Spam and Gouda, part 2

MPgameBoxMonty Python doesn’t get much credit for their contribution to technology, but geeks have always loved the Flying Circus. Beyond their help in christening e-mail spam, they (or, rather, the game developers who adored them) also took the first steps to anti-pirating software. Today when you buy a new game (assuming you’re still purchasing DVDs to install with), you’ll get a 16+ character alpha-numeric code that you have to type in as proof of purchase. But back in the DOS days, when every dang byte was precious, simple password security hadn’t yet arrived. You bought a game on a floppy disk, installed it on your computer, then gave the disk to your friends. You wouldn’t need it again unless you filled up your 8-Mb hard drive and had to uninstall. One of the pioneers of stopping this lazy piracy was Python. The MS-DOS version of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” opened to a … um, a cheese quiz. It looked like this: MPcheese Yes, that terribly-rendered 2-d drawing of a block of cheese was their line of defense. One of 20 random cheeses would appear and you had to type the name correctly to play the game. The only way you could identify was to compare the block to the official Cheese Chart that came with the game. I got it wrong at least half the time, anyway, because the line drawings were so similar. It was effective, however, in that it was almost enough to stop us. We weren’t about to shlep all the way downtown to the library to spend 50 cents on the only copying machine in town just to get duplicates of the chart! Believe it or not, a buddy of mine who was eager to have me play his copy of the game spent an entire afternoon copying the Cheese Chart for me, down to getting the right number of holes in the Swiss. After all that, it’s really a shame that the game play was so terrible. And the graphics were awful even for the time period. I’m sure my buddy spent more time making the chart than I ever did playing it. This is about as far as I ever got: MPgame

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