Friday, May 8, 2020

DOS games - Ford driving simulator

In the 1980s, if you couldn't visit your car dealer, how would you look at the new models and decide to buy a car? Not everyone had a local dealer. Ford decided they didn't want to limit customers that couldn't visit in person, so some forward-thinking person at Ford decided to create a driving simulator that let you try out different Ford models.

It was a great idea, especially for the time. Run the program, and you could select a car from the list, and drive it around on a virtual track. While not perfect, this gave you an idea of the car you were looking to buy. And you could dig further into statistics, and run cost scenarios to see what options you might include and what overall car you could afford.

Today, you'd do all of that from a website. And certainly many car manufacturers do exactly that. But in the 1980s, "websites" didn't exist yet. The only way to get that experience out there was to create a program and pass it around on a floppy disk.

I don't remember if you had to buy the demo floppy, or if Ford gave it away for free. But I do remember that my dad brought home the Ford driving simulator. My brother and I played it like a game. Since this was before sound cards, the simulator sounds came from the tinny internal PC speaker. The graphics weren't great, only 4-color CGA, but it was enough to play a game.

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