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What is Core Wars?

Core Wars is a game played by two or more programs (and vicariously by their authors) written in an assembly language called Redcode and run in a virtual computer called MARS (for Memory Array Redcode Simulator). The object of the game is to cause all processes of the opposing program to terminate, leaving your program in sole possession of the machine.

Popularized in May, 1984 by A. K. Dewdney's column in "Scientific American" magazine, this was actually devised by Victor Vyssotsky, Robert Morris Sr., and Doug McIlroy in the early 1960s (their original game, quite different from Core Wars, but sharing some similarities, was called "Darwin" and ran on an IBM 7090 at Bell Labs). -- The Jargon Dictionary

Core Wars Web Sites

There is an "International Core War Society" that was set up by A. K. Dewdney shortly after his May 1984 article appeared in Scientific American.  The purpose of the Society is to document and standardize Redcode.  Its first leader was Mark Clarkson.  More recently, I received an email from William R. Buckley, who is a Director Emeritus of the International Core Wars Society.  Neither of these gentlemen are currently involved in Core Wars.

Koth.Org is one of the longest running, and most up to date source of info on Corewars.

John Metcalf has a fairly current rundown of the significant events in the world of Core Wars over the past twenty years or so, including some suggested extensions to Redcode.

Anton Marsden ( has posted a lot of information on his web site, including a Beginner's Guide to Redcode (was written by Ilmari Karonen that describes the language and gives plenty of examples of its use.  According to Mr. Marsden, the Usenet news group has a (obsolete reference: "") FAQ on the subject.

Scott Manley/ has a web site called Core War: My guide to the game in which he claims to be a beginner -- watch out!  He may be a Core Wars Shark!

Greg Lindahl posted an article in 1994 called Modern Core Wars in which he outlines five main strategies for winning: bombing, scanning, the Imp-Spiral, the replicator, and the vampire.  For more information about Core Wars, consult the FAQ posting, or ftp to

John Perry ( wrote Core Wars Genetics: The Evolution of Predation in 1991 to test the "genetics of artificial life".  He shows how random code can evolve into successful Core War programs in only a few generations.

Greg Lindahl ( Lists information about a King-of-the-hill (KotH) tournament on his web site which links to
    The Pizza Server Corewar Home Page
Unfortunately, it looks to me like this web site has been dead since 1994.  King Of The Hill (KotH) is an ongoing Core War tournament available to anyone with email. You enter by submitting via email a Redcode program with special comment lines. You will receive a reply indicating how well your program did against the current top twenty-five programs "on the hill".