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Publication numberUS20030027619 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/202,924
Publication dateFeb 6, 2003
Filing dateJul 25, 2002
Priority dateJul 25, 2001
Publication number10202924, 202924, US 2003/0027619 A1, US 2003/027619 A1, US 20030027619 A1, US 20030027619A1, US 2003027619 A1, US 2003027619A1, US-A1-20030027619, US-A1-2003027619, US2003/0027619A1, US2003/027619A1, US20030027619 A1, US20030027619A1, US2003027619 A1, US2003027619A1
InventorsJohn Nicastro
Original AssigneeNicastro John P.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming device with a skill based bonus game
US 20030027619 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a gaming machine with a basic game and a bonus game. The basic game can be any game where a bonus game entry combination can occur to move play to the bonus game. In one embodiment, the bonus game provides increased player participation by requiring the player to make key decisions, which will determine the amount won in the bonus game. The player is given data that they can use to assess opportunities and risks. By using the data, the player can use deductive reasoning to make an informed decision as to whether they should accept or decline a prize, value or an indicia as revealed or offered, whether they should pursue a particular path or strategy, or whether they should pursue additional bonus games. In another embodiment, the bonus game provides increased player participation by allowing the player to use their physical skills.
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Claims(41)
We claim:
1. A gaming machine for use by a player having player skills comprising:
a data storage device storing a program for a bonus game;
a processor operably connected to the data storage device, the processor executing the program for the bonus game on the occurrence of a bonus game entry combination;
a display operably connected to the processor; and
a player input device operably connected to the processor,
wherein the bonus game requires the player to use the player skills.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the player skills are selected from the group consisting of decision making skills and physical skills.
3. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the display provides data allowing the player to assess risks and rewards of a plurality of play opportunities during the bonus game and the player input device is used by the player to select at least one of the plurality of play opportunities.
4. The gaming machine of claim 3 wherein the bonus game is selected from the group consisting of tile games, predator-prey games, cat and mouse games, matching games, trail games, word puzzle games, trivia games, mazes, logic based decision making games, and combinations thereof.
5. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the bonus game requires a physical skill and the player uses the player input device to apply the physical skill.
6. The gaming machine of claim 5 wherein the bonus game is selected from the group consisting of driving games, race games, basketball, handball, toss games, golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong, target shooting, marksmanship games, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, carnival-type shooting games, physical skill based games, and combinations thereof.
7. The gaming machine of claim 5 wherein the player input device is selected from the group consisting of steering wheels, pedals, balls, targets, basketball hoops, mallets, rackets, bats, golf clubs, baseball bats, paddles, firearms, video game consoles, and combinations thereof.
8. The gaming machine of claim 1 wherein the data storage device is remote from the processor.
9. A gaming machine for use by a player having player skills comprising:
means for playing a basic game having a bonus game entry combination; and
means for playing a bonus game on the occurrence of the bonus game entry combination,
wherein the bonus game requires the player to use the player skills.
10. The gaming machine of claim 9 wherein the player skills are selected from the group consisting of decision making skills and physical skills.
11. The gaming machine of claim 9 wherein the basic game is selected from the group consisting of slot machine games, poker, blackjack, and keno.
12. The gaming machine of claim 9 wherein the bonus game provides data allowing the player to assess risks and rewards.
13. The gaming machine of claim 12 wherein the bonus game is selected from the group consisting of tile games, predator-prey games, cat and mouse games, matching games, trail games, word puzzle games, trivia games, mazes, logic based decision making games, and combinations thereof.
14. The gaming machine of claim 9 wherein the bonus game is responsive to physical skills of the player.
15. The gaming machine of claim 14 wherein the bonus game is selected from the group consisting of driving games, race games, basketball, handball, toss games, golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong, target shooting, marksmanship games, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, carnival-type shooting games, physical skill based games, and combinations thereof.
16. The gaming machine of claim 9 further comprising means for displaying a multiplier for the bonus game during the basic game.
17. The gaming machine of claim 9 further comprising means for playing an additional bonus game when the bonus game ends.
18. The gaming machine of claim 17 wherein the additional bonus game is selected from the group consisting of tile games, predator-prey games, cat and mouse games, matching games, trail games, word puzzle games, trivia games, mazes, logic based decision making games, driving games, race games, basketball, handball, toss games, golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong, target shooting, marksmanship games, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, carnival-type shooting games, physical skill based games, and combinations thereof.
19. The gaming machine of claim 17 further comprising means for offering the player an option of playing the additional bonus game or returning to the basic game
20. The gaming machine of claim 9 further comprising means for providing a transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game.
21. A method for operating a game machine for use by a player having player skills comprising:
providing a basic game to the player on the game machine, the basic game having a bonus game entry combination; and
switching the game machine to a bonus game on occurrence of the bonus game entry combination;
providing the bonus game to the player on the game machine, the bonus game requiring use of the player skills.
22. The method of claim 21 wherein the player skills are selected from the group consisting of decision making skills and physical skills.
23. The method of claim 21 further comprising:
offering the player a plurality of play opportunities during the bonus game; and
displaying data allowing the player to assess risks and rewards of the plurality of play opportunities.
24. The method of claim 23 wherein the bonus game is selected from the group consisting of tile games, predator-prey games, cat and mouse games, matching games, trail games, word puzzle games, trivia games, mazes, logic based decision making games, and combinations thereof.
25. The method of claim 21 wherein providing the bonus game requires the player to use physical skills.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein the bonus game is selected from the group consisting of driving games, race games, basketball, handball, toss games, golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong, target shooting, marksmanship games, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, carnival-type shooting games, physical skill based games, and combinations thereof.
27. The method of claim 21 further comprising providing an additional bonus game to the player when the bonus game ends.
28. The method of claim 27 further comprising offering the player an option of playing the additional bonus game or returning to the basic game.
29. The method of claim 21 wherein the basic game is selected from the group consisting of slot machine games, poker, blackjack, and keno.
30. A system for use by a player having player skills comprising:
means for providing a basic game to the player, the basic game having a bonus game entry combination;
means for switching to a bonus game on occurrence of the bonus game entry combination; and
means for providing the bonus game to the player, the bonus game requiring use of the player skills.
31. The system of claim 30 wherein the player skills are selected from the group consisting of decision making skills and physical skills.
32. The system of claim 30 further comprising:
means for offering the player a plurality of play opportunities during the bonus game; and
means for displaying data allowing the player to assess risks and rewards of the plurality of play opportunities.
33. The system of claim 30 wherein the means for providing the bonus game to the player comprises means for providing the bonus game to the player for the player to use physical skills.
34. The system of claim 30 further comprising means for providing an additional bonus game to the player when the bonus game ends.
35. The system of claim 34 further comprising means for offering the player an option of playing the additional bonus game or returning to the basic game.
36. A computer readable medium storing a computer program for operating a game machine for use by a player having player skills, the computer program comprising:
computer readable code for providing a basic game to the player on the game machine, the basic game having a bonus game entry combination;
computer readable code for switching to a bonus game on occurrence of the bonus game entry combination; and
computer readable code for providing the bonus game to the player on the game machine, the bonus game requiring use of the player skills.
37. The computer readable medium of claim 36 wherein the player skills are selected from the group consisting of decision making skills and physical skills.
38. The computer readable medium of claim 36 wherein the bonus game offers the player a plurality of play opportunities and further comprising displaying data allowing the player to assess risks and rewards of the plurality of play opportunities.
39. The computer readable medium of claim 36 wherein the computer readable code for providing the bonus game to the player on the game machine comprises computer readable code for providing the bonus game to the player on the game machine for the player to use physical skills.
40. The computer readable medium of claim 36 further comprising computer readable code for providing an additional bonus game to the player when the bonus game ends.
41. The computer readable medium of claim 40 further comprising computer readable code for offering the player an option of playing the additional bonus game or returning to the basic game.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This non-provisional patent application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/307,757, filed Jul. 25, 2001.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The technical field of this disclosure is amusement devices, particularly, gaming machines having a basic game and a bonus game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, depend on the gaming machine's popularity to attract frequent play and increase profitability to the operator. Popularity depends on the expectation of winning at a particular game and the entertainment and excitement provided while playing a particular game. Increasing the entertainment value increases the profitability.

