Star Trader

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Star Trader is a 1974 video game and an early example of the space trading genre.


Star Trader presents a star map of the galaxy in which the players move about and make money from trading and establishing trading routes. The players travel about the star map buying and selling six types of merchandise: uranium, metals, gems, software, heavy equipment, and medicine. The game's entire interface was text-only.


Seemingly based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series of novels, Star Trader was written by Dave Kaufman in the BASIC programming language. It was published by the People's Computer Company in Volume 2, Number 3 of its newsletter in January 1974.

In 1977, the game was reprinted in What to Do After You Hit Return.[1] The Star Trader source code evolved into Trade Wars, making it the ancestor of many subsequent space trader games, including Eve Online, the Wing Commander Privateer series and Elite series.[2]


An unrelated game of the same name was released by Bug Byte Software in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64,[3] and was one of the games included with the Softaid compilation.

A similar game was written by S. J. Singer in 1984 using Altair Basic, and modified by John Zaitseff for Microsoft Basic under the CP/M-80 operating system in 1988. Completely rewritten versions for CP/M-80, CP/M-86, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows 3.1 and Linux followed, with the latest release for Linux occurring in June, 2017.[4] All versions by John Zaitseff have been released or relicensed under the GNU General Public License v3.


  1. ^ Hayden Book Company, Inc., Rochelle Park, New Jersey, ISBN 0-8104-5476-9
  2. ^ Edwards, Benj (February 8, 2009). "The Ten Greatest PC Games Ever". PC World. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  3. ^ Star Trader on MobyGames
  4. ^ Zaitseff, John (June 2, 2017). "Star Traders". Retrieved 2017-06-08. 

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