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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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The Manual

I wanted to create something especially good for the manual for Excalibur, and I conceived the notion of writing a short story to illustrate the principles of gameplay. I'd always wanted to try my hand at fiction, and this seemed the ideal opportunity. But when I first offered the alpha version of the game to the Atari Program Exchange for them to sell, they ruled out my unorthodox plan for the manual. They wanted a conventional manual. Fortunately, I was not required to meet their demand. At Corporate Research, there was no pressure to create actual products. So I went ahead and wrote the manual the way I wanted to, then submitted it with the beta version of the game. I nervously waited their reaction, but when I checked in one day, ...

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