Mat@MDickie.com
Interview: Children's Express














 


~ April 2004 ~
When Children's Express were looking into the "dangers and greatness" of professional
wrestling, it wasn't long before my games came under scrutiny. This interview was conducted
to ascertain my views on the phenomenon...

Could you tell me your name and a little about yourself?
I'm Mat Dickie. Operating under the abbreviated name "MDickie", I have spent the past few years single-handedly creating interactive entertainment - particularly wrestling games. I turned professional early last year, so now I'm responsible for publishing the results too...

Explain your role in society as an Independent Games Manufacturer?
I represent an exciting new era of games, whereby one man can create something worth talking about. The ability to produce something independently is what electrifies all the great art forms - from movies to music. I do what I want, when I want, how I want - which is a stark contrast to the formulaic approach of commercial developers. While they produce Hollywood blockbusters, I concentrate on more unusual games that push things forward...

Where does you main inspiration come from to build game engines?
The one thing that has always driven me is that what I want to play doesn't exist! I'm so disillusioned with the state of the industry that I've had to take it into my own hands. In my view, the current crop of game developers are severely misguided. They care more about making "movies" than games. Nobody dares to take a chance on gameplay and concepts anymore - so I've taken it upon myself to keep those qualities alive... 

I've seen a lot of wrestling games, including Federation Booker (of which I'm a big fan). How big of a wrestling fan are you?
I'm a huge fan of wrestling - at least, I was when that game was made. However, in recent years my passion has started to dwindle. Vince McMahon's WWE has left a bad taste in my mouth. I've always respected the sporting side of the business, but that seems to have been thrown out in favour of "shock TV". It's unfortunate that WWE represents wrestling in the Western world, because deep down I still love the industry itself...

What to you are the benefits of wrestling on people?
At its best, wrestling is an absolute phenomenon of entertainment. It's got all the honour and tradition of a sport, plus all the excitement and glamour of a Hollywood movie. There's nothing like it in the world, and that's very appealing. For a lot of kids, it's as close as they come to "sport" too. It gives them a whole range of athletic role models to look up to, that they perhaps wouldn't otherwise have. It certainly got me into fitness...

What negative effects does wrestling have?
That's the dilemma. Whilst it's fun to imitate their fitness, it's also just as tempting to imitate their stunts. They make it look fun and they make it look easy. Obviously that can have disastrous effects. I don't believe there's anything we can do about it though. At the end of the day, you've just got to trust that people will exercise a little common sense. If they don't, they deserve everything they get...

Would you say your products are promoting bloodshed and violence?
Yeah, I can't deny that my games are violent. But if you look closely, you'll find that they're infinitely more respectable than the other games that are out there. When somebody dies or gets crippled in my wrestling games, it shocks you. It's not a gratuitous thing that happens for no reason, with no consequences. You're responsible for the wrestlers, and you feel bad when you've lost one of them. You even participate in a memorial show, for God's sake!

As a child, who were your icons and did you ever partake in playfights?
When I first fell in love with wrestling, I was drawn to the usual suspects like Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. I fell for it big when I was a kid! I practically lived and breathed it, so it was inevitable that I would imitate my heroes...

If you did participate in playfights, were there any disastrous outcomes?
On the contrary, I have fond memories of my wrestling exploits. One day the teachers were so fed up with it that they dedicated our PE lesson to it (to get it out of our systems, presumably). We had a series of Battle Royals on the exercise mats - and we could scarcely believe our luck! I did well in them too, and even won one of them. For a kid that wasn't good at any other sports, it was a rare chance to shine. I enjoyed every second of it...

Are people dumb to imitate wrestling?
A little rolling around is fine in my view - like Stu Hart did in the dungeon. However, I do have a serious problem with backyarders that equate "wrestling" to brutal acts of self-abuse. I've got no respect for them whatsoever - and neither have wrestling trainers. If you want to make it in this business, become more of an athlete than a stuntman. Follow Bret Hart and Kurt Angle's example - not Mick Foley's...

Why is it that people who watch wrestling see the 'Don't Try This At Home' warnings, but frankly don't care?
It's just far too tempting. Wrestling fans look up to those guys like nobody else, and they want to imitate them in every possible way. Deep down, a sensible kid knows where the line is. I, for one, always respected how tough wrestling was - and wouldn't dare take it too far. Even if you do, it only takes one "close shave" to scare you away for life...

What's in the future of wrestling gaming, and how will you make a difference?
I don't know if the future of wrestling involves me right now. This latest series is the last for the time being, but I'd like to think that it's a good finale. Between the 2 games in the Wrestling MPire series, I feel I've created a simulation of the whole wrestling experience - from the office to the ring. That should be enough to keep wrestling fans entertained for years to come. I've taken wrestling to places that it's never been before or since - so in that respect, I'm sure I've made a difference...

Copyright MDickie 2000 - 2004