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Playing the Apple I port of the game.

Hamurabi is a management simulator developed by Doug Dyment and first released on the PDP-8 in 1968 under the title The Sumer Game. Dyment was inspired to make the game after seeing an electro-mechanical educational game from 1964 called The Sumerian Game. The game was originally written in FOCAL but was ported into BASIC in 1971 and was then published in 101 BASIC Games which caused it to become quite popular and be ported to many different early computer platforms and influence several games of a similar nature including Kingdom.

In the game, you rule a Sumerian town and make yearly decisions about buying and selling land and using grain for food or planting. Your goal is to survive ten years coping with low-yield crops and occasional plagues while also trying to increase the population and the area of the town.


I had played the game Kingdom when I was younger, but didn't know it was inspired by this game. I probably saw variations of Hamurabi as well, but made no attempt to play it because I assumed it would be pretty dull. After discovering that it was one of the very first management simulators ever made, I decided to try it out. It is dull, but I beat the 1984 Commodore 64 port on 2022-08-10 with a decent result. I also beat the Apple I port on 2022-08-10 with the best result.


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— This section contains spoilers! —


  • It's one of the very first popular video games ever made.
  • It teaches the player resource management and basic math skills.


  • With a maximum of only 10 turns, the game is really short.
  • It would be nice if you didn't have to do all the math outside of the game. Saving people time on math is what computers are supposed to do best. Later versions added some more complexity, but not enough to keep things interesting for long.


  • The game is quite boring. Aside from a few fluctuating values, the only other thing that occurs is the occasional plague. Once you develop a decent strategy, you can just apply that to the game until you get favorable random results to get a high score.




Because Hamurabi was released as open source, I'm including it here. This download includes the source of eight different ports and compiled versions of several.


Language Native Transliteration Translation
English (Original) The Sumer Game
English (101 BASIC Computer Games) HMRABI
English (DEC FOCAL) King of Sumeria
German (Commodore 64) Hamurabi von Babylon Hamurabi of Babylon
English (Commodore 64 - 1984) Hammurabi


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