Action Figures and Legal NES Clones

Matt Barton's picture

I've got two tangentially related items for your reading queue today. First, Lore Sjöberg of Wired News has posted some funny ideas for new game controllers. While some are ridiculous (a brick?), others are more intriguiging, even if meant only as a joke. For some reason, his idea for a game controller based on an action figure seems on-the-money, though I'm not sure how it could be implemented. I'm sure that most of us here grew up playing with action figures, whether they were those crappy Star Wars figurines or those GI Joes that went weak-in-the-knees after a few hours of play. Still, we all had a great time with them, and no doubt part of the thrill was the tactile aspect of it. I think this is one reason why so many grown men and women indulge in games like WarHammer, which feature little miniatures in lieu of the more abstract creatures and heroes in the typical D&D table session. I think Lore's tongue-in-cheek suggestion might actually lead towards some really innovative games and control schemes.

Also in the queue today is a do-it-yourself portable NES. Nintendo's patents on its original NES have expired, so it's nice to know that projects like this are emerging quite legally from the woodwork--though there are still (and will probably always be) some stipulations attached. My advice to anyone designing things like this, whether for commercial or hobby production, would be to totally avoid using the word "Nintendo" or "Entertainment System" in conjunction with it. The fact that this unit has "Nintendo Entertainment System" plastered on it means that someone is really asking for it. The same goes for other commercial systems. How hard is it to come up with a unique name for your product? I have to agree with big companies on this one. Don't put someone else's name on your product!