Ever wondered why your computer acts a bit funny on occasions, or even worse, crashes at certain times? I’ll tell you a secret. But first, sit down and take a deep breath. Ok. The secret? There’s someone living inside your computer!
And that someone wants your attention, hence those problems you sometimes experience while using your computer. And he’s not alone, he’s got a little dog, too. All he’s asking you to do is to take care of both of them…
Little Computer People, released by Activision in 1985, is the spiritual predecessor of one of the most popular game franchises, The Sims. But unlike Maxis’ best seller, Little Computer People is not a game per se, and can be better described as an 8-Bit Tamagotchi simulator (and that a whole decade before the first Tamagotchis appeared). You don’t really control your little inhabitant in a traditional sense, but communicate with him1 via text input, and even then he might just ignore you, depending on his mood and personality.
Speaking of personality, every copy of the game had its own unique character on it, who not only looked, but also acted differently than a character on someone else’s copy.
The whole game consists of a single screen, a side view of a house, divided into several rooms. Each room contains a number of things he can use to entertain himself (mine loves to play the piano).
Now, this ‘game’ doesn’t really have a goal, and you more or less try to keep him in good spirits. To achieve that you can make sure he’s got enough food and water, give him new records or books or play cards with him. Occasionally you might want to know how he feels and can ask him to write a letter to you.
One can argue that Little Computer People was one of those titles which were ahead of their time. And truth to be told, it certainly was. And it’s one of those titles you either like or dismiss. Personally, I was always fascinated by it back in the 80’s, and while it’s not a game I could play (or, in this case, watch) for hours, I always come back to it, just to check if my computer inhabitant is alright.
[Edit: In case you’re wondering, my LCP is not warping through the house in the video below, I just cut some stuff out]
Whot Bob sez
Yeah, dem computas people. I called mine Bob, which is Bob backwards. Always wondered why dat guy never did what I told him to do. Well, until I found out I never said dat ‘Please‘ word, ha. And dem letters he wrote me, ‘Dear friend…‘. Yeah, I mean, listen… you occupy my computas and live in dere. C’mon, I’m technically your landlord, y’know. Should charge you for dat, ha. Bye.
- All generated characters are male. ↩