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  My Experiences with Little Computer People
 
 

As Relayed by Julian Rignall

When Gary came back from Activision a few months ago and told me of these 'Little Computer People' he'd seen, I thought he'd been consuming large quantities of alcohol during his visit. When one arrived in the office and I actually saw it, I became somewhat less cynical. I was informed that this particular Little Computer Person's name was Adam and that he was a friendly little soul.

I thought I'd try to acquaint myself with him on a personal basis, so I slipped into the back room and swiped a disk drive. Once I'd set the time and date etc, Adam's two and a half storey maisonette appeared on the screen. Shortly thereafter, Adam, dressed in trendy baseball cap, drains, sweatshirt and Nikes, strolled in from behind a door, gave me a big smile and settled down in his comfortable easy chair.

Well after such a friendly introduction, how could I show Adam that I liked him? I remembered that Computer People love to be petted, so I pressed the relevant keys and watched with some amusement as a little hand appeared and patted Adam gently on the back of the head. He then gave me a huge smile, leaned back in his chair and, crossing his legs, made himself comfortable. After petting him for a while I thought I'd better introduce myself.

'Hello, I'm Julian, pleased to meet you', I said.

Adam turned towards me, gave me another Cheshire cat grin and nodded in appreciation. 'He likes me!', I thought, and asked him to 'Please play a record for me'. This inspired him to trot upstairs, switch on his record player and put on a piece from Master of the Lamps! I was quite astounded, even more so when he started dancing!

Over the two days following I became very attached to Adam and felt quite saddened and annoyed at being evicted from the keyboard every time Gary wanted to take his turn. I was even more distressed when I found out that Gary had 'accidentally' killed him. What an irresponsible prat! He was subsequently attacked by just about everyone in the office, and I think he's learned his lesson and will pay a little more attention to his new one. I can't wait to get my own Pet Person either, even if it means buying myself a disk drive!

   

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Little Computer People
1985 Activision
Programmed by David Crane
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the seventh issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (November 1985).
 

THE ACTIVISION
LITTLE COMPUTER PEOPLE DISCOVERY KIT

Activision, 14.99 disk only, keyboard only


NOVEMBER



THE ZZAP! 64 LITTLE COMPUTER PERSON RESEARCH TEAM REPORTS...

Prologue
It was only last month that we reported on the strangest computer-related phenomena yet seen -- Little Computer People. This month we bring you the first ever review of the finished product -- The Little Computer People Discovery Kit.

The program comes eloquently packaged, complete with the following items:

The Little Computer People House-on-a-Disk Research Software
This is a copy of the original two and a half storey house used by the research team. Activision guarantee that a Little Computer Person will be drawn out by each and every one.

The Computer Owner's Guide to Care of, and Communication with, Little Computer People
Once a Little Computer Person has moved in, you take on the responsibility of providing food, water and loving attention. This booklet gives you the basic details on how to start this interaction with your Little Computer Person.

A Deed of Ownership
This allows you to register your ownership with Activision, and thus become an official member of The Little Computer People Research Project.

A Special Edition of Modern Computer People Magazine
The humourous, full colour publication comes with every kit and reports on the history, habits and culture of Little Computer People.

Friday 13th September: Session One
At last! I received my very own Little Computer People Discovery Kit from Activision. In depth research will begin at once.

I eagerly attempt to boot the disk with little success until I realise that in my haste I forgot to turn on the disk drive. Seconds later the problem is resolved. Chug, whirr, yawn! Irrelevant Question: Why are Commodore disk drives so slow? Plausible Answer: Little Computer People can't run any faster!

After entering my name, the date, month, year and time, and waiting a further few minutes, the house finally appears. Great, except... No Pet Person. WHERE'S MY BLEEDIN' PET PERSON? Just how can I be expected to learn about Little Computer People when there aren't any. Humph!

Precisely two minutes of being incredibly disgruntled later, I come to the conclusion that David Crane (head of the Little Computer People research team) is completely out of his tree and Little Computer People don't really exist at all! Feeling somewhat miffed I decide to inform Activision of my theory when suddenly... The doorbell rings. Ah ha! It rings impatiently again and the front door flies open to reveal... YES! IT'S A LITTLE COMPUTER PERSON!

I can hardly contain my elation and proceed to dance around the building while the Little Person checks out his. Thankfully, everything seems to meet his approval as he searches through every drawer, door and cupboard in the place. Hold on he... He's leaving! Wait! Come back! Was it something that I said?

I needn't have worried, for he only went out to fetch a pet of his own -- a little pink dog! Great. Now that he seems to have settled in okay, I shall leave him in peace until tomorrow. Inane Question: Why do I feel so incredibly guilty about turning off the computer?

Friday 13th September: Session Two
I just couldn't wait until Saturday -- I had to see him again.

I load up the house for the second time, entering rudimentary details such as date, time etc in the process. Much to my relief he appears almost instantaneously, dog in tow.

'Please would you type me a letter', I ask tentatively. He turns to face me and shoots me a look that seems to cast doubt upon my sanity... But then he smiles and nods his head willingly before making his way jovially upstairs to the typewriter.

Searching through the filing cabinet beside the desk, he produces a piece of paper. Strolling casually round the table to the typewriter, he sits down and proceeds to hammer away on the keyboard at a frenzied pace.

