Chris Crawford

After teaching physics for several years, Chris Crawford joined Atari as a game designer in 1979. There he created a number of games: Energy Czar, an educational simulation about the energy crisis; Scram, a nuclear power plant simulation; Eastern Front (1941), a wargame; Gossip, a social interaction game; and Excalibur, an Arthurian game. He also ran the Games Research Group for Alan Kay. Following the collapse of Atari in 1984, Crawford took up the Macintosh. He created Balance of Power, a game about diplomacy; Patton versus Rommel, a wargame; Trust & Betrayal, a social interaction game; Balance of the Planet, an environmental simulation game; and Patton Strikes Back, a wargame. He has written five published books, including The Art of Computer Game Design (1982), now recognized as a classic in the field, and Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling (2004). He created the first periodical on game design, the Journal of Computer Game Design, in 1987. He founded and served as Chairman of the Computer Game Developers' Conference, now known as the Game Developers' Conference. In 1992, Crawford decided to leave game design and concentrate his energies on interactive storytelling. Crawford's Web site, Erasmatazz, offers a library with many of his essays on game design and interactive storytelling.

Essays by this author

Chris Crawford's response (excerpt)


Chris Crawford adduces the algorithms of games against dramatic conventions.

Chris Crawford’s response (excerpt)


Chris Crawford considers Zimmerman’s definitions.

Deikto: A Language for Interactive Storytelling


Chris Crawford walks through Deikto, an interactive storytelling language that “reduce[s] artistic fundamentals to even smaller fundamentals, those of the computer: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.”