Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Little Computer People
Little Computer People, also called House-on-a-Disk, was a simulation game released in 1985 by Activision for the Commodore 64, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum and Apple II. An Amiga version was released in 1987.
The game had no winning conditions, and only one setting: a sideways view of the inside of a three-story house. After a short time, an animated character (always male) would move in and occupy the house. He would go about a daily routine, doing everyday things like cooking, watching television or reading the newspaper. Players were able to interact with this person in various ways, including furnishing the house, entering simple commands for the character to perform, playing a game of poker with him and offering presents. On occasion, the character would initiate contact on his own, inviting the player to a game or writing a letter explaining his feelings and needs.
Each copy of the game generated its own unique character, so no two copies played exactly the same. The documentation that accompanied the game fully kept up the pretense of the "little people" being real, and living inside one's computer (the software merely "bringing them out"), with the player as their caretaker.
While fairly popular in its day, the game faded into obscurity afterwards. It is a clear precursor to The Sims, though whether it actively inspired it or was merely the first (forgotten) implementation of the idea is unclear.
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