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Taipan!
TaipanGameTitle.png
Taipan! title screen
Developer(s) Mega Micro Computers[1]
Publisher(s) Avalanche Productions[1]
Aspect ratio 4:3
Version 1982[1]
Platform(s) Apple II, TRS-80[1]
Release date(s) Date 1
Date 2
(...) Use  () for the first date only.
Genre(s) Turn-based strategy
Rating(s) n/a

Taipan! is a turn-based strategy computer game for the Apple II and TRS-80 which was created in 1982.[1] It was created by Art Canfil and the company Mega Micro Computers. It was published by Avalanche Productions.[1]

Taipan! was inspired by the novel Tai-Pan by James Clavell. The game places the player in the role of a trader in the Far East. He owns a ship, which may or may not have guns for defense against pirates as the game begins.

The goal is to accumulate wealth through trade and possibly also through booty won in battles against pirates. As soon as the player's net worth reaches one million (in the game's ambiguous currency), the player has the option to retire.

The basic strategy of the game is to buy goods at a low price and sell them at a higher price. The goods available for trade are opium, silk, arms, and general cargo. The silk, arms, and general cargo have no special features; opium is special in that it can be confiscated at random points, resulting in a fine for the player. This makes dealing in opium riskier than dealing in the other goods; however, it is in general the most profitable item for trade.

At various times when arriving at a port, a message will pop up indicating a special price has occurred for one of the commodities. In this case, either the commodity's price falls or raises significantly.

Occasionally, purchases left in the Hong Kong warehouse will be stolen if left too long. Rates of theft are higher with higher-end commodities such as opium or silk.

Trading screen

The player may trade at any of seven ports: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Nagasaki, Saigon, Manila, Singapore, and Batavia. One of these, the port at Hong Kong, is the player's home port. Here he has access to ship repair, a money lender, and a bank. Often in Hong Kong, the local extortionist Li Yuen often asks if you would like to "donate" money to the Sea Goddess. If the player refuses to donate often enough, Li Yuen sends a fleet of hostile ships that proves to be much more difficult than being attacked by ordinary pirates. On the other hand, if one is paid up with Li Yuen, he will occasionally drive off hostile ships for you.

The player also has the option of borrowing money from Elder Brother Wu, the moneylender, although this is limited to double the amount he currently has on hand. If the player overpays the moneylender, he then has "negative debt". This "negative debt" will accumulate interest very quickly, and will count towards the player's net worth. As the game's vocabulary of number words ends at "trillion", this can cause the game to display garbage instead of the player's correct net worth. The game is also written in BASIC, which makes it easy for even very young players to cheat by "hacking" variable values.

Throughout the game, the player has the opportunity to purchase ship upgrades. For a price, the player can purchase a larger ship with fifty extra cargo units. The player can also purchase guns for their ship, though each gun takes ten units of cargo space.

The original version of the game was programmed by Art Canfil using a TRS-80. However, the better-known commercial release ran on the Apple ][. Trivia buffs will note that the Apple port was coded by Ronald J. Berg of Mega-micro Computers, a hidden snippet that's revealed by reading the data value of memory location USR(34).

Art Canfil co-authored a book that gives not only the TRS-80 code but also some excellent background information. The illustrations were done by Chrisann Brennan, former girlfriend of Steve Jobs, and mother of Jobs' daughter Lisa -- the namesake of the forerunner of the Macintosh.

Batavia is the old Dutch name for present-day Jakarta.

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Trader_(Palm_OS)

References

External links








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