Space I – We DO Need an…Education…

The Space I title tcreen
Space, the...Apple game...

Since I had to skip a few games on my list due to not getting them running — or being able to find them — the next game I came across on my list was Space I, a 1978 Apple game made by Edu-Ware Services, Inc. Thanks to an awesome Apple IIe emulator for Windows called AppleWin, I was able to get the game up and running. Hopefully now that I’ll be getting away from BASIC games, I should have more luck getting these things to run.

Since this game is a bit more complex than the previous games, I’m gonna split this up into multiple articles, and likely do that from now on if I feel the game requires it. In this first installment, we’ll look at the building blocks of Space I, creating a character and taking ‘em to school.

To be honest, I played this game for a spell before starting from scratch this time around with a new character, so as to get a feel for it. From now on I’ll be starting from scratch, because doing things this way caused some…issues. I’ll explain what those are when I get to ‘em. For now, let’s go to school…or the academy.

Space I's character screen
Creative, I know...

The first thing you need to do in Space I is create a character. Once you enter your name — I always use my own, it adds to the immersion — you get to choose which service you’ll enter, like the Navy, Marines, Merchant Marines, Army and so on, or just let the computer draft you at random. For this go around, I chose the Navy, and got accepted! This hadn’t happened before, as the game thought I was too dumb to enter – this is not a game that has any problem insulting your character, as you’ll see — and usually assigned me to the Merchant Marines.

Space I service selection
So many choices...I feel like the Belle of the ball...

Once you’ve been accepted, your character takes a test and comes up with basic attributes. You have no hand in this, and can’t simply reroll once you get your stats. For now, you’re stuck with what the game gives you, which can lead to some interesting choices down the line. Once you’ve gotten past your attributes, it’s time to select the area of study for your first of four terms at the academy.

My character's stats screen in Space I.
Fairly bright fellow, if a bit weak...

You can choose among four disciplines usually, such as in this case:

  1. Personal Development – These are usually enhancing your base attributes.
  2. Service Skills – These seem to be service-specific skills, and are never quite the same from one character/service combination to the next.
  3. Advanced Education – This usually allows you to take courses in higher-level stuff like electronics and engineering.
  4. Professional Education  – This is the highest level you can take, and I’ve not been able to enroll in any of the classes here successfully. You’ll see what happens in that case in a moment.
Space I training class selection
Which class do I take?

For my first choice, I chose strength, since it was a little weak in that regard (heh). When you choose a skill in which to train, you have to actually be accepted based on your psychological, physical and intellectual attributes, and you might not always be accepted. In this case, however, I was, and bumped my strength up a little bit.

I choose you, Strength!
I choose you, Strength!

For my next term, I decided to take a service skill and chose ship’s boat, which I’m not entirely sure if that means a small shuttlecraft type of thing that connects to a mothership or something similar. The game didn’t specify. However, THIS time, I was not accepted into this training course due to my “physical, psychiatric, or intellectual limitations”. I was too busy trying to take a screenshot to see upon which of these I had been rejected. However, after trying to go for a couple of advanced degrees like engineering and electronics, I saw it was my psychiatric abilities which left me behind (stop giggling, this is my character, not me).

Being rejected for studying Ship's Boat
I've been told this at the end of dates, too...

Sadly, I never got the chance to finish my training, as my character was killed in a training accident. Damn, game, you don’t mess around, do ya? The game didn’t even tell me what happened, just boom, DEAD. Well, FINE game, I’ll start another game using the same name. What’s the worst that could happen?

Brian died in a training accident.
No funeral or anything? Damn, cold game...

THIS time I chose the Army, and again was accepted. My character this time was a bit…denser than my last character with the same name. I first chose to study driving the All-Terrain Vehicle, which I thought might be useful with planetary exploration (one of the career paths in the game once your character graduates).

You're in the army now, Brian Rubin!
Genius, this guy ain't...

NOW, the game warns me that my character is an…”inferior product”. Really game? You had to go there? I know my character isn’t the brightest bulb in the drawer, but come ON. The game allowed me to either start a new character, continue with this “inferior” character, or end the game for now. I told the game to go screw its notions of inferior and continue the damned game.

My character is an inferior product???
This game's 'bedside manner' SUCKS...

I then completed another round of ATV training, as well as spent a couple years building up my character’s education, which he WAS accepted for. Piss off, game, I’m not stupid…er…I mean my CHARACTER…he’s not stupid…yeah…

Fine, game, I'll chose education for my character!
Getting my character an edumication!

Once I was done all of my character’s training, I could either reenlist or retire to civilian life. Not wanting any more of the ignominy this game dished out (freaking game…I AM SMART, I AM *cries*), I decided to take retirement with a small pay bonus. This would hopefully allow my character to start in a new and exciting life. I could then choose one of the many modes in the game to continue my career.

I could either reenlist, or retire...
School sucks, I wanna retire...

The game has many game modes, such as defending a planet from invasion (Defend), fighting another character for all of their money (First Blood), or playing the stock market (High Finance), but phooey on those, I wanted something with a spaceship. Seeing as “Trader” and “Explore” were the only two options involving spaceships, I chose “Explore”, and embarked on my career exploring unknown planets in the galaxy.

The 'wealth' as a result of my retirement.
The 'wealth' as a result of my retirement.

Tune into the next part of the story tomorrow, where Brian Rubin, galactic adventurer and explorer, tries to tame the wild planet known as…RT48V12W (dun dun DUN…). Same space time, same space channel…

Time to go exploring!
Let's see what's out there...

You can read parts 2 and 3 of this story by clicking on the links, and see a gallery of all of the screenshots at once below.

Author: Brian Rubin

8 thoughts on “Space I – We DO Need an…Education…

  1. Haha, I've never heard of a game where you can die during character setup! I'd love to give this game a shot, but I need a mac :(

    1. Hahaha, I know, right? And no, you don't need a Mac, just get the emulator I link to in the article!

  2. Great write up, looking forward to the rest. I love games that give you options like this. Getting killed during character development is a game mechanic that's probably too hardcore for modern games, but as a risk/reward system it adds a nice simulationist touch that makes you really consider trying to power max. A bit wider continuum of outcomes would probably make for better gameplay– not much you can do with "BAM! You're dead. Start over!" But it's still cool.

    What's really weird is that although I hadn't heard of this game it really strongly reminded me of playing an old Traveller game on the PC. Couldn't remember the name, though, and had to wiki it (MegaTraveller 2: Quest for the Ancients, probably a game worth reviewing if you could slow it down enough). Turns out if the wiki article can be believed it was familiar for a good reason: Space (and its expansion) was pulled from the market for infringement against the Traveller role-playing system!

    Shame, as it would have been nice to have been able to find a whole series of retro games to replay!

    1. Huh, never knew it was pulled from the market. I guess that makes sense. :) Glad you liked the write up. :)

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