DONE BY: Sensible Software/Graham Goring,Trevor Storey, Chris Nunn
IT'S FOR: Windows (and Mac soon)
As a rule, revisiting games from my childhood generally doesn’t end very well for me. More than once I’ve made the mistake of trying to relive the past with emulators and ROMs, and each time I’ve been forced to confront an unpleasant but irrefutable truth: my memory is a fucking liar. My memory tells me that The Last Ninja is a masterpiece; the reality is that it’s a glitchy rapefest whose only redeeming quality is its still-quite-amazing soundtrack. My memory tells me that Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City is not terrible; the reality is that it is terrible. Terrible, terrible. Goddamn awful, in fact.
But even knowing full well that my memory is effectively a deception engine, I was still excited when I heard that somebody had remade Wizball. I read the news on TIGSource and was all like, “Awesome! Wizball is rad!” It didn’t even occur to me that it might actually be shit – and that revisiting it would almost certainly end in regret. The truth is, I hit that download link expecting not only to be entertained, but to be just as entertained as I was twenty years ago, when Wizball first came out on the Commodore 64.
Happily, I was only a little bit disappointed. Compared to the vast majority of its contemporaries, Wizball is still very playable – and I don't just mean in the ironic retro sense. I mean you can actually play it. I mean you can sit down with it for a couple of hours and appreciate it for more than its nostalgia value. Very few games can claim that kind of longevity. Especially Commodore ones.
Of course, this isn’t the same Wizball as the one on C64, but it's so close that I'm inclined to consider it a cosmetic update rather than a genuine remake. I don’t say that to disparage the work of Graham Goring and his team – what I mean is that the original game’s core mechanics have been emulated so exactly that the only real difference between the two versions is that one looks and sounds better. Well, that and the fact that in this version you don’t have to do a joystick waggle to cycle through power-ups – you can just press a key. Thankfully.
Oh! I just realised: I haven’t actually told you what you do in Wizball yet. Okay, lemme get some screenshots...
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