Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Hidden Gems 2005 Volume 1

Yes! I'm back and Hiddens Gems is back, and for the first entry of the New Year I've chose a game that is more retro than usual (if you can actually call it a game).

It is Little Computer People on the Commodore 64 (I believe it may have been on the Spectrum and Amstrad as well, but this is the version I played so many years ago. Basically, when the game loaded up you were faced with the profile view of a house, with all the usual rooms and furniture that you'd expect. After a while, the front door would open and a little man would walk in, along with his pet dog.

From that point on, it was up to you, the "owner" of this LCP, to take care of his wellbeing and make sure he is happy. You don't have direct control over him, instead you type in commands and if he feels like it (or indeed understands you) he will carry them out. Sometimes he will just stand there and shake his fist indignantly at the screen if he doesn't approve of what you ask him to do.

Activities included feeding the dog, brushing his teeth (the man, not the dog), going to the toilet, playing the piano, playing some records (and dancing, badly), writing a letter (to the player of the game) and many more. Even though this little chap is merely a collection of code in a computer, you really start to care of him. Those with a mean streak could think up ways of separating him from his food though, and eventually he would become ill, turn blue and possibly even die.

So is it a game or not? Hard to say really, but one thing's for sure, it certainly is a whole lot of fun. Also, I'm not sure whether this game had a direct influence on EA's The Sims, but you can't help but notice the similarities.

The ROM of the game can be downloaded from www.c64.com along with a C64 emulator if you wish to experience the game for yourself. It's a charming little "game" that was way ahead of it's time.

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