Cannons and Castles

One of my earliest gaming memories: A simple Scorched-earth game where two castles on a randomly-generated terrain take turns shooting at each other by typing in an angle and power, adjusting for wind speed. My dad and I played this over and over. At such a young age, I probably learned a ton playing this game, not to mention early exposure to simulation gaming.

Incidentally, I can’t find any information about the original game online, except that one guy has coded a version 2.0. The author says he attended Kraxberger Middle School in Gladstone, Oregon, where my dad was teaching when I first played this game. Maybe it was local, coded by someone at the school? The person in question was at the school from 1991-1993, the same time I played the game.

Back in 20 contacted the creator of the remake to ask if he knew anything about the game’s origins, and received this reply:

Hello Brad, small world! It’s been awhile, but I spent a fair amount of time with your dad; I sang and played drums with the GHS swing choir until I graduated in 1997. My mother, (name redacted), also worked with him as an accompanist for several years.

I don’t know anything about the original author, but I do think the title “Cannons and Castles” was a local modification. I once encountered a version with the title “Super Artillery,” which I believe was the original. This may have been an improvement over an earlier version simply called “Artillery”. Wikipedia has a screen shot of “Artillery” here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artillery_game

Super Artillery (or Cannons and Castles, as we knew it) looked very similar to that screen shot, but used a better algorithm to create the slope of the hill, which is why I think Super Artillery was a newer version. The hill was drawn with vertical lines every other pixel, which bled together to look somewhat solid but textured on an Apple II monitor; the hill looks solid here, and the castles look less detailed than I remember. Our version also used the word “velocity” in place of “force”, but this could have been a local modification.

It’s possible that I might have a printout of the source code to the game somewhere. Probably not, but I will look around. I’m sure I still have it on a floppy disk as well, but I have no Apple II with which to read the disk (and who knows if the floppy still works 15 years later).

I wish you the best of luck on your quest!

Cannons and Castles
By a teacher at Kraxberger Middle School, Gladstone, OR
Released for Apple II sometime between 1987 and 1991
Played in 1991 at age 4.


1Artillery game (Wikipedia)
2Cannons and Castles (Phroggy.com)
3Artillery, Apple II
4Scorched Parablolas: A History of the Artillery Game

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