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Good articleTelengard has been listed as one of the Video games good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
June 29, 2011Good article nomineeNot listed
September 29, 2014Good article nomineeListed
Did You Know
A fact from this article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "Did you know?" column on October 15, 2014.
The text of the entry was: Did you know ... that the 1982 dungeon crawler Telengard began as a hobbyist game for the PDP-10 mainframe computer and later joined what Gamasutra called "The Silver Age" of computer role-playing games?
Current status: Good article
WikiProject Video games (Rated GA-class, Mid-importance)
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Fate/Mythos/Torchlight and Travis Baldree removed?[edit]

Why was the short paragraph referencing the connection between Telengard and Travis Baldree, creator of the "Telengard for Windows" port (authorized by Daniel Lawrence) as well as Fate, Mythos and Torchlight, a closely knit family of game designs inspired by Telengard (sharing many features), removed? (talk) 19:33, 26 September 2014 (UTC)


It was definitely better on the Commodore 64; It didn't translate all that well to the Apple II+, which was the version I owned. This article needs to be cleaned up some, though. It's too "chatty", there shouldn't be any "I" pronouns like this. Look at some of the other historical videogame articles on Wikipedia and model this one after those... -- JR

Man, is that ever true! I played it on my friend's Commodore 64, and was very impressed, so I bought the Apple II version, and all the graphics had been replaced with ascii text crap. It was lame.
On a more serious note, does anyone have any idea what computer system this game was written on? It was apparently first authored in 1976, which really makes me wonder just what sort of a machine this thing was first designed for. That would be a great factoid for the article. KevinOKeeffe (talk) 02:57, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
Apparently, he wrote it on a Commodore PET, which would be just about the only machine available around that time, it seems. Although the opener of the article states it was writen in '76, while later on (where the PET is referenced), it gives the year as 1978. KevinOKeeffe (talk) 03:18, 13 June 2011 (UTC)
The Commodore PET didn't come out until 1977, so I think the distinction is that it was written on a Purdue University mainframe terminal back in '76, and re-written in BASIC, on a PET, in '78. KevinOKeeffe (talk) 03:25, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Daniel Lawrence[edit]

While some of the original authors of the dnd game may have legitimate gripes with Daniel Lawrence, the Telengard article is not the place for it. Telengard is a game, not a person. Only the game should be discussed here. The history of Daniel Lawrence, for example, is not the history of Telengard. Since Daniel Lawrence does not have a Wiki article of his own, perhaps someone should create one? Then the issues, if any, can be historically documented (hopefully in balance and hopefully with better sources than unverifiable e-mails and original research items). Sign0stand (talk) 18:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Edit: Some of you may be interested to know that Dan passed away suddenly last week at the age of 52. His memorial service, held on Sunday, 6-13-2010, was extremely well-attended (his family was seriously outnumbered by friends and fellow gamers), with close to two dozen people speaking in his honor. Dan's wishes in this matter were that he should be honored with a party in the style of the ones he hosted every Saturday in his home for many years; that party is being planned for sometime in September. (talk) 14:48, 15 June 2010 (UTC)Heather


How about a "controversy" section? Be warned that it should not be longer than the article! If you cannot keep the controversy section to a couple of medium sized sentences, it will probably be removed or highly altered. Long winded and unreferenced information about what Lawrence did or did not do outside of the game is of no interest to anyone wanting to learn about Telengard, so it should be brief and most importantly from reliable 3rd party sources. Sign0stand (talk) 18:31, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Procedurally generated levels?[edit]

This article states that levels are created in some procedural manner. I've been playing the game since its C64 release--and it's still on my desktop--and ventured down many levels, and they always have the same layout. In fact I count on that. Anyway, why the discrepancy? (You can play Telengard online here and see for yourself Thanks! (talk) 01:59, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Update: I think what is meant by procedural is just that, but not in the usual sense we associate with roguelikes, that generate new and different levels each time one is replayed. Telengard's levels, which were generated/chosen during the game's design, are stored as seed numbers. Since the seed numbers don't change, each level is the same each time the game is played. (talk) 23:51, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Good article effort[edit]

I'll work in the next 48 hours to find citations for the passages with removed citations or remove the material. I'll defer to Czar on what needs to be accomplished for the article to achieve GA status. Airborne84 (talk) 17:39, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