[0004] One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is the concept of a bonus game that may be played in conjunction with a basic game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, which is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome of the basic game. A bonus game produces a significantly higher level of player excitement than the basic game because of a greater expectation of winning than the basic game and of more attractive or unusual video displays and/or audio.

[0005] U.S. Pat. No. 6,190,255 to Thomas, et al., discloses a bonus game, in which a player selects, one at a time, from an array of windows each associated with a bonus game outcome. Credits are awarded based upon the windows selected and the bonus game ends upon selection of a window associated with an end-bonus outcome, unless the player has a bonus game resource obtained in the basic game.

[0006] While most gaming machines offer the player some participation, such as starting and stopping the wheels in a video slot machine or turning cards in a video poker machine, they do not offer the player data and allow them to evaluate the opportunities and risks and play accordingly. The player may be frustrated by thinking that the gaming machine is not acting at random and may be predetermining the outcome. In addition, gaming machines do not offer the player games that allow the player to take advantage of their physical skills. Players are denied the opportunity to increase their winnings based on their abilities. The gaming machine owners lose revenue because the players don't try to improve their skills through repeated play and practice. Player frustration can reduce the incentive to play, reducing the profitability of the gaming machine. Lack of player participation reduces the entertainment value and incentive to play.

[0007] Unlike basic gaming machines such as video poker machines, which remain popular with players for years, gaming machines with bonus games can have a rather short earning life due do the games inability to hold a players interest. The gaming machines with bonus games may go unused once the novelty wears off, requiring the casino or operator to replace the machines more often, thereby increasing their cost of doing business.

[0008] It would be desirable to have a gaming machine that would overcome the above disadvantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] One aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine with a basic game and a bonus game.

[0010] Another aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine with a basic game and a bonus game with increased entertainment value.

[0011] Another aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine with a bonus game providing increased player participation to make key decisions.

[0012] Another aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine with a bonus game providing data to the player so they can use deductive reasoning to make an informed decision regarding opportunities and risks.

[0013] Another aspect of the present invention provides a gaming machine with a bonus game providing increased player participation by allowing the player to use their physical skills.

[0014] The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will become further apparent from the following detailed description of the presently preferred embodiments, read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. The detailed description and drawings are merely illustrative of the invention, rather than limiting the scope of the invention being defined by the appended claims and equivalents thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015]FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a control system suitable for implementing a gaming machine according to the present invention;

[0016]FIG. 2 shows a game screen of a basic game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention;

[0017]FIG. 3 shows a game screen of a basic game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention having a plurality of pay lines;

[0018]FIG. 4 shows a transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention;

[0019]FIG. 5 shows a game screen of a bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention on entering the bonus game;

[0020]FIG. 6 shows a game screen of a bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention in the middle of the bonus game;

[0021]FIGS. 7A & 7B show a flow chart of a game having a basic game and a bonus game in accordance with the present invention;

[0022]FIG. 8 shows a game screen of another basic game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention;

[0023]FIG. 9 shows a transition screen between another basic game and another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 10 shows a game screen of another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention on entering the bonus game;

[0025]FIG. 11 shows a game screen of another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention in the middle of the bonus game;

[0026] FIGS. 12-14 show end game screens of another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention;

[0027]FIGS. 15A & 15B show a flow chart of another game having a basic game and a bonus game in accordance with the present invention;

[0028]FIG. 16 shows a perspective view of a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention;

[0029]FIG. 17 shows a transition screen between yet another basic game and yet another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention;

[0030]FIGS. 18 & 19 show game screens of yet another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention; and

[0031]FIG. 20 shows a game screen of yet another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENTLY PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0032] The present invention provides a gaming machine with a basic game and a bonus game. The basic game can be any game where a bonus game entry combination can occur to move the play to the bonus game. In one embodiment, the bonus game provides increased player participation by requiring the player to make key decisions and demonstrate mental dexterity, which will determine the amount won in the bonus game. The player is given data that they can use to assess opportunities and risks. In one embodiment, the probability decisions involve the player making maximum use of a set number of accept or decline opportunities given the player at the beginning of the bonus game. By using the data, the player can use deductive reasoning to make an informed decision as to whether they should accept or decline a prize, value or an indicia as revealed or offered, whether they should pursue a particular path or strategy, or whether they should pursue additional bonus games. In another embodiment, the bonus game provides increased player participation by allowing the player to use their physical skills. Physical skills can include such skills as eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, quick reflexes, timing, marksmanship, visual acuity, and the like. Bonus games requiring physical skills may also require mental dexterity.