Friday September 13, 1985 3.15 pm
Dear Friend,
I must say how pleased I am with my new home (etc)...
A dog really is a man's best friend.
Maybe I'll teach him a few tricks.
Yours Truly,
Adam

A name. He's got a name! My Pet Person is called Adam! This is a remarkable coincidence. The very first man... The very first Little Computer Person... Both called Adam! I turn the radio up and dance around the room with glee for the second time today, while Adam... While Adam does the same! He's obviously decided to try out his record player by playing a record of his own and is feverishly shaking his body down to the crazy sound of... I don't believe it -- Master of the Lamps! Wait a minute, what's he doing now? Moon-walking! Clapping! Brilliant!

Hmmm. I am sure that Adam's taste in music is rather narrow since he seems to play nothing other than Master of the Lamps. He did put Ghostbusters on once, but only for a few seconds, as when he realised what he'd done, he quickly whipped it off in disgust. Huh! I shall attempt to culture him by sending a couple of new albums in the near future.

Friday 13th September: Epilogue
As I lie in my bed, slowly slipping into silent slumber. I ponder upon yet another trivial question: Do Little Computer People Dream of Electric Sheep?

Saturday 14th September: Session Three
Adam still insists on playing Master of the Lamps on his record player. In fact ever since I boosted his record collection he's had four different versions to choose from! I wonder how well he plays the piano?

I telephoned Adam this afternoon to see how he's getting on. I think everything's fine but it's hard to tell when you can't understand a word he's saying. I suppose I'll have to learn. I decide to leave Adam to his own devices while I go and have lunch.

Two hours later I return from my lunch-hour (!) to find Adam lying in bed, a rather unhealthy shade of green... I FORGOT TO TOP UP ADAM'S FOOD AND WATER! Oh no, I only hope I'm not too late to save him! Thankfully I'm not, and Adam is soon back on his feet, eating, drinking, exercising and showering etc as before. I must be more considerate in future for I may not be so lucky next time... Question: When a Little Computer Person dies does his dog die too?

Saturday 14th September: Epilogue
Today Adam showed definite signs of both intelligence and emotion. He communicated with me much more frequently during his illness, explaining why he thought he was in such a sorry state and on occasions he babbled on incoherently about his dog. Obviously malnutrition has affected his train of though. He also told me about how sorry he was that I didn't communicate with him as often as I might and that he missed me ruffling his hair. I am deeply moved by such devotion, especially when I consider how badly I have mistreated him over the past few days. I resolve to take better care of him from this day on.

Sunday 15th September: Session Four
I sent Adam some more records to play and a book to read instead of his dreary newspaper. I'm glad to see he likes the book. I'm also glad to see and hear that he can actually play the piano. Adam has hardly been off it since I asked him to play something yesterday. It was visually and aurally captivating as his hands moved deftly back and forth across the ivories, playing everything from Jazz to Classical. When I told him the date was the 25th of December, Christmas Day, he even played Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells!

Adam is thirsty. I can tell because he has started to drop sarcastic hints within his correspondence. Suffice it to say such subtleties as, 'I never need to worry about being thirsty in this house because there is always plenty of water to drink', did not go unnoticed!

Sunday 15th September: Session Five
My theory that Little Computer People are in fact intelligent has been reinforced somewhat after Adam showed an aptitude for playing certain simple games, namely Card War, Poker and Anagrams. Let me elaborate...

My mind was otherwise occupied when an unusual noise suddenly caught my attention. I quickly turned and faced the monitor to see Adam knocking on the inside of the screen! 'What game can we play?', he queried. I stared at him in disbelief for several seconds before he shrugged his shoulders as if to say 'Oh well, please yourself' and walked off. After snapping out of my momentary daze, I asked Adam if he would like to play a game. He obliged and promptly thrashed me at Poker. I think he cheats...

To make matters worse, he also beat me at Card War (a sort of glorified Snap) and the anagrams he posed were so hard to unravel that I gave up in embarrassment. Still, there's always tomorrow...

Sunday 15th September: Epilogue
As I lie awake on my bed in the cool of the night air I think to myself, 'They aren't as dumb as I first thought'. After my rather feeble performance at cards today, Adam is probably thinking precisely the converse!

Monday 16th September: Session Six
Something terrible happened today and I don't think I can bring myself to write about it.

Oh, alright then, if I must. It's quite simple really -- Adam...

...you see he wasn't quite his usual, jovial self this morning and he...

...well he did look a little peaky and...

 

...he went to bed and slept a lot and...

...well, sort of looked rather ah, green shall we say? Yes, green. Well maybe not green, more 'off colour'. Yes, off colour. Anyway the point is, Adam...

...he, er, that is to say I, er, forgot to give him food and water for a few minutes, well a couple of hours actually. Look, it wasn't my fault! I was busy! I had other things to think about and it sort of, ah, slipped my mind. It was a bug (literally)! Honest!

OK, I admit it! I killed Adam through neglect and I'm like incredibly depressed and upset and sorry about the whole thing and I didn't mean it and I'll never do it again, ever, and...

...please can I have another one?

   


Presentation 92%

Plenty of authentic documentation and program is well thought out.

Graphics 96%
Animation of Pet Person is incredibly life-like, backdrops are well designed and attractive.

Sound 98%
Plenty of tunes and very realistic FX
.

Hookability 99%
Cute, unpredictable and you've just got to see what he does next.

Lastability 96%
Depends on how much care you take of your Pet Person!

Value For Money 90%
An expensive but unique pet.

Overall 97%
A stunning advance in computer entertainment.
.

 

 

The subsequent tape version was missing a lot of the disk version's features.

Note: The SID file is largely incomplete. For example, it does not contain the piano tunes. Can anybody rip all remaining tunes?

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (20 Jul 2003)

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