If you can help me dig around for print sources that would have coverage/reviews of the game, I can go about getting scans czar  17:40, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Happy to help. Are you talking about print journals that are archived online? I can certainly do that. I don't have access to physical print journals/magazines. And what do you mean by scans? Thanks! Airborne84 (talk) 18:41, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Ah, I think I see. I'll look to see what type of magazine besides Computer Gaming World might possibly have run an article or review on Telengard. I'm also running through the list of sources on WP:VG/RS that have been identified as reliable sources and checking their websites for more coverage. As side note, would this web page at about Telengard be considered a reliable source? The website is listed under WP:VG/RS, Reliable Sources, General, but I don't know who Earl Green is. If the text is considered a blog and not reliable, perhaps the ratings of 4/5 stars for the Apple II and C64/128 can be used at a minimum. However, if the source meets WP:RS, the last sentence may be of use in the article: "An exceedingly simple and yet very addictive game." Airborne84 (talk) 19:13, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
According to his profile, Earl Green appears to meet the criterion for a reliable source as the author as well as the website itself as publisher. My thoughts are that it is OK for use. Please advise if you think otherwise. Airborne84 (talk) 19:16, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Yep, as long as the AllGame content isn't user-contributed, it's fair game. I found a bunch of articles, but I need to read over what parts are most usable. Our top priority right now is critical reception (reviews) and reducing the size of the gameplay section (see WP:VGSCOPE for the types of gameplay minutiae we try to leave out) czar  20:01, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
OK. On a side note, a previous GA review here mentioned fair use images. I am unclear what the issue is with them since they all have fair use rationale. Airborne84 (talk) 20:38, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
Checking out for a while. Please make whatever changes you think are needed. Happy writing!! Airborne84 (talk) 21:00, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
The review complained that there were too many fair use images—we try to keep them to a minimum because free use is one of Wikipedia's core tenets. The ones that are plain text are actually public domain, but I don't see them to be particularly helpful anyway, so might be better to delete them. Maybe we'll add an image of Lawrence instead? czar  21:21, 30 August 2014 (UTC)
@Airborne84, okay: I spent an inordinate amount of time on this today, but I think it's ready for GAN. Before I do so, I wanted to run it past you first. I deleted a lot of the Gameplay content since it went into very specific minutiae about the game that isn't quite useful for an encyclopedic context—we just need the overview unless a detail is very important. (But typically the way this works is that if it's important, a secondary source has covered it and we shouldn't have to rely on the instruction manual.) Anyway, let me know and I'll put it through. czar  00:58, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

─────────────────────────@Czar Many thanks! Looks nice. I would have had a challenge cutting it down to that since I added most of the material, so your efforts are appreciated!! One note to resolve is the sentence: "The game world is visualized by ASCII characters, such as slashes for stairs and dollar signs for treasure." Green is referring to the Apple II version only, as other versions (such as the C64/128, and IBM) have more advanced graphics. And the image to the left contradicts it since it shows "non-dollar-sign treasure". Perhaps we just add "in the Apple version" in the sentence, or add another note at the bottom to identify the version discussed? Finally, I don't mind putting an image of Lawrence in. But the only picture I've ever seen of him is the one in the "About Dan" source, which is pretty low quality and I don't know the legalities of using an image like that based on fair use. Did you have a different image in mind? Thanks again! Airborne84 (talk) 06:05, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

I made the Apple fix—good find. Would you know who would be in control of Lawrence's estate and website? The "About Dan" image was the one I was thinking of, but it's a hard case that the image is vital to understanding this article (fair use requirements). If his estate would be willing to release the image under cc-by-sa or freer, we're golden. I can make the contact if you know whom to ask. czar  13:22, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
@Czar Unfortunately, I don't know who is managing Lawrence's estate. This page within the "About Dan" has some leads, but most of the links are dead and the ones that work don't lead to an immediate answer. I'm fine leaving an image out, since it would take some investigative work to obtain one. Would you like to list the article on GAN or should I? I don't mind making tweaks as needed during a GA review if you're moving on to other projects, but I'm fine either way. Thanks! Airborne84 (talk) 14:40, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
As a side note, thanks for showing me the ping tool. I don't edit very much at Wikipedia anymore, but I'll keep that in my kit bag anyway! Airborne84 (talk) 14:44, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
No prob. It's up at GAN now czar  15:51, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Telengard/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Indrian (talk · contribs) 17:49, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

Nice to see a lesser known blast from the past get a little love on Wikipedia. I will be happy to evaluate this one. Detailed comments to follow shortly. Indrian (talk) 17:49, 2 September 2014 (UTC)

@Indrian, excellent. Looking forward to your review. czar  01:13, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

@CzarSorry it took so long for me to return to this; things got crazy at work last week. Anyway, there are only a few small things to address, so we should have this in order pretty quickly.


 Done Right now, the lead does not really summarize the "reception" part of "Reception and Legacy."


