One for the Hive Mind

Mostly out of curiosity, I am trying to track down a computer game that I very vaguely remember from years and years ago. I don’t remember the name of the game. I’ve never played it. I saw it in a computer store once. Once.

For reasons I can’t remember, I had tons of time to inspect the game. Also for reasons I can’t remember, I was able to read the entire manual. My best guess is that it was a display copy (no floppy in the box) and that my parents were engaged in some other computer-related purchase that required extensive consultation with a salesdroid.

Anyway, I think it was set on a space station. Your character has been betrayed, maybe, and is currently in jail. Maybe. You have to run around the space station, evading security, gathering information, and doing, er, stuff. I believe that the game presented a side-on view: your character could run around, jump (or climb?) from floor to floor, talk to various characters, and, er, do stuff.

The distinguishing characteristic of the manual was that there were various classes of people and special locations, of which not all were good. Thus, there were three bartenders (maybe) on the station, of whom two could be trusted. “To find out which,” the manual would say, “turn to page XX,” where XX was some two-digit number. There were other such things — spaceships? merchants? I don’t remember — and in each case, the manual would say that page XX would tell you which were trustworthy. Page XX itself was blank.

I remember being intrigued by this setup, although the game itself looked like it wasn’t very much fun. The only other thing I can remember is that I was also looking at a copy of Infocom’s Suspended at the same time (I think), which suggests a rough timeframe: definitely not before 1983, and very probably not after 1989. (That’s the interval between when Infocom released Suspended and when Infocom went belly-up.)

I know this is a real long shot, but still: does anyone remember such a game?

Update: while searching through Home of the Underdogs, I did find Sub Mission, another game I never played, but whose box I remember. This was the one whose gimmick was that you could play as many times as you wanted in “practice” mode, but which, if you lost while playing for “real,” would delete one of the hostages you were trying to save from the disk. It was an early—and profoundly misguided—attempt at permadeath in computer games.