August 31, 2005

Horse 394 - Patented Insanity

This would be a good name for a rock band or even a television production company but this is neither.

Patent on Insanity

News reporters may or may not have picked up on this but it appears as though Nintendo Corporation may have patented a game concept - Insanity. The patent seems to suggest that the algorithm will generate weirdness depending on how sane the player's character is.

A video game and game system incorporating a game character's sanity level that is affected by occurrences in the game such as encountering a game creature or gruesome situation. A character's sanity level is modified by an amount determined based on a character reaction to the occurrence such as taking a rest or slowing game progress and/or an amount of character preparation. That is, if a character is prepared for the particular occurrence, the occurrence may have little or no affect on the character's sanity level. As the character's sanity level decreases, game play is effected such as by controlling game effects, audio effects, creating hallucinations and the like. In this context. the same game can be played differently each time it is played.
That is if the player sees something which they haven't seen before, the level of insanity will change depending on how prepared they are to meet the challenge.

There is one slight problem to this; I don't think you can quanititively measure in real-life how sane or insane a person actually is. Sanity at law is the ability of a person to take responsibility for their actions. Often you'll see things defined as being of sound mind which would therefore be the absence of some legal incapacitation.

Should there even be a game which make use of a characters mental illness? Surely this should be condsidered crass and ignoble. In some views, what is insane by mainstream definitions is not necessarily a disorder of the mind, but may simply be a different way of being that is judged as unacceptable on social or cultural grounds.

I think the idea is misplaced and perhaps is confused with people's reaction to terror or perhaps some form of psychosis. Moreover, I often wonder why people actually want to patent something like this.

1 comment:

Katja said...

It actually sounds like a fun concept, the game would be funner if it's a little different every time.
But I think they should put it under "chance" or "a chain of events" or something imaginative as to avoid being insensitive to all the people in the world who suffer from medical insanity.