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Chris Crawford

Developer Biography


MS, Physics, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1975 BS, Physics, University of California, Davis, 1972

After teaching physics at a community college, I went to the University of California, where I taught energy policy issues to high school students for University Extension. Then my longtime hobby of game design became my job when I joined Atari in 1979. I designed a game for the Atari Video Computer System before moving to the Atari Home Computer System, where I created two educational simulation games: Energy Czar and Scram (a nuclear power plant simulation.)

I was promoted to supervise a group that trained programmers about the Atari computers. While running this group, I created in my spare time Eastern Front (1941), a game that became a best-seller. Another game, Legionnaire, came shortly thereafter. I was then promoted to manage a new group, the Games Research Group. There I wrote The Art of Computer Game Design and created Excalibur, a game about the Arthurian legends.

In March of 1984 I was laid off during the general collapse of Atari. I became a freelance computer game designer, taught myself the innards of the Macintosh computer, and created Balance of Power. This is my most successful game, having sold about 250,000 units.

In 1986 I wrote Patton Versus Rommel, a wargame. I also wrote a book about the Balance of Power game. In 1987 came Trust & Betrayal. In 1987/88 I wrote the second edition of Balance of Power. Two of my games were published in 1990, Guns & Butter (about macroeconomics) and Balance of the Planet, a game about environmental problems. Another wargame, Patton Strikes Back, was published in 1991. My current project, now nine years in the making, is a technology for interactive storytelling and a development environment that permits nontechnical artists to control the technology.

Along the way I created, edited, and wrote most of The Journal of Computer Game Design. I founded and ran the Computer Game Developers' Conference during its first seven years. I have lectured on game design in eight countries and many universities.

In 1999, I participated in the NASA Leonid MAC airborne mission to observe the Leonid meteor storm:

Contributed by Chris Crawford (1) on Jan 06, 2003.