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Publication numberUS20040053679 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/245,195
Publication dateMar 18, 2004
Filing dateSep 16, 2002
Priority dateSep 16, 2002
Publication number10245195, 245195, US 2004/0053679 A1, US 2004/053679 A1, US 20040053679 A1, US 20040053679A1, US 2004053679 A1, US 2004053679A1, US-A1-20040053679, US-A1-2004053679, US2004/0053679A1, US2004/053679A1, US20040053679 A1, US20040053679A1, US2004053679 A1, US2004053679A1
InventorsJames Getz, Shunichi Fujita, Simon Hayag, Lei Pi, John Schmitz, Kazuhiro Senoo, Sean Turner
Original AssigneeJames Getz, Shunichi Fujita, Simon Hayag, Lei Pi, Schmitz John G., Kazuhiro Senoo, Sean Turner
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine and method having a bonus game
US 20040053679 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine and a method for playing a game includes a base game and a bonus game. The gaming machine includes a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game and a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player. An occurrence of a triggering event is detected during the base game, and responsively the bonus game is entered. The triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game element appearing on the display during the base game. A bonus is awarded to the player during the bonus game.
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Claims(74)
What is claimed is:
1. A gaming machine for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game; and,
a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively entering the bonus game, where the triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game element appearing on the display during the base game, and for prompting the player to select one of the bonus game elements in response to the triggering event, randomly determining a bonus game multiplier in response to selection of one of the bonus game elements, and awarding the player a bonus as a function of the bonus game multiplier.
2. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers, where the controller selects the randomly determined bonus game multiplier from one of the pay tables.
3. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 2, wherein each pay table has an associated probability associated with each of the plurality of bonus game multipliers.
4. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 2, wherein each pay table corresponds to an actual number of bonus game elements on the display.
5. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 4, wherein each pay table has a probability associated with the randomly determined bonus game multiplier.
6. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the randomly determined bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
7. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the randomly determined bonus game multiplier.
8. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the bonus game element is a representation of a snow globe.
9. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the triggering event is defined as one of three, four, and five bonus game elements appearing on the display in the base game.
10. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 9, including first, second and third pay tables associated with three, four, and five bonus game elements, respectively, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers.
11. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 10, wherein each pay table has an associated probability associated with each of the plurality of bonus game multipliers.
12. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 11, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the randomly determined bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
13. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 11, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the randomly determined bonus game multiplier.
14. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the randomly determined bonus game multiplier is assigned to the selected one of the bonus game elements when the bonus game is entered.
15. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 1, wherein the bonus game multiplier is assigned to the selected one of the bonus game elements when the selected one of the bonus game elements is selected.
16. A gaming machine for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game; and,
a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event, where the triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game elements appearing on an active pay-line during the base game, and for displaying a plurality of bonus game items, prompting the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items, randomly determining a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items, and awarding the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.
17. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 16, wherein each of the selected bonus game items has an associated bonus game multiplier and the total bonus game multiplier is the sum of the bonus game multiplier associated with of the selected bonus game items.
18. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 16, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers.
19. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 18, wherein each pay table has a probability associated with each bonus game multiplier.
20. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 16, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the total bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
21. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 16, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the total bonus game multiplier.
22. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 16, wherein the bonus game has a shopping mall theme.
23. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 22, wherein the bonus game element is a representation of a shopping mall.
24. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 23, wherein the bonus game item is a star associated with a store in a shopping mall.
25. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 23, wherein the bonus game item is a store in a shopping mall.
26. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 16, wherein the triggering event is defined as three bonus game elements appearing in a first three of cells of the active pay line.
27. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 16, where the bonus is determined is a function of first and second pay tables, each pay table having an associate probability.
28. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 27, where the first pay table has a probability of two-thirds and the second pay table has a probability of one-third.
29. A gaming machine for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game; and,
a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event, the bonus game having a shopping mall theme, the triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game element appearing on an active pay-line during the base game, the bonus game element having a representation of a shopping mall, and for displaying a plurality of bonus game items, prompting the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items, randomly determining a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items, and awarding the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier, each of the bonus game items being associated with a store in a shopping mall.
30. A gaming machine for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game and the bonus game; and,
a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event, where the triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game element appearing on an active pay-line during the base game, and for displaying a plurality of bonus game items, prompting the player to select one of the bonus game items, and randomly determining a number of swings in response to selection of one of the bonus game items and for displaying a plurality of pin atas on the display, randomly selecting a number of the piñata, each piñata having an associated bonus game multiplier, the number of selected piñata being equal to the randomly determined number of swings, and, for determining a total bonus game multiplier as a function of the bonus game multiplier associated with each of the selected piñata and awarding a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.
31. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 30, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers.
32. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 31, wherein each pay table has a probability associated with each bonus game multiplier.
33. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 30, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the total bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
34. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 30, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the total bonus game multiplier.
35. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 30, wherein the bonus game items include a golf club, a maraca, and a guitar.
36. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 30, wherein the number of swings is one of two, three, and four swings.
37. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 30, wherein the triggering event is defined as three bonus game elements appearing in a last three of cells of the active pay line.
38. A method for operating a gaming machine for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game;
identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game;
responsively entering the bonus game;
prompting the player to select one of the bonus game elements in response to the triggering event;
randomly determining a bonus game multiplier in response to selection of one of the bonus game elements; and,
awarding the player a bonus as a function of the bonus game multiplier.
39. The method, as set forth in claim 38, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers, and wherein the randomly determined bonus game multiplier is selected from one of the pay tables.
40. The method, as set forth in claim 39, wherein each pay table has an associated probability associated with each of the plurality of bonus game multipliers.
41. The method, as set forth in claim 39, wherein each pay table corresponds to an actual number of bonus game elements on the display.
42. The method, as set forth in claim 41, wherein each pay table has a probability associated with the randomly determined bonus game multiplier.
43. The method, as set forth in claim 38, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the randomly determined bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
44. The method, as set forth in claim 38, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the randomly determined bonus game multiplier.
45. The method, as set forth in claim 38, wherein the bonus game element is a representation of a snow globe.
46. The method, as set forth in claim 38, wherein the triggering event is defined as one of three, four, and five bonus game elements appearing on the display in the base game.
47. The method, as set forth in claim 46, including first, second and third pay tables associated with three, four, and five bonus game elements, respectively, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers.
48. The method, as set forth in claim 47, wherein each pay table has an associated probability associated with each of the plurality of bonus game multipliers.
49. The method, as set forth in claim 48, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the randomly determined bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
50. The method, as set forth in claim 48, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the randomly determined bonus game multiplier.
51. The method, as set forth in claim 38, wherein the randomly determined bonus game multiplier is assigned to the selected one of the bonus game elements when the bonus game is entered.
52. The method, as set forth in claim 38, wherein the bonus game multiplier is assigned to the selected one of the bonus game elements when the selected one of the bonus game elements is selected.
53. A method for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game;
identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game;
entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event;
displaying a plurality of bonus game items;
prompting the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items;
randomly determining a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items; and,
awarding the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.
54. The method, as set forth in claim 53, wherein each of the selected bonus game items has an associated bonus game multiplier and the total bonus game multiplier is the sum of the bonus game multiplier associated with of the selected bonus game items.
55. The method, as set forth in claim 53, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers.
56. The method, as set forth in claim 55, wherein each pay table has a probability associated with each bonus game multiplier.
57. The method, as set forth in claim 53, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the total bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
58. The method, as set forth in claim 53, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the total bonus game multiplier.
59. The method, as set forth in claim 53, wherein the bonus game has a shopping mall theme.
60. The method, as set forth in claim 53, wherein the bonus game element is a representation of a shopping mall.
61. The method, as set forth in claim 60, wherein the bonus game item is a star associated with a store in a shopping mall.
62. The method, as set forth in claim 60, wherein the bonus game item is a store in a shopping mall.
63. The method, as set forth in claim 53, wherein the triggering event is defined as three bonus game elements appearing in a first three of cells of the active pay line.
64. The method, as set forth in claim 53, where the bonus is determined is a function of first and second pay tables, each pay table having an associate probability.
65. The gaming machine, as set forth in claim 64, where the first pay table has a probability of two-thirds and the second pay table has a probability of one-third.
66. A method for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
displaying a plurality of game elements on a display during the base game;
identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game;
responsively entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event, the bonus game having a shopping mall theme, the triggering event being defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game element appearing on an active pay-line during the base game, the bonus game element having a representation of a shopping mall;
displaying a plurality of bonus game items;
prompting the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items;
randomly determining a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items; and,
awarding the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier, each of the bonus game items being associated with a store in a shopping mall.
67. A method for playing a game, the game having a base game and a bonus game, comprising:
displaying a plurality of game elements on a display during the base game;
identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game;
responsively entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event;
displaying a plurality of bonus game items;
prompting the player to select one of the bonus game items;
randomly determining a number of swings in response to selection of one of the bonus game items;
displaying a plurality of piñatas on the display;
randomly selecting a number of the piñatas, each piñata having an associated bonus game multiplier, the number of selected piñatas being equal to the randomly determined number of swings; and,
determining a total bonus game multiplier as a function of the bonus game multiplier associated with each of the selected piñata and awarding a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.
68. The method, as set forth in claim 67, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers.
69. The method, as set forth in claim 68, wherein each pay table has a probability associated with each bonus game multiplier.
70. The method, as set forth in claim 67, wherein the bonus is determined as a function of the total bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player.
71. The method, as set forth in claim 67, wherein the bonus is equal to a number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the total bonus game multiplier.
72. The method, as set forth in claim 67, wherein the bonus game items include a golf club, a maraca, and a guitar.
73. The method, as set forth in claim 67, wherein the number of swings is one of two, three, and four swings.
74. The method, as set forth in claim 67, wherein the triggering event is defined as three bonus game elements appearing in a last three of cells of the active pay line.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The subject invention relates to gaming machines, and more particularly, to a gaming machine having a bonus game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Electro-mechanical slot machines are well known in the art. Mechanical reels include symbols on their reel strips and are driven by stepper motors to rotate and stop, thereby presenting symbol combinations on one or more pay lines. Depending on the pay line(s) symbol combinations, the player has one or more winning combinations or losing combinations. For winning combinations, the player receives an award based upon an established pay schedule (referred to as the “pay table”).

