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Jones in the Fast Lane

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Jones in the Fast Lane is a life simulation game developed and published by Sierra Entertainment in 1990. The objective of the game is to attain as much money, happiness, status and education as necessary to win.[1] The exact amounts needed are set up by the players before the game began. The game's name and goals are a play on the concept of keeping up with the Joneses.

As of 2006, the game was ported to Adobe Flash.

Development

The game's working title was Keeping Up with Jones.[2]

Jones in the Fast Lane was entirely developed as a set of storyboards before artwork or coding commenced. The "board game" interface was aimed at ensuring the rules were intuitive and accessible to younger or inexperienced players.

The 256-color VGA graphics were impressive for the time, with most computer games still produced in 16-color EGA. Produced in 1990,[1] it was also one of the first games to run in Windows 3.0 which was released in May 1990.

Gameplay

The game world is represented by a board game-like ring of buildings in squares, resembling a cross between Monopoly and The Game of Life. The player, represented by a coloured marble on the board, is free to move around, only limited by the time remaining per turn. Time is used up by moving to a new location and performing actions like working, attending class, or resting. Each turn represents a week of the player's life. The player only gets to decide what their character would do during the week. On the weekends, the character experiences an "Oh What a Weekend" event and spend a certain amount of money (usually less than $200). These events are usually based upon a purchase that the player had made during their previous "week", such as attending a show if the player purchased theater and/or concert tickets.

An event can also be random and described to the player in traditional Sierra humor, i.e. "You went to Las Vegas in a $20,000 car and came back in a $200,000 Greyhound bus." Most buildings feature a live action clerk or store person who greets the player with a variety of humorous phrases, complete with lip syncing. All of these phrases, as well as every voiced line in the game, can be heard by putting the game's disc into a CD player and going to the 2nd track. The game can be played by up to four players, who take turns in 'living' their respective weeks. If only one player is present, there is the option to play against Jones, the titular character of the game.

Public reception

Despite its intuitive design and use of color, the game was not a critical success. Contemporary reviews described the game as a "humorous romp through modern life"[3] and praised the graphics and clever wordplay, but noted it was essentially a computerised board game.[4]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Przasnyski, Mateusz (September/October 1991). "Jones in the Fast Lane" (in Polish). Top Secret (7): p. 14. 
  2. Wilson, Johnny L. (June 1990). "Keeping Up With Jones". Computer Gaming World (72): p. 16. 
  3. deCoster, Jeane; Crook, David (1991-02-16). "Keeping Up With `Jones' From Realistic Point of View". Los Angeles Times: pp. 13. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/latimes/access/61064237.xml?dids=61064237:61064237&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Feb+16%2C+1991&author=JEANE+deCOSTER%3B+DAVID+CROOK&pub=Los+Angeles+Times+(pre-1997+Fulltext)&desc=Keeping+Up+With+%60Jones%27+From+Realistic+Point+of+View&pqatl=google. Retrieved 2009-03-18. 
  4. Huffman, Eddie (June 1991). "Jones in the Fast Lane". Compute!: Issue 130 (Compute! Publications Inc.).  viewed at Classic Computer Magazine Archive (2003). Retrieved on 2009-03-17.

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