Title:
ILLUMINATED GAME CONTROLLER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An electronic game controller which includes a body having a transparent outer surface, a front face and a rear surface, controls disposed on the front face of the body, a graphic panel disposed under the transparent outer surface of the front face, the graphic panel comprising first, second and third discrete graphic elements, an opaque housing within the body, the opaque housing defining a cavity substantially open to the graphic panel, first, second and third light sources disposed within the cavity, the first light source disposed beneath the first discrete graphic element, the second light source disposed beneath the second discrete graphic element, and the third light source disposed beneath the third discrete graphic element, an electronic circuit operably connected to the light sources for selectively activating and deactivating the light sources, and means for interfacing the electronic game controller with an electronic game system.



Inventors:
Tripp, Howard (Plymouth, MN, US)
Application Number:
12/417144
Publication Date:
10/08/2009
Filing Date:
04/02/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DULKA, JOHN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEAGER, TUFTE & WICKHEM, LLP (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An electronic game controller comprising: a body having a transparent outer shell, a front face and a rear surface; controls disposed on the front face of the body; a graphic panel disposed under the transparent outer surface of the front face, the graphic panel comprising first, second and third discrete graphic elements; an opaque housing within the body, the opaque housing defining a cavity substantially open to the graphic panel; first, second and third light sources disposed within the cavity, the first light source disposed beneath the first discrete graphic element, the second light source disposed beneath the second discrete graphic element, and the third light source disposed beneath the third discrete graphic element; an electronic circuit operably connected to the first, second and third light sources for selectively activating and deactivating the first, second and third light sources; and means for interfacing the electronic game controller with an electronic game system.

2. The electronic game controller of claim 1 wherein the first light source comprises an LED light source.

3. The electronic game controller of claim 2 wherein the first light source comprises an LED rope.

4. The electronic game controller of claim 1 wherein the first light source is spaced beneath the first discrete graphic element at least 0.25 inches.

5. The electronic game controller of claim 1 further comprising a first opaque baffle disposed in the cavity and configured to substantially isolate the second discrete graphic element from light from the first light source.

6. The electronic game controller of claim 1 wherein the body defines a perimeter edge of a perimeter between the front face and the rear surface of the body that is at least 0.25 inch from the opaque housing such that the perimeter of the body is transparent along at least 80% of the perimeter edge.

7. The electronic game controller of claim 6 wherein the transparent portion of the perimeter is free from mechanical fasteners.

8. The electronic game controller of claim 1 wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a first input triggers a first predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where each of the first, second and third light sources is activated and deactivated during the first predetermined sequence.

9. The electronic game controller of claim 8 wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a second input triggers a second predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where each of the first, second and third light sources is activated and deactivated during the second predetermined sequence.

10. The electronic game controller of claim 1 further comprising an on/off switch operably connected to the first, second and third light sources.

11. The electronic game controller of claim 1 further comprising a detachable neck attached to the body, the detachable neck having a set of controls operably connected to the electronic circuit, the body and the neck forming a guitar shape.

12. An electronic game controller comprising: a body having a transparent outer shell, a front face and a rear surface; controls disposed on the front face of the body; a graphic panel disposed under the transparent outer surface of the front face, the graphic panel comprising first, second and third discrete graphic elements; an opaque housing within the body, the opaque housing defining a cavity substantially open to the graphic panel; first, second and third light sources disposed within the cavity, the first light source disposed beneath the first discrete graphic element, the second light source disposed beneath the second discrete graphic element, and the third light source disposed beneath the third discrete graphic element; a detachable neck attached to the body, the detachable neck having a set of controls operably connected to the electronic circuit, the body and the neck forming a guitar shape an electronic circuit operably connected to the first, second and third light sources for selectively activating and deactivating the first, second and third light sources; and means for interfacing the electronic game controller with an electronic game system, wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a first input triggers a first predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where the first input includes substantially simultaneous signals from the body controls and from the neck controls.

13. The electronic game controller of claim 12 wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a second input triggers the activation of only the first light source where the second input includes substantially simultaneous signals from the body controls and from the neck controls.

