Yeah, it only affects certain systems (and maybe only MSVC, I don't know). It works fine for me on all my Win 8.1 machines, and in Wine apparently, but not in XP.
I will try to do some more troubleshooting to diagnose it.
Update: Here's my allegro.log up to the crash:
system I system.c:261 al_install_system [ 0.01363] Allegro version: 5.1.10 (WIP)
system D wsystem.c:346 win_get_joystick_driver [ 0.15541] Selected combined XInput/DirectInput joystick driver.
system W wsystem.c:729 _al_win_safe_load_library [ 0.19493] PathFindOnPath failed to find xinput1_4.dll
system W wsystem.c:729 _al_win_safe_load_library [ 0.19524] PathFindOnPath failed to find xinput1_3.dll
xinput E wjoyxi.c:249 load_xinput_module [ 0.19529] Failed to load XInput library. Library is not installed.
So it fails to load XInput and dies.
Edit: Aaannd I found it. wjoyxi.c, function joyxi_init_joystick():
529 int index;
533 /* Create the mutex and two condition variables. */
joyxi_mutex = al_create_mutex_recursive();
535 if (!
536 return false;
joyxi_cond = al_create_cond();
538 // ...
It doesn't check the return value of load_xinput_module() and attempts to continue after initialization fails.
another edit: It also crashes initializing audio if there is no sound card installed. I found this out trying to run under Hyper-V, which has no audio support.