• App Number: 13/297,604
  • Publication Number: US 20120120094 A1 - Patent Allowed May 15, 2013
  • Assignee: Nintendo Co., Ltd.
  • Prior Art Cutoff Date: predating November 17, 2010

Summary: A confetti-like download progress animation, wherein the color(s) of the confetti pieces are based on the colors of the image or portion of the loading/downloading image.

Claim 1 recites:

A computer-readable storage medium having stored therein a reception status display program executed by a computer of an information processing apparatus for displaying a reception status of a series of data transmitted thereto, the computer-readable storage medium having stored therein the reception status display program causing the computer to function as:

  • a reception section configured to receive the series of data transmitted thereto;

  • a corresponding image display section configured to display, in a stepwise manner, a corresponding image, which is an image corresponding to the series of data, in a predetermined region in a screen, in accordance with a progression of reception of the series of data; and

  • an object moving section configured to continuously generate, outside the predetermined region, movement objects

    • (1) each having a color selected from component colors of the corresponding image and
    • (2) move each movement object toward the predetermined region, during the reception of the series of data by the reception section.

Sample Figures

enter image description here

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WHY IT MATTERS: This download progress animation builds on the normal download progress bars seen in virtually all operating systems.

QUESTION: Have you seen anything that was published before November 17, 2010 that describes claim 1, especially the features of the object moving section?

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  • Seems like a so-what. How is the world harmed by someone having a monopoly on a specialize progress indication?
    – George White
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 20:31
  • 3
    Because everyone who does a progress indication from this point onward can be sued by Nintendo. And everyone does progress indications.
    – johnwbyrd
    Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 17:10

6 Answers 6


1999: General prior art on "progress indicators": http://www.mit.edu/~jtidwell/language/progress_indicator.html

Relating to using animations:

"Animation is often used to good effect in this pattern; motion draws the user's attention, and its cessation implies a new relaxed, stable state of being ("the process is done, so you can relax now")."

2006: Animated picture bar progress component: http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/14094/An-animated-progressbar-control-with-many-extras

"... you can define if and how the current step gets a little extra animation, and some more properties influencing the animations."

2005: Example of adding animation to show file download progress in Flash. http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FlashPlatform/reference/actionscript/2/help.html?content=00000428.html

"You might also create an animation that changes as the file loads."


This is a pop fly if you know your image formats. Take for example the Progressive JPEG format, which is originally from ISO/IEC 10918, which dates to 1994:


This shows early pixels in a blocky format while the image continues to download. Progressive JPEGs weren't original either, they were probably inspired by interlaced GIFs and a whole host of other progressive "confetti" formats. All these formats date to the 1990s:


  • I don't think this applies, because of the statement that the confetti is generated "outside the predetermined image" and moves "toward the predetermined region". With progressive image formats, the pixellation occurs in place. Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 0:06

The essence of the claim seems to be that an image is slowly assembled, as an analogous process to another download that's occurring in the background.

Creative progress indicators of this sort have been around for a very long time. Often they are used with games, where they are called loading screens. I suspect that searches under that keyword would be fruitful. TVTropes also has a long list of examples.

In the modern era, games are loaded from the network and are very large, so sometimes the wait for a game to start can be long. I assume this is Nintendo's interest in the patent.

However, game designers faced similar problems in the 1980s. Here's the loading screen for the Commodore 64 game Sanxion, released in 1986. Music is played and the artwork is slowly drawn on screen while the data loads from tape. There are many other examples of Commodore 64 loading screens on YouTube. A publisher called Ocean was notable for using slowly-loading pictures as loading screens.

Here are a few more recent examples which are even closer to what Nintendo is claiming.

The Java ReversiFX applet uses flipping board tiles to indicate download progress. I believe this example existed much earlier (maybe 2006), but the docs on Oracle's website definitely date from no later than January 2010. They refer to Java SE release 18, which was released on January 18, 2010. according to Wikipedia.

This SVG connect the dots progress indicator does not have a date specified, but it appears to have been last modified on June 15th, 2010. I tried to find the website proprietor, maybe he will respond here.


How is this different than the grainy step by step downloads of large image files in web browsers? Near as I can tell, you could tell the progress based on how many of the pixels (which are the same color as the target download) had shown up and how much of the image was still missing.


I'd wager that if you sat and watched Pretty Loaded for long enough you'd find a loading animation that does precisely what they're describing.

  • You're right. Did not take long.
    – jom
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 3:38

Technician Ted (1984) had a loading screen with animated characters walking around, and a progress meter. Here's a video:


Other examples include:

Not that this may matter (IANAL, but...); the key "differentiating" feature of this patent appears to be the color-matched icon which is carried around the world. Although we can knock out entire classes of "loading screen patents".

Another example would be Joe Blade 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QrK1uH75zk (1988) which let you play a pacman game while loading from tape.

(Namco also owns one on playing Galaga while loading).

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