Wizard's Crown

Last updated
Wizard's Crown
Wizard's Crown Coverart.png
Developer(s) Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Publisher(s) Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Designer(s) Paul Murray, Keith Brors
Platform(s) Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, IBM PC, Apple II, Commodore 64
Release 1986
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player

Wizard's Crown is a 1986 top-down role-playing video game published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI). [1] [2] It was released for the Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, IBM PC, Apple II and Commodore 64. Its sequel, The Eternal Dagger , was released in 1987.

A role-playing video game is a video game genre where the player controls the actions of a character immersed in some well-defined world. Many role-playing video games have origins in tabletop role-playing games and use much of the same terminology, settings and game mechanics. Other major similarities with pen-and-paper games include developed story-telling and narrative elements, player character development, complexity, as well as replayability and immersion. The electronic medium removes the necessity for a gamemaster and increases combat resolution speed. RPGs have evolved from simple text-based console-window games into visually rich 3D experiences.

Atari 8-bit family series of 8-bit home computers

The Atari 8-bit family is a series of 8-bit home computers introduced by Atari, Inc. in 1979 and manufactured until 1992. All of the machines in the family are technically similar and differ primarily in packaging. They are based on the MOS Technology 6502 CPU running at 1.79 MHz, and were the first home computers designed with custom co-processor chips. This architecture enabled graphics and sound capabilities that were more advanced than contemporary machines at the time of release, and gaming on the platform was a major draw. Star Raiders is considered the platform's killer app.

Atari ST home computer

The Atari ST is a line of home computers from Atari Corporation and the successor to the Atari 8-bit family. The initial ST model, the 520ST, saw limited release in April–June 1985 and was widely available in July. The Atari ST is the first personal computer to come with a bitmapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released in February 1985. The 1040ST, released in 1986, is the first personal computer to ship with a megabyte of RAM in the base configuration and also the first with a cost-per-kilobyte of less than US$1.



Academic Matt Barton describes Wizard's Crown as "probably the most hardcore RPG of its time" and "one of the most sophisticated tactical CRPGs ever designed". [3] The object of the game is to rescue a magical crown from Tarmon, a wizard who sealed himself and the crown in his laboratory 500 years previous.

The video game design and programming was done by Paul Murray and Keith Brors, game development by Chuck Kroegel and Jeff Johnson, and the rulebook created by Leona Billings. Wizard's Crown was the first RPG designed in-house by SSI, previously known as a wargame company. Its detailed tactical combat system came from Murray and Brors's background in wargaming, and they brought the complexity of those games to Wizard's Crown's tactical combat. For instance, shields block attacks only from the front and left (shielded) side, and not from the rear and right (unshielded side). Spears can attack two squares away, flails ignore the defender's shields, and axes have a chance of breaking shields. There is an option for "quick combat", and regular combat can take as long as 40 minutes per encounter. This combat system influenced SSI's later Gold Box series of RPGs, but it was streamlined and simplified. [3]

Video game design is the process of designing the content and rules of a video game in the pre-production stage and designing the gameplay, environment, storyline, and characters in the production stage. The designer of a game is very much like the director of a film; the designer is the visionary of the game and controls the artistic and technical elements of the game in fulfillment of their vision. Video game design requires artistic and technical competence as well as writing skills. As the industry has aged and embraced alternative production methodologies such as agile, the role of a principal game designer has begun to separate - some studios emphasising the auteur model while others emphasising a more team oriented model. Within the video game industry, video game design is usually just referred to as "game design", which is a more general term elsewhere.

Game programming, a subset of game development, is the software development of video games. Game programming requires substantial skill in software engineering and computer programming in a given language, as well as specialization in one or more of the following areas: simulation, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, physics, audio programming, and input. For massively multiplayer online games(MMOG),knowledge of additional areas such as network programming and database programming is requisite. Though often engaged in by professional game programmers, some may program games as a hobby.

Chuck Kroegel is an American video game designer. He was an executive for many years with SSI, and played a role in developing their position as an industry leader in war games and role-playing video games. His career in the games industry now spans over 30 years.

The class system is based on a point buy system, possibly influenced by the tabletop role-playing games RuneQuest and Traveller . Characters buy classes and skills using Intelligence points. The classes are thief, ranger, fighter, priest and sorcerer, each possessing a distinct set of skills. Characters can have any number of classes, but mixing classes slows advancement. Up to eight characters can be created in a single party. Experience is spent directly on skills, attributes and life points. When a skill level is very low, gains are quick and easy, but they become slow and difficult to raise after reaching high levels. The magic system works like other skills and features a chance of failure based on skill level. [3]

Tabletop role-playing game form of role-playing game

A tabletop role-playing game is a form of role-playing game (RPG) in which the participants describe their characters' actions through speech. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a set formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, players have the freedom to improvise; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the game.

