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MS patents its own Super Guide system

Going for in-game, user-written FAQs?

Nintendo isn't the only platform-holder working on an in-game guide system. A Microsoft patent turned up by Siliconera (via GameSpot) outlines a "User-Powered Always Available Contextual Game Help" system for a games console.

However, the system - patented back in February 2008 - seems somewhat different from Nintendo's Super Guide, which made its first appearance in New Super Mario Bros. Wii last week. The Super Guide features a recorded playthrough of a given level, created by developers, which the player can jump into at any point.

Microsoft's answer is a database of help entries. When players get stuck, they can ask the game for help and it will automatically analyse the current context of the challenge, using a tagging system, and return a list of appropriate entries.

GameSpot suggests the guide would be installed on the console, whereas Siliconera reckons it would be available through Xbox Live, and the tips and guides would be submitted by other players.

According to Siliconera, the community-driven, FAQ-style approach would allow for the capture and annotation of screenshots and video clips by guide authors - even adding audio commentary if they wish. Entries would be rated by other players, and developers would naturally be able to contribute their own guides to be ranked above user-written pieces.