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Little Computer People

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Released: 1987

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Activision

Developer: David Crane

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

Before the sprawling monster that is ‘The Sims’ there were ‘Little Computer People’. Back in ’87 Activision encouraged us to believe that they had discovered little people living in our computers.

The ‘House-on-a Disk’ was created with the express aim of coaxing out these little people into a house on your computer screen. Hence thus, after booting up your disk for the first time you are presented with an empty three story house on screen. After a few minutes your Little Computer Person (LCP) appears through the front door and takes several minutes to check out his new dwelling before getting his suitcase and moving in proper.

Your LCP generally does his own thing about the house; he watches TV, listens to his record collection, reads the newspaper, operates his computer and will even exercise when his mood takes him. Food and water are supplied through keyboard controls, as are a series of ‘mood boosters’ such as petting your LCP, giving books and records as gifts and letting him receive a phone call. Little Computer Person will also play games with you including poker and an anagram game, and from time to time will type out a letter to you expressing his feelings and desires. You can also attempt to communicate with the LCP by typing in requests through the keyboard.

Each disk contains a unique LCP with his own name, distinct appearance, and general attitude. Once the disk has been booted up that’s it, you’re stuck with him, although Activision do helpfully suggest in the manual that an additional disk may be purchased to coax out another LCP from your computer (nice marketing ploy there).

There’s no specific aim to Little Computer People other than to keep your LCP happy and well fed, and in that respect it’s more akin to those Tamagotchi things, although there must have been major influences here in the creation of  the concept of ‘The Sims’.

Totally pointless, but strangely charming and compelling, a landmark piece of software in that for the first time game-play was totally open ended in terms of  any specific aims.