14. The electronic game controller of claim 13 wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a third input triggers a predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where each of the first, second and third light sources is activated and deactivated during the predetermined sequence where the third input includes substantially simultaneous signals from the body controls and from the neck controls.

15. The electronic game controller of claim 12 wherein the first and second discrete graphic elements form an image of a heart and wherein the electronic circuit is configured to control the first and second light sources by repeating, in sequence the steps of activating the first light source for a predetermined amount of time, deactivating the first light source and activating the second light source for a second amount of time shorter than the first and deactivating the first second light source to simulate a heart beat.

16. An electronic game controller comprising: a body having a transparent outer shell, a front face and a rear surface; controls disposed on the front face of the body; a graphic panel disposed under the transparent outer surface of the front face, the graphic panel comprising first, second and third discrete graphic elements; an opaque housing within the body, the opaque housing defining a cavity substantially open to the graphic panel; first, second and third light sources disposed within the cavity, the first light source disposed beneath the first discrete graphic element, the second light source disposed beneath the second discrete graphic element, and the third light source disposed beneath the third discrete graphic element; a detachable neck attached to the body, the detachable neck having a set of controls operably connected to the electronic circuit, the body and the neck forming a guitar shape an electronic circuit operably connected to the first, second and third light sources for selectively activating and deactivating the first, second and third light sources; and means for interfacing the electronic game controller with an electronic game system, wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources individually, simultaneously and in predetermined sequences.

17. The electronic game controller of claim 16 wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources in response to inputs from the body controls and the neck controls.

18. The electronic game controller of claim 16 wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources in response to substantially simultaneous inputs from the body controls and the neck controls.

19. The electronic game controller of claim 18 wherein the neck controls include first, second, third, fourth and fifth buttons and wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources in response to substantially simultaneous inputs from the body controls and from two buttons of the neck controls.

20. The electronic game controller of claim 19 further including at least one discrete graphic element that is always lit when the electronic game controller is powered.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/041,811 filed Apr. 2, 2008.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention pertains to a game controller having a graphic image with discrete graphic elements that may be selectively illuminated.

BACKGROUND

The computer and video gaming industry is a rapidly growing market. Historically, new games were introduced on disk or cartridge and the same controllers were used with every type of game. One trend has been to introduce custom controllers with the new games, such as guns for shooting games, dance pads for rhythm games and musical instruments for music games. These custom controllers make playing these games a much more immersive and enjoyable experience for many of the users.

Game controllers shaped liked guitars are a large part of the market for controllers for musical games. These controllers typically have one or two sets of five buttons on the neck to allow the user to simulate the fret fingering and a flipper bar on the body of the controller to allow the user to simulate guitar strumming. Some guitar shaped controllers have replaceable body face plates to allow the user to customize the look of the controller. There is thus on ongoing need for guitar shaped controllers and other custom controllers to enhance the game experience for the players and the audience.

SUMMARY

In view of the foregoing, one embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller shaped like a guitar that provides an enhanced user experience. The controller includes a body portion and a neck portion. The body portion may have a clear outer shell surrounding an opaque inner housing. The opaque inner housing may define at least one cavity facing towards the front of the controller. A graphic panel having discrete graphic elements is disposed between the housing and the shell. The graphic panel is opaque but may be back-lit to illuminate the graphic elements. Discrete sources of light may be placed beneath each of the discrete graphic elements, preferably spaced apart from the panel. The discrete sources of light may be LEDs, LED ropes, electroluminescent materials, incandescent bulbs or some other suitable source of light. Illumination from a particular discrete source of light may be limited to a particular discrete graphic element by the placement of one or more baffles in the cavity of the housing. The one or more baffles may be placed to block the light from an adjacent discrete source of light from reaching a discrete graphic element.

The game controller also includes suitable controls. For a guitar shaped controller, these controls typically include fret buttons on the neck, a flipper bar on the body to allow the user to simulate strumming the guitar, a whammy bar and other buttons to control the game. In some embodiments, all of these controls are lit. For example, all of the controls may be lit by LEDs. In other embodiments, some controls may be lit. For example, the flipper bar and the fret buttons may be lit. In some embodiments, the controls may light when pressed or otherwise actuated. In other embodiments, the controls are lit while the controller is in use. In some embodiments, an on/off switch is provided which allows the user to turn the button lights as well as the discrete sources of light described above on or off. In some embodiments, an on/off switch is provided which controls only the discrete sources of light described above. When the on/off switch is in the on position, the discrete sources of light may be activated and deactivated as described below.