[0003] Modernly it has been known to provide a secondary bonus screen for electromechanical slot machines, embodied, for example, as a plasma screen disposed apart from the game display. Based upon a triggering event, the bonus screen selects a bonus for the player.

[0004] In addition to the electromechanical slot machines, video slot machines are well known and are quite popular with players. In a basic form, the player makes a wager to play the game and enables one or more pay lines on a video display. Upon prompting play, a processor selects and displays game symbols on the display in a matrix form. The symbols on any enabled (selected) pay line are compared to the established pay table of winning outcomes to determine if a winning or a losing outcome have been obtained. Where a winning outcome is obtained the player receives an award based upon an established pay table for the game. The player then makes another wager, enables one or more pay lines and plays another game (often referred to as a “hand” or “spin”).

[0005] In either the electromechanical or video slot machine games, it is known to provide the player with a predetermined number of free games or spins, without requiring a new wager, based on one or more triggering outcomes. These are generally known as bonus games.

[0006] To make such video games more entertaining, it is known to provide certain configurations of bonuses. The bonus may be triggered by a certain combination of symbols on a pay line or scattered on the display (a “scatter” bonus) during the play of the base game. It is also known to provide secondary screens for issuing a bonus. That is, when the player obtains a certain, predetermined outcome during play of the base game, the game processor displays a secondary screen where the player can select from certain options to obtain the bonus. For example, in one game, the player selects, via a touch-screen from between several displayed “pigs”, the selected pig, in an animated fashion, revealing the bonus. The bonus can be a fixed amount, usually a function of the amount wagered, or a multiplier, which is multiplied by the amount wagered to determine the amount won.

[0007] Many of these games are themed and the symbols and bonuses are configured to be consistent with the theme of the game.

