US20050098955A1 - Interactive knowledge based game system - Google Patents

Interactive knowledge based game system Download PDF

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US20050098955A1
US20050098955A1 US10/986,422 US98642204A US2005098955A1 US 20050098955 A1 US20050098955 A1 US 20050098955A1 US 98642204 A US98642204 A US 98642204A US 2005098955 A1 US2005098955 A1 US 2005098955A1
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system
player
knowledge based
game
question
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Stu Rasmussen
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Stu Rasmussen
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3286Type of games
    • G07F17/3295Games involving skill, e.g. dexterity, memory, thinking
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting

Abstract

A computerized system for operating a skill or knowledge based interactive game and several new modes of play for such a game. The invention is applicable to single or multi player ‘trivia’ or other knowledge based games, and could also be applied to games where the player's visual observation skills are tested and rewarded. It is particularly useful to public venues such as bars, taverns or social clubs as it provides entertainment and prizes for the patrons and cash revenue to the owner/operator of the premises. The incorporation of a discrete player input to designate an answer not included in the displayed answer group i.e. “None of the Above” or “Bogus” enhances game play and enjoyment.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is entitled to the benefit of Provisional Patent Application Ser. 60/518,789 filed Nov. 10, 2003.
  • BACKGROUND
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates generally to single and multiple player knowledge games and systems.
  • 2. Description of Prior Art
  • There is considerable prior art in this field, much of which is not patented but is simply in the public domain. Knowledge based games (particularly ‘trivia games’) have been popular in manual and computerized versions for many years. The board game “Trivial Pursuit” from the early 1980's is an example of a recent incarnation of a manual trivia game. Many manufacturers of coin-operated amusement machines have produced ‘trivia’ games using multiple-choice questions and scoring the player based on the correctness and timeliness of their answers. Even prior to computerizing these games, there was one particularly interesting amusement machine that optically projected questions to the player, which were still-frame images on a 16 mm film. An optical code was included on the film to indicate to several photocells in the mechanism which of the offered answers was the correct one so that it could be scored correctly. There are similar multi-player games, which are now offered, online over the Internet but which do not incorporate the improvements in my invention, which are enumerated here.
  • Of particular interest in this field are recent Inselberg U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,760,595 and 6,650,903 which interactively query sports spectators at major events via wireless or wired terminals in order to ascertain their opinions about various aspects of the event and may offer games to the spectators as an adjunct to their primary function which is actually to deliver sponsored advertising messages.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,758,755 by Kelly, et al is just one representative example out of many for a system of delivering prizes to players on a game system with multiple players which is designed for applications using home computers on a wide area network.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,468,155 by Zucker, et al is an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach to providing a skill game for play at remote locations with the awarding of prizes, but presupposes and/or requires some knowledge of the player's individual characteristics and dynamically modifies the game presented based on those characteristics.
  • Barcelou's U.S. Pat. No. 6,048,271 issued Apr. 11, 2000 is similar in concept to the new invention but requires at least two players in a competitive environment whereas the current invention operates with a minimum of one player.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,573,824 issued to Lovegreen, et al. on Jun. 3, 2003 for a “combination paging and gaming system and apparatus” describes the detailed operation of a typical trivia or knowledge based game system in conjunction with a restaurant ‘table available’ paging system. The present invention adds the element of accumulation of cash prizes or merchandise awards to this workable concept and additionally provides a method to update database records securely.
  • As stated previously, this field is littered with games and systems which operate satisfactorily in their own way, but the present invention adds the primary feature of a ‘distraction element’ consisting of the always present “None of the Above” answer option as well as other refinements.
  • SUMMARY
  • I have developed a computerized system for operating a skill or knowledge based interactive game and several new modes of play for such a game. The player's response options always include a “Bogus” in the event no correctly matching response is presented to a query. The invention is particularly applicable to single or multi player ‘trivia’ or other knowledge based games. It is particularly useful to public venues such as bars, taverns or social clubs as it provides entertainment and prizes for the patrons and cash revenue to the owner/operator of the premises. The incorporation of a discrete player input to designate an answer not included in the displayed answer group i.e. “None of the Above” or “Bogus” enhances game play, entertainment value and enjoyment by the players and spectators.
  • OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES
  • The objects of my invention are to provide an interesting knowledge based skill game to players, provide an improved revenue source to operators of skill games, provide a game with questions which may also be topical and/or local to the installation and provide multiple operating modes.
  • My invention provides more interesting game operating modes for the players, including a mode in which none of the provided answers is correct and for which a separate and discrete user input channel is provided. The occasional presentation of a set of ‘Bogus’ answers makes a more entertaining game and provides mirthful entertainment for the players.
  • An additional advantage of my invention is that it incorporates multiple input stations for player interface in a modular and expandable configuration so that a system operator can start with an affordable single or two player system and subsequently add low-cost player input stations or terminals as financial conditions warrant.
  • An additional advantage of my invention is that all the rules for game play are disclosed to the players, and the game operates strictly as a skill or knowledge game with no randomized events which affect the game or game cycle outcomes. It is therefore not classifiable as a gambling or ‘gaming’ device but strictly a skill game and therefore exempt from gaming regulation.
  • An additional advantage of my invention is the provision for geographical or ethnographic presentation of game questions. Questions can be provided which are (for example) geographically specific, and the operator interface of the game provides a means of locating the machine geographically—for instance, the ZIP code of the location of the game is entered and then questions relevant to that geographic area can be added to the displayed question groups.
  • An additional advantage of my invention is the provision for time-specific presentation of game questions. Questions are coded with a start and end date and these dates are compared with the clock in the controlling system and displayed if the question time frame contains the current time. Although this may be transparent to the operator and players, it becomes an economic benefit to the manufacturer of the system as it allows question groups to be commercially sponsored for a specific time frame.
  • An additional advantage of my invention is the provision for adding or updating the question data while maximizing revenue to the manufacturer. New questions are supplied to all users in encrypted form on magnetic or CDROM media. In order to transfer the questions to the individual system, an individual system specific password (coordinated with the serial number of one of the player terminals resident on each system—the ‘key terminal’) must be entered to decrypt the supplied new data and re-encrypt it onto the individual game system. The provision of new data and questions is expected to be an ongoing revenue source to the manufacturer, and this ‘key locking’ assures that the provider will receive proper payment.
  • Among the additional advantages of my invention over prior art is the ability of the system to dynamically reconfigure the game parameters in response to several factors including player load, time of day and other factors. This dynamic reconfiguration will result in greater revenue for the system and more interest from the players.
  • Other advantages of my invention will become apparent as the system is described and developed.
  • DRAWING FIGURES
  • I have included 2 drawings.
  • FIG. 1 is a block representation of the overall knowledge based game system showing the basic configuration.
  • FIG. 2 is a prototypical sample of the front panel of one of the player terminals.
  • REFERENCE NUMERALS IN DRAWINGS
    • 101: Host computer system including processor, power supplies, storage media, and operating system.
    • 102: Primary Display system such as a computer monitor or video display device
    • 103: Optional remote display devices which repeat information on the primary display.
    • 104: Game software—shown as a separate item but normally resident in storage media in host computer system 101
    • 105: Communications Controller/Data Concentrator which may also be integrated into the host computer system as an embedded peripheral.
    • 106: Player terminals connected to host computer
    • 107: Optional currency validator
    • 108: Indicia apparatus such as LED, LCD or other display for player feedback
    • 109: Optional coin or token slot or slots
    • 110: Optional connection for GUID device
    • 111: Optional secondary indicators for terminal/game status to player
    DESCRIPTION
  • The basic components of my invention are shown in FIG. 1 and are more completely described individually in the following paragraphs.
  • A computer system 101 is arranged to provide information to a display system 102 and optionally to additional display subsystems 103 located within the premises. The computer system is running the game system software 104 which controls all aspects of the operation of the game. Although the software 104 is shown in FIG. 1 as a separate component, it is understood that the software is generally stored within the individual computer, but could be external on a local or wide-area network. The computer system communicates bidirectionally with a data interface/concentrator device 105 which communicates bidirectionally with and controls the operation of one or more player input terminals 106. An optional coin/currency validator and player cash terminal device 107 may also be included.
