Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20020022512 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/925,507
Publication dateFeb 21, 2002
Filing dateAug 10, 2001
Priority dateAug 10, 2000
Publication number09925507, 925507, US 2002/0022512 A1, US 2002/022512 A1, US 20020022512 A1, US 20020022512A1, US 2002022512 A1, US 2002022512A1, US-A1-20020022512, US-A1-2002022512, US2002/0022512A1, US2002/022512A1, US20020022512 A1, US20020022512A1, US2002022512 A1, US2002022512A1
InventorsSeiji Higurashi
Original AssigneeKonami Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Game machine
US 20020022512 A1
Abstract
A switching operation device (8) is provided for switching a display screen of a screen display device (6). Further, a controller (7) of a slot machine (1) is provided with a screen display switching control section (10). In accordance with operation of the switching operation device (8), the screen display switching control section (10) switches the display screen of the screen display device (6), thereby causing the screen display device (6) to switchably display a plurality of preset information items, including game machine play status information such as token payout information. Information matching the player's needs can be displayed on the screen display device (6). Accordingly, the number of players utilizing the screen display device (6) is increased, thereby enabling an attempt to effectively utilize the screen display device (6).
Images(5)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(6)
What is claimed is:
1. A slot-machine-type game machine, comprising:
a screen display device having a display screen; and
a screen display switching control section which switchably controls the display screen of the screen display device so that a plurality of arbitrary preset information items are switchably displayed on the screen display device.
2. The game machine of claim 1, further comprising a switching operation device which switches the display screen of the screen display device, wherein the screen display switching control section switchably controls the display screen of the screen display device in accordance with operation of the switching operation device.
3. The game machine of claim 1, wherein the screen display switching control section automatically controls switching of the display screen of the screen display device in accordance with previously-assigned control procedures for automatic screen switching purpose.
4. The game machine of claim 1, further comprising:
a game start detection device which detects that a player has commenced a game; and
a game end detection device which detects that the player has finished the game,
wherein when the game start detection device has detected that a game has been commenced, the screen display switching control section automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device to a predetermined game start information screen, and
wherein when the game end detection device has detected that the game has been completed, the screen display switching control section automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device to a predetermined standby information screen.
5. The game machine of claim 1, further comprising a multi-screen display control section which simultaneously displays a plurality of information items, wherein the screen display device is provided with the multi-screen display control section.
6. The game machine of claim 1, wherein information to be used for causing the screen display device to perform switchable display operation includes play status information on the game machine.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a slot-machine-type game machine, such as a Pachislo machine (which is a popular game machine in Japan), a slot machine, etc.

[0003] The present application is based on Japanese Patent Application No. 2000-242655, which is incorporated herein by reference.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005]FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of a slot machine, which is a slot-machine-type game machine, when viewed from the front thereof. In a slot machine as shown in FIG. 4, for example, when detecting that a token has been inserted into a token slot 2 and a start button 3 has been pressed, three reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c spin. A player operates stop buttons 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c to individually stop spinning of the spinning reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c. The stop buttons 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c are provided directly below the respective reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c.

[0006] A plurality of symbols are arranged on the outer peripheral surface of each of the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c. Based on arrangement relation of several symbols of the plurality of symbols stopped at the front side of the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c, a determination is made as to whether or not the player has won at least one of predetermined big payoff combinations. If the player has won a predetermined big payoff combination, a predetermined number of tokens corresponding to the big payoff combination are paid out.

[0007] Such a slot machine has a built-in controller 7 such as that shown in FIG. 4. The controller 7 controls the operation of the slot machine 1. In general, the controller 7 performs a control operation so called as draw-in control operation for drawing reels on the basis of result of internal drawing operation as described below. For example, a plurality of big-payoff combinations have already been set (e.g., a regular bonus, a big bonus which enables acquisition of a greater number of tokens than in a regular bonus, etc.). Upon commencement of a slot machine game, internal drawing operation is performed, thereby selecting one from the plurality of big-payoff combinations and failures. On the basis of the result of internal drawing operation and the player's actions for actuating the stop buttons 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c, the controller 7 performs a control operation for stopping the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c (i.e., a draw-in control operation) such that the arrangement relation of symbols on the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c corresponding to the chosen big payoff combination is more easily obtained.

