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Rösti
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(09-11-2014, 02:28 PM)
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On March 7, 2014, Nintendo Co., Ltd. together with AMBRELLA Co., Ltd. and The Pokemon Company filed in the US a patent application for "Information Processing Apparatus, Information Processing System, Information Processing Method and Recording Medium". Priority is from a Japanese filing dated March 8, 2013. It was published today, on September 11, via the USPTO. Inventor is Norio Matsumura (director at Ambrella, has worked on many Pokémon games). The name is typical patent jargon and doesn't provide any enticing hints. The application in itself is quite interesting though, describing a handheld device utilizing NFC/RFID figures and IC cards (smart cards) for gaming purposes, with Pokémon (seemingly) in focus. Remember though, as always, a patent does not confirm a new product or service.

While I cannot say with 100% certainty, I believe this is a standalone device not dependent on (New) Nintendo 3DS or Wii U, but perhaps can be used in conjunction with them. We can hopefully come to a mutual understanding on the workings of this patent. Anyway, let's start with the abstract (key informaton in bold):

Abstract

An example system includes: a contactless communication unit for performing contactless communication with a data storage medium having a contactless communication function; a data acquiring unit for acquiring data stored in the data storage medium by the contactless communication unit; a display processing unit for displaying at least one content stored in a content storage unit and a content according to data acquired by the data acquiring unit on a display unit as selection objects; a selection accepting unit for accepting selection by a user for a content displayed by the display processing unit; and an information processing unit for performing information processing pertaining to a content, which is an object of selection accepted by the selection accepting unit.

Claims

1. An information processing apparatus comprising: a processor: a content storage unit for storing a plurality of contents: and a contactless communication circuit for performing contactless communication with a data storage medium having a contactless communication function, wherein the processor performs the processing of: acquiring data stored in the data storage medium by the contactless communication circuit; displaying at least one content stored in the content storage unit and a content according to acquired data on a display unit as selection objects; accepting selection by a user for a displayed content; performing information processing pertaining to a content which is an object of an accepted selection; and updating data read from the data storage medium by the contactless communication circuit in accordance with the information processing performed by the processor.

Description

FIELD

[0002] The technology herein relates to an information processing apparatus, an information processing system, an information processing method and a recording medium for performing contactless communication with a data storage medium and performing information processing related to a content according to data stored in the data storage medium.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

[0003] Conventionally, contactless communication technology such as NFC (Near Field Communication) or RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) for performing wireless communication contactlessly with an IC (Integrated Circuit) tag or the like has become widespread. In recent years, such contactless communication technology has started to be utilized in an information processing apparatus such as a game machine or a mobile phone. For example, there is a game machine, a game program or the like for performing contactless communication with a data storage medium such as a figure or a card having a built-in IC tag and reflecting data acquired from the data storage medium on the game content.

[0004] According to an aspect of the embodiment, a contactless communication unit for performing contactless communication with a data storage medium having a contactless communication function, a data acquiring unit for acquiring data stored in the data storage medium by the contactless communication unit, a display processing unit for displaying at least one content stored in a content storage unit and a content according to data acquired by the data acquiring unit on a display unit as selection objects, a selection accepting unit for accepting selection by a user for a content displayed by the display processing unit, and an information processing unit for performing information processing pertaining to a content which is an object of selection accepted by the selection accepting unit are provided.

[0005] The object and advantages of the example embodiment will be realized and attained by means of the elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the claims.

[0006] It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are not restrictive of the example embodiment.

[0007] The above and further objects, features, aspects and effects of the present technology will more fully be apparent from the following detailed description by collation with accompanying drawings.

Drawings, as usual, with brief description beneath each individual image:



[0008] FIG. 1 shows an example non-limiting block diagram for illustrating the configuration of a game system according to the present embodiment.



[0009] FIG. 2 shows an example non-limiting block diagram for illustrating the configuration of a dedicated figure.



[0010] FIG. 3 shows an example non-limiting schematic diagram for illustrating an example of a player character selection screen.



[0011] FIG. 4 shows an example non-limiting schematic diagram for explaining a method of adding a character using a dedicated figure.



[0012] FIG. 5 shows an example non-limiting schematic diagram for explaining a method of adding a character using an IC card.



[0013] FIG. 6 shows an example non-limiting schematic diagram for explaining an example of a game.



[0014] FIG. 7 shows an example non-limiting schematic diagram for explaining a helper character.



[0015] FIG. 8 shows an example non-limiting schematic diagram for explaining increase in status of a character.



[0016] FIG. 9 shows an example non-limiting flowchart for illustrating the procedures of player character selection acceptance processing to be performed by a game machine.



