Let's be honest, there hasn't been a good wrestling game since WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64. Will TNA Impact! break that slump?

Samoa Joe: Absolutely. I haven't enjoyed a game since No Mercy either. I actually remember going back and buying an N64 well after it was out of style just to play that game with four of my buddies and laugh our asses off. No Mercy is what the system that we have in this game is based around. It's based on that type of counter system gameplay, but it's amped up a bit.

Kevin Nash: The thing that I like about this game is the visual crispness of it. It has that Call of Duty 4 kind of crispness to it.

The graphics are pretty impressive.

Joe: Most games you've played since 1996 have run 30 frames per second at top speed. That's just what they do. With this game, it's 60 frames per second. The animation is photorealistic.

Nash: I spent a day at Midway in California and those guys were so passionate about the development of this game. There was a room of developers who were just working on the perspiration patterns on the wrestlers.

Video games used to be strictly for kids and nerds who live with their parents, but now it seems like even jocks are getting in on the act.

Nash: I never played video games until my son was three years old. Back then, we'd play Ready to Rumble on the Sega Dreamcast all day long. It was like being in the Twilight Zone when I first discovered video games. It was like, "How did I not know this existed?” Then when the first Grand Theft Auto came out, I put it in and I was playing till the sun came up. It was like, "How long have I been playing this? Seven and a half hours?!”

Joe: [laughs] And you hadn't even taken out the Russians yet!

TNA's roster is full of young guys. Was everyone raised on Nintendo like the rest of us?

Joe: Guys like myself, AJ Styles, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, we all grew up playing video games. It's funny, growing up people were always like, "I want to be in the movies.” But now the ultimate cool thing is to be in a video game. I want to be that guy. I want to be the character that everybody picks and plays.

Did you take a hands-on approach to the game to make sure that happened?

Joe: The biggest thing for us is we wanted it to be a good game. Just being a video gamer growing up, you don't want your first shot at being in a game to be horrible. And you don't want to take a hands-off approach and say, "You guys do what you want to do. Throw some laser guns in there if you want.” It was funny, as soon as the opportunity arose to be involved in the game a bevy of hands shot up like, "We'll help! We'll help!”

So do the characters in the game represent you perfectly?

Nash: Yeah, if you play as me I just bitch and complain.

Joe: [laughs] It turns into an RPG and you actually have to talk Nash out of a bunch of stuff.

What's the game's story mode like?

Joe: The story mode is centered around fighting your way up from rock bottom. You start off in Mexico and you work your way up through the indy circuit. Eventually, you work your way into TNA where you meet Kevin Nash. When you first step into the TNA ring, he's the guy sitting there evaluating everybody. He's the gatekeeper. After that, you and KEv go on a long and dramatic ride of ups and downs.

Let's do the hard sell. Why should someone buy TNA Impact! instead of WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009?

Joe: First and foremost, if you're a fan of good gameplay without having to go through a bunch of menus and loosely strung together mini games that make no sense, you're going to want our game over Smackdown.

Nash: And if you want to play as Samoa Joe or Kurt Angle or Christian or Abyss, it's the only place that you can be those characters. I mean, how many times can you play as The Undertaker? Unless this time he turns into a robot or shoots flames, how many times can you play as the same character over and over? Do something else. This is fresh. This is new.


TNA Impact! is available now.