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U.S. Patent No. 7,090,577: Race game system and method of entry
Issued Aug. 15, 2006, to Sega


Summary:

The ‘577 patent describes a racing game which allows players to join and leave the game at will without affecting the other players’ experience. The racing game is an endurance race where many vehicles run for long periods of time. Since the vehicles are continuously running on the track, a player can select a vehicle and join a race in progress. Players receive points based upon the number of cars they can pass. Thus, since points are awarded based on personal achievements the player is not hindered by other players joining mid-game. Whenever a race is completed the players are ranked based upon their finishing positions. A player who wins a race is considered a “survivor” and will keep his place in the race whenever a new batch of competitors joins. Players who finish in other positions may be kicked from the server because of their poor performance.

Abstract:

An object is to provide a free-entry type of race game apparatus wherewith a player can join at any time. This is a race game that simulates an endurance race in which many vehicles run for a long period of time. The vehicles are continually running on the track (ST 1), from which number a player selects any vehicle at will (ST 3) and joins the race in progress (ST 4, 5). The game is terminated on the basis either of a pass count indicating the number of cars passed (or passed by) (ST 6), or a limiting time (ST 7).

Illustrative Claim:

1. A game system comprising: game execution means for enabling a plurality of players to join together and compete in a common game; a pseudo game for permitting other players different from said plurality of players to join the common game after the common game has started so as to experience the same game session as the plurality of players by playing a substantially identical game session, wherein scores of said other players do not affect a score ranking of said plurality of players competing in said common game; player setting means that, when competition of a certain scope in the common game has been concluded, reflect a plurality of competition results of said plurality of players for said common game and automatically set a new plurality of players which includes said other players and a number of said plurality of players selected based upon the plurality of competition results; and game perpetuating means for causing said automatically set plurality of players to automatically participate in said common game and for perpetuating said common game; wherein said player setting means include judgment means for determining a finish of said certain scope of said common game, determination means for determining results of said common game when said finish has been determined, and setting means for setting said new plurality of players for said common game after comparing the results of said common game against predetermined conditions.

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