Pete Davison - 29/09/2020
Sitting down and making a video on this, talking through what I was doing, actually made me understand this game better than I ever have done in the past.
Not saying I 100% understand it, but at least I have a better idea of what is going on now!
If you'd like to check out the video, you can do so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ac0Irsx3ClI
The APX version just appeared for download here on atarimania? Anyway they're right Wikipedia has a link to the full download plus documentation.
I say this is "The weirdest thing Atari ever put their name on". Extremely low definition voice synthesis is fascinating. My research found this out :
Gossip may have never sold through Atari because yes it's weird but author Chris Crawford rolled up his game "engine" from Gossip and incorporated it into another game that Atari did sell called "Excalibur". Quoting Wikipedia the game engine characters "act as nodes in a web of springs, trying to reduce the tension around them".
There are 2 very different versions of Gossip, recognizable in whether you are asked to pick your gender before or after choosing number of players. The beta version is a file 13489 characters long and offers no goal other than becoming most popular. The full game is 13887 bytes and has a time limit leading to "The Prom" and the most prom invites wins. Also the "matrix screen" is very different between the two versions. Full version has animated emoticons but beta version has static faces.
The documentation is not accurate for either version so was written sometime in between the two versions. The "Sadie Hawkins version of the game" mentioned in docs might just mean what you get when you reverse your own gender at the start.
Thomas Cherryhomes - 10/07/2014
Chris Crawford loved making simulations. Full stop. This was to be a social simulation, to see what happens as individuals talk about each other and look to see how these opinions change over time, with the ability to adjust these things at the end of each round. I think it was quite brilliant, if a bit esoteric for most people.
Auntie Pastie - 09/04/2011
There's an informative article on this game at Wikipedia under the title "Gossip (video game)"
I had a pirated copy of this as a kid and thought it was hilarious. I had no idea what I was doing but I loved the facial expressions and garbled dialogue. None of the stores near me carried it and I couldn't find any references to it in the Atari magazines I read so this game was a complete mystery to me.
The "gossip.com" file here differs from the "gossip.atr" file that's linked by wikipedia. The joystick seems to work incorrectly in the *.com file, so selecting "shoot arrows" and "esp" were difficult to choose (I could get around this by hitting either the select or option key [forget which], and quickly hitting RETURN when it highlighted the correct option.)
The goals seem to be different: the *.com file seems to rank popularity as an end goal rather than prom invitations. There are other subtle differences as well, including the names of the other players.
Muffy St. Bernard - 14/06/2010
Crawford apparently created this to be a social experiment.
The goal is to get the most invitations to the prom. You do this by gossiping with everybody about everybody else. People like you more if you like them and you feel the same way about others as they do. People dislike you if you dislike them and you don't share the same feelings for others. Apparently they REALLY don't like you if you change your opinion of people depending on who you talk to ("lie").
I don't know if it's FUN, but it's an interesting idea. See the APX documentation for more details (accessible from the Gossip (video game) Wikipedia entry).
Enjoy the prom! Or not.
No manual for this one?
I don't have a clue what this screen has to do which comes in between turns where bascially it is going on your nerves with beeping until you press RETURN - but is there anything else apart from pressing RETURN you can do there? Shoot Arrows? ESP? what's that stuff? or is this just something the computer does?
I don't really expect an answer... :-(
Ok....WHAT was Atari thinking when they cam up with this one?
It is worth a laugh hearing the people talk though.