galahad and the holy grail - Museum of Computer Adventure Game

galahad and the holy grail - Museum of Computer Adventure Game
User-Written Software for ATARI Home Computers
A graphic adventure with almost 100 rooms for one or more players
(ages 12 and up)
Diskette: 32K (APX-20132)
One ATARI Joystick Controller
- - - - - - - - - Entertainment - - - - - - - - -
Douglas Crockford
Program and Manual Contents © 1982 Douglas Crockford
Copyright notice. On receipt of this computer program and associated documentation (the software), the author grants you a nonexclusive license to execute the
enclosed software. This software is copyrighted. You are prohibited from reproducing ,
translating, or distributing this software in any unauthorized manner.
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Trademarks of Atari
The following are trademarks of Atari, Inc.
ATARI 400"'
ATARI 800'"
ATARI 410™
ATARI 810"'
ATARI 820"'
ATARI 822'"
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ATARI 850™
Home Computer
Home Computer
Program Recorder
Disk Drive
40-Column Printer
Thermal Printer
80-Column Printer
Acoustic Modem
Interface Module
Printed In U.S.A.
Legendary background
You are a knight, a stranger in a mystical land , on a quest to find the Holy Grail. You will
face many dangers, including a fire-breathing dragon and giant spiders.
Loosely based on the King Arthur legend , Galahad involves no typing or display of
text. Instead, it uses graphics and sound effects extensively. This is a complex game.
Look over tliese instructions before beginning your journey.
The story of the quest for the Holy Grail is steeped in early Christian mysticism . It was
the custom of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table not to sit down to dinner on
the Pentecost until a miracle occurred . One year, the miracles began with ·the
appointment of Sir Galahad , son of Lancelot and the last descendant of Joseph of
Arimathea, to the Round Table at the seat called Siege Perelous.
That night, after evensong, there was a great sound of thunder and a blinding light.
The Holy Grail was carried through the hall by a maiden . It was covered with white
samite so no one could see it. It had the fragrant odor of spices. Food and drink of
each's desire appeared. And the grail was gone.
Sir Gawain and many other knights swore that they would depart the next day on a
quest to find the Grail. This made Arthur very sad, for he knew that many good knights
would not return , and that perhaps the Fellowship of the Round Table would be
After many miraculous adventures, Sir Galahad , Sir Percivale, and Sir Bors, by
authority of their great virtue, succeeded in the mysterious quest. Galahad's soul was
taken by angels, and a hand appeared also taking the Grail and the Spear to heaven .
Sir Percivale died about a year later. Sir Bors returned to Camelot and reported Sir
Galahad's last words: "Remember how ephemeral is the earth!"
For the Spear was the one that had pierced Jesus Christ. The Grail was the cup in
which drops of His blood had been collected . Both had been taken to Britain by
Joseph of Arimathea. Or so the story goes.
Required accessories
• 32K RAM
• ATARI 810 Disk Drive
• ATARI Joystick Controller
Contacting the author
Users wishing to contact the author about Galahad and the Holy Grail may write to
him at:
586 Dublin Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Introduction 1
Getting started
Loading GALAHAD into computer memory
Remove any cartridges from the cartridge slot of your computer.
Plug a joystick into the number 1 (leftmost) controller jack at the front of your
computer console.
Have your computer turned OFF.
Turn on your disk drive.
When the busy light goes out, open the disk drive door and insert the GALAHAD
diskette with the label in the lower right-hand corner nearest to you. Close the
After a few seconds, Sir Gawain's speech will display. When the White Chapel
appears, you may begin your quest.
To start a new game at any time, press the SYSTEM RESET button.
Playing a simplified version
To play a simplified form of GALAHAD , press the SELECT button at any time.
Selecting the simple version changes three features.
• It unlocks the three doors.
• The path to the Grail begins at the White Castle.
• The White Chapel turns black to indicate that you selected the simplified
version of the game.
2 Getting started
Playing Galahad and the Holy Grail
Move your knight by pushing the joystick up, down , left, and right. You'll discover that
you can move more easily on roads and meadows than through forests and up stairs.
Some surfaces are deadly (like deep water) . Some, like walls and mountains, cannot
normally be passed through . Beware of walls, for they are enchanted and may pull you
There are portals in various places. If you move through one, you will be transported to
another place. The four most important portals are in the mountains, in the forest, in
the Black Castle, and in the Wh ite Castle.
