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United States Patent No. 6,722,989: Virtual Pet Game in Which the Virtual Pet Can Converse with the Player and Learn New Words and Phrases from These Conversations
Issued April 20, 2004, to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Summary:
The '989 patent describes a portable electronic communication device with game software that simulates a virtual pet. The virtual pet is able to converse with a user who in turn is able to teach the pet new words. Attributes of the words are modified based upon the responses of a user to questions asked by the pet during conversation and stored in a database. For example, with reference to the figure above, the user might tell the pet that the word “Jane” is a “Human” (1 in the “Human” column) and not “Food” (0 in the column) and that the user really likes “Jane,” (with degree of 4 in the “Like” column). Next time, the friendly virtual pet may begin a conversation by saying something like “I just e-mailed Jane saying that you like her!” (after which the pet can learn a plethora of curses and swears from the user). This innovation may well give rise to various other incarnations, such as a virtual girlfriend that will only accept compliments, or a virtual gunner that will enlighten you with its knowledge of random subjects.

Exemplary Claim:
A communication apparatus between a user and an entertainment apparatus, the entertainment apparatus having at least a microprocessor, memory, display controller and means for inputting user commands, said communication apparatus comprising:

an electronic dictionary comprising words and associated status information related specifically to said words;

an alteration element to modify the status information of one or more words based on user interaction with said entertainment apparatus;

a sentence generator creating a sentence including said one or more words and based on said modified electronic dictionary word status information associated with said one or more words and adapted to a situation between a user and said entertainment apparatus, and

a sentence output element for outputting a sentence generated by the sentence generator to display as a message to a user.
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