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Mike Lorenzen WoS - interviews -  home
I was the original designer/programmer for Psi-5. It was originally developed for the C64. It was one of the first 3 games offered by Accolade. As it was more complex, the other 2 founders finished their games first. To help the release date I got Al Miller to write the computer player subroutine for the bad guys and Bob Whitehead to code the player selection before the game. Mimi Doggett was my artist. I suspect Ed Bogus did our music.

Here are some favorite facts and stories:

My favorite Psi-5 story... Accolade assigned an administrative assistant to offload non-game design work so we could focus. I gave him (Mike Craven) the task of trying to come up with cool sounding parts of the ship that would break while under attack. He did not supply the list promptly or completely. To punish him I filled the named table entries of devices with "Craven, later"). Since there were many unnamed entries, the stub "Craven,later" was seen often during game testing as the most fragile device on the ship. Since we did not know which part of the ship it was, it really did not affect any part of the ship. To punish him further at game release, I took the comma out and made "Cravenlater" as the most fragile thing on the ship and it did absolutely nothing (sort of my opinion of any management position to help a single person game design.) There has been much speculation among players about what the Cravenlater was and how important it was... Now you know the real truth.

The night before we released Psi-5 Al Miller came to test the final version. He insisted Psi-5 was too easy and that we should drop the first mission and add a harder mission. Turns out that while the game testers and Al has been playing for months they found it easy. However, first time players found it hard. By removing the beginner level we made the game really too hard for many beginners. This was fixed in the second production run, some 30,000 copies later.

My favorite review of the product came from my nephew who said "Fantastic game, but for the sequel you should come out with Psi-4 Trading Company." (referring that it was really difficult).

Best yet, the French adaptation was given a sub title "Psi-5 Trading Company, A Suicide Mission". [Ed: the Spanish version, actually]

I also personally did the PAL version of the C64 for Europe. All other versions were farmed out by corporate Accolade under license. Some followed the code exactly and some not so much.

As to the Spectrum specifically, I have no memory 20+ years later.