunch showrunner Sherwood Schwartz reached out to Filmation to create an animated spin-off for the series. The Brady Kids only ran for two seasons on ABC and was fraught with drama, including a near-lawsuit when the children declined to return to voice more episodes during the second season.


Barry Williams and Maureen McCormick, who voice Greg and Marcia Brady, did not return for the second season of The Brady Kids and were replaced by the children of one of the producers.




It should come as no surprise that The Partridge Family had an animated spin-off of their own. The science fiction mash-up Partridge Family 2200 A.D. was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and aired Saturday mornings on CBS.


Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough and Brian Forster voiced their own characters, while Susan Dey, David Cassidy, Shirley Jones and Dave Madden’s characters were replaced by other voice actors.


The series centered around the Patridge Family living in space, just like the Jetsons. It was never explained how or why the family was living in 2200 A.D. Up until this point, the Partridge Family had been recurring characters on Goober and the Ghost Chasers, though the series were unconnected.


Hanna Barbera Productions/CBS / IMDB


The New Adventures of Gilligan was an animated spin-off based on CBS’s hit series Gilligan’s Island. Most of the original cast returned to voice their characters, except for Tina Louise and Dawn Wells. The story basically followed that of the original series, with some key differences, including Stubby, the anthropomorphic monkey.


The cartoon ran for two seasons from 1974 to 1975, and even received a sequel, Gilligan’s Planet, in the 1980s. The New Adventures of Gilligan did not receive the rights to The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle, so it lacked the iconic theme song from the live-action.




In the ’70s, live-action series were not just reserved for prime-time entertainment and Saturdays weren’t just for cartoons. You may think there are a lot of DC Comics on television today, but back in the 1970s, there were three DC Comics series listed in TV Guides everywhere, two of which aired on Saturday mornings.


Shazam! was a half-hour, live-action series that aired Saturday mornings on CBS. The series centered around the superhero Shazam (aka Captain Marvel), played by Jackson Bostwick and later by John Davey. The intriguing part of the character is that when he’s not a superhero, he’s a teenage boy named Billy Batson, who was played by Michael Gray.


The series ran for three seasons and after its first season, it aired during the same hour as The Secrets of Isis, creating what was known as “The Shazam!/Isis Hour.”




The Secrets of Isis was the companion series to Shazam!, and because of this, the two characters appeared in both series. Isis was portrayed by Joanna Cameron. In this series, Isis is the superhero-style alter-ego to the schoolteacher Andrea Thomas. She can transform into an Egyptian goddess when presented with crises that no mere mortal could resolve. The character was later adopted into modern DC comics.


One of the most memorable parts of the series was the way that Isis would often “break the fourth wall” and speak directly to the audience.


There were a lot of other live-action series that aired on Saturday mornings as well.


NBC Universal / IMDB


While Monster Squad only lasted for one, 13-episode season, plenty of people tuned in on Saturday mornings because of Fred Grandy, who had starred in Love Boat. Grundy played Walt, a criminology student who worked nights at a wax museum. One night, the computer he created caused all of the wax figures to come to life.


Think Night at the Museum, but if Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein’s monster decided to become superhero crime fighters.




The live-action series Jason of Star Command was actually inspired by another popular live-action series from the time, Space Academy. The series aired on CBS and was designed a little bit differently from TV series today.


The first season was written as 16 chapters that were only 15-minute episodes and styled like movie serials that told one overarching story. The second season was a stand-alone comprised of half-hour episodes.


NBCUniversal / IMDB


Space Academy was set in the year 3732 on an asteroid that housed the Space Academy. Academy brought together the best young minds of the time to explore the mysteries of space. Jonathan Harris starred as Commander Isaac Gampu, the head of the Space Academy. Harris was best known as Dr. Zachary Smith from the popular sci-fi series Lost in Space.


Space Academy only had 15 episodes, but reruns kept it alive in the minds of Saturday morning viewers.




Ark II was another short-lived, live-action series that aired on Saturday mornings. Also set in the future, the series was set in the 25th century following the fall of civilization. The series was loosely based on the story of Noah’s Ark, which is why all of the characters are named from figures in the Hebrew Bible.


Like most of the Saturday morning series, Ark II was filled with moral lessons to teach the kids who watched it each weekend.




Big John, Little John was a Saturday morning sitcom that only ran for one season. The show’s main character was a 40-year-old, middle-school science teacher played by Herbert Edelman. He drinks from the legendary Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida and discovers that he can now spontaneously change into a 12-year-old boy and back again.


It first aired on NBC in 1976 and also aired in England on BBC One.


NBC Universal / IMDB


McDuff, The Talking Dog was part of the three-hour block of live-action shows that aired Saturday mornings on NBC from 1976 to 1977. This television block included Land of the Lost, Big John, Little John, and Monster Squad, among other series.


None of these series survived their first seasonm and McDuff was the first cancellation, airing only 11 of the 13 episodes that had been filmed.


NBC Universal / IMDB


During its original run from 1974 to 1976, Land of the Lost aired on CBS on Saturday mornings. The series blended stop-motion animated dinosaurs with its live-action cast to create a unique experience for audiences in the ’70s.


The series ran for three seasons, amassing 43 episodes that were eventually syndicated as part of the Krofft Superstars package.


NBC Universal / IMDB


The Krofft Supershow was a variety show composed of several live-action segments. It originally aired on ABC in 1976 for two seasons before returning as a completely revamped series for its third season after its move to NBC. The new series featured the Bay City Rollers who replaced the “Kaptain Kool and the Kongs” segment, which featured a rock band that had been created for the show.


The series was produced by Sid and Marty Krofft productions, which also produced the popular variety shows Donny & Marie, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour and The Krofft Komedy Hour.


Sid and Mary Kroff Productions / IMDB


Another extremely popular variety show was The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine, which featured the players of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team singing, dancing and performing comedy sketches.


Their initial animated series, The Globetrotters, was a hit for the network, which prompted the invention of The Popcorn Machine variety show.  These 25-minute episodes aired on Saturday mornings on CBS for a year. Despite the series only having one season, the Globetrotters went on to have other series on CBS.



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