When it comes to old, vintage DOS games, clones are quite common and fun to look at. Getting the software to run properly using modern computer equipment are a completely different thing. Check this out: Winwheel—a Wheel of Fortune clone developed respectably by Russell Mueller.
Where do I begin? Apparently, the file contents from the floppy cannot run straight away from emulation software DOSBox; You'll run into the error stating "This software requires Microsoft Windows." We have a refurbished, yet older, Dell laptop computer running Windows 98 at the ready—alas, it was too fast, let alone didn't play the music, just the sound effects. Worse, it would crash after Round 5 with a pop-up saying "Permission denied."
Going through all that trouble, we were able to run the game properly, with the appropriate CPU speed, under Windows 3.1 under the one and only DOSBox. Finally! We now have a working, stable operation of the software. Okay, now can we talk about the game? Cool.
I remember K•B Toys had a huge liquidation/clearance sale on computer games, so much so that they had a huge basket of the at the very front of the store. Naturally, it worked for me as I looked through and clued my parents on what game I'm hoping they'll get for me. As my computer game collection grew modestly, started from my youth, it wasn't until I was about 6 or 7 years old when my father invested on a 486 computer that was running Windows 3.1, branded by Packard Bell (remember them?). Growing up, my parents reminded me how much I knew how to load and run a game using the 386 DOS command-line only computers; However, loading a game on an operating system by going to File Manager, opening the A: drive and double-clicking on the .exe file of the floppy still renders clear as day in my mind. In short, this game defines my computer gaming childhood, and as I write this, it still feels fresh everytime I think about it. Compared to the other official releases of Wheel of Fortune I have played and reviewed, I suppose there's a reason why going through all that trouble to run this game again happened as such.
Off the bat, you're greeted with the title screen and intro music. I can't be too harsh on the music, as this represents the typical "bleep bloop" of the older operating systems and what they were able to output, thanks to audio softwares like SoundBlaster. After clicking "OK," you then enter your name. What's odd is there are no options for the computer to play, so if you're playing by yourself, like I did, you're the only player playing the game entirely (yay, or nay?). This means you have the game all to yourself. Whether you guess wrong or not, you're still in control of the game! Just one piece of advice: Don't land on the "BANKRUPT" because it will affect your final score!
As colorful as the layout is, the wheel stands out the most. Unfortunately, spinning the wheel involves clicking the center button, usually labeled "WINWHEEL," and uses dots to spin and show the value of where it lands. I would've loved the full motion of the wheel spinning, but you won't see it here, which makes spinning the wheel less exciting. After the dot lands, a window showing the consonants is shown. You must choose a consonant within the allotted 20 seconds before you lose your turn; The same 20 second timer is applied when buying a vowel (yes, buying a vowel still costs $250). The puzzles themselves aren't that tough, given there isn't a difficulty setting but it should be enough for the average user to sum up. Keep this up in five rounds and your name gets listed on "Top 10 'WHEELERS'" list.
With that said, there isn't a final or bonus round where you choose a hidden prize, solve the final puzzle in hopes to win what's on the card.
Games like this defined my childhood, but even as a kid, I seldom played this. To be honest, I was frequently going back to the original Wheel of Fortune featuring Vanna White and first/second/third editions, both of which ran perfectly on our 486 computer that time. Looking back, and playing the game today, this felt more of like a 'break time from work' style of software, as opposed to a full-blown computer game with dedicated motion graphics and soundtrack. While I understand there were limitations on programming a game under the system structure of Windows 3.1, and being programmed by one person, more time could've been spent for this to make this game look less of a "cash grab." It was worth a try, however.
If you're a retro computer gamer looking to dive into the library of games under the compatibility of Windows 3.1, this a great game to run and test out. However, whether you play with a second and/or third player, especially for live streaming entertainment, I'm certain you likely won't go back to playing it again. Still, I'd still take a look at it, if you're a fan of the popular TV game show. Otherwise, I'd recommend sticking with the original releases.
|Description||Colorful Graphics Make this "Wheel of Fortune" Clone a Winner
Guess phrases with computer hints. Spin the big wheel, pick contestants, buy vowels and go through five rounds. 1-3 players will keep you guessing and wheeling for hours. Fun for the whole family.
|Software Compatibility||Requires VGA Monitor & Windows 3.0 or Higher|
|Registration Information||WINWHEEL is a shareware program produced by a member of the Association of Shareware Professionals. If you find this program useful, then you are required to register it with the author. For details of the shareware agreement, please read the file WINWHEEL.DOC. It is supplied in ASCII format and may be read using any word processor. Registered users will receive updates and support for 90 days from date of registration, and the author's full database of over 11,000 puzzles. To Register, please send $19.00 in U.S. funds to:
507 Washington Gdns
Washington, NJ 07882-9205
Please specify disk size and density (5-1/4 or 3.5, Hi or Lo density)
To register outside of the U.S., please send an International
Postal Money Order available from your local post office.
|ISBN / Bar Code number||(????)|
|Video Format||4:3 (640x480) / Windowed|
|Disk/CD Count||One (1) 3.5" floppy disk|
|Developer||Russell R. Mueller|
|Company||WIZ / Association of Shareware Professionals®|
|Copyright||Copyright ©1991 Russell R. Mueller CIS [76662, 1623]
Association of Shareware Professionals Member
|Other Formats||5¼ floppy disk|
|Other||EASY TO USE After DOS prompt just type WIZ
The $5 Computer Software Store
MADE IN THE USA