While I have mentioned it on various Diary of An Arcade Employee podcasts – in the early days of the arcades there was something really special about video games that had speech. In particular I can recall how amazed I was the first time I encountered Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator at a local gas station – putting in my quarter and hearing Mr. Spock welcoming me aboard as Captain… I beamed with excitement. While just as exciting but far more menacing was the first time I visited the Games People Play arcade in my neck of the woods and saw Midway’s Wizard of Wor and heard it’s mocking speech – laughing at how quickly I had lost my quarter. It was a game that I was constantly drawn back to when I was able to visit the arcade – I would even pretend at home I was one of the Worriors stuck in the deadly maze of the Wizard… which his foul creatures hunting me down. I didn’t have to exert all of that imagination though when I was able to get my hands on the Wizard of Wor home port for the Atari 2600 by CBS Electronics – a rather impressive port in my opinion. However, thanks to Willie of Arcade USA, it turns out that Champ Games has created a new version for the 2600 – Wizard of Wor Arcade!
As I understand it, Wizard of Wor Arcade made it’s debut nearly a month ago at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo – and Champ Games really knocked it out of the park with this new cartridge. I won’t spoil everything in Willie’s Arcade USA video but the mazes on this upcoming release are more in line with the 1980 arcade version – including the text that appears between the levels. In addition you have the option of editing your own mazes on the cartridge and if you possess an AtariVoX the game actually speaks over 60 phrases!
I want to thank Willie once again for allowing me to begin to share some of the Arcade USA videos with you – make sure to check out his Facebook page as well as The Toy Tomb and the Atari 5200 Super Community! podcast.