Commodore 64 Wizard of Wor with Magic Voice speech cartridge


Not all people know that some cartridges released by Commodore Business Machines for Commodore 64 home computer support speech using Commodore's own Magic Voice cartridge: notably Gorf and Wizard of Wor are two such games. In the early January 2018 I tried Wizard of Wor on VICE with its emulated Magic Voice cartridge enabled. The speech quality in BASIC was excellent, but I had some doubts about the speech in Wizard of Wor. I had tried Magic Voice before with real hardware and according to my recollections, the speech had been clearer with real hardware. So I suspected there just might be something a little bit wrong with VICE Magic Voice emulation, but I was not sure about that, because my last test was probably well over ten years ago. That is why I dug out my Magic Voice cartridge today to try it out and hear what it is like.

However, before plugging in the Magic Voice, I had to test the Commodore 1084S monitor and a "breadbin" C64. The first 1084S I tried had failed, but we found another one from the basement's cellar. Luckily everything worked like a charm with that second monitor:

wizard of wor cartridge working

Magic Voice cartridge

Here is the Magic Voice cartridge's box:

commodore magic voice cartridge box

This is the manual:

commodore magic voice cartridge manual

And here is the actual cartridge hardware:

commodore magic voice cartridge hardware

The idea is to plug Magic Voice into Commodore 64's cartridge slot. Magic Voice in turn contains its own cartridge slot so that you can insert e.g. Wizard of Wor into it:

magic voice plugged in

Magic Voice has two RCA sockets for audio in and audio out. When using a monitor with a monitor cable, you should plug the monitor cable's audio into Magic Voice's IN RCA socket. The OUT socket connects to the monitor's audio in.

Based on the photo above, you can notice that I have plugged only one RCA cable and it is in the OUT socket. This is because I wanted to hear only the Magic Voice speech, not the pre-game music of Wizard of Wor or the in-game sound effects.


Here is a very brief MP3 audio sample of Wizard of Wor speech only without music or sound effects. The Finnish speech at the beginning is me announcing that I am going to start the game, so that my friend would know to start shooting the video. The speech at the end is me telling her to stop shooting. The clicking sounds are due to this dusty, red QuickShot Turbo joystick:

red spectravideo joystick

This is a video demonstration on YouTube. For it, I connected the IN socket too, so all the sounds of Wizard of Wor are audible:


I listened to the real Magic Voice and VICE emulation back to back. Based on my observations, the emulation is flawed. On VICE 3.1, the speech is unclear and somehow "cracked". It is now April 2nd, 2018 and I just filed a bug report on Sourceforge, but the bug may be very difficult to track down and fix. I don't think there are many experts in the whole world who can do it.