[0008] The bonus game is designed to attract and retain a player's attention and thus increase the amount of time spent at a particular game. New games are continuously being produced, while older games are being replaced. Thus, to extend the life of a game, the bonus game must be able to grab a player's attention and to keep the player interested over a longer period of time.

[0009] The present invention is aimed at one or more of the problems identified above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] In a first aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine for playing a game is provided. The game includes a base game and a bonus game. The gaming machine includes a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game and a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player. The controller further identifies an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively enters the bonus game. The controller further prompts the player to select one of the bonus game elements in response to the triggering event, randomly determines a bonus game multiplier in response to selection of one of the bonus game elements, and awards the player a bonus as a function of the bonus game multiplier.

[0011] In a second aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine for playing a game having a base game and a bonus game is provided. The gaming machine includes a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game and a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player. The controller identifies an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively enters the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event. The controller furthers displays a plurality of bonus game items, prompts the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items, randomly determines a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items, and awards the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.

[0012] In a third aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine for playing a game having a base game and a bonus game is provided. The gaming machine includes a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game and a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player. The controller identifies an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game and enters the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event. The bonus game has a shopping mall theme. The bonus game element is a representation of a shopping mall. The controller further displays a plurality of bonus game items, prompts the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items, randomly determines a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items, and awards the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier, each of the bonus game items being associated with a store in a shopping mall.

[0013] In a fourth aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine for playing a game having a base game and a bonus game is provided. The gaming machine includes a display for displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game and the bonus game and a controller, coupled to the display, for controlling the display during the base game and the bonus game as a function of input by a player. The controller identifies an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game and responsively enters the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event. The controller further displays a plurality of bonus game items, prompts the player to select one of the bonus game items, and randomly determines a number of swings in response to selection of one of the bonus game items. The controller also displays a plurality of piñatas on the display and randomly selects a number of the piñatas. Each piñata has an associated bonus game multiplier. The number of selected piñata is equal to the randomly determined number of swings. The controller further determines a total bonus game multiplier as a function of the bonus game multiplier associated with each of the selected piñata and awards a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.

[0014] In a fifth aspect of the present invention, a method for operating a gaming machine for playing a game having a base game and a bonus game is provided. The method includes the steps of displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively entering the bonus game. The method also includes the steps of prompting the player to select one of the bonus game elements in response to the triggering event, randomly determining a bonus game multiplier in response to selection of one of the bonus game elements, and awarding the player a bonus as a function of the bonus game multiplier.

[0015] In a sixth aspect of the present invention, a method for operating a gaming machine for playing a game having a base game and a bonus game is provided. The method includes the steps of displaying a plurality of game elements during the base game, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event. The method also includes the steps of displaying a plurality of bonus game items, prompting the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items, randomly determining a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items, and awarding the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.

[0016] In a sixth aspect of the present invention, a method for operating a gaming machine for playing a game having a base game and a bonus game is provided. The method includes the steps of displaying a plurality of game elements on a display during the base game, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively entering the bonus game, having a shopping mall theme, upon the occurrence of the triggering event. The method also includes the steps of displaying a plurality of bonus game items, prompting the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items, randomly determining a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items, and awarding the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier. Each of the bonus game items is associated with a store in a shopping mall.

[0017] In an eighth aspect of the present invention, a method for operating a gaming machine for playing a game having a base game and a bonus game is provided. The method includes the steps of displaying a plurality of game elements on a display during the base game, identifying an occurrence of a triggering event during the base game, and responsively entering the bonus game upon the occurrence of the triggering event. The method also includes the steps of displaying a plurality of bonus game items, prompting the player to select one of the bonus game items, and randomly determining a number of swings in response to selection of one of the bonus game items. The method further includes the steps of displaying a plurality of piñatas on the display and randomly selecting a number of the piñatas. Each piñata has an associated bonus game multiplier. The number of selected piñatas being equal to the randomly determined number of swings. The method includes the steps of determining a total bonus game multiplier as a function of the bonus game multiplier associated with each of the selected piñatas and awarding a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0019]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine;

[0020]FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the game machine of FIG. 1.

