A World of Games: Wizard of Wor

My first experience with this one came as part of the Midway Arcade Treasures 2 compilation disc on the PlayStation 2. When I was exclusively playing Mortal Kombat II, I gave this game a go and found it to be kind of fun! Considering the game is now over 40 years old, that’s an impressive feat!

In the game, you control your Worrior as he tries to fend of bad guys and monsters almost Gauntlet style by blasting them with your gun before they collide with you. After a couple stages the titular Wizard of Wor teleports in, and mixes things up with his frankly unfair advantage of just appearing and disappearing. Also pretty fun, this arcade cabinet uses a computerized voice to ridicule you as you play; the Wizard of Wor will laugh at you and say things like “Die” (if I’m understanding that right) as you play. It’s kind of great! And now that I think of it, Midway would basically continue this with the Shang Tsung/Shao Kahn taunts in the Mortal Kombat series some 20 years later…

I also want to point out the incredible artwork this arcade cabinet sports. I’m a sucker for that stuff, like the screen overlay, the controller artwork, and even the side and front panel art. They are fantastic touches to make for a unique experience. Also, aside from the compilation port, I do not know of another modern home console release for this, so you’re really only going to see this in the wild and (hopefully) with the beautiful art.

In an interesting move, the first player is actually the right control stick, while player 2 is on the left. I wonder why they did that. Is there a reason they were switched from the traditional setup? Maybe it would entice someone that walked by and saw someone playing solo on the left side as player 2, and then thinking their player 1 left them, so they’d jump in and plop down some quarters to try to help. Hmm, that could be an ingenious idea…

As mentioned above, Wizard of Wor is, as of this writing, over 40 years old. Having released in 1980, it’s honestly pretty incredible to still see not only a working arcade cab for the game, but one in such wonderful condition! Major shoutout to Gallop Ghost Arcade! If it wasn’t apparent from this blog, that place is a historical gaming landmark, and should absolutely be visited by anyone with any amount of enjoyment to arcades. You owe it to yourself to check it out!

Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade, Brookfield, IL 2019

DownStab has been a personal endeavor of mine for many years. Please enjoy the content and let me know if you have questions, comments, or just want to connect. And as always, game on.

– Jason J

Original blue and red Nintendo Switch controllers
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