Wizard's Crown

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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.

Contents

Gameplay

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:

Reception

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]

<i>Compute!</i>

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.

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References

  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.
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