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Cranford is best known as a game designer and game programmer. He was the designer and programmer of 1985's The Bard's Tale and 1986's The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight role-playing video games published by Interplay Productions. He also programmed the Apple version of Donkey Kong, the Commodore 64 version of Super Zaxxon, as well as Maze Master (a spiritual predecessor of The Bard's Tale). His last video game was Centauri Alliance for Brøderbund in 1990. He left the video game industry to pursue graduate studies, and thus was not involved in the creation of 1988's The Bard's Tale III. Almost thirty years later, however, he was approached by inXile Entertainment to assist with the development of The Bard's Tale IV and had agreed to provide feedback and advice for the new game.
He was a professor for eight years at Biola University in La Mirada, California, gaining his Master of Divinity degree from Biola and a master's degree in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California. He studied architecture at the University of California at Berkeley and he holds a degree in philosophy from the University of California, and has completed a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California, with a focus on ethics and technology. His current work focuses on web application development, natural language interfaces and artificial intelligence.
- Cranford, Michael (2007). Laura P. Hartman and Joe DesJardines, eds. "Drug Testing and the Obligation to Prevent Harm". Business Ethics: Decision-Making for Personal Integrity and Social Responsibility. Boston: McGraw Hill: 301–307.
- Cranford, Michael (December 1998). "Drug Testing and the Right to Privacy: Arguing the Ethics of Workplace Drug Testing". Journal of Business Ethics (17): 1805–1815. Reprinted in Beauchamp & Bowie, ed. (2001). Ethical Theory and Business (6th & 7th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall. pp. 294–302.
- Cranford, Michael (1996). "The Social Trajectory of Virtual Reality: Substantive Ethics in a World Without Constraints". Technology in Society (18): 79–92.
- Cranford, Michael (1995). "Abraham in Romans 4: The Father of All Who Believe". New Testament Studies. Cambridge University Press (41): 71–88.
- Cranford, Michael (1994). "The Possibility of Perfect Obedience: Paul and an Implied Premise in Galatians 3:10 and 5:3". Novum Testamentum. Netherlands: E.J. Brill Publishers (36): 242–258.
- Cranford, Michael (1993). "Election and Ethnicity: Paul's View of Israel in Romans 9.1-13". Journal for the Study of the New Testament. England: University of Sheffield (50): 27–41.