[0021]FIG. 3 is a display of a grid of cells during a normal random display;

[0022]FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic illustration of the game elements used in an embodiment of the present invention;

[0023]FIG. 5 is a display of the grid having a bonus trigger combination for a first bonus game appearing within the cells, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 6 is a flow diagram of a method for operating a gaming machine, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0025]FIG. 7 is a display of the grid having a bonus trigger combination for a second bonus game appearing within the cells, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0026]FIG. 8 is a diagrammatic illustration of a screen used in the second bonus game, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0027]FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of a method for operating a gaming machine, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0028]FIG. 10 is a display of the grid having a bonus trigger combination for a third bonus game appearing within the cells, according to an embodiment of the present invention;

[0029]FIG. 11 is a diagrammatic illustration of a screen used in the third bonus game, according to an embodiment of the present invention; and,

[0030]FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method for operating a gaming machine, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT

[0031] With reference to the drawings and in operation, a gaming machine 10 is depicted in FIG. 1, which may be used to implement a base game and a bonus game, according to an embodiment of the present invention. For example, the gaming machine 10 may be any slot machine having traditional reels with elements capable of performing the subject invention, where the bonus game is implemented and displayed using a separate video screen. In another embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is a video slot machine which displays the base game and the bonus game on a single display (see below). The gaming machine 10 may also be implemented using any suitable type of entertainment device for personal use or for playing through the internet, such as a desktop computer, a notebook or mobile computer, or a personal digital assistant (PDA).

[0032] While the following description is directed towards a casino gaming apparatus in the form of a slot machine, where monetary units or their equivalent, such as accumulated gaming credits, are wagered and won, it should be understood that the method can be practiced as a novelty game where fictitious gaming credits are wagered and won.

[0033] The gaming machine 10 includes a video display 12 for displaying screens or screens and combinations of game elements (see below) during the base game and bonus games. In one embodiment, the video display 12 is a touch screen cathode ray tube (CRT) display, but other types of displays may be used, such as dot matrix, LED, liquid crystal displays (LCD), electro-luminescent displays or generally any suitable display.

[0034] The display 12 is within a housing 14 which includes various components including a wager accepting device 16, of a type known in the art, and a pay out device 18 of the type generally known in the art. In one embodiment, the display 12 is a touch-screen device which also provides means for the player to control the play of the game. Additionally, or alternatively, the game machine 10 may include any suitable input means, such as game control buttons, keyboard, mouse or the like.

[0035] In one aspect of the present invention, the wager accepting device 16, as is known in the art, includes one or more of a token/coin acceptor, cash validator and acceptor, credit/debit card reader, or other suitable means for a player to make wagers to play the game. The pay out device 18, as is known in the art, may be embodied as a hopper to receive and dispense coins/tokens, means for accumulating game play credits, a device for writing to a credit voucher, credit card device or the like.

[0036] In an illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is adapted to play a game entitled “Winny™”, which has a theme based around the title character, Winny™. The Winny™ game includes a base game and a bonus game, as described below. However, it should be noted that the gaming machine 10 may be adapted to implement other games having different themes, in accordance with the present invention.

[0037] With reference to FIG. 2, the gaming machine 10 includes a controller 20 which controls the display 12 and the play of the game in response to input from a player. In one embodiment, the controller 20 includes a microprocessor based central processing unit or CPU 22 and a first data structure 24. In one embodiment, the first data structure 24 may be embodied as any suitable memory device including a random access memory (RAM), an EEPROM, compact disk, flash card or compact flash card, and/or other suitable memory device. As shown, the display 12, wager accepting device 16, and the pay out device 18 are coupled to the central process unit 22.

[0038] During the base game, the controller 20 working in conjunction with the wager accepting device 16, detects when a player has inserted a number of coins or credits. Then the controller 20 operates to execute the base game in accordance with a base game program stored in the first data structure 24.

[0039] With reference to FIG. 3, in the illustrated embodiment, as discussed above, the present invention may be embodied in a game entitled, “Winny™”. Winny™ is a five-reel slot game with 9 pay-lines. Each reel includes three positions.

