I Played That! #13: Taipan (TRS-80)

If you’re waiting for the entry on Oregon Trail, you can stop. There won’t be one. I didn’t play Oregon Trail on my school computers, and in fact I’ve never played it. When I was in school the game to play on the computers was Taipan. It may be the first computer game I ever played, barring a number guessing game or such.

Taipan was a trading game, and you’ve probably played variants on it. You’re a 19th century Chinese trader travelling from port to port buying and selling goods to make a profit. Along the way you can get loans from Elder Brother Wu, fight pirates, get strongarmed by Li Yuen, and such. In addition to buying and selling goods, you can also spend money to upgrade your ship to carry more cargo or more cannons. The goal is to become a millionaire.

I was in the Gifted and Talented program, and we don’t need to talk about that, and this was on the GT computer. I know I played it there. I also remember it being on a computer in the back of a classroom but I don’t remember which one that was. Eventually there were other games I played on such TRS-80s, and we’ll talk about them later.

I haven’t played Taipan itself in decades, despite there being multiple ports of it (including one for the iPad). You can even play it online if you wish.

Give it a try and soon you to will say “Good joss! They let us be!” when something fortuitous happens.

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