WO1996008299A1 - Electronic game monitor - Google Patents

Electronic game monitor

Info

Publication number
WO1996008299A1
WO1996008299A1 PCT/US1995/011626 US9511626W WO1996008299A1 WO 1996008299 A1 WO1996008299 A1 WO 1996008299A1 US 9511626 W US9511626 W US 9511626W WO 1996008299 A1 WO1996008299 A1 WO 1996008299A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
game
monitor
system
store
processor
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1995/011626
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Michael Wallace
Original Assignee
Michael Wallace
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/25Output arrangements for video game devices
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/12Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions involving interaction between a plurality of game devices, e.g. transmisison or distribution systems
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F13/00Video games, i.e. games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions
    • A63F13/50Controlling the output signals based on the game progress
    • A63F13/54Controlling the output signals based on the game progress involving acoustic signals, e.g. for simulating revolutions per minute [RPM] dependent engine sounds in a driving game or reverberation against a virtual wall
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/20Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterised by details of the game platform
    • A63F2300/206Game information storage, e.g. cartridges, CD ROM's, DVD's, smart cards
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/50Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterized by details of game servers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/50Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterized by details of game servers
    • A63F2300/53Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterized by details of game servers details of basic data processing
    • A63F2300/535Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game characterized by details of game servers details of basic data processing for monitoring, e.g. of user parameters, terminal parameters, application parameters, network parameters
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63FCARD, BOARD, OR ROULETTE GAMES; INDOOR GAMES USING SMALL MOVING PLAYING BODIES; VIDEO GAMES; GAMES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • A63F2300/00Features of games using an electronically generated display having two or more dimensions, e.g. on a television screen, showing representations related to the game
    • A63F2300/60Methods for processing data by generating or executing the game program
    • A63F2300/61Score computation

Abstract

This invention is an electronic game monitor (16) for monitoring the performance of a game played on an electronic game playing system (5) including a processor (1), an input device (3), and display (4) connected to the processor (1), and a programme store (7) containing a game programme for controlling the processor. The monitor (16) comprises a monitor store (13, 14) for monitoring signals generated by the processor, for causing corresponding information to be stored in the monitor store, and for causing output signals to be generated representing the content of the monitor store.

Description

ELECTRONIC GAME MONITOR

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to an electronic game monitor.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART

Electronic game playing systems are very popular at present and typically comprise a processor, an input device and display connected to the processor, and a programme store containing a game programme for controlling the processor. Such systems will hereinafter be referred to as of the kind described. The game store typically stores information such as a player's score.

In a typical system of the kind described, the programme store is contained on a removable cartridge which is connected to the remainder of the system when the player wishes to play a particular game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION There is a need to be able to increase interest in these games and thus in accordance with the present invention, an electronic game monitor for monitoring the performance of a game played on an electronic game playing system of the kind described comprises a monitor store; and a monitoring system for monitoring signals generated by the processor, for causing corresponding information to be stored in the monitor store, and for causing output signals to be generated representing the content of the monitor store. The new monitor adds a new dimension to a conventional game playing system in that it enables at the least the player to do more with his score than simply view it on the system display. Thus, the monitor can generate signals which enable the score to be displayed on a remote display or stored in a remote store.

The output signals could be electronic but preferably where the electronic game system or monitor includes a sound generator, the monitoring system is adapted to cause the sound generator to generate acoustic signals representing information in the monitor store. These signals can then be used to control an internal loud speaker of the electronic game playing system. Preferably, however, the monitor includes a loudspeaker which is responsive to signals generated by the sound generator of the electronic game playing system.

Whether the output signals are electronic or acoustic they can be passed along a conventional telephone network to a central bureau where they can be recorded. This is particularly easily achieved, however, in the case of acoustic signals. Thus, for example, the sound generator can be controlled to generate conventional dual tone multi- frequency (DTMF) or other tone or time based transmission signals which are particularly suited for transmission along telephone lines.

In this way, the game player can arrange to record information about his performance on a particular game at the central bureau which can be compared with the performances of other players. This enables national prize giving and the like to be easily organised. By utilizing the sound generator which is normally present in an electronic game playing system, very little additional electronics is required.