[0008] In the meantime, there has recently been available slot machines such as the slot machine 1 shown in FIG. 4, in which a screen display device 6, such as a liquid-crystal display etc., is disposed above the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c. Information on the result of internal drawing operation (hereinafter also called “internal drawing result information”) is displayed on the screen display device 6.

[0009] Internal drawing result information displayed on the screen display device 6is effective for beginners of the slot machine 1 for progress of the game of the slot machine 1. In case of skilled players, even if the internal drawing result information has not been displayed on the screen display device 6, the skilled players can accurately detect a result of internal drawing operation because of, e.g., internal-drawing-result hint combination of reel symbols which intimates the result of internal drawing operation when the reels have stopped. Hence, the screen display device 6 for displaying information on the result of internal drawing operation is not necessary for such the skilled players. There are many cases in which skilled players do not see the screen display device 6. For this reason, in many situations, the screen display device 6 may be omitted. Thus, there is a case in which the screen display device 6 is not used, and it is hard to say that the screen display device 6 is effectively used. If the screen display device 6 is caused to simply act as a reporting device for informing the player of internal drawing operation, such a function, in effect, corresponds to service available during the game. It is hard to say that the screen display device 6 sufficiently acts so as to detain the player for a long period of time and to cause the player to derive much greater enjoyment from the game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The present invention has been conceived to solve the above problem, and an object of the present invention is to provide a slot-machine-type game machine including a screen display device, which improves a utilization factor of the screen display device, and which enables players to enjoy the game.

[0011] To achieve the object, according to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a slot-machine-type game machine which comprises a screen display device having a display screen, and a screen display switching control section which switchably controls the display screen of the screen display device so that a plurality of arbitrary preset information items are switchably displayed on the screen display device.

[0012] According to a second aspect of the present invention, it is preferable that the game machine of the first aspect further comprises a switching operation device which switches the display screen of the screen display device, wherein the screen display switching control section switchably controls the display screen of the screen display device in accordance with operation of the switching operation device.

[0013] According to a second aspect of the present invention, it is preferable that, in the game machine of the first aspect, the screen display switching control section automatically controls switching of the display screen of the screen display device in accordance with previously-assigned control procedures for automatic screen switching purpose.

[0014] According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, it is preferable that the game machine of the first or second or third aspect further comprises a game start detection device which detects that a player has commenced a game, and a game end detection device which detects that the player has finished the game, wherein when the game start detection device has detected that a game has been commenced, the screen display switching control section automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device to a predetermined game start information screen, and wherein when the game end detection device has detected that the game has been completed, the screen display switching control section automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device to a predetermined standby information screen.

[0015] According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, it is preferable that the game machine of any one of the first to fourth aspects further comprises a multi-screen display control section which simultaneously displays a plurality of information items, wherein the screen display device is provided with the multi-screen display control section.

[0016] According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, it is preferable that, in the game machine of any one of the first to fifth aspects, information to be used for causing the screen display device to perform switchable display operation includes play status information on the game machine.

[0017] In the present invention, when the game machine includes, e.g., a switching operation device, the screen display switching control section switchably controls a display screen of the screen display device in accordance with operation of the switching operation device. In accordance with the operation of the screen display switching control section, the information selected by the player utilizing the switching operation device appears on the screen display device, thereby enabling the screen display device to display the information matching the player's needs. Therefore, a greater number of players utilize the screen display device, thereby enabling an improvement in a utilization factor of the screen display device. Accordingly, the game machine can hold the interest of a greater number of players.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] The above and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail preferred embodiments thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0019]FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a principal configuration for manually switching a display screen of a screen display device;

[0020]FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing a principal configuration for automatically switching the display screen of the screen display device;

[0021]FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a principal configuration for enabling selection of one from manual switching of a display screen of the screen display device and automatic switching of the same; and

[0022]FIG. 4 is a model showing a slot machine which is an example of a game machine.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0023] Preferred embodiments of the present invention now will be described hereinbelow with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[0024] 1. First Embodiment

[0025] A game machine according to a first embodiment of the present invention may have a mode substantially identical with the slot machine 1 as shown in FIG. 4. However, the game machine according to a first embodiment of the present invention is provided with a unique configuration for displaying a plurality of information items on a screen display device 6 in a switchable manner. In the description of the first embodiment, those elements which are identical in designation with those described in the related-art game machine are assigned the same reference numerals, and repetition of their explanations will be omitted.

