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Have You Played... Alter Ego?

Get a life

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“Life sims” have become a bit of a thing in the million years since Alter Ego was first released in 1986. I first played it about six years ago, and mostly I remember how incredibly judgemental and preachy it was.

Even then it felt both outdated and oddly new. You live a whole human life, from birth to death, through each ‘stage’ of development unless you get killed off first. That can happen really easily. As a child, if you don’t immediately sprint away when a stranger in a car asks you for directions, he leaps out of the car and you die (quite how running 3 seconds earlier makes a difference if he’s willing to chase you down the street anyway is beyond me).

At other times, it will slag you off for not taking big, pointless risks, chiding you to “live a little” or reading fundamental chracter flaws into minor decisions. Also your mum is an uptight prudish dick, however you play it. The creator’s assumptions, cultural and personal bias showed through a LOT, but it was fun to indulge in anyway, not least when I became a happily single octogenarian woman (with a habit of bedding younger men) who eventually died falling down stairs. I forget what career I even had, I think a researcher or something. I just remember her being finally comfortable and content once the horror years of youth were out of the way. May we all be so lucky.

A version of the game is available today on Steam, with a less medieval interface.

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Who am I?

Sin Vega

Staff Writer

Nocturnal remembrer of ancient oddities and curator of unlikely treasures. When not destroying roguelikes with her laser eyes Sin can be found muttering to basils and probably moving house again.

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