In some embodiments, one or more of the controls are connected to an electronic circuit that is configured to operate the discrete sources of light. For example, in some embodiments, the flipper bar and the fret buttons may be operably connected to the electronic circuit. In other embodiments, all the controls may be operably connected to the electronic circuit. In other embodiments, none of the controls are connected to the circuit. Each of the discrete sources of light is also connected to the electronic circuit and may be activated or deactivated by the circuit. In some embodiments, each of the discrete sources of light is activated and deactivated according to a predetermined arrangement. The discrete sources of light may be activated sequentially, simultaneously, or in another desired arrangement. In some embodiments, the discrete sources of light are activated in response to input from the controls. For example, while a fret button is pressed, one discrete source of light may be activated and may be deactivated when the fret button is released. In another example, when a fret button and a flipper bar are actuated substantially simultaneously, a predetermined sequence of activating and deactivating the discrete sources of light may be triggered. Different predetermined sequences may be triggered by the actuation of different combinations of buttons. A predetermined sequence may involve a single discrete source of light or any number of discrete sources of light in any combination of sequential or simultaneous activation and deactivation. A predetermined sequence may involve sequential activation of two or more sources of light and simultaneous deactivation of two or more sources of light, simultaneous activation of two or more sources of light and sequential deactivation of two or more sources of light and combinations thereof (the initial two or more sources of light need not be identical to the later two or more sources of light). Two or more predetermined sequences may be initiated simultaneously or in an overlapping fashion where a first predetermined sequence is not finished before a second predetermined sequence has started.

The body of the controller preferably includes a transparent shell over an opaque housing. The body may be shaped like an electric guitar body, an acoustic guitar body or a bass guitar body, as desired. The shell may include both front and rear portions between which the housing is disposed. The body is generally flat with a front face and a rear surface and a perimeter or a side wall between the two. While generally flat, the controller may include features such as a curved side wall that includes a radius, bevel or chamfer along the perimeter. The front face of the controller may also include a rake along the upper portion of the body further from the neck that tapers that upper corner away from the center of the body to provide a more comfortable user experience. While of course the shell, being over the housing, will always extend further than the opaque housing at least by the thickness of the shell wall, in some embodiments, the shell extends still further in the direction of the side wall or perimeter. A gap may thereby be created between the housing and the shell such that, when the controller is viewed from the front, there is a transparent edge to the guitar body of 0.25, 0.4, 0.5 inch or more.

The housing includes means for powering the controller and means for interfacing the controller with a game system. The means for powering the controller may be an internal battery, a power cord extending out from the body or a powered interface cord such as a powered USB cord extending out from the body. A game system, as used in this specification, means either a stand alone game system that is typically connected to a home television or a personal computer or the like. The means for interfacing the controller with a game system may include an interface cord to plug into an appropriate input on the game system or may include a wireless interface system including a radiofrequency or infrared transmitter and/or receiver with appropriate electronics. A particular embodiment may be configured to interface with a particular game system using a particular or proprietary interface standard or may include one or more standards to allow interface with a number of different game systems. The means for interfacing may include, in some embodiments, means for connecting and mounting a wireless game controller.

One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller including a body having a transparent outer shell, a front face and a rear surface, controls disposed on the front face of the body, a graphic panel disposed under the transparent outer surface of the front face, the graphic panel comprising first, second and third discrete graphic elements, an opaque housing within the body, the opaque housing defining a cavity substantially open to the graphic panel, first, second and third light sources disposed within the cavity, the first light source disposed beneath the first discrete graphic element, the second light source disposed beneath the second discrete graphic element, and the third light source disposed beneath the third discrete graphic element, an electronic circuit operably connected to the first, second and third light sources for selectively activating and deactivating the first, second and third light sources, and means for interfacing the electronic game controller with an electronic game system.

