Title:
Information display faceplate for a video game controller
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A faceplate for a video game controller used to convey instructional information to the user. The faceplate is designed to be attached and to be removed from the controller both quickly and easily. The faceplate can either mask the surface of a controller or house the controller in a jacket-like manner. The faceplate can attach to the controller either by adhering to the surface of the controller or attaching to a portion of the controller. Additionally, the faceplate can either mask the surface of the controller in a continuous manner or can contain holes to allow buttons and sections of the controller to protrude through the faceplate.



Inventors:
Higgins, Vincent (Staten Island, NY, US)
Grotrian, Jason (Brooklyn, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/084078
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/18/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WONG, JEFFREY KEITH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (Parsippany, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. 1-48. (canceled)

49. A system for conveying useful information on an electronic device comprising: a faceplate with a top surface, a bottom surface, and one or more side surfaces; a viscid material for attaching said faceplate to said electronic device; and, wherein said top surface of said faceplate comprises information pertinent to said electronic device.

50. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said information is selected from the group consisting of instructional information about using said electronic device, instructional information about a video game, advertising, programming material, and graphical information.

51. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said top surface is continuous.

52. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said top surface comprises holes for allowing at least a portion of said electronic device to protrude therethrough.

53. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said top surface conforms to at least a portion of said electronic device.

54. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said faceplate comprises portions that add gripping area to said electronic device.

55. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said faceplate comprises portions that add additional surface area to said electronic device.

56. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said electronic device is selected from the group consisting of a wired video game controller, a wireless video game controller, a personal digital assistant (PDA), an MP3 player, a remote control unit, a cellular telephone, and a portable computing device.

57. A system as described in claim 49 wherein said viscid material is selected from the group consisting of reusable glue, peelable adhesive, rubber-based adhesive, pressure sensitive adhesive, and permanent glue.

58. A system for conveying useful information on an electronic device comprising: a housing comprising a top portion, a bottom portion, a front portion, a back portion, and side portions; means for attaching said housing to said electronic device; wherein said top portion is attached to said bottom portion along said side portions and said housing is shaped to enclose at least a portion of said electronic device; and, wherein said front surface of said top portion comprises information pertinent to said electronic device.

59. A system as described in claim 58 wherein said information is selected from the group consisting of instructional information about using said electronic device, instructional information about a video game, advertising, programming material, and graphical information.

60. A system as described in claim 58 wherein said means for attaching said housing to said electronic device comprises a “snap-on” mechanism.

61. A system as described in claim 58 wherein said means for attaching said housing to said electronic device comprises a viscid material applied to at least a portion of said housing.

62. A system as described in claim 58 wherein said means for attaching said housing to said electronic device comprises an aperture in said housing for securing at least a portion of said electronics device within said housing.

63. A system as described in claim 62 wherein said aperture comprises a flexible opening in said housing.

64. A system as described in claim 62 wherein said aperture comprises a Velcro opening and closing means.

65. A system as described in claim 62 wherein said aperture comprises a zipper opening and closing means.

66. A system as described in claim 62 wherein said aperture comprises a snap-button opening and closing means.

67. A system as described in claim 58 wherein said means for attaching said housing to said electronic device comprises a resealable flap for securing said electronic device within said housing.

68. A system as described in claim 67 wherein said resealable flap comprises a zipper.

69. A system as described in claim 67 wherein said resealable flap comprises a snap-button.

70. A system as described in claim 58 wherein said front surface of said top portion is continuous.

71. A system as described in claim 58 wherein the front surface of said top portion contains holes for allowing at least a portion of said electronic device to protrude therethrough.

72. A system as described in claim 58 wherein said electronic device is selected from the group consisting of a wired video game controller, a wireless video game controller, a personal digital assistant (PDA), an MP3 player, a remote control unit, a cellular telephone, and a portable computing device.

73. A method for decorating an electronic device, the method comprising the steps of: providing a housing with a top portion, a bottom portion, a front portion, a back portion, and side portions; attaching said housing to at least a portion of said electronic device; and, wherein said housing allows for the display of information pertinent to said electronic device.