  • The computer system may internally consist of any sort of ‘off the shelf’ generic computer which includes the following components in addition to the minimum standard hardware, firmware and software required to boot to a usable operating system which provides support for all the associated hardware. It is expected that the computer will use any commercially available operating system such as Microsoft Windows, Unix, Xenix, Linux or other similar system which provides a graphical user interface (GUI) or text-based I/O.
      • Mass Read/Write Storage Device (Typically a hard disk drive in current technology)
      • Data interface and Input/Output (A serial data port, bi-directional printer port, USB port or an Ethernet connection are examples of currently available technology). This interface communicates with the ‘data concentrator’ apparatus.
      • Display Interface device (‘Video card’) which is compatible with the computer's internal or connected display device and any external display devices installed on the premises, should any such devices be installed. External video devices may utilize baseband video or radio frequency distribution such as via a modulator or wireless adapter.
      • An optional removable media ROM device such as a CD-ROM, or a network connection of some sort for updating database information.
  • The Data Concentrator/Interface device 105 is connected to and controlled by the computer system. This connection may be through an external path such as an RS-232 serial port, Centronics style parallel port, USB, wi-fi or other as yet undetermined communications protocol. The Data Concentrator might also be integrated into the internal structure of the computer system by manufacturing it onto an ISA or PCI card, or the Data Concentrator may be implemented in host software. It contains circuitry and low-level firmware which provides the bidirectional data pathway between the computer system and the player terminals 106 and other game peripherals such as a currency validator or control terminal 107. Among the functions of the Data Concentrator are data translation between the computer and player terminals, temporary storage of player terminal data, control of the communication between the interface and the player terminals and arbitration of communication clashes on the player terminal buses.
  • The data concentrator receives command and control data from the computer system and controls the operation of the player input terminals. It receives player data from the terminals and stores and processes it for use as needed by the computer and software. The data interface may also serve as a power source for supplying operating power to the player terminals. Each data concentrator has an internal ‘serial number’ to uniquely identify that particular device to the operating system and game software for security and cash accounting purposes. In addition to serving as the electrical and data format interface between the computer and the player terminals, the data concentrator includes non-volatile memory to store accumulated system statistics for cash accounting and system security. The data concentrator may be functionally integrated into the firmware and hardware of one or more of the player terminals and serve as the ‘key terminal’ for system operation.
  • The player terminals are mechanical enclosures of possibly diverse physical configurations which contain the following components:
  • 1. A mechanical or electrical input array to determine a game player's input selection, such as a group of electrical switches 108 or a “Coin or Token Actuated Multiple Choice Selector” 109 as disclosed in provisional patent application ER508313140U.S. of Oct. 28, 2003. Both input array devices may coexist on the same user terminal to provide flexibility in operation.
  • 2. A microprocessor or microcontroller and associated interface wiring, firmware, software and hardware to:
      • Determine which user input is selected and the relative time at which that selection is made,
      • Store that information temporarily and then
      • Transfer said information to the central controller via a data connection to the data concentrator apparatus.
      • Receive appropriate information from the central controller for terminal operation, status display and operation of the terminal user interface.
  • 3. A unique means of identifying the particular terminal hardware to the system central controller (such as a serial number or other identification) to allow the system to accurately account for and credit player data to the respective terminal and associated player. The identification may optionally identify the particular terminal as a ‘key terminal’ to allow/disallow game operation and database decryption and updating.
  • 4. The player terminal may also optionally include:
      • A means of uniquely identifying an individual player to the system such as an external ROM reader device 110, i.e. Dallas Semiconductor Corp.'s iButton devices or similar.
      • A set of indicating devices 111 to furnish game status information to the player at the terminal. The indicating devices could take the form of a row of LEDs or a LCD display device or other similar apparatus. Such user information might consist of verification of the player's input selection and system feedback as to whether or not the player's answer was timely and correct as well as the current credit status of the player.
        Before Describing the Operation and Results of the Invention it will be Helpful to Describe the Question/Answer Cycle:
        Each Round or Cycle of Play Consists of the Following Steps:
  • 1. The central controller instructs each satellite player terminal to reset its internal Real-Time Clock (RTC). This is a broadcast instruction to all terminals so that all player terminal clocks are synchronized with each other. (If sufficiently accurate RTC devices are included in the player terminals, this step may be unnecessary but is included here as the “Time Zero” reference and allows the use of less expensive RTC or other timing devices).