One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the first light source comprises an LED light source or an LED rope. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the first light source is spaced beneath the first discrete graphic element at least 0.25 inches. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above further comprising a first opaque baffle disposed in the cavity and configured to substantially isolate the second discrete graphic element from light from the first light source. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the body defines a perimeter edge of a perimeter between the front face and the rear surface of the body that is at least 0.25 inch from the opaque housing such that the perimeter of the body is transparent along at least 80% of the perimeter edge, and the transparent portion of the perimeter may be free from mechanical fasteners.

One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a first input triggers a first predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where each of the first, second and third light sources is activated and deactivated during the first predetermined sequence. The electronic circuit may be configured such that a second input triggers a second predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where each of the first, second and third light sources is activated and deactivated during the second predetermined sequence. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above that may include an on/off switch operably connected to the first, second and third light sources. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above which includes a detachable neck attached to the body, the detachable neck having a set of controls operably connected to the electronic circuit, the body and the neck forming a guitar shape.

One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller including a body having a transparent outer shell, a front face and a rear surface, controls disposed on the front face of the body, a graphic panel disposed under the transparent outer surface of the front face, the graphic panel comprising first, second and third discrete graphic elements, an opaque housing within the body, the opaque housing defining a cavity substantially open to the graphic panel, first, second and third light sources disposed within the cavity, the first light source disposed beneath the first discrete graphic element, the second light source disposed beneath the second discrete graphic element, and the third light source disposed beneath the third discrete graphic element, a detachable neck attached to the body, the detachable neck having a set of controls operably connected to the electronic circuit, the body and the neck forming a guitar shape, an electronic circuit operably connected to the first, second and third light sources for selectively activating and deactivating the first, second and third light sources, and means for interfacing the electronic game controller with an electronic game system, wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a first input triggers a first predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where the first input includes substantially simultaneous signals from the body controls and from the neck controls.

One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the electronic circuit is configured such that a second input triggers the activation of only the first light source where the second input includes substantially simultaneous signals from the body controls and from the neck controls. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the electronic circuit may be configured such that a third input triggers a predetermined sequence for the activation of first, second and third light sources where each of the first, second and third light sources is activated and deactivated during the predetermined sequence where the third input includes substantially simultaneous signals from the body controls and from the neck controls.

One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the first and second discrete graphic elements may form an image of a heart and wherein the electronic circuit is configured to control the first and second light sources by repeating, in sequence the steps of activating the first light source for a predetermined amount of time, deactivating the first light source and activating the second light source for a second amount of time shorter than the first and deactivating the first second light source to simulate a heart beat.

An electronic game controller comprising a body having a transparent outer shell, a front face and a rear surface, controls disposed on the front face of the body, a graphic panel disposed under the transparent outer surface of the front face, the graphic panel comprising first, second and third discrete graphic elements, an opaque housing within the body, the opaque housing defining a cavity substantially open to the graphic panel, first, second and third light sources disposed within the cavity, the first light source disposed beneath the first discrete graphic element, the second light source disposed beneath the second discrete graphic element, and the third light source disposed beneath the third discrete graphic element, a detachable neck attached to the body, the detachable neck having a set of controls operably connected to the electronic circuit, the body and the neck forming a guitar shape, an electronic circuit operably connected to the first, second and third light sources for selectively activating and deactivating the first, second and third light sources, and means for interfacing the electronic game controller with an electronic game system, wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources individually, simultaneously and in predetermined sequences.

One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources in response to inputs from the body controls and the neck controls. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources in response to substantially simultaneous inputs from the body controls and the neck controls. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above wherein the neck controls include first, second, third, fourth and fifth buttons and wherein the electronic circuit is configured to activate the first, second and third light sources in response to substantially simultaneous inputs from the body controls and from two buttons of the neck controls. One embodiment pertains to an electronic game controller as described above further including at least one discrete graphic element that is always lit when the electronic game controller is powered.

One embodiment pertains to a lighted game controller shaped like a drum or a drum set. The drum or drum set game controller may include a drumhead component and a shell component. Graphics may be disposed under either the drum head or shell to be lit by discrete light sources as described above in either predetermined sequences or when struck with drumsticks. The drum or drum set game controller may also include discrete lights that emit beams external to the controller to create light patterns around the drum or drum set controller. Such lights may be controlled as described above.

