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Low-tech life simulator of yore now online

2:58 PM on 11.13.2006 // Aaron Linde

Are you looking for a second life, but don't quite have the scratch for Second Life? Then, my friends, Alter Ego might just be the digital getaway for you.

If you're old enough to have gamed on a Commodore 64, you might remember Alter Ego, released in 1986. While we're only nowadays going batty over games that pay attention to your choices like Fable and Knights of the Old Republic, Alter Ego was a game that focused solely on your choices.

The game starts in the womb and ends when you invariably croak, either by old age or pure Darwinian stupidity. The first choice you're presented with is in utero; whether or not you want to be born at one particular moment or the next. Will you be a disagreeable, stubborn little snot? Or will you go peacefully? The rest of the game carries onward in kind, keeping track of your statistics, interpreting your choices and affecting your character's ability to do everything from dating successfully to catching a baseball.

The game's many scenarios were written by psychologist Dr. Peter J. Favaro, and they are loaded with commentary designed to provide insight into your own personality (should you choose to play that way) and the consequences of deviating from it. Of course, the most fun you can possibly have with a game like Alter Ego -- or Fable and KOTOR, for that matter -- is to be as horrible and rotten a little bastard as you possibly can, if only just to see how quickly karma does away with your pathetic husk of a mortal shell.

If you never got around to playing Alter Ego, you're in luck. Dr. Favaro's life-simulator lives on in a HTML and Javascript mutant monster body that preserves the original script and scenario. It even allows for saving your game with cookies, so make sure to turn those on.

Go get born and give 'em hell. Live your life the way you should have the first time through: making every moment as angry, violent and dangerous as possible.

Aaron Linde,
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