  •  Done I do not believe the term "player character" is a hyphenate. Also, it looks like the second instance of the term is linked rather than the first.
  •  Done The lead and the development section indicate the initial platform was the PET, but the gamplay section refers to the initial version as being on the Apple II. I believe the point you are trying to get across is that all the early versions used character-based graphics, but the wording does not convey that concept properly.
  •  Done As written, the article could be interpreted to state that the attributes the player receives are random rather than the number of points in each attribute (so, some players get wisdom while others get charisma rather than some get a 7 in wisdom and some get a 16). It could be confusing for someone who does not know the D&D system. Also, I do not think the effects of the attributes should be relegated to a footnote. Best to just do a paragraph entirely on the attributes.
  •  Done Continuing with the above, I think a slight reorganization is in order for this section. I would take the monster difficulty and permadeath info out of the first paragraph, which would then be just about the basic game world, the graphics, and the sound. Then paragraph two as above discussing the attributes with the info moved out of the footnote. Then paragraph three can include the combat, spell, treasure, monster, and coding info currently found in paragraph two along with the monster difficulty and permadeath info from paragraph one. This would keep like information together and lead to less jumping around within paragraphs.
  • Speaking of coding info, perhaps one or two examples are in order.


  •  Done All the dev info looks fine, but I would be careful about some of the influence info. Lawrence himself is not a reliable source for whom he influenced since he does not have first-hand knowledge. Indeed, Apshai was released in 1979 and while it is theoretically possible that Connelley or Freeman saw the PDP-10 version, this has never been indicated. Wizardry, meanwhile, was clearly inspired by the 3D dungeon crawls on PLATO (particularly Oubliette from which it even borrowed many spell names).
  • In the same vein, Barton's contention that the game was inspired by the Whisenhunt and Wood dnd game is also unlikely. There is no indication that Lawrence was ever working with the PLATO system (I don't know if Purdue even had a PLATO terminal), and of course he denies seeing the game. I think Barton's claim comes from an old belief that dnd and DND were actually the same game or variations of the same game due to the names when in fact we now know they were distinct products.
    • I was looking into this some more, and it appears that back in 2008, this article was edited to claim that Lawrence saw the game at the PLATO lab in Purdue and also during a visit to the University of Illinois and therefore based his game on the original. None of it was sourced to verifiable sources, however. So it might be okay to leave the Barton claim and the Lawrence denial in there. Indrian (talk) 19:11, 8 September 2014 (UTC)


 Done "Some of the game's dungeon features, such as altars, fountains, teleportation cubes, and thrones, were adopted by later games such as Tunnels of Doom, and 1982's Sword of Fargoal had similar features to Telengard." No need for this to be a compound sentence. It would probably be better to split them and expand the Fargoal sentence with an example or two of features.

And that's it. There really is not that much work needed -- it basically comes down to reorganizing one section and reevaluating some info in another -- so it should not take too long to whip it into shape. Therefore, I will place the nomination On hold as we work things out. Indrian (talk) 15:14, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Many thanks for the review! Czar may dig in sooner, but it may be this coming weekend before I can make the fixes. Airborne84 (talk) 18:02, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
You're welcome :) I did not realize this was a joint nom (the templates don't really account for that), or I would have pinged you too. I am in no rush, so take as much time as you need. The templates say seven days, but as long as the nominator and reviewer are in agreement the review can go longer. Indrian (talk) 18:21, 8 September 2014 (UTC)
  • @Indrian, thanks for the review. I think I got everything. Some responses: The article didn't expand on specific similarities with Sword of Fargoal so I left it as is. And I didn't use Lawrence as a RS for whom he influenced—I phrased it as his own thoughts as a self-published source. I prefer to hyphenate player-character even though I know the standard is to leave them separate. I find that the unhyphenated phrase trips me up and I think of it as a compound noun anyway. IAR? I changed it to your preference. I don't have examples of the coding from RS without OR, and I don't think the reorganization (or stats paragraph) is necessary unless you absolutely insist. Let me know what you think? czar  22:24, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
@Indrian, ping czar  16:25, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@Czar:So sorry. The last two weeks at work have been spectacularly crazy, but now that life is back to normal, I am returning to my other projects in earnest. Your changes have satisfied most of my concerns, and I also just made a couple of tweaks myself as well. I still have two concerns, however, one minor and one major. First, I am still a little uncomfortable at the amount of information you have placed into footnotes. I do not know that there is a policy against it or anything, but in an article this short, it sure feels like if its important enough to include in the article at all, the info can be included in the body. That said, recent FA Grand Theft Auto V includes lots of notes, so if you think keeping that info in a notes section is the right call, I will defer to your judgement.
I cannot pass this article in good conscience, however, with the info from Lawrence himself on the influence of his game. This info does not meet the criteria required for an SPS, as Lawrence is not "an established expert on the subject matter." Being a game creator does not automatically make him a game historian. Lawrence is also not serving as a "Self-published or questionable source as a source on himself" because he is making claims about third parties, i.e. that his game was an influence on the work of others. Simply put, Dan Lawrence is not a reliable source on the influence of his game, that is a question for historians and the other game creators themselves.
Once these final points are resolved, I will be happy to pass this article. Indrian (talk) 17:20, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
No sweat on the delay. I'll look into your other points, but to be clear, you're talking about

