Screenshot: Wrestling Revolution 3D

So-bad-they’re-good video games haven’t quite achieved the cultural cachet of movies like The Room or Troll 2, in part because games are an active experience rather than a passive one. It’s a lot easier to sit back and watch a trainwreck than it is to understand its inner mechanics and slog through them. Credit goes, then, to Mat Dickie, the subject of a new Ars Technica profile, for making the kind of games that land in that ever-so-slim sweet spot.

Dickie, whose first games were born out of a shoddy-sounding Spanish development tool called Div Games Studio, allowed each of his titles to emerge organically from the previous one. This is especially hilarious considering he began making wrestling games and eventually ended up making what looks like a fighting game starring Jesus. Its innate earnestness carries it, as it does all the games in Dickie’s library.

And maybe that’s why Dickie’s Wrestling Revolution 3D recently became the first mobile sports simulator to surpass 50 million downloads, making the game roughly five times more popular than the officially licensed mobile fighting games from the UFC and WWE. The appeal is hard to articulate when you consider the game’s chaotic controls, blocky graphics, and bafflingly haphazard camera angles, but as the profile details, there’s a charm to Dickie’s process that’s irresistible to those raised on the sloppy 8-bit and 16-bit titles of yore. To play Wrestling Revolution 3D is to feel as if you’re perpetually on the verge of watching it collapse into a sea of polygons.

Just look at the joy the guys over at Giant Bomb are getting from this thing:

Besides, seeing the fake names Dickie has for the popular wrestlers he’s so clearly emulated here is never not funny. Jimi Sierra for John Cena? Stunner Stu for Billy Gunn? Hanz Cuffs for the Big Boss Man? Genius.

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It doesn’t hurt that Dickie sounds like just about the nicest guy you could imagine. Read the full profile here.