Wizardry was the first party-based computer role-playing game and was one of the most popular and best-selling games of the Apple II era. Initially produced for the Apple II by Sir-Tech, it was subsequently ported to the Commodore 64 and the Nintendo Entertainment System. The original Wizardry program was written in Basic which proved too slow to make the game a viable product. The game was rewritten in Pascal but was delayed until the release of a runtime system which would allow the game to be played on Apples without language systems. Modeled on the Dungeons and Dragons game concept with the computer assuming the role of the Dungeon Master, the world of The Proving Grounds of the Mad Overload consists of a castle, an inn, a tavern, a trading post, a temple, the training grounds, and a three-dimensional maze, ten levels deep, below the castle.
In his review of Wizardry published in the May-June 1982 issue of Computer Gaming World, Mark Marlow prophetically concluded: "I would rate Wizardry as one of the all time classic computer games. It sets the standard by which all fantasy role playing games should be compared. In the years to come, if there ever is a Gaming Hall of Fame, Wizardry receives my vote as the first entry into its hallowed halls." The Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord debuted as the highest ranking game in CGW's Reader Input Device with a score of 8.25 of 9; a position it did not relinquish for sixteen months until it was replaced in the first issue of 1984 by Ultima III: Exodus. In 1988, Wizardry was one of eight games named to the Computer Gaming World Hall of Fame; with an average rating of 7.69 it was the second-highest rated game in the Hall behind only Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar.
From the Box
Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is the first Wizardry scenario. Starting in the safety of the castle, you assemble 1 to 6 adventurers to explore the magic and mystery of the ten level 3-D maze. Your characters may be one of five races and eight professions, each with their own strengths and weaknesses to form a party which is just right for your intended expedition.
Under your command brawny warriors, frail mages, spell casting priests, and nimble thieves accumulate experience and treasure. As your characters gain experience, they develop greater capabilities to become even better adventurers allowing them to venture deeper into the maze.
Did you buy the correct armor and magical items in the castle? Are the characters able to cooperate effectively to achieve their mission? Will your characters be strong enough to escape to the castle or an upper world. Is your party properly prepared?
Be wary! The treacherous 3-D maze has some tricks and traps of its own. Hundreds of monsters, many with magical powers equal to your own, pits chutes, rotating rooms, teleporters, special one-of-a-kind surprises will keep you on your toes for many, many hours of fun. You'll even be able to challenge your characters with subsequent scenarios featuring new dangers and more formidable foes.