83: Chaos: Battle of the Wizards

"Two to eight wizards found themselves in a single screen arena, which starts off completely empty. Each wizard is allowed to choose one of their randomly selected spells to cast. Casting it will make it disappear from your arsenal. The majority of these will summon a creature for you, which can then go fight in your name. Then, everyone takes a turn to move all their characters. Then, they go back to choosing spells. Repeat until one wizard stands victorious and the rest have their pixels spread across the screen in a Defender-esque blur. That's it.
Wizards battling."
Kieron Gillen examines the beauty of Chaos.

Chaos: Battle of the Wizards

Chaos was like a secret lover. You thought you were the only one, then years later you discovered - to you shock - that there were others! My love affair with Chaos reflects Kieron's, except in my case it involved my entire family. It is the only computer game I've ever played that had three generations sitting down in front of the TV screen playing together, and which gave every one of them the occasional, gratifying victory. Chaos was an ideal party game, because everyone would win at least once, but only the best would win most often.

Even today I can sit skeptical non-gamers down in front of the PC monitor (or the original Spectrum, if I feel like trying to get the cassette tape to work!) and entirely beguile them with this masterpiece of game design.

Okay, I'm hooked. Is there anywhere I can find Chaos for a modern computer? If so, where?

I think the best you can hope for at the moment is by running a Spectrum emulator. Fortunately, Spectrum emulators are simple enough that you can embed them in a browser window.

I'm sure it has been ported to other platforms since then, but I have no idea which ones.

Hey. It's fun to see Chaos getting some recognition. I discovered this game pretty late and I've only played it on an emulator. At a glance it looks pretty weird by today's standards, but I managed to get really into it and I was amazed about just how deep the gameplay is.

I'm a graduated game programmer and I used Chaos as basis for my finals project, which was a game I developed by myself called "Chaos Reborn". I took what was basically Chaos, and added my own ideas into the mix.

It's just a silly student project. The graphics are pretty crappy and I didn't have time to implement some of the more fun aspects of Chaos like mounting creatures or the blob, but I like to think it's a really fun casual game you can play in short bursts.

You can download it here in case anyone would like to try it out:

This game gave me a nomination for best game idea at the Swedish Game Awards '05, which honestly was kind of embarassing concidering it wasn't really my idea to begin with.

Great article, none the less.
PS. Sorry for this shameless plug. I just had to ;P

Okay, I'm hooked. Is there anywhere I can find Chaos for a modern computer? If so, where?

Pretty good site here:

BTW - if this little nugget doesn't make you want to fire up an AtariST emulator I don't know what would:

"An unofficial Chaos "conversion" was released for the Atari ST. Written by Martin Brownlow, the game was released by hacking group D-Bug on Disk #173 and featured the previously missing spell "Teleport", as well as a new creature based on the alien from the Alien films. It also included 53 audio samples from numerous film and television sources, including Highlander, Blackadder and Red Dwarf."


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