Wheel of Fortune FI

SNES A Day 86: Wheel of Fortune


Approximate Release Month: September 1992
Genre: Game show
Developer: Imagitec Design
Publisher: GameTek

Don’t play Wheel of Fortune. It’s not good at all.

The biggest problem with Wheel of Fortune is that it’s wholeheartedly devoted to the idea of trying to recreate the television experience. There are cuts to the contestants clapping after every spin. You have to sit and watch Vanna White walk across the game board and flip over letters. You have to sit through the computer typing out answers or thinking about how hard to spin the wheel. Everything involves waiting.

When you’re watching Wheel of Fortune on TV, you’re there for a passive experience. That’s what you signed up for by sitting on your couch. But it is harder to incorporate the experience of waiting into video games, especially old machines like the Super Nintendo that can’t create a visual spectacle. When a player has a controller in his or her hand, there’s an expectation of play. So when Wheel of Fortune makes the player constantly wait for everything, it’s a slog.

I don’t have this kind of patience.

Wheel of Fortune does provide the option to play solo, which speeds up the game significantly. There’s something depressing about playing a Wheel of Fortune game by yourself, though. It’s like playing both sides of Checkers at the same time. And that’s pretty much the only real option the game gives you. I’m curious about how many puzzles there are, too.

So much of adapting a property – be it a movie, or a TV show, or a board game – to a video game is about taking advantage of what developers can do to improve on the original. Look at how Monopoly managed to make the famous board game better, or at least more tolerable, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Wheel of Fortune doesn’t do anything to give itself an identity other than a licensed cash-grab.

Tomorrow: Has your Super Scope been sitting unused for a while? Dust it off for Battle Clash!

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