Title: Little Computer People
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision
Year: 1985
Platforms: Commodore 64, Apple IIgs, Amiga
Genre: Person simulator
Players: One player

Long before The Sims was invented, even before the Tamagotchi craze, a strange little programme was released on the Commodore 64, way back in 1985. It wasn't exactly a game with puzzles or a goal to complete, but was certainly interactive and entertaining. The premise was simple enough: inside every computer was a little person, and this software provided a tiny house for your little computer person to consider moving into. Thus, a new genre was born.

Game details

First released as the Little Computer People Discovery Kit, this game was available on 5.25" floppy disk only, priced £14.99. Each disk had a unique serial number which affected the name, appearance, clothes and even personality of the little computer person, so no two copies of the game were alike. It was later re-released on tape at a much more affordable £2.99, although it can actually fetch more than its RRP today on online auction sites.

The house

As the house is used to entice the shy person into talking to you, it's important that it has all the latest mod cons. Indeed, it contains everything you'd expect like a bed, alarm clock, comfy seats, TV, record player, shower, cooker and fireplace, and even has a piano and a computer for the person to play on.

Depending on which version of the game you have, your little computer person may look radically different to other people's. They all have a pet dog, though, and the game is almost worth buying just to see the dog happily running around and sleeping by the fireplace.

Controls

So just how do you interact with the person living inside your computer? The following methods are available:

  • Control + A Ring the alarm clock
  • Control + B Deliver a book
  • Control + C Get someone to phone the little computer person
  • Control + D Deliver dog food
  • Control + F Deliver regular food
  • Control + P Pet the little computer person, or let them know you want to pet them
  • Control + R Deliver a record
  • Control + W Put more water in the water tank

In addition to these commands, you can also use the keyboard to talk to your little computer person. For example, you can ask them to play the piano for you, or play a game with you. Remember to be polite and say please and thank you.

Playability

Knowing how to interact with your little computer person is all well and good, but would you actually want to? Is this the kind of game you'd like to play? It's hard to tell without actually spending a few minutes with the programme yourself. Certainly nothing beforehand was comparable to it, and it's not really a game in that your only responsibility is to take good care of the person inside your computer. However, if you like quirky novelties or the idea of interacting with a sort of electronic pet, it can certainly be fun, charming and even give you a few surprises. Overall, I'd recommend it to anyone into the quirkier side of gaming.

Sources: http://www.caps-project.org/cache/LittleComputerPeopleHistory.txt, http://www.zzap64.co.uk/zzap7/lcp.html

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.