Tear down the wall is a 2-player shareware game for MS-DOS by Chet Langin (with options of human vs. human, human vs. computer, or computer vs. computer).

The playing area is an 80 by 12 grid, the 'wall'. The wall is made of bricks of four different sizes; each brick is one grid unit tall and one to four grid units wide. The entire grid is filled randomly at the beginning of the game. Players take turns, and each turn a player picks a brick from the wall. That brick disappears, and bricks which are supported by it fall down and disappear too. For each move, the player gets a score equal to the area of the wall which disappears. The winner is the one with the highest score when there are no more bricks left. (It should be clear that the total of both players scores at the end of the game is the total area of the wall; this being an even number, draws are possible. But they seldom happen.)

There are two 'special' types of brick: weak bricks and heavy bricks. Normal bricks will only fall if all the space immediately below it is empty - if just one corner of the brick is supported, it does not fall. Weak bricks will disappear if any of the space beneath it is empty. When a normal brick falls, it just disappears, but when a heavy brick falls, it destroys the brick(s) it lands on before disappearing. (Bricks cannot be both heavy and weak at the same time.)

It is a relatively simple game. Play a game or two and you know all you need to know to play. There are some subtleties, though. A weak brick or a heavy brick on the bottom of the wall is no different from a normal brick. A heavy brick on the second row from the bottom is no different from a normal brick. And a weak brick which is fully supported by only one brick below it is no different from a normal brick. Keeping these things in mind can help clean up complications in planning the next move. Making a move which destroys the most brick-area is not necessarily the best move; doing so may afford your opponent an even bigger-scoring move after that.

I enjoy this game because it's a different game each time I play. There's no luck, it's purely a skill game. And maybe some of the fun is just the fun of destroying stuff.

Perhaps the time has come to tear down that wall.

You know the one. It's been around for quite a while, but you have dim memories of times before it was there. There was a room back there, full of... something.

You don't even remember what was in it, much less what it looked like. Now you think you might want to find out. And you're tired of having people ask why there seems to be this room in your house, sealed away.

Where do you start? Taking down a wall is not a small thing. It keeps things sealed away, yes, but it also holds things up. Have you built your house so that you need this wall to keep it up? If so, well, you'll need to rebuild. Build pillars, to keep the ceiling up, or take down the things you've built that depend so heavily on that wall - that wall that keeps things sealed away that, no matter what you might once have thought, really aren't best forgotten.

I'm not going to lie to you, to make you think this will be easy. It will not be easy.

Taking down any kind of wall is never easy. But this one, in particular, may be important to you. You may have painted and decorated it with pictures and pretty things, maybe put your television in front of it. You'll need to redecorate. But you'll have more space to put things. Will you make use of that space, or will it sit there, empty because you didn't have anything to fill it up with?

So you've decided to go ahead with this. Don't do it carelessly. Don't think you can just take a hammer and start smashing. You could do a lot of damage that way.

Take it one brick at a time. Chip away at the mortar. You may have trouble with this first brick. You've grown to like this wall. But it will be worth it. If you need to stop working on it, do so. But don't cover up the work you've done. Leave it, so that people can see that you are trying to free up that room. Some of them may offer to help you. Let them. If they are your friends, they cannot hurt, and some of them may have taken down, or are considering taking down, walls very much like your own. They can help.

And once you get that first brick out, you can poke a flashlight in and see all the things you've been missing, and all the space you've been without. Chances are, you'll see no reason not to finish the job, once you finish that first brick.

So finish. It can be over quickly, or it can take a long time. But when you're finished, you can go in and clean up, and it will be the most enjoyable cleaning up you'll ever do.

Making this place beautiful, this place whose existence you had almost forgotten, sorting through the things you had trapped inside it and putting them in their proper places, will be the only reward you need for the difficult task of taking down the wall that had them confined. But there will be more rewards; the space will be there for the rest of your life, and you may do with it what you will. And your house will be that much more complete.

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