I’ve read three different independent reviews lately that all said Dandy was a Gauntlet clone. Not true, my inner ATARI-Geek shouted. In fact the exact opposite is (more or less) possibly true; because, if anything; the mighty Gauntlet is in fact a Dandy clone.
Originally adorned with the snappy title of ‘Thesis of Terror’ and written in 1982 by Jack Palevich's for his bachelor's thesis at MIT. The game was based on the cellular automaton principles displayed in John Conway's Game of Life, and wasn’t especially produced with a commercial goal in mind.
The system designed for running the game was a two-part affair. With a file-server program running on a Hewlett Packard Workstation, which supplied the maps data, and a series of four Atari 8bit machines connected up as graphics-terminals through their serial ports, to display the graphical front-end.
The design of the game was very much based on, and influenced by, the Dungeons and Dragons role-play table-top systems of the time (although reportedly Palevich had never played D&D in his life!). Imaginative, yes… but not the type of setup most people could whip up in their bedrooms.