''Archon: The Light and the Dark'' is a strategy game designed by Paul Reiche III and Jon Freeman and programmed by Anne Westfall (whose production company was [[{{Portmanteau}} Freefall Software]]), originally released in 1983 for UsefulNotes/Atari8BitComputers and later ported to other computer systems (as well as the UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem). The game is very similar to chess, but instead of piece capturing being automatic, when two pieces meet on the same square, they are transported into a two-dimensional arena where they have to fight for survival.

Each side is given eighteen units - seventeen fighters and one spell-casting piece. The game ends when one side eliminates the other side's fighters, or if one side takes control of all five designated "power points" (flashing squares on the board that can't be targeted by magic). There are also light and dark squares on both sides of the board, as well as color-neutral squares that cycle between light and dark as the game goes on. Units that are fought on squares of their color get a HP advantage, while units on opposites colors (e.g. a dark unit on a light square) have their hit points reduced. Careful unit placement and type matching are essential to claiming victory over your opponent.

The sequel, ''Archon II: Adept'', was more complex and focused on the four elements rather than light and dark. The game did not fare nearly as well as its predecessor. ''Archon III: Exciter'' was a FanSequel that tweaked ''Adept'', and was fairly slow-paced and buggy.

Not to be confused with VideoGame/{{Achron}}.
! This game contains examples of:
* AntiMagic: Any unit standing on a "power point" cannot be targeted by magic spells.
* CastFromHitPoints: The Wizard and Sorceress start with seven spells each. Every time they use one, it takes a little bit away from their maximum HP when they enter combat.
* CreatorCouple: Jon Freeman and Anne Westfall. [[invoked]]
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: While very difficult, killing a high-level piece with a Knight or Goblin is immensely satisfying.
* DittoFighter: The Shapeshifter takes on the form and attributes of whatever Light-side piece it is fighting against.
** Which can result in some [[PaddedSumoGameplay stunningly dull fights]], such as having a Light Phoenix vs. Dark Phoenix battle.
* TheDragon: The Dark forces have a literal Dragon, who is more powerful in every way than any of the other Dark pieces, including their leader, the Sorceress. The equivalent for the Light forces is the Djinni. The Shapeshifter for Dark and the Phoenix for Light could also qualify as their respective side's Dragons, but the Phoenix's lack of attack range and the fact that the Shapeshifter is only ever as strong as its opponent made them just a little too quirky to be real mobile slaughterhouses.
* DynamicDifficulty: In ''Compute!'s Gazette'' November 1984 page 54, [[WordOfGod Jon Freeman]] states that there was a difficulty factor that is not visible to the user. However, it's not noticeable because it adjusts in little increments.
** In extreme cases some aspects of this ''are'' noticeable. For example, load up the sequel, lose one initial game to the AI badly enough, play Chaos in a rematch, and for your first fight attack a high-end piece with the [[MightyGlacier tough but far too slow]] Behemoth; you'll find your enemy freezing to telegraph each attack, hopefully letting you dodge and get in close.
* ElementalPowers: The "Summon Elemental" spell randomly calls forth a fire, water, wind, or earth elemental to fight the enemy.
* GeoEffects: One side is stronger when the battle square is light and the other is strong when it's dark.
* TheGoomba: Knights and Goblins have the lowest HP and shortest attack range of all pieces, and are generally at the mercy of any unit with a ranged attack.
* GlassCannon: The Unicorn. It was fast, shot fast bullets, but had relatively low hit points for a high level unit.
* MakeMeWannaShout: The banshee can use its voice to attack while moving around.
* MightyGlacier: The Golems, Trolls and Earth Elementals are the slowest-moving pieces in the game, but they also have some of the highest HP ratings.
* PaddedSumoGameplay: Banshee vs. Phoenix or Dark Phoenix vs. Light Phoenix.
* SpiritualSuccessor:
** ''VideoGame/WrathUnleashed'', released in 2004 for UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 and UsefulNotes/XBox.
** A 1994 DOS game called ''Dark Legions'' was basically hailed as a much improved ''Archon''
* TeleportersAndTransporters: The "Teleport" spell allows a character to move one unit on top of another, while the "Exchange" spell allows them to swap two units' positions (they have to be on opposing sides for it to work). The Wizard and Sorceress themselves move about by teleporting instead of walking or flying like most other pieces.
* VideoGameRemake: ''Archon Classic,'' an independently-developed revival released in 2010 which includes a Conquest mode (story mode), power-ups, and the ability for your units to level up after victories.