In the roguelike game Nethack, wizard mode (also known as debug mode) grants a character a number of powers not available in the normal game. These include: unlimited wishes (even for dungeon features, not necessarily items), level teleports, and item identify; the "Die? (y/n)" prompt found also in Explore Mode; the option to force the creation of a bones file; dodging of the no-restore-after-death feature. Uses for this are numerous: finding new YAFM and ways that The Devteam Thinks of Everything, reproducing bugs, or ascending with a wholly invincible character, for instance. An ascension can be achieved within two game turns in wizard mode.

Accessing this mode varies from system to system. In the Macintosh version, entering debug mode is an option at the character creation screen. In DOS, typing "nethack -D -uwizard" will begin the game in debug mode.

These days the term "pinball wizard" has come to mean any player who is really killer at pinball, to the extent that the final, extremely-difficult-to-start mode on most recent tables is called a "Wizard Mode." These modes usually involve some variation of six-ball multiball and everything-is-lit play. If you think pinball itself is almost too much to handle, well, a good wizard mode is enough to cause sensory overload, as the game literally pulls out all the stops to impress and/or annoy the player. Wizard Modes are also, at times, almost worth more points than the entire rest of the game combined. If you've ever wondered how the Grand Champion score on some pins gets to be so God-awful high, well, now you know.

Examples of Wizard Modes include:

The Addams Family
To start: Complete all eleven “Mansion Rooms,” with shots to the Electric Chair or the bottom Swamp entrance (when they are lit) or by getting free rooms at fifteen Bear Kicks and every ten after. After eleven have been earned, all the lower windows in the mansion graphic on the playfield are lit, leaving only the last one, the attic, marked with the big “?” left. Earning one more room starts Tour The Mansion, in which all the previous mansion rooms are awarded at one fell swoop. The player is given 50M (M meaning “million points”) immediately, Special is lit on one of the outlanes, Extra Ball is lit, the Graveyard is maxed out, then all the modes in the machine start one after another until either the current ball is lost or they’re all finished. Not only is fifty million points a good chuck of points in this game (and you get to hear Raul Julia scream “FIF-TY MILLLLLLION!”) but the chance at another Extra Ball is nothing to sneeze at.

Twilight Zone
This one never fails to impress onlookers. You basically do the same thing you did in The Addams Family, except here the Mansion Rooms are “Door Panels,” and you earn them by shooting the Piano or the Slot Machine, or by winning Battle The Power. (A few other things may spot certain door panels, depending on your machine’s settings.) However, earning a Door Panel is harder than a Mansion Room, and now you have to get fourteen of them! Doing so lights up all the outer panels of the door on the playfield, leaving the “?”-emblazoned handle. One more Door Panel starts Lost In The Zone, one of the more elegant tortures ever devised by the darker elements of human kind.
After the ominious “Lost In The Zone” title card appears on the display, the game emits a very loud explosion sound. Then the scoreboard replays a scene that looks an awful lot like the title sequence of the T.V. show while the spot-on Rod Serling sound-alike speaks: “Your journey is at an end. Survival is everything…” Then the game blows up some more, rapid fire, and to each explosion displays another award. Some of these include: Clock Millions is Running, Town Square Madness, Odd Change is Lit, Super Slots Is Running, Powerball Mania is Running, Powerball Jackpot 25 Million, and several others. (A lot of this may not make sense to a pinball newbie. Take it from me, it sure is impressive.) Then, while the “Powerball Mania” music is running, all six balls are released on the table at once, and for 45 seconds the game cannot end (except through tilting, which is depressing). All lost balls are simply automatically replunged. After 45 seconds, the flippers lock, allowing all the balls to drain while it adds up the points. In addition to giving the player a truly massive scoring feast, the game totals up every point earned during Lost In The Zone and, if breaking the LITZ record for that machine, declares the player the Lost In The Zone Champion, worth initial entry and a special spot on the score board, as well as one credit. After LITZ ends, the player is given a free ball and allowed to continue the game.

Star Trek: The Next Generation
Complete all six missions to light Final Frontier. If the sixth mission completed, but then the game ends, and then the player opts to buy-in, when the player is offered his buy-in choice of missions he may choose to go right into Final Frontier. First, the player earns 100 million points times the number of artifacts he has collected during the game. For every full set of four, he earns one billion points. Then six-ball multiball starts, with all major shots worth 25 million times the number of artifacts collected. Final Frontier ends when less than two balls remain in play.

Attack From Mars
Man, this one is hard to reach. The player must complete all six major goals on the table in one game: Conquer Mars (very difficult), Martian Multiball (easy), Super Jackpot (varies, can be very hard if not achieved in an early multiball), Total Annihilation (moderate), Five-Way Combo (easy to moderate) and Super Jets (tends to happen automatically during a good game). Completing all then hitting Stroke Of Luck begins Rule The Universe. Six-ball multiball begins with a fairly lengthy grace period (or “ball saver”) during which all lost balls are returned. Unlike normal multiball, however, Rule The Universe only ends when all balls are lost (not when down to one). Total Annihilation is running, the Super Jackpot is set to a high value and roams the board, Martian Multiball is running, Super Jets is active and shots to the saucer are worth 100,000,000. The game counts every point scored, and if the player breaks five billion, the flippers lock, all the lights turn off and the game lets all the balls drain before proclaiming in large flashing leters and loud voice: “YOU… RULE… THE… UNIVERSE!!” then “FIVE… BILLION!!!”, making the total award ten billion points. (Yes, the game is so loud you can hear the allcaps.) The player gets an entertaining animation of a person riding in an open-top spaceship wearing cheesy “mayor” sash, and when the game is over gets to record his initials as the current Ruler Of The Universe, along with date and time of “election,” which remains until another player manages to duplicate this feat.

wizard hat = W = wizardly

wizard mode n.

[from rogue] A special access mode of a program or system, usually passworded, that permits some users godlike privileges. Generally not used for operating systems themselves (`root mode' or `wheel mode' would be used instead). This term is often used with respect to games that have editable state.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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