A bit of history by

Robert J. Woodhead

(from the Megatokyo web site)

Circa May 2004.

"... Before Andy and I started working together on Wizardry, I had written and published a couple of Apple II programs (Infotree and Galactic Attack). I was looking for a new project to work on and came up with the idea of doing a computer RPG.

I was well into the design of this game, which I called Paladin, when I heard that Andy Greenberg was doing something similar. I knew Andy because we were both heavy users of the PLATO computer assisted education system.

We got together, compared notes, and realized that we could do a better job as a team than we could apart. The final design for Wizardry combined features in his original BASIC game and the Paladin design.

I did almost all of the programming of the original Wizardry game and the scenario editors that created that database it ran off. Andy used those editors to create the first few scenarios, and he and his friends, including RDF, playtested them. This was an obvious division of labor since I had a lot more time than he did, having been kicked out of Cornell for a year for fooling around too much on the computers and neglecting my grades. And finally, my company released the program onto the market. Had Andy and I never gotten together, most likely his Wizardry would never have evolved into a marketable product, because of all the other demands on his time, and my Paladin would probably have made it to market but would not have been nearly as good as Wizardry was, because of his story skills and the efforts of his playtesting team (who it would not be unfair to credit as the "third" author of thegame). Fortunately, it was one of those "right people in the right place at the right time" kind of things.


The Computer RPG had its real genesis on the PLATO system in the mid-70s. By 1977 or so, PLATO was featuring real-time multiplayer dungeon games, not to mention real-time spacewar, IM, chat, email, netnews, and a host of other things we now take for granted. All this on high-resolution plasma panel terminals connected at 1200 baud to twin Cyber 6600 supercomputer. Now you understand why I was kicked out of Cornell for a year; PLATO was crack for computer nerds.

Wizardry (and Paladin and the original BASIC Wizardry) were our attempts to see if we could do something similar on the puny personal computers of the day. For example, the idea of the 6-character party was a way of simulating multiplayer interaction when in fact there was usually only one person playing the game. But at the same time, the fact that only one person was playing the game allowed us to put in a story (and lots of cute ornaments) that raised Wizardry beyond the "hack-hack-kill-kill-loot-loot-run home" style of game."