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CONSOLE: NES DEVELOPER: Rare PUBLISHER: GameTek
RELEASE DATE (NA): October 1989 GENRE: Puzzle
// review by Jeff

Underage thinking.

GameTek, you're such a kidder. They first released Wheel of Fortune on the NES, and it brought relatively harmless joy to whomever played it. Feeling like one of the many contestants on the hit TV game show transferred the general Hangman-esque concept to the world of video gaming pretty well. The stress, the strain, the aggravation of not knowing what the second word is, they were all intact. Yet there must have been a few too many third-graders who thought the game was too difficult, which must be why, a year later, Wheel of Fortune: Junior Edition exists.

The back of the box states that "the puzzles have been created just for the young player", in particular those 7 and up. This is pretty debatable because the puzzles I received while playing weren't notably easier, especially if you're a 7-year-old trying to guess answers such as "YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK" or "A WEALTH OF INFORMATION". Isn't that what all the cool kids of 1989 were saying?

"Yo, yo, yo, baby, hit me up, homeslice, for a wealth of information, a'ight?! PSYCH!"


Hope the wheel isn't too heavy for the kids.

But to even dare believe that this is an all-new game would be kidding yourself. There are five elements that have changed compared to the original only a year earlier, most of which are relatively irrelevant. First and foremost, we have an all-new set of puzzles, which is great for anyone who burned out on the first game. This is the only real reason to buy this game in the first place. Second, there are a new slew of prizes to be won, including a trip to Disney World and a $1000 shopping spree. That should motivate the kids to play...until they learn they don't actually win anything. Third, our lovely melting candle sprite representation of Vanna White is now sporting a blue dress instead of the magenta madness from before. Third, the floor on which she walks is now purple instead of blue. Lastly, the game says "JUNIOR" on the title screen.

That is all.

If you became fatigued by the puzzles before and are simply peckish for another array of words to guess, then by all means give Wheel of Fortune: Junior Edition a go. It'll likely be the only reason because — make no mistake — this is a lazy, lazy effort on Rare and GameTek's part to basically release the same game and maximize their profit on an already average product. The graphics, the music, the interface, they're all pretty much the same. Nonetheless, it's Wheel of Fortune, and that's always fun.


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