Space (series)

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Space is a text-based role-playing video game franchise for the Apple II that was originally designed by Steven Pederson and Sherwin Steffin of Edu-Ware Services, and then expanded upon in a sequel by David Mullich, in 1979.[1] These games were notable for not only being one of the first science fiction RPG's to appear on personal computers, but also for providing a level of realism not found in other games of the time.[2]

Players begin by creating characters to play in a futuristic interstellar society and then enrolling them in one of the military services: Navy, Army, Scouts, Merchant Marines, and other Services. While in the service, players choose their character's training, provided they qualify for it. Depending upon characters' physical and mental abilities, they may learn such skills as brawling, bribery, swordsmanship, computers, interstellar navigation, spaceship piloting, and so on. Through training and study, characters can also increase their base physical and mental abilities.

Characters have a choice to leave the service after every four years of enlistment, provided that they have not been killed or suffered serious injury. After retiring from the service, characters can engage in one of the scenarios that are included with each version of the game. Scenarios can increase a character's wealth or grant possessions, but with the exception of the Psychodelia scenario in Space II, they cannot voluntarily alter a character's abilities. However, most character traits degrade over time as the character ages during gameplay. If a character dies during any of the scenarios, the text file defining the character is immediately erased from the game disk.

The game system was based upon the Traveller role-playing-game, created by Game Designers Workshop, which sued Edu-Ware for copyright infringement in 1982.[3] In an out-of-court settlement, both Space and Space II were removed from the market.


Developer(s) Edu-Ware
Publisher(s) Edu-Ware
Designer(s) Steven Pederson
Sherwin Steffin
Platform(s) Apple II
Genre(s) Role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player

Steve Pederson programmed the first game of the series, which features the following scenarios:[4]

  • Explore: Characters decide which of several planets to explore, searching for food and minerals to sell back to the Federation.
  • First Blood: Characters engage in combat with an adversary controlled by the computer. After a fight to the death, winning characters collect all the wealth of the losing character.
  • Trader: Characters owning starships earn money by transport passengers and cargo.
  • Defend: As an administrator of a planet far away from Earth, characters must defend colonists from an alien invasion.
  • High Finance: Wealthy characters participate in the galactic stock market.

External links[edit]

Space II[edit]

Space II
Developer(s) Edu-Ware
Publisher(s) Edu-Ware
Designer(s) Steven Pederson (creator)
Sherwin Steffin (creator)
David Mullich (designer)
Platform(s) Apple II
Genre(s) Role-playing video game expansion pack
Mode(s) Single player

Later that year game developer David Mullich created Space II, an expansion pack for the role-playing game, his first game for Edu-Ware. It consists of the character creation module and two additional game scenarios:[5]

  • Shaman: Characters launch their career as a religious practitioner who is tasked with building a cult on a new world, using an all-terrain vehicle to travel across the planet and accumulate followers.
  • Psychodelia: Characters experiment with mind-altering drugs, which may boost or retard various traits, which is the only way they can be altered once a character leaves military service.

External links[edit]


Space was conceived by Pederson and Steffin while the former was still attending college at UCLA. The two used the game concept to convince Rainbow Computing, a computer store that sold Edu-Ware games through its mail order catalog, to provide Pederson with an Apple II in exchange for receiving product at cost. When Pederson and Steffin learned that Rainbow had announced Space in its catalog before the game was completed, the two spent twenty-four straight hours debugging the game without the benefit of Edu-Ware even owning a printer at the time.[6]

Mullich wrote the sequel, Space II, as an exercise in risk-benefit analysis, as the player's character is presented with dangerous options throughout the game, and the player must determine whether the potential rewards are worth the possible risks.


Both games were well-received critically, earning an "A-" rating in a 1980 Peelings II review.[2]


In 1982 Game Designers Workshop successfully sued Edu-Ware for copyright infringement of their Traveller pen-and-paper role-playing game. In an out of court settlement, EduWare suspended publication of Space and Space II, but the company had already replaced both games with the Empire space trilogy, based on an original role-playing game system.[7]


  1. ^ Product Catalog. Edu-Ware Services. March 1, 1980. 
  2. ^ a b Martellaro, John (1980). "Space & Space II". Peelings II. 1 (3): 17–18. 
  3. ^ Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society. 13. 1982 Retrieved 2006-09-25.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Sherwin, Steffin (1979). Space manual. Edu-Ware Services. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  5. ^ Sherwin, Steffin (1979). Space II manual. Edu-Ware Services. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  6. ^ Tommervik, Allen (May 1981). "Exec Edu-Ware". Softalk: 4, 6, 19. 
  7. ^ "Tea Leaves: David Mullich: The Interview". August 16, 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-25.