Nintendo Patent-palooza: Wii Remote on GameCube, “Kind Code” in Development for Zelda?

Someone’s been making it their business to dig through Nintendo’s files at the US patent office, and boy, let me tell you — there’s some interesting stuff to come out of all of this, including possible hints at the next Zelda.

For starters, everyone rides Nintendo about using what basically amounts to a suped-up GameCube as the foundation for the Wii hardware, but did you ever wonder why?

As Siliconera shows, it would seem that the device which would come to be known to us at the Wii remote was originally designed for use with the Nintendo GameCube. You can see in the sketch above that Nintendo was already using Tennis to underpin their idea, though this early version had Mario in it. Meanwhile, a second illustration shows a player controlling the on-screen action by swinging the remote left and right:

And what brings it all together? This:

As you can see from this diagram, the Wii remote seems to be linked to the GameCube through an adaptor much like that used with the Wavebird wireless controller. In addition, it seems Nintendo had originally planned to utilize two sensor bars — a left one and a right one — before coming up with the single-bar design packed in with every Wii.

Now that we’ve looked at the past, it’s time to look towards the (possible) future.

A more recent patent filing credited to Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto is codenamed the “Kind Code,” and is said to help make getting through a difficult game a less problematic experience without taking away the challenge from more savvy veterans. It was made public today, but originally filed on June 30th last year.

The section which seems to break down what it’s all about reads as follows, as taken from NeoGAF:

[0158]As described above, in the present embodiment, when a player cannot find how to solve the “puzzle” which is set in the game, the player is allowed to view, in the scene, moving images for indicating how to solve the puzzle when the player desires to.

Therefore, a player that cannot find how to solve the “puzzle” may not become stuck with the game, and reduction, due to the puzzle being unsolved, in motivation for clearing the game may be prevented.

Thus, a player unaccustomed to a game or a player that does not have a lot of time for game play is allowed to play and clear the game to the end. Further, how to solve the “puzzle” is indicated as “moving images” by using an actual example in which the puzzle is actually solved, and therefore a player knows, for certain, how to actually move (operate) the player character.

Therefore, for example, a player that cannot know, from a hint represented by only character information, how to solve the puzzle may not become stuck with the game, and may be allowed to play the game to the end.

Another illustration displays the following menus:

One theory as to how that part functions reads as follows:

There seem to be 3 main modes:

Game — Play through the game normally. Hint system is available but not forced. So hardcore gamers could just play the game regularly and enjoy the challenge while more casual gamers can get hints if they get really stuck

Digest — The game goes through important scenes (both movie and gameplay) in order. Essentially the game plays itself in this mode if you will. But you have the option of stopping the digest at any time and playing from that exact point. Plus when you choose to take control you are given the appropriate equipment and stats for that part of the game. No saving though, but it seems to be unneeded

Scenes — essentially playthrough any puzzle or scene again. Like digest you are given the appropriate equipment and such.

An interesting concept — definitely one which could help bridge that gap that is continually trying to be filled between passive and interactive entertainment.

Another portion describes what sounds similar to a system used in Metroid Prime, wherein after a set amount of time, the game will tell you where to go if you haven’t made any progress.

A more thorough examination of the patent can be found at Nintendo Everything, while the folks at NeoGAF continue to speculate.

One NeoGAFer describes the philosophy of the patent as such:

…people who spend money to buy a game should have the opportunity to experience the entire content of it, regardless of their skill level. This is likely a way for Nintendo to concentrate on core titles without worrying about alienating the casual gamers. It should be noted that players will not be able to save their game if they start from one of the predetermined save points, so there’s still incentive to play through the game in the traditional manner. Naturally, those who wish to clear the game on their own accord and avoid the digest saved data altogether will certainly be free to do so.

As someone who loves to play games, but does eventually get stuck (hello, Sonic Unleashed), I can certainly appreciate and support such an idea. Given that consumers have little protection or recourse should they drop $60 on a title and find themselves absolutely stuck, it’s a good idea to at least allow them to get more of their money’s worth from the product in question. After all, you can’t return it for another game once it’s been opened, and some people feel that GameStop’s rates are just a bit unjust.

Do you see anything else revelatory in the patents and descriptions? Make a note of it in the comments!