The Fate of Programmers

Can you find evidence of a game that used "ghost" vehicles before Hard Driving?
(Only one reward will be paid - see Conditions)

We are a developer of computer and video games based in the UK. One of our titles (Micro Machines V3) has recently been published in the U.S., and following that we received a letter from Atari Games Corporation and a copy of some of their patents. Basically they are taking the position that they were the first to invent the idea of "ghost" vehicles, typically used in racing games to show the movements of the "best" run, for you to race against. We have included ghost cars in MicroMachines in the Time Trial mode, and so they are asking us to pay them for the right to use this system.

If they were infact the first to use this system then it seems likely that the patent will be enforceable and we (and any other game developers) using ghost cars will have to pay them to use it. It seems that they first used the idea in the arcade game "Hard Driving", and to pre-date the patent another game using a similar system would have to exist before the 1st August, 1989.
So, a reward is on offer for the first person who can mail me with either:

a) the name, title and format of a game (console/home computer/arcade) that uses a similar system, first published before the above date.

b) a copy of any article, review, advert etc. describing a similar system, published before the above date.

Similar System
If you know of a racing game that used a ghost of the previous best lap, displayed simultaneously with the current cars movements, then that would be perfect. However, any system that simultaneously displays a previously recorded route and the current route would also do the job. The "vehicles" would not have to be cars, they could be anything the player controls, including a character. The "ghost" image of the previous route does not have to appear as a ghost; any moving indicator of the position of the "vehicle" being replayed would be fine.

The first message that I receive that significantly helps us in this matter will get the reward of 500 U.S. dollars, paid in your local currency, and the satisfaction that they have helped to ensure that more racing games in the future will continue to use this system.

Please send any replies to:
or fax: UK 44 (0)1926 817595

Please include your contact details.
Many thanks for your help,

Richard Darling

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