Commodore User1st April 1988
Published in Commodore User #56
It looked promising. Interstellar economic struggle in the 31st century. A no holds barred, Thatcherite struggle for supremacy between megacorporations where the only thing that mattered was your job and the only way to keep your job was to mine minorthian crystal.
The year is 3026. The welfare state has been out of a job for more than a millennium. These days a job means more than a salary, it means survival - for which read, in addition to a monthly salary, lifelong BUPA family membership, Access, Visa AMEX and Debenhams credit cards, a company shuttle and somewhere to live. In a world where a P45 is a death warrant, it's dig or die.
You are the commander of a deep space mining vehicle and have been assigned the task of extracting as much minorthian crystal as is humanly possible from a selected planet.
This leads to one small complication. When you touch down on the planet surface, so does the competition and it's a race against time to devastate the planet, decimate the competition and put in for a rise while the going's good.
The game loads in three sections. First you get jazzed-up instructions on screen, which seems a bit of a waste of time as it's all written down for you. Anything, this stuff gives you the background detail, mission briefing, refinery specifications and MRU specifications. MRUs are your remote-controlled vehicles, trucks, mining vehicles, survey vehicles, rocket launchers and so on.
Next up you have to buy your gear. You get x thousand creds and have to make all sorts of megacorporate management decisions as to how to spend the dosh to best effect, i.e.: do I buy lots of survey vehicles, find the gold, dig it up and go home, or blow the whole bundle on rocket launchers, blow the opposition to bits and nick the fruits of their labour?
Stage Three takes place on the planet surface. Now it's time to position your MRUs to survey, dig, collect, refine, defend, attack, whatever. At the end of the day, if you haven't made the quota, you get flogged to within an inch of your life, your credit cards are confiscated, no more free dental care for the kids and the family pets are inhumanely put down. If you succeed you get to have another go - a worse deal all round for everyone but the pets.
You've probably guessed by now that Corporation is the wildest thing around since crochet lost its allure. To say it's tedious wouldn't be doing it justice, so let's just say that, given the choice of playing Corporation or watching a full episode of Bob Says Opportunity Knocks, Bob only just loses out.