Wizball is a 1987 computer game by Jon Hare and Chris Yates, co-founders of Sensible Software, published by Ocean (who also put out the amazing Wetrix). It was released on the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, Atari ST, and PC. The music was composed by Martin Galway, and the box art was painted by Bob Wakelin.
The game, like almost every great game, is a weird one. It’s about a wizard who turns himself into a bouncing green ball to collect color droplets, sometimes with the help of his cat, who is also a ball. I suggest you listen to the game’s title music as you read about it:
I’m going to edit the Wikipedia page down to the good stuff:
The wizard himself is not capable of collecting paint droplets, and is initially capable of very limited movement, bouncing up and down at a fixed rate, with the player only controlling a speed of rotation, and thus how fast it will move horizontally after next touching the ground. Collecting green pearls … gives the player tokens which can be used to “buy” enhancements, such as… a companion known as Catellite. Catellite (ostensibly the wizard’s cat) is also spherical in form… Only Catellite is capable of collecting paint droplets; the player has to use it to do so. … As well as droplets of primary colours, sometimes droplets of other colours also appear, having various effects. These include:
- Light blue – causes a “filth raid”, where a wave of fast-moving enemies appear, shooting bullets at the player.
- Grey – changes Catellite into an “Indestructacat”, making it invulnerable to enemies.
- White – gives an extra life.
- Purple – changes Catellite into a “mutant cat”, causing it to disobey the player’s controls.
- Black – causes “freaky bits”, turning most of the scenery black.
I love how much weirder video games used to be. They had to be, just to explain what was going on with the pixels on screen. The games makes more sense when you see it in action (skip to 5:15 if you want to see the wizard in his wizard form)(also, this video leaves a lot of room at the beginning for the intro song, which you’ve already heard above):
There’s a much better write up on Wizball here, including information on how to get it running on your fancy, modern computer.