With today’s ever-changing modern technology, video games can really experiment and diversify. We look back at some weird and wonderful ideas that have been patented in the past.

Five video game patents brought to life in 3D

Since the first console came to market in 1972, there’s been a flurry of whacky consoles, designs and accessories created with the intention of elevating our gaming experiences. Some have worked, but it’s been game over for many.

Below, we’ve identified five incredible video game concepts that made it to the patent stage, but not quite to the mass market. We paid tribute to the designers by bringing their ideas to life using 3D visualisations.

Inflatable Vehicle Simulator by Leo Markowitz – 2012 (US20120270663A1)

Inflatable car - Inflatable Vehicle Simulator with tablet controller

We’ve all seen the gaming steering wheel, but this design takes home driving experiences to the next level. Could you imagine playing your favourite handheld car game in a life-size vehicle?

We know what you’re thinking - how would I fit it in my living room? Well, Leo Markowitz had that issue covered. This driving simulator was fully inflatable, so users didn’t have to worry about its size.


Adaptable Game Controller by Paul Chen – 2005 (US20050255916A1)

Controller - Adaptable Game Controller for all consoles

Since the first console was introduced in 1972, controllers have been standardised and universal across consoles.

This game controller faceplate, created by Paul Chen, displays a visualisation of the video game onto your controller. Meaning you could see your favourite character in the palm of your hands.

The faceplate connects directly to your controller via a chip to display the graphics. The chip also uses intuitive software coding to enhance your gaming performance to help take you to the next level. Each game had a specific interchangeable faceplate to provide the full experience.

Screen Divider by Timothy M. Coffey – 1994 (US5435557A)

Screen Divider - Screen Divider for box television

We've all got that one friend that looks across the screen and cheats when you're playing split-screen. And if you can't think of anyone else in your group, well, you might need to do some self-reflection.

Timothy M. Coffey tried to solve this issue with this opaque panel which stretched across the screen. It's attached by suction cups to the edge of your screen, and when the two arms are separated, the opaque material is drawn to stretch across various screen sizes.

It is an excellent concept for those who play with siblings or have competitive friends, but unfortunately for them, this design never made it to the wider market.

Attachable Controller for Portable Devices by Brandon Workman – 2011 (US20110260969A1)

Attachable controller - attachable controller on tablet

Have you ever been playing an intense game on your tablet but struggled using the touch screen buttons?

Brandon Workman invented this attachable controller, which connects wirelessly to your portable device. The joystick and buttons allow for more straightforward navigation and control, so you can get one up on your rivals.

When finished, the controller can be compacted into a travel size central hub, perfect for long flights or spicing up your commute.

Exercise and Video Game Chair by Benjamin Karl Broderick – 2009 (US20110086747A1)

Exercise chair - Ergonomic video game chair in gaming room

In recent years, Nintendo, X-Box and PlayStation have all tried to get us moving while playing video games. Benjamin Broderick had a similar idea in 2009.

His goal was to incorporate a bodybuilder or cardio workout while having your mind in the game. By strapping yourself into the chair, the resistance straps rely on leg, arm, torso and finger movement to control the video game. Adjustable resistance means users can increase or decrease the intensity to help work up a sweat.

What could have been…

You may be wondering how these designs never made it, or you might have picked out all their flaws. Either way, it's fair to say they certainly pushed the boundaries to the other products available on the market.

Maybe the next time you're playing, this blog will give you the inspiration you need to come up with the next big idea.

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