<i>RuneQuest</i> role-playing game

RuneQuest is a fantasy role-playing game first published in 1978 by Chaosium, created by Steve Perrin and set in Greg Stafford's mythical world of Glorantha. RuneQuest is notable for its system, designed around percentile dice and with an early implementation of skill rules, which became the basis of numerous other games. There have been several editions of the game.

<i>Traveller</i> (role-playing game) role-playing game

Traveller is a science fiction role-playing game, first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop. Marc W. Miller designed Traveller with help from Frank Chadwick, John Harshman, and Loren K. Wiseman.

The game is also memorable for its magic weapons, for example, the Storm Longsword or Doom Battleaxe. There are three special series of weapons which can be enchanted to become progressively more powerful:


SSI sold 47,676 copies of Wizard's Crown in North America, [4] and it was the company's second best-selling Commodore game as of late 1987. [5] Compute! in 1986 favorably reviewed Wizard's Crown, describing it as "probably the most unusual fantasy game to hit the market in some time". Citing its graphics and detailed combat, the magazine stated that the game "that will excite and challenge even the most seasoned veteran of fantasy warfare". [6] Computer Gaming World 's Scorpia admired the game's use of injuries and bleeding in simulating combat, but believed there was too much emphasis on hack and slash, with only a few trivial puzzles and almost no interaction between the party and anyone else beyond buying, selling, and killing. [7] In 1993 Scorpia was more positive, describing it as a "better-than-average hack'n'slash ... a good game for the bash'em crowd". [8] A.N.A.L.O.G. was also positive, in 1986 calling the Atari version "superb ... a true gem, an addictive game which you'll find yourself playing day in and day out". [9] The game was reviewed in 1986 in Dragon #114 by Hartley and Pattie Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers "recommend this offering as one that truly presents a most positive view of fantasy role-playing as played on a computer system." [10] In a subsequent column, the reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars. [11] Antic 's review was mixed, stating that Wizard's Crown "throws in a few new tricks of its own" but "is mostly old wine in new bottles". The magazine concluded that "Wizard's Crown is okay. But I probably would have enjoyed it more if I felt that I was really controlling the characters—not just watching random-number generators at work." [12]


Compute!, often stylized as COMPUTE!, was an American home computer magazine that was published from 1979 to 1994. Its origins can be traced to 1978 in Len Lindsay's PET Gazette, one of the first magazines for the Commodore PET computer. In its 1980s heyday Compute! covered all major platforms, and several single-platform spinoffs of the magazine were launched. The most successful of these was Compute!'s Gazette, catering to VIC-20 and Commodore 64 computer users.

<i>Computer Gaming World</i> American video game magazine

Computer Gaming World (CGW) was an American computer game magazine published between 1981 and 2006.

Scorpia is the pseudonym of a video game journalist who was active from the early 1980s through the late 1990s. She wrote for Computer Gaming World, performing reviews on role-playing video games and adventure games. Scorpia was known for harsh criticism of video games she disliked. She was fired after CGW was sold to Ziff-Davis in 1999 and subsequently retired from games journalism. Her pseudonym is based on a character she created in a role-playing game.

Related Research Articles

<i>Pool of Radiance</i> 1988 video game

Pool of Radiance is a role-playing video game developed and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc (SSI) in 1988. It was the first adaptation of TSR's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) fantasy role-playing game for home computers, becoming the first episode in a four-part series of D&D computer adventure games. The other games in the "Gold Box" series used the game engine pioneered in Pool of Radiance, as did later D&D titles such as the Neverwinter Nights online game. Pool of Radiance takes place in the Forgotten Realms fantasy setting, with the action centered in and around the port city of Phlan.

<i>Eye of the Beholder</i> (video game) 1990 video game

Eye of the Beholder is a role-playing video game for personal computers and video game consoles developed by Westwood Associates. It was published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. in 1991 for the DOS operating system and later ported to the Amiga, the Sega CD and the SNES. The Sega CD version features a soundtrack composed by Yuzo Koshiro. A port to the Atari Lynx handheld was developed by NuFX in 1993, but was not released. In 2002 the game was an adaptation of the same name was developed by Pronto Games for the Game Boy Advance.

<i>Curse of the Azure Bonds</i> 1989 role-playing computer game

Curse of the Azure Bonds is a role-playing video game developed and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc (SSI) in 1989. It is the second in a four-part series of Forgotten Realms Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box adventure computer games, continuing the events after the first part, Pool of Radiance.

Gold Box video game series and game engine

Gold Box is a series of role-playing video games produced by SSI from 1988 to 1992. The company acquired a license to produce games based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game from TSR, Inc. These games shared a common engine that came to be known as the "Gold Box Engine" after the gold-colored boxes in which most games of the series were sold.

<i>Temple of Apshai</i> 1979 video game

Temple of Apshai is a dungeon crawl role-playing video game developed and published by Automated Simulations in 1979. Originating on the TRS-80 and Commodore PET, it was followed by several updated versions for other computers between 1980 and 1986.