[0033]FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a control system suitable for implementing a gaming machine. A gaming device 10 comprises a processor 12, a data storage device 14, a display 16, and player input devices 17, a coin/credit detector 18, and a payoff mechanism 19. The processor 12 can be one or more conventional microprocessors. The data storage device 14 can be a combination of magnetic, optical and/or semiconductor memory. In one embodiment, the processor 12 and the data storage device 14 can be located entirely within a single computer or other computing device. In other embodiments, the processor 12 and the data storage device 14 can be at separate locations and connected to each other by a remote communication link, such as a serial port cable, telephone line or radio frequency transceiver; or a combination of different communication links. The data storage device 14 can store a program for controlling the processor 12 so that the gaming machine is operable to play a game having a basic game and a bonus game.

[0034] The display 16 is a graphical display device, such as a video monitor of a type used in conventional electronic gaming devices, for displaying images generated by the processor 12 during a game. The display 16 can be a dot matrix, CRT, LED, or electro-luminescent display, or the like as known to those skilled in the art. The player input devices 17 include input devices well known in the art, such as a touch screen for generating a signal indicative of a location on the touch screen that is touched or pressed by a player, and/or buttons which indicate player commands and selections when actuated. For bonus games involving physical skill, the player input devices 17 can include an input device as used in the actual activity, such as steering wheels and pedals for driving or race games; balls and targets for basketball, handball, and toss games; balls and striking implements (mallets, rackets, bats) for golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong games; and firearms and targets for target shooting, marksmanship, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, and carnival-type shooting games. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a number of arrangements of player input devices with appropriate sensors are possible to simulate a particular game requiring physical skill.

[0035] The coin/credit detector 18 and the payoff mechanism 19 provide a mechanism for transferring coins or credits to and from the player. In one embodiment, the coin/credit detector 18 can be a coin acceptor and the payoff mechanism 19 can be a coin payout hopper. In another embodiment, the coin/credit detector 18 can be a magnetic card reader and the payoff mechanism 19 can be a magnetic card writer. In yet another embodiment, the coin/credit detector 18 and the payoff mechanism 19 can be remote devices or connected to remote devices that allow the player to access credit sources and deposit to their accounts.

[0036] In one embodiment, the gaming device 10 can be a stand alone electronic or electromechanical device similar to those installed in casinos. In another embodiment, the gaming device 10 may be implemented as software that directs one or more computers, such as conventional personal computers based on Intel microprocessors often found in businesses or homes. Furthermore, software implementations of the gaming device 10 may be operative to implement gaming over networks, such as the Internet, virtual private networks, or private dial-up networks.

[0037]FIG. 2 shows a game screen of a basic game for a gaming machine. The game screen 20 comprises a title area 22, a message area 24, a reel area 26, a reel spin status bar 28, and a dashboard 30. The basic game screen is the main interface between the player and the basic game. In one embodiment, the basic game is a video slot machine game. In other embodiments, the basic game can be another video game, such as video poker, video blackjack, video keno, or the like.

[0038] The title area 22 provides an area for a game title and other graphic information. The message area 24 can display different messages as the game progresses, such as “GOOD LUCK” after the player presses the reel spin button, instructions on how many bonus symbols pay a bonus if the player does not win, or the number of credits won on the reel spin if the player wins.

[0039] The reel area 26 comprises a left line bet icon area 32, a right line bet icon area 34, and a plurality of reels 36. Each of the plurality of reels 36 has a plurality of reel symbols 38 showing on the reel 36, such as Red 7, White 7, Blue 7, Triple Bar, Double Bar, Bar, Watermelon, Plum, Cherry, and Pineapple. Such symbols are traditional in the field of slot machine gaming devices and will be well recognized by those skilled in the art. The reel symbols 38 on each reel 36 appear in a set order such that the reel strips are the same during a given game. Certain symbols can be layered, such as a Red 7 over a Double Bar, for example, so that either symbol will pay when adjacent to the corresponding like symbols, i.e., either a series of Red 7s or a series of Double Bars will pay with a Red 7 over a Double Bar in the series. In addition, the reel symbols can be bonus symbols 40 such that a predetermined number of adjacent bonus symbols 40 pay a bonus and switch the gaming machine from the basic game to the bonus game. Certain symbols can be wild cards, matching any adjacent symbol. In one embodiment, the reel area can display five reels, with each reel showing three reel symbols at a time.

[0040] The left line bet icon area 32 and the right line bet icon area 34 each have an equal number of a plurality of line bet icons 42. Each of the plurality of line bet icons 42 in one line bet icon area corresponds to a pay line 44 that crosses the reel area 26 and terminates in the opposite line bet icon area. The pay line 44 can cross the reel area 26 horizontally or can zigzag across the reel area 26. There can be a plurality of pay lines as discussed for FIG. 3 below. A predetermined number of adjacent reel symbols occurring on a pay line 44 determines a winning reel spin or bonus. Each line bet icon 42 in the left line bet icon area 32 can be color coded to match its corresponding line bet icon 42 in the right line bet icon area 34. The player can select the number of play lines to bet and the amount bet on each play line. The line bet icon 42 can indicate the number of credits per pay line bet, with the line bet icon 42 deactivated by turning its color to black or a dark gray if a pay line is not bet.

[0041]FIG. 3, in which like elements have like reference numbers with FIG. 2, shows a game screen having a plurality of pay lines 44. The gaming machine can control the order in which the player selects the pay lines to bet or can leave it to the player to select any play lines desired. In one embodiment, the pay lines horizontally across the reel area 26 must be selected before any diagonal pay lines are allowed. The more pay lines selected, the greater the chance of three of the same reel symbols appearing consecutively along a pay line.

[0042] Referring to FIG. 2, The reel spin status bar 28 provides space for messages indicating the number of credits won for each pay line or “GAME OVER” at the completion of each game. The color of the “number of credits won” message can correspond with the color of the winning pay line.

[0043] The dashboard 30 comprises a window area 45 and a button area 46. The window area 45 provides information to the player, while the button area 46 takes input from the player.

[0044] The window area 45 contains a player credit window 48, a number of lines bet window 50, a bet per line window 52, a total bet window 54, and a paid credit window 56. The player credit window 48 shows the credits available to the player. The number of lines bet window 50 displays the number of pay lines the player is betting on the next spin. The bet per line window 52 displays the number of credits per line the player is betting on the next spin. The total bet window 54 displays total bet, i.e., the number of pay lines bet times the number of credits per line. The total bet must be less than the credits available to the player. The paid credit window 56 displays the amount won by the player on the last spin. Numerical limits can be set for number of pay lines bet, number of credits bet per line, or total bet, if desired.

