Engineering Jones and the Time Thieves of DSPea is an early promotional computer game of historical importance: it marked the first time a computer game was used to introduce a new product. In this case, two new products for digital signal processing from Harris Semiconductor. Designed by Prentice Associates, a firm specializing in computer marketing tools, the game was shipped to more than 15,000 imaging system designers in the USA. The result was very positive: the game generated 11% response rate (vs. the usual 3% rate for the company) and more than 1,700 strong leads within a few months. That must means the game is very good, right?
Well, not exactly. Engineering Jones is not an excellent game in any sense of the word, but it is quite interesting. The game portrays a futuristic world deprived of the benefits of the new Harris DSP technology, and your job is to help Engineering Jones to save the technology of planet DSPea (i.e. Harrris' new products) from being plundered by the evil Time Thieves. As the scenario unfolds, you will be gradually introduced to the features, benefits, and applications of Harris' new products. The gameplay itself is nothing more than a glorified maze game, but some mini puzzles are quite fun to solve. Last but not least, the wacky and detailed graphics recall classic Exxos games such as Captain Blood and Kult, so fans of these games will find the game a bit nostalgic. Worth a look for its historical value at least - and if you ever wonder what "digital signal processing" means, here's a fun way to find out.
Note: the game's last marketing gimmick is that after the final puzzle is solved, you can fill out a response card that would automatically enter you in a drawing to win a camcorder. I wonder if that camcorder still works today ;)
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