Hamurabi (1971)

by Christopher
5 minutes read


Hamurabi (1971): A Classic Text-Based Strategy Game

Hamurabi is a text-based strategy game that was originally written in FOCAL in 1968 and ported to BASIC in 1971. It is one of the earliest computer games, and it remains a popular and challenging game today.


The player takes on the role of Hammurabi, the ruler of Babylonia. The goal of the game is to manage the kingdom’s land, resources, and population for 10 years. The player can buy and sell land, purchase grain, and decide how much grain to release to the kingdom. The player must also deal with random events, such as floods, droughts, and plagues.

The game is played in turns. Each turn, the player is given a report on the kingdom’s status, including the amount of land, grain, and population. The player can then make a number of decisions, such as how much land to buy or sell, how much grain to purchase, and how much grain to release to the kingdom.

The player’s decisions have a direct impact on the kingdom’s prosperity. If the player makes wise decisions, the kingdom will prosper and the population will grow. However, if the player makes poor decisions, the kingdom will suffer and the population will decline.


Hamurabi is a classic game that has been enjoyed by generations of gamers. It is a challenging and rewarding experience that is still worth playing today. The game has been praised for its simple yet addictive gameplay, and it has been cited as an influence on many later strategy games.

Historical Context

Hamurabi was released in 1971, at a time when computer games were still in their infancy. Most games of the time were simple arcade games, but Hamurabi was one of the first games to offer a more complex and strategic experience.

The game was inspired by the Code of Hammurabi, a set of laws that were created by the Babylonian king Hammurabi in the 18th century BC. The Code of Hammurabi was one of the first written codes of law, and it had a major impact on the development of Western law.

Hamurabi the game is not a direct simulation of the Code of Hammurabi, but it does share some similarities with the code. For example, the game’s emphasis on justice and fairness is reminiscent of the Code of Hammurabi’s focus on protecting the rights of all citizens.

Cultural Impact

Hamurabi has had a significant cultural impact. The game has been featured in numerous books and articles, and it has been used as a teaching tool in schools and universities. The game has also been parodied and imitated in popular culture.

For example, the game was featured in the 1983 film WarGames. In the film, the character David Lightman (played by Matthew Broderick) uses Hamurabi to simulate a nuclear war. The game’s simple yet addictive gameplay has also made it a popular choice for parodies and homages.


Hamurabi is a classic game that has stood the test of time. It is a challenging and rewarding experience that is still worth playing today. The game’s simple yet addictive gameplay, its historical context, and its cultural impact make it a truly unique and special game.

Tips for Playing Hamurabi

  • Start with a small kingdom. It is easier to manage a small kingdom than a large kingdom.
  • Buy land early on. Land is the most important resource in the game, so it is important to buy as much land as you can afford early on.
  • Don’t overspend on grain. Grain is important, but it is not as important as land. Don’t spend more than you can afford on grain.
  • Be prepared for random events. Random events can have a significant impact on the game, so it is important to be prepared for them.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. There is no one right way to play Hamurabi. Experiment with different strategies to find what works best for you.

Additional Information

  • Developer: Doug Dyment
  • Publisher: Edu-Ware Services
  • Release Date: 1971
  • Platforms: BASIC, FOCAL
  • Genre: Strategy, simulation

Review Score


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More