Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wizard of Wor

I remember drawing pictures of the Worrior in this game on pieces of paper, seriously wanting to make computer games.  I loved the way he looked, with his little backpack, and his helmet, and his gun.  He was a compact and powerful little space adventurer, ready for what the cosmos had to throw at him.  It really got me thinking about pixel graphics, and how to make them.

I saw that you could program on the C64, and I tried doing it myself, but all I could do was print out little shapes on the screen, made up of those basic shapes that are shown on the C64 keyboard.  I could make round cornered boxes and lines.  Hmm.  I tried looking at some books with example game code written out in them, but they never seemed to add up to the GOOD games that I actually liked playing.  And the books didn't seem to really explain the RULES behind harnessing the power of the language.  So I gave up on those and just kept playing!

Wizard of Wor was great!  We'd play this at our friend Michael's place on a hill up the end of the road.  We'd ride up their on our bikes, or trounce up the road stamping in puddles with our gumboots, and huddle in front of the TV in their rumpus room.  They had this awesome big house that you could run around, and lots of board games and things to do!  Mick always loved games, and we'd often play chess, and he'd very often beat anyone up for the competition.  We'd play Marco Polo, and clothesline the unsuspecting blindfoldee with a blanket, and end up just wrestling and fighting.  We had great times up there on his hill.

He had Wizard of Wor on a cartridge, which was awesome, because it would just start straight away without that whole disk loading rigmarole!  LOAD "*",8,1  (Whoever thought to make kids type that archaic command to load their video games?)

This was one of the first games I played with two players on screen who had to cooperate, and COULD shoot each other.  And of course, WOULD shoot each other half of the time.  On purpose by accident.  Thus resulting in many off-screen jostles and punches.  Which was, of course, half the fun.  

The sound effects are so over the top!  I love the sound when the Warluk appears.  It's quite terrifying, and induces immediate panic.  

The way the enemies can sometimes disappear and reappear, the whole screen flashing scarily, this game really was something else.

Special mention must also go to Gauntlet, at the foot of which we also worshipped for many many hours.

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