The Development of a Microcomputer Distributed Processing Business Game


  • Richard D. Teach


Several microcomputer versions of sophisticated business simulations are being redesigned for classroom use~ [1] Most of these are rewritten copies of the mainframe programs. These conversions seem to combine the worst attributes of both types of hardware. They require substantial floppy disk handling, produce large amounts of paper output, and they tend to reproduce the mainframe product without enhancing the learning process. Micros are not fast processors, especially for programs written in interpretative BASIC and their printers are painfully 810w. When one uses a microcomputer to develop a business simulation, care should be taken to enhance the learning process by using those features for which micro’s can be used to the best advantage. Unlike a computer terminal to a mainframe, micros can provide a lot of calculations as a stand alone computer for analysis of decisions and results, If any ancillary analysis is to be done most games require data to be taken from paper output and reentered via the keyboard. When using mainframe simulations students some- times punch the entire set of decisions and the resulting output into an SPSS data base for analysis. When Micro’s became available, students first began by using VisaCalc and later Lotus 1-2- 3 for analysis. Here again, the students were required to reenter the data from paper output.