ENTER THE CHINESE ORACLE
THE I CHING, or Book of Changes, is an ancient collection of oracles refined and expanded by Chinese sages over 5,000 years. Reflecting a cosmology founded on the simple opposition of light and darkness, of Yang and Yin, the oracle is usually consulted by dividing heaps of yarrow stalks or tossing coins, and those generate patterns of broken and unbroken lines known as hexagrams.
In the Salamander Software version of I Ching, for the 48K Spectrum, the coin-tossing is simulated on the computer, the hexagrams displayed, followed by the interpretation of the questioner's present and future situation.
As with all fortune-telling, much depends on how you interpret the answers but the I Ching is frequently disturbing in its analysis. When asked: "In the event of a nuclear confrontation will mankind survive?" the oracle replied: "Change, sudden surprise or shock. Worrying at first but on a second look there is no problem and even a chance to learn from the situation."
The program appears to be faithful to the original, though it is annoying that the hexagrams are given only Chinese names and are not numbered. There are also some inexcusable spelling errors.
Those familiar with the I Ching might be more aware of the program's shortcomings but for others it is an enjoyable, intriguing introduction to an ancient philosophy.
Finally, it seemed appropriate to consult the oracle as to its own worth. Asked "Is this tape of benefit to Sinclair users?" the resulting hexagram was unchanging: "Understand the steps required between what you have and what you want. Work hard but allow time for rest and pleasure."
You can make of that what you will.