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  • Back when I was about 7 years old I ended up with a copy of Ford Simulator

  • for MS-DOS, specifically the second release from 1990. I made a video talking

  • about it almost a decade ago here on LGR but my fascination with the series

  • remains intermittently steadfast, I guess you could say. There's just something odd

  • about these pieces of software which were distributed freely for about a

  • decade beginning in 1987, with six of them being released by Ford Motor

  • Company and the SoftAd Group by the time the series ended. Or so I thought.

  • Then I happen to see this show up on eBay a while back and I had to grab it!

  • This is Ford Simulator 7.0 from 1996 which as far as I can tell has never

  • appeared online before this video. Well it's never been seen in any real depth, at

  • least. Heck it's even hard to find a reference to this thing anywhere on the internet

  • at all, other than one lone forum post from 2003 inquiring in vain about its

  • existence. As well as this scan of a Brazilian shareware catalog which is

  • actually just an optical character reader's flawed interpretation of "Ford

  • Simulator 2." So say hello to the Internet, Ford Simulator 7.0! You have a lot of cat

  • videos to catch up on. And yes that is a Jaguar plopped in there between the Ford,

  • Lincoln, and Mercury products, being from the era when Ford owned Jaguar Cars.

  • What makes this notable is that all previous versions of Ford Simulator did

  • not acknowledge that fact and from what I've seen this is the only release to

  • have done so. And as with all these Ford Sim releases they originally came

  • directly from Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, provided free of

  • charge if you requested it from a dealership, by mail, over the phone,

  • whatever worked. And this one has never been opened since it was first shipped

  • out decades ago, so this is quite the exceptional moment! I mean, I guess it is.

  • I don't know my opinions on these things are skewed. Once unsealed it folds open

  • to reveal the program itself on a CD-ROM. A pleasant surprise to me since all

  • previous versions I've owned have only come on floppy disks. The only other

  • thing you get inside is a card with a few technical details, which includes

  • some details of the technical variety. Like the fact that it not only requires

  • Windows, but also SVGA graphics, 8 megabytes of

  • RAM, and a 50 megahertz 486 CPU. Pretty hefty specs compared to previous

  • releases that were only made for DOS and could run on most any PC with a VGA card.

  • We'll be running this on Windows 95 since well, it came out in 1996 so it

  • felt appropriate. And without further ado behold" the long lost Ford Simulator 7.0!

  • Narrator: "Welcome to Ford Simulator 7 and the exciting world of Ford, Lincoln, Mercury,

  • and Jaguar vehicles. Please select a specific vehicle now!" LGR: eh it's fine.

  • It's just a virtual product catalog like all the other Ford Sims. But I mean, there's

  • got to be more to it so let's keep going because I'm sure there's some 90s CD-ROM

  • goodness in here. Like the pointless and long-winded narration that happens on

  • every menu when a simple line of text would suffice. Narrator: "To see a list of available

  • accessories and elec--this screen provides a view of the many features available to

  • each of Ford's--accessories and electronics options--paint your car by selecting one

  • of the colors at the bottom of the screen..." LGR: or the bodacious full motion

  • videos that play for every single vehicle complete with saxophone music

  • and more of that sultry narrator. Narrator: "the Mercury Grand Marquis offers convenience,

  • comfort, a powerful 4.6 liter overhead-cam v8 with a 100,000 mile

  • tune-up, and a body-on-frame construction that helps produce its legendary ride.

  • With a roomy 6 passenger interior, luxurious upholstery, and convenient

  • appointments, you'll feel right at home away from home!"

  • LGR: Ahh, the mid-90s. When CD-ROM was still the new hotness and every program went out

  • of their way to use all 650+ megabytes whether they needed to or not.

  • And Ford Simulator 7.0 is a delightful example, functioning more like an

  • interactive audio-visual encyclopedia than any of the previous releases. You

  • could slap a Compton's logo in there somewhere and it'd have no problem

  • fitting in with the rest of the presentation. But yeah beyond the state

  • of the art 1996 multimedia facade, Ford Sim 7 really is the exact same core

  • experience as the Ford Simulators that preceded it. That is, it's a computerized

  • advertisement meant to sell you on a new car.

  • Look at photos, videos, lists of specifications, accessories, trim levels,

  • lease options, and even customize the paint! So instead of flipping through a

  • physical Ford catalog or visiting a Ford showroom,

  • you can browse an interactive selection of their automotive offerings from the

  • comfort of your own computer chair. So it not only made sense for someone in the

  • market for a new car but for those looking for something, anything, to run on

  • their computer for free. I was definitely one of those people

  • back then, and at ten years old I still would have been somewhat amused by Ford

  • Simulator 7. Not just because it was a computer thing, but I just liked

  • anything with cars at all. But really the biggest thing that drew me to Ford

  • Simulators was the so-called "simulator" aspect. Choosing the 'Game' mode from the

  • main menu left behind the confines of manufacturer warranty information and

  • annual finance rate calculations and provided a welcome reprieve in the form

  • of a cheap ripoff of the game Test Drive with a little bit of Outrun tossed in.

  • And the version of Ford Simulator that comes with Ford Simulator 7.0 is

  • practically identical to the one in 6. And five. And probably 4 and even

  • 3 to a degree... yeah they got lazy with these releases later on it seems.

