In a way, the first “home game” I ever had was a model of the Wheel of Fortune my grandfather made for me when I was four. It was a simple toy made from some cardboard and bolts he had lying around. “Wheel of Fortune” was the first game show I really loved and couldn’t miss. It appealed to a four-year-old. A bright, colorful object surrounded by lights spins aimlessly, and then the camera switches to a big glittering green board, not only surrounded but also filled with lights. So imagine my delight walking through K-Mart one day and stumbling upon this:
Scale-model plastic replica of the wheel with dollar figures in the right places, plus additional wedges for updating the wheel’s cash values as the game progresses. Puzzle board with 33 spaces for big money possibilities, plus a special cardboard frame to surround the wheel for atmosphere, and a green plastic sleeve containing 160 puzzles, enough to cover forty complete games, plus free spin tokens, a used letter board, a black crayon for marking the used letter board, and play money of various denominations adorned with the show’s famous logo. It was like God Himself had designed the home version. And He saw the scale-model wheel, and the light beams shooting out of the cardboard frame, and He saw that it was good, and suitable for distribution at toy and department stores everywhere, and He was pleased.
Speaking of which, take a look at this. Just as new game shows are hyped using photos from the pilot, toys are often hyped using the prototypes, and check out the specimen box game pictured on the back…They apparently originally designed this game with the daytime version in mind.
Here’s another nifty thing about the game. The instructions tell you where to put those extra six wedges as the game progresses, but notice that insertion holes aren’t around only those spaces. You can do it however you want! Maybe you’d like to leave that Free Spin available for the whole game…fine! Have the $500 space and the $900 space together instead of replacing one with the other…fine! Place the $1000, $2500, and $5000 wedges side-by-side to create a “murderer’s row” section of the wheel…fine! WHAT A WONDERFUL GAME!