  • 2. The central controller selects a question from its question database and selects a pool of possible answers to the question. Each question data record contains the question text, one best correct answer and several (4 or more) close but incorrect answers to the question. Although the terms ‘question’ and ‘answer’ are used herein, the reader should also understand that these terms are broadly interpreted as to the formulation of data records. A round might use just single words or phrases for each data point, such as expecting a match between “Man in Black” and “Johnny Cash” or “The Duke” and “John Wayne”. The data record includes ancillary information such as question category and subcategory, difficulty level and other data fields as required by the control software for game operation, security and financial accounting.
  • 3. The central controller sequentially displays the possible answers to the question on the display system. Each of these displayed answers is labeled with a unique symbol which corresponds with one of the symbols presented on the player game terminals. It is important to note that a key feature of this game is the possibility that no correct answers to the presented question are included in the group of displayed answers, and that the presence or absence of a correct answer in the field of displayed answers is randomly determined by the central controller software. Most questions will have had a correct answer displayed, but occasionally there will be no correct answer to a presented question.
  • 4. After displaying all of the members of the field of possible answers, the controller then displays the associated question selected from the database.
  • 5. The players having viewed the answers and question may now select their answer from those offered. If the system presents four possible answers to a question, the player terminals are capable of recording a fifth player selection of “None of the Above”, “NOTA” or “Bogus” or such other descriptor as would be appropriate in the event that none of the presented answers correctly answered the presented question. It is a key feature of this game that a complete field of incorrect answers may be presented to the players and the correct answer to the presented question may be “None”, and that a discrete input channel is provided to record this answer entry by the player. When a player selects an answer to the presented question, the player's answer data and the relative time of that answer as determined by the RTC included in the player terminal are stored within the player terminal by appropriate programming of the terminal hardware, software and firmware. The player terminals may also include indicator apparatus (Such as an array of LEDs or similar) to provide to the player a verification of which of the answers they selected for that cycle.
  • 6. The central processor now initiates a poll of all the player data terminals through the data concentrator. Within a predetermined or preprogrammed time frame all active terminals are polled to determine if an answer was presented by the player at the terminal and if so, what that answer was and at what relative time it was entered by the player.
  • 7. The central processor examines the received polled data to determine the total cycle revenue pool by counting the total number of player terminals which have presented answers to the question during this cycle and multiplying this by the per-answer entry cost. The cycle prize pool is then determined by subtracting the operator programmed holdback percentage from the revenue.
  • 8. The central processor examines the received polled data to determine which of the players selected the correct answer to the presented question. From the group of correct answers, the RTC timestamp from the player terminals is examined to determine the order in which the players correctly answered i.e. first correct answer from Terminal 4, Second Correct Answer from Terminal B and Third Correct answer from Terminal Blue, etc.
  • 9. The central processor consults an operator programmed lookup table (An example of which is shown in Table 1) to determine the amount of credit from the cycle prize pool to be added to the ‘point balance’ of each player who provided the correct answer in the appropriate time frame.
  • 10. The central processor then adds the appropriate credit to each valid player's point balance, the display system shows the current status of all current players, the internal accounting records of cash transactions are updated from the polled data and the cycle ends.
  • In operation, the game proceeds by having the system present answers and questions and the players insert coins or tokens into their respective terminals in response thereto, or by players using credits which they have won in previous games or which have been entered into the system through a currency validator or other credit mechanism. In operation, a player may exchange their accumulated credits or points for the equivalent in cash or merchandise from the operator of the system. The system lends itself well to casual play or tournament styles of operation as described below:
  • Game Modes of Operation: There are several initially contemplated operating modes for game play, each of which may have several variations. Other modes will become readily apparent to a practitioner skilled in the art once the initial modes are understood.