[0045] The button area 46 contains a collect winnings button 58, a display help button 60, a show pay tables button 62, a select pay lines button 64, a indicate bet per line button 66, a bet maximum button 68, and a spin reels button 70. The collect winnings button 58 dispenses the credits available to the player. The display help button 60 provides help information to the player to assist them in playing the game. The show pay tables button 62 displays the pay table for the game. The select pay lines button 64 increases the number of pay lines selected by a value of one each time the select pay lines button 64 is pressed. If the value reaches a numerical maximum, the number resets to the minimum. The indicate bet per line button 66 increases the number of credits bet per line by a value of one each time the indicate bet per line button 66 is pressed. If the value reaches a numerical maximum, the number resets to the minimum. The bet maximum bet button 68 automatically bets the maximum bet (the total number of play lines available at the maximum bet per play line) and initiates a reel spin. The spin reels button 70 initiates a reel spin and can also stop the reel spin to speed up play.

[0046] The player initiates a reel spin by depressing the spin reels button 70 or the bet maximum bet button 68. When the reels stop spinning after a reel spin, each pay line is evaluated to determine if it is a winner. If a pay line is a winner, the entire pay line is highlighted and flashes. For layered symbols involved in a win, the non-winning layer can gray out during the flash. In addition, the reel spin status bar 28 displays the number of credits won for each pay line. If more than one pay line wins, each winning pay line with the number of credits won is shown sequentially in a continuing loop to communicate to the player which pay lines hit and the number of credits won for each.

[0047]FIG. 4 shows a transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game for a gaming machine. Various transition screens can be used to build the player's anticipation and excitement on reaching the bonus game and to increase the entertainment value. The transition screens can include animation and sound. In one embodiment, when a player gets three or more bonus symbols on adjacent reels along a pay line while in the basic game (a bonus game entry combination), the player is taken to a transition screen 80. The transition screen 80 can consist of a cartoon type MC character 82 standing in front of the bonus game screen 84. The bonus game screen 84 can first be shown with the bonus values and stopper values (ZONKs) of all tiles 86 exposed. The MC character 82 can make an announcement, such as “It's time to play Take It or Leave It, where you choose what prizes you want to keep. It's all up to you. Okay, let's scramble the prizes and let's get ready to play and Goooooood Luck.” The bonus game screen 84 can then be animated to reverse the tiles 86 so that the bonus values and stopper values of all tiles 86 are covered, then to scramble the tiles 86. FIG. 4 shows the tiles 86 being scrambled. Once the animated transition screen has finished, the gaming machine can proceed to the bonus game. In another embodiment, the transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game can be omitted to speed play, so that the gaming machine proceeds directly to the bonus game when a player gets three or more bonus symbols on adjacent reels along a pay line while in the basic game (a bonus game entry combination).

[0048]FIG. 5 shows a game screen of a bonus game for a gaming machine on entering the bonus game. The game screen 100 comprises a title area 102, a status area 104, a tile area 106, a Leave It button 108, a Leave It window 110, a Take It button 112, a Take It window 114, a total window 116, a points won window 118, and a paid window 120. The bonus game screen is the main interface between the player and the bonus game. In one embodiment, the bonus game is a tile game. In other embodiments, the bonus game can be another video game offering the player increased participation and logic based decision making. Examples of such games are games that require matching like objects, trail games requiring directional decisions to reach a target area, word puzzle or trivia type games, mazes, or any game that allows or requires a decision due to a plurality of multiple possible outcomes, especially when the player is provided with a status area showing possible outcomes or choices. Combinations of the example games can also be used.

[0049] The title area 102 provides an area for a game title and other graphic information. The total window 116 shows the total credits the player holds on entering the bonus game, the points won window 118 shows the credits won during the bonus game, and the paid window 120 shows the credits paid to the player when the bonus game ends.

[0050] The tile area 106 comprises a plurality of tiles 122. In one embodiment, the tiles 122 can be arranged in a rectangular grid, such as a four by six grid. Other patterns of tiles, such as circular segments, portions of an illustration in the manner of a mosaic, or the like, can be used as desired to integrate the design with the graphical elements and the gaming machine theme. Each tile 122 has an associated tile value or stopper value. The tile value is the number of credits the player receives if they select and take the tile. In other embodiments, the tile value can be a picture of a good, such as a television or a refrigerator, or other indicia of value representing a prize associated with the tile. The stopper value ends the bonus game if the player selects it and cannot leave it. The status area 104 comprises a plurality of tile value indicators 124 and stopper indicators 126. One indicator corresponding to the tile value or stopper value of the tile is provided for each tile 122. The tile 122 can be animated so that the tile 122 appears to rotate or slide to the side to reveal the tile value or stopper value when the player selects the tile 122. The player can select the tile using a video cursor, touching a tile on a video touch screen, or other method of human-computer interface.

[0051] The Take It window 114 displays the number of opportunities remaining in the bonus game for the player to choose tiles 122. The Leave It window 110 displays the number of opportunities the player has to leave tiles 122 after choosing a tile and learning its value or learning that it is a stopper. The value in the Take It window 114 decreases by one each time the player chooses a tile and does not leave it. The Leave It window 110 decreases by one each time the player chooses to leave a tile they have selected. The player uses the Take It button 112 to accept a tile they have chosen and uses the Leave It button 108 to leave a tile they have chosen. The initial values for the Take It window 114 and the Leave It window 110 on entering the bonus game can be selected based on the desired payout and regulatory constraints. In one embodiment, the initial value for the Take It window 114 is two for each pay line bet at the time the bonus entry event occurs. The initial value for the Leave It window 110 can be based on the number of adjacent bonus symbols occurring along a pay line in the basic game, e.g., three adjacent bonus symbols provide an initial value of one, four adjacent bonus symbols provide an initial value of two, and five adjacent bonus symbols provide an initial value of three. In another embodiment, random number multipliers can be determined and applied to the initial values for the Take It window 114 and the Leave It window 110.