Some places have secret passages. You can 't see them , but you can move through
them . The problem, of course, is finding them.
Helpful objects
Several objects are scattered around that may help you in your quest. To pick one up,
bump into it. To drop it, press the joystick button and move away from it. You can carry
only one object at a time.
Sword. Use the sword to fight monsters, battle knights, and frighten insects. It works
best when you keep your foes to your left or right.
Action Wedge. The wedge helps you run your fastest and jump your highest.
Magic Ring. The magic ring protects you from monsters and hand grenades.
Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. The hand grenade explodes three seconds after you
drop it. It breaks down walls and kills anything in the room. It doesn't open locked
doors. Don't use it near portals because it might close them forever.
Keys. Three keys unlock the three doors. The keys are color coded to the doors they
open .
Playing Galahad and the Holy Grail 3
Your quest is fraught with peril. Should you die, you return to the White Chapel and
anyone or thing you may have killed is resurrected .
The occasional traps around the maze remain in the same place from game to game.
The knights and monsters are mobile.
Knights Errant. There are knights travelling about looking for challenges. They know
nothing of your quest, but they know of your great skill as a knight and want to test
themselves by fighting you to the death. They are fair knights, and won't fight you
Dragon. The dragon flies, breathes fire, and has sharp teeth and claws.
Rabbit. This creature is so foul and cruel that no man has fought with it and lived .
Spiders. These insects lurk in close spaces and in sticky webs.
Monster Moth. It was a graveyard smoth.
Start. You die if you press the START key.
Set your goals before you start. Swear to do one or more (or make up a
goal of your own) .
find the three keys
find the Holy Grail
return the Grail to the White Chapel
not press the SELECT key
attain the goal in one life
attain the goal in (some fixed amount of time)
slay all the monsters
Whether or not you meet your goal is a matter of your own honor as a knight. The
program neither judges you nor rewards you with points.
Tournament play
When playing with two or more players, first agree on goals. One player plays a
complete game, and then passes the joystick on to the next contestant. The winner is
the one to meet the goals in the smallest number of lives (with ties being settled by the
smallest amount of time) , or in the smallest amount of time (with close times being
settled by the smallest number of lives) .
Another way to play is to take turns during the same game. After each life ends (or
after an agreed upon period of time), hand the joystick to the next player. The winner is
the player holding the joystick at the attainment of the goal.
4 Playing Galahad and the Holy Grail
Further reading
The definitive source on Arthur is Sir Thomas Malory's Le Marte d 'Arthur. It was
published by William Caxton in 1484. It has been rendered for modern readers in at
least two newer editions, one by Robert Graves (from which I took Sir Gawain's
speech) and another, The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John
Steinbeck. Like all great stories, Arthur is told and retold. Perhaps the finest retelling is
The Once and Future King by T.H. White. Perhaps the most inventive retelling is Mark
Twain 's .A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
The other source is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It may have been written around
1400. Its author is unknown . There is a wonderful verse translation by J.R.R . Tolkien .
There are similar works of more recent orgin that are also magical and heroic. J .R.R .
Tolkien was also the author of the Middle Earth cycle. The best introduction to Middle
Earth is The Hobbit. Also very good is the Earthsea Trilogy, beginning with A Wizard
of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin .
There have been many recent movies in this genre. Among these are Dragonslayer,
John Boorman's Excalibur , George Romero's Knightriders , and Monty Python and
The Holy Grail. Knightriders is about people in the 80's trying to live by the standards
of the Round Table. The Monty Python film, while being very funny , is probably closer
to the truth of the real Arthur than is Excalibur.
A final note. Most of what we know about Arthur comes from works written a thousand
years later. When we think about the Knights of the Round Table, we think of the
armor and chivalry. But those were invented centuries after Arthur. Malory gave his
work about a great English king a French title. That may have been stylish after the
Norman invasion , but would have been insulting in Arthur's day.
Further reading 5
Designer's notes
I developed the game as a reaction to the many verbose Adventure and Dungeon
games. I wanted to present a sense of exploring a strange land. There may be no
undiscovered places in this world , but we can invent them , and computers can make
them real. To encourage experimentation and discovery, I've limited the helpfulness
of these instructions.
I hope that you find the game educational in at least three aspects. First, it gives drill in
using a joystick, which is rapidly becoming an essential skill. Second, I hope to
encourage an interest in reading and comparative history. Third , the game gives
practical experience in pointer manipulation and list processing, which are two names
for one of the most important concepts in computer science. (Each screen is actually a
node in a network, each linked to one to five other nodes. Moving through the game
can be viewed as a tree-traversal.)