[0026] As indicated by dotted lines shown in FIG. 4, the game machine described in the first embodiment includes a switching operation device 8. As indicated by a solid line shown in FIG. 1, a controller 7 includes a screen display switching control section 10, a data storage section 12, and a play status monitoring section 14. Further, the controller 7 may include an image information acquisition section 11 and a token payout information preparation section 13, if necessary.

[0027] It should be noted that the controller 7 has a game control section for controlling a slot machine game operation (i.e., control operations for spinning and stopping each of the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c, an operation for determining whether or not winning has arisen, and a control operation for paying out tokens). In addition, the controller 7 has an internal drawing section for effecting the internal drawing operation set forth in detail previously. The game control section and the internal drawing section are omitted from FIG. 1.

[0028] The switching operation device 8 is for enabling players to switch a display screen of the screen display device 6. For instance, the switching operation device 8 may be embodied as, for example, a push button, a changeover switch, etc.

[0029] The screen display changeover control section 10 is previously provided with control procedures for effecting manual switching operation. In accordance with the control procedures, the screen display changeover control section 10 controls a screen display of the screen display device 6 according to operation of the switching operation device 8, thereby alternatively showing a plurality of information items on the screen display device 6 in a switchable manner.

[0030] Information which can be displayed on the screen display device 6 includes a variety of types of information items; for example, internal drawing result information, token payout information (information on a relationship between elapsed time and the number of tokens to be paid out), the number of regular bonus winnings, the number of big bonus winnings, a total number of tokens inserted by way of the token slot 2, the total number of tokens to be paid out, television images derived from radio communication (e.g., terrestrial broadcasting communication or satellite broadcasting communication), television images derived from cable communication, images recorded on a image recording medium such as a video tape etc. (e.g., a landscape image, an advertising image, etc.), and text information such as a message. An arbitrary number of information items may be selected from the foregoing information items as screen display information for the screen display device 6. In the first embodiment, at least one information item must be selected, as screen display information for the screen display device 6, from among internal drawing result information which corresponds to game machine play status information showing the playing status of the slot machine 1, the token payout information, the number of regular bonus winnings, the number of big bonus winnings, a total number of inserted tokens, and a total number of tokens to be paid out.

[0031] The play status monitoring section 14 has a construction for monitoring the status of the slot machine 1 in order to acquire a game machine play status information to be displayed on the screen of the screen display device 6. For instance, when internal drawing result information is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, the play status monitoring section 14 acquires information corresponding to a result of drawing operation, on the basis of the information on a result of drawing operation performed by aforementioned internal drawing section.

[0032] When token payout information is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, the play status monitoring section 14 acquires, from aforementioned game control section, information on the number of tokens to be paid out to the player, every time the play status monitoring section 14 acquires information that the player has won a big-payoff combination on the basis of the operation information output from the game control section. When token payout information is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, the controller 7 is provided with the token payout information preparation section 13. In this case, information on the number of tokens to be paid out is output from the play status monitoring section 14 to the token payout information preparation section 13.

[0033] The token payout information preparation section 13 has a built-in clock mechanism (not shown). Upon receipt of information on the number of tokens to be paid out, the token payout information preparation section 13 prepares token payout information, which corresponds to data pertaining to a relationship between the number of tokens and time (slump graph data), by utilization of the thus-received information and clock information from the clock mechanism and in accordance with predetermined control procedures for use in preparing token output information. The token payout information preparation section 13 stores the thus-prepared information into the data storage section 12.

[0034] In the case in which the number of big-payoff combination winnings; that is, the number of regular bonus winnings and the number of big bonus winnings, is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, the play status monitoring section 14 may be provided with a built-in count device (not shown) in advance. That is, such the play status monitoring section 14 having the built-in count device counts the number of times the player has won a big-payoff combination, by utilizing control operation information on the game control section and using the count device.

