2400 A.D.

Type C when prompted for a disk drive letter, then Esc to start a new game.
This streaming game cannot be saved
Read the manual at Lucas' Abandonware
Play this version online at its home on archive.org
Play the Apple II version online at Virtual Apple II

This 1988 Origin Systems game was designed by Chuck "Chuckles" Bueche, Origin co-founder and the real-life inspiration for every Avatar's least favourite jester in the Ultima series. It was to be the last of Bueche's games released by the company, and suffered disappointing sales - so much so that both its sequel, 2500 A.D., and a C64 conversion headed by John Romero were canned.

2400 A.D.'s sci-fi plot casts you as a computer specialist who has been shipped to the occupied mining planet of Nova Athens. The city of Metropolis was once a centre of learning and research, but has been crushed beneath the boot-heel of the evil Tzorg (assuming they wear boots). For logistical reasons, the Tzorg themselves have withdrawn from New Athens, leaving it under the watchful eye of an army of robots, programmed to viciously oppress the planet's human population. For good measure, the Tzorg turn the city's botanic gardens into a rubbish tip before they leave, just so you know they mean business when it comes to Evil Aliening.

This has been the state of affairs for over half a century. There is an organised resistance, but they've all been captured so often that they can't travel freely outside the underground tunnels they inhabit. But an outsider, particularly one with computer skills... you might just be able to deactivate the robots, save the day and in doing so probably bring down the full wrath of the Tzorg against the entire population of New Athens. (The cancellation of the sequel means that we'll probably never know if this is what happens. Given the recurring disaster the Avatar ended up bringing down on Britannia though, I think we all know which way the smart money's going to bet on this one.)

While there were a handful of sci-fi RPGs in the '80s (most notably the legendary Wasteland), the genre was never as pervasive or as popular as fantasy worlds. 2400 A.D. feels like a lig