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"Wheel of Fortune" (Game Boy)

A modest, handheld port of the popular TV game show. Unless you're an avid video game collector, or one who plays and collects game show-based games, you're better off playing the NES, Genesis or Super Nintendo release of this title.

Ah yes, Wheel of Fortune it is. It's the one game show where spinning a luxurious wheel and knowing all 26 letters of the alphabet, to construct a categorical puzzle, can be an easy gateway to cash and prizes. As for the women, no life could be easier than getting a huge paycheck turning/unveiling letters and smiling.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Being the game show geek that I am, games like WoF were ones I played a lot during my youth. However, compressing all the goodness into a handheld only did so much. It's like eating pizza bites—a small, compressed version of a slice of pizza. Want the big and bold flavors? Get the real thing.

The moment you boot up the game, you hear the infamous theme music used on the show, and without doing anything, the game immediately takes you to the name input screen and how many players you want to play against. The options are "1 [Player], 2 [Players] and 1 vs COMP," as in "computer." Nowhere on the game's manual mentioned about having a Game Boy link to play two players, which means that you'll have to take turns giving each other the Game Boy unit (unless you're playing it on the Super Game Boy, then you can use the Super Nintendo controllers as needed). After you enter in your name, the game starts.

Suddenly, Vanna White appears and doesn't even present the puzzle; She just stands there, walks when a letter, or more, come up and that's it—other WoF versions show her presenting the puzzle, clapping and more. She looked a tad curvy (my type of girl, actually) and has a hairstyle which reminds me of the style done during the Victorian Era. I understand you can only squeeze so much detail on a Game Boy game, however, programmers could've integrated more animation/movements for Vanna.

As the first round starts. you have no money so you only have seven seconds to choose "SPIN" for now. Choosing "SPIN" brings you to this screen:

The wheel on Wheel of Fortune (Game Boy)

The very top is the red, orange color-coded wheel; The left rectangular box is the name of the player, in this case, it's me; Right across the player's name is the points total earned (or you can interpret this as "cash total," similar to its classification on the show); The first box below the two is the strength meter when spinning the wheel, which can be controlled using the D-Pad. If you push the Left Directional button on the D-Pad, you'll see that it goes off the box a little bit, but not to the right. Nevertheless, the more left the box is directed toward, the weaker the strength, and the more right the box is directed, the stronger. Lastly, the absolute bottom box is the value the wheel lands on. That is indicated by what's called a "clicker." Another name for it is a "flapper." You also can tell that "BANKRUPT," "MISS [LOSE] A TURN" and "FREE SPIN" are unusually labeled; They are labeled "B00" for Bankrupt, "M00" for Miss A Turn and "F00" for Free Spin (I pronounced them as "bee-hundred"/"em-hundred"/"eh'ff-hundred"). Whew...

After all that, this is the screen you'll be seeing lots of times, but it isn't difficult to read.

The puzzle board

As mentioned before, on the show itself, there are three contestants, but here, only two players play maximum. Next to the names is a slim box labeled "FS." This is an acronym for "free spin" and how many you've acquired from the wheel. The box next to the players' scores show "Last Spin." That box notifies you the last value the wheel landed on, the last time it was spun. Lastly, you notice that the puzzle board's spikey border, which replicates a pattern similar to the top half of a Valentine-like heart, has lights on it. Those lights never flash whatsoever, making them just decoration.

At the start of the third round, the wheel gets a final spin. Whichever value it lands on, that's how much consonants are worth (vowels are worth nothing). If it does land on "B00," "M00" and "F00," the wheel gets re-spun again. The one spinning it is indicated by a person named "HOST." As you know, this "host" is Pat Sajak.

In order to win, you must have the highest cash total (or points, if you want to call it) over your opponent. If you lose to the computer, you don't see the computer compete in the bonus round (on the NES version, you do). However, if you win, you get a splash screen of $25,000. According to the manual, the moment you see this screen, you must press Down on the D-Pad to change into which prize you like to win. This confused me to all hell as I stared at the $25,000 splash screen for nearly a full minute, not knowing what to do, which may make one think the game is over and you already won the money. Anyhow, with that said, you get no notification—"Press A" or "Press Down"—on whether you'd like to change for another prize you'd like to win or compete for the big prize money—other prize being a luxury cruise. Disappointing.

I won $25,000!