[0035] In the case in which a total number of inserted tokens is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, the play status monitoring section 14 maybe provided with a built-in count device (not shown), in advance, for counting the number of tokens inserted. That is, the number of tokens inserted into the token slot 2 is counted by using the count device on the basis of information on insertion of a token detected by a token insertion detection device 17.

[0036] In the case in which a total number of tokens to be paid out is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, the play status monitoring section 14 may be provided with a built-in count device (not shown), in advance, for counting the number of tokens to be paid out. That is, the number of tokens to be paid out is counted by using the count device on the basis of the control operation information on the game control section.

[0037] In the case in which image information is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, the controller 7 may be provided with the image information acquisition section 11 in advance. Further, an image information origination source 15 (e.g., a cable television video supply source, a terrestrial television video supply source, a video deck, etc.) which supplies the thus-set video image is connected to the slot machine 1 by way of cable communication or radio communication.

[0038] When text information, such as messages etc., is set as screen display information for the screen display device 6, a text information write section 16 for storing character information into the data storage section 12 is connected to the controller 7. The character information write section 16 may be a character input device, such as a keyboard specifically designed for use with a slot machine or a character information input device of, e.g., an external personal computer. Thus, the character information write section 16 may assume any suitable configuration.

[0039] When the screen display changeover control section 10 detects that the player has instructed to display internal drawing result information serving as play status information by operating the switching operation device 8, the screen display changeover control section 10 displays a result of internal drawing operation on the screen display device 6 on the basis of the information acquired by the play status monitoring section 14.

[0040] When the screen display changeover control section 10 detects that the player has instructed to display token payout information serving as play status information by operating the switching operation device 8, the screen display changeover control section 10 reads out token payout information from the data storage section 12 and displays the information on the screen display device 6.

[0041] When the screen display changeover control section 10 detects that the player has instructed, by operating the switching operation device 8, to display the number of winnings of big-payoff combination, the total number of inserted tokens, or the total number of tokens to be paid out, which serves as play status information, the screen display changeover control section 10 displays on the screen display device 6 the thus-instructed number of winnings of big-payoff combination, the thus-instructed total number of inserted tokens, or the thus-instructed total number of tokens to be paid out, on the basis of count value information from the count device corresponding to the instructed information.

[0042] When the screen display changeover control section 10 detects that the player has instructed to display video images by operating the switching operation device 8, the screen display changeover control section 10 sends an image information acquisition instruction to the image information acquisition section 11. The image information acquisition section 11 causes the image information originating source 15 serving as a supply source of the thus-instructed video images to supply image information, thereby displaying the image information on the screen display device 6.

[0043] When the screen display changeover control section 10 detects that the player has instructed to display text information by operating the switching operation device 8, the screen display changeover control section 10 reads the thus-instructed text information and displays the text information on the screen display device 6.

[0044] According to the first embodiment, there is provided the screen display device 6 having a construction for switchably displaying a plurality of information items. For instance, a beginner of the slot machine 1 causes the screen display device 6 to display a game machine play status information, such as internal drawing result information or token output information, to thereby use the status information to monitor progress in a slot machine game. For instance, when a skilled player has determined that a big-payoff combination is unlikely to arise, the skilled player causes the screen display device 6 to display television images, such as a live sports broadcast, differing from the game machine play status information. In this way, skilled players as well as beginners can utilize the screen display device 6. As a result, a greater number of players utilize the screen display device 6, thereby improving a utilization factor of the screen display device and enabling slot machines to hold the interest of a greater number of players.

[0045] In the first embodiment, there is provided the switching operation device 8. In accordance with operation of the switching operation device 8, a screen display of the screen display device 6 is switched. Information matching the needs of a player can be displayed on the screen display device 6, thereby improving the utilization factor of the screen display device 6 to a much greater extent and enabling slot machines to hold the interest of a greater number of players.

