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U.S. Patent No. 7,713,126: Video game control program and video game device
Issued May 11, 2010, to Sega


Summary:

The ‘126 patent allows a player, while playing a video game, to choose between a plurality of paths. The player may select a path in advance, but he has the ability to change the path before the character gets to the selected path. The game described also includes a feature which allows the player to travel forward or backward; this prevents the game from feeling like a linear path where the player has no control

Abstract:

In a video game device which performs a video game wherein a game character or unit moves through a plurality of paths including a plurality of branch points according to an instruction of a player, a first movement control unit displays branch-direction indications enabling the player to select one of a plurality of first branch directions at a branch point on a path in the video game, so that a selected one of the plurality of first branch directions is received from the player. A second movement control unit displays preceding-branch-direction indications enabling the player to select, in advance, one of a plurality of second branch directions at a branch point on a following path in the selected first branch direction, so that a selected one of the plurality of second branch directions is received from the player.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A computer program computer-readably stored in a memory unit which, when executed by a computer having a processing unit, causes the computer having the processing unit to perform a video game control process of a video game wherein a game object moves through a plurality of paths in response to instructions by a player operating an input unit connected to the computer having the processing unit, the video game control process comprising: allowing the player to designate a destination which the player intends to cause the game object to reach; detecting a path from a current location of the game object to the designated destination and controlling the game object to move from the current location of the game object toward the designated destination; if the path detected from the current location of the game object includes a branch, displaying preceding-branch-direction indications in advance before the game object reaches a branch point, and enabling the player to select, in advance before the game object reaches the branch point, one of the preceding-branch directions for the branch point; and when the game object has reached the branch point, controlling the game object to move along the selected branch direction unless an instruction for selecting a branch direction different from the selected branch direction is given by the player for the branch point.

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