REVIEW: LITTLE COMPUTER PEOPLE (HOUSE-ON-A-DISK)
by Richard Karsmakers
Originally published in ST NEWS Volume 1 Issue 1, launched on July
This program is indeed the only one in its class. Back on the
Commodore 64 this program also aroused good criticism, and we're
sure it will on the ST (or any computer, for that matter) as well.
The program is written by some of the authors of Activision. One
of them was David Crane, noted on the 64 for "Ghostbusters" (did
you know that "Ghostbusters II" will be ready soon on the 64?) and
"Pitfall II". The target of the game (is it a game or not?!?) is
to communicate as well as possible with the person that's living
inside your computer. You simply make him live in the "House-on-
a-Disk". His character and his mood can be changed by the things
that you do with him. For example, you should always be nice and
patient, and you should never win to many times with cards. The
game is very nice, and it's a pity that it only works on color
monitors and computers with either a megabyte memory or TOS on
ROM. When the game starts, you are asked for your name. The little
person who'll come to live in the house will call you by that name
(although he will sometimes - very uncivilized - just knock on the
inside of the screen to get your attention). Once he has entered,
you can start giving him commands, but watch out: he's also got a
will of his own and he'll often do things you haven't asked him to
do. The little person - he's called Timothy, but that can vary
depending on the version you have - loves playing cards and it is
also very important to supply him with a large enough quantity of
water. You can fill his water bottle (in the kitchen) by pressing
Control and "W" simultaneously several times. You can ask him to
"please drink", but normally he'll do it just when he's thirsty.
Did you notice? It's a "he", so no emancipation - yet - in the
computer world. As far as I know, there are no versions with
female inhabitors (what fun that would be if suddenly she would
take a shower and forget to draw the curtain!).
At night (you give in the time as well as the time of year at the
starting of each game) he just sleeps and sleeps. If you want to
wake him, press Control and A simultaneously (the Alarm bell will
ring, the guy will get out of bed, put it off, and go back into
bed). Don't do it too often, because his moods are SAVEd to disk
every time he disappeares from your sight (behind a door or so)
and next time the game'll begin with the mood last SAVEd to disk.
Oh yes: never write protect a disk, otherwise the game will lock
up in most cases.
To please the little person, call him sometimes (by pressing
control and C), give him presents (control-B = book;control-R =
record;control-D = dogfood;control F = human food) and pet him a
little. You can only pet him (by pressing control and P a few
times) when he's in his chair besides the chimney, reading a paper
or just sitting.
Sometimes, the little person will put on a record and he'll start
to dance - but that depends on his mood. Sometimes, he does
exercises in his bedroom and sometimes he plays the piano. You can
ofcourse ask him to do these things, like "please dance","please
put on a record" or "please play the piano".
The game offers very nice details. Whe he feeds the dog, he'll put
the spare dogfood in the fridge, and next time he'll take it from
the fridge. When he's happy he smiles and when he's unhappy or
sick he turns green and looks very unhappy as well. He can also
cook a meal, which is amazingly (watch out for my choice of words)
real. After he has done some sanitary relaxation, he sometimes
washes his hands (on the Commodore 64, my version used to do it
every time!) and after diner or lunch he also brushes his teeth.
Every once in a while, the little person goes to sit behind his
typerwriter to write you a letter. He then talks about "throwing
parties", "teaching his dog a few tricks" and about "filled or
empty water bottles". You can also ask him to write a letter.
But the little computer people can do much more. What about
programming his computer (in his letters he sometimes talks about
little people in HIS computer), taking a shower, listening to the
stereo installation, watching television, phoning, eating,
lighting the fire, going out, and playing games? He can actually
play five different games (on the Commodore 64, it were three
games): Poker, Card War, Anagrams, Word Puzzle and another card
game that slipped our minds.
A very nice game for all those people who think they can get more
out of their computers and who like a little bit of artificial
intelligence. It's a fourth dimension in interactive arcade-
Game Rating (1-10)
During attractiveness 9
Set Up 9
Overall Rating 8
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.