[0046] 2. Second Embodiment

[0047] A second embodiment of the present invention now will be described. A slot machine according to the second embodiment is substantially identical in configuration with that described in connection with the first embodiment. The second embodiment differs from the first embodiment in that switching of a screen display of the screen display device 6 is automatically controlled rather than being manually performed. That is, the slot machine according to the second embodiment is identical in configuration with that described in connection with the first embodiment, except for automatic switching control of a screen display. In the second embodiment, those elements which are identical with those described in the first embodiment are assigned the same reference numerals, and therefore, repeated explanations thereof will be omitted.

[0048] The screen display switching control section 10 is assigned predetermined control procedures for screen switching automatic control purpose (hereinafter simply called “automatic control procedures”). In accordance with the automatic control procedures, the screen display switching control section 10 performs control operation for switching the display screen of the screen display device 6, thereby automatically displaying a plurality of information items, including the game machine play status information, on the screen display device 6 in a switchable manner. The automatic control procedures include various procedures. Any one of a plurality of control procedures may be adopted in the second embodiment, and explanation thereof will be omitted here.

[0049] As in the case of the first embodiment, the plurality of information items used for causing the screen display device 6 to perform switchable displaying operations may be set, as required, so long as the information items satisfy the game machine play status information. Hence, no particular limitation is imposed on the information items.

[0050] As described in connection with the second embodiment, when switching of a screen display of the screen display device 6 is automatically controlled, the switching operation device 8 is omitted, as shown in FIG. 2.

[0051] In the second embodiment, a plurality of information items are displayed on the screen display device 6, as in the case of the first embodiment. Hence, as in the case of the first embodiment, a greater number of players view the screen display of the screen display device 6, thereby enabling an increase in the utilization factor of the screen display device 6 and enabling slot machines to hold the interest of a greater number of players. Since the screen display of the screen display device 6 is automatically switched, the screen of the screen display device 6 is automatically switched without involvement of an operation for switching the screen display of the screen display device 6, thereby obviating a necessity for operation.

[0052] 3. Third Embodiment

[0053] A slot machine according to a third embodiment of the present invention now will be described. In addition to the construction according to the slot machines described in the first and second embodiments, the slot machine according to the third embodiment is further provided with a control configuration. More specifically, when a player has commenced a game on the slot machine 1, the display screen of the screen display device 6 is automatically switched to a preset game start information screen. Further, when the player has finished playing a game on the slot machine 1, the display screen of the screen display device 6 is automatically switched to a preset standby information screen. That is, the slot machine according to the third embodiment is identical in configuration with the slot machines described in connection with the first and second embodiments, except for the automatic screen changeover control configuration for automatically switching a screen between that displayed at the commencement of a game and that displayed at the end of the game. In connection with the description of the third embodiment, those elements which are identical with those described in the first and second embodiments are assigned the same reference numerals, and therefore, repeated explanations thereof will be omitted.

[0054] In addition to the slot machines described in the first and second embodiments, in the slot machine according to the third embodiment, the controller 7 is further provided with a game start detection device 20 and a game end detection device 21, as indicated by dotted lines shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The game start detection device 20 has a configuration for sensing that a player has commenced a slot machine game on the slot machine 1. Various methods are available for sensing commencement of a game. For example, when the token insertion detection device 17 has detected insertion of a token(s), it is determined that the player has commenced a slot machine game on the slot machine 1.

[0055] When the screen display switching control section 10 detects that a player has commenced a slot machine game on the basis of detection information supplied from the game start detection device 20, the screen display switching control section 10 automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device 6 to a preset game start information screen. In the third embodiment, one of aforementioned plurality of types of game machine play status information items is set as the game start information. In the same manner as in the first embodiment, the screen display switching control section 10 loads from the data storage section 12 or the play status monitoring section 14 preset game machine play status information serving as game start information, thereby displaying the thus-loaded information on the screen display device 6.

[0056] As mentioned above, when a player has commenced a game, game start information is temporarily displayed on the screen display device 6. Subsequently, the screen display switching control section 10 effects manual switching or automatic switching of the display screen of the screen display device 6, in the manner as described in connection with the first and second embodiments.

