A Nintendo patent filed by Shigeru Miyamoto last year, but unearthed today by a bevy of news sites, could be the beginning of a resurgence for the now defunct Nintendo Power feature Counselor’s Corner.
As a refresher for you youngins, Corner was a place where fledgling gamers could write for hints and tips on Nintendo games. Nintendo Power actually had on staff a bunch of lucky guys who got to play games all day and answer questions about them. The best questions and answers would get published in the magazine.
This new patent could be that service, updated and modernized for an online, hyper-connected era.
Here’s a nice synopsis provided by the chaps at Kotaku:
The new system, described in a patent filed by Nintendo Creative Director Shigeru Miyamoto on June 30, 2008, but made public today, looks to solve the issue of casual gamers losing interest in a game before they complete it, while still maintaining the interest of hardcore gamers.
The solution would turn a game into a full-length cut scene of sorts, allowing players to jump into and out of the action whenever they wanted. But when played this way, gamers would not be able to save their progress, maintaining the challenge of completing a game without skipping or cheating. It would also allow players to bring up in-game hint videos and skip directly to particular scenes in games.
While the patent doesn’t describe how the automated gameplay (referred to as “digest moving image” in the patent) would be presented to gamers, either as a true cut-scene or as a recorded play-through, it does state that the playthrough will likely come from a game developers playing of the game.
If this becomes a reality, and is implemented carefully, it could very well entice non-traditional gamers into the “mature game” fold. Games like Fallout 3, or even Twilight Princess for that matter, would become more accessible. Experienced gamers, used to spending hours on end level grinding and the like, wouldn’t even notice, because the system is designed to function in the background (if I read it over carefully enough anyway).
Counselor’s Corner 2.0. Live and in your face whenever you want it. Developers on your wing, like geeky little gaming angels, walking you through that. Exact. Spot. All with videos and commentary and whatever else they can think of. Could be cool, so long as it doesn’t turn gaming into one long Metal Gear Solid 4 interactive cutscene.