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atari mania

Chris Crawford

Game Credits


Patton Strikes Back: The Battle of the Bulge (1991)   (Lead Design)
Balance of the Planet (1990)   (Game Design)
The Global Dilemma: Guns or Butter (1990)   (Design)
Balance of Power: The 1990 Edition (1988)   (Design)
Patton vs Rommel (1987)   (Software design)
Balance of Power (1986)   (Design)
Excalibur (1983)   (Game by)
Gossip (1983)   (Game by)
Legionnaire (1979)   (Written by)
Tanktics (1976)   (Game Design)


Balance of the Planet (1990)   (By)
The Global Dilemma: Guns or Butter (1990)   (Program)
Balance of Power: The 1990 Edition (1988)   (Programming)
Patton vs Rommel (1987)   (Programming)
Trust and Betrayal: The Legacy of Siboot (1987)   (By)
Balance of Power (1986)   (By)
Eastern Front (1941) (1981)   (By)
Energy Czar (1980)   (By)
Tanktics (1976)   (Programming)

Creative Services

Balance of the Planet (1990)   (Manual Text)


High Command: Europe 1939-'45 (1992)   (Special Thanks To)
SimEarth: The Living Planet (1990)   (Special Thanks To)

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:

Last updated: Jan 06, 2003

atari mania