Son Finds His Late Dad's 'Ghost' In A Racing Video Game

This is lovely, strange, and wrenching all at the same time. A teenager whose father passed away when he was just six had pulled out an old Xbox game that he and his dad used to play together, only to discover a part of his father lived on in the game, as a ghost car.

This is less supernatural than that sentence sounds. In racing video games, a ghost car is a representation of a previous player's inputs and actions as they drove the track previously. Usually, the fastest laps are stored as ghost cars and then used by players to help them find the best line around a track, or have a way to compete with another player in a time-shifted way.

Here's what the son said about the experience in the comments section of a YouTube video about gaming and spirituality:

Well, when i was 4, my dad bought a trusty XBox. you know, the first, ruggedy, blocky one from 2001. we had tons and tons and tons of fun playing all kinds of games together - until he died, when i was just 6.

i couldnt touch that console for 10 years.

but once i did, i noticed something.

we used to play a racing game, Rally Sports Challenge. actually pretty awesome for the time it came.

and once i started meddling around... i found a GHOST.

literaly.

you know, when a time race happens, that the fastest lap so far gets recorded as a ghost driver? yep, you guessed it - his ghost still rolls around the track today.

and so i played and played, and played, untill i was almost able to beat the ghost. until one day i got ahead of it, i surpassed it, and...

i stopped right in front of the finish line, just to ensure i wouldnt delete it.

Bliss.

So, in a surprisingly real way, this son was able to once again play this rally game with his dad. As a dad now, I can imagine how powerful that feeling must be, that tantalizing mirage of closeness, a record of his father's actions for those few moments, now preserved. It's really not much different than finding a handwritten letter — both would be direct results of thoughts and actions at a particular moment — just a little more active and fun.

There's an aching beauty about this little story — the dad's still gone, the kid still has that loss, but a little reprieve like this ghost car is probably a bittersweet and valuable reminder of his father's love.

Dammit, I'm going to go hug my son right now.