74. A method as described in claim 73 wherein said housing allows for the addition of an ornamental object.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of electronics and faceplate technology. More specifically, embodiments of the present invention relate to faceplates for video game controllers that convey information relevant to the video game.

BACKGROUND

The video game industry is presently one of the largest and fastest growing entertainment industries in the world. Generally, video game systems require standard components necessary to operate and utilize the video game system. Specifically, video game systems require controller units that allow a user to interact with the video game and generate the actions of the game. These controllers are typically external to the video game system (either in wired or wireless communication with the system), or are an integrated part of the system. In addition, these controllers are available in various sizes and shapes that are geared toward specific games and/or systems.

Many advances have been made to increase player comfort, such as controllers with additional gripping, controllers that provide movement and vibrations that correlate with the actions of the game being played, controllers that provide airflow to a user's hand, etc. However, these improvements fail to assist players to improve game strategy and increase the player's knowledge of the game in order to enhance the user's interaction with the game system.

Due to the increasing number of video games offered to users and the complexity of these video games, it is difficult for users to remember and utilize the necessary combination of operations and buttons while playing the games. This is particularly difficult for new users of video games that require fast and complex button combinations such as combat or sports games. Typically first time users must repeatedly refer back to an instruction manual to learn how the buttons and combination of buttons interact to perform the actions in the video games. In addition to game-specific button combinations, video games have multiple characters operated by unique button combinations as well. Often, these combinations change dependent on the level of the game, characters of a game, type of game, etc. Therefore, it is nearly impossible for a new user to immediately acquire knowledge about the vast functions and combinations required for full functionality of a video game.

In order to assist user's in understanding the gaming operations and the interaction of the controllers with the video game system, the video game industry has developed various different types of controllers for each system and/or game. Often, the controllers have numbers, simple lettering associated with specific buttons, or color schemes to assist users with interacting with a game. However, these primitive aids on the controllers, such as the letter designation ‘A’ or ‘B,’ do not convey enough information to use the controller properly or efficiently. In addition, these designations are permanent and not readily changeable.

Although faceplate technology is known in the electronics industry, current faceplates typically act as a means to protect the electronic device and not as an informational aid for enhancing a user's interaction with the video game system. For instance, faceplates manufactured for cellular phones and the like, are not designed to be informational or easily removed. In fact, faceplates of this type merely act to protect the LCD screen of the cellular telephone from typical user wear and tear.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is designed to overcome the deficiencies in the art by providing a method and apparatus for providing visual graphics or information to a user of a video game system. A removable faceplate apparatus for a video game controller is disclosed that allows a user of the system to customize the controller. This enhancement assists the user to interact with the system. In addition, this enhancement allows a user to add a level of personalization to the controller.

In the preferred embodiment, the faceplate is constructed of a plastic-type composition and comprises an attachment mechanism for adhering to the surface of a video game controller either permanently or in removable form. Since controllers are usually made of a hard plastic, metal, or a combination thereof and come in a plurality of sizes and shapes, in order to adhere to the controller the faceplate can be offered in any form that is controller and/or game specific.

The faceplate of the present invention is primarily designed to convey information to the user of the video game controller, such as instructional information about a particular game, a situation within a game, a specific character in a game, or the like. For example, the instructional information could provide a specific sequence of buttons that need to be pushed for an action, task, or function to be performed.

The faceplate can also convey marketing or advertising information, such as information related to a specific sports franchise or commercial product. For instance, for a basketball video game, the faceplate can provide NBA team-specific or NBA player-specific logo, picture, or other recognizable marking.

