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Publication numberUS20020010017 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/823,553
Publication dateJan 24, 2002
Filing dateMar 30, 2001
Priority dateMar 30, 2000
Publication number09823553, 823553, US 2002/0010017 A1, US 2002/010017 A1, US 20020010017 A1, US 20020010017A1, US 2002010017 A1, US 2002010017A1, US-A1-20020010017, US-A1-2002010017, US2002/0010017A1, US2002/010017A1, US20020010017 A1, US20020010017A1, US2002010017 A1, US2002010017A1
InventorsNicholas Bennett
Original AssigneeBennett Nicholas Luke
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine with a free game, single reel spin feature
US 20020010017 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine has a display and a game controller arranged to control images displayed on the display. The game controller is arranged to play a game wherein at least one random event is caused to be displayed on the display. If a predefined winning event results, the machine awards a prize. Upon completion of a base game which includes a trigger condition, a feature game sequence is initiated wherein, in respect of at least certain of the games of the feature game sequence, at least one of a plurality of image carrying elements from a preceding game is held, a decision as to which image carrying element is to be held being made independently of the trigger condition. while remaining image carrying elements displayed on the display are caused to change.
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Claims(11)
We claim:
1. A gaming machine having a display means and a game control means arranged to control images displayed on the display means, the game control means being arranged to play a game wherein at least one random event is caused to be displayed on the display means and, if a predefined winning event results, the machine awards a prize, the gaming machine being characterised in that, upon completion of a base game which includes a trigger condition, a feature game sequence is initiated wherein, in respect of at least certain of the games of the feature game sequence, at least one of a plurality of image carrying elements from a preceding game is held, a decision as to which image carrying element is to be held being made independently of the trigger condition, while remaining image carrying elements displayed on the display means are caused to change.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1 in which the feature game sequence is a series of free games.
3. The gaming machine of claim 2 in which, in the series of free games, the first game of the series of free games has all its image carrying elements changed to refresh the display.
4. The gaming machine of claim 3 in which, for remaining games of the series of free games, only one of the image carrying elements is caused to change each time.
5. The gaming machine of claim 4 in which the image carrying element which is selected to change is randomly selected by the game control means.
6. The gaming machine of claim 5 in which the selected image carrying element differs from one game to the next in the series of free games.
7. The gaming machine of any one of claims 2 to 6 inclusive in which, if another trigger condition occurs during the series of free games, a new series of free games is started.
8. The gaming machine of claim 7 in which the new series of free games is added to the series of free games remaining from an initial sequence of free games
9. The gaming machine of claim 8 in which, in a first game of the new series of free games, only one of the image carrying elements is caused to change by the control means.
10. The gaming machine of any one of the preceding claims in which any wins which occur during the feature game sequence pay a predetermined integer multiple of that which an equivalent win pays in the base game.
11. A gaming machine as claimed in claim 1 and substantially as described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to a gaming machine. More particularly, the invention relates to a gaming machine and to an improvement to a game played on such a gaming machine.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

[0002] Players who regularly play gaming machines, quickly tire of particular games and therefore it is necessary for manufacturers of these machines to develop innovative game features which add interest to the games. In so doing, it is hoped to keep players amused and therefore willing to continue playing the games as well as to attract new players.

[0003] Also, with the growth that has occurred in the gaming machine market, there is intense competition between manufacturers to supply various existing and new venues. When selecting a supplier of gaming machines, the operator of a venue will often pay close attention to the popularity of various games with their patrons. Therefore, gaming machine manufacturers are keen to devise games which are popular with the players as a mechanism for improving sales, retaining customers and attracting new customers.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] According to the invention, there is provided a gaming machine having a display means and a game control means arranged to control images displayed on the display means, the game control means being arranged to play a game wherein at least one random event is caused to be displayed on the display means and, if a predefined winning event results, the machine awards a prize, the gaming machine being characterised in that, upon completion of a base game which includes a trigger condition, a feature game sequence is initiated wherein, in respect of at least certain of the games of the feature game sequence, at least one of a plurality of image carrying elements from a preceding game is held, a decision as to which image carrying element is to be held being made independently of the trigger condition, while remaining image carrying elements displayed on the display means are caused to change.

[0005] The invention is intended particularly for use in spinning reel-type games where each image carrying element is a video simulation of a spinning reel. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the video simulations of spinning reels carry a number of symbols thereon which, when the reels stop spinning cause a plurality of the symbols to be displayed on the display means. It will. however, be appreciated that the invention could be applicable to other types of games, for example, card games, ball games, such as Keno. or the like.

[0006] The feature game sequence may be a series of free games. The trigger condition may be any suitable trigger condition, such as, for example, the presence of a number of scatter symbols on the display means.

[0007] In the series of free games, the first game of the series of free games may have all its image carrying elements changed to refresh the display, ie. all the reels may be re-spun. For remaining games of the series of free games, only one of the image carrying elements is caused to change each time, ie. only one of the reels may be re-spun in each free game of the series. The reel which is selected for re-spinning may be randomly selected by the game control means and may differ from one game to the next in the series of free games.

[0008] If another trigger condition occurs during the series of free games, a new series of free games may be started. The new series of free games may be added to the series of free games remaining from an initial sequence of free games. In other words, in the example as specified above, if the plurality of scatter symbols again appears, a new series of free games is started.

[0009] In one embodiment of the invention, in the first free game of the new series, all the reels may be re-spun whereafter only one of the reels in the free games is re-spun for each free game. Instead, in a first game of the new series of free games, only one of the image carrying elements may be caused to change by the control means rather than the entire screen display being refreshed.

