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An opponent in a video game that is controlled by the computer or machine, but that may otherwise or might plausibly be controlled by a human player in other circumstances.

The computer player has been known to do some pretty stupid stuff at times due to poor programming. Sometimes game developers balance out the computer player's stupidity by giving it the ability to cheat or by programming it to cheap out. Usually this just adds to the human player's frustration at the computer player's inadequacy, though.

Good computer players are key to the creation of a predominantly 2-player video game that is just as fun vs. the computer as it is vs. other people. After all, one of the original selling features of some video games was the ability to play with the computer when friends weren't available.

Related terms:
Artifical Intelligence (AI)
In multi-player games, where there is one human player and the rest of the "players" are computers, the most common way the computer will "cheap out" is to have the opponent forces ally against you, and never one against the another.

The concept of the computer play has faded in normal play with the advent of the internet. As modem use for games became more frequent, there was no need to have real friends, and poof! here be noders.

Now for a brief story about a computer player:

Computer Dating

Micro was a real-time operator and dedicated multi-user. His broad-band protocol made it easy for him to interface with numerous input/output devices, even if it meant time-sharing.

One evening he arrived home just as the sun was crashing. He had parked his IBM 386 in the main drive (he had missed the S-100 bus that morning), when he noticed an elegant piece of liveware admiring the daisy wheels in his garden. He thought to himself, She looks user friendly. I'll see if she'd like an update tonight.

Mini was her name, and she was delightfully engineered with eyes like COBOL and a prime mainframe architecture that set Micro's peripherals networking all over the place.

He browsed over to her casually, admiring the power of her twin, 32-bit floating point processors and inquired How are you Honeywell? Yes, I am well, she responded, batting her optical fibers engagingly and smoothing her console over her curvilinear functions.

Micro settled for a straight line approximation. I'm stand-alone tonight, he said, how about computing a vector to my base address? I'll output a byte to nibble, and maybe we could get offset later on?

Mini ran a priority process for 2.6 milliseconds then transmitted OK, I've been dumped myself recently, and a new page is just what I need to refresh my disks. I'll park my machine cycle in your background and meet you inside. She walked off, leaving Micro admiring her solenoids and thinking, Wow, what a global variable, I wonder if she'd like my firmware?

They sat down at the process table to a top of form feed of fiche and chips and a bucket of baudot. Mini was in a conversational mode and expanded on ambiguous arguements while Micro gave occasional acknowledgements. Although, in reality, he was analyzing the shortest and least critical path to her entry point. He finally settled on the old Would you like to see my benchmark routine?, but Mini was one step ahead.

Suddenly, she was up and stripping off her parity bits to reveal the full functionality of her operating system software. Let's get down to BASIC, you RAM, she communicated. Micro was loaded by this stage, but his hardware policing module had a processor of it's own and was in danger of overflowing it's output buffer, a hang-up that Micro had consulted his systems analyst about. Core, was all he could say, and she prepared to log him off.

Micro soon recovered, however, when Mini went down on his DEC and opened her device files to reveal her data set ready. He accessed his fully packed root device and was just about to start pushing into her CPU stack, when she attempted an escape sequence.

No, No! she cried, You're not shielded.
Reset baby, he replied, I've been debugged.
But I haven't got my current loop enabled, and I can't support child processes, she protested.
Don't run away, he said, I'll generate an interrupt.
No, that's too error prone, and I can't abort because of my design philosophy.
Micro was locked in by this stage though, and could not be turned off. Mini soon stopped his thrashing by introducing a voltage spike into his main supply, whereupon he fell over with a head crash and went to sleep.

Computers, she thought as she compiled to herself, all they ever think of is hex.

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