Excalibur (video game)
|Publisher(s)||Atari Program Exchange|
Excalibur is an early resource-management strategy video game for the Atari 8-bit computers. It was designed by Chris Crawford, developed with the help of Larry Summers and Valerie Atkinson, and published by Atari Program Exchange in 1983.
The object of the game is to unite all of Britain under the rule of King Arthur. The players can invade kingdoms, set tithes for their vassals, send plagues and pestilences (with the help of Merlin) and manage the loyalty of their own Round Table by rewarding their knights or, if they grow too disloyal, by banishing them.
Reception and legacy
Electronic Games stated that "Excalibur is a grand effort". Antic stated that the game "easily ranks as the finest programming achievement to date by Chris Crawford ... one of the richest gaming experiences ever". Computer Gaming World in 1984 called Excalibur "a magnificent piece of software". It praised the documentation and novella, and concluded by asking, "When will Chris Crawford's next game be published?" In 1990, CGW gave the game four out of five stars, stating that "even on an obsolete machine" Excalibur was still worthwhile. In 1993, the magazine gave it three-plus stars out of five.
The Addison-Wesley Book of Atari Software 1984 gave Excalibur an overall A rating and stated that "those who persevere will find an ample reward in the game's incredible depth". The book predicted, however, that it was "destined to become a cult game ... appeal[ing] mainly to the seasoned wargamer or fantasy role-player" because of the slow pace and difficulty.
Crawford in 1984 wrote "My greatest regret, though, is that Excalibur has not won the attention that I think it deserves. This game is my magnum opus, much grander in scale than anything else I have done. It is a shame that so few people are even aware of its existence." In 1987 he stated that Excalibur was one of the three games he was proud of, with Eastern Front and Balance of Power. In 2013, Crawford publicly released source code of several of his games, including Excalibur.
- Forman, Tracie (January 1984). "Think Tank". Electronic Games. pp. 63–64. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Duberman, David (February 1984). "Excalibur". Antic (review). Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Townsend, David P. (August 1984). "Excalibur: Review, Strategy & Tactics". Computer Gaming World. p. 12. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- Brooks, M. Evan (October 1990). "Computer Strategy and Wargames: Pre-20th Century". Computer Gaming World. p. 11. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Brooks, M. Evan (August 1993). "Wargame Survey Version 2.0". Computer Gaming World. p. 128. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Stanton, Jeffrey; Wells, Robert P.; Rochowansky, Sandra; Mellid, Michael, eds. (1984). The Addison-Wesley Book of Atari Software. Addison-Wesley. p. 22. ISBN 0-201-16454-X.
- Crawford, Chris (August 1984). "Designer's Notes on Excalibur". Computer Gaming World. p. 13. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "Designer Profile: Chris Crawford (Part 2)". Computer Gaming World. Jan–Feb 1987. pp. 56–59. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Crawford, Chris (2013). "Source Code". Retrieved 2017-02-24.
30 months ago, at the 2011 Game Developers Conference, somebody asked me to release the source code for my old games. I said I would look into it. [...] I have begun the process of preparing my source code for general distribution.
- Excalibur at Atari Mania