One embodiment pertains to lighted drumsticks for use with a drum or drum set controller. Each drumstick controller may include one or more discrete sources of light that either back-light one or more graphic elements or solid color blocks disposed on the controller or which shine out from the controller or a combination thereof. Such a drumstick controller may be responsive to the impact on the tip caused by use or may be responsive to changes in angle or acceleration by inclusion of, for example, an accelerometer.

One embodiment pertains to an accessory for a music game such as an amplifier or a speaker. Such an accessory may include one or more graphic panels as described above with corresponding sets of discrete light sources disposed within to back-light the discrete graphic elements as described above. Such an accessory may follow one or more predetermined or random illumination sequences or may be responsive to the volume or power level of the accessory.

The above summary of some example embodiments is not intended to describe each disclosed embodiment or every implementation of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic front view of a game controller 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of the body 12 of a game controller in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic front view of a game controller 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic front view of a game controller 10 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; and

While the invention is amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit aspects of the invention to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

For the following defined terms, these definitions shall be applied, unless a different definition is given in the claims or elsewhere in this specification.

All numeric values are herein assumed to be modified by the term “about”, whether or not explicitly indicated. The term “about” generally refers to a range of numbers that one of skill in the art would consider equivalent to the recited value (i.e., having the same function or result). In many instances, the term “about” may be indicative as including numbers that are rounded to the nearest significant figure.

The recitation of numerical ranges by endpoints includes all numbers within that range (e.g., 1 to 5 includes 1, 1.5, 2, 2.75, 3, 3.80, 4, and 5).

Although some suitable dimensions ranges and/or values pertaining to various components, features and/or specifications are disclosed, one of skill in the art, incited by the present disclosure, would understand desired dimensions, ranges and/or values may deviate from those expressly disclosed.

As used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a”, “an”, and “the” include plural referents unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. As used in this specification and the appended claims, the term “or” is generally employed in its sense including “and/or” unless the content clearly dictates otherwise.

The following detailed description should be read with reference to the drawings in which similar elements in different drawings are numbered the same. The detailed description and the drawings, which are not necessarily to scale, depict illustrative embodiments and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention. The illustrative embodiments depicted are intended only as exemplary. Selected features of any illustrative embodiment may be incorporated into an additional embodiment unless clearly stated to the contrary.

This application claims priority to provisional application No. 61/041,811, filed Apr. 2, 2008 and entitled “Illuminated Game Controller,” which provisional application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety in the present application.

Refer now to the drawings, FIG. 1 depicts a first game controller 10 in the shape of a guitar. Game controller 10 includes a body 12 and a neck 14. Body 12 includes a front face (shown in the figure) and a rear surface (not shown). A transparent perimeter 16 may substantially surround the body of the guitar. The perimeter 16 may include the whole side wall of the body, may include all except where the neck is joined to the body or may include a substantial portion of the side wide such as 80% or more.

The construction and further details may be better understood by viewing FIG. 2, which is a diagrammatic cross sectional view of body 12, together with FIG. 1. Body 12 has a transparent outer surface, which may be formed from two pieces, a front shell 17 and a rear shell 19. Both the front shell 17 and the rear shell 19 include preformed openings for controls, battery access and the like. Suitable materials for front shell 17 and rear shell 19 may include clear acrylic or polycarbonate polymers. Front shell and rear shell are preferably secured to each other using a clear adhesive such as a clear UV curable adhesive, thermowelding or another suitable fastening technique in which no fasteners or screw bosses are visible through the perimeter 16.

A housing 36 is disposed within front and rear shells 17 and 19. The housing 36 defines one or more cavities that may house a power supply, an electronic circuit 44 for controlling light sources 40, and other electronics. The housing 36 includes structural elements that allows one or more light sources 40 to be mounted within the housing. Light sources 40 may be LED lights, LED rope lights, LCD lights, electroluminescent lights or other suitable source of lights. One preferred light source 40 is LED rope lights, which may be easily shaped to provide custom light source configurations. In one embodiment the light source emits a white or natural light. In other embodiments, the light source may emit lights have another color such as red, green, blue and the like. In some embodiments, extra mounting spaces for light sources 40 are provides so that the location of the light sources within the housing may be customized while using a common housing. The housing is preferably sized to allow a perimeter 16 of the body 12 to be free from the housing and thereby transparent. The housing may be sized to create a perimeter with of 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.7 or 0.8 inches.

