Code Rev: 5.0 (official); 6.02 (unofficial; tournament play-exclusive)
Everyone’s welcome to contribute. I love Keith Johnson games and am fascinated by the rules on WOF.
The classic game show gets its own pinball machine. Designed by Dennis Nordman and programmed by Keith Johnson, Wheel of Fortune boasts non-standard flipper and outlane arrangements, as well as unique modes and game mechanics that create interesting strategic opportunities to the player.
Software notes (PLEASE READ)
- Sadly, Wheel of Fortune’s software was never completed; many rules and features are non-functional.
- There’s two versions: the official 5.0 release and an unofficial 6.02 tournament release.
- V5.0 has a bug in which Trip Multiball jackpot values don’t reset unless the game is power cycled. If you don’t or cannot power cycle the game regularly, this version is not suitable for competitive play.
- V5.0 also contains a bug where two Trip Multiballs can be activated at once in tournament modes if you collect “Complete Puzzle” off of the Wild Card while a Prize Puzzle is active and Trip Multiball is already active. This was never fixed, not even in 6.02.
- V6.02 contains several new rules not present in V5.0, which will be identified throughout.
Left outlane: Non-standard. Before heading to the trough, drained balls head to an area with two rollover lanes marked “Free Spin”. Free Spin is a ball save feature; the lit lane will autolaunch a new ball into play. If you nudge correctly, you can bounce the ball into the correct lane (but more on that later).
Left inlane: Fed from left ramp. Can be lit for Super Bumpers.
Left slingshot. Standard.
Left flipper: Normal size.
Wild Card: A “C” shaped lane that’s identical to the left Treasure lane from Stern’s Pirates of the Caribbean game. Gives a Wild Card award when lit.
“M” and “U” standups: Two green standups in the word “MULTIBALL”. Spell to light Wheel of Fortune Multiball.
Left loop: Shots are registered by a rollover switch a bit further up. Can be lit for a “BONUS” letter or jackpot. Strong shots loop around to the right flipper. Balls also dribble out of the pop bumpers here. Also can be lit for Super Loops.
Pop bumpers: Three of 'em. Ball enters here from either right loop shots or hard plunges.
Left ramp: Strong shots loop around and hit a switch; weak shots miss the loop and don’t count. Feeds left flipper, and can be lit for a “BONUS” letter or jackpot. A shot to the left ramp will double the value of the next shot made after it.
“L” standup: Another target in “MULTIBALL”.
Scoop: Located between the “L” and “T” standup targets. Can be lit to Buy a Vowel, Solve Puzzle, start Wheel of Fortune Multiball, collect an extra ball or jackpot, and start Bonus Wheel Modes.
“T” standup: Another target in “MULTIBALL”.
Contestants: A trio of bobbleheads and standups. Each contestant has a color-coordinated standup, arrow on the Wheel, and Prize Bank inserts below them on the playfield. The contestants are, from left to right: Lonnie (Stern programmer Lonnie Ropp; red), Maria (Alejandra, a Stern assembly line worker; yellow), and Keith (ex-Stern programmer Keith Johnson; blue).
Wheel: Located behind the contestants. The Wheel spins during certain moments, and features a variety of prize and penalty wedges. Atop the Wheel are three colored arrows (red, yellow, and blue), which correspond to the contestants; when a contestant correctly guesses a letter in the puzzle, their prize is whatever their respective arrow lands on. More on this later.
Center ramp: Ball does a 180 and is fed to the left flipper. Spins the Wheel to a new set of values during normal play or certain Bonus Wheel modes. Also can be lit for a “BONUS” letter and jackpot. This is a really satisfying shot to make, solid mechanical action here!
Right ramp: Guarded by three inline drop targets: Light Free Spin, Light Big Money, and Light Wild Card, respectively. The ramp itself feeds to the right flipper, and can be lit for both a “BONUS” letter and a jackpot. A shot to the right ramp will double the value of whatever shot is made after it.
Right orbit: Feeds the pop bumpers. Can be lit for a “BONUS” letter and jackpot.
