Miyamoto’s Unused Touch Screen RPG

By Spencer . April 17, 2009 . 4:05pm

mpat_pThere is a plethora of RPGs on the Nintendo DS. Few of them use the touch screen in a novel way. Way before the Nintendo DS was finalized luminary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto was tinkering with one.


A patent filed with Miyamoto credited as one of the inventors reveals the project. In this conceptual RPG players are randomly attacked by monsters. Old stuff, but the combat system is new.


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In battles players poke monsters with a finger or stylus to attack them. Touch the monster and you hurt it. Miss and it, well, you miss. Monsters move in patterns so battles require more eye-hand coordination than selecting fight. The neat thing about this system is you deal more damage if you hit the monster in a weak spot, like its face in this example, than its torso. Hit the shield and you deal less damage. The proposed system draws ideas from first person shooter or light gun games and adapts them for a turn based RPG.




These flow charts explain the nitty gritty.


Not all patents are used. Not even all of Shigeru Miyamoto’s ideas are used. Should Nintendo use this?

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  • anon

    “Should Nintendo use this?”
    A third party developer should use this.

  • Mazen

    I wouldn’t mind if a new Mother game use this.

  • memoryofwater

    This sounds really addicting and different. Most RPGs are an acquired taste for me, in terms of fun. There’s just too much learning and relearning the ins and outs of the combat system to be very approachable. An idea like this is something that could fix that very quickly.

    These patent posts are starting to make me think that developers are less “stuck” in conventions than I’d previously imagined, and mostly just sticking with what they know will work instead of experimenting with every crazy thing that comes to mind. I’d like to see more of a healthy balance. Of course, getting every crazy idea actually patented holds back other developers from trying them, too, and that makes me a melancholy marsupial.

  • A light gun RPG? I could see that working.

    • MadMirko

      They do. Didn’t like Dragon Quest:Swords?

  • scott

    Not to crap all over this, but isn’t this essentially what Dragon Quest: Swords for the Wii was? That game didn’t exactly set the world on fire….

  • ocha

    Isnt pokemon ranger like this?

  • Dais

    This idea has been around for a while, of course. SD Snatcher had a sort of turn-based system like this, where you saw a sprite of your enemies and aimed at them on a grid when choosing to attack, and since they were all mechanical (or were they? dun dun dun!), you could shoot at different parts to lower their attack power/abilities, speed, tracking, etcetera. Of course, depending on the enemy and their speed, they might move before Gillian got a shot off (but you could use items to paralyze them)

    More relevantly, the PC detective (with hints of sci-fi, fantasy, and sheer ridiculousness) hentai-RPG Cobra Mission featured a one-on-one combat system (with two playable characters) – your enemy is static (animated) but the combat is click-to-attack real-time with the enemy building up to attacks, and hitting different spots will do more/less damage, sometimes a critical amount. Interestingly, this was added in the English (Chinese co-developed) version by Megatech; the original PC-98 version was turn-based.

    Pokemon Ranger [i]didn’t[/i] use this system, although if I remember correctly you could briefly confuse an enemy by touching them (or am I thinking of something else?). Instead, you’re supposed to draw complete loops around the enemy, and differet enemies require different number of uninterrupted loops around them to be “calmed” down (well, they aren’t killed, and usually join as helpers afterwards). You (or rather, your weapon) only take damage if the line you’re drawing is attacked (if the pokemon breaks the line by crossing it, you just have to start over). There are various other complications…some helper pokemon can allow you to make imprisoning bubbles, different types of walls to surround different types of pokemon and so on. But there’s no tapping, let alone on weak spots.

    I could’ve sworn there was something that was basically like this system, though.

    Oh wait, Hanjuku Hero DS (which had a chance of coming to the US as Egg Monster Heroes – there was an English demo at a media event – but didn’t make it) has something like this system, where….well, I’m not really sure, but I believe you tell a soldier squad/egg monster to attack an enemy, and then you have a few seconds to tap them on a grid, and where you tap on the enemy has a significant chance of altering the success of the attack.

    The truth is, I don’t think anyone has done a straight system like in Miyamoto’s patent here (except maybe in one of those zillion games on Newgrounds)….but it’s such a basic idea that it’s actually pretty crummy to patent it. I hope that something really good comes of this, or that it falls into total unlitigated obscurity.

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