Friends, I mentioned on the Wizard of Wor episode of the Diary of An Arcade Employee podcast that a few years ago a prototype for the arcade game had been located. This is to say the very least a pretty big deal – as this is not a case of someone being fortunate enough to locate ROMS for an early build of the classic maze shooter but a literal prototype arcade game cabinet was discovered. It must be noted that the Bally/Midway game at this point wasn’t even called Wizard of Wor but Invisible Monsters – it possesses a simple but eye-catching marquee with a 1980 copyright date and the same image printed upon the lower area of the control panel. And while the core concept of what we know as Wizard of Wor is present in Invisible Monsters there are a few interesting differences. For one thing there is no digitized speech much less a Wizard for the Players to contend with – or for that matter a varied amount of enemies patrolling the maze to seek out and destroy your Worrior. With Invisible Monsters you have two enemies, both look just like the Thorwor from the 1981 release, except one is yellow and one is colored red. Another change from the prototype and Wizard of Wor is just how big the radar is at the bottom of the screen – with Invisible Monsters instead of a singular panel it is a quad.
Thanks to an article on the Arcade Hero site, we at least know how this Wizard of Wor prototype was discovered. Apparently it was through a Craigslist advertisement from Chicago – the collector who snapped up Invisible Monsters informed the site that he was told it and other cabinets were used as payment for some dental work that the seller’s Father had done.
The great news is a video from The Mad Conservative not only let’s us see the prototype in action but the arcade cabinet itself – which on both the Arcade Hero and in the comments, arcade game enthusiasts have pointed out appears to be an altered Pac-Man cabaret cabinet. As far as I can tell there has been no further information on this Invisible Monsters prototype arcade game – but in all honesty, just the fact we can enjoy it through this video seems like an amazing treasure to me.