[0010] Any wins which occur during the feature game sequence may pay a predetermined integer multiple of that which an equivalent win pays in the base game. Typically, any win in one of the feature games may pay triple that of the equivalent win in the underlying base game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] The invention is now described by way of example with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which:

[0012]FIG. 1 shows a three dimensional view of a gaining machine, in accordance with the invention;

[0013]FIG. 2 shows a schematic block diagram of a control circuit of the gaming machine of FIG. 1;

[0014]FIG. 3 shows an example of a screen display of a result of a base game played on the gaming machine of FIG. 1;

[0015]FIGS. 4a to 4 e show various screen displays of a feature game sequence of the game:

[0016]FIG. 5 shows a flow chart of the game of FIGS. 3 and 4a to 4 e; and

[0017]FIG. 6 shows a flow chart of another embodiment of the game of FIGS. 3 and 4a to 4 c.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] In FIG. 1, reference numeral 10 generally designates a gaming machine, including a game, in accordance with the invention. The machine 10 includes a console 12 having a video display unit 14 on which a game 16 is played, in use. The game 16 is a spinning reel game which simulates the rotation of a number of spinning reels 18. A midtrim 20 of the machine 10 houses a bank 22 of buttons for enabling a player to play the game 16. The midtrim 20 also houses a credit input mechanism 24 including a coin input chute 24.1 and a bill collector 24.2.

[0019] The machine 10 includes a top box 26 on which artwork 28 is carried. The artwork 28 includes paytables, details of bonus awards, etc.

[0020] A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the console 12 for cash payouts from the machine 10.

[0021] Referring now to FIG. 2 of the drawings, a control means or control circuit 32 is illustrated. A program which implements the game and user interface is run on a processor 34 of the control circuit 32. The processor 34 forms part of a controller 36 which drives the screen of the video display unit 14 and which receives input signals from sensors 38. The sensors 38 include sensors associated with the bank 22 of buttons and touch sensors mounted in the screen. The controller 36 also receives input pulses from the mechanism 24 indicating that a player has provided sufficient credit to commence playing. The mechanism 24 may, instead of the coin input chute 24.1 or the bill collector 24.2, or in addition thereto, be a credit card reader (not shown) or any other type of validation device.

[0022] Finally. the controller 44 drives a payout mechanism 40 which, for example, may be a coin hopper for feeding coins to the coin tray 30 to make a pay out to a player when the player wishes to redeem his or her credit.

[0023] Referring now to FIG. 3 of the drawings, the result of a base game 16 is shown. In this example, three scatter symbols S 42 are spun up. The presence of the three scatter symbols 42 is a trigger condition which starts a feature sequence being a predetermined number of free games such as sixteen free games. In addition, a win is paid for the three scatter symbols 42.

[0024] In a first game of the series of free games, the screen display of which is shown at 44 in FIG. 4a of the drawings, all five reels 18 are re-spun. In the example shown in FIG. 4a a win is paid for five Jacks on line one. There are now fifteen free games remaining.

[0025] After the second free game, the result is as shown in FIG. 4b of the drawings. Only the fourth reel has been selected to be re-spun, the selection taking place randomly under the control of the control circuit 32 of the machine 10. the remaining reels 18 having been held. In this regard, it is to be noted that the control circuit 32 makes the decision as to which reels 18 are to be held in each free game of the series independently of which reels 18 carried the scatter symbols 42 which triggered the feature sequence. In the game shown in FIG. 4b, a win is paid for three Jacks on the first payline. Fourteen games remain of the series of free games.

[0026] After the third spin, the result is as shown in FIG. 4c of the drawings. In this case, the second reel 18 has been selected by the control circuit 32 to be re-spun with the remaining reels 18 being held. Once again, three scatter symbols 42 are present so that the feature sequence, i.e. the series of free games or spins, re-occurs. In other words, the presence of the three scatter symbols 42 triggers a new series of free games so that there are now twenty-nine free games being the thirteen remaining games from the initial series of free games plus the sixteen of the second series of free games. A prize is also paid for the three scatter symbols 42.

[0027] In a first embodiment of the invention, in a first game after the second trigger condition, ie. the first game of the remaining twenty-nine games, the control circuit 32 only selects one reel 18 to be re-spun with the remaining reels 18 being held. Instead, in a second embodiment of the invention, the presence of the three scatter symbols 42 re-triggers the feature and all the reels 18 are re-spun for the first game in the new series of free games with the result being shown in FIG. 4d of the drawings. For this game, a win is paid for three Kings on payline two as well as four Tens on payline three. There are now twenty-eight free games remaining.

[0028] For the following game in the second embodiment of the invention, only one of the reels 18 is re-spun. Once again, the fourth reel 18 is randomly selected to be re-spun and the result is shown in FIG. 4e of the drawings. A prize is paid for four Kings on payline two and for three Tens on payline three. There are now twenty-seven free games or spins remaining which take place as described above.

[0029] In respect of either embodiment described above, any wins which occur during a free game of the feature pay a predetermined multiple of that which the equivalent win pays in the underlying base game. Typically, any win in one of the feature games pays triple that of the equivalent win in the underlying base game.

[0030] It is an advantage of the invention that a feature game sequence is provided which the applicant believes will enhance player interest.

[0031] It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.

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US7344444 *Aug 23, 2002Mar 18, 2008Aruze Co., Ltd.Gaming apparatus and gaming apparatus control method
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationA63F5/04, G07F17/34
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3265, G07F17/3244, G07F17/3267
European ClassificationG07F17/32M2B, G07F17/32K, G07F17/32M4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 8, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: ARISTOCRAT TECHNOLOGIES AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRAL
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BENNETT, NICHOLAS LUKE;REEL/FRAME:012456/0315
Effective date: 20010323