Furthermore, the faceplates can allow a user to “customize” a controller by offering specific graphics, designs, or other user-developed content. In addition, the faceplate can be used for aesthetic or ornamental purposes. For example, the faceplate might add to the external shape of the video game controller and be in a decorative form. For example, the faceplate can be made of hard plastic material that is in the form of certain protruding objects such as animal horns, devil-type horns, figurines, toys, etc. Thus, the video game controller still maintains complete functionality, but has added characteristics.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the bottom surface of the faceplate adheres to the top portion of the outer surface of a video game controller, or a portion thereof. This adhesive mechanism may include any one or more substances that keep the faceplate substantially in contact with the video game controller while in use. Adhesive means include any plurality of different substances such as glues, viscid substances, static adhesives, or any other similar substance. The adhesive means are designed to allow the faceplate to be removable and reusable. However, the adhesive means may provide permanent, or nearly permanent, adhesion to the surface of the video game controller. Alternatively, the faceplate may not have adhesive means but may be placed on top of the video game controller without completely adhering to the controller, while providing reference to the functions of the controller unit.

In one alternative embodiment, the faceplate encloses the outer surface of the video game controller or a portion thereof via a “snap-on” type means. Specifically, the faceplate can attach to the outer surface of the controller and completely cover the video game controller. Alternatively, the faceplate can attach to a portion of the controller unit. For example, the faceplate may attach to any location on the video game controller, such as the top surface, the bottom surface, a side surface, or any combination thereof. For example, a hard-plastic faceplate can grip or “snap-on” to the sides of the video game controller. The “snap-on” faceplate is easily and quickly removable. In this embodiment of the invention, the faceplate can be manufactured of a soft plastic, a hard plastic, a thin metallic substance or other similar materials depending on the construction of the video game controllers. Typically, this “snap-on” faceplate is constructed to mirror the shape of the video game controller. In addition, the “snap-on” faceplate can be designed to increase the dimensions of the existing design of the video game controller. For example, handles or additional surfaces combined with the controller can improve the user's interaction with the controller by allowing a user to better grasp or interact with the functions of the controller. Furthermore, the increased surface area allows for additional instructional information, or the like, to be displayed to the user.

The aforementioned embodiment allows the “snap-on” faceplate to mask the entire outer surface of the video game controller, or portions thereof. In one example of this embodiment, the faceplate can be designed so that the video game controller does not protrude through the faceplate. As a result, users are not in direct contact with the video game controller but instead interact with the faceplate. For example, instead of interacting with the original manufacturer command buttons of the video game controller, the faceplate may be constructed to add data inputs to the controller. In addition, a video game controller may employ an auxiliary input means such as a common pin-type interface, USB-based interface, or other like interface, that can mate with the faceplate to allow for further data input. This construction allows for additions to the controller while still maintaining pre-existing functionality of the video game controller.

Alternatively, the faceplate may consist of apertures that allow for the buttons and other sections of the video game controller to protrude through the faceplate. Thus, users of the invention are in direct contact with the portions of the video game controller protruding through the faceplate.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, the faceplate is designed as a jacket-like mechanism to encompass the controller without the use of adhesive or “snap-on” type mechanisms while maintaining the existing functionality of the video game controller. The jacket-like faceplate acts as an encasing sleeve for incorporating the pre-existing controller unit. Typically, this thin membrane jacket-faceplate allows the components of the controller unit to be controlled by the user, as if the user was in direct contact with the controller, however, the controller is completely covered by the faceplate. When used as a jacket, the faceplate of the present invention provides added protection from typical damage caused by usage of the controller such as scratches, interactions with liquids, etc.

This jacket faceplate consists of a flexible opening that allows the video game controller to be easily placed within the faceplate. Generally, the faceplate has a zipper, a snap button, a hook and loop fastener portion, or other similar opening and closing mechanisms that allow access to the enclosure for placing the video game controller within the faceplate or for removing the video game controller from the faceplate.

While use of the faceplate of the present invention is primarily described in conjunction with a video game controller, these embodiments are only intended to provide a basic description of the present invention. As a result, it should be obvious to one skilled in the art that the faceplate of the present invention should not be specifically limited to the aforementioned embodiments. As discussed further in the following detailed description, the faceplate disclosed in the present invention can also be utilized with a variety of additional electronic devices. For example, these devices might include cellular telephones, remote controllers, personal digital assistants (“PDA's”), or any other similar electronic device that requires a combination of buttons, or button-like components for allowing a user to interact with the electronic device or controller.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A further understanding of the present invention can be obtained by reference to the embodiments as set forth in the illustrations of the accompanying drawings. Although the illustrated embodiments are merely exemplary of systems for carrying out the present invention, both the organization and method of operation of the invention, in general, together with further objectives and advantages thereof, may be more easily understood by reference to the drawings and the following description. The drawings are not intended to limit the scope of this invention, which is set forth with particularity in the claims as appended or as subsequently amended, but merely to clarify and exemplify the specific methods and instrumentalities disclosed.

