Yesterday’s Copy Protection Schemes – James Bond: The Stealth Affair

There have been some crazy ideas developers that came up with to attempt to defeat the software pirates copying their games.  Sometimes the desire to protect their product overcame the need for convenience of the consumer of that product.  Some were simply annoying: turn to page 145 of your game manual and enter the first word on the third paragraph.  Some, however, transcended mere annoyance to become a true pimple on the gamer’s backside.  Such a copy protection scheme was found in James Bond: The Stealth Affair.

The copy protection screen for The Stealth Affair

At first the design seemed elegant. A picture was divided up into various colorful geometric patterns, and presented on the back page of the game manual as a reference.  When the copy protection screen loaded, the picture was in grayscale except one geometric puzzle piece.  The game demanded which color was this piece.  Simple, right? Except the colors were slightly off, and the first guess was always wrong.  It didn’t matter if the piece was red and you selected red.  You were still wrong. The computer is your friend, citizen.  If you had the good fortune to have an easy color to distinguish on the second attempt, the game began.  If not, you were 0 for 2, and it was time to restart.  (Note to developers: the only thing worse is making me go online to unlock the game, especially if my Internet connection is down.  No one at Blizzard or Valve would ever make us do something like that would they?)  At any rate, below is the original color copy protection page from the game manual. Enjoy!

Full color copy protection screen for The Stealth Affair


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