Where the monitor includes a loudspeaker, this could be built into the monitor housing but preferably is connected to the remainder of the monitor via a flexible link so that it can easily be located adjacent a telephone handset. In other cases, the connection to the loudspeaker could be wireless (e.g. using infrared or radio frequencies) .

For security, the controller of the monitor typically encrypts the information before it is transmitted. This reduces the risk of someone passing false information to the central bureau. Typically, the information will be accompanied by an identifier such as a personal identification number (PIN) to enable the central bureau to identify the sender. More complex encryption systems could be used including, for example, a two way exchange of identification signals allowing a higher level of security and the ability to download new game codes.

The monitor could be one or both of a physical and logical device. That is, it can be a physical intermediary that simply sits between two components of the game system or it can be a logical device that occupies a space in the game system's memory architecture. One possible implementation would be as a software routine that could map itself into any unused memory space. This routine could connect itself to an interrupt which it would use to gain control of the game system and copy information such as high scores. In other cases, the monitor is physically positioned between the programme store on the one hand and the remainder of the electronic game playing system on the other hand. Where the programme store is provided in a detachable cartridge, then the monitor could be plugged into a socket normally adapted to receive the cartridge while the cartridge is plugged into a corresponding socket on the monitor. In normal operation, signals from the processor to the programme store will pass through the monitor and vice versa. In addition, programme instructions from the programme store for the processor will be obtained through the monitor.

Where the monitor is a separate physical entity, the monitoring system may be implemented by logic circuits or by a suitably programmed processor. Typically, the monitor store includes a shadow memory which stores data relating to the current status of a game; and a capture store which is selectively operable to copy part or all of the content of the shadow memory in response to a copy instruction. For example, the monitor can provide part of a bus linking the processor and the programme store, with the monitoring system being connected to the bus so that information passed from the processor to the programme store can be copied into the shadow memory. Conveniently, the monitor includes a manually operable control device, such as a push button, to enable the game player to indicate when he wishes the content of the shadow store to be stored in the capture store. Alternatively, this could be carried out automatically when the game playing system is reset.

The information stored in the capture store is typically a player's score but other information may be stored additionally or alternatively such as a game playing level reached by the player.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS An example of an electronic game playing system incorporating an example of a monitor according to the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-

Figure 1 is a block diagram illustrating the system and monitor;

Figure 2 is a schematic, perspective view showing the components of the system shown in Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a schematic, perspective view of the monitor; Figure 4 illustrates the title screen which appears on powering-up the system;

Figure 5 illustrates the main menu screen and the method by which control is achieved using the system controller; Figure 6 illustrates a screen which enables scores to be viewed and/or sent to a central bureau and how the controller should be operated; and,

Figure 7 illustrates how scores are coded using a DTMF system. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF AN EMBODIMENT

The invention will be described for use with a conventional electronic game playing system such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The invention is, of course, applicable to many other types of electronic game. Figure 1 illustrates the components of the overall system. The components which are conventional include a game playing processor 1, connected to a bus 2 to which are also connected an input device 3 which is operated by the player to control the game playing moves and a display 4. The processor 1 is housed in a housing 5. In addition, the bus 2 is connected to a loudspeaker 9 via a sound generator 6 which causes appropriate sounds to be generated by the loudspeaker 9 in accordance with the state of the game being played. A system ROM 7 and a system RAM 8 are included for storing programme instructions and data such as scores respectively. The housing 5 supports a game cartridge socket 10 into which a game cartridge 11 is normally inserted, being connected by a plug 12. The game cartridge 11 shown in Figure 1 is of a conventional form and includes a programme store (ROM) 13 in which are permanently stored programme instructions for causing the processor 1 to operate and to play the appropriate game, and optionally a RAM 14. Inserted between the cartridge 11 and the housing 5 is a game monitor 15 comprising a housing 16 having a plug 17 which is inserted in use into the socket 10 and a socket 18 which receives the plug 12 of the cartridge 11. A bus 19 extends between the plug 12 and socket 18 and is connected to monitor logic 20. The monitor logic is connected to a shadow RAM 21, a capture RAM 22 and non-volatile RAM 23. A control button 24 provided on the surface of the housing 16 is connected to the monitor logic 20 while a loudspeaker connector 25 is connected to the bus 19 and, in use, via a flexible wire 26 to a loudspeaker 27. The monitor also includes a ROM 28 which stores instructions to control the processor 1. The physical appearance of the components shown in Figure 1 is shown in Figures 2 and 3.