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference is now made to the following drawings in which:

FIG. 1A depicts a front view of the present invention wherein the preferred embodiment of a faceplate is disclosed with apertures for exposing portions of a video game controller in which the faceplate has a viscid backside for attaching the faceplate to the top portion of a video game controller;

FIG. 1B depicts a back view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention wherein the faceplate is disclosed with apertures for exposing portions of a video game controller in which the faceplate has a viscid backside for attaching the faceplate to the top portion of a video game controller;

FIG. 2 depicts a front view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein a faceplate is disclosed in which the faceplate masks the face of the video game controller;

FIG. 3 depicts the preferred embodiment of the present invention wherein the faceplate is attached to a typical video game controller;

FIG. 4A depicts a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein the faceplate contains clip portions that attach to the sides of a typical video game controller;

FIG. 4B depicts a front perspective view of the alternative embodiment of the faceplate of FIG. 4A in combination with a typical video game controller;

FIG. 5A depicts a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein which the faceplate is designed as a jacket that encompasses a video game controller;

FIG. 5B depicts a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein which the faceplate of FIG. 5A is in combination with a typical video game controller;

FIG. 6 depicts a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention wherein the faceplate contains a zipper portion that creates an aperture for placing a typical video game controller;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following detailed description is intended to merely provide a further understanding of the present invention. This description is merely provided to clarify the present invention, however, it will be recognized by one skilled in the art that the description of the present invention provided herein are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. Consequently, well known methods, procedures, and substances for carrying out the objectives of the present invention are incorporated herein but have not been described in detail as not to unnecessarily obscure aspects of the present invention.

While the faceplate of the present invention can be utilized with a variety of different electronic devices such as cellular telephones, remote controls, PDAs, and the like, the preferred embodiment is described with respect to a faceplate for a video game controller.

FIG. 1A illustrates the front surface of faceplate 110 for displaying information to a user of a typical video game controller known in the art. Faceplate 110 is substantially of the same proportion as the top surface of the typical video game controller. The adhering surface area portion of faceplate 110 contains apertures 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 that are substantially the same size and shape of the button components on top area of video game controller. The apertures 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 permit the corresponding buttons to protrude through faceplate 110 thus allowing a user to come in direct contact with the buttons. When placed over video game controller, apertures 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 align with the buttons, thus providing a substantially seamless faceplate for video game controller.

Faceplate 110 is made of a plastic-type material. The plastic material can be of any thickness so long as when the faceplate is utilized with video game controller the thickness of the top adhering portion of faceplate 110 is such that the buttons are able to protrude through apertures 111, 112, 113, 114, and 115 substantially enough such that the buttons can be depressed with little or no restriction. In the embodiment of the present invention shown in FIG. 1A, the relative thickness of the top adhering portion of faceplate 110 is substantially thinner than the buttons. Because the thickness of top adhering portion of faceplate 110 is substantially thinner than the buttons, when faceplate 110 is combined with video game controller there is a negligible thickness added to the top surface of video game controller. Furthermore, since the thickness of top adhering portion of faceplate 110 is substantially thinner than the buttons, the buttons protrude over faceplate 110 and are exposed to the user, thus unaffecting normal operation of the buttons.

The viewable information on the top surface area portion of faceplate 110 can be any possible information pertinent to the user of the video game controller. For example, in the present embodiment, the viewable information on the top surface area portion of faceplate 110 is instructional information that is relevant to a specific video game that utilizes the video game controller. An example of the viewable information that is relevant to a specific video game is information that details a specific sequence of the buttons that a user should depress if they wish to make attempts to perform a specific action in a video game.