[0017] FIG. 10 shows an example non-limiting flowchart for illustrating the procedures of game processing to be performed by a game machine.



[0018] FIG. 11 shows an example non-limiting flowchart for illustrating the procedures of status data update processing of a dedicated figure to be performed by a game machine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF NON-LIMITING EXAMPLE EMBODIMENTS (excerpts)

[0019] FIG. 1 shows an example non-limiting block diagram for illustrating the configuration of a game system according to the present embodiment. A game system according to the present embodiment includes a game machine 1, at least one dedicated FIG. 5, and at least one IC card 6. The game machine 1 is of a portable type which can be carried by the user. The dedicated FIG. 5 and the IC card 6 are data storage media to be used in a game. The game machine 1 has a display unit 11, a recording medium loading unit 12 and an operation unit 13, which are provided in one housing. Illustration of the housing of the game machine 1 is omitted in FIG. 1. A processing unit (processor) 10, a communication unit 14, a primary storage unit 15, a secondary storage unit 16 and a contactless communication unit (a contactless communication circuit) 21 are built in the housing of the game machine 1.

[0021] The display unit 11 is constituted of a liquid crystal panel, a PDP (Plasma Display Panel) or the like. The display unit 11 displays an image given from the processing unit 10. The recording medium 9 of a card type, a cassette type, a disk type or the like is attached to and detached from the recording medium loading unit 12. The processing unit 10 can read the game program 91, character data 92 and the like from the recording medium 9 mounted on the recording medium loading unit 12. [B]The operation unit 13 is, for example, a button of a depression type or a touch panel provided at the display unit 11. The operation unit 13 notifies the processing unit 10 of the content of an operation performed by the user. The content of an operation is, for example, depression or release of a button, or the like.

[0022] The communication unit 14 transmits and receives data to and from a server machine, another game machine 1 or the like, via a network such as a mobile phone network or a wireless LAN (Local Area Network). For example, the game machine 1 can communicate with the server machine by the communication unit 14 to download the game program 91 and character data 92, and store the game program 91 and the character data 92 in the secondary storage unit 16. The primary storage unit 15 is constituted of a semiconductor memory device, for example. The primary storage unit 15 temporarily stores various data to be generated in arithmetic processing by the processing unit 10. The secondary storage unit 16 is constituted of a nonvolatile storage device having large capacity in comparison with the primary storage unit 15. The secondary storage unit 16 can store the game program 91 and the character data 92.

[0023] In one example embodiment, the contactless communication unit 21 wirelessly transmits data to and/or wirelessly receives data from the IC card 6 or the like. The IC card 6 can be active or passive, self-powered or powered by received signals. In one example embodiment, such data transmission and/or reception can be according to a conventional communication standard such as ISO/IEC 18092:2013 (so-called "NFC" or Near Field Communications Interface and Protocol) incorporated herein by reference, for example, or any other suitable communications protocol. The communication range of the contactless communication unit 21 in some example embodiments is relatively short, such as about several centimeters to several meters. Such short range communications can for example allow devices in proximity to one another to communicate with one another without involving devices not in proximity. In one non-limiting example, the contactless communication unit 21 transmits a signal, which instructs reading of stored data, to an IC tag 50 or other device embedded in the dedicated FIG. 5 or an IC tag 60 or other device embedded in the IC card 6. In this context, an IC tag can comprise for example any of a class of devices that can in some contexts be used as an electronic identification tag that wirelessly provides identification information. But in other embodiments the device need not be an integrated circuit tag. The contactless communication unit 21 receives desired data from the IC tag 50 or 60 as a response for the transmitted signal. The contactless communication unit 21 in one example embodiment has a so-called IC tag reader function. The contactless communication unit 21 transmits data to be written together with a signal, which instructs writing of the data. Thus, the contactless communication unit 21 can cause the IC tag 50 to write the data. That is, the contactless communication unit 21 has an IC tag writer function. Here, the communication mode of the contactless communication unit 21 is not limited to NFC and may be a variety of communication modes, such as RFID, or any other type of inductive, electromagnetic or other coupling or communications including but not limited to optical, infrared, short range radio, magnetic, audio, tactile, vibrational, or any other suitable type of communications to be employed as contactless communication, short-range wireless communication or the like. In this context, "contactless" can include for example the capability to communicate without requiring electrical and/or physical contact. In other example embodiments, electrical contact and/or physical contact can be used. Additionally, some or all of the devices communicating can be wirelessly powered by inductive or other proximity coupling so that they do not need to be self-powered.