In use, the player assembles the components together by mounting the monitor 15 to the housing 5 and inserting the cartridge 11 into the socket 18 of the monitor. The detailed operation will be described below but broadly, the player can play the selected game in a conventional manner with all communication with the cartridge 11 being along the bus 19 and being generally undisturbed by the presence of the monitor. In other words, apart from some additional functions which become available, the player does not notice the presence of the monitor.

During the playing of the game, the monitor logic 20 monitors the bus 19 and compares the addresses of write cycles to the addresses of game information to be "shadowed". If an address within its bounds is detected, it will copy the written value to the shadow RAM 21. The information typically comprises a score or scores attained by the player during the playing of the game. At any time during the playing of the game, the player can decide that he wishes to record permanently his current score. To achieve this, he depresses the button 24 which causes the monitor logic 20 to copy the latest score in the shadow RAM

21 to the capture RAM 22 where it temporarily stored. Later, when the processor 1 is controlled from the ROM 28, the processor 1 will compare the score in the capture RAM

22 with any score in the RAM 23. If the capture RAM score is higher, it will be stored in the RAM 23 in place of the previous score. After playing a game, the player can decide that he wishes to transmit the score stored in the selection register 18 to a central bureau. As will be described below, he dials a special number on his telephone and places the telephone microphone adjacent the loudspeaker 27 and then causes the sound generator 6 to generate suitable tones from the loudspeaker 27 which define the score in the RAM 23. Scores are coded conventionally in a variety of ways depending upon the manufacturer of the cartridge 11 and the game being played. The following are just some examples:

BCD

The BCD format places the value of a base-10 digit in a single byte.

Byte ≠l Byte #2 Byte ≠2 Byte ≠ . Byte #5

= 29,541

However, the order of most significant to least significant cannot be guaranteed. The above number could just as easily be 14,592 or 92,451.

• Nibble Packing

Nibble Packing simply places a base-10 digit in each nibble of a byte.

Byte il Byte #2 Byte #3 Byte /4 Byte #5

= 2,954,318,670

Here, as well, the order of most significant to least significant cannot be guaranteed. The above number could just as easily be 9,245,138,607 or 0,768,134,592 or other combinations.

• Binary

Straight Binary is simply a base-16 representation of the score in memory.

Byte l Byte #2 Byte 03 Byte ≠A

24H 19H 32H 4H = 24193204H = 605,630,980

Byte order is also a factor with binary representation. The above number could be 19240432H or 32042419H or even another combination.

• Multiplier

A fixed value or a value in a byte could be used as a multiplier for the final score.

Each of the representations above can be described as individual nibbles (4-bit modules) with a base address in memory and then an offset order in descending significance. For instance, the following code is a base address followed by one possible code for a binary long integer (4-bytes) with most significant and least significant bytes within 16-bit boundaries swapped (as in common with the 65816 processor) .

16-Bit Base Nibble Encryption Multiplier Possible Address Order Type Code

0240 1032 Binary Constant 100 240.1032.C64 030A 02468 5-digit BCD None 30A.02468

The length of most codes can be reduced drastically. Standard nibble orders can be represented with a single value preceded by the number of nibbles in the score.

Base Nibble Nibble Multiplier Address Count Order Type

(Variable (2 digits) (see note) (see note) Length)

• Delimiters Delimiters can be spaces, dots, or any other symbol - or even a change in colour. • Base Address

The base address is a hex value of any length with leading zeros deleted. A delimiter will follow it.

• Nibble Count

The number of nibbles used in a score (always two digits) .

• Nibble Order 1. Preset Nibble Order

A preset nibble order will be value 1 -15 (1 to OxF) .

2. Custom Nibble Order

A custom nibble order will always begin with a zero followed by the nibble sequence.

• Multiplier Type

3. No Multiplier Omit field. 4. Constant Multiplier

A constant multiplier begins with ■■C" followed by the hex value of the multiplier - "C64" (constant value of 100) . 5. Single Byte in Memory Multiplier Begin with "B" followed by byte offset from base address 0 to OxF.