[0057] The game end detection device 21 has a configuration for detecting the end of the slot machine game. Various methods for sensing the end of a game are available. For example, there is considered a situation that insertion of a token is not detected by the token insertion detection device 17 during from the end of the slot machine game which has been detected on the basis of operation information output from the game control section until a preset period of elapsed time (e.g., three minutes). Further, for example, there is considered another situation that operation of the slot machine 1 is not detected since the start button 3 has not or the stop buttons 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c have not been actuated. In aforementioned situation, the game end detection device 21 determines that the player has stopped playing the slot machine game and has left the slot machine 1. Thus, in the case in which the end of a game is detected in the manner mentioned above, the game end detection device 21 may be provided with a built-in timer in advance.

[0058] When the game end detection device 21 has detected that the player has finished the slot machine game and left the slot machine 1, the screen display switching control section 10 automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device 6 to a preset standby information screen. In the third embodiment, one of a plurality of types of image information items, such as a scenic video image, live sports video image, an advertisement video image, etc., is set as the standby information. Upon detection of the end of the game, the screen display switching control section 10 sends an image information acquisition instruction to the image information acquisition section 11. The image information acquisition section 11 starts acquiring, from the image information origination source 15, image information set as standby information. The thus-acquired image information is displayed on the screen display device 6.

[0059] In the third embodiment, when it is detected that the player has commenced a slot machine game, the display screen of the screen display device 6 is automatically switched to a game machine play status information screen serving as game start information. By virtue of such a configuration, when the player has commenced a game, game machine play status information assumed to be required by many players at the beginning of a game can be automatically displayed on the screen display device 6, thereby affording convenience to the players.

[0060] The slot machine 1 described in connection with the third embodiment has a configuration which automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device 6 to a standby information screen when it is detected that the player has finished playing a slot machine game and has left the slot machine 1. Hence, it can be reported that the slot machine 1 remains in a standby condition. Moreover, the atmospheres of game parlors can be changed.

[0061] 4. Fourth Embodiment

[0062] A slot machine according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention now will be described. The slot machine according to the fourth embodiment has a configuration which enables a player to select either manual switching or automatic switching of a screen display of the screen display device 6. In connection with the description of the fourth embodiment, those elements which are identical with those described in the first embodiment to the third embodiment are assigned the same reference numerals, and therefore, repeated explanations thereof will be omitted.

[0063] As indicated by solid lines shown in FIG. 3, the slot machine 1 according to the fourth embodiment includes the switching operation device 8 and a mode switching operation device 22. The mode switching operation device 22 enables the player to select and set either automatic switching of the display screen of the screen display device 6 or manual switching of the display screen of the screen display device 6. For example, the mode switching operation device 22 can be embodied as, e.g., an operation lever, a changeover switch, etc., as required.

[0064] As in the cases of the first embodiment to the third embodiment, the controller 7 is provided with the screen display switching control section 10, the data storage section 12, and the play status monitoring section 14. The controller 7 may further be provided with the image information acquisition section 11 and the token output information preparation section 13, if necessary.

[0065] In the fourth embodiment, the screen display switching control section 10 is previously assigned control procedures for automatic screen switching control purpose (hereinafter simply called “automatic switching control procedures”) and control procedures for manual screen switching control purpose (hereinafter simply called “manual switching control procedures”). When the mode switching operation device 22 detects that automatic switching control operation has been selected, the screen display switching control section 10 automatically switches the display screen of the screen display device 6 in accordance with the automatic switching control procedures, in the manner as described in connection with the second embodiment.

[0066] When the mode switching operation device 22 detects that manual switching control operation has been selected, the screen display switching control section 10 switches the display screen of the screen display device 6 in accordance with operation of the switching operation device 8 and on the basis of the operation information about the switching operation device and the manual switching control procedures, in the manner as described in connection with the first embodiment. It should be noted that the automatic switching control procedures and the manual switching procedures are various. Here, any of control procedures may be selected from a plurality of control procedures, and explanations thereof are omitted.

[0067] The slot machine 1 according to the fourth embodiment is constructed so that the player can select either automatic switching of the display screen of the screen display device 6 or manual switching of the same by using the mode switching operation device 22. Hence, in accordance with the player's preferences, the switching control operation can be selected from automatic switching and manual switching, in connection with switching of the display screen of the screen display device 6.