[0024] The dedicated FIG. 5 is a specific data storage medium to be used by a user in play of a specific game which is to be realized by executing a specific game program 91 at the game machine 1. Although only one dedicated FIG. 5 is illustrated in FIG. 1, a plurality of types of dedicated FIG. 5 may exist. In a specific game according to the present embodiment, a plurality of characters are prepared as player objects to be operated by the user. The dedicated FIG. 5 has a shape imitating an appearance of a character to be operated by the user in a specific game and is made of synthetic resin or the like. The IC tag 50 is embedded in the dedicated FIG. 5. The dedicated FIG. 5 can perform contactless communication with the game machine 1. The IC tag 50 of the dedicated FIG. 5 stores various data according to the character. The game machine 1 can read data from the IC tag 50 by contactless communication. The game machine 1 can update data stored in the IC tag 50, or additionally write data into the IC tag 50.

[0025] The IC card 6 is, for example, an employee ID card, a season ticket of transportation, a cash card for a bank or the like, a credit card, an electronic money card or the like. The IC card 6 is a data storage medium, which is unrelated to a specific game to be executed at the game machine 1 and is generally used. The IC tag 60 is embedded in the IC card 6. The IC card 6 can perform contactless communication with the game machine 1. It is to be noted that the IC card 6 in this example is not restrictive, and any element can be employed as long as an IC tag 60 capable of contactless communication with the game machine 1 is embedded therein. For example, a figure or the like to be used for another game may be employed.

Here is a game example, quoted in its own frame:

[0031] Next, an example of a game, which is realized when the processing unit 10 of the game machine 1 executes the game program 91 according to the present embodiment, will be described. In the game of this example, the user collects a plurality of characters, which can be a player character, in the game. The user selects a player character from the collected characters. The user operates at least one of selected player characters at the operation unit 13, and fights or competes with an enemy character, for example. An enemy character may be operated by the processing unit 10, or may be operated by a user of another game machine 1 in the case of an online match game.

[0032] When a player character attacks and beats an enemy character in the game in this example, the user can acquire the enemy character with a constant probability. The user can select the acquired character as a player character. When the user acquires a specific item in the game or when a specific event occurs, for example, the user can acquire a new character. Information related to a character acquired by the user is stored in the secondary storage unit 16 as a possession character list, together with saved data of the game or the like.

Additional examples:

[0051] In the character growth screen, the user can increase status, such as an offensive power and a speed, of a character using the operation unit 13. The user increases the status and then causes the game machine 1 to load the dedicated FIG. 5 of a corresponding character, so as to update the status data 53b stored in the storage unit 53 of the dedicated FIG. 5. The processing unit 10 of the game machine 1 accepts an operation to increase status by the operation unit 13 and increases the status of the character. Thereafter, the processing unit 10 displays a message to prompt the user to perform an operation to load a corresponding dedicated FIG. 5. In the example illustrated in the figure, the game machine 1 displays a message "Touch Character Having Status to be Grown" on the lower right of the display unit 11 or, in other words, in the vicinity of a position where the contactless communication unit 21 is mounted.

[0072] Although an example of a game wherein a player character operated by the user attacks an enemy character has been described in the present embodiment, it is to be noted that the game content is exemplary and not restrictive. Although the game machine 1 in the present embodiment is designed to add a character to be selected as a player character by performing contactless communication with the dedicated FIG. 5 or the IC card 6, a content to be added as an option by contactless communication is not limited to a character. For example, a stage to appear in a game, or a weapon, an item or the like to be used by a player character may be added. Similar technology can be applied to an application other than a game. For example, an electronic book may be additionally displayed at a bookshelf, which includes a plurality of electronic books arranged therein, in accordance with contactless communication with an IC card or the like, so as to allow the user to select an electronic book to browse. Similarly, a content such as a moving image, a still image or music may be treated. Moreover, the game screens illustrated in FIGS. 3 to 8 are exemplary and not restrictive.

Source: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...RS=AN/Nintendo

If the link above does not work, search for Application Number 14/201117 here: http://appft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html
ramparter
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(09-11-2014, 02:29 PM)
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End of the world as we know it.
BD1
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(09-11-2014, 02:30 PM)
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I said this a few weeks ago in another thread. Nintendo should release a Poke-Phone. A smart phone for kids that is loaded with Pokemon content.
Hero of Legend
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(09-11-2014, 02:32 PM)
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Wonder if it's a possible base for the 4DS? I mean let's face it, Pokemon shapes Nintendo's handhelds, maybe they want to make handhelds more tailor-made for them?