[0052]FIG. 6, in which like elements have like reference numbers with FIG. 5, shows a game screen of a bonus game for a gaming machine in the middle of the bonus game. The player has selected and taken first tile 130 having a tile value of 225 and second tile 132 having a tile value of 450. The player selected third tile 134 having a tile value of 90, but left it in hopes of selecting a tile having a larger tile value, as indicated by the LEAVE IT legend on the tile. The player also selected fourth tile 136 having a stopper value, but left it so that they could continue with the bonus game, as indicated by the LEAVE IT legend on the tile. The status area 104 shows the values for the first tile 130, second tile 132, third tile 134, and fourth tile 136 of 225, 450, 90, and stopper (ZONK), respectively, grayed out to indicate that those tiles have been selected and are no longer available. The Take It window 114 value of ten shows that the player can take ten more tiles. The Leave It window 110 value of one shows that the player can leave one more selected tile with a numerical value or a stopper value. In this example, the bonus game can continue until the player selects and takes ten tiles, leaves one tile and selects and takes tiles until selecting a tile with a stopper value, or selects a tile with a stopper value and mistakenly takes it. The total window 116 shows the total credits of 365 the player holds on entering the bonus game, the points won window 118 shows the credits of 675 won during the bonus game (225+450), and the paid window 120 shows the credits paid to the player of zero because the bonus game has not reached the end.

[0053]FIGS. 7A & 7B show a flow chart of a game having a basic game and a bonus game. The game comprises a basic game 200 and a bonus game 300. The basic game 200 can be any game of chance or skill where a predetermined result or combination can be used to trigger entry to the bonus game 300. The bonus game 300 can be any game of chance or player skill adding excitement to the game and providing additional opportunities for the player to continue play. The player skills can be decision making skills or physical skills. In one embodiment, the game in the basic game 200 is a video slot machine game. In other embodiments, the game in the basic game 200 can be another video game, such as video poker, video blackjack, video keno, and the like. In one embodiment, the game in the bonus game 300 is a tile game. In other embodiments, the game in the bonus game 300 can be another video game offering the player increased participation and logic based decision making. Examples of such games are games that require matching like objects, trail games requiring directional decisions to reach a target area, word puzzle or trivia type games, mazes, or any game that allows or requires a decision due to a plurality of multiple possible outcomes, especially when the player is provided with a status area showing possible outcomes or choices. In yet other embodiments, the game in the bonus game 300 can be another game offering the player increased participation and requiring physical skills. Examples of such games are driving games, race games, basketball, handball, toss games, golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong, target shooting, marksmanship games, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, carnival-type shooting games, physical skill based games, and the like. Bonus games requiring physical skills may also require mental dexterity. Combinations of the example games can also be used.

[0054] At block 202, the player establishes credit, by inserting coins or tokens in a coin acceptor, by inserting a magnetic card or other machine-readable medium into a magnetic card reader, by drawing from an Internet credit account, or the like. The credit amount can be indicated in the player credit window. The player establishes the total bet and the combinations they are betting on at block 204. In a video slot machine embodiment, the player selects the number of pay lines to bet and the bet per pay line. The player initiates play at block 206 by pushing a software button simulated on the display or an electromechanical button, and play continues until the gaming machine stops at block 208. The total bet can be deducted from the player credit on initiation of play. In a video slot machine embodiment, random numbers are generated for each of the reels and the reel spinning is simulated graphically. The reels stop with the reel symbols corresponding to the random numbers at the center location of each reel and the adjacent reel symbols determined from a predetermined reel strip layout immediately above and below the randomly selected center position symbol.

[0055] At block 210, the play results are evaluated to determine if a winning combination has occurred. Typically, the play results are evaluated against a win combinations payout table, which shows the amount won for a given combination. For example, the win combinations payout table for a video slot machine embodiment can show the credits won for a given number of adjacent reel symbols along a pay line for the various reel symbols. If a winning combination has not occurred, the basic game ends at block 212. If a winning combination has occurred, the credits won can be added to the player credit at block 214 and the play results can be evaluated at block 216 to determine if a bonus combination has occurred, i.e., if a bonus game entry combination has occurred. If no bonus combination has occurred, the basic game ends at block 218. In a video slot machine embodiment, the bonus combination can be three or more adjacent bonus symbols along a play line. If a bonus combination has occurred, the game enters the bonus game. In one embodiment, the game can provide a multimedia transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game to increase player anticipation and excitement. In another embodiment, the game can go directly from the basic game and the bonus game to speed play.

[0056] At block 302, the game enters the bonus game and sets the bonus game initial values. The bonus game initial values can be generated randomly or can depend on values from the basic game, such as bets made, credits won, time of play, or the like. In a basic game video slot machine embodiment with a bonus game tile game embodiment, the bonus game initial values can be the number of Take Its (opportunities to select a tile) and Leave Its (opportunities to leave a selected tile). In one embodiment, the initial number of Take Its can be two for each pay line bet at the time the bonus game entry occurs. The initial number of Leave Its can be based on the number of adjacent bonus symbols occurring along a pay line in the basic game, e.g., three adjacent bonus symbols provide an initial number of one, four adjacent bonus symbols provide an initial number of two, and five adjacent bonus symbols provide an initial number of three. In another embodiment, the player can be allowed to purchase more Take Its or Leave Its opportunities as the game enters the bonus game.

[0057] At block 304, the player begins play in the bonus game. In a tile game embodiment, the player selects a tile to reveal the hidden tile value or stopper value. If the tile has a stopper value (ZONK) at block 306 and the number of Leave Its (LI) is zero at block 308, the bonus game ends at block 310. If the player likes the tile value, they can take it at block 312, and, if the tile doesn't have a stopper value at block 314, the points won value is increased by the tile value at block 316, the number of Take Its (TI) is reduced by one at block 318, and the number of Take Its (TI) is checked at block 320 to determine if the bonus game should be over at block 310 or if the bonus game should continue with selection of another tile at block 304. If the player takes a tile at block 312 and its determined to have a stopper value at block 314, the bonus game ends at block 310. If the player uses a Leave It (LI) to leave a selected tile at block 312 to avoid a stopper value or in hopes of gaining a larger tile value on a later pick, the number of Leave Its is checked at block 322 to verify that there are Leave Its remaining, then the number of Leave Its is reduced by one at block 324 and the player returns to the step of picking a tile at block 304. If the number of Leave Its is zero when checked at block 322, the play returns to block 312 so the player can take the selected tile. The bonus game continues until the Take Its are gone, or a stopper value is or must be taken. In another embodiment, the player can be allowed to purchase more Take Its or Leave Its opportunities to continue play, rather than exiting the bonus game. On exiting the bonus game, the points won value is added to the player's credits and the game returns to the basic game.

