The Nintendo Entertainment System. 1988. In an era where the cool thing was always of top importance to the growing child such as video games and the incredible realm of science fiction, there was another giant that spanned the kingdom of absolute coolness alongside slicked back hair and stylish sunglasses; extreme sports. Before the X Games took these sports and made them sell out in their own unique way, they were a large part of the medium of video games in many different genres. 720 was the progenitor of the trick-based sport game, and the Skate or Die series on the NES and Gameboy combined highschool drama and radical coolness: teenagers kidnapped your girlfriend, so you needed to collect cool things like CDs and Cassette Tapes and Burgers in trade to upgrade your deck and save her! And don’t even get me started on DJ Boy; the only thing more cool and stylish to save than the love of your young life in the nineties was a Boom Box.
Nevertheless, Wood and Water Rage by T&C Surf Designs does the exact same but adds the coolness factor of summer and surfboards to the mix. Of course, surfing didn’t get much play back then in the old consoles, but it was along for the ride along with skating! That made it cool by comparison! T&C Surf Designs still exists today but their mascots, Da Boys and their skateboarding gorilla friend, have long since faded into obscurity.
The game itself, released by the company in 1988, was a way to get more children into skateboarding and surfing by turning them into fast-paced platformers with coins for building score and employing several tricks to earn more. While the title screen really could have used some color and downright polish as it was a grated mess of a screen, the graphical quality was rather stylish to the point of being a cult classic. The one track they had is, quite possibility, the most metal gaming music conceived on an 8-bit system. Here, take a listen after the record scratch that’s supposed to resemble rolling waves.
If we’re on a huge streak lately in the world of gaming that required a fix upon remakes, this game should be one of the first. The original was a cult classic of endless score-building and badass guitar riffs. With the success of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in recent years, it wouldn’t be too hard to put a digital spin on this one. Gorilla upon a skateboard that gamers wouldn’t get a kick out of. You could remix the original music and perhaps add more than one line with a cover artist, such as those Limp Cookies everyone is always on about, or really make a killing with Green Days and Ham. Yeah, that totally sounds like the right name for those bands; stylish and progressively terrible-sounding to pull in an ironic demographic.
The surfing would be a new mechanic that functions by moving the player through the waves like a skateboard. The tricks may be different save for grinding and flips, but the main problem would be to maintain balance under the forces of nature such as heavy waves, the wind and even weather effects like heat and rain. In fact, it may be a cool feature to practice one’s skills upon a skateboard first in terms of firmer ground before you can test your primate skills upon a surfboard. The first game did deal with a lot more skateboarding than surfing. After all, it did get the second part of that title. But don’t despair, you hardcore surfers; all of this would lead to unlocking the surfboard that could be skated on land and vice-versa. The level of absurdity that would require such a feat is worthy of its own title in my book, and in many ways what gaming is truly about.