The Game: You are an unidentified Smurf en route to save Smurfette from Gargamel’s castle. Now, you may think that Gargamel would deploy his vicious black cat to stop you from reaching that goal, but that sort of melodramatic stuff only happens in cartoons. Real Smurfs can be felled by something as innocuous as a fall off a very short ledge or running into clumps of grass. (Coleco, 1982)
Memories: The early 80s: video games were hot, new wave music was now mainstream, everybody who was anybody had given Rubik’s Cube a twist, and of course, there were Smurfs all over the place. Now, setting aside the fact that with the plural of knife being knives and the plural of scarf being scarves, the plural of Smurf should be Smurves, Peyo’s little blue critters were all over the place – cartoons, clothing, lunchboxes, toys, and more. You’d think that a market would have arisen for an effective Smurf repellant, perhaps in an environmentally-friendly non-aerosol spray form, but instead Coleco gave us this marvelous video game, in which those so inclined could send hundreds of the little pests hurtling headlong, lemming-like, to their death.
But I kid the wee Smurves. This game’s actually not a bad scrolling platform-style game, much in the same vein as Super Mario Bros., and was often put on display when anyone in Coleco’s marketing department wanted to brag on ColecoVision’s graphics capability. And quite rightly too: Rescue From Gargamel’s Castle has some stunning graphics, some of the best that ColecoVision had on offer, and the screenshot of your Smurf bravely strutting up to a huge human skull to rescue Smurfette became on of the most enduring images of game advertising in 1982. The machine really could do what the marketing department said it could – the next generation of video games was here after all.
One further Smurf game was released for this console under Coleco’s license, as well as a far less attractive port of Rescue From Gargamel’s Castle for the Atari 2600. But has that been the last we’ve heard of pixelated Smurves? Gosh, no – the little blue guys reared their pointy-hatted heads again in Smurf Racing for the Playstation 1 too.
Seems you can’t get rid of these little “la-la-la la-la-la”-ing blue goobers after all. There just isn’t a shoe in the world big enough to step on all of them.