Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur

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Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur
Infocom Arthur box art.jpg
Developer(s) Challenge, Inc.[1]
Publisher(s) Infocom
Designer(s) Bob Bates
Artist(s) Darrell Myers, Tanya Isaacson, Sophie Green, Donna Dennison, Jim Sullivan
Engine ZIL
Platform(s) Amiga, Apple II, MS-DOS, Macintosh
Release Macintosh/Amiga: June 6, 1989
Apple II: June 22, 1989
MS-DOS: July 14, 1989
Genre(s) Interactive fiction
Mode(s) Single-player

Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur is an illustrated interactive fiction computer game written by Bob Bates and published by Infocom in 1989. Typically for an Infocom title, it was released for many popular computer platforms of the time, such as the Macintosh, PC, and the Apple II series. Quite atypically for an Infocom product, it featured illustrations of locations, characters and objects within the game. It is Infocom's thirty-fourth game and is the second of two Infocom games developed by Challenge, Inc. using Infocom's development tools.[1]


The player assumes the role of a young Arthur, before the legendary days of Camelot. The "sword in the stone" (which in the legends was not Excalibur, but is often confused with Excalibur by people unfamiliar with the legends) that would signify Arthur's destiny to rule, has been stolen by the evil King Lot. In the quest to regain the sword, the player must prove to Merlin that he has the qualities needed to be a great king: chivalry, experience, and wisdom. Merlin assists Arthur by giving him periodic advice as well as the power to transform into animals, but also tells Arthur that unless Excalibur is recovered within three days, Lot will usurp his destiny as a king of legendary stature.


Although Arthur was one of the last interactive fiction games Infocom released before closing, the packaging still included a modest attempt at the extra objects, or feelies, that had been a long-standing tradition for the company. The package for Arthur contained a copy of a Book of Hours, which explains the Canonical hours such as Matins, Lauds and Vespers. The book also contains a poem, lines of which are used as passwords in the game as a form of copy protection.


Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur was the second Infocom game to be developed by another company, Challenge Inc, published by Infocom in their "Immortal Legends" genre.[1] The only other game published in this line was the 1987 release Sherlock: The Riddle of the Crown Jewels, also written by Bates. By the time of Arthur's release, Infocom had stopped rating their games in terms of difficulty. Arthur roughly corresponds to the level of their previous "Standard" games.


Scorpia in Computer Gaming World called Arthur "Infocom's most poorly produced game ever", criticizing the high number of disk swaps—sometimes to print a single sentence or to redraw the automap—and the "mediocre" Apple II graphics.[2]


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