[0068] 5. Fifth Embodiment

[0069] A slot machine according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention now will be described. The slot machine according to the fifth embodiment is further provided with a plurality of screen display control sections 24, as indicated by chain lines as shown in FIGS. 1 to 3. In other respects, the slot machine is identical in configuration with those described in the first embodiment to the fourth embodiment. In connection with the description of the fifth embodiment, those elements which are identical with those described in the first embodiment to the fourth embodiment are assigned the same reference numerals, and therefore, repeated explanations thereof will be omitted.

[0070] The plurality of screen display control sections 24 described in the fifth embodiment are imparted with a plurality of screen display control procedures for causing the screen display device 6 to display a plurality of information items simultaneously.

[0071] For example, in the case in which the slot machine includes the switching operation device 8 as described in connection with the first and third embodiments, and the switching operation device 8 enables manual switching of the display screen of the screen display device 6, the switching operation device 8 may have: the function of selectively setting a screen display from among a single screen display for causing the screen display device 6 to display a single information item; a two-screen display for simultaneously displaying two information items on the screen display device 6; and a multi-screen display for causing the screen display device 6 to simultaneously display three or more information items. When a single screen display has been selected by actuation of the switching operation device 8, the screen display switching control section 10 performs screen display control operation of the screen display device 6. When a two-screen display or a multi-screen display has been selected by actuation of the switching operation device 8, the multi-screen display control section 24 performs multi-screen display control operation of the screen display device 6. In short, the multi-screen display control section 24 acquires a plurality of information items to be used for causing the screen display device 6 to perform screen display operation, in the same manner as does the screen display switching control section 10. In accordance with the multi-screen display control procedures, the thus-acquired information pieces are displayed simultaneously on the screen display device 6.

[0072] When the display screen of the screen display device 6 can be controlled in an automatically switchable manner, the screen display switching control section 10 outputs a multi-screen display instruction to the multi-screen display control section 24 at, e.g., a predetermined timing, during the course of a plurality of information items being alternatively and automatically selected and displayed on the screen display device 6.

[0073] Upon receipt of the multi-screen display instruction, the multi-screen display control section 24 acquires a plurality of information items for causing the screen display device 6 to perform screen display operation. Further, the thus-acquired information items are simultaneously displayed on the screen display device 6 in accordance with the multi-screen display control procedures.

[0074] According to the fifth embodiment, the slot machine includes the multi-screen display control section 24. Hence, a plurality of information items can be displayed simultaneously on the screen display device 6. The player can acquire a plurality of information items within a short period of time without a necessity of switching the display screen of the screen display device 6 or a necessity of awaiting display of required information, by utilization of, e.g., the switching operation device 8.

[0075] The present invention is not limited to the previous embodiments and may be implemented in various forms. For instance, in each of the embodiments, when the slot machine is provided with the switching operation device 8, there is also provided an operation device specifically designed for switching a display screen. However, the switching operation device 8 maybe embodied by using one or more operation device (s) used for progress in a game; e.g., the stop buttons 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c and the start button 3. In other words, any of the stop buttons 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c and the start button 3 may be also used as the switching operation device 8.

[0076] Although in the previous embodiments the screen display device 6 is provided above the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c, the location of the screen display device 6 may be set, as required. For example, the screen display device 6 may be provided below or on the side of the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c. During the course of playing a slot machine game, the player's eyes are fixed substantially on the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c. The player's eyes do not deviate much from the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c. Hence, it is preferable to dispose the screen display device in the vicinity of the reels 4 a, 4 b, and 4 c.

[0077] In the third embodiment, game machine play status information is set as game start information, and image information is set as standby information. However, the game start information and the standby information may be changed, if necessary. Hence, these information items are not limited to aforementioned examples.

[0078] In the third embodiment, when the player has commenced a game, only one of the preset game start information items is displayed on the screen display device 6. However, so long as the slot machine includes the multi-screen display control section 24, the multi-screen display control section 24 may simultaneously display on the screen display device 6, e.g., a plurality of types of game machine play status information items as game start information.

