Sunday 26 May 2013

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (C64), 1982 or 1987?

I know I've been quiet during the last month but I had to reorganize my entire archive and all the process is taking ages. Along with that, I've been working on a big project for this blog, which, I hope, will be published soon.  

Regarding this opera magna I'm working on, I've stumbled into a really worrying case of CRPG incorrect year dating.

As you have noticed from the post title, the game we are talking about is Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord for C64 and its release date. As you will see from below, most of the main videogame databases online, report inconsistent release date for this game, dating it from 1982 to 1987, which is a quite big gap.

Lemon64: 1982.
Gamebase64: 1982.
Ready64: 1982.
MobyGames: 1987.

We have a problem here, a very big one. 

Since a started to check all the CRPGs datations on the online databases, I have noticed that many of them are wrong or better, are referring to the copyright date rather than the actual release period. Looking at this specific case I might immediately say that Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord has been effectively released for Apple II on the 1981/1982 (original copyright) and then ported to C64 only into the 1987 (release date). 

Why cannot be 1982? 
Now, let's start thinking that the Commodore 64 machine has been released only in the middle of 1982 and the standard of the released games was more or less basic language oriented. Since Wizardry is a quite structured and complex game, it doesn't fit with the rest of the 1982 Commodore production; but let's take it as a personal assumption for the moment. 

Anyway, let's get a bit more into actual proofs. 

Exploring the box shots of Wizardry I for C64, here's what I've discovered.

Front Box: Copyright 1981-1987

Back Box: Copyright 1981-1987

Disk: Copyright 1987

Reference Card: Copyright 10/1987

According to the reference Card and Game Disk, the copyright of the Commodore 64 is version clearly set to 1987. All the references to 1981 are probably just about the original copyright of Wizardry so 1982 cannot be the release date for this porting.

Wizardry is just one the many cases of misdating I've found in the last months. Almost all the main C64 databases contain many incorrect release dates for major and minor CRPGs released between the early eighties and part of the nineties; and you can notice that especially when you find yourself in front of many C64 games dated at 1979, which, of course, is more than paradoxical.