Everyone is super happy that Vanna White took over hosting duties on Wheel of Fortune for Pat Sajak, but hello, am I the only one who went hard on Wheel of Fortune 64 in 1997? I mean, I know Wave Race 64 was dope and StarFox 64 kicked serious ass, but I can’t be the only one who remembers how sick Wheel of Fortune 64 was? Look, I concede it was no Goldeneye 64, but Wheel of Fortune 64 is, in my head, the actual first time Vanna White hosted the show.
That’s right, this supposed historic occasion — Vanna White stepping in to host Wheel of Fortune because regular host Pat Sajak had emergency surgery — is not actually new. Everyone is going to tell you it’s new, but that’s because their memories have been erased and all references to Vanna64 have been deleted. Let’s fire up our Nintendo 64s and try to remember the truth.
For the first time in 37 years, Vanna White steps in as the host of #WheelOfFortune.
— Complex (@Complex) December 10, 2019
If you played Wheel of Fortune 64 in 1997 on the N64 (which I’m sure you all did, it’s clearly amazing) then you know that in that video game version of the popular word puzzle game show, Vanna White was both “host” and “Vanna.” This duo of two Vannas is what we can refer to as “Vanna64.” Obviously, there is IRL Vanna, but I think it’s pretty obvious that Vanna64 was a digital clone of “IRL Vanna.” (Kind of like what happened to Miley Cyrus in Black Mirror)
ANYWAYS, in Wheel of Fortune 64, Vanna64 spoke to you the player exactly the way Pat Sajak would, and, to be clear, in the universe of Wheel of Fortune 64, Pat Sajak did not exist. Yes, there were two Vannas in this world, kind of like Westworld hosts or Cylons on Battlestar Galactica. In fact, the dual nature of Vanna64 was never revealed to me mostly because I never got great at using my N64 controller to buy vowels. Perhaps Pat Sajak was a boss at the end of the game? I never got that far. All I know is that Vanna64 was the supreme ruler of this video game universe.
It’s unclear why Pat Sajak’s visage wasn’t used for this groundbreaking 1997 game, but as I’m sure you all remember, Vanna’s face was the one on the cartridge, which actually made her face the only human face in the game. True, you were able to select ghostly avatars of different contestants, but their features were blurred, kind of like the way people’s faces are blank when Jim Carrey’s memories are erased in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The point is, in Wheel of Fortune 64, Vanna White was a god who could control the wheel, cause you to lose a turn, or force the game to start over.
It’s nice to see IRL Vanna ascending to the height of power she so richly deserves. But, for those of us who remember Vanna White 64, this has all happened before, and it will surely happen again.