[0058] The various graphical elements of the gaming machine display can be updated as the game proceeds. In the basic game, for example, the player credit window can be updated with the amount of credit established at block 202, the reels can be spun on initiating play at block 206, and the paid credit window can be updated with the amount of winnings at block 214. In the bonus game, for example, the tile value indicators and stopper indicators of the status area can be lined or grayed out as the selected tile is taken or left at block 312, the LEAVE IT legend can be applied to the selected tile as the selected tile is left at block 312, the Leave It window can be updated when decrementing the number of Leave Its at block 324, the Take It window can be updated when decrementing the number of Take Its at block 318, and the points won window can be updated when increasing the points won value at block 316.

[0059]FIG. 8, in which like elements have like reference numbers with FIG. 2, shows a game screen of another basic game for a gaming machine. The plurality of reel symbols 38 in this embodiment is a variety of comical characters, such as cats and mice, and traditional symbols, such as fruit. In addition, the reel symbols can be bonus symbols 40 such that a predetermined number of adjacent bonus symbols 40 pay a bonus and switch the gaming machine from the basic game to the bonus game. The gaming machine can also provide a plurality of pay lines (not shown) to allow a variety of betting and winning combinations.

[0060] The title area 22 includes a multiplier display 23 to show the multiplier by which the bonus points won in the bonus game will be multiplied on successfully completing the bonus game. The multiplier display 23 increases the entertainment value of the gaming machine by displaying the potential reward multiplier available to increase winnings in the bonus game. The value of the multiplier can be based on player controlled factors to encourage increased bets, such as the credits bet per line or the number of pay lines selected, or factors to encourage increased play, such as player time on the particular gaming machine.

[0061]FIG. 9 shows a transition screen between another basic game and another bonus game for a gaming machine. Various transition screens can be used to build the player's anticipation and excitement on reaching the bonus game and to increase the entertainment value. The transition screens can include animation and sound. In one embodiment, when a player gets three or more bonus symbols on adjacent reels along a pay line while in the basic game (a bonus game entry combination), the player is taken to a transition screen 480. The transition screen 480 provides instructions on how to play the bonus game. In another embodiment, the transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game can be omitted to speed play and if the bonus game is self-explanatory.

[0062]FIG. 10 shows another game screen of a bonus game for a gaming machine on entering the bonus game. The game screen 500 comprises a title area 502, a cat token window 504, a mouse token window 506, a game field 508, a bonus window 510, and a paid window 512. The bonus game screen is the main interface between the player and the bonus game. The player can make game choices through selection buttons (not shown) on the game screen 500 or through buttons on the gaming machine console. In one embodiment, the player can touch the game field 508 on the game screen 500 to direct the mouse to the next mouse hole.

[0063] The title area 502 provides an area for a game title and other graphic information. The bonus window 510 shows the credits won during the bonus game, and the paid window 512 shows the credits paid to the player when the bonus game ends. The game field 508 comprises a starting position 514, a plurality of mouse holes 516, bridges 518, and an ending position 520, wherein the bridges 518 provide at least one path from the starting position 514 to the ending position 520 through the plurality of mouse holes 516. The ending position 520 also includes a multiplier display 522, which shows the multiplier by which the bonus points won in the bonus game will be multiplied on successfully completing the bonus game. The multiplier display could appear elsewhere on the game screen 500 if desired.

[0064] The pattern of the mouse holes 516 can be arranged as desired to integrate the design with the graphical elements and the gaming machine theme. The pattern, number, and connection of the mouse holes 516 can be set to determine the difficulty of the game. For example, bridges can be omitted so bridges do not connect a particular mouse hole with every adjacent mouse hole. The particular bridges omitted can change from game to game or from level to level. In another embodiment, the bridges can be dynamic, coming and going as the round of the bonus game proceeds. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a number of combinations of the game field are possible to enhance entertainment value.

[0065] The object of this bonus game is to cross the game field 508 from the starting position 514 to the ending position 520 through the plurality of mouse holes 516. In one embodiment, each bridge can disappear after the player crosses the bridge from one mouse hole to the next, so that if the player moves without strategy the player risks being trapped and unable to reach the ending position 520. The player is allotted a predetermined number of lives represented by the number of mouse tokens 524 and risks encountering a predetermined number of cats represented by the number of cat tokens 526.

[0066] Play begins with one of the mouse tokens 524 leaving the mouse token window 506 and traveling to the starting position 514. The mouse holes 516 accessible from the starting position 514 display a question mark to indicate the mouse holes 516 are accessible to the active mouse token 524 at the starting position 514. The embodiment shown in FIG. 10 has only one mouse hole 516 accessible from the starting position 514, but the starting position could be connected to more than one mouse hole. Mouse holes 516 which have been visited previously may also be accessible, although no bonus points will be awarded since they have already been uncovered. The player selects the mouse hole 516 to which they wish to move, and the active mouse token 524 travels to the selected mouse hole 516, the bridge 518 collapsing behind the active mouse token 524 so that no return to the starting position 514 by that route is possible.

[0067] The selected mouse hole 516 conceals an associated cheese or cat, which is uncovered when the mouse token 524 reaches the selected mouse hole 516. If a cheese is uncovered, bonus points are awarded and added to the bonus point total in bonus window 510. The number of bonus points awarded can be the amount bet on entering the bonus game, or can be a different amount, such as a randomly generated amount. The player can then continue play by selecting another accessible mouse hole 516. If a cat is uncovered, no bonus points are awarded, and one of the cat tokens 526 in the cat token window 504 is crossed off to indicate the number of cats that have been found out of the total number of cats. This provides information to the player to allow them to make strategic decisions about the risk of going to more mouse holes 516 to collect more bonus points versus the risk of going toward the ending position 520 to collect the bonus points earned times the multiplier. If the player has lives remaining, a mouse token 524 leaves the mouse token window 506 and travels to the most recently selected mouse hole 524, where the player can continue by selecting another accessible mouse hole 516. Play ends when the mouse is trapped, when no lives remain, or when the mouse reaches the ending position 520.

[0068]FIG. 11, in which like elements have like reference numbers with FIG. 10, shows a game screen of another bonus game for a gaming machine in the middle of the bonus game. The cat tokens 526 in the cat token window 504 indicate two cats have been uncovered and two remain. The mouse token window 506 is empty indicating no lives remain. The bonus window 510 indicates that 225 credits have been won in the bonus game thus far. Seven mouse holes 516 indicated by the mouse holes with triangles have been uncovered and ten remain. The current position is indicated by the mouse hole 516 occupied by the mouse token 524. To maximize the amount won in the bonus game, the player must make decisions on how to proceed based on the data to assess the opportunities and risks.

