Title:
Portable interactive gamed device with separate console for enhanced features and alternate display capability
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a portable interactive game device with a separate console that provides enhanced game features and an alternate display for playing a game. The portable interactive game device interacts with the console to display the game on an alternate display connected with the console, such as a television or computer monitor. The console also contains additional game features to enhance the game and keep a user's interest. The portable interactive game device also contains a pedometer that is used in the game to encourage a user to walk around with the portable interactive game device. In one embodiment, the game is a virtual pet game for raising and nurturing a virtual pet that provides additional features of playing games and interacting with the virtual pet on a more complex level.



Inventors:
Lucich, Nelo (Redondo Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/706866
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
02/14/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
GRAY, BRANDON RAMON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TOPE-MCKAY & ASSOCIATES (23852 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY #311, MALIBU, CA, 90265, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An interactive entertainment system comprising: a portable electronic game device for playing a game, having a display for displaying a game image and an input device for a user to interact with the game; and a console, wherein the portable electronic game device is configured to interact with the console to transmit the game image to an alternate display such as a television or computer monitor.

2. The interactive entertainment system of claim 1, wherein the console is further configured to provide additional game features for a user to play when the portable electronic game device is interacting with the console.

3. The interactive entertainment system of claim 2, wherein the console further includes a controller for a user to interact with the game while the portable electronic game device is interacting with the console.

4. The interactive entertainment system of claim 1, wherein the portable electronic game device includes a pedometer to measure the steps taken by a user.

5. The interactive entertainment system of claim 4, wherein information from the pedometer is linked to the game so that a user is rewarded for walking.

6. The interactive entertainment system of claim 1, wherein the portable electronic game device includes a communication apparatus for communicating with another portable electronic game device.

7. The interactive entertainment system of claim 6, wherein the communication apparatus is an infrared transmitter and receiver.

8. The interactive entertainment system of claim 1, wherein the game is a virtual pet game for a user to grow, nurture, and interact with a virtual pet.

9. The interactive entertainment system of claim 8, wherein the interaction of the console and the portable electronic game device provides additional game features for a user to play.

10. A virtual pet game comprising: growing and developing a virtual pet and maintaining the happiness of the pet; and playing with the pet in a virtual environment.

11. The virtual pet game of claim 10, wherein playing the game will earn points for a user.

12. The virtual pet game of claim 11, wherein a user can play games with another user with a virtual pet on a separate game device.

13. The virtual pet game of claim 12, wherein a user can take photos of the virtual pet and exchange the photos with another user with a virtual pet on a separate game device.

14. The virtual pet game of claim 13, further including a game mode that uses a pedometer to measure the steps taken by a user while walking the virtual pet in the real world.

15. An interactive entertainment system comprising: a portable electronic game device for playing a game, having a display for displaying a game image and an input device for a user to interact with the game; and a console, wherein the console is further configured to provide additional game features for a user to play when the portable electronic game device is interacting with the console.

16. The interactive entertainment system of claim 1, wherein the portable electronic game device is configured to interact with the console to transmit the game image to an alternate display such as a television or computer monitor.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

The present application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/773,793, filed Feb. 14, 2006, entitled “Interactive Virtual Pet and Game Playing Device,” and U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/852,879, filed Oct. 18, 2006, entitled “Multi-Aspect Toys.”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Technical Field

The present invention relates to the field of simulation devices and video games, and specifically to a portable interactive game device with a separate console that provides enhanced game features and the ability to play the game on an alternate display device.

(2) Background

Portable electronic game devices are well known in the art. Many handheld portable gaming devices are currently on the market and allow users to play games that are either built into the gaming device or that can be loaded into the device using a cartridge system. However, existing portable electronic game devices are limited in that the portable devices usually have limited memory and can only play games that are simple and lack the complex graphics and game play features of larger game consoles. Additionally, existing portable electronic game devices lack the ability to interact with larger game consoles and usually have games that only work on a portable electronic game device.

One specific area of portable electronic game devices where this limitation is more apparent is in virtual pets, or games that simulate ownership of a pet. Virtual pet games are typically contained in portable electronic game devices where the game is preloaded into the device, so that the game device has only one function. Additionally, most virtual pet games have only one goal—to grow and maintain a pet's happiness. Although this provides entertainment for a user initially, once the virtual pet is fully grown, the game options are quickly exhausted and a user grows bored with the game.

Another problem with many video game systems is that playing a video game encourages a user, often a child, to sit in one place for a considerable amount of time without being active or getting any exercise. Instead of spending hours running outside or exercising, traditional video games, including portable electronic game devices, encourage a user to be inactive while a game is being played. These long periods of video game play have been linked to a rise in health problems and obesity among children.

Therefore, what is needed is a portable electronic game device that can interact with a larger game console and provide more extensive game play than a typical portable electronic game device.

What is also needed is a game that can be played on a portable electronic game device and a large game console interchangeably.

Furthermore, what is needed is a portable electronic game device that encourages a user to be more active.

