Wrecking Crew came with my original Nintendo Entertainment System. Most buyers got Super Mario Brothers, but mine came with everyone’s favorite brothers wearing their construction worker hats, making their way through puzzles of demolition, avoiding monsters called Gotcha Wrenches and hiding from Spike, the Foreman. I took on the role of Mario, climbing this ladder, banging that door with the hammer, waiting for the purple Gotcha to follow me, then smashing the pillar at the exact moment to trap him under an orange barrel.
Sounds extremely simple, dull even, when compared to the sensory extravaganza of today’s video game world. But it provided endless hours of entertainment for me, enough that when the catchy, repetitive tune came through the television, even my dog groaned and moseyed out of the room in what might qualify as a doggie-huff. Even now, I can clearly recall the music, which certainly did not extend beyond the span of one octave, and cannot keep the smile from my face.
What is it about that first game that captures one’s imagination? Sure, Wrecking Crew was not the first game I had ever played – I participated in my share of Pong tournaments and Pac-Man could make even me like yellow. Something about the simplicity of hammering away at a concrete wall, satisfying crunching noise and all, until it crumbled was captivating enough to park itself in my memory and prompt me to mention Wrecking Crew in nearly every discussion on classic games.
Speaking of discussion on classic games – we have an entire issue of that for you this week. Pat Miller debuts in The Escapist this week with an interesting read about Bungie’s original masterpiece, and foundation for future work, Marathon. Allen Varney returns with an insight into the world of interactive fiction. Jim Rossignol discusses the importance of the past in the future of gaming. Please enjoy these articles and more in this week’s issue of The Escapist.