In addition to conveying instructional information, the viewable information can also provide other types of substantially relevant information. For example, advertising information specific to a video game can be used as the viewable information. The advertising information can also be information specific to a company, e.g., a sports franchise. Alternatively, graphical information can be provided. Typically, the viewable information is confined to a specifically sized and placed box, however, the substantial placement and size of the viewable information does not have to be so limited. It would be obvious to one skilled in the art that viewable information can be placed anywhere on the adhering surface area portion of faceplate 110 and can convey any combination or type of information as desired by a manufacturer or user of faceplate 110.

FIG. 1B illustrates the back surface area portion 117 of faceplate 110. The adhering back surface area portion 117 comprises a reusable viscid-material 118. Specifically, viscid-material 118 is of a material that substantially maintains adhesive properties after multiple applications to and removals from a video game controller. Viscid-material 118 is a substance that is glue-like, tacky, static, or the like, and causes the back adhering surface area portion 117 of faceplate 110 to cling or adhere to the front surface area portion of a video game controller in a substantially non-permanent form.

It will be appreciated that since viscid-material 118 is substantially non-permanent and reusable, faceplate 110 can be removed and attached to a plurality of substantially similar video game controllers. This allows a user of faceplate 110 the ability to easily share faceplate 110 with other users without having to supply the video game controller to which the lower surface area portion of that faceplate 110 is currently attached. For example, once a user has sufficiently memorized the viewable information that is provided by faceplate 110, the user can easily remove faceplate 110 from the video game controller. The user can then place the controller on another substantially similar video game controller and allow another user to have access to the viewable information that is provided on the surface area portion of faceplate 110.

It will be further appreciated that since faceplate 110 is easily removable and attachable to the video game controller, the present invention provides the user with a method of replacing one faceplate with another faceplate. This alternate faceplate allows for replacement of the original faceplate or allows a user to replace one faceplate with another faceplate that conveys different information. Thus, a user can remove and store faceplate 110 as well as purchase additional faceplates that provide a variety of informative materials for substantially different video games, or, different informative aspects for the same or similar video games.

Alternatively, viscid-material 118 can provide a substantially more permanent adhesion to the front surface area portion of the video game controller. A more permanent adhesion would be useful for attaching faceplate 110 to the surface area portion of video game controller such that it does not easily fall off. Thus, faceplate 110 would not be in danger of being swallowed by a small child or a pet. Furthermore, if a user has a tendency to lose the faceplate or prefers to dedicate one video game controller to a specific faceplate, then the user would more likely prefer a faceplate that adheres more permanently to the front surface area portion of the video game controller.

In yet another example, the back surface area portion 117 of faceplate 110 can contain no viscid-material. In this example, faceplate 110 is simply placed on top of the video game controller and does not adhere to the front surface area portion. The faceplate with no adhesive substance on the back surface area portion 117 would be useful for a user that is allergic to adhesives and, thus, requires a faceplate that contains no adhesives contained on its surfaces. Alternatively, it would allow for a person to learn the placements and commands associated with that controller rather than attempting to blindly apply them. The method by which the faceplate remains in contact with video game controller is a combination of substantial natural friction and natural forces of the material of the faceplate when the video game controller is held face-up.

FIG. 2 illustrates a combination of the video game controller with the lower surface area portion of faceplate 110. Faceplate 110 has been placed on top of the video game controller containing viscid-material 118 that is in contact with the top surface area portion of video game controller. As shown in FIG. 2, the buttons are able to protrude through and are substantially unaffected by apertures 112, 113, 114, and 115 of faceplate 110. Since the thickness of faceplate 110 is substantially thinner than the buttons, the buttons are sufficiently and completely exposed to a user who can be depress them with no interference by faceplate 110.

FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the surface area portion of faceplate 310 does not contain aperture portions that correspond to the buttons of the video game controller. Instead, the top surface area of faceplate 310 contains markings 311, 312, 313, 314, and 315 that outline the corresponding buttons. In this embodiment, faceplate 310 is designed with a set of markings 311, 312, 313, 314, and 315 that are organized on the top surface area portion of faceplate 310 in order to substantially align with the buttons of the video game controller when faceplate 310 is utilized. Unlike the aforementioned embodiment shown in FIG. 1A and in FIG. 1B, the embodiment of the faceplate shown in FIG. 3 does not allow the buttons to protrude through the surface area portion of faceplate 310. Thus users are not in direct physical contact with the surface areas of the buttons when faceplate 310 is utilized with video game controller. In addition, the faceplate shown in FIG. 3 contains a portion for the viewable information. The viewable information can either be transparent in color for the user to see the viewable information printed on the video game controller, or, contain the same, similar, or other information from the video game controller printed on faceplate 310.

In the current embodiment, faceplate 310 is made of a plastic-type material. The plastic-type material is preferably thin, such that it is flexible and conforms to the surface area portions of the video game controller. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the thickness of faceplate 310 is substantially thinner than the buttons contained on the video game controller. Since the thickness of faceplate 310 is substantially thin, when faceplate 310 is combined with the video game controller, there is an insubstantial thickness that is added to the top surface area portion of the video game controller. Furthermore, since the thickness of faceplate 310 is relatively insubstantial and the material is flexible, when faceplate 310 is placed on top of the video game controller, a user of faceplate 310 would not be restricted from depressing the buttons. While a faceplate of a thickness substantially less than that of the electronics device to which it is attached has been described in full, it would be obvious to one skilled in the art that the thickness of the faceplate does not necessarily have to be as limited. Faceplate 310 can be of any thickness so long as the buttons of the video game controller remain operational with the surface area portion of the faceplate attached to the video game controller. In this embodiment, a user wishing to select a specific button presses a surface area portion of faceplate 310 that corresponds to the surface area one of the buttons. For example, since the surface area of faceplate 310 substantially conforms to the controller and is made of an essentially flexible material, when a user presses the surface area portion marking 211 it will cause the corresponding button 321 to be depressed as well.

The method that faceplate 310 combines with the video game controller is analogous to the methods used when combining faceplate 110 of FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B with the video game controller. Lower surface area portion 317 of faceplate 310 contains a viscid-material 118, similar to that used on faceplate 110, for attaching the faceplate to the top surface area portion of the video game controller. The viscid-material 118 is a material that allows for faceplate 310 to be both removable and reusable. The viscid-material 118 can also be a material that is of a more substantially permanent nature such that lower surface area portion 317 of faceplate 310 is not easily removable from the top surface area portion of the video game controller. Furthermore, lower surface area portion 317 of faceplate 310 could contain no viscid-material at all. In this embodiment, the method by which faceplate 310 maintains contact with video game controller is a combination of sufficient natural friction and natural forces when the video game controller is held face-up (i.e., with the buttons located on the top of the device).

Image FIG. 4A illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the plastic-type faceplate 410 sufficiently clips to the surface area portion of the video game controller. Faceplate 410 consists of clip portions 417 and 418 that clip to the surface of video game controller. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, clip portions 417 and 418 clip to the side portions of the video game controller. It should be appreciated that the faceplate embodied in FIG. 4A should not be limited as to only substantially clipping to the sides of the video game controller. There are many different systems by which the faceplate of the present embodiment could be designed to substantially clip to any portion, or portions thereof, of a video game controller. The clip portions 417 and 418 can both be attachable and removable from the video game controller by slightly displacing clip portions 417 and 418 to attach to the sides of the video game controller. When attached, faceplate 410 is held sufficiently and sturdily onto surface area portions of the video game controller.

Similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A, the top surface area portion of faceplate 410 consists of apertures portions 411, 412, 413, 414, and 415 that substantially correspond with the size and the shape of the buttons. When placed over the video game controller unit, apertures portions 411, 412, 413, 414, and 415 of the top surface area portion of faceplate 410 substantially align with the buttons to provide a substantially seamless faceplate for the video game controller. The viewable information on the top surface area portion of faceplate 410 is information that is pertinent to the video game controller.

