About Taipan

The original version of the game was programmed by Art Canfil in 1979 using a TRS-80. However, the better-known commercial release was published by Avalanche Productions and ran on the Apple ][. Trivia buffs will note that the Apple port was coded by Ronald J. Berg of Mega-micro Computers, a hidden snippet that's revealed by reading the data value of memory location USR(34).

Art Canfil co-authored a book that gives not only the TRS-80 code but also some excellent background information. The illustrations were done by Chrisann Brennan, former girlfriend of Steve Jobs, and mother of Jobs' daughter Lisa — the namesake of the forerunner of the Macintosh.

Art Canfil relates: "A few months after it [Avalanche's version of Taipan] came out, I was invited to the founding party for Electronic Arts. This was held in the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco. While there, I saw and shook hands with and introduced myself to Steve Wozniak, one of the main original investors in EA. He's long been one of my heroes. He didn't know who I was. But apparently someone told him, for a few minutes later he came running up and shook MY hand and said, 'Taipan's my favorite game!' One of the highpoints of my life."

Unfortunately, Art never made a cent from the Avalanche release.


Batavia is the old Dutch name for present-day Jakarta.

Suggested Reading

"Tai-Pan", James Clavell, 1966

"Taipan: A Historical Adventure for the Apple Computer", Art Canfil, Jim McClenahan, & Karl Albrecht, 1986

Art Canfil is on Facebook

Art Canfil has retired and now lives near Taipan Port #5. You can find him on Facebook here.