39 years after making his debut, the Wrecking Crew antagonist gets a new name.

In 1984, Nintendo released Wrecking Crew. A unique action/puzzle game staring company mascot Mario before he acquired his “Super” status, Wrecking Crew was a fun game and a modest success for the Famicom/NES.

Had it come out a decade later, when the video game industry had become more sequel-focused, Wrecking Crew might have been the start of a long-running franchise. Instead, it got only a single Japan-only follow-up, Wrecking Crew ‘98, for the Super Famicom, very late in the system’s lifecycle in 1998.

And yet, there’s actually some Wrecking Crew news coming from Nintendo in Japan, as the company has announced that it’s officially changing the name of one of the game’s characters.

In English-speaking territories, the character seen in the above tweet, who periodically shows up to interfere with Mario and Luigi’s demolition projects, has always been known as Spike. In Japan, though, the character was called Blackie.

▼ Though the character’s hair is blue in the original Wrecking Crew (likely to help it stand out against that game’s black background), it’s jet black in Wrecking Crew ‘98.

Now, though, the character will be known as Spike in Japan as well, as Nintendo has decided to rename the character within the company’s home territory. The announcement tweet reads:

“We are changing the name of the character Blackie, who appears in games such as Wrecking Crew for the Family Computer [Famicom], to Spike, the same name used in Europe and North America. In addition, his name will also the same, Spike, in the Super Mario Bros. Movie, which releases on April 28, 2023 [in Japan].”

Reactions from online Twitter users have included:

“Blackie will always be Blackie in our hearts.”
“I don’t think kids today even know who this character is.”
“Well, I guess Spike is a pretty cool-sounding name too.”
“Not every day you see a 40-year-old character getting a name change.”
“I’ve always known him as Blackie, so I feel a little sad about this.”
“This is as shocking as when they changed Ralph Belmond to Trevor Belmont [for the English version of Castlevania III].”
“Maybe this’ll be a good opportunity for Nintendo to start putting the character in new games again.”

Nintendo doesn’t explicitly state any reason for the change in its announcement. As for why this is happening now, as alluded to in the last comment Spike is in sort of a unique position among the characters in the extended family of Mario games in that he hasn’t shown up in the Super Mario games or any of its spinoffs series such as Mario Kart, Mario Party, or the myriad Mario sports games. As such, it’s likely no one at Nintendo had given the character, or his name, much thought in decades prior to his surprise resurfacing in the Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Source: Twitter/@Nintendo
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