A great amount of video games is protected by patents. As a rule, video games develop much faster than any other entertainment industry and each game invention has the author. Respectively, the author’s ideas are accepted in order to be protected by patents from competitors or at least to make good money (in case the idea is really successful). Among these patents sometimes can be found very unusual and funny. In Part 1 we will present 5 examples of such inventions.
Crossings on Gamepad
Invention of: Nintendo
Excerpt from the patent: “Multi switch which can be mechanically activated in different directions by the operator’s finger tip pressure. It has the shape of the cross.”
Significance: A crossing, or so called D-pad is presented on all console types of gamepad, including NES. But if you look closely, you will notice that the shape of a cross was taken only on controllers of Nintendo. Sega and Microsoft framed the “arrows” with a plastic circle and Sony preferred to separate all directional buttons. These creative solutions are the result of the patent obtained by Nintendo in 1983. It describes in detail the device of cross which could not be copied by the Japanese contenders. Nearer to the forbidden territory came Sega in 1998 when D-pad gamepad Dreamcast had the shape of a cross, but was significantly different of both look and mechanics of the work. The patent had been invalidated only in 2005, but the consequences of its departure we see just now: D-pad controller of Xbox One looks like a classic “cross”.
Invention of: Sega
Excerpt from the patent: “A method of displaying the direction for the object that is moving in the virtual space to a destination.”
Significance: The directional arrow for the first time appeared in the arcade racing Crazy Taxi. When a passenger was getting in your car, a green arrow displayed at the top of the screen that shows you where to go. This is a very simple and intuitive method of orientation, so Sega had arrogated it and even successfully sued the developers of The Simpsons: Road Rage (they decided that the replacement of the arrow with the index finger will not be a breach). However, this ban has given life to new solutions: GTA 3 introduced to the players a much more friendly minimap, so, the arrow is no longer needed.
Invention of: Electronic Arts
Excerpt from the patent: “A graphical interface is displayed during operation of the program that provides a choice indicator, wherein the choice indicator has a plurality of selectable slots, each associated with a dialog class. The graphical interface is consistent as to the position of dialog classes throughout at least a segment of the program.”
Significance: Dialogues in role-playing games had been giving for a long time an accurate representation of the consequences that would trigger this or that phrase in conversation. Thus, the half of the fun of Fallout I was the augury whether you get shot after another replica or not. Mass Effect previously explained the meaning of each phrase: the good answers are always located at the top right of the dialog wheels, the hostile ones are at the bottom right, and so on. Such a system has become a part of a series’ patented element. Other role-playing games still use simple lists of available responses.
Running in Spiral
Invention of: Sega
Excerpt from the patent: “A method is provided for controlling the appearance of a video game character, as the character traverses a path displayed on a display screen; wherein the method is used in a video game system which includes a graphics controller, digital memory and a display screen, the method comprises the steps of: displaying a banked path segment in which the game character is displayed upright at least one location on the banked path and is displayed upside down at at least one other location on this banked path…”
Significance: The complicated formulation of the patent conceals a simple idea. Do you remember blue Sonic the hedgehog who ran through the corkscrew loops? At that moment we have seen him upside down and at angles. Sega could not patent the idea of the loops, but completely does the method of displaying two-dimensional character that falls into them.
Gaming Console of EA
Invention of: Electronic Arts
Excerpt from the patent: “An electronic game system includes a game console, which accepts a game cartridge and runs the games stored therein, and a wireless controller for controlling actions in the game. The wireless controller includes a radio frequency transmitter for sending control signals to the console, and the console includes a receiver for receiving the control signals from the controller. Because the controller uses radio frequency signals instead of infrared signals to send information to the console, the controller may be operated at a large distance from the console. Thus, the game system of the invention may be used in long range applications wherein the console and the controller need to be separated by a relatively large distance.”
Significance: In early 1994, Electronic Arts applied for a patent of their own gaming console. It has been almost two decades and the patent will soon be over, but in reality such a controller does not exist yet. And, what makes things worse for EA, the company could not even sue anybody. Nintendo 64, released in 1996, had only wired gamepads. Though, the subsequent generation of consoles switched to wireless controllers, but they decisively abandoned cartridges at the same time. Fail.
In Part 2 we’ll be talking about 4 more Patented Game Inventions That Might Amaze You.
|About the author: Paul Smith is a professional writer who composes articles about health, lifestyle, self-development, social media, and business. His hobbies are dancing and traveling. Paul can be contacted at Google+ and custom essay writer.