The housing 36 is preferably substantially open towards the front 34. The housing 36 may include supporting structures for graphic panel 38, but should allow free illumination of the discrete graphic elements as discussed below. Graphic panel 38 is disposed between front shell 17 and housing 36. The housing 36 preferably accommodates the mounting of light sources 40 at a distance from graphic panel 38, which distance may be approximately 0.2, 0.3. 0.4, 0.5, 0.6 or 0.7 inches to allow light from the light source to spread out before shining through graphic panel 38.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, graphic panel 38 has a graphic image 18 which includes discrete graphic elements 24, 26, 28 and 30. The graphic panel 38 may be printed using a four color printing process or other suitable process to create a full color graphic that can be illuminated from behind. The graphic panel of this embodiment is shown as including four discrete graphic elements. It can be appreciated that more or fewer discrete graphic elements may be included in a particular design. Light sources 40 are configured such that one or more light are disposed behind a particular discrete graphic element. The light sources may be separated by opaque baffles 42 to control the spread of light. In general, the light sources 40 and the optional baffles are configured so the discrete graphic elements may be discretely illuminated.

Game controller 10 also includes one or more controls 20 on the body 12 and one or more controls 22 on the neck 14. Controls 20 and 22 are used to operate the game system and to play a game on the game system.

Electronic circuit 44 is configured to control light sources 40 and is connected to a power supply and to light sources 40 (connections not shown). Electronic circuit 44 is preferably a programmable circuit and may also be connected to one or more of controls 20 and 22 and may include a switch (not shown) which allows the user to power the circuit off. Electronic circuit 44 is configured to selectively activate and deactivate individual light sources 40. The control of light sources 40 may be in response to inputs from one or more controls 20 and 22. A particular input, from a control or from a combination of controls may trigger a predetermined lighting sequence or a predetermined lighting sequence may be randomly activated or may be active while the game controller is on or in use. A predetermined lighting sequence may involve the activation and deactivation of a single light source 40 or the simultaneous or sequential activation and deactivation of two or more light sources 40. The predetermined sequences may provide feedback or may provide an aesthetic experience. Two or more predetermined sequences may be active during the same period and may be started and/or ended simultaneously or sequentially. For example, discrete graphic element 26 may be illuminated whenever one or more controls 22 are pressed and discrete graphic element 28 may be illuminated whenever one or more controls 20 are pressed. In another example, discrete graphic elements 24, 26, 28 and 30 may be illuminated sequentially whenever one or more controls 22 are activated essentially simultaneously with one or more controls 20. It can be appreciated that a wide number of predetermined configurations for illumination patterns are possible with this embodiment.

When a different graphic element is used, the possibilites expand still further. FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate game controllers 10 which include different graphic images 18 on body 12. Graphic image 18 of the game controller 10 in FIG. 3 includes discrete graphic elements 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 and 62. Each discrete graphic element includes a light source that is located beneath it in the housing. These light sources are connected to an electronic circuit and may be controlled using predetermined sequences as discussed above. Similarly, game controller 10 of FIG. 4 includes another example graphic image 18, in which discrete graphic elements 60, 62 and 64 are enumerated. The discrete graphic elements may be illuminated as described above.

Lights such as LEDs may be included in one or more of controls 20 and 22. These lights may be active while the game controller is on or in use or may be activated when the control is pressed.

It is to be understood that, while, as a convention of this description, certain features have been described with respect to certain embodiments, it is contemplated that any of the features described herein may be combined with any number of the other features to produce a contemplated embodiment. In other words, any combination of two or more of the features described herein is also an embodiment described herein. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention may be manifested in a variety of forms other than the specific embodiments described and contemplated herein. Accordingly, departure in form and detail may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention as described in the appended claims.