🎮 Check out The Top 10 Consoles owned by MobyGames community!

Atari Gravitar
Not an American user?


The Mad Overlord Trebor was once only power-mad, but went off the deep end after he acquired a magical amulet of immense power, only to have it stolen from him by his nemesis, the evil archmage Werdna. Werdna, not quite sure how to use the amulet properly, accidentally causes an earthquake which creates a ten-level dungeon beneath Trebor's castle. To avoid looking silly, Werdna declares the dungeon to be the new lair for him and his monster hordes. Trebor, not to be outdone, declares the labyrinth his new Proving Grounds where adventurers must prove themselves for membership in his elite honor guard, and incidentally retrieve his amulet in the process.

The first Wizardry was one of the original dungeon-crawling role-playing games, and stands along with Ultima and Might & Magic as one of the defining staples of the genre.

The player generates and controls a party of up to six different adventurers, choosing from five races (humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes and hobbits), three alignments (good, neutral and evil), and four basic classes (fighter, priest, mage and thief). These can later evolve into elite classes (bishop: priest with mage spells; samurai: fighter with mage spells; lord: fighter with priest spells, and ninja: fighter with thief abilities) if they meet the necessary level requirements. After outfitting the party with basic weapons and armor, the player sends it into a 3D vector maze-like dungeon to fight monsters in turn-based combat and find treasure.


Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord NES Battle
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord NES Stairs going up, will they return to the surface or...?
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord WonderSwan Color Wonder Gate menu
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord MSX The battles have some graphics for the enemies

Promo Images

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord Magazine Advertisement
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord Magazine Advertisement Famicom advert
Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord Magazine Advertisement

Alternate Titles

  • "ウィザードリィ 狂王の試練場" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord!" -- Japanese MSX/PC-98 in-game title
  • "Sorcellerie: Le Donjon du Suzerain Heretique" -- French title
  • "Paladin" -- Robert Woodhead's working title
  • "MacWizardry" -- Informal Macintosh title
  • "Dungeons of Despair" -- Working sub-title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Landmark RPG in computer gaming Apple II Frecklefoot (201)
One of the all time great RPG's NES D Michael (232)
Classic, influential, and utterly obsolete. NES PCGamer77 (3225)
Many improvements are overshadowed by new bugs NES Scribblemacher (210)
One of the *great* original dungeon-crawlers! PC Booter ex_navynuke! (48)

Critic Reviews

Retro Archives Game Boy Color Nov 05, 2017 19 out of 20 95
Retro Archives MSX Nov 05, 2017 17.5 out of 20 88
Retro Archives PC Booter Nov 05, 2017 17.5 out of 20 88
Retro Archives Apple II Nov 05, 2017 17 out of 20 85
Retro Archives NES Nov 05, 2017 16.5 out of 20 82
Questicle.net NES Jan, 2014 B 75
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft PC Booter 1992 41 out of 100 41
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Apple II May, 1982 Unscored Unscored
Electronic Games Apple II Mar, 1982 Unscored Unscored
Planet WonderSwan WonderSwan Color 2007 Unscored Unscored


Topic # Posts Last Post
Why a dragon on the cover? 4 Trypticon (11040)
Sep 06, 2012
how to use flopper and activate a scenario disk 9 unit
Aug 03, 2007


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.

The NES version of the game features a bug involving the Armor Class statistic. While the characters can change their armor class by equipping different items and the character screen reflects it, the statistic is not used in combat calculations.


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

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by Trypticon (11040), Trixter (9114), PCGamer77 (3225), Ƒreddƴ (5817), KnockStump (1004), be34269 (141), Terok Nor (34290), Игги Друге (46307) and Unicorn Lynx (181391)
Atari Gravitar