      • Open Play Mode: When not otherwise operating in one of the other modes, the game system will operate in this mode. The Answer/Question cycle will start, and any players at the terminials may participate if they desire. A prize pool for each question is determined by taking a percentage of the total receipts for the question cycle. For instance, if three players participated in the cycle by entering coins or using accumulated credit, and the participation cost were $0.25 (twenty-five cents) per player, the total revenue for the cycle would be 3×$0.25 or seventy-five cents. If the holdback percentage were 20%, the cycle prize pool for the cycle would be 80% of the $0.75 or sixty cents. Once this prize pool for the question was calculated, it would be divided among the players who answered the question correctly. Although the prize pool may be divided among all participating players providing the correct answer, it is anticipated that the primary operating mode will pay only the first three players who correctly answer the question. One possible arrangement would pay the first correct answer 60 percent of the pool, the second correct answer would receive 30% of the pool and the third correct answer would receive the remaining 10 percent of the pool. If fewer than three players answered the question correctly this payout relationship would be pro-rated to the players who did answer the question correctly. If there were fewer than 3 players participating in the cycle the payout table in Table 1 shows one of many possible distributions of the prize pool.
      • Single Player Open Play Mode: At times the business establishment in which the system is installed may not have more than one person interested in playing the game. To provide reinforcement and stimulation of game play, a special ‘single player’ payout table is included in the system programming. This payout table rewards correct answers in single player game cycles with a payout greater than the revenue generated by the cycle. For example, if a single player inserts 25 cents into the system and the player's answer selected is correct the player could be rewarded by a payback of 26 cents. An optional feature of this mode would be system owner programmability of the payback amount and/or modulation of the correct answer payout in a manner that would provide a greater payback depending on the length of time required to select the answer. (The faster the player selects a correct answer, the greater the payback.) Although it may seem counter-intuitive to expect a profit from a machine which theoretically pays out more than it takes in, it is expected that this small player advantage will result in minimal actual loss for the game system. Presuming a very speedy 3 question cycles per minute and a player with perfect scores, the net loss to the establishment is $1.80 per hour. Every missed question supports the net loss from 25 correct answers. If the player selects the correct answers only 95 percent of the time there will actually be net revenue to the establishment of 1% of the handle. As soon as a second player participates in the games the operation becomes profitable again.
  • Tournament Modes: Several multi-player modes are contemplated which not only reward individual players on an ‘answer by answer’ basis but also accumulate prizes until a specified time or prize account balance is reached. In these tournament modes the prize pool for each question is split between an ‘instantaneous’ pool which is awarded as described previously and the remainder of each question's prize pool is accumulated in a ‘tournament’ prize pool. For the sake of simplicity and for example only, let us assume that there are ten players in a tournament and that the instantaneous and accumulated prizes are split 50/50 on each cycle. Each question cycle might generate a prize pool of $1.75 (The $2.50 of the 10 players less the 30% holdout for the establishment's profit) which would then be split 50/50 between the instantaneous payout to the players and the remainder ($0.88) adds to the Tournament prize pool. When either A) the Tournament prize pool reached a fixed dollar amount or B) a specific time of day arrived, the next question cycle would award the entire tournament pool to the winners of that question. The exact method of allocating the awards is software configurable during system setup and operation.
