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U.S. Patent No. 6,251,010: game machine apparatus and method with enhanced time-related display of pokemon-type characters
Issued June 26, 2001, to Nintendo Co. Ltd.


Summary:

For those of you Pokemon fans who followed the instruction “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” literally, the ‘010 patent should be very interesting. The ‘010 patent describes a game storage program which varies appearance conditions of the characters appearing on the game map based on time. What this means is that whenever the user-controlled player is in an area of the game, only certain Pokemon will be present. Which Pokemon are present depends on the internal clock the ‘010 patent describes. Pokemon information is stored in the game and whenever the time is right, they will appear in certain areas of the game, but only those areas at that time. Interesting concept, but a frustrating one at that…especially if you can't get the timing right for the last Pokemon needed to complete the game.

Abstract:

A game machine of a type that a player object is moved on a map to encounter with a character includes a program storage storing a game program, a clock at least clocking a time, an operation device for operating the player object, and an image processor for varying a display image based on the operation of the operation device. The game program storage stores a program for varying an appearance condition of the character appearing on the game map based on time information of the clock.

Illustrative Claim:

1. A game machine for executing a game program of a type having an associated display wherein a player object is moved within a displayed territory to encounter a character, comprising:

a program storage for storing a game program;

a clock for generating time related information;

an operation control member actuated by a player for controlling the display of a player object; and

a processor for executing said program to vary a displayed image based on the operation of said operation control member, wherein

said game program storage stores a program for evaluating a time related criteria using said time related information, and for varying the likelihood for a character to appear on the game display in a portion of said territory based at least in part on the evaluation of said time related criteria.

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