Co-Optimus - Editorial - Co-Op Classics: Wizard of Wor

Wizard of Wor

  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign

Co-Op Classics: Wizard of Wor - Page 2

Once the last Thorwor fell to a blast of laser fire, the Worluk appeared.  A fast moving, insectoid beast, the Worluk dashed quickly for one of the exits.  If a Worrior had quick enough reflexes to slay the Worluk, the next level would be a double point dungeon.  After the third dungeon, the Wizard himself appears after the Worluk, teleporting all over the maze and shooting lightning bolts.  This progression routine for monster spawns made the game that much more intense and intimidating, especially when enemies developed the talent to shoot back at you!

But the best innovation in Wizard of Wor was two-player simultaneous gameplay.  Even when one person was playing, the computer would play along as the second player.  For some bizarre reason, this second Worrior was clad in blue, often blending in with the walls and even some of the monsters.  Two player simultaneous play, in and of itself, was very, very unusual this early in the arcade era, so its unsurprising that the co-op wasn't exactly as we define it.  Similar to the later game Joust, players could choose to work together, or even against one another.  In fact, one could even argue that Wizard of Wor encouraged players to fight, since points were awarded for killing the other player!  Honestly, though, the game itself was difficult enough without having to dodge another player.  Since the end goal was to maximize the time spent playing per quarter, working together as a team was the best way to do just that. 

Wizard of Wor is one of the earliest games in the Co-Optimus database.  Only Fire Truck was earlier, while Space Invaders II came out the same year.  It's fascinating to see how cooperation was implemented into these early Golden Age arcade titles.  Wizard of Wor's take on teamwork is not quite as robust as we'd like, perhaps, but it was certainly a step in the right direction.  The concept of teaming up with a friend, back to back, covering for each other, as wave after wave of enemies approach is certainly one that has held up through the decades.  And in 1980, the co-op was more than enough to make you "Come back for more... with the Wizard of Wor!"


comments powered by Disqus