Video Game Law Blog

September 01, 2005

Here's a further update about Nintendo's 'insanity patent' . Another reader brought to our attention the fact that the 'Call of Cthulu"? paper-based RPG, which has been around for years (OK, I played it in high school) has a character sanity system, in which characters' sanity degrades as they are exposed to supernatural events and creatures. The astute reader pointed out that there have been several Cthulu-based computer games in the past.

But that's not all "? a little digging on GameSpot reveals that 'Call of Cthulu Dark Corners of the Earth"? is slated for release for the Xbox in October 2005. And one of GameSpot's previews says the following

'The game will feature a sanity system that's based on the Call of Cthulhu pen-and-paper role-playing game, but it's probably more akin to the system found in Eternal Darkness for the GameCube. Basically, as you encounter different horrors and things, you'll begin to slowly lose your mind, as you start suffering from panic attacks, hallucinations, and more."?

This raises some interesting questions do this game's developers need a licence from Nintendo for this in-game insanity system? If so, do they have one? Might there be a patent action in the future? And would the issued patent hold up in light of the prior art, including the Cthulu RPG?

Thanks to our readers for sharing their thoughts with us.