Onto the Bonus Round, you're required to choose 5 consonants and 1 vowel (on the show, you only choose 3 consonants and 1 vowel). After you've chosen them, any of the letters you have chosen will appear at random on the board. Hoping you chose the good ones, namely the letters with high frequent usage, the puzzle should unveil enough for you to solve it. You have 35 seconds to guess correctly. If you don't solve it within the allotted time limit, you lose everything but keep the money you won. If you solve the puzzle in time, you win the prize. The puzzle board immediately reads "Congratulations You Have Won," then shows the splash image of the prize you chose prior to the start of the Bonus Round and...that's it. No credits scrolling, and nothing else. After a minute or so, the game resets back to the beginning playing the theme music.

For the record, I have played the NES, Super Nintendo, Microsoft DOS/PC, the Winwheel knock-off and a bit of the Game Gear, versions of Wheel of Fortune, prior to this. Being that it's a compressed version for the Game Boy, it wasn't the most exciting game play I have come across. Besides, the computer you compete against usually makes dumb alphabetical choices, such as "X" or "J," making the competition a little easy. Speaking of difficulty, there is no difficultly level where you, the player, can challenge yourself in competing against (on the NES version, the difficulty can be changed from 1 as least difficult to 3 as most difficult). Knowing other alternatives, very much the home console versions and the DOS/PC versions, show a little more pizazz, action and a tougher challenge, recommending this game is like a pizza aficionado recommending that bland, cheese pizza is the best pizza you can fill your stomach with—it's gets boring very quickly.

Suppose you come across this game, complete with original box and manual, I suggest you don't purchase it for more than $10-$15, depending on condition. If you're a sealed game collector, paying any more than $30 is blasphemous. I'm sure the lovely folks at RarityGuide.com may go 'FBI' on me for being a cheapskate excuse for a video game collector with this review, but with the exception of the joy in guessing the puzzles themselves, this isn't the best WoF game you'll come across. Cheese pizza bites are boring.





  • A nice attempt that porting the popular game show onto the Game Boy.
  • Computer opponent isn't difficult to defeat.
  • Graphics and animation only present so much due to the game's hardware limitations.
  • Player may be unware of being able to change the prize option in the Bonus Round.
  • The game's hardware limitation and somewhat complex animations causes frequent graphical flickering.
  • Likely one of the least memorable Wheel of Fortune releases from GameTek.
65% (D)
Fan Rating
Game Title Wheel of Fortune

Now you can play America's favorite game anytime, anywhere! You're the contestant — compete against a friend, match wits with the computer, or spin alone for fun.

This game plays just like the real thing! Spin the wheel and win a fortune, or hit Bankrupt and lose it all. If you're stuck, you can always buy a vowel.
ISBN / Bar Code number 043948010038
Video Format 1.33:1 (4:3) Full screen
Audio Format Mono (Stereo via Super Game Boy)
Language(s) English
Disk/Cartridge One (1)
Region(s) NTSC
Genre Strategy, Puzzle
Rated E - Everyone
Released September 1, 1990 (US), January 1, 1990 (EU)
Video Specification Monochrome
Licensed by Nintendo
Developed by GameTek™ (IJE) - The Biggest Names Are On Our Games℠
Company Califon Productions
Product / Item / Catalog Number GBW 1003
Copyright Wheel of Fortune is based on the television program produced by Merv Griffin Enterprises, a Unit of Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. Copyright © ℗ 1990 Califon Production, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Merv Griffin Enterprises did not write any of this program material or source code and makes no representations as to its content. © ℗ 1990 GameTek. All Rights Reserved. GameTek is a trademark of IJE, Inc.
Other Formats Commodore, NES, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Network), Wii, Wii U, XBox 360, Nintendo DS, iOS mobile, Microsoft (DOS) Windows, Sega CD, Tiger Game.com, Tiger Electronics, Mattel handheld, Hasbro handheld, Jakks Pacific (TV plug-in), Online/Interactive, (travel) board game, arcade, Lazer-Tron (Spin To Win), Winwheel (DOS), slot machine, Facebook, pinball machine, Roll-A-Puzzle (Herbko), Lotto Scratchers
Quoted Reviews --
Other --
Based on the
television program
produced by Merv
Griffin Enterprises,
A unit of Columbia Pictures
Entertainment, Inc.
© ℗ 1990
GameTek/IJE, Inc.
© ℗ 1990 Califon
Productions, Inc.
Licensed by Nintendo

Bill Jannott


Peter Patel


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