Shigeru Miyamoto has always pushed that he wants his games to appeal to everyone. You can see his influence pretty easily if you look at Nintendo’s software line up for the Wii. Games like Wii Music and Wii Sports are playable by everyone, but for quite awhile Nintendo was already making some of their games easier and trying to make them more appealing to many people. Game seres like The Legend of Zelda are a good example, with each entry the series seems to become easier and easier trying to appeal to more players. With Miyamoto’s new patent it seems like their trying to make hardcore games even easier for the casual player to get into. This might make some hardcore gamers upset, but this new patent could actually end up benefiting hardcore gamers as well.
Miyamoto’s “Kind Code” Patent is basically a set of additions to a game to allow it to be more accessible by users. The first addition is a hint system. The basic idea of the hint system is that a player attempts to solve a puzzle and cannot do so. Therefore they may attempt multiple things to solve a puzzle, after a set amount of time the game will give the option to view a hint. Once pressing the hint button a “Moving Image” will appear which will give you an idea of what exactly to do. There is a possibility that this video will be low quality and low frame rate in order to encourage users to still have to think still, but being given the general idea of how to solve it may be able to complete the puzzle.
The second addition is a scene selection mode. This may sound a little familiar to those who were keeping an eye on Alone in the Dark. This is a feature that was taken from DVD movies and applied to video games. Instead of playing the whole game again you can skip to your favorite section and play it again. This flows into the third addition, the Digest mode. A mode where you can basically watch the game being played using possibly a prerecorded play through by a Nintendo employee, but you have the ability to start playing when ever you want during Digest Mode. Digest Mode lacks the ability to save though. This gives some incentive to play through the actual game, but I would say there’s a high possibility that you can use the scene select to skip to where you want to in Digest Mode.
All of these help solve many problems that the casual gamer and some times even the hardcore gamer encounters. Many gamers do not finish games due to a section of the game they may get stuck on. The hint system would obviously make it a lot easier for people who get stuck to move on. If Nintendo is smart these hints should not be forced on you. So people who want to play through the game without the hints may do so. Some hardcore gamers may ask “How does this benefit me? I complete all of my games.” Nintendo has been making most of the main quests in their recently titles easy. With the King Code Nintendo can push the difficulty more without worrying about alienating the casual gamer who may be playing the game as well. Therefore more challenge is added for the hardcore gamers.
The Digest mode may help people who may not have enough time to sit down and play for a long time. Some one may need to fold laundry but instead of watching TV pop in a video game choose digest mode. When finished folding laundry they may have free time until their next task. They can jump in from where they were watching and play the game. After they can turn it off and come back later and use the scene selection to start up where they were again like a movie. How they will handle Digest Mode is currently unknown though, Nintendo needs to ask their selves how they can make a game interesting to watch using the resources they will have. If it turns out well I could see this becoming a popular feature in Nintendo’s story heavy games.
Overall I think this is going to be something that may hopefully improve gaming experiences for hardcore and casual players. The only thing that could possibly make this patent hinder the game’s experience is if Nintendo decides to compensate even more for the casual gamer Nintendo Decides to cut content in their games or possibly shorten the main quest in a game and increase the amount of side quests. My only real complaint with this patent is the fact that it seems like their trying to patent things that probably do not need to be patented. Many of these things have already been implemented in other games. While not 100% confirmed this patent points towards a new system that the new Zelda game will use…even the images are based off the Zelda series. Hopefully if this system is implemented it will be able to help everyone.