My concept of the game changed as I developed it, largely on the advice of the AT AR I
800 Computer. There are some things it does poorly, but it does other things so
incredibly well that no one notices its limitations. The key to developing programs on
this machine is to understand all the things that it really does well , and build your game
around them . Often, an interesting "rule" will exist only to hide something the machine
can 't do, but you don't mind because the rule makes the game more interesting . I
believe this is also true for arcade games like Centipede™ and Missile Command™.
I made the backgrounds using the ATARI BASIC calls GR.3 for a couple of reasons.
First, of all the graphics modes, it uses the smallest amount of memory, allowing me to
stuff 96 different rooms and a program in 32K of memory. Also , the amount of memory
for a screen in GR .3 is slightly less than a page. The 6502 microprocessor loves
dealing with page-sized objects.
You 'll notice that I "flip" instead of scroll from one room to another. Scrolling is easy to
do on the ATARI 800 Computer and looks great. I resisted the temptation to use it
because I wanted to have the flavor of a haunted house game we used to play called
"Spook-in-the-dark." Flipping into a room is more like having walls and doors; you
can't really see what's in the dark room until you get there. With scrolling, you might
get warning .
All of the objects that move around are done with player/ missile graphics. The
program is built around a simple multitasking operation system . Each object is
directed by its own independent program . I used two display list interrupts to create a
120 Hz clock for scheduling . The explosion effect is done simply by using the missiles
as a fifth player, and then moving the missiles apart.
The program took about four months to develop. I did it using the Assembler Editor
Cartridge on an ATARI 800 Computer with 48K of memory and two disk drives. If you
have anything to say about Galahad and the Holy Grail , I'd like to hear from you .
6 Designer's notes
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ATARI Program Exchange
P.O. Box 3705
Santa Clara, CA 95055
[seal here]
by Douglas Crockford
Recommended for ages 12 and up/Written in machine
Harken back to the days of old and the legend of Arthur and the
Knights of the Round Table. As you recall , in King Arthur's court
several knights set off in search of the Holy Grail. Only the truly
virtuous succeeded.
With the monsters, keys , swords, evil knights, castles, and mazes, the
game is spellbinding. The action is fast and challenging . The colors
and graphics are fun . Secret portals and enchanted walls give
elements of surprise.
The user manual is as wonderfully imaginative as the game!
With GALAHAD AND THE HOLY GRAIL, you become one of the
knights on this holy mission . First you decide on your goals. You
must swear (this is a game of honor) to accomplish one or more of
several goals, such as to find three keys , find the Holy Grail , return
the Grail to the white chapel , or slay all monsters. If you and some
friends wish to play a tournament, you first agree on the goals and
then take turns playing a complete round .
The first screen displays the white chapel , the beginning of your
journey. Using your Joystick Controller, you guide your knight
through a terrain of walls, roads , meadows, forests, and other
obstacles. Some of the walls have magnetic powers. You can enter
secret portals when you pass over them. As you travel horizontally,
vertically, backwards, and forwards, you will encounter dangers from
such unexpected sources as travelling knights, a dragon, and
spiders. If you're lucky, you 've found a variety of implements to help
you fend off the attackers and assist in your search. If one of the
challengers defeats you, the game starts again and another player
tries to reach the goal. GALAHAD AND THE HOLY GRAIL comes in
two levels of difficulty.
The author invites written questions and comments.
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About the Author
Designing Galahad and the Holy Grail
was a part-time project Doug Crockford
of Sunnyvale, California undertook for
his own amusement. Feeling most adventure-style games were too verbose,
Doug wanted to design one that was all
action and completely symbolic. Submitting his game to APX paid off for Doug in
more than one way. It brought him to the attention of the Atari software staff, and he is now a game designer on Atari 's corporate
research and development staff. Doug bring s experience in several
areas to his programming efforts. After receiving his degree in radio
and television at San Francisco State University, he went to work
designing word processing and office information systems. In addition , he pursues an interest in music both on and off the job. Formerly_
a bass guitar player with a rock group called Oceanrock, Doug is
currently composing pieces with medieval undertones. We're proud
to have discovered this talented game designer for the benefit of all
ATARI Home Computer users.
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Th e provisions of the foregoing warranty are valid in the U.S. onl y. Thi s
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