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Magic Castle

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If you follow the ANTIC podcast, you may recall an interview with Bruce May regarding a strategy game he created in 1982/83 called "Magic Castle". Mr. May submitted the game to several publishers for review but none agreed to take on the title. What remains of the game is available in scans of the BASIC listing, a print-out of a memory dump, design and programming notes, and a user manual.

A link to the interview is found here:

 

Scans of the artifacts are here:
https://archive.org/details/magiccastle_atari/Magic Castle Compiled Code

 

I've re-digitized the game assets as well as performed some light reverse-engineering of the binary data. I did have to inject some of my own code to transition from binary load of AUTORUN.SYS into launching the BASIC program. What I did was a kludge but it works.
https://github.com/michaelsternberg/magic-castle

 

My goal for the project was to re-implement the game exactly as found in the BASIC listing and binary data. With this in mind, the only thing I would consider a bug would be a transcription error between the scan and the implementation. I am aware of some minor issues but I've confirmed these are what's in the original data.

 

I suspect the code listing and binary data might be from a version prior to the one submitted to the publishers. I say this because the user manual describes 3 levels of what is called the "Void". However the game data and programming has only 1 defined.

 

Below is an ATR image of the game disk.

  • Requires ATARI BASIC
  • If playing on an emulator, you may need to press the CTRL key while using the arrow keys. (On a real ATARI, CTRL is not needed).
  • Read the user manual as this is a strategy game. The rules and victory condition are not obvious.

 

I hope this at least quells some of the curiosity listeners of the interview might have had.
For sure, Bruce May created a charming game design and performed a heroic programming effort to turn it into something real. It's a shame that Mr. May was unable to find a publisher and it's a shame we've had to wait so many decades to see it.

Magic Castle (1983)(May, Bruce)(US)[BASIC].atr

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