Kinda silly to make an entirely separate device, and this isn't just Pokemon mini 2.0 either (that was by Jupiter BTW).
Anedar
Junior Member
(09-11-2014, 02:33 PM)
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But why doesn't it look like a pokedex?
Starwolf_UK
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(09-11-2014, 02:33 PM)
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Why are Ambrella involved? Could this mean that all their development projects will be on this...if this ever comes out.
emb
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(09-11-2014, 02:35 PM)
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It's about time we got a new generation of this:
Bricky
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(09-11-2014, 02:36 PM)
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A monkey would easily beat a cat in a fight, this must be fake.
axisofweevils
Holy crap! Today's real megaton is that more than two people can have the same first name.
(09-11-2014, 02:36 PM)
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One thing that's odd about this... The A and B buttons seem to be in the wrong place.. (Xbox position instead of Nintendo's.)
DizzyCrow
Member
(09-11-2014, 02:38 PM)

Originally Posted by axisofweevils

One thing that's odd about this... The A and B buttons seem to be in the wrong place.. (Xbox position instead of Nintendo's.)

Microsoft bought Nintendo confirmed, Pokemon will be realistic,(hence the regular animals) and the only handheld game, every other franchise will become console only.
Caramello
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(09-11-2014, 02:38 PM)
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Seems like a patent for NFC in Pokemon?
Oersted
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(09-11-2014, 02:38 PM)
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Something is saying me that this will be a Pokemon Amiibo companion.
javadoze
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(09-11-2014, 02:38 PM)
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Cat looks like the best new Pokeman, but I'm also partial to Cow.
Sir TapTap
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(09-11-2014, 02:38 PM)
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Originally Posted by emb

It's about time we got a new generation of this:

I loved that thing

It's awful btw

Originally Posted by javadoze

Cat looks like the best new Pokeman, but I'm also partial to Cow.

Rabbit is going to be OU with that speed
Nirolak
Mrgrgr
(09-11-2014, 02:38 PM)
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Originally Posted by axisofweevils

One thing that's odd about this... The A and B buttons seem to be in the wrong place.. (Xbox position instead of Nintendo's.)

Well it's pretty clear that Microsoft bought Nintendo and forced them to change all the Pokemon into regular animals.
injurai
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(09-11-2014, 02:39 PM)
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Amiibo isn't the Pokemon we need right now, but it's the pokemon we deserve.
Rösti
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(09-11-2014, 02:40 PM)
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Originally Posted by Caramello

Seems like a patent for NFC in Pokemon?

Well, it's definitely related to NFC figures (also RFID and IC cards), so yeah. With this, wallets around the world would go dry very quickly.
Aostia
El Capitan Todd
(09-11-2014, 02:41 PM)
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amiibo pokedex incoming?
JCX
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(09-11-2014, 02:41 PM)
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Patent drawings almost always deliver.
Impotaku
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(09-11-2014, 02:41 PM)
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Originally Posted by emb

It's about time we got a new generation of this:

Oh god YES, i would love a new version of the pokemon mini. A updated one with a colour screen, i still play on my treasured mini even nowdays.

Something makes me think it might just be something related to the new 3DS as that has figure reading technology built in.
Josh7289
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(09-11-2014, 02:43 PM)
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I wonder why not just release such a game for New 3DS, since it has NFC support built-in?
SG-17
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(09-11-2014, 02:52 PM)
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Maybe it's going to be a Pokedex that you actually populate by linking to your games, with party stats and other game info too?
Possibly also a new version of the Pokewalker where you can do limited battles.
zallaaa
Member
(09-11-2014, 02:59 PM)
What if you can scan real life animals, the game assign stats, and you challenge them with your own pet? Perhaps you could scan your family pet or be given one random Pokemon at the beginning.
Think about it: you are walking down the street, meet a stray dog, scan it with the camera and enter into battle. The arena could be based on your gps location.
Renta
Banned
(09-11-2014, 02:59 PM)
A couple friends and I were just discussing amiibo pokemon capabilities. One idea was to have an amiibo pokeball that would work like pokemon bank on the go when there's no internet connection.

I wonder what will come of this.
KojiKnight
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(09-11-2014, 03:02 PM)
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These new pokemon are looking lazier and lazier design wise.
Orniletter
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(09-11-2014, 03:05 PM)
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Whatever it is, Ambrella means bad news.

Thats the terrible developer behind Pokemon Dash, Hey you Pikachu and the Pokemon Rumble series.

Edit: And yes, this will absolutely be Pokemon mini 2 with a butload of NFC-Pokemon to suck the money out of parents´ pockets.
Last edited by Orniletter; 09-11-2014 at 03:07 PM.
explodet
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(09-11-2014, 03:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by KojiKnight

These new pokemon are looking lazier and lazier design wise.

