Have You Played… WizKid?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Long before Valve took the mantle in my teens and early 20s, it was Sensible Software who seemed like the do-no-wrong game developers. Whether sports or strategy or whatever the heck Wizkid was, I loved everything I played of what they made.

Wizkid, sequel to Wizball, was the strangest of their games, in that it was about a bouncing green ball with a face on it. The introductory title screen has him conducting an orchestra of cannons, and I remember the early rooms – the game was split into screens and controlled like a platformer – included going down a well and securing your green ball to a body.

I remember it seemed sort of medieval-ish? Fantasy medieval-ish, at any rate, as if a wizard might appear at any moment.

Or perhaps that was just what I thought based on the name. I was rubbish at Wizkid, you see, and a kid myself, so I never saw further than the fifth or sixth screen, when I’d inevitably die and be sent back to the start. I became expert in Sensible Software’s other games, but Wizkid stuck with me for how odd it was despite my inability to progress with it.

19 Comments

  1. PostieDoc says:

    Sensible Software were gods of Amiga games. I like Wizkid but my favourite game of theirs (after the obvious Sensible World Of Soccer) is Mega lo Mania, great little strategy game.

    • Robmonster says:

      Ergonomically Tewific!

    • Dirk says:

      “We’ve nuked themmmm!”

      • Darloth says:

        almost inevitably closely followed by
        “They’ve NUKED us!!!”

        And then, if you’re lucky and had more, “We’ve won!”

    • arkiruthis says:

      (heavy northern accent) “We’re runnin’ out of elements!”

  2. bobbylake71 says:

    I don’t remember WizKid, but I do remember WizBall on the mighty Spectrum. Ah the colour clash. Sensible were as PostieDoc says:- Gods… Cannon Fodder, SWOS, Sensible Golf… Good times….

    • keefybabe says:

      I remember making loads of stuff with shootemup construction kit too.

  3. keefybabe says:

    Wizball was (and still is) one of the best games ever made. At least on the original c64 version (God.. That music)

    Wizkid I remember enjoying. The only thing I actually remember was the exploding head after the bombastic introduction.

    • Alexander Chatziioannou says:

      Yes, and I believe the C64 version was the only one worthy of that statement – even the 16-bit ports were lacklustre. I love how they took the movement mechanics from the downright unplayable Cauldron 2 and used them to create one of the true originals of the ’80s.

      Only became aware of WizKid recently but haven’t dared play it yet. Silly, I know, but I’m worried it may somehow tarnish my memories of its predecessor.

  4. RuySan says:

    Not only I played it, but I also used the song on the Dog-Woman level for a school homework! I wrote about it on my blog (amigamemoirs.blogspot.com/2016/12/chapter-xxxvii-wizkid.html).

    I wish Sensible software hadn’t become so attached to the sensi soccer sprites because I feel there was even more untapped potential in them.

  5. caff says:

    Loved this game. It was absolutely nuts.

  6. Replikant says:

    When I finally made it through the boat race and then failed to win at the Wizeroids arcade machine I gave up.

  7. Janichsan says:

    Never played WizKid, but like a few others here played the hell out of Wizball on the C64. Fantastic game. Also has a great remake for modern PCs.

  8. Risingson says:

    Wizkid was beautiful. That mix of reverse Breakout, Bomb Jack and a thousand references more is still lovely.

  9. Werthead says:

    “it was Sensible Software who seemed like the do-no-wrong game developers”

    There were a few back in the day. Bitmap Brothers were in this bracket for quite a long time (cue arguments on whether Magic Pockets was terrible or actually genius) and Bullfrog for arguably a lot longer. Probably LucasArts as well.

  10. bishmanrock says:

    YES.

    I had it on my Amiga. It took bloody ages to load, with a static screen about using RAM or something to keep you company. Never completed it – always got shafted at the rowing scene. Works out the ending is a coin flip anyway. The creepy clown in the tree always gave me the creeps. I liked the bit where you used the urinal and flooded the entire well.

    It was absolutely offit, and kid me loved it.

  11. sonofsanta says:

    WizKid was utterly bloody glorious (and I think there was a wizard, possibly his Dad). And it was so much more than a platformer! It was the strange version of Breakout and a puzzle game in the vein of Dizzy but with all the oddball 90s humour that felt so big and daring and transgressive to 8 year old me. Come to think of it, Sensible Software are probably as big an influence on my sense of humour as Amiga Power and Digitiser were. Man, the Amiga really shaped me.

  12. Mandrake42 says:

    Wizkid was some weird shit. I did love Sensible Software though. My faves were Wizball and Parallax.