Computer dating agencies have been around for some time now, but if Acornsoft have their way, your love life - or lack of it - will be sorted out on your BBC or Electron. I Do and The Dating Game are packages aimed at the adult market that claim to help you find a compatible partner and help bring down the divorce rate.
I Do is based on personality questionnaires developed by Hans Eysenck and is the more serious of the packages. It is aimed at couples who wish to assess and understand their relationship and individual personalities. The program announces itself with the wedding march theme and a title page proclaiming it to be 'your guide to a happy marriage'. A main menu is then presented, offering a choice of running the questionnaire or saving and retrieving results. Either one or two people can take part and the computer allows partners to answer together or separately.
The program consists of more than 400 questions, split into eight sections covering extrovertness, emotional stability, ego, marital satisfaction, social attitudes, feminist beliefs, masculinity/femininity, and sexual attitudes. The questions for each test are loaded separately and on completion of each, a chart indicates your results on eleven compatibility scales. These questions are multiple-choice and your answers are not shown on the screen, thus remaining confidential. Which is just as well as they are quite explicit and demand absolute honesty if the results are to have any meaning.
In contrast The Dating Game is quick to run and lighter in approach. The package actually consists of four programs: Dating Game: Love Style; Preferred Relationship and Dating Skills.
Developed by Dr. Glenn Wilson, a colleague of Eusenck, the programs analyse different aspects of a person's character. Of the four, The Dating Game was the most powerful and most fun. Up to forty people can answer the questions - again multiple-choice - and then compatibility ratings, sexual and social, for any named person in relation to others on the list can be called up. I was delighted to learn that I had a 97% compatibility with a young lady from Ivan Berg Software, the company which created these packages. I did cheat - but then I'll do anything for love!
The other three programs investigate what kind of lover you are, your role within a relationship and your skills in dating and mating. As you'd expect, Dating Skills has some of the funniest questions and answers. You could end up being assessed as 'socially incompetent' and advised to 'seek help or become a hermit'.
These packages are great fun and The Dating Game in particular is ideal for a party, though you could find yourself with a different partner at the end of the evening!
How serious are they? Well, all personality tests are limited by the questions asked, the replies allowed and the way they are interpreted. These questionnaires may reveal certain aspects of your lifestyle you weren't aware of, but don't let them govern your life.
There's another aspect to these packages. It is noticeable (and commendable) that this software appeals equally to both sexes.
I Do and The Dating Game are provided on cassette with an accompanying booklet. I reviewed these programs on disc and I suspect that loading the programs from tape could be tedious owing to the large database. They are well worth the effort though, as they are very funny (Sorry - I can't take them seriously!)