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I'm trying to identify a game I remember from my first exposure to computers (the Apple II at secondary school back in the late '70s).

I remember two games I really enjoyed, the first a Star-Trek-like game which was a sneaky way of teaching us trigonometry (the 8-by-8 grids where the Klingons et al were had to be shot at by using degrees, so we had to convert in our head based on the non-hypotenuse sides of the triangle). I already have that one.

But the other game I enjoyed was some form of space trading game. It had companies like Betelguese Bargains, Capella Corp and Eridani Enterprises (I made those first two up, my memory from forty years ago is not pristine, but they all had some star name as the first word - I think the Eridani one was accurate).

These were represented on text screen as the equivalent letter (like B, C or E) and you expanded your company by selecting new (adjacent) co-ordinates in the galaxy to move in to.

If you encountered another company, it would result in some form of take-over operation, probably based on size with some minor random element.

The object, of course, was to be the last company standing by taking over all the others.

Does anyone have any memories of this game or any idea what it might be called? None of the games in the Apple II list seem to be a match.

  • The Star Trek game was not specific to the Apple II. In fact, I first played it on my Dad's company's minicomputer. Written in Basic (like the STARLANES answer) but I don't know the original source (micro -> mini or mini -> micro). – manassehkatz Oct 7 '18 at 16:10
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    As to ST: gamesoffame.wordpress.com/star-trek – Maury Markowitz Oct 9 '18 at 16:09
  • Not an answer, but if you enjoy that sort of game you'd probably like "TradeWars", which was an ASCII-graphics game popular on BBS – Omegacron Oct 12 '18 at 16:39
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It's called Star Lanes:

enter image description here

The first part of the listing shows details:

 10  REM THE GAME OF STARLANES - AN INTERSTELLAR COMMERCE GAME
 20  REM FOR 2 TO 4 PLAYERS - COPYRIGHT 1977 BY STEVEN FARBER
 30  REM WRITTEN IN ALTAIR BASIC 12/17/76
 31  REM MODIFIED FOR APPLESOFT II BY RICHARD NAPOLI - 6/24/79
 32  REM   LISTED IN INTERFACE AGE JUNE 1977
[...]
 70 M$(5) = "ERIDANI EXPEDITERS": FOR I = 1 TO 5: FOR J = 1 TO 4:S(I,J) = 0
 75 D1(I) = 0:S1(I) = 100:Q(I) = 0:B(I) = 6000: NEXT J,I
 80 M$(3) = "CAPELLA FREIGHT CO.":M$(4) = "DENEBOLA SHIPPERS"
 90 M$(1) = "APPLE STARWAYS":M$(2) = "BETELGEUSE, LTD."

I found a copy here.

If you google for it, you'll find a number of more modern implementations, with a bit of history... one source claims it evolved out of Star Trader.

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    I really doubt Starlanes has anything to do with Star Trader. Star Trader is what you would expect from a space trading game, while Starlanes is basically a railroad game set in space. More likely Starlanes is based on a board game like 1829 or Railway Rivals. – Ross Ridge Oct 8 '18 at 15:18
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    @Ross: "Starlanes is basically a railroad game set in space" - reminds me of a disparaging comment I once heard about ST:Voyager being basically "Gilligan's Island" set in space :-) – user6464 Oct 10 '18 at 0:55
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    @paxdiablo It wasn't meant to be disparaging. I enjoyed playing Starlanes back in the day, but it was hard to ignore the fact that you were basically building a railroad. – Ross Ridge Oct 10 '18 at 1:07
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    @paxdiablo The original Star Trek was explicitly pitched as Wagon Train in space. And DS9 is Babylon 5 in space. – JeremyP Nov 27 '18 at 9:35
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    @JeremyP, I always thought Babylon5 was Babylon5 in space :-) – user6464 Nov 27 '18 at 10:14

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