“BALL” standup bank: Right bank of four green standups in the word “MULTIBALL”
Right inlane: Lights left loop for Super Loops.
Right slingshot. Normal.
Right outlane: Same as the left–non-standard design with two “Free Spin” lanes that you can nudge a ball into.
“Big Money” rollovers: Two lanes between the flippers that are separated by a post. Draining down a lit rollover gives a Big Money award.
Toss-Up Skill Shot
Each ball begins with a chance to score some quick and easy points right off the bat with the Toss-Up Skill Shot. Plunge the ball strongly, but not all the way, so it goes around the Toss-Up loop for 1 Million + 1 Million per successful Skill Shot. Then, shoot the scoop to collect a Hurry-Up starting at double the value of the Skill Shot.
Outside of the normal skill shot, the Toss-Up switch awards 1M, increasing by 250K to a maximum of 2.5M per switch hit. If you know the exact plunger strength required to make a Skill Shot, this can be helpful!
The Wheel is arguably the most important feature of the game, as it determines values during modes and the puzzles themselves. There are three colored wedges at the top of the wheel - from left to right, red, yellow, and blue - that correspond to their respective contestants.
There are 24 total wedges on the wheel: some add points to the bank, some add other goodies, and some are dangerous. The following list is in clockwise order, but don’t expect the values to be the same every game - they’re random!
- 100,000 + Special (added to the prize bank)
- Bankrupt (removes all prizes and points from the bank of the contestant it lands on right away - avoid this!)
- Extra Ball (added to the prize bank)
- Lose A Turn (prevents the contestant this lands on from being used to guess a letter for the puzzle until the wheel is spun again)
- Trip (added to the prize bank)
- Jackpot (does not do anything in both versions of the code)
- 100,000 + Special
Contestants, Consonants & Vowels
Hits to any of the three contestant targets during normal play will make them guess a consonant in the current puzzle; each letter will add the value that the contestant’s wedge is on to their prize bank. One contestant will always be flashing as opposed to solidly lit, which means that all points scored by letters or other bankable items will be given to the flashing contestant. Collecting all of the available consonants will award a 1 million bonus.
A shot to a solidly lit contestant will change the flashing contestant to the one you just hit. You can also change the flashing contestant by shooting the center ramp and spinning the wheel.
Vowels can be collected at the scoop after enough letters in the puzzle have been properly guessed. The points from vowels are given to the currently flashing contestant, like all other awards, but a vowel will also remove 25k from the contestant’s current banked value. Collecting all of the available vowels in the puzzle will award a 2 million bonus.
Along with the points scored by completing puzzles, you can also add three items to each contestant’s prize bank either off of lucky wheel spins or through some Wild Card awards: Extra Ball, Special, and Trip. The only prize bank collected when you complete a puzzle is that of the currently flashing contestant, which is the last one you hit before completing it.
Four Rounds are listed on the playfield as a requirement for Wizard Bonus, but the feature was sadly never implemented into the game. In tournament play, even-numbered rounds (2 and 4) are “prize puzzles”, which will award you with a trip immediately after completing them - on normal rules, however, the prize puzzle is randomly determined. Each puzzle also adds 50,000 to the end of ball bonus.
Bonus Wheel Modes
Spelling “BONUS” via all major shots lights the scoop to start one of seven Bonus Wheel Modes. All modes run on a 30-second timer (?), and only one can be started at a time. You can’t start modes during multiballs, but you can start one before a multiball to get both running together at once.
When “BONUS” is spelled, the Bonus Wheel inserts on the playfield light up like a spinning wheel; shooting the scoop stops the lights, and what you land on is the mode you get. You can’t time scoop shots to get the mode you want, as modes appear to be quite random.
Every mode uses the Wheel in some way; often, the values that all three contestants land on are the values in the mode. The exceptions are the Bankrupt and Lose a Turn wedges, which are worth 0 points. At any time, shooting the center ramp spins the Wheel to a new set of values.
