My latest project, which I finished right before leaving on my Kenya trip, is rather high-profile. Wheel of Fortune is one of the most popular TV shows in America, and the iPhone is all the rage right now. I had the honor of programming the mash-up between these two giants, the Wheel of Fortune mobile game for iPhone and iPod Touch, which we affectionately refer to as “iWOF.”
Now don’t let me take too much credit here: I didn’t write the whole game, just the iPhone version. The biggest task for this project was to create flashier, higher-resolution art that matches the latest season of the television show. Plus there were a number of minor rule changes, the most noticeable of these being the addition of the Million Dollar Wedge. Yes, you can win ONE MILLION DOLLARS on Wheel of Fortune now, but meeting all the requirements is statistically impossible. Still, that didn’t stop this woman. We also added trophies. Because, y’know, you gotta have trophies. Even Sony agrees now.
As for the mobile game itself, it’s been a roaring success. We watched the game’s sales ranking rise daily after its release. I had heard that at one point, it reached #13 on the iTunes Top Paid Games list. Currently it’s hovering in the middle of the Top 50 list at a respectable #29.
The reviews for the game have been exceptionally good as well. Everyone seems to praise the gameplay and art, while only criticizing the same small list of shortcomings: no Pat Sajak or Vanna White (Sony would bankrupt themselves trying to license their likenesses),?no multiplayer. What’s been funny is people who complain about the rules of the game, without understanding how the latest season of the show works. I’ve seen people criticize the wheel layout (it’s copied directly from the design layout for the show itself), and the biggest complaint is that when you select “Normal Mode” it starts with Toss-Up Rounds. Normal Mode is meant to replicate the game show experience exactly, and the show starts with two Toss-Up Rounds! Overall, though, it seems like most people who like the show love the game, and that’s a great feeling.
There are also some more in-depth web-based reviews that are worth checking out. I love this guy’s mocking criticisms of some of the puzzles. I agree that some of the puzzles seem totally random, but they came directly from the show’s writers, so I don’t know what the deal is with that. And this guy supposedly has a video review of the game, but it’s actually just a silent video of him playing, with some jazz music overlayed to spruce things up.