Alter Ego.
December 18, 2001 2:27 AM   Subscribe

Alter Ego. This is a nifty little game that allows you to examine how you came about being the person you turned out to be. You begin the game at birth, progressing through numerous choices until death. Your success at the game depends on the choices you make. How close to reality does this game life come? (It's not actually a little game, but it does allow you to come back to where you left off if need be.)
posted by digital_insomnia (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Very interesting game, I died while playing softball :)
posted by riffola at 5:53 AM on December 18, 2001

I remember a PC game (C64?) of the same name, c. 1985, and it was packaged with lots of mumbojumbo from Timothy Leary.
posted by crunchland at 7:10 AM on December 18, 2001

That website is an HTML port of the same Activision game, which I first played in a Commodore 64 emulator a few years ago. Here's the cover art, and a couple reviews.
posted by waxpancake at 7:43 AM on December 18, 2001

The game assumes all kids hate Brussels sprouts. I've always loved them. Boo. Hiss.
posted by prolific at 7:46 AM on December 18, 2001

I got farking kidnapped by a fake policeman, tortured, and killed. Nice, eh?
posted by Maxor at 7:57 AM on December 18, 2001

Did anyone manage to get pregnant? Or switch career paths? I seemed to be stuck. And why couldn't I go to the highly competitive school after all that job experience and smarts? Causes and effects seemed illogical at times.
posted by phoenix enflamed at 8:02 AM on December 18, 2001

I'm still in infancy, but I've found several occassions where it tells me

You have chosen an inappropriate response. (Or, at least, we hadn't thought of it. Please make a different selection.)

Does that say something about their programmers, or about my life?
posted by epersonae at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2001

I got stuck at the end of adolescence and can't "graduate" to adulthood. Perhaps this is because of the poison I ate in the pantry when I was in infancy?
posted by headspace at 8:58 AM on December 18, 2001

Me too, headspace -- on both the eternal adolescence and the poison. Blargh.
posted by acornface at 9:18 AM on December 18, 2001

Gee, what a killjoy!

Once you are in the car he turns away from the school and heads for the highway. This man is very sick. You are tortured, killed and buried in a landfill. Your body is never recovered. This game is over.

You have died.

posted by waxpancake at 9:33 AM on December 18, 2001

I just bought an awesome new SUPER-POWERFUL 512K COMPUTER WITH 10 MEGABYTE HARD DISK ($3499). I'll say its a direct port. really fun though.
posted by darkpony at 10:11 AM on December 18, 2001

I died of old age.

The bad news? IRL, I'm still 24. All that work for nothing.
posted by iceberg273 at 10:44 AM on December 18, 2001

I didn't realize softball was so dangerous.
posted by fidelity at 11:04 AM on December 18, 2001

softball was the end of me as well. I cannot express how empty I feel after completing this.
posted by corpse at 11:44 AM on December 18, 2001

I have joined Waxpancake in the landfill, where we may commiserate on the cruelty of strangers.
posted by Skot at 11:46 AM on December 18, 2001

Timewasting fun, but I wish it weren't always so obvious which is the "right" thing to do. Hmm, should I invite the unpopular fat kid to my birthday party, or should I bow to peer pressure and snub him? Or: gosh, I'm having a rough time, should I seek solace in drugs and alcohol, or should I consult a licensed psychiatrist?

Their server just went down. Thank God. Now I can get some work done today.
posted by ook at 1:02 PM on December 18, 2001

Yeah, I was about to comment about how the server went down. I hope my "childhood" didn't go with it - it's very addictive.
posted by GirlFriday at 1:12 PM on December 18, 2001

Dan, the guy who ported this to the web (I think) took the game down because of high traffic. Erp!

However, he did create a yahoo group for discussing it. You might let him know there if you're jonesing for it.

Interesting notes from the yahoo group on the making of:

In order to provide players with a cross section of experiences from life in general, rather than the author's life alone, Alter Ego's creator, psychologist Dr. Peter J. Favaro, interviewed hundreds of men and women about their most memorable life experiences. He examined the interviews and looked for common experiences, then hose the experiences that many people shared.

The scoring in Alter Ego is based on evaluations by Dr. Favaro and a group of fellow psychologists. In Dr. Favaro's own words, "We feel that from any one response, it is almost impossible to give an accurate picture of someone. We also feel that, given the fact that a person makes several HUNDRED responses while playing Alter Ego, we
have a better chance of guessing what that person might be like."


There's truly no other game like it. Not even Mind Mirror, Timothy Leary's attempt at a similar game, stands up to Alter Ego. Some of this is due to Favaro's snappy writing, but much of it has to do with the interviews themselves. Some of the events of this game are so weird, yet so obviously real, that you know that they couldn't possibly be made up.

Little twists, like turning you down for certain high-paying jobs if your Ethics score is too high, give this game a replay value that almost no other game can match, in gender-bending alone. [Did you know that the male and female versions of this game are entirely separate, and have many completely different vignettes?]
posted by daver at 2:34 PM on December 18, 2001

The game is back up, if you never got to play.
posted by MrBrett at 9:51 AM on December 27, 2001

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