Patently absurd

Patent number 6,935,954
“Sanity system for videogame”

What does it cover? Being driven mad by various things that happen within a videogame. So your character gradually loses his mind (as represented by a meter or gauge of some kind), and all kinds of crazy stuff happens on-screen to represent it.

Who owns it? Nintendo, who used it effectively in Gamecube horror-adventure Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. More recently, Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth did something similar, but got away with it by not showing sanity on the HUD.

Patent number 6,923,717
“Adrenaline feature for sports video games”

What does it cover? Squeeze a trigger to increase a character’s adrenaline; let it go to calm him down. He’s more aggressive with high adrenaline, but prone to error.

Who owns it? Nintendo, the scamps, from back in the days of the Gamecube. It’s not a feature we’ve seen much of, but it’d be loads of fun in less realistic sports games. Fat chance of seeing it in anything without Mario and his ’stache in, sadly.

Patent number 6,999,083
“System and method to provide a spectator experience for networked gaming”

What does it cover? Watching pretend men shoot other pretend men (substitute cars/athletes/dancing horses as necessary) in an online match - i.e. it’s an optional observer mode, rather than playing the game yourself.

Who owns it? Microsoft, who filed it in 2001 (despite the concept being in all sorts of games before) and tried it in a Mechwarrior 4 mod. The key is automatic camera control to create a more cinematic experience.

Feb 8, 2008