Browse Prior Art Database

Game Cartridge Programmer for Home Use

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000117531D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 4 page(s) / 122K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Cook, RL: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

Disclosed is an electronic circuit programming system using re-writable cartridges compatible with commercially-available video game systems to produce game cartridges in the home environment.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

Game Cartridge Programmer for Home Use

      Disclosed is an electronic circuit programming system using
re-writable cartridges compatible with commercially-available video
game systems to produce game cartridges in the home environment.

      The Figure is a block diagram of a system, including a circuit
programming device 1 and a personal computer 2, for programming a
game cartridge 3 including a programmable circuit, such as a Flash*
memory chip.  The programming device 1 provides a hardware interface
between an Input/Output (I/O) port 4 of the personal computer 2 and
the cartridge 3.  The game cartridge 3 stores a unique identification
code, written during it's manufacturing process to keep track of
games authorized for use in programming the circuit within the
cartridge.

      Software for playing a game is either downloaded from a central
host computer along a transmission line 5 or stored locally within
storage media 6 in encrypted form.  Transmission line 5 may be a
telephone line connected to the personal computer 2 through a modem
or another type of line, such as an Integrated Service Digital
Network (ISDN) connection.  The on-line transmission of all the
software for a game provides for the earlier availability of new
games, but requires a long transmission time, since such software
typically is 1-4 Megabytes in length.  When local storage is used,
the consumer still contacts the host computer to purchase a new game,
but only a short decryption code is transmitted on line.  Local
storage is provided in the form of a Compact Disk Read-Only Memory
(CD-ROM) which can store a large number of game images.

      A customer wanting to use this system typically purchases a
single programming device 1, one or more game cartridges 3 in a
"blank," unprogrammed state, and associated Game Programming
Software, which he loads into the computer 2.  When the customer is
ready to purchase a new game, he activates the software which causes
the game contents to be downloaded from a host computer or to be
decrypted from local storage 6 using code downloaded from the host
computer.  The programming device 1 programs the game contents into
the cartridge 3, erasing a game, if any, previously stored within the
cartridge.

      A fee is charged for downloading the game content or decoding
information associated with each game.  Preferably, the host computer
keeps track of the games purchased for an individual game cartridge 3
by means of the identification code, so that a smaller fee is charged
for re-programming a previously-programmed game.  Before a game is
written to the game cartridge 3, authorization is obtained from the
central host computer, facilitating the billing process and the
payment of royalties to owners of the game content.

      The Game Programming Software allows the selection of a game,
obtains authorization to place a game image on a game cartridge,
do...