I recently discovered U.S. Patent 4,643,421, “Video game in which a host image repels ravenous images by serving filled vessels”, and even though it’s bunk as a patent, it’s amazing as a document.
This is wonderful and fascinating. I need to forward it to my game-design friends, in case they haven’t seen it already. :)
Thanks! I could be wrong, but I don’t think the patent is well-known. I ran across it totally by accident when doing a Google Scholar search for something else, since GS includes patents in its search results by default.
In case anyone runs across this old story, I thought I’d note that I’ve since expanded this post into a conference paper (PDF).