Exclusive to the 6.02 tournament rom is a “mode completion” mechanic. To complete a mode, you must surpass a point quota before the time runs out. The quota starts at 5M, increasing and decreasing by 500K (?) for every mode you complete or fail, respectively. Failed modes can be replayed up to two more times for 2X and 3X value. Each completed mode adds a multiplier to your “Winnings” in end of ball bonus.
These modes are:
Wheel Frenzy: “Wheel Frenzy brings you a cornucopia of points!” The yellow wedge value is the value scored by all switch hits. Hit either the left or right contestants to change the switch value if one sticks out, or shoot the center ramp to qualify a new set of values.
Risky Spinning: “Live on the edge with Risky Spinning!" All five BONUS inserts are lit in front of their respective shots to collect Jackpots, worth the value of the currently lit wedges added together. Hitting an unlit contestant will light it and add its wedge value to the Jackpot, while hitting a lit contestant will unlight it and prevent its wedge value from being scored. The Jackpot value has a multiplier that increases each time one is collected, and it resets once all five shots have been made. However, getting a Bankrupt resets the jackpot value. (?)
Ramp Rampage: “Experience the excitement of… shooting the ramp!” The left ramp scores 10x the red wedge, the center ramp scores 10x the yellow wedge (and spins the wheel), and the right ramp scores 10x the blue wedge. Each shot to any ramp increases its multiplier by 10x.
Combos: “All three spaces lit for mega points!” The five BONUS inserts are lit to score the three currently lit wedge values with a 5x multiplier. Making any lit shot scores the value and briefly lights the other shots to recollect the value with an additional +1x multiplier.
Keep it Spinning: “Keep the Wheel spinning for a goodie bag of points!” The more playfield switches are hit, the faster the wheel spins; hitting few switches causes the Wheel to slow to a standstill. Every full revolution of the wheel scores 75k.
Stop the Wheel: “You have the luxury of stopping the Wheel for fabulous points!” Hit any of the three contestants to score their respective wedge value and instantly stop the Wheel. Shots to the flashing contestants will increase the multiplier added to successful shots by +1x, while a shot to an unlit contestant will reset the multiplier.
Contestant Hurry-Up: “Experience the excitement of your time running out!” Hit any of the three contestants to briefly light the BONUS inserts to score a Hurry-Up value, starting at 10x the contestant’s respective wedge value. The wedge multiplier increases by another 5x for every successful Hurry-Up shot completed.
If you start (V5.0 only) or complete (V6.02 only) all modes, they reset and you can play through them all again.
Wheel of Fortune Multiball
Qualify Wheel of Fortune Multiball at the scoop by completing the nine MULTIBALL standup targets scattered around the playfield, then shoot the scoop to start it. There are varying difficulty levels for starting this multiball:
- The first time, hitting any target (regardless if it has already been collected or not) gives a MULTIBALL letter.
- The second time, each MULTIBALL letter must be hit once.
- The third time, each MULTIBALL letter must be hit twice.
- [Any others?]
Wheel of Fortune Multiball is a three-ball affair where four shots will be lit for Jackpots starting at 750k, starting with the four shots on the left. You can increase the Jackpot value by 7.5k either by making additional hits to the MULTIBALL targets before starting Multiball or through spinning the Wheel, where every revolution will add 7.5k to the Jackpot.
The second Jackpot is a Double Jackpot, the third Jackpot is a Triple Jackpot, and the fourth Jackpot is a Super Jackpot (5x). Collecting the Super Jackpot will light the three contestant targets; hit either of these to light all six major shots to score half of the Jackpot value, and complete all those shots to relight four more shots to restart the Jackpot sequence.
A Trip Multiball is started by one of two ways:
- Solving a puzzle with a contestant who has a Trip from the wheel in their prize bank.
- Solving a Prize Puzzle.