Whichever approach is used, scores are permanently stored in the RAM 13 which includes 256 bytes. This is enough to hold the personal information of one game player and several high scores. Thus, the RAM 23 will typically hold personal information such as the player's name, address and telephone number and information relating to a score including the High Score, the game code used, the game's title, a transmission history (i.e. whether the score has or has not been transmitted) , and information as to whether an auxiliary device has been used to play the game, for example a Game Genie .

Turning now to the operation of the system in more detail, once the components have been assembled, and the player has switched on the system, the processor will initially respond to instructions in the ROM 28 to cause a title screen to be shown on the monitor 4 (Figure 4) . This indicates to the player that the monitor 15 (referred to as "Personal Best") is connected. When any button on the input device 3 is pressed the processor 1 under control from the ROM 28 will cause a new display as shown in Figure 5 to appear on the monitor 4. This is a Main Menu for the monitor 15 and enables the player to carry out various activities as set out or, if he wishes, to start playing the game by pressing the Start button on the input device 3. At this point, the ROM 7 takes control and the processor l detects which game is contained in the attached game cartridge 11. Typically, each game cartridge has an identifying title string and the processor 1 can read this string and match it with any title strings stored in the RAM 23 already associated with high scores. If such a high score is available for the game, it is displayed on the Main Menu screen.

Before playing the game, the player enters his personal code which acts as a security number to prevent unauthorised personnel using the monitor. Figure 5 illustrates how menu selections are made and information input.

The player then plays the game in a conventional manner and during this process, as described above, when a write cycle occurs on the bus 2 (and hence the bus 19) , the monitor logic checks to see whether the associated data is a score and, if it is, stores the score in the shadow RAM 21. When the player achieves a new high score for a game, he simply presses the button 24 and the current information in the shadow RAM 21 is transferred to the capture RAM 22. A player can press the button 24 as many times as he wishes and the latest score will be stored in the capture RAM 22. At the end of a game, the game player must reset the game causing the latest score in the capture RAM 22 to transfer to the RAM 23, if appropriate, and the processor 1 under control from the ROM 28 will cause the latest high score in the RAM 23 to be displayed on the monitor for verification. Figure 6 illustrates a typical display in these circumstances illustrating the titles of different games and the associated high scores stored in the RAM 23. At this stage, while the processor 1 is controlled from the ROM 28, the player can decide whether or not he wishes to send one or more of his high scores to a central bureau. If he does, he selects the appropriate game using the input device as shown in Figure 6. He then dials on his own telephone the telephone number of the central bureau and attaches the loudspeaker 27 to the microphone of the telephone handset. The central bureau will answer with a recorded voice and tell the player to send the game information. The player then presses the Start button on the game controller or input device 3 and the selected game high score plus the player's personal information as stored in the RAM 23 is transmitted by suitable tones through the telephone line. Once transmitted, the recorded voice from the central bureau will tell the player to select another high score and transmit it or to hang-up.

In order to transmit the information, the monitor 15 makes use of the sound generator 6 which is already present within the system. The processor 1 causes conventional DTMF tones to be generated corresponding to the possible values of each nibble of the score as shown in Figure 7. The use of DTMF means there is instant compatibility with any telephone system in the world, low cost, ease of use, and the ability to create a unique phone protocol for security purposes. For additional security, the controller 16 may encrypt the information before it is encoded with DTMF tones. There are many conventional encryption methods available which would be suitable.

Further security can be achieved by noting that many commercially available game cartridges include a unique ROM identification at a specified address in the programme store 13. The player's personal code as shown in Figure 5 can be checked by the processor 1 to ensure that it authorises the player to use the monitor with the particular game on the attached cartridge 11.

