U.S. Patent No. 5,885,156: Video game apparatus, method of controlling the growth of play character in video game, and video game medium therefor

Issued March 23, 1999, to Konami Holding Corp.
Priority Date November 24, 1995

U.S. Patent No. 5,885,156 (the ‘156 Patent) describes a method for achieving experience points through dialog. The ‘156 Patent specifically relates to Konami’s Pawapuro or Power Pros series, which is a baseball game that features some role-playing game elements. Power Pros features a mode called “Success Mode,” which entailed users playing the life of an up-and-coming baseball player. Users start off with low stats and must train to become a better player. Part of the mode is managing the baseball player’s social life as well. The game generates random events that impact the baseball player’s stats. The ‘156 Patent describes the method of how the social events affect the player’s stats. For every random event, a set of options are given to the user, each generating a different outcome. The user earns experience points for choosing an option, but not every option is treated equally. Some options may give players more experience points than others, while some may hurt a player’s stats. Every play-through of “Success Mode” is different because the events are randomly generated.

A game cartridge is inserted into a game device, and a controller is operated to display and perform a game stored in the game cartridge on a display monitor. The game cartridge has a ROM for storing a game program and a RAM for storing data of a play character having unique abilities. The controller is operated to instruct a play character to repeat various patterns of speech and action to increase the number of “remaining experience credits”. Obtained “remaining experience credits” are assigned to abilities of the play characters to achieve desired ability values for thereby growing the play character until it develops unique abilities.

Illustrative Claim:
7. A method of controlling growth of a player character in a video game performed by a video game apparatus having a display unit for displaying said player character and player event patterns of of said player character, and menus corresponding to said player event patterns, an input control unit for permitting a video game player to select said menus, event memory means for storing said player event patterns selected by said input control unit, and event control means for reading said player event patterns selected by said input control unit from said event memory means and controlling said player character to perform said player event patterns, said method comprising the steps of: imparting a number of at least one type of credit to said player character; varying said number of said at least one type of credit by a variance amount selected based on a random probability from a range of amounts depending on said player event patterns selected by said input control unit; storing said number of said at least one type of credit after said varying; permitting said video game player to operate said input control unit to distribute said number of said at least one type of credit to a plurality of ability values representing a plurality of abilities of said player character; and storing said ability values with said number of said at least one type of credit distributed thereto.