<i>Roadwar 2000</i> 1986 video game

Roadwar 2000, sometimes referred to as Roadwar 2K, is a 1986 computer game published by Strategic Simulations, Inc.. It is a turn-based strategy game set in a post-apocalyptic future which resembles the world portrayed in the Mad Max movie series. As of 2003 the game is out of stock.

<i>Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World</i> video game

Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World is a role-playing video game developed and published by New World Computing in 1988. It is the sequel to Might and Magic Book One: The Secret of the Inner Sanctum.

<i>J.R.R. Tolkiens The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I</i> (1990 video game) DOS game

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I is a role-playing video game published by Interplay Productions. It is an adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien, being the first volume in The Lord of the Rings.

<i>The Magic Candle</i> 1989 video game

The Magic Candle is a role-playing video game designed by Ali Atabek and developed and published by Mindcraft in 1989.

<i>Gateway to the Savage Frontier</i> 1991 video game

Gateway to the Savage Frontier (1991) is a Gold BoxDungeons and Dragons computer game developed by Stormfront Studios and published by SSI for the Commodore 64, PC and Amiga personal computers.

<i>The Eternal Dagger</i> 1987 video game

The Eternal Dagger is a 1987 top-down role-playing video game published by Strategic Simulations as a sequel to Wizard's Crown, which was released in 1986. Players can transfer their characters over from Wizard's Crown, minus whatever magical items they had on them.

<i>Champions of Krynn</i> 1990 video game

Champions of Krynn is role-playing video game, the first in a three-part series of Dragonlance Advanced Dungeons & Dragons "Gold Box" games. The game was released in 1990. The highest graphics setting supported in the MS-DOS version was EGA graphics. It also supported the Adlib sound card and either a mouse or joystick.

<i>Phantasie II</i> 1986 video game

Phantasie II is the second video game in the Phantasie series.

<i>Shard of Spring</i> 2007 video game

Shard of Spring is a role-playing video game developed by TX Digital Illusions and published by Strategic Simulations for the Apple II, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS computers in 1986. Shard of Spring tells the story of a group of adventurers hired to retrieve the titular magical item stolen by a power-hungry evil witch. The game was generally well received upon its release and was followed by a sequel titled Demon's Winter in 1988.

<i>Demons Winter</i> 1988 video game

Demon's Winter is a role-playing video game developed and published by Strategic Simulations in 1988. It is a sequel to SSI's 1986 Shard of Spring, set two hundred years after the events of the original, featuring a game world 32-times the size of the previous one.

<i>Elvira: Mistress of the Dark</i> (video game) video game

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is a survival horror video game developed by Horror Soft and released by Accolade in 1990 for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS computers. It was Horror Soft's second published game after 1989's Personal Nightmare and stars the actress Cassandra Peterson as her character Elvira the witch.

<i>Realms of Darkness</i> 1986 video game

Realms of Darkness is a fantasy video game developed by Strategic Simulations and released in 1986. It was developed for the Apple II and Commodore 64.

<i>Space: 1889</i> (video game) 1990 video game

Space: 1889 is a computer game developed by Paragon Software and published in 1990 for Amiga, Atari ST, and MS-DOS.

<i>Phantasie</i> (video game)

Phantasie is the first video game in the Phantasie series.

<i>Questron</i> (video game) 1984 video game

Questron is a 1984 game from Strategic Simulations, the first fantasy title from a company known for computer wargames. It was written by Charles Dougherty and Gerald Wieczorek and released for the Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, and Commodore 64. A sequel, Questron II, was released in 1988.


  1. "Computer Entertainer, March 1986". Computer Entertainer (Volume 4 Number 12): 11.
  2. "SSI Spring 1986 Catalog". 1986.
  3. 1 2 3 Barton, Matt (2008). Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games. CRC Press. pp. 104–107. ISBN   9781439865248.
  4. Maher, Jimmy (2016-03-18). "Opening the Gold Box, Part 3: From Tabletop to Desktop". The Digital Antiquarian. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  5. Ferrell, Keith (December 1987). "The Commodore Games That Live On And On". Compute's Gazette. pp. 18–22. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
  6. Trunzo, James V. (August 1986). "Three Fantasy Games For Commodore And Apple". Compute!. p. 60. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  7. Scorpia (September–October 1986). "Wizard's Crown". Computer Gaming World . pp. 24–25.
  8. Scorpia (October 1993). "Scorpia's Magic Scroll Of Games". Computer Gaming World. pp. 34–50. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  9. Panak, Steve (December 1986). "Panak Strikes". A.N.A.L.O.G. p. 97. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  10. Lesser, Hartley and Pattie (October 1986). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (114): 72–76.
  11. Lesser, Hartley and Patricia (October 1987). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (126): 82–88.
  12. Bernstein, Harvey (April 1987). "Wizard's Crown". Antic. p. 47. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
MobyGames online database of video games

MobyGames is a commercial website that catalogs video games both past and present via crowdsourcing. This includes over 260 gaming platforms and over 190,000 games. The site is supported by banner ads and by users paying to become patrons.