The original Wizardry, started by a Cornell University student in 1978 and released in 1981, was a mostly text-based affair, with just enough primitive Applesoft BASIC graphics to hint at what was happening. It was published by a newly formed Sir-Tech software, with just enough polish to stand out from the Ziploc-bagged crowd. And it was polished and play-tested enough to find its audience. It’s likely the first party-based RPG, and it all but created the genre “dungeon crawler.”
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, as has been released in early access for PC today after two years of development, is a whole lot more than just “enough.” It’s adding fine-looking graphics, a whole bunch of quality-of-life improvements to navigating and managing your party, and quicker combat and spell selection. But it’s built on top of the same code as the original. “You can even view the original Apple II interface as you play,” developer Digital Eclipse says.
Here’s how combat looked in the Apple II version of Wizardry, and … [credit: Digital Eclipse ]
There are more enhancements to come, too, as the game is under development—you can even read the team’s “Roadmap to October.” It costs $30 now on Steam and GOG, but will likely cost more at final release. Console versions look like they’ll follow after the final PC release, “before the end of 2024.”