Nintendo is set to make games easier for its legions of casual Wii gamers this year, if a new patent is anything to go by.

Nintendo filed a patent application in the US for a cartoon-character assisted system which will help gamers negotiate those particularly difficult sections of the next Zelda or Mario game.

Nintendo fans in the TechRadar office were predictably aghast at the idea that a little cartoon man might pop up to 'spoil' the purity of their gaming experience. (While everybody else shrugged and said "sounds like a good idea, will stop me having to check GameFAQs every two hours…")

Miyamoto's latest plan

None other than Shigeru Miyamoto is listed as the inventor of the new cartoon hint system, which will either be installed on a game disc or made available online.

"In some of these games, a volume of the story or the scenario is too large, and therefore a lot of time is needed for clearing the game," explains the patent application.

"Further, in some cases, various puzzles are set in the scenario... However, there is a problem that these puzzles and the like are too difficult, and therefore the game may be stuck halfway, and the game may not be cleared to the end."

"As means for solving the problem, disclosed is a game control method for lowering the difficulty level of a game by presenting, while the game is being played, a hint for allowing the game to be continued."

TechRadar has contacted Nintendo UK for further information on this intriguing (or, for hardcore fanboys 'game-ruining') system!