Alter Ego

Moby ID: 2194
DOS Specs
See Also

Description official descriptions

Alter Ego is a game which tries to simulate life itself. The player creates a character with different personality statistics, either by assigning them randomly or by answering a few introductory questions. They then guide this character through seven life phases, from infancy to old age.

The gameplay consists of a series of situations where a decision has to be made. This is done by choosing one of multiple answer possibilities, sometimes accompanied with a mood. Then the player gets presented with the outcome and goes on to the next situation. Every decision has long-time consequences and influences the personality, health and which situations await further down the road. Some decisions may even result in an early death or instant game over.

Every life phase is represented by a life tree where the situations are lined up; the motive of the situation card shows the general theme of the situation. After reaching a certain age, additional life options can be undergone at any time. Here the player can change his lifestyle and manage his love and professional life.

The game exists in two variations which depict a male or female life.

Groups +



Credits (DOS version)

17 People (8 developers, 9 thanks)

Designed and Written by
IBM version by
Macintosh and Commodore 64 versions by
Additional Programming
Macintosh graphics adapted by
Creative consultants
Special Thanks To



Average score: 87% (based on 9 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 82 ratings with 6 reviews)

Better than The Sims

The Good
This is the perfect life Simulator game better than the Sims,but in this game you control only one person instead an entire family. I've liked because it's really realistic and there's some really funny episode (some of the adolescence episodes are really funny like a beer drinking contest) and a unlimited combination to do a personality.

The Bad
Today i cant see a remake of this game due to his Sexual,criminal and drug related content, this Rating board system's (Like PEGI or ESRB) will put this game in bad light. And today all the people are interested in The Sims,i like The Sims but a life simulator for be "complete" should be seen even the negative aspects of life. (Like Depression,Drugs and criminality)

The Bottom Line
"A Life simulator never seen in the history of gaming"

DOS · by federicocrane (33) · 2008

Better than life?

The Good
You can tell that the game's author holds a Psychology PhD. Every situation in the game has a myriad of potential outcomes, and the factors which influence the outcome are highly subtle. For example, in your career you have the chance of meeting a potentially influential businessman for a drink - any past tendency to abuse alcohol makes a positive outcome less likely, but if your character's vocational strength, confidence and expressiveness are high enough, you might get away with it. When attempting to get attention at a service station, you need to be pushy but not too pushy - your record of calmness and expressiveness impact the likely result here.

With so many personality factors to decide before the game even starts, each game can be completely different. As the packaging suggests, you can be whoever you want to be. Decisions are easier as well, as there's nothing physiological or tangible riding on them. Why run the risk of your wife finding out about an affair if you won't feel anything during the affair?

The Bad
The game takes place in a sandbox world. As the game progresses there are no political or social changes, the whizz-bang car or computer you've bought doesn't depreciate in value, and this limits the range of careers on offer to 'normal' ones. Also, the game code assumes that your parents were together in your childhood, and that you are heterosexual (needless to say, the author of an online remake of the game gets many requests to add this feature).

Although some of the dialogue did make me chuckle, other sections are cringe-worthy and cloying.

The Bottom Line
An adventure game of sorts, Alter Ego puts you into a simulation of real life, and gives you all the key choices to make. You can choose a degree and a career path, anything from entrepreneur to scientist, save lives, take up interesting hobbies, and have the marriage of your dreams. It's an individual and unusual basis for a game, but it all hangs together due to the variety, humour and obvious validity of the outcomes.

DOS · by Martin Smith (81428) · 2005

Life through PC eyes...

The Good
This is a very novel approach for a game. Instead of letting you live a new life as a super-hero, or a dungeon-crawling dwarf, it lets you replay your life as a normal person. Alter Ego indeed! You can actually create a new you fairly accurately just by answering a bunch of questions. Once that is done, you can choose a life-stage to begin in. This lets you decide how long your game is. The younger you start (from birth even!), the longer the game. I played all the way through, and trust me, it takes at least 45 minutes to an hour.

As you get older, you have more choices to try. Like when you get to your teens, along with the usual life experiences, you can try relationships, High School experiences, risks, and even get yourself a job. And it only gets more complicated from there, like in real life.

The Bad
My only real problem with this game is that you can only use the space bar to enter you choices. I don't mind having to use two hands, but having to use the arrow keys, you'd think the Enter key might have been a consideration...

The Bottom Line
This is a very interesting approach to a game. It lets you do things you never did, and without consequences. In real life, anyway. It doesn't have a lot of replayability, but it is fun for a little while.

DOS · by Narf! (132) · 2000

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Graphics score? Cavalary (11411) Jul 9th, 2014


1001 Video Games

The Commodore 64 and Apple II versions of Alter Ego appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Explicit content

Because of the authenticity of the life experiences explored in the program, Alter Ego contains explicit material which may not be suitable for players under the age of 16. They have the option of skipping these experiences, however.

Female and male versions

The game came out in a distinct male and female version, where all the experiences are geared toward male or female players respectively.


The female version, due to the very small percentage of female gamers at the time, did not sell well and is fairly rare.


  • Commodore Format
    • January 1991 (Issue 4) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)* Happy Computer
    • 1986 - Best Game Idea of the Year
    • Issue 04/1987 - #11 Best Game in 1986 (Readers' Vote)* Zzap!
    • January 1990 (Issue 57) – 'The Best Games of the 80's Decade' (Phil King)

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by the--dud.

Commodore 64 added by Quapil. iPad added by Sciere. Browser, Android, iPhone added by Pseudo_Intellectual. Apple II added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Indra was here, Sciere, General Error, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added August 22nd, 2000. Last modified August 29th, 2023.