Welcome to the first post of our VIDEO GAME PATENTS feature. May we present:

U.S. Pat. No. 6,923,717: Adrenaline Feature for Sports Video Games
Issued August 2, 2005 to Nintendo of America, Inc.


The ‘717 patent describes describes various methods of controlling a video game. In addition to all the regular buttons, joysticks, d-pads, thumbsticks, triggers, vibration motors, and other widgets and cogs found on video game controllers, Nintendo now allows the to control a level of virtual “adrenaline” of a player in a video game. A user can control the adrenaline level, e.g., with an analog trigger. When the adrenaline level is high, players in the video game act more aggressively. However, the players’ chance of overreacting also increases when the adrenaline increases. For example, a basketball player is more likely to block a shot if his adrenaline level is high, but the player is also more likely to commit a foul. Nintendo’s adrenaline feature adds more control and realism to sports video games. What’s next? The “steroid” trigger?

Illustrative Claim:
1. A method of controlling game play in a sports video game, wherein a user interactively controls a sports game character in a virtual sports game environment using a game controller, the method comprising:
defining initial character parameters for the sports game character and an opposing sports game character for use during game play, wherein the initial character parameters define play characteristics for the game character and the opposing game character;
detecting user input from at least one control element on the game controller requesting an animated action by the game character;
reading an adrenaline value from an analog control element on the controller indicating a level of aggression desired by the user for the animated action, wherein the analog control element is different from said at least one control element;
adjusting at least one of the initial character parameters for the game character based on the adrenaline value;
performing the animated action by the game character using the at least one adjusted character parameter, wherein the at least one adjusted character parameter is related to the animated action and influences the success or failure of the action depicted by the animated action; and
adjusting at least one of the initial character parameters for the opposing character based on the adrenaline value and performing an animated action by the opposing character at the same time as the same character’s animated action using the adjusted character parameter for the opposing character.

U.S. Patent No. 6,935,954: Sanity System for Video Game