There are 4 Trip Multiballs, each taking place in a different location, but all of them have the same rules. Trip Multiball is a three-ball affair where the left ramp, scoop, center ramp, and right ramp are lit to score a Jackpot value starting at 500k. After making a Jackpot, it will unlight, and you can shoot the remaining shots for Double Jackpot, Triple Jackpot, and Super Jackpot (5x). Completing a wave of Jackpots will increase the base Jackpot value by 100k… and this value won’t reset until you power cycle the game! Yes, it carries across every game played…
Collecting a Jackpot immediately after another as a combo will add a 2x multiplier to the next Jackpot value.
The total points screen at the end of Trip Multiball always shows “00”. This was never fixed. Just know you’re getting MUCH more than 0 points from this Multiball.
Trip Multiball overwrites Bonus Rounds if they are lit when the scoop is made.
If you shoot either the left or right ramp, the next shot you make is doubled. If you combo both ramps (the right three drop targets must all be down), the next shot you make is quadrupled. If timed and stacked correctly, these can give you a ton of points.
The two outlanes on this game contain sets of two rollovers each, which can be lit for “Free Spin” once the first drop target has been shot. This will instantly relaunch your drained ball into play. Free Spins carry over between balls so if you drain without using one on the first ball and qualify the Free Spins again on the next ball, all four will be lit. On default settings, two Free Spins are lit for each time the target is hit.
Hitting the third drop target will light the Wild Card lane to score a random award. On normal play, these are truly random, while in competition play, they’re given in a set order (the first three listed here):
- Add 10x Bonus (!)
- Complete Puzzle
- Light Bank Specials
- Any of the Hold awards from the left orbit
Hitting the lit Wild Card lane will also score the Wild Card value built up by the bumpers.
Big Money is qualified at the center drain lanes by hitting the second drop target. When the ball drains down a lane lit for Big Money, the wheel will start spinning and you’ll be awarded whichever value it lands on with a multiplier that increases by 5x each time Big Money is collected.
If you hit the Big Money drop target while both middle drain lanes lit, you get a 1M “maxed” bonus.
It is possible to collect an Extra Ball off of Big Money. If this happens, the ball will be sent back to the plunger and any modes that were active when you drained will continue running. No end of ball bonus is awarded in this case.
The base pop bumper value is 1K, increasing by 100 points every 10 hits. The maximum value is 1.5K per hit.
The base value is also influenced by a multiplier, which starts at 1X and increases by .5K with every right orbit shot; the maximum is 5X.
Each hit to a pop bumper also adds its value to the Wild Card value, which is scored whenever one is made and resets at the end of the ball (unless you’ve held it over). The Wild Card value maxes out at 500k.
Super Bumpers: For a short amount of time, the bumpers will be worth more than they are regularly worth - 25k increasing by 1k per bumper hit. The mode ends once the ball leaves the bumpers.
Super Loops: The left loop awards 125K, increasing by 25K to a maximum of 250K per shot, multiplied by 2 (screen says "2 X [insert value here]). Has a timer of 5 seconds.
Left Loop Awards
Every 4 left loop shots gives a “hold” award. They are given in this order:
- Hold Bonus Value
- Hold Bumper Value
- Hold Wild Card Value
- Hold Bumper X
- Hold Bonus X
- Hold Left Loop Value
- Hold Right Orbit Value
The awards appear to randomly repeat once all of the above have been awarded. The total number of loops made carries over from ball to ball.
Extra Balls & Specials:
There are two ways to score an Extra Ball in this game. During Tournament Play, Extra Balls are worth 5 million.
- Making 10 ramp shots will light the Extra Ball. (Is there another?)
- Add an Extra Ball to any Prize Bank off of the Wild Card or Wheel, then complete the puzzle with the contestant who has it to collect the Extra Ball.
There is one way to score a Special in this game. (What are these worth during Tournament Play?)
- Add a Special to any Prize Bank off of the Wild Card or Wheel, then complete the puzzle with the contestant who has it to collect the Special.
Fun with Bonus
Add up the following:
- A value according to how many switches were hit (?).
- 5K for each letter guessed.
- 50K for each puzzle solved.
- Multiply these first three values by bonus X.
- Winnings: All the points you’ve earned from solving puzzles. Multiply this by a Winnings X (V6.02 only; from completing modes)