Smuggling. It jumped out of the back of my brain a few days ago. I don’t know what brought it to mind, but there it was. The thought grew: far in the past, on my Palm IIIc, I had played an epic smuggling game. It wasn’t Dope Wars, but it had a similar feel, if more complicated gameplay.

I couldn’t recall its name, so I was essentially adrift as a search for ‘smuggling game’ is hardly very specific. Then it hit me: the Flea. That’s the name of one of the smallest ships in the game. That word in hand, I managed to uncover the game’s name: Space Trader (how did I manage to forget that?).

However, I hit a snag: Palm OS 2.0 games don’t work in Windows 7, obviously. I tried the emulator route, but the cobwebs on the early Palm builds are pretty thick, so I couldn’t find the right software. I did get an emulator, but it didn’t talk nice with the source code, so I hit a wall.

Enter Space Trader for Windows (there’s also a Java version). You got that right. Some saint did all the work for us. And now, I’m back in the game, in all its greyscale goodness:

2012 04 18 14h12 33 520x379 Old school throwback: Play Space Trader, of Palm OS 2.0 fame

Now, the user interface has been moved around (see the original here), as you have much more real estate on a PC than a Palm Pilot, but the gameplay is there, man. All the economics, the warping, the ships, the upgrades, the stunning defeats, the pirates, police, bullies and losers. I used to spend days on this game. Time well spent, I must say.

If you love games that force you to draw the mental pictures for yourself, and enjoy building an epic piracy empire, smuggling until whole planets cower in your presence, give it a try. Just don’t have anything scheduled for the rest of the day.

Oh, and if you want an iOS and Android version of the game, head here.