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Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:43 am


Math Wizard, Amiga
Unicorn Software
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
1986, $49.95

*Game best played in NTSC mode with 4:3 aspect ratio

My video review for Math Wizard

The majority of those reading will not have experienced this game, nor will you be likely to care about this game upon completion of reading. I am however betting that there's one emotion inside us all that may keep you reading. The way you feel inside when you've found something you've lost. You don't know the name of it, you can't even remember exactly what it looked like... But there's something deep inside that you just can't shake. When you find it, everything comes back to you in a flood of near indescribable emotions. That's what this game is about for me. May it remind you of the games you knew and liked that others were unlikely to have experienced, and that others will be unlikely to care about even after you showed it to them. May you be reminded of the feelings when you found that long lost game, and may it encourage you to seek out the games still lost, and bring hope that you may yet find them.

^ Introduction screens, beautiful early Amiga artwork

Math Wizard is an educational game, and I'm telling you nobody out there is "above" an educational game. You're not above any game or software. You're not above an RPG, a simulation, a strategy, arcade, even a word processor or music program. Everything deserves to be covered. If anyone thought Marble Madness was expensive when new, a game like this may have cost more. A word processor would have cost double, perhaps triple. These markets were very important for the Amiga and all computer markets, they deserve coverage. If anyone else knew this was true, perhaps I wouldn't have gone so long before finding this game.

^The game features a variety of math problems to solve, presented in several ways. Here; a wizard asks us questions

I'm betting everyone out there has a long lost piece of software they can't quite put their finger on these days. Perhaps it was an awesome game that you only played a couple times at a friend's house. Perhaps it was a word processor you watched your father or sister use. It might just be something awful but still the memory lingers on and you want to see it again. Maybe, like in my case, it was a program you used all the time before grade school, but then never touched again. Sometimes the memories can be quite strong inside of you. My first ever review was for an educational game called Discovery, in which my mind knew almost everything about it except for the title. It still took me quite some time to find that one, but it was easier than Math Wizard. I searched high and low for this game, finally finding it after looking through a long list of educational games and finding The Word Master Vocabulary Builder, made by this same company. I figured I'd pick this one up while I was at it, and it turned out to be a game I actually played.

^ Here we answer questions by fishing the answers on a very beautiful screen

Math Wizard is not just an educational game. Indeed, the real reason it has been stuck in the back of my mind for all of this time is because it uses the marvel that is the highly under-looked built in Amiga voice synthesis. I simply adore that thing and I've never come across a game that uses it which has not stuck with me. Very few people discuss it, besides using the Workbench "Say" utility to give their special brand of humor... This thing reached out and grabbed me as a child. It was something used quite often in educational games, but it was in other quite big games as well, like Earl Weaver Baseball. That was a game that was looked at as the best baseball simulation of all time into the 21st century, and not even that game gets much coverage these days. It really is a shame because so many are overlooking quite an important and impressive part of the Amiga's story.

^Getting the right answer causes our dragon to move. Can race with two players.

The game itself is rather simple. It presents several different locations and screens to change up the scenery, but the whole time it's asking you the same types of questions for the most part. Visit the math wizard himself, go fishing with an elf, racing with a dragon, and meet Max; the friendly troll. By no means should anybody race out to find the .adf of this game. Simply put; nobody is going to want to play this game except for me. I really don't see how this could have taught me math back in the day, let alone your child these days. Although if I think deeper on it; it was my sister who would have likely been using it more often. Not to "learn" math necessarily, but to quiz herself on it. I actually do believe this piece of software would be quite good at getting a child ready for an upcoming test. Of course now the math system is utterly different, so I guess it wouldn't help much these days. But when looked at in terms of throwing new and different problems at a child who already knows math, there's nothing to make fun of here.

^ The friendly troll gives us toys when getting a correct answer

There's also not an incredible amount of stuff to talk about with the game specifically, either. So what? Show it anyway. It existed, it cost money, people bought it, and it's very cool to hear the Amiga's voice. Show them. No need to make fun of them either, you might be surprised, but perhaps even a simple game like this was important to somebody. So attempt to take them seriously. In my video review for the game I actually started to cry when the troll gave me toys. Suddenly a flood of memories came to me... I knew there would be a spaceship, and a plane... And I knew everything would go on a shelf at the end. These are memories that were long lost for nearly 30 years until that very moment on camera. I started coughing and sniffling... The game is nothing spectacular, but I do believe it got the job done back in the day, the idea for it came from a woman (early representation from women in the computer industry), it looks beautiful, and it uses that great Amiga voice.

I had never teared up completely in a video. Came close with Defender of the Crown and Lost Dutchman Mine, both thousand times better games than this... But those games hadn't been lost for 30 years. This is the very first video ever on YouTube for Math Wizard. Not even a quick and short non talkie in the improper PAL mode exists. I'm the first, and I hope it does the game a little justice. I'm extraordinarily glad somebody cared, I just wish I was not the only one. Somewhere out there is the game or software you haven't seen in 30 years... May you get the burst of emotion I did when you eventually come across it. Sadly, it may be quite hard for you to come across those titles unless others start to take them seriously. Don't just play the classics you "and everyone else" remembers. Take your time sometimes, and branch out a little. Play an RPG like Pool of Radiance when you may not have had any experience with those titles. Don't let them die, for believe it or not those were some of the top selling titles for computers back then. Nor should you let this educational game fade and die either, because for somebody out there, it may be something worth remembering. Things don't have to be great or even good to be worth remembering, they simply have to be real. And this is most certainly a thing that was real.

Please check out my video review for Math Wizard, where indeed... I cried a little... For more reading; my review of another educational game from Unicorn Software, The Word Master Vocabulary Challenge.

^The faces I make when other people believe a game like this is not worth covering

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