Lawrence wrote that his Telengard "predated" early computer role-playing games including Temple of Apshai and Wizardry and that he felt that his game inspired those that followed.

yes? This isn't a claim about the influence of his game (i.e., "Telengard inspired X") but a comment on how the developer saw the legacy of his game. Anyone reading it will not take him as an expert in influence but see that the developer thought highly of his legacy. I could just kill the sentence—I'm not wedded to it—but I think it would be interesting to note how the developer saw the legacy of his own game. I put it this way because I thought it was best. czar  17:28, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
I would think almost everyone thinks highly of their own legacy; we humans do tend to be self-centered after all. It's not Lawrence's place, however, to articulate that legacy; that's what we have critics and historians for. I understand why you find his claim interesting, but it is just not encyclopedic absent independent notability (like, for example, Al Gore's claims relating to the Internet that spawned so much controversy). Indrian (talk) 17:38, 20 September 2014 (UTC)
@Indrian, it was less that it was surprising and more registering his stake in the underreported ancient history of computer games (and because Barton later says it's hard for an unreleased game to influence released games. Anyway, it's gone. And I merged some of the notes, where I felt it was workable. (I prefer to relegate peripheral information to the footnotes, but I could see where some of those perhaps peripheral things would be helpful to have in the body.) Let me know what you think? czar  17:09, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

@Czar:@Airborne84:Well that review took longer than I had planned, but I do think it was relatively painless. Apologies for my contributions to the delays. Anyway, after the latest changes and a light copyedit by yours truly, I believe this article is ready for promotion. Well done! Indrian (talk) 18:12, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Thanks a lot! Airborne84 (talk) 18:48, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

DYK nomination[edit]

{{Did you know nominations/Telengard}} czar  17:08, 5 October 2014 (UTC)


In this diff, 68.57 asks whether Appelcline worked for Computer Gaming World. I think it was a typo from when Appelcline was first introduced to the article. Wanted to clarify. @BOZ? czar  20:36, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

Reviewing that, it was definitely an error on my part. I have no idea if Appelcline ever wrote for Computer Gaming World. That said, I will share what exactly is said in the book, so that you can judge the merits of it. Regarding early computer RPGS: "There was also ongoing development on other platforms, such as Daniel Lawrence’s DND (1977), which was written for the TOPS-10 operating system. All of these early games tended to feature characters killing monsters for experience points in dungeons. Surprisingly, some of them featured graphics, including wireframe drawings of dungeon corridors." Regarding Avalon Hill: "However, when they began to move into the RPG field in 1982, they also started considering computer roleplaying games (CRPGs). Telengard (1982) was actually one of the first CRPGs professionally produced by anyone; it was a D&D-derived game that had originally been programmed back in 1976 on a PDP-10." BOZ (talk) 00:41, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

More reviews[edit]

From, I haven't found/added these sources yet:

  • Avalon Hill's Heroes Magazine, May 1984, Volume 1, Number 1
  • The Space Gamer Magazine, December 1982, Number 58
  • Creative Computing, Sept 1983, Volume 9, Number 9

czar  07:53, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks! I'll look into them in the coming weeks and see what they can add! --Airborne84 (talk) 11:54, 26 October 2014 (UTC)
The first article is reprinted in full text at It also notes at the bottom that Telengard was covered in the March 1984 issue of "Playboy" magazine: "[Lawrence's] efforts were praised in the "Diversions" column in the March issue of Playboy. 'Telengard is one of the most powerful examples of the challenging diversions your computer can offer these days.'" Airborne84 (talk) 10:43, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
The third is hard to find, but the full text is at this URL: Telengard is at the bottom. Interestingly, it has a comparison between Telengard and Wizardry. Airborne84 (talk) 10:51, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Game Spells[edit]

The game spells are apparently not encyclopedic, at least under Wikipedia's current policies for games. However, it occurred to me that the chart of Telengard spells in the article text was the only place, web or print, that all the spells were listed together in one place. The game manual lists the first two levels only. There is a website that lists all the spells within the game code, so it is verifiable, but it is laborious to pull them all out.

In any case, I will list them here on the talk page in case they are ever of use in the future to a reader or otherwise. Airborne84 (talk) 10:35, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5 Level 6
Magic Missile Web Lightning Bolt Pass Wall Teleport Time Stop
Sleep Levitate Cure Serious Wounds Fireball Astral Walk Raise Dead
Cure Light Wounds Cause Light Wounds Continual Light Cause Serious Wounds Power Word Kill Holy Symbol
Light Detect Traps Invisibility Flesh to Stone Ice Storm Word of Recall
Turn Undead Charm Hold Monster Fear Wall of Fire Restoration
Protection from Evil Strength Phantasmal Force Finger of Death Plague Prismatic Wall