Friday, January 25, 2013

Chequemate C-3D Imaging System, 1997.

Was is das, a piece of video game equipment I don't know about? Or, hm, an elaborate scam to defraud investors?

Don't laugh. You just might wet yours when you see the in-your-face 3D effects the Chequemate C-3D Imaging System adds to your video games. Connect C-3D to your TV and game system, and BAM! -- images explode out of the screen while awesome visual depth sucks you right into the game's environment. Best of all, C-3D works on any video signal from any source -- so if you can see it on TV, you can see it in 3D. Think you're ready for something this wild? Call 1-800-889-9791 for the C-3D dealer nearest you. And tell 'em the big bad wolf sent you.

I always do a quick keyword search before transcribing these things to save myself the effort if someone's already done so. I can safely report that nothing remotely related to this product comes up when you search "red riding hood just wet her pants".

It's a curious story: buy a company with an intriguing product, hire someone to improve on the product, build stock value, fail to manufacture improved product, announce fictitious business deals, sell your stocks, be exposed as fraudulent, close the company... then self-publish a book celebrating your shrewd business acumen. But it makes you wonder at what point the plan shifted -- whether there was ever any intention of implementing the improved design, or if calling up the number would have revealed any dealers of the product nearby. It's a strangely elaborate set-up for a scam, or perhaps the scam was just a Plan B?Is this an ad whose purpose is not actually to sell product, but just to give the impression of being a viable company?

Utah always has an interesting tech culture -- remember WordPerfect? (I'm tickled to hear that one of WP's main beneficiaries is spending his fortune opposing gay marriage in California, while his business partner is spending his supporting it.) I have a hard time however reconciling my conception of techie Mormons with the panty-soiling ad copy.

I'm puzzled by the company's use of the very British spelling "cheque", especially when logos depict a chess piece. Spelling of the position that way does happen on Google, but it is in a steep minority. Also a kick, the premature Emeril-ization of the ad -- BAM! 3D visuals kick gameplay up a notch. And I suppose if you can't think of a better adjective to describe visual depth, "awesome" will do -- like the Grand Canyon! ("Profound" would be bit unusually philosophical for ad copy.)