FIG. 4B illustrates the surface area portions of the combined video game controller and faceplate 410 after faceplate 410 has been sufficiently attached to side portions 427 and 428 of the video game controller. The buttons of video game controller can protrude through the substantially corresponding apertures 411, 412, 413, 414, and 415 on the surface area portion of the faceplate 410.

FIG. 5A illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, faceplate 510 is in the form of a jacket that encases the video game controller. The surface area portion of faceplate 510 consists of opening portion 517 that allows the video game controller to be placed inside faceplate 510. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, opening portion 517 is an aperture in the surface area of faceplate 510. The material of faceplate 510 is substantially of a thin flexible plastic wherein opening portion 517 can stretch a substantial amount in order to allow the video game controller to be placed inside the faceplate.

Similar to the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B, faceplate 510 consists of apertures 511, 512, 513, 514, and 515 that both correspond to and are shaped to the buttons on the top surface. When placed over the video game controller, apertures 511, 512, 513, 514, and 515 of faceplate 510 align with the buttons providing an almost seamless faceplate for the video game controller. The viewable information on the top surface area portion of faceplate 510 is information pertinent to use of the video game controller.

FIG. 5B illustrates faceplate 510 substantially encasing the entire video game controller unit, similar to a jacket. The buttons of the video game controller can protrude through the corresponding apertures portions 511, 512, 513, 514, and 515 of the surface area portion of faceplate 510. Thus, aperture portions 511, 512, 513, 514, and 515 allow a user to be in direct contact with the surface area of the buttons.

FIG. 6 illustrates yet another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment of the invention the means for placing the video game controller within the containment of faceplate 610, is a zipper portion 617 that creates a substantially large enough aperture 618 in the surface area portion of faceplate 610. Zipper portion 617 creates a substantial aperture 618 in order for the video game controller to be placed and housed inside faceplate 610. Although zipper position 617 is disclosed in the present embodiment, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that other enclosure mechanisms may be used such as snaps, hook and eyes, buttons, or the like, while keeping within the objectives of the present invention. Aperture portions 611, 612, 613, 614, and 615 that correspond to the buttons of the video game controller can either be apertures that are similar to those used in FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B, or of the covering type that are similar to those used in FIG. 3. As well, there is a portion on faceplate 610 containing the viewable information that can be printed on the video game controller or on the faceplate itself.

Thus far, the present invention has been detailed to describe a faceplate for conveying information relevant to a video game controller. It would be obvious to one skilled in the art that the present invention may comprise different modes and embodiments while keeping within the objective of the present disclosure. For example, the present invention can also be utilized as a faceplate for conveying information relevant to a PDA. PDAs typically contain several applications. Because PDAs are limited both in physical size and in the number of buttons that are typically placed on their surfaces, many applications for PDAs require complex sequences of actions to accomplish certain features without the use of an instruction booklet or prior knowledge.

The faceplate of the present invention is a useful method for displaying to a user these complex sequences of actions on the surface of the PDA. A faceplate of the present invention, utilized with a PDA, would attach to the surface of the PDA in an identical fashion to the methods described previously for attachment to a video game controller. The faceplate could adhere to the surface of the PDA; attach by clipping to any portion of the PDA; surround the PDA in a jacket-like fashion, or the like.

Similarly, the faceplate of the present invention could be utilized in correspondence with a remote control for electronic devices. Remote control devices typically require complex sequence of buttons to program the device. These remote controls need a faceplate that can easily convey the combination of buttons required to program the different device functions. The faceplate aids in making such a remote control device user-friendly.

Another device that can utilize the faceplate of the present invention is a cellular telephone. Today's cellular phones provide functionality beyond the ability to place telephone calls. For example, most cellular telephones sold today provide many PDA-like applications. These applications might include appointment calendars, short memo (written and voice) storage, and the ability to play video games. Therefore, the faceplate of the present invention is also a useful method of providing information pertinent to a cellular phone in order for a user to have easy access to the combination of buttons necessary to perform various functions on the cellular phone.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed in detail, it should be understood that the present invention should not be limited by these embodiments, but rather should be construed according to the claims which detail the present invention.