A Tribute to Corewar

Illustration for article titled A Tribute to Corewar

There is no way in hell I could ever "play" it - my programming days ended with BASIC. But Corewar always intrigued me, because it was the closest thing to real-life Tron I could imagine.


Corewar, a game which celebrates the 25th anniversary of its public debut this month, was pure gladiatorial combat in the arena of the processor, enjoying its peak sometime in the mid-1990s. In Corewar, human users wrote programs built to take over a virtual computer's memory (the core) and wipe out all other programs running on it.

This provided an infinite variety of programs, executing instructions and countering others, in a kind of Darwinian lesson about experimentation, mutation and survival of the fittest. The blog Tech Tinkering marked Corewar's silver anniversary with a rundown of some of the basic battle program archetypes, which of course the competition's most successful programmers modified and turned into more sophisticated code. The 19 common instructions of the Redcode language are listed and explained, along with the IMP and DWARF combatants. And, of course, the wars still rage on, so links to tutorials, guides, and competitions are provided.

If anyone here programmed Redcode and competed in Corewars, by all means, share your stories in the comments. It still strikes me as one of the most challenging, and fundamentally simple gaming experiences that can be had.

An Introduction to Corewar [Tech Tinkering]


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