    TABLE 1
    SAMPLE PAYOUT TABLE
    Payout Table for Various Modes
    Correct Answer Payouts:
    Total First Second Third
    # players Cash In Payout % Paid Places Cash Out Pays Pays Pays
    1 $0.25 104% 1 Only $0.26 $0.26 0 0
    2 $0.50 80% 1 and 2 $0.40 $0.28 $0.12 0
    3 $0.75 70% 1, 2 and 3 $0.53 $0.32 $0.16 $0.05
    4 $1.00 70% 1, 2 and 3 $0.70 $0.42 $0.21 $0.07
    5 $1.25 70% 1, 2 and 3 $0.88 $0.53 $0.26 $0.09
    6 $1.50 70% 1, 2 and 3 $1.05 $0.63 $0.32 $0.11
    7 $1.75 70% 1, 2 and 3 $1.23 $0.74 $0.37 $0.12
    8 $2.00 70% 1, 2 and 3 $1.40 $0.84 $0.42 $0.14
    9 $2.25 70% 1, 2 and 3 $1.58 $0.95 $0.47 $0.16
    10 $2.50 70% 1, 2 and 3 $1.75 $1.05 $0.53 $0.18
    Payout matrix:
    1 player 100%
    2 players 70% 30%
    3 or more 60% 30% 10%

    Additional Operations—Game Database Updating
  • Game systems which are not connected to the Internet or other wide area network need an alternate method of updating or freshening their database of questions on a regular basis so the game does not become ‘stale’ for the players. In the present invention, it is anticipated that game system owners will subscribe to an updating service to provide fresh material. For economy of scale, these updates will be provided on machine-readable magnetic or optical media such as floppy disks, CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. It is desirable that the provider of the updated database material maximize revenue from this facet of their business operation, and a primary way of accomplishing this revenue enhancement is to provide updates on a ‘subscription per installed system’ basis. In the event that an entity owns more than one of the game systems, it is desirable that the update provider supply a limited number of copies of the machine readable material and the game owner can use that single piece of media to update the database in each of the systems he/she owns. Accordingly, the database updates are supplied in encrypted form and in order to transfer them to the game database they must be decrypted before the transfer occurs. (As a side note, and unrelated to the operation being described, the game database is also encrypted so ‘hackers’ cannot easily ascertain the contents.)
  • The process of decryption and transfer depends on the user having a ‘password’ which is congruent to a particular ‘key terminal’ installed on a system, said password being supplied in exchange for payment of the update fee. Since each individual system has a unique ‘key terminal’ identifier and each of these identifiers will be identified with a unique password for the update, the user must pay separately for each system to be updated, thereby assuring revenue to the database supplier.
  • Alternative Embodiments
  • There are various possibilities for different physical and mechanical arrangements to accomplish the same purpose as described above. Variations in terminal shape and size, the use of different microprocessors or microcontrollers within the terminals, and a plethora of other variations of no operational consequence would be expected. A practitioner skilled in the art would have no difficulty implementing other configurations once the design parameters as expressed in this document were presented.
  • Conclusion, Ramifications, and Scope
  • Accordingly, the reader will see that the invention provides a novel means for operating a knowledge based game system such as an interactive trivia game or similar and provides additional user features such as displaying questions of a local scope and providing time sensitive questions as an additional revenue source.
  • Although the descriptive information provided above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently developed or preferred embodiments of the invention. Mechanical variations in the physical shape or size of the components as well as variations in the software algorithm which could be applied to the operation of the invention are readily imagined and implemented.
  • Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.

Claims (9)

1: An interactive knowledge based game system comprising a central control unit consisting of a display system 102 and general purpose computer 101 interconnected with and communicating bidirectionally with one or more player terminal devices 106 using any available communication method. Said general-purpose computer includes hardware, software 104 and database components to operate and display a knowledge based game and interact with the location management and player terminal devices to set and operate the game parameters, determine the player's responses to displayed questions and provide necessary interaction therewith.
2: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which each player terminal device includes a plurality of input indicating devices to convey to the central control unit the user's intended response and the time thereof, with one of the input indicating devices dedicated to conveying the user's selection representing an answer of “None of the Above” or “Bogus”.
3: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which each player terminal device internally contains a unique identification which can be communicated to the central control unit
4: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which each player terminal device may also incorporate provision for an external user identification token which can be communicated to the central control unit.
5: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which new knowledge based questions and answers may be provided to the system in a secure manner by allowing transfer of question data to the game database only after verification of security protocols contained in one or more of the attached player terminal devices.
6: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which each game database question/answer record may be additionally tagged or coded to indicate a geographic, ethnographic or other similar qualifier for the display of said question/answer and an operator interface within the game system allows display of the data record only in agreement with the coded qualifier.
7: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which each game database question/answer record may be additionally tagged or coded to indicate a valid time frame for the display of said question/answer and a real-time clock function within the game system allows display of the data record only during the coded valid time frame.
8: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which each game database question/answer record may be encrypted, and any new data supplied to the system may also be encrypted, and the decryption key may be contained in or derived from one or more of the player terminals unique identifiers and communicated to the controller.
9: Said interactive knowledge based game system in claim 1 in which additional database records may be entered into a system manually through a user interface or other means by the owner or operator of the system to provide local ‘flavor’ to the question database.
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