Makes ya wanna think.

The King of Chicago

I scanned some old reviews of my computer games ChipWits and The King in the process of gussying up my bio at

In 1985 ChipWits was a hit so when my software agent Bob Jacobs formed Cinemaware he asked me to write a movie-themed game. He wanted his first line-up of cinematically-inspired games to include a knights in armor, a space, and a gangster game. I was a fan of old gangster movies so I dibsed that genre. My buddy Kellyn Beeck chose knights and wrote the smash hit Defender of the Crown.

In 1986 I wrote The King of Chicago – designed, did the artwork (for the Mac version), programmed, and wrote half the game script.

King cover

I came up with a new way of telling interactive stories which I called Dramaton. I hated hardbranching interactive storytelling – pick-a-path plotting – so I devised a way of telling a story probabilistically using a bunch of suitably-labeled animated scenes.

The Mac version got  great reviews (“King of Chicago represents a landmark in computer gaming” MACazine Review ) and so we did an Amiga version. I coded it and Cinemaware artists (led by Rob Landeros) did some amazing gangster graphics.

King of Chicago back

The Amiga version of The King got rave reviews (“The King of Chicago is a brilliantly devised game that far outstrips others of its genre.” – Personal Computer World) and sold 50,000 copies in 1987 – my biggest hit.

I’m still immensely proud of The King of Chicago. It means a lot to me that The King is respected by some of today’s top game designers ( “I don’t think people realize what a landmark achievement in game development it was.” – Casey Muratori, creator of Sushi Bar Samurai). It’s fun to see fans’ enthusiasm on nostalgia gaming forums like Lemon Amiga.

Here’s a walkthrough  of the Amiga version posted by a fan to YouTube:

I’m not finished writing hits!

One response

  1. Chuck

    Hello Doug,

    I’m glad I found your blog. I’ve been wanting to play KoC on my old Mac Plus for years and recently found it on some abandonware website. The problem is that it keeps crashing the computer after a couple of minutes of play, the screen freezes, apparently caused by a stack/heap memory collision. Is a Mac Plus the right machine to run it on or is it that KoC needs to be run from an original floppy? Would you have any original copies left of the Mac version? Thanks for any suggestion you may have to help me enjoy this great game more than a couple minutes at a time… -Chuck

    September 11, 2010 at 6:25 pm

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