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U.S. Patent No. 6,358,148: Control method, apparatus and carrier wave for difficulty in a video game
Issued March 19, 2002, to Square Co., Ltd.


Summary:

The ‘148 patent provides methods for controlling the difficulty in a role playing game. In the game the player can progress his character by clearing stages with varying difficulties. Each stage features a variety of challenges which the player has the option of completing. This gives the player the ability to level his character in a manner he desires. For example, if he wants to progress slowly he can complete challenges which offer fewer points. But if the player wants to progress through the game quickly he can complete the challenges which will give him the biggest point value.

Abstract:

Methods and apparatus for controlling the difficulty in a video game are disclosed. According to one aspect of the present invention, a role playing video game is allowed to progress by clearing a plurality of stages for which individual difficulties are set. A control method for such a video game includes selecting one stage from said plurality of stages in response to a command provided by a game player. The difficulty of the selected stage is adjusted substantially each time an event that is voluntarily challengeable on the selected stage is cleared by the game player during execution of the game, and the difficulties of at least one of the plurality of stages is adjusted in accordance with the difficulty of the selected stage at a clearing time when the selected stage is cleared by the game player's operation during execution of the game.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A computer data signal embodied in a carrier wave for controlling the difficulty in a video game, the game being made to progress by clearing at least one of a plurality of stages for which individual difficulties are set, the computer data signal comprising:

computer code for selecting one stage from said plurality of stages in response to a command provided by a game player;

computer code for gradually adjusting the difficulty of said selected stage substantially every time an event that is voluntarily challengeable on the selected stage is cleared by the game player during execution of the game; and

computer code for adjusting the difficulties of at least one of said plurality of stages in accordance with the difficulty of said selected stage at a clearing time when said selected stage is cleared by an operation of the game player during execution of the game.

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