[0069] The player has a number of play opportunities. The player can uncover more mouse holes 516 to increase the bonus points won, but risks uncovering one of the two remaining cats and ending the game without reaching the ending position 520 to earn the multiplier. The player can head directly toward the ending position 520 to reduce the risk of uncovering one of the two remaining cats and to earn the multiplier, but then forgoes the chance of collecting more bonus points and still risks uncovering a cat en route. If the player mistakenly selects the mouse hole 516 connected to the occupied mouse hole 516 (identified by the mouse token 524) by a single bridge and not connected to any other mouse hole 516, the bridge 518 will disappear after the player crosses and the player will be trapped with no further movement possible.

[0070] FIGS. 12-14 show end game screens of another bonus game for a gaming machine. FIG. 12 shows an end game screen for a game ending when the mouse is trapped and no further moves are possible. The reward panel 530 displays the outcome and the bonus points awarded. FIG. 13 shows an end game screen for a game ending when the mouse has run out of lives and encountered a cat. The reward panel 530 displays the outcome and the bonus points awarded. FIG. 14 shows an end game screen for a game ending when the mouse reaches the ending position, earning the multiplier. The reward panel 530 displays the outcome, the bonus points earned, the multiplier value, and the bonus points awarded (the bonus points earned times the multiplier value). In one embodiment, a final game screen revealing the cats' position in the mouse holes can be displayed, so the player can evaluate their strategy and apply what they learn to future games.

[0071] In one embodiment, the player can return to the basic game and continue play. In another embodiment, the player can be presented with the option of returning to the basic game and continuing play, or wagering some or all of the bonus points earned in the bonus game and continuing with a next level of the bonus game. In one embodiment, the player could have the option of adding to the wager. The next level could be the same bonus game with the same level of difficulty, the same bonus game with a greater level of difficulty (for example—more cats, fewer lives, fewer bridges) and a greater reward (for example—more points per mouse hole, larger multiplier), or can be a different bonus game selected by the player or chosen by the gaming machine at random. Different bonus games can be any video game offering the player increased participation and logic based decision making, such as any game that allows or requires a decision due to a plurality of multiple possible outcomes, especially when the player is provided with a status area showing possible outcomes or choices. The player can continue through levels of the additional levels of the bonus games until losing or reaching a predetermined limit, when the bonus games end and the player returns to the basic game and continues play.

[0072]FIGS. 15A & 15B show a flow chart of another game having a basic game and a bonus game in accordance with the present invention. The game comprises a basic game 600 and a bonus game 700. The basic game 600 can be any game of chance or player skill where a predetermined result or combination can be used to trigger entry to the bonus game 700. The player skills can be decision making skills or physical skills. The bonus game 700 can be any game of chance or skill adding excitement to the game and providing additional opportunities for the player to continue play. In one embodiment, the game in the basic game 600 is a video slot machine game. In other embodiments, the game in the basic game 600 can be another video game, such as video poker, video blackjack, video keno, and the like. In one embodiment, the game in the bonus game 700 is a predator-prey game such as cat and mouse. In other embodiments, the game in the bonus game 700 can be another video game offering the player increased participation and logic based decision making. Examples of such games are tile games, games that require matching like objects, trail games requiring directional decisions to reach a target area, word puzzle or trivia type games, mazes, or any game that allows or requires a decision due to a plurality of multiple possible outcomes, especially when the player is provided with a status area showing possible outcomes or choices. In yet other embodiments, the game in the bonus game 700 can be another game offering the player increased participation and requiring physical skills. Examples of such games are driving games, race games, basketball, handball, toss games, golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong, target shooting, marksmanship games, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, carnival-type shooting games, physical skill based games, and the like. Bonus games requiring physical skills may also require mental dexterity. Combinations of the example games can also be used.

[0073] At block 602, the player establishes credit, by inserting coins or tokens in a coin acceptor, by inserting a magnetic card or other machine-readable medium into a magnetic card reader, by drawing from an Internet credit account, or the like. The credit amount can be indicated in the player credit window. The player establishes the total bet and the combinations being betting on at block 604. In a video slot machine embodiment, the player selects the number of pay lines to bet and the bet per pay line. The player initiates play at block 606 by pushing a software button simulated on the display or an electromechanical button, and play continues until the gaming machine stops at block 608. The total bet can be deducted from the player credit on initiation of play. In a video slot machine embodiment, random numbers are generated for each of the reels and the reel spinning is simulated graphically. The reels stop with the reel symbols corresponding to the random numbers at the center location of each reel and the adjacent reel symbols determined from a predetermined reel strip layout immediately above and below the randomly selected center position symbol.

[0074] At block 610, the play results are evaluated to determine if a winning combination has occurred. Typically, the play results are evaluated against a win combinations payout table, which shows the amount won for a given combination. For example, the win combinations payout table for a video slot machine embodiment can show the credits won for a given number of adjacent reel symbols along a pay line for the various reel symbols. If a winning combination has not occurred, the basic game ends at block 612. If a winning combination has occurred, the credits won can be added to the player credit at block 614 and the play results can be evaluated at block 616 to determine if a bonus combination has occurred. If no bonus combination has occurred, the basic game ends at block 618. In a video slot machine embodiment, the bonus combination can be three or more adjacent bonus symbols along a play line. If a bonus game entry combination has occurred, the game enters the bonus game. In one embodiment, the game can provide a transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game to provide instructions for the bonus game and to increase player anticipation and excitement. In another embodiment, the game can go directly from the basic game and the bonus game to speed play.

[0075] At block 702, the game enters the bonus game and sets the bonus game initial values. The bonus game initial values can be generated randomly or can depend on values from the basic game, such as bets made, credits won, time of play, or the like. In a basic game video slot machine embodiment with a bonus game predator-prey embodiment, such as cat and mouse, the bonus game initial values can include the game field arrangement and parameters (number of mouse holes, bridge to mouse hole ratio and arrangement, stationary bridges or dynamic bridges), the number of cats hidden in the mouse holes represented by the number of cat tokens, the number of lives represented by the number of mouse tokens, the multiplier value, and the number of bonus points awarded for each mouse hole. In one embodiment, the multiplier value can be based on player controlled factors such as the credits bet per line or the number of pay lines selected. Alternatively, the multiplier value can be based on factors to encourage increased play, such as player time on the particular gaming machine. In one embodiment, the number of bonus points awarded can be the amount bet on entering the bonus game. Alternatively, the number of bonus points awarded can be a randomly generated amount or a different number of bonus points for different mouse holes.

