It’s been uncovered that Nintendo has patented a new gameplay methodology designed to squarely target non-gamers and bring them into the fold that ‘hardcore’ players have enjoyed for years. Made public today, the patent describes the new gameplay style as having a built-in hint system, enabling players to move past sections of a game that formerly proved difficult for them.
Essentially the new system turns a game into a full-length cutscene that players can seize control of at any time, and then relinquish control again later. Players will also be able to immediately bring up hint files, and skip to specific scenes at whim. However, when played in this way, players would not be able to save their progress.
In the new system, games are broken up into three modes.
Game, the first mode, is what we are all primarily familiar with. Though players can still bring hints up in real time, which will appear in a window in the upper right corner of the screen.
Digest mode, allows gamers to watch a playthrough of the game – presumably by one of the developers – from beginning to end. Gamers can enter into the action at any point, and would have all the appropriate items, skill and stat increases, and whatever else necessary to proceed. This would be done by streaming and downloading game save files across a network.
Scene mode would allow players to skip around and play particular scenes, without having to load a saved game or watch the digest – it would work very similar to a DVD’s scene select menu.
There are two ways this could go: ideally this could open gaming up to an even wider audience, and allow gamers who initially shied away from more difficult games to enjoy the games and series that other gamers have enjoyed for years. But there’s the potential that, implemented poorly, this system could obviate the medium altogether and then it’s not really gaming we’re doing anymore when all the interactivity is gone, is it?