The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt, as part of the ambitious Master Strategy series, does a commendable job of simulating a stock market ticker. Twenty-seven stock prices, representing real companies like IBM and McDonald's, scroll across the screen, as one or more players buy and sell shares. The computer tracks their net worth, as realistic news reports ("War threat in the Middle East...") affect stock values accordingly. With the included game board, account books and tokens, players can manage a real portfolio, buying stocks on margin and acquiring T-bills. The non-video portion requires some mathematical skill, but overall, this is an intriguing and rewarding game for would-be Wall Street wizards.
The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt is the third and last game in Magnavox' elaborate "Master Strategy" series for the Odyssey, which are complicated epics that incorporated board game elements and complex rules with simplistic video game components. The Quest for the Rings, first game in the series, was a fun and innovative action/RPG game, while the second game in the series, The Conquest of the World, is a banal Risk clone with little to recommend it.
Of the three Master Strategy games, TGWSFH comes closest to meriting the board-game-plus-electronic-game combination, because it tries to model intricacies of a real-life stock market. Your ultimate objective is, of course, to make money. To do this, you must correctly anticipate investment fluctuations and act fast enough to take advantage of the many buying and selling opportunities which will occur in a different way every time you play. There are four difficulty levels, and the toughest level is quite challenging.
As can be expected given the hardware limitations of the Odyssey (hey, this was released in 1981, more than 2 decades ago), TGWSFH's model of the stock market is simplistic and there are few stocks available to buy and sell, but that doesn't stop it from being enjoyable. In addition to buying and selling stocks, you can also buy and sell options and do a little margin trading. The prices of different stocks react differently to the news flashes: in times of world crisis, for example, some stocks will go up and some will go down. As in real life, it's up to you to make the right connections between how the news affect each business. The inherent sensitivity of each investment to the various categories of news is graphically displayed on the gameboard.
With a fun combination of board game and video game component (which is used mainly just to flash news across the screen), and the ability for more than 1 player to compete, The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt is one of the few early stock market simulations that succeed in simulating how the market works - albeit in more condensed, simplistic form. I can't confirm it, but I'm pretty sure that this is also the first electronic game that lets you buy and sell stock options. Overall, a fun game to this day, and not a bad end to the "Master Strategy" series.
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