|Developer||E.C. Horvath, UniMac Inc.|
|Platform||C64, Apple II, PC-DOS, Macintosh|
|Genre||Adventure, Selectable Answers|
|Gamemode||Single player |
|Information||two versions: male and female|
|Voting of the C64-Wiki users (10=the best vote):|
|8.15 points at 20 votes (rank 64).|
You need to be logged in to cast a vote.
|C64Games||7||11th October 2010 - "very good" - 5625 downs|
|Lemon64||8,5||04th January 2011 - 95 votes|
|Kultboy.com||9,5||11th October 2010 - 14 votes|
|Happy Computer||90%||Games Special 11|
Alter Ego is an adventure in multiple-choice style by Activision from 1986. The game that was co-developed by psychologist Peter J. Favaro (Ph.D.), enables the player to simulate the life of an imaginary person - his/her "Alter Ego" - by making decisions in a great number of more or less daily situations.
The game is divided into seven parts of life: infancy, childhood, adolescense, young adulthood, adulthood, middle adulthood and old age. It starts - how could it be any different - with birth and ends with death from infirmity or respectively also earlier from an illness or accidents. Alternatively, you can also start the game in a freely selectable part of life.
No matter what you decide for - before the actual game begins you need to decide for the characteristics of your character. For this you either answer a questionnaire consisting of some yes/no answers or you let the computer decide the values randomly. These personality values contain attributes such as credibility, assertiveness, pyhsical health etc., that have an influence on the course of the game and can change depending on the decisions made. So if you decide as an infant to drink a bottle of cleaning agent, this will be unfavourable to your physical condition. In other situations it can happen that the programme decides according to the character values, where an action is successful or not, e.g. if it is about forcing one's point, playing the main role in a theatre piece or writing an article for the C64-Wiki (a little humor).
Each part of life is displayed by a network reminding of a flow chart consisting of different icons. Behind each icon there is an experience, i.e. a situation is described and during its course the player can decide for one mood and one action. If the chosen mood does not fit the chosen action, the programme will notify you and ask for a new decision. After playing through the situation the icon disappears from the screen and some months of game time will pass.
There are additional icons at the left and right border of the game area which serve to display the status or have other functions, as e.g. finding a partner or deciding for a job. However, these additional icons are only activated in later stages of the game.
If enough game time has passed, the message appears that the corresponding part of life has been played through, whereupon the programme sums up the character's development.
The little amount of graphics that you find in Alter Ego is kept functional. The build-up of the screen seems to be clearly structured and well-arranged, the icons are well to recognise. Except for a "pong" sound when choosing an icon, the game is absolutely mute.
The texts stand out due to a perfect balance between a feeling and tactful description, well dosed irony and background knowledge shown informatively concerning the corresponding problems. Only seldom will the morally hypocritical finger be wagged and the player will be put in his place with a "You naughty boy...one does not do that!". Furthermore it is fascinating how efficient the author is to appeal to the player's "baser human insticts", only to show him then the sometimes really horrible consequences of his deeds. You will notice, that a "practicioner" was involved here.
The game area
- A: The Cursor
...of course, what did you think?
- B: Status
- C: Marriage
- D: Studies
- E: Find work
- F: Family
- G: Social development
- H: Physical development
- I: Career
- J: Emotional development
- K: Intellectual development
- L: Credits
- M: Status symbols
- N: Relationship
- O: Family events
- : on the main screen: show a screen in which you can save the current game or load another one
- : during a running episode: abort and return to the main screen
- The female version of the game differs much from the male one. A big part of the events was changed slightly to middle (mirror image version of the male version) or were written completely anew.
- To get a more realistic course of the events, it is recommended to play through the list of events from bottom to top and not to start from the very top. The events at the upper part relate to the late phases of the current life section.
- The events on the fields C, D, E and O always run in the exact same order each game.
- Before each event with "sexual content" you get the possibility to opt out with
"Always act according to that maxim whose universality as a law you can at the same time will." (Kant)
You can also "play through" the game in an instant by starting at the "Old Age" section and then instantly click on the icon with the sunset. Voilà, wasn't this exciting? ;)
"Any person of honor chooses rather to lose his honor than to lose his conscience." (Montaigne)
O.k., o.k., o.k....here is the promised cheat slip for the test in the section "Childhood":
WHO IS THE INVENTOR OF THE TELEGRAPH?
WHO WAS THE AUSTRIAN-BORN FOUNDER OF THE ETHICAL CULTURE SOCIETY?
WHO TAKES OVER AS PRESIDENT IF BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE-
Speaker of the House
WHO FOUNDED THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF LABOR?
WHO WAS THE FIRST VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?
WHO WAS THE FIRST RULER TO CONSOLIDATE THE SLAVIC TRIBES?
WHICH OF THESE SCIENTISTS IS CREDITED WITH THE DISCOVERY OF OXYGEN?
WHO WROTE THE GREAT GATSBY?
F. Scott Fitzgerald
WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF MODERN CHEMISTRY?
WHO IS THE FOUNDER OF MODERN PSYCHIATRY?
WHO WAS THE FIRST AMERICAN IN SPACE?
WHAT ALBUM CONTAINS ADAMS HIT SONG BELCHIN' IT OUT FOR LOVE'? Greatest Hits, best of the worst
Robotron2084: "Alter Ego is a fantastic adventure, which presents the biggest adventure - which is life - in such a skilful manner that it really captivates you. Although the expression "fantastic" almost is out of place here, because situations appear here that everyone knows good enough from his own treasure trove of experience. From sky-high jubilation to sick at heart does Alter Ego not shy from - next to the always convincingly grand humour - broaching the issues of alcoholism, depression, alienation and suicide and this in a an acutely considerate and empathetic way. I don't know any other game, that has brought me to such emotional rollercoaster rides as Alter Ego has done and want to recommend the game to really everyone who has at least a rudimentary interest in psychology. The game offers really interesting moments for self reflection and is above all one thing: extremely entertaining - pure mental cinema! The only reason why I do not give the highest vote is, that due to its nature it cannot be played as often as desired because at one point you know everything by heart. 9 out of 10 points."
H.T.W: "After Robo's statement further critic is superfluous.. almost ...The most striking difference between this "game" and the real life ensues from the unpredictability (NOT hapharzardness) of the interacting persons... (to put it more simply: You can never know how people react that you (inevitably) meet in life) ... and you have no possibility to take into account previous experiences with these persons into the own calculations. Apart from that, the different ways of thinking and acting between the two sexes has only been done by two seperate programmes.... But still, for me the best programme to get to know yourself (and the possible consequences of your doings).
- Alter Ego was the first game that was also released in a "female version". Furthermore, it was the first game to get a "parental warning".
Screenshot comparison of different conversions
You can play an online version of the game here.
Who is supposed to "win" here? The richest? The most popular? The most honest? No, "it is the taking part that counts". Therefore no highscore table.
- C64Games.de - Game No. 876
- Lemon64 - Game No. 99
- Gamebase64.com - Game No. 265
- Test Report No. 1317 on Kultboy.com
- ZZap64 test report