But their Megas will be kickass, just you wait.
L~A
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(09-11-2014, 03:11 PM)
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Originally Posted by KojiKnight

These new pokemon are looking lazier and lazier design wise.

Yeah, it's pretty clear Sugimori is creatively bankrupt. He's letting that American dude do all the Pokémon design now, and look at the result.


...

Seriously, I wonder what it's all for. I doubt it's an actual console, more something like the Pokémon Mini.
KojiKnight
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(09-11-2014, 03:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by L~A

Seriously, I wonder what it's all for. I doubt it's an actual console, more something like the Pokémon Mini.

I'm in agreement with what someone above said, it's likely a 'companion' device to future pokemon amiibos.
Spikain
Junior Member
(09-11-2014, 03:19 PM)
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This looks like just a patent related to the New 3DS and some new Ambrella game using Pokemon amiibos. Let's hope they actually look good this time.
Htown
STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
(09-11-2014, 03:19 PM)
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there's no way this is a separate system
Tempy
don't ask me for codes
(09-11-2014, 03:22 PM)
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Originally Posted by emb

It's about time we got a new generation of this:

An updated version of the Pokemon Mini would be awesomeneat~

I even got the Pokemon Tetris game for it.

There's even back-light mods and homebrew for the thing~


Last edited by Tempy; 09-11-2014 at 03:29 PM.
JDSN
Banned
(09-11-2014, 03:23 PM)
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Now I want a Gamefreak game starring completely normal animals.
18-Volt
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(09-11-2014, 03:31 PM)
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Originally Posted by emb

It's about time we got a new generation of this:

Yes! Pokémon Mini 2! Color touch screen, cool graphics and features awesome farm animals! That's exactly what I need! Definitely training a cat and a monkey.
Qurupeke
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(09-11-2014, 04:00 PM)
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I'd choose the cat. Elephant seems broken though.
Jamie OD
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(09-11-2014, 04:08 PM)
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Originally Posted by Bricky

A monkey would easily beat a cat in a fight, this must be fake.

Nah, Cat is just beginner friendly. Monkey is for advanced players.
Fourth Storm
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(09-11-2014, 04:21 PM)
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Looks like a tablet. Plasma display panel? :D

Although the drawing and examples are intriguing, the only claim seems to basically be a handheld console featuring NFC for gameplay purposes. This may have been in preparation for the new Nintendo 3DS.
efyu_lemonardo
May I have a cookie?
(09-11-2014, 04:28 PM)
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Originally Posted by Htown

there's no way this is a separate system

Actually, you know what could be really smart?

Have a free app available for iPhone, iPad and Android that's basically a very limited Pokemon game, either some sort of Pokemon Chao garden or something like the Pokemon rumble games. But in order to unlock additional content and areas you have to buy amiibos and "scan" them into the device.

This wouldn't serve as a replacement for the main Pokemon games but rather provide a kind of entry level experience on existing devices. They could even make it so that if you already own a 3DS and the latest Pokemon game, you could use your existing save data to unlock content in the app without having to purchase amiibos.
Zoon
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(09-11-2014, 04:30 PM)
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Looks like a pokewalker v2 to me
Sylverstone14
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(09-11-2014, 04:32 PM)
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The Pokemon mini 2.

BELIEVE
efyu_lemonardo
May I have a cookie?
(09-11-2014, 04:33 PM)
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Originally Posted by Sylverstone14

The Pokemon mini 2.

BELIEVE

Doesn't it make more sense for this kind of thing to be an app nowadays?
Bomber Bob
Banned
(09-11-2014, 04:36 PM)
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Under my ambrella ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh
emb
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(09-11-2014, 04:41 PM)
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Originally Posted by Tempy

An updated version of the Pokemon Mini would be awesomeneat~

I even got the Pokemon Tetris game for it.

There's even back-light mods and homebrew for the thing~


Neat, I had no idea. I never actually had one back then, this just reminded me of it.

Are those things rare/expensive these days? I might look into one sometime, lol.
JoeM86
(09-11-2014, 04:47 PM)
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Saw this, then fell asleep so I didn't post my thoughts (it has been a long week of late nights and early starts. Forgive me)

Sorry, to me this feels like this patent is for Pokémon Rumble U. The concept is near identical and Ambrella are the ones who developed it.

While the GamePad and NFC features exist, the way it brings in NFC figures and uses various NFC cards to bring in helpers is exactly what is described in this patent, as is the upgrade of figures. I honestly don't see it being for anything else.

But, I have been wrong before, and I would happily entertain future ideas like this.

Just because it has already been used doesn't mean that it can't be used again.
Last edited by JoeM86; 09-11-2014 at 04:54 PM.

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