  • Oh well, it does differ a bit in that there are fewer features than previous

  • releases so that's nice... like, right away you can't choose the car to drive like

  • you could in 6.0. Not that it made a huge difference to the gameplay since the

  • driving is so basic, but still, why take that away? All you can do here is choose

  • between automatic and manual transmission and you're given the

  • objective of reaching Lake Wakatonka as fast as possible, with multiple forks in

  • the road presenting multiple routes to take. Sounds like a fun race right?

  • It isn't.

  • It's not really a race at all since you're not racing anyone or

  • limited by time. All you need to do is make it to the end of the road in one

  • piece, which is accomplished by driving slowly, cautiously, and more or less

  • within the speed limit. Wheeeeeeeee.

  • Along the way you'll be running into plenty of traffic

  • though. And I mean it you literally run into them,

  • complete with Bat-Fight words.

  • *1960s Batman TV show sound effects play*

  • And if you drive too fast within view of a police car you'll be pulled over.

  • Four miles over the speed limit?! Ooh you're such a rebel! But the biggest obstacle

  • are the roads themselves which are bizarrely tough to stay on. Not sure if

  • it's a mixture of the controls, the physics, or the fact that

  • this sucks but the driving in this is atrocious. Even at low speeds you're frequently

  • but inconsistently being pulled from one side to the other, like a giant but

  • faulty electromagnet keeps switching off and on to each side of your car, while

  • the road itself is covered in a mixture of molasses and snot. This is a

  • confusingly-built advertisement for Ford vehicles seeing how badly the car

  • handles here, it's infuriating! Then every so often you'll be presented with a gas

  • station you can stop inside and oh!

  • Who are y--what the heck is wrong with your face...?

  • So this guy says after you've paid for gas you only have enough money to buy

  • one thing, even though you don't actually have money that runs out. Oh well. You've

  • got three options: buying a map is the most useful item to grab since it

  • provides you the ability to press F2 to open the map and refer to a map of the map.

  • Not necessary of course and each route looks 99% identical to all the

  • others, but still nice to have since it lets you know which fork in the road

  • leads where. The other two purchase options, soda pop and candy bars, do

  • absolutely nothing. I thought maybe they might act as a kind of health, removing

  • one of the hits you took when you collided with something, but nope. All

  • they do is nothing. Which really about sums up this mode to be honest... a whole

  • lot of nothing. It's a driving simulator that simulates the most mundane aspects

  • of driving while providing little more than a test of your patience and

  • obnoxious PC speaker noise.

  • *obnoxious PC speaker noise plays, pulsating painfully as the engine revs*

  • Once you make it to the end 15 or 20 minutes later,

  • hooray I guess. You get a perplexing animation showing who I presume is the

  • developer and a logo that is not SoftAd, but Code To Go. Well that's strange. Code To Go

  • I've talked about in the past since under programmer Dan Duncalf they

  • developed the Disney game Coaster, as well as the DOS port to Turbo Outrun

  • among others. This is the first time I've seen a reference to them having

  • developed the driving portion of Ford Simulator games and considering the

  • Outrun connection that kind of makes sense. So hey that's something we've

  • learned together. Fun times. Fnd that's it for Ford Simulator 7.0! This particular

  • release may have been forgotten by most until now but I can't say I blame anyone.

  • It's the final release of a debatably memorable series of free computer

  • software and the most notable thing about it is that it eluded being

  • properly cataloged on the internet for all these years. There are some

  • wonderfully cheesy FMV sequences for each vehicle, and that's fun enough I

  • guess. Especially since the older releases just had static or animated

  • imagery. But then the quote-unquote "simulator" mode that it comes with is

  • just as much of a letdown as the previous few Ford Sims. To me though

  • Ford Simulator 7 is a bit more fascinating for the context in which it

  • was released rather than the software itself. In the days before widespread

  • worldwide web access and multimedia-laden websites these kinds of software

  • packages made a lot more sense for a car company. And Ford Simulator 7 was the

  • last of its kind for Ford. This was 1996, where you could realistically expect

  • home users to have a 33.6 kilobits per second dial-up modem connection, if they

  • had one at all. So embedding full motion video and sound into a website didn't

  • make much sense. And the game mode, well, even being a freebie it was hardly

  • very appealing when you had fantastic racing games hitting the PC left and

  • right by then. Finally, the explosion of internet usage in North America around

  • 1997 meant that it really didn't make much sense to continue releasing Ford

  • Simulators. All one had to do was log on to www.ford.com and get 95% of the exact same

  • content and functionality that you would from Ford Simulator.

  • Yeah maybe you didn't get the hundreds of megabytes of narration, video clips,

  • and ethereal candy bar-chomping roadtrip gameplay... but the website did the job for

  • most computer-savvy folks, and it didn't require writing CDs or floppy disks for

  • physical distribution. Ford Sim Seven existed as it did, when it did, for a list

  • of reasons that only existed for a small moment in tech history: where the world

  • of offline and online multimedia were evolving, shifting, and merging in

  • intriguing and unpredictable ways month-to-month. And I can't help but

  • smile thinking back to that specific moment in time that

  • flew by without most of us even noticing.

  • I just realized that I've been messing with Ford Simulators

  • for like 27 years and I've never ended up owning a Ford. Heh, yeah not a very

  • effective piece of adware I guess. But anyway if this video was effective in

  • providing some enjoyment then perhaps you'd like to see some of these others!

  • And as always thank you for watching LGR.

Back when I was about 7 years old I ended up with a copy of Ford Simulator

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フォード シミュレータ 7.0 - 1996 バーチャルショールームCD-ROM (Ford Simulator 7.0 - 1996 Virtual Showroom CD-ROM)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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