[0076] At block 704, the player begins play in the bonus game by selecting a mouse hole. If the mouse hole is the ending position at 706 such that the mouse has traversed the game field, the bonus points won are multiplied by the multiplier value to calculate the bonus points awarded at 708. Reaching the ending position is unlikely for a first player move. The bonus points awarded are added to the bonus window at 710 and the bonus game ends at 712.

[0077] If the mouse hole is not the ending position at 706, the mouse position is checked at 714 to see if the mouse is trapped, i.e., the mouse is no longer able to move to another mouse hole. If the mouse is trapped, the bonus points from the last mouse hole are added to the bonus window at 710 and the bonus game ends at 712. If the mouse is not trapped, the mouse hole is checked at 716 to see if it contains a cat. If the mouse hole contains a cat, the remaining number of lives is checked at 718. If no lives remain, the bonus game ends at 712. If lives remain, the number of lives is decremented at 720 and the play continues with selection of another mouse hole at 704. If the mouse hole did not contain a cat at 716, the bonus points are added to the bonus window at 722 and the play continues with selection of another mouse hole at 704.

[0078] Play in the bonus game continues until the mouse reaches the ending position, is trapped, or encounters a cat and has run out of lives. When the bonus game ends at 712, the play returns to the basic game. In another embodiment, the player can have the option of continuing to additional levels of bonus games or collecting their winnings and returning to the basic game.

[0079]FIG. 16 shows a perspective view of a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention. In this embodiment, the gaming machine theme can be a miniature golf game. The gaming machine 800 includes a display 802, input buttons 804, putter 806, and ball 808. The putter 806 and ball 808 can be conventional objects as used in playing golf, with wired or wireless sensors attached to provide motion of the putter 806 and ball 808 to the gaming machine 800. In another embodiment, the ball 808 can be a projected image rather than a physical object. The player can play the basic game, such as a slot machine game, using the input buttons 804. On the occurrence of a bonus entry combination and entry into the bonus game, the player can use the putter 806 and ball 808 as player input devices to the gaming machine 800. In another embodiment, the player can choose to play the bonus game using the input buttons 804 as player input devices, rather than using the putter 806 and ball 808.

[0080]FIG. 17 shows a transition screen between yet another basic game and yet another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention. In this embodiment, the gaming machine theme can be a miniature golf game, with the transition screen 810 showing a windmill obstacle 812 and a gate obstacle 814. The obstacles shown are exemplary only and variety of additional obstacles can be provided. In another embodiment, the transition screen between the basic game and the bonus game can be omitted to speed play, so that the gaming machine proceeds directly to the bonus game when a bonus game entry combination occurs.

[0081]FIGS. 18 & 19 show game screens of a windmill obstacle and a gate obstacle, respectively, for yet another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 18 shows a windmill obstacle 812 having rotating blades 816 with blade holes 818, and target holes 820. The rotating blades 816 and the target holes 818 have various point values. The player scores a combination of points for the blade hole and the particular target hole by propelling the ball 822 in the right direction at the right time, so that the ball 822 passes through the particular blade hole and the particular target hole. FIG. 19 shows a gate obstacle 814 having a door 824 and a sliding gate 826. The sliding gate 826 moves back and forth to periodically or randomly block the door 824. The player scores points by propelling the ball 822 in the right direction at the right time, so that the ball 822 misses the sliding gate 826 and passes through the door 824.

[0082] The player uses the skills of eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, quick reflexes, timing, and visual acuity in playing the ball 822. In one embodiment, the player can use input buttons to select the proper time and direction to propel the ball. In another embodiment, the player can use an actual putter and ball.

[0083]FIG. 20 shows a game screen for yet another bonus game for a gaming machine made in accordance with the present invention. In this bonus game, the player plays a ball 830 against a wall 832 comprising a plurality of bricks 834. In one embodiment, the player can elect to play in an auto mode in which the gaming machine plays for the player. Alternatively, the player can play the game in a manual mode, controlling the game themself. Initially, the ball 830 is fired at the wall 832 and each of the plurality of bricks 834 that the ball 832 strikes explode, revealing one or more values 836 for the exploded bricks 834, and the values are awarded to the player. The ball 830 ricochets off the wall 832 and the player must position his paddle 838 to intercept and return the ball 830 to the wall 832. Each time the ball 830 strikes the wall 832, more bricks 834 explode revealing more values 836, and the player accumulates more credits. Play continues with the ball bouncing between the paddle 838 and the wall 832, until the player has broken all the bricks 834 to reveal and earn all the values 836, or until the player fails to return the ball 830. The player can be allowed a predetermined number of return failures (“Lives”) before the bonus game ends and the play returns to the basic game.

[0084] The player uses the skills of eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, quick reflexes, timing, and visual acuity in playing the ball 830. The player must propelling the ball 830 in the right direction at the right time, so that the paddle 838 intercepts the ball 830 and returns it to the wall 832. The play can also incorporate spin on the ball 830, if the paddle 838 is moved at the time of contact with the ball 830. In one embodiment, the player can use input buttons as the player input device to select the proper time and direction to propel the ball. In another embodiment, the player can use an actual paddle and a real or simulated ball as the player input device.

[0085] Those skilled in the art will appreciate that many variations on the basic game and bonus game describe herein are possible in keeping with the spirit and scope of the present invention. The particular graphical elements can be arranged differently or have a different appearance. The overall game theme can be a different, such as hound and hare rather than cat and mouse. The basic game can be any video game offering a winning combination that earns a bonus game entry combination, such as a video slot machine game, video poker, video blackjack, video keno, or the like. The bonus game can be any video game offering the player increased participation and logic based decision making, such as tile games, predator-prey games, games that require matching like objects, trail games requiring directional decisions to reach a target area, word puzzle or trivia type games, mazes, or any game that allows or requires a decision due to a plurality of multiple possible outcomes, especially when the player is provided with a status area showing possible outcomes or choices, or the like. The bonus game can also be any game or video game offering the player increased participation and requiring physical skill, such as driving or race games; basketball, handball, and toss games; golf, tennis, baseball, racquetball, ping pong games; and target shooting, marksmanship, first person shooter games, Space Invader-like video games, and carnival-type shooting games. Bonus games requiring physical skills may also require mental dexterity. Combinations of the example games can also be used.

[0086] While the embodiments of the invention disclosed herein are presently considered to be preferred, various changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is indicated in the appended claims, and all changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalents are intended to be embraced therein.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationG07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3267, G07F17/32, G07F17/3244
European ClassificationG07F17/32M4, G07F17/32K, G07F17/32