[0079] In the third embodiment, commencement or end of a slot machine game performed by the player is detected on the basis of insertion detection information from the token insertion detection device 17 or the operation information from the start button 3 or the stop buttons 5 a, 5 b, and 5 c. For example, the slot machine 1 may be provided with a detecting device, such as an infrared sensor, a camera, etc., capable of sensing a player opposing the slot machine 1. Using the infrared sensor, the camera, etc., the commencement and end of a game by the player may be sensed.

[0080] In addition to the configurations described in the first embodiment to the fifth embodiment, the slot machine may have a configuration for establishing communication with the Internet and enabling display on the screen display device 6 of a home page selected by way of the Internet. In the respective embodiments, the game machine play status information is inevitably included in the plurality of information items to be used for causing the screen display device 6 to perform screen display operation. For example, when the game machine is provided with another device for reporting the game machine play status information, the screen display device 6 does not need to display the game machine play status information.

[0081] According to the present invention, a display screen of the screen display device is switchably controlled, thereby displaying a plurality of predetermined information items on the screen display device in a switchable manner. As a result, a plurality of information items can be provided to a player by utilization of the screen display device. As a result thereof, a greater number of players utilize the screen display device, thereby improving a utilization factor of the screen display device. Further, the slot machines can hold the interest of a greater number of players.

[0082] In the case of a slot machine provided with a switching operation device, desired information can be displayed on the screen display device by using the switching operation device. Hence, a utilization factor of the screen display device can be improved further. As mentioned above, the slot machine includes the screen display device for enabling provision of information matching the player's needs, thereby enhancing the marquee of the slot machine.

[0083] In the case in which a slot machine is constructed such that a display screen of the screen display device is automatically switched, the player can acquire a plurality of information items while the screen display of the screen display device is automatically switched without involvement of manual operation, thereby obviating the troublesome switching operation of the player.

[0084] There is considered the case in which the display screen of the screen display device is automatically switched to a preset game start information screen when the player has commenced a game, and the display screen of the screen display device is automatically switched to the standby information screen when the player has finished playing a game. For example, if setting the game machine play status information in advance as the game start information, when the player has commenced a game, play status information on the game machine can be acquired immediately, thus enabling acquisition of information useful for progress in a game on the game machine. Similarly, when the player has finished a game and the game machine has entered a standby condition, the display screen of the screen display device is automatically switched to the standby information screen. Accordingly, it can be reported that the game machine is in a standby condition.

[0085] In the case in which a slot machine is provided with a multi-screen display control section for displaying a plurality of information items on the screen display device, a plurality of information items are displayed simultaneously. Accordingly, the player can acquire a plurality of information items without switching the display screen of the screen display device or awaiting display of all necessary information items, thus affording convenience to the player.

[0086] When information to be switchably displayed on the screen display device includes game machine play status information, the player can advantageously play a game with reference to a screen display of game machine play status information, thus playing a game with much greater entertainment.

[0087] Although the above-described embodiments employ game machines utilizing tokens as one example, it should be noted that the game machines, to which the present invention is applicable, are not limited to game machines utilizing tokens. Namely, the present invention is applicable to any game machines that utilize a payment object used as compensation which is necessary for players to play (or commence) the games. For example, the payment object includes money, such as a coin, a paper currency, a bank note, a bank bill, etc., and other objects, such as a token, a medal, etc.

[0088] It is contemplated that numerous modifications may be made to the game machine of the present invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7771271 *Oct 8, 2003Aug 10, 2010IgtMethod and apparatus for deriving information from a gaming device
US8133110 *Nov 3, 2008Mar 13, 2012Jon MuskinSlot machine games
US8764546 *Oct 24, 2007Jul 1, 2014Novomatic AgElectronic gaming and/or gambling machine
US8986109May 23, 2014Mar 24, 2015Novomatic AgElectronic gaming and/or gambling machine
US20100048285 *Oct 24, 2007Feb 25, 2010Novomatic AgElectronic gaming and/or gambling machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationG07F17/32, A63F5/04
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3211, G07F17/3227
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2F, G07F17/32E2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 10, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HIGURASHI, SEIJI;REEL/FRAME:012076/0091
Effective date: 20010803