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Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (PC-98)

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord PC-98 Title screen


100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.


Andrew Greenberg, Inc. vs Sir-tech Software, Inc.

Back in 1979 Andrew Greenberg, Inc. created the name, concept and plot for a computer fantasy role-playing game "Dungeons of Despair", released two years later by Sir-tech Software, Inc. as "Wizardry". Both corporations entered into an agreement granting Siro-tec the right to manufacture and market Wizardry, related products and any subsequent versions of the game in exchange of a payment of license royalty fee and a percentage of gross sales revenues. However, after success of the first Wizardry game release, Sir-Tech stopped sending royalty payments and accounting statements to Andrew Greenberg, Inc.

In 1992 Andrew Greenberg, Inc. sued Sir-tech Software, Inc for not paying royality fee, breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation and tortious interference, starting a long term (3 decades) lawsuit, resolved after Sir-tech bankruptcy.


There is a famous bug in Wizardry that gives players a large number of experience points if you type an item number that's not on the numbered list when having your party's bishop identify them. When the PC version finally arrived years after the Apple II release, the programmers intentionally left the bug in to be "fair" to PC players.


Wizardry is written in Pascal. Several instances of code appear sprinkled throughout the diskette (they probably mastered it on a diskette they had not fully erased). For example:

blk:=KN DIV 256+SoffSet;
offset:=2*(KN MOD 256);


FOR i:=0 TO numInParty-1 DO


BigAdd(totGold,Party[i].Gold); Party[i].Gold:=noGold; END;

Party[N].Gold:=totGold END;


According to Andrew Greenberg, the prototype Wizardry was created because of a challenge Greenberg accepted at college to create a computerized version of D&D. He later teamed up with Robert Woodhead to improve the game for commercial release.


The PC version of Wizardry came out three years after the original Apple version, and those three years gave wisdom to Sir-Tech. Users of the original PC version were treated to the following (extensive!) materials:

  • Player's Guide (manual)
  • Playing Wizardry On Your IBM PC & PCjr (PC-specific guide)
  • Instructions and Briefing Materials (an overview of the story)
  • A notice on backing up your master disk to a scenario disk
  • A note from the authors asking that the user not use "cheat programs"
  • Tips on Keeping Your Computer Healthy
  • Map Plotting Aid


  1. The "map plotting aid" was a small pad of graph paper--with the first page printed as a partial map of level 1 to get you started!
  2. The Tips on Keeping Your Computer Healthy were presumably added to help keep generic PC support calls to a minimum. (Back in 1984, there weren't many places to turn to for tech support.)
  3. The special note from Andrew and Robert was not to politely ask the user not to copy the software illegally, but instead asked that the user not use cheat codes to ruin the playing experience!

The Tips on Computer Care and the Note to Users are reproduced below for historical significance:

Tips on Keeping Your Computer Healthy

We hope you are getting a byte or two out of your computer each day. Here are a few tips on prolonging the life of your software.

Clean Your Disk Drives
Cleaning your disk drives takes only a few minutes and makes them work better. Clean your drives every second week.

Get Your Drives Tuned
A majority of disk problems are caused by misaligned disk drives. Your most valued software could be damaged. So protect your investment—get your drives aligned and speed adjusted at least twice a year at your dealer.

Protect Your Computer’s Power
Computers like a steady power supply. However, large appliances or equipment send spikes down a power line. These power spikes cause memory glitches and can alter software if you were writing to the disk when a transient happened. A surge suppressor such as a Blitz Bug will prevent power surges. At $25 to $50, they are a good investment.

Follow these tips and you will probably never have a problem with your software. Our experience has been that at least 97% of reported software problems are caused by unmaintained computers. Your dealer is in business to support you. If you have any questions, go see him, he will be happy to help you.

Dear Wizardry Purchaser:

Thank you for acquiring the most widely acclaimed game program for the micro-computer. It’s popularity is attested to by Wizardry’s long term standing as the number one program of its class. Among the reasons for Wizardry’s great standing is its exceptional long term playing value.

It has come to our attention that some software vendors are marketing so-called “cheat programs”. These products allow you to create characters of arbitrary strength and ability.

While it may seem appealing to use these products, we urge you not to succumb to the temptation. It took more than four years of careful adjustment to properly balance Wizardry. These products tend to interfere with this subtle balance and may substantially reduce your playing pleasure. It would be akin to playing chess with additional queens, or poker with all cards wild.

It has also come to our attention that some of these programs are unreliable and may even destroy the data. While we repair or replace inoperative disks free within 30 days of purchase, or for a nominal fee of $5.00 anytime thereafter, we will not do so for disks damaged by a cheat program.

With kind regards and our best wishes for many, many hours of fun and pleasure.

Yours truly,

(signatures of Andrew Greenberg and Robert Woodhead)


Wizardry is generally credited as the first computer RPG to feature parties of multiple characters instead of a lone hero/adventurer.

PC version

The PC version of Wizardry went through several revisions from 1984 to 1987, incrementally fixing bugs and increasing compatiblity with PC clone hardware. Around 1988, Sirtech release a compilation package with several Wizardrys, and the entire graphics subsystem was redone to have redrawn PC-specific graphics (the first PC version used roughly-converted graphics from the original Apple version).


The names of the two major characters are actually the names of the game's two creator's spelled backwards, Andrew "Werdna" Greenberg and Robert "Trebor" Woodhead.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 1988 (Issue #45) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #16 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #21 Top Game of All Time
Information also contributed by Adam Baratz; jef leyda, PCGamer77, Trixter and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe

Contributed by Alan Chan (3479) on Mar 28, 2000. [revised by : Karsa Orlong (69522) and Patrick Bregger (122601)]. -- edit trivia