Finally, what is needed is a virtual pet game that provides entertainment for the user outside of the traditional features of growing and maintaining a virtual pet and which more closely simulates true pet ownership.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a portable interactive game device with a separate console that provides enhanced game features and an alternate display for playing a game. The portable interactive game device interacts with the console to display the game on an alternate display connected with the console, such as a television or computer monitor. The console also contains additional game features to enhance the game and keep a user's interest. The portable interactive game device also contains a pedometer that is used in the game to encourage a user to walk around with the portable interactive game device. In one embodiment, the game is a virtual pet game for raising and nurturing a virtual pet that provides additional features of playing games and interacting with the virtual pet on a more complex level.

In one aspect of the present invention, an interactive entertainment system comprises a portable electronic game device for playing a game, having a display for displaying a game image and an input device for a user to interact with the game; and a console, wherein the portable electronic game device is configured to interact with the console to transmit the game image to an alternate display such as a television or computer monitor.

In another aspect of the present invention, the console is further configured to provide additional game features for a user to play when the portable electronic game device is interacting with the console.

In a further aspect of the present invention, the console further includes a controller for a user to interact with the game while the portable electronic game device is interacting with the console.

In still another aspect of the present invention, the portable electronic game device includes a pedometer to measure the steps taken by a user.

In a yet further aspect of the present invention, information from the pedometer is linked to the game so that a user is rewarded for walking.

In another aspect of the present invention, the portable electronic game device includes a communication apparatus for communicating with another portable electronic game device.

In still another aspect of the present invention, the communication apparatus is an infrared transmitter and receiver.

In a further aspect of the present invention, the game is a virtual pet game for a user to grow, nurture, and interact with a virtual pet.

In a yet further aspect of the present invention, the interaction of the console and the portable electronic game device provides additional game features for a user to play.

In another aspect of the present invention, a virtual pet game comprises growing and developing a virtual pet and maintaining the happiness of the pet; and playing with the pet in a virtual environment.

In another aspect of the present invention, playing the game will earn points for a user.

In another aspect of the present invention, a user can play games with another user with a virtual pet on a separate game device.

In another aspect of the present invention, a user can take photos of the virtual pet and exchange the photos with another user with a virtual pet on a separate game device.

In another aspect of the present invention, including a game mode that uses a pedometer to measure the steps taken by a user while walking the virtual pet in the real world.

In still another aspect of the present invention, an interactive entertainment system comprises a portable electronic game device for playing a game, having a display for displaying a game image and an input device for a user to interact with the game; and a console, wherein the console is further configured to provide additional game features for a user to play when the portable electronic game device is interacting with the console.

In a further aspect of the present invention, the portable electronic game device is configured to interact with the console to transmit the game image to an alternate display such as a television or computer monitor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed descriptions of the disclosed aspects of the invention in conjunction with reference to the following drawings, where:

FIG. 1A is a front view illustration of a portable electronic game device in accordance with the present invention, depicting a display and an input device;

FIG. 1B is a top view illustration of the portable electronic game device in accordance with the present invention, depicting a communication apparatus for wirelessly communicating with another portable electronic game device;

FIG. 2 is a top view illustration of a console in accordance with the present invention, depicting a docking station for interaction with the portable electronic game device;

FIG. 3 is a front view illustration of a controller in accordance with the present invention, depicting the controller that connects with the console so that a user can interact with the game through the console; and

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustration of an interactive entertainment system in accordance with the present invention, depicting the portable electronic game device connected with the docking station and the controller for controlling the game while the portable electronic game device is connected with the docking station.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a portable interactive game device with a separate console that provides enhanced game features and an alternate display for playing a game. The portable interactive game device interacts with the console to display the game on an alternate display connected with the console, such as a television or computer monitor. The console also contains additional game features to enhance the game and keep a user's interest. The portable interactive game device also contains a pedometer that is used in the game to encourage a user to walk around with the portable interactive game device. In one embodiment, the game is a virtual pet game for raising and nurturing a virtual pet that provides additional features of playing games and interacting with the virtual pet on a more complex level. The following description, taken in conjunction with the referenced drawings, is presented to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention and to incorporate it in the context of particular applications. Various modifications, as well as a variety of uses in different applications, will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and the general principles, defined herein, may be applied to a wide range of embodiments. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments presented, but is to be accorded the widest scope consistent with the principles and novel features disclosed herein. Furthermore, it should be noted that unless explicitly stated otherwise, the figures included herein are illustrated diagrammatically and without any specific scale, as they are provided as qualitative illustrations of the concept of the present invention.

(1) Introduction

In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without necessarily being limited to these specific details. In other instances, well-known structures and devices are shown in block diagram form, rather than in detail, in order to avoid obscuring the present invention.

The reader's attention is directed to all papers and documents that are filed concurrently with this specification and are open to public inspection with this specification, and the contents of all such papers and documents are incorporated herein by reference. All the features disclosed in this specification, (including any accompanying claims, abstract, and drawings) may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar

purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.

Furthermore, any element in a claim that does not explicitly states “means for” performing a specified function, or “step for” performing a specific function, is not to be interpreted as as “means” or “step” clause as specified in 35 U.S.C. Section 112, Paragraph 6. In particular, the use of “step of” or “act of” in the claims herein is not intended to invoke the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 112, Paragraph 6.

