It’s a Dandy dungeon out there, for sure it is — and Dark Chambers marks the conclusion to one of the earliest and most notorious legal disputes in gaming.
John Palevich’s Dandy begat Ed Logg’s Gauntlet, though the former wasn’t too thrilled with the fact that the latter didn’t credit him. Then Gauntlet begat Dark Chambers, which did credit Palevich — who had also settled out of court with Atari by this point, too. And we were left with several versions of a rather entertaining Gauntlet-alike that ditched some of the annoyances of the arcade game!
Gauntlet is an all-time classic arcade game — and it got a whole bunch of ports to various different systems over the years following its original release.
The Atari 8-bit version, developed by Gremlin Graphics, is not the best version of Gauntlet you’ll ever play — but it was my first ever experience with the game, and as such will always carry with it certain fond memories.
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Dandy is another early Atari release that would go on to be extremely influential… even though relatively few people seem to know its name today.
Released through the Atari Program Exchange (or APX), an initiative by Atari that allowed amateur and professional programmers alike the opportunity to get their projects distributed commercially, Dandy by John Howard Palevich turned out to be rather important.
Originally intended as a multiplayer networked adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons before being simplified and refined into the four-player action dungeon crawler it ultimately became, Dandy would be a defining influence on Atari’s later arcade hit Gauntlet… and it’s not hard to see why.