Distinctive Software

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Distinctive Software, Inc. (DSI) was a Canadian video game developer established in Burnaby, British Columbia, by Don Mattrick and Jeff Sember after their success with the game Evolution.[1] Distinctive Software was the predecessor to EA Canada. Most DSI games were distributed by Accolade.

Distinctive Software was best known in the late 1980s for their ports, racing and sports games, including the Test Drive series and Stunts. The code base for 1987's Test Drive was also used for Test Drive II: The Duel, 1988's Grand Prix Circuit, and 1989's The Cycles: International Grand Prix Racing.[citation needed]

DSI also made sports games like 4D Boxing, and the second title in the Hardball series, Hardball II.

In 1991, DSI was acquired by Electronic Arts in a deal worth US$11 million and became EA Canada. This was significant blow to Accolade, which lost credibility and market share in the following years.[citation needed]

Trade-named as Unlimited Software, Inc., and lawsuit[edit]

In 1989, programmers Pete Gardner and the "Old Kid" (Amory Wong) of DSI, under the pseudonym USI (Unlimited Software, Inc.), converted Sega's arcade game Out Run into a DOS version. For Out Run, they used several software libraries they had developed for Test Drive II. Consequently, Accolade charged that DSI violated a working agreement, and sued. Accolade sought a preliminary injunction against the distribution and sale of Out Run. Distinctive Software argued that it had only used source code that did routine functions, such as clearing the video screen and that Accolade did not own a copyright on those functions. Accolade argued that their contract for Test Drive II gave them the ownership and copyright of the final product—the game—and the source code used to create it. Distinctive Software won; the court ruled that "the licensing agreement transfers to Accolade the copyright to the concept and design of the video game but not the underlying source code." The court also found that Accolade had failed to demonstrate that the balance of hardships was in its favor.[2]

Notable games[edit]

Game Published Publisher Platform
4D Sports Boxing 1991 Mindscape/Electronic Arts DOS, Amiga, Atari ST
4D Sports Tennis 1990 Mindscape DOS
Accolade Comics 1987 Accolade Commodore 64
Ace of Aces 1987 Accolade Atari 8-bit family
After Burner 1988 Sega DOS
Altered Beast 1990 Sega DOS
Bill Elliott's NASCAR Challenge 1990 Konami MS-DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, NES, handheld
Castlevania 1990 Ultra Games DOS
Grand Prix Circuit 1988 Accolade DOS, Commodore 64, Amiga, Apple IIGS
Fight Night 1985 Accolade Atari 8-bit family, Apple II
Hardball! 1985 Accolade Commodore 64, Apple IIGS
Mario Andretti's Racing Challenge 1991 Electronic Arts DOS
Metal Gear 1990 Ultra Games DOS
Mission: Impossible 1991 Konami DOS
Out Run 1989 Sega DOS
Stunts (4D Sports Driving) 1990 Brøderbund/Mindscape DOS, Amiga
Super C 1990 Konami Amiga, DOS
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990 Ultra Games DOS, Commodore 64
Test Drive 1987 Accolade DOS, Commodore 64, Amiga
The Cycles: International Grand Prix Racing 1989 Accolade DOS, Commodore 64
The Duel: Test Drive II 1989 Accolade DOS, Commodore 64, Amiga, Apple IIGS
Top Gun: Guts and Glory 1993 Konami Game Boy
Wings of Fury 1990 Broderbund Amiga, DOS

References[edit]

  1. ^ Evolution
  2. ^ Dannenberg, Ross (May 30, 2005). "Case: Accolade v. Distinctive (N.D.Cal. 1990) [C]". Patent Arcade. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 

External links[edit]