Where's Waldo? (video game)

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Box.

Where's Waldo? is a video game adaption of the Where's Waldo? game books. The puzzle video game was developed by Bethesda Softworks, published by THQ for the Nintendo Entertainment System in July 1991. Like with the books, the player's objective is to find Waldo in various scenes. Most of the stages function like the book, but the forest stage adds a dark element, the subway stage makes you solve a maze, and a launch pad requires you to match faces on a slot machine.

Personal

Although I was a fan of the Where's Waldo books, by the time this game came out, my focus was on the SNES, so I don't remember hearing about the game's release. I'm sure, if I did see the game, a single screenshot would have been enough to turn me off to it. Later in life, I played the first few minutes of the game in an emulator, and found it to be terrible. The only reason I ever picked it up again was to try and increase my total number of completed NES games. I beat easy difficulty on 2017-09-03 and medium difficulty on 2021-10-15.

I do not own this game, but I have beat it on medium difficulty.

Review

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2 2 2 2 5

Best Version: NES

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • Although they're not especially interesting, the addition of puzzles that aren't the same find-the-object style of the book at least help lengthen the game's value.
  • I like the mechanics of penalizing the player for guessing incorrectly, and expanding the scene and shrinking to cursor for harder difficulties.

Bad

  • Although the larger art is decent, the art of the people in the scenes is awful. It's just not possible to depict anything accurately at the scale the designers chose, so even the titular character barely resembled himself in the scenes. Also, by randomizing the graphics, all the humor and intrigue of the art is completely eliminated.
  • It would be helpful if the game showed you where Waldo is when you fail a scene, that way, you would be able to better identify what passes for Waldo in the game's abysmal pixel art.
  • In medium and hard difficulty, Waldo frequently appears in completely different colors, like green and black, blue and white, or brown and green. While this certainly makes the game harder, it doesn't fit with the theme of the books. I think they could have made the game harder simply by making larger scenes.
  • While the style of game's music is fitting, it's not all that well composed, there isn't very much of it, and the quality is what you'd expect from a 1983 title, not a 1991 title.
  • The cursor moves just a tad bit too fast for pinpoint accuracy. If they used a button
  • The game doesn't have any dialogue, so none of the whimsical writing from the books appears in the game.
  • I understand not letting the players pause while looking at a scene, but they should still be able to pause between stages.
  • You don't get anything special for beating the game on hard difficulty.

Ugly

  • The game is terribly short, and every subsequent replay will show the exact same things, just with Waldo changing location. The difficulty settings only add a tiny bit of variation, but nothing new.
  • Because he drains your time so rapidly, encountering the Wizard in the subway stage is pretty much an instant game over.
  • Although I've never seen it myself, I've read that the randomizer of the subway game sometimes results in a maze that's impossible to win.

Media

Box Art

The game's cover art is just the first Where's Waldo book cover. They don't even bother to adjust the stamps on the letter to fit the scenes from the game.

Documentation

Maps

Screenshots

Videos

Longplay - hard difficulty.

Credits

Roles Staff
Programmer Randy Linden, Paul Coletta
Design Paul Coletta, Randy Linden
Graphics Dev Madan
Audio Julian Lefay

Link

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