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


For many years, Art Canfil lived in Half Moon Bay, California and had a daughter named Adrianne. He later remarried to Rose Laguitnay and retired in the Philippines. Sadly, Art passed away on September 4, 2017. You may still be able to find his old Facebook page here.