- A video game design where the player uses a map to drive around in a city, rather than a race track, and doesn’t have to stay on roads.
- Cars surrounded by an invisible smaller “danger zone” and larger “caution zone.” Virtual people in the danger zone jump out of the way. Virtual people in the caution zone stop walking, rather than walk into the danger zone. The patent says this is so virtual collisions won’t occur, “because recently it is strongly required to avoid cruel game images.”
- Arrows hover showing which direction to go to reach the destination. Here’s a figure from the patent illustrating how an arrow can point out the correct direction to the player:
Sega’s game Crazy Taxi, released in 2000, required players to act as a taxi driver and earn money by performing extreme stunts and shuttling passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible. The Simpsons: Road Rage was released in 2001 and features similar game play of racing to get passengers to destinations and completing missions to collect money. Sega brought this lawsuit at the end of 2003 claiming the defendants’ game was an obvious rip-off of Crazy Taxi because it copied certain gameplay elements such as using arrows to direct the player where to go and having pedestrian characters jump out of the way of cars.
Sega alleged the game was designed to “deliberately copy and imitate” Crazy Taxi and cited game reviews that noted the similarities between the games to support its accusation. One such review called Road Rage a “shameless incident of design burglary.” An author from shacknews.com noted that many lawsuits complaining about knock-off video games are “groundless” but that he knew “several people who said that Road Rage is so much like Crazy Taxi that until [he] told them otherwise, they assumed it was licensed from Sega.” Look at the screenshots below to compare the games yourself:
If I (Ross) were a betting man (oh yeah… I AM a betting man), my money would be on invalidity. Just take a look at the last independent claim in the patent:
25. An electronic device for displaying a game in which a movable object which is movable in a virtual space gets a specific object at a prescribed position in the virtual space and is moved to a destination in the virtual space, comprising:
display means for emphatically displaying a position of the specific object.
Really? Really?!?! Does Sega believe it is the first game to “emphatically display” an object to which another movable object can navigate? Yeah, I bet Fox settled cheap…