Claims

I Claim: -
1. An electronic game monitor for monitoring the performance of a game played on an electronic game playing system including a processor, an input device and display connected to the processor, and a programme store containing a game programme for controlling the processor, the monitor comprising a monitor store; and a monitoring system for monitoring signals generated by the processor, for causing corresponding information to be stored in the monitor store, and for causing output signals to be generated representing the content of the monitor store.
2. A monitor according to claim 1, for use with an electronic game system including a sound generator, wherein said monitoring system is adapted to cause said sound generator to generate acoustic signals representing information in said monitor store.
3. A monitor according to claim 2, further including a loudspeaker which is responsive to signals generated by said sound generator of said electronic game playing system.
4. A monitor according to claim 3, wherein said sound generator generates dual tone multi-frequency signals.
5. A monitor according to claim 3, wherein said monitor loudspeaker is connected to the remainder of the monitor by a flexible link.
6. A monitor according to claim 1, said monitor being adapted to be positioned between said programme store on the one hand and the remainder of said electronic game playing system on the other hand.
7. A monitor according to claim 1, wherein said monitor store includes a shadow memory which stores data relating to the current status of a game; and a capture store which is selectively operable to copy part or all of the content of said shadow memory in response to a copy instruction.
8. A monitor according to claim 7, further comprising a manually operable control device, such as a push button, to enable the game player to indicate when he wishes the content of said shadow memory to be stored in the capture store.
9. A monitor according to claim 1, wherein said information stored is a player's score.
10. An electronic game playing system comprising a processor, an input device and display connected to said processor, a programme store containing a game programme for controlling said processor, the system being connected to a monitor comprising a monitor store; and a monitoring system for monitoring signals generated by the processor, for causing corresponding information to be stored in the monitor store, and for causing output signals to be generated representing the content of the monitor store. li. A system according to claim 10, further comprising a sound generator, wherein said monitoring system is adapted to cause said sound generator to generate acoustic signals representing information in said monitor store.
12. A system according to claim 11, further including a loudspeaker which is responsive to signals generated by said sound generator of said electronic game playing system.
13. A system according to claim 12, wherein said sound generator generates dual tone multi-frequency signals. 14. A system according to claim 12, wherein said monitor loudspeaker is connected to the remainder of the monitor by a flexible link.
15. A system according to claim 10, wherein the monitor is positioned between said programme store on the one hand and the remainder of said electronic game playing system on the other hand.
16. A system according to claim 10, wherein said monitor store includes a shadow memory which stores data relating to the current status of a game; and a capture store which is selectively operable to copy part or all of the content of said shadow memory in response to a copy instruction. 17. A system according to claim 16, further comprising a manually operable control device, such as a push button, to enable the game player to indicate when he wishes the content of said shadow memory to be stored in the capture store.
18. A system according to claim 10, wherein said information stored is a player's score.
PCT/US1995/011626 1994-09-14 1995-09-14 Electronic game monitor WO1996008299A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US30607994 true 1994-09-14 1994-09-14
US08/306,079 1994-09-14

Publications (1)

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WO1996008299A1 true true WO1996008299A1 (en) 1996-03-21

Family

ID=23183698

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
PCT/US1995/011626 WO1996008299A1 (en) 1994-09-14 1995-09-14 Electronic game monitor

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0903680A2 (en) * 1997-09-18 1999-03-24 Bung Enterprises Limited Memory attached to a software carrier of a computer game machine
EP1206955A2 (en) * 2000-11-17 2002-05-22 Square Co., Ltd. Information terminal, information providing server, online game method and recording medium

Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5083271A (en) * 1984-06-27 1992-01-21 John A. Klayh Tournament data system with game score communication between remote player terminal and central computer
US5203848A (en) * 1992-01-16 1993-04-20 Myson Technology, Inc. Television game console and electronic control device for controlling the allowable playing time of the television game console

Patent Citations (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5083271A (en) * 1984-06-27 1992-01-21 John A. Klayh Tournament data system with game score communication between remote player terminal and central computer
US5203848A (en) * 1992-01-16 1993-04-20 Myson Technology, Inc. Television game console and electronic control device for controlling the allowable playing time of the television game console

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0903680A2 (en) * 1997-09-18 1999-03-24 Bung Enterprises Limited Memory attached to a software carrier of a computer game machine
EP0903680A3 (en) * 1997-09-18 1999-05-19 Bung Enterprises Limited Memory attached to a software carrier of a computer game machine
EP1206955A2 (en) * 2000-11-17 2002-05-22 Square Co., Ltd. Information terminal, information providing server, online game method and recording medium
EP1206955A3 (en) * 2000-11-17 2003-11-12 Kabushiki Kaisha Square Enix Information terminal, information providing server, online game method and recording medium

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