BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to gaming devices. More specifically, the present invention is drawn to a pinball and slot machine combination and a method of gaming using the device.
2. Description of Related Art
“Gaming” or the participation of people in wagering games is probably as old as civilization and is world-wide in scope. In the last half of the twentieth century, the proliferation of casinos in the United States alone is evidence that games of chance are still enjoyed by large numbers of people. To maintain and enhance client interest, casino operators are always searching for new and interesting gaming formats. The present invention proposes a new and exciting game of chance which involves a merger of the widely popular pinball and slot machine games.
Variations of pinball gaming devices are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. Des. 251,515 (Richter), Des. 260,409 (Tanaka et al.) and Des. 337,790 (Gottlieb et al.). These Patents merely show ornamental designs of pinball machines.
The most popular gaming device is probably the slot machine, variations of which are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,508,345 (Okada), 5,010,995 (Okada), British Patent 2 083 936A, and British Patent 2 182 186A. Only the well-known reel game may be played on the above cited slot machines.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,518,098 (Fleischer) shows a vending machine designed to appear as a slot machine.
U.S. Pat. No. 3,853,318 (Cagan) discloses a combination dart and pinball device. There appears to be no provision in the Cagan device for inserting coins for wagering.
U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,630,586 (Lowden), 5,997,400 (Seelig et al.), 6,089,976 (Schneider et al.), 6,089,978 (Adams) and British Patent number 2 201 821A all disclose combination gaming devices. However, none incorporate a pinball-slot machine merger.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,882,261 (Adams) shows a gaming device which incorporates a pinball-type game with a slot machine. The device of the instant patent differs from the proposed invention in arrangement and mode of play.
None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to disclose the invention as will subsequently be described and claimed in the instant invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention, dubbed “Slotball”, is a combination of a slot machine and a pinball machine. As presently contemplated, the top section of the invention replicates a conventional reel-type slot machine, whereas the bottom section of the device is a conventional pinball machine. The slotball machine is designed with solid sides and a stable base to prevent tilting, which commonly occurs during pinball play. A single handle or button allows a player to either spin the slot reels, or shoot the pinball into action. The slot ball machine is equipped with various indicators and coin insert slots which allow a player to initiate play and monitor the results.
The game of the instant invention may be played in two phases. An element of skill at pinball may enhance the chances of winning. The first phase involves the slot machine and requires that the player insert money or casino-issued tokens into the machine to enable the slot reels. When playing the slot phase of the game, the player's objective is to win the bonus slotball round. To qualify for the bonus slotball round, the player must bet a predetermined amount of credits. The bonus slotball round is achieved when the slotball icon appears with two other icons having the same indicia as will further be explained below. Achieving the bonus slotball round automatically activates the pinball section of the device. The player may then participate in a game of pinball to further increase his/her winnings. Once pinball play is over, the device automatically reverts to the slot machine mode whereby the process may be repeated. A player may bet less than the predetermined amount of credits if desired, however, such bets will not qualify for the bonus slotball round. However, variations of the game could exist where bonus and pinball play could not require the pre-determined amount of credits. It should also be noted that a player may participate in only one phase (slots or pinball) if desired.
The player may opt to begin the game in the pinball phase as will be explained below. A pre-determined amount of credits must be bet, as required above, if the player desires to qualify for the slotball bonus round.
Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a new and exciting gaming method and apparatus therefor.
It is another object of the invention to provide a gaming method and apparatus which combines the characteristics of plural gaming devices.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a single gaming apparatus which combines the characteristics of a slot machine and a pinball machine.
Still another object of the invention is to provide a gaming method and apparatus therefor which is easy to understand and use.
It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in a method and apparatus for the purposes described which are inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing their intended purposes.
These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.