Sony Patents Method To Make Old Games Feel New Again


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Remakes are nothing new to the game industry. Ever since Nintendo remade the first three Mario games for Super Mario All-Stars on the SNES, developers around the world have delighted fans with remakes that improve the visuals, gameplay and more. Now it looks like Sony is looking at a novel way to introduce new elements in older games without having to completely remake it.

iGR recently stumbled upon a patent filed by Sony Computer Entertainment called, "Suspending state of cloud-based legacy applications." As the name suggests, the patent details a technology that could theoretically be used to take a "snapshot" of a specific game and then resume from that point at a later date. While it certainly could be used to help players resume a paused game, it could also be used to introduce new elements into older games.

Here's how Sony describes it:

Finding new ways to play preexisting video games can increase the longevity of older games. Instead of replaying the same level or completing the same missions repeatedly, gamers often desire new challenges when replaying legacy games. In response to this need, game designers have begun to produce mini-games. Within a mini-game, the gamer can be instructed to complete new objectives or challenge their friends for high scores in a format that was not originally designed into the legacy game. Further, since the mini-game is derived from a legacy game, the gamer already knows the characters and basic components of the game, and is therefore more likely to play the mini-game.

Mini-games often do not begin at traditional starting points that were used in the original game. For example, the mini-game may begin near the end of a level, just prior to facing a final opponent, or the boss of the level. A boss is an enemy-based challenge which is found in many video games. Bosses are generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage or level. Due to the climactic nature of fighting a boss, mini-game designers may choose to use this section of the game as their starting point. In order to make the mini-game more challenging than the original version, the game designer may also want to limit the number of lives a player may use, or change other game parameters such as the amount of health the main character has remaining Other game scenarios may be chosen as starting points for a min-game. For example a mini-game may begin with the game player being the batter in a baseball game where there are two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the batter's team is down by one run.

Pretty cool, right? If Sony can somehow pull this off, it could help revitalize a lot of older games for new and old players alike. Nintendo has already dabbled in something like this with the release of NES Remix on the Wii U. The game tasks players with completing specific challenges in classic NES games alongside introducing new challenges that completely change how the games played. For example, one level turns the ground in the first stage of Super Mario Bros. to ice.

It should be noted that Sony's patent wouldn't be able to do anything that sophisticated. NES Remix involved a lot of new code and substantial changes to the original game. Sony's patent would simply allow the developers to change the game within its original parameters and then present that to the player as a new challenge.

If anything, this patent is only further confirmation that cloud emulation is coming sooner or later to the PS4. While the specter of OnLive is still fresh in our memory, Sony and Gaikai may yet be successful in a field that nobody else has really been able to find much success in.

Image via US Patent and Trademark Office