[0040] As discussed above, the display 12 is a touch screen display. A game play area 26 is displayed during the base game which game elements, displays and screens for pay are displayed as well as areas to impart information to the player during play and for the player to input data to the controller 20 (FIG. 2). Certain of these areas are allocated for display purposes only and do not provide for touch screen input to the controller 20. For example, a credit area 28 displays the total amount of accumulated credits for play of the game, a total bet area 30 displays the total amount of a player's current wager, a won area 32 displays the total amount won for the hand or spin of the game and a pay area 34 displays the corresponding amount paid to the player in coins, tokens, or credits, for a winning outcome in the base or bonus games (see below).

[0041] Additionally, a select lines area 36 displays the number of enabled pay lines being played by the player and a bet per line area 38 displays the amount of credits wagered per enabled pay line. In one embodiment, the select lines area 36 and the bet per line area 38 are touch screen button, which when actuated, toggle through the select line and bet per line options, respectively.

[0042] In addition to the foregoing areas, certain portions of the game play area 26 define input buttons for inputting information to the controller 20 for controlling the game (FIG. 2). Actuation of a pay table button 40 displays various information to the player related to the various winning outcomes and the pay or award for each. Actuation of a help button 42 displays various help information to the player, such as game instructions. Actuation of a cash out button 44 results in the issuance of the amount of accumulated credits amassed during the game to the player. Other action and control buttons may be provided as is known in the art.

[0043] The controller is configured to display in the game play area 26, a primary game matrix 46 of coordinates shown for purposes of this description as a three-by-five matrix 46. During play, game elements (as described below) are selected and displayed in each coordinate of the matrix 46. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the matrix 46 may be displayed in a fashion of five simulated slot machine reels 48A, 48B, 48C, 48D, and 48E which correspond to the five columns of the matrix 46. Each reel 48A-48E includes three coordinates defining the game matrix 46.

[0044] When play of the (base) game is prompted by the player touching a spin button or maximum bet button 15 (in FIG. 1), the controller 20 (FIG. 2) selects and displays data from the first data structure 24 (FIG. 2) representing various game elements to be displayed to define one or more outcomes for the play of a game hand or spin. The selection of the game elements is based, for a casino game, upon a random number generator (RNG). Game element data is stored and/or selected based upon a predetermined distribution such that each game element has a predetermined statistical probability of being selected as is known in the art. When the game elements are selected they are displayed in the coordinates of the matrix 46. The controller 20 (FIG. 2) may be configured to simulate rotation of the reels 48A-48E in advance of the display of the game elements.

[0045] As shown in FIG. 3, the controller 20 (FIG. 2) is configured to display various pay lines 47 for the matrix 46. As is know, the game may include ten or more or less pay lines. Generally, the pay lines include horizontal and/or diagonal line segments having a single coordinate per each reel 48A-48E. In a manner known in the art, the display 12 may be configured to display either or both the selected pay lines and the number of credits wagered per line. During the base game, an award is given to the player when predetermined winning combinations of the game elements 50 appear on an enabled pay line, in a manner well-known in the art.

[0046] With reference to FIG. 4, the first data structure 24 (FIG. 2) includes data representing the plurality of game elements 50, which in the illustrated embodiment, includes elements 50A-50M. The random number generator and the first data structure 24 (FIG. 2) cooperate to provide for the random selection and assignment of the game elements 50 into the coordinates of the game matrix 46 for the base game to define, along each player enabled pay line, a winning or losing outcome. Based upon the distribution of the game elements 50 in the first data structure 24 (FIG. 2), each predetermined winning combination has a predetermined, statistical probability of being selected as well as an assigned pay (award) for each to define the overall pay, or conversely “hold”, for the game. If a player obtains a winning symbol combination on one or more enabled pay lines, the controller 20 (FIG. 2) issues a base game award in the form of credits, tokens, coins, or the like.