(2) Portable Electronic Game Device

The interactive entertainment system of the present invention first comprises a portable electronic game device, as illustrated in FIG. 1A. The portable electronic game device 100 includes a display 102 for displaying a game image and an input device 104 for the user to interact with the game. In the present embodiment, the input device 104 is a navigation pad with four directional controls for navigating through the game. Additional input devices include buttons or dials for adjusting a variety of settings within the game.

The display 102 is a small LCD (“liquid crystal display”) screen which displays the basic game functions provided in the portable electronic game device 100.

The portable electronic game device further includes a communication apparatus 106, as illustrated in FIG. 1B, for communicating with another portable electronic game device 100. In the present embodiment, the communication apparatus 106 is an infrared (“IR”) transmitter and receiver that can wirelessly communicate with another infrared receiver on another portable electronic game device 100. The game provides several opportunities to share information with another user's portable electronic game device, including playing games with the other user. One skilled in the art will appreciate that other methods of wireless communication may be used instead of IR, including radio frequency (“RF”) or 802.11 wireless communication protocol.

The portable electronic game device 100 also contains an internal pedometer that measures the steps taken by a user when carrying the portable electronic game device 100 around. The data recorded by the pedometer can be incorporated into the game to reward a user for walking, thus promoting the health of the user during game play.

(3) Console

The user can expand the features of the game by connecting the portable electronic game device 100 with a console 108, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The console 108 is configured to interact with the portable electronic game device 100 to transmit the game image from the display 102 to an alternate display 110, such as a television or computer monitor. In the present embodiment, the alternate display 110 is represented by a connection wire for video and audio that can be inserted into a television.

The portable electronic game device 100 interacts with the console through a docking station 112 in the console, which fits a corresponding docking port (not pictured) in the portable electronic game device 100. Once the portable electronic game device 100 is inserted into the docking station 112, the game being played on the portable electronic game device 100 is transferred to the console 108, which contains additional memory and programming that will add additional game features to the game being played by the user on the portable electronic game device 100. A more detailed discussion of the added game features can be found below.

(4) Controller

Once the portable electronic game device 100 is connected with the console 108, the input device 104 no longer functions. Instead, a separate controller 114, as illustrated in FIG. 3, is used as the input device to control the game through the console 108. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the cord 116 connecting the console to the controller 114 is pictured. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the controller 114 includes a separate controller input device 118 with similar features to the portable electronic game device 100, so as to maintain consistent game play.

FIG. 4 illustrates the interaction of the portable electronic game device 100, the console 108, and the controller 114.

(5) The Game

In one embodiment of the present invention, the game played by the user is a virtual pet game where a user interacts with a virtual pet to grow, nurture, and interact with the virtual pet. The virtual pet game of the present invention is unique in that it allows a user to play games with the virtual pet in its virtual environment in addition to having features for growing and developing the virtual pet and maintaining its happiness. For example, as the user interacts with the virtual pet and maintains its happiness, the user can earn points that can be used to purchase items in the game, such as accessories and supplies for the virtual pet. Games include randomly generated dream games that only occur when the virtual pet falls asleep.

As mentioned previously the connection mechanism of the portable electronic game device 100 can be used so that a user can play games with another user or exchange items. In one embodiment of the virtual pet game, the user can take a virtual photo of the pet and exchange the photo with another user through the connection mechanism.

In the context of the virtual pet game, the pedometer mentioned previously can be incorporated as a tool to require a user to “walk” their pet and maintain the pet's happiness. If the game prompts the user to walk their pet, they must physically take the portable electronic game device 100 and walk around. The pedometer measures the amount of walking done by the user and rewards the user accordingly with increased virtual pet happiness. In the alternative, too much walking may result in a tired pet that needs rest. These game features are designed to mimic real pet ownership to train a young user such as a child to learn responsibility before the child can own a real pet.

When the user plugs the portable electronic game device 100 into the console 108, the console unlocks a new section of game play that is not present on the portable electronic game device 100. When the user plugs the cord 110 into the alternate display, the game is transformed into a play map mode where the user can interact with their virtual pet in a large virtual environment. The additional features of the virtual environment include places to take the virtual pet on a walk, going to the pet store, and going to the vet. In addition, the console provides games for a user to play with the virtual pet, such as digging for treasure to earn more points or playing with a Frisbee.

The user also has the ability to purchase additional virtual pets. In one embodiment, a memory chip is inserted into the portable electronic game device 100 and loads a specific game profile that includes three different virtual pets. Once the user has exhausted the three virtual pets, the user can obtain another memory chip with different virtual pets.

Once the user is done playing with the virtual pet in the virtual environment provided by the console 108, the portable electronic game device 100 can be removed from the console 108 and the user can continue interacting with the virtual pet using only the portable electronic game device 100. In this way, the user is never separated from their virtual pet.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that any type of game can be played with the interactive entertainment system, and the type of game is not limited to a virtual pet game.