[0047] In addition to the base game, in the present embodiment of the game machine 10, three bonus games are provided. Each bonus game is entered when a predetermined, corresponding triggering event occurs during the base game. Generally, one or more game elements 50 or combinations of game elements 50 are defined as triggering event. For example, one type of triggering event is known as a “scatter bonus” or “scatter pay”. A scatter bonus is typically defined as the occurrence of a predetermined number, e.g., three, of one of the game elements 50 anywhere on game matrix 46. Another type of triggering event is defined as the occurrence of a predetermined number of one of the game elements 50 in predetermined locations on a pay line or pay lines, e.g., the pay lines enabled by the player.

[0048] The first bonus game is entered when a first predetermined triggering event occurs. During the base game, the controller 20 identifies an occurrence of the first triggering event during the base game and responsively enters the first bonus game. The first triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game element, e.g., 50F, appearing on the display 12 during the base game. The controller 20 prompts the player to select one of the bonus game elements 50F in response to the triggering event, randomly determines a bonus game multiplier in response to selection of one of the bonus game elements, and awards the playing a bonus as a function of the bonus game multiplier.

[0049] With reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, an example of the first bonus game, as implemented in the Winny™ game, is illustrated. In FIG. 5, an example of a first triggering event or first bonus game triggering event, is defined as the occurrence of at least a predetermined number, e.g., 3, of a “snow globe” game element 50F in any of the cells of the matrix 46. It should be noted that although the snow globe elements 50F are shown on a horizontal pay line, the first triggering event in the illustrated embodiment, is a scatter trigger, i.e., the first bonus game is triggered when a predetermined number (or more) of the snow globe element 50F occur in any cell. When the first triggering event occurs, the snow globe game elements 50F are animated to signify entering the first bonus game.

[0050] In one embodiment, the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables. Each pay table corresponds to the actual number of bonus game elements on the display. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the first bonus game is triggered when three, four, or five snow globe game elements 50F appear during the base game. The game includes first, second, and third pay tables corresponding to three, four, or five snow globe game elements 50F. Each pay table has a plurality of bonus game multipliers. The controller 20 randomly selects the randomly determined bonus game multiplier from the corresponding pay table. Within each pay table, each bonus game multiplier has an associated probability. For example, each pay table may include three to five possible bonus multipliers each with an equal probability. An example pay table is shown below.

TABLE 1
Number of Snow Globe
Game Elements 3 4 5
First Globe Multiplier 2 3 20
Second Globe Multiplier 3 4 35
Third Globe Multiplier 4 5 50
Fourth Globe Multiplier 8 65
Fifth Globe Multiplier 80

[0051] The bonus is determined as a function of the randomly determined bonus game multiplier and the number of credits wagered by the player. For example, the bonus may be equal to the number of credits wagered by the player multiplied by the randomly determined bonus game multiplier.

[0052] In one embodiment, when the first bonus game is entered, the corresponding pay table is selected (based on the actual number of snow globe game elements 50F) and each bonus game multiplier in the corresponding pay table is assigned to one of the snow globe game elements 50F. In another embodiment when the first bonus game is entered, the corresponding pay table is selected (based on the actual number of snow globe game elements 50F). When the player selects one of the snow globe game elements SOF, a bonus game multiplier from the corresponding table is randomly selected.

[0053] With reference to FIG. 6, a method 52, according to an embodiment of the present invention, operates a gaming machine 10 for playing a game. The game includes a base game and a bonus game. In a first process step 54, a plurality of game elements 50 are displayed during the base game. In a decision step 56, if the first triggering event has occurred, i.e., 3 or more snow globe game elements 50F, then the game proceeds to a second process step 58. If the first triggering event has not occurred then the game proceeds back to the first process step 54.

[0054] In the second process step 58, the first bonus game is entered. In a third process step 60, the player is prompted to select one of the bonus game elements in response to the first triggering event. In a fourth process step 62, a bonus game multiplier is randomly determined in response to selection of the bonus game element. In a fifth process step 64, the player is awarded a bonus as a function of the bonus game multiplier.

[0055] The second bonus game is entered when a second predetermined triggering event occurs. During the base game, the controller 20 identifies an occurrence of the second triggering event and responsively enters the second bonus game. The second triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of a bonus game element appearing on the display 12 during the base game. The controller 20 displays a plurality of bonus game items on the display 12, prompts the player to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items, randomly determines a total bonus game multiplier in response to selection of the predetermined number of bonus game items, and awards the player a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.

[0056] In one embodiment, each of the selected bonus game items has an associated bonus game multiplier and the total bonus game multiplier is the sum of the bonus game multiplier associated with of the selected bonus game items.

[0057] In one embodiment, the bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables. Each pay table includes a plurality of bonus game multipliers. Each bonus game multiplier has an associated probability. For example, each pay table may include seven possible bonus game multipliers, each having a probability of one-seventh.

[0058] In one embodiment, the second bonus game has first and second pay tables. The first pay table has a probability of two-thirds and the second pay table has a probability of one-third. When the second bonus game is entered, one of the first and second pay tables is randomly selected. In one embodiment, after the one pay table is selected each of the possible bonus game multipliers is randomly assigned to one of the bonus game items. In another embodiment, one of the possible bonus game multipliers is randomly selected after the player selects one of the bonus game items. In the latter embodiment, after a bonus game multiplier has been selected and assigned to a player selected bonus game item, it becomes unavailable for future selected bonus game items.

[0059] The total bonus game multiplier is the sum of the bonus game multiplier assigned to each selected bonus game item. In one embodiment, the bonus is determined as a function of the total bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player. For example, the bonus may be equal to the number of credits wagered by the player on the winning pay line multiplied by the total bonus game multiplier.

[0060] With reference to FIGS. 7, 8 and 9, an example of the second bonus game is illustrated. In the illustrated embodiment, the second bonus game has a shopping mall theme. Each bonus game element is a representation of a shopping mall logo 50G. As shown below, the bonus game item is a star 72A-72G associated with a store in a shopping mall or a store within the shopping mall 70A-70G.

[0061] With particular reference to FIG. 7, an example of the second triggering event, as implemented in the Winny™ game, is defined as the occurrence of a predetermined game element, a “Game Town Mall” game element 50G, in the first three positions of a selected pay line.

[0062] With particular reference to FIG. 8, after the second triggering event occurs, a second bonus game screen 66 is displayed in the game screen area 26. The second bonus game screen 66 depicts a shopping mall 67 with seven stores 70, a first store 70A, a second store 70B, a third store 70C, a fourth store 70D, a fifth store 70E, a sixth store 70F, and a seventh store 70G. Each store 70 has a corresponding bonus game item 72A-72G, which in the illustrated embodiment is depicted as a star. The second bonus game features the title character of the game, “Winny™”, depicted at 68. The player is prompted to select three of the stores 70 or stars 72. After the player selects a store 70 or a star 72, Winny 68 is animated to perform a dance and a bonus game multiplier is awarded. After the player has selected three stars 72 or stores 70, the player is awarded a bonus as a function of the bonus game multipliers corresponding to each of the selected stores 70 or stars 72.

[0063] With reference to FIG. 9, a method 74, according to an embodiment of the present invention, operates a gaming machine 10 for playing a game. The game includes a base game and a bonus game. In a first process step 76, a plurality of game elements 50 are displayed during the base game. In a decision step 78, if the second bonus game triggering event has occurred, e.g., 3 or more game town mall symbols 50G, then the game proceeds to a second process step 80. If the second bonus game triggering event has not occurred then the game proceeds back to the first process step 76.

[0064] In the second process step 80, the second bonus game is entered. In a third process step 82, a plurality of bonus game items 70A-70M are displayed. In a fourth process step 84, the player is prompted to select a predetermined number of the bonus game items. A total bonus game multiplier is randomly determined in response to selection of the bonus game elements in a fifth process step 86. In a sixth process step 88, the player is awarded a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.

[0065] The third bonus game is entered when a third predetermined triggering event occurs and includes a piñata theme. During the base game, the controller 20 identifies an occurrence of the third triggering event and responsively enters the third bonus game. The third triggering event is defined by a predetermined number of bonus game elements appearing on the display 12 during the base game.

[0066] The controller 20 displays a plurality of bonus game items, prompts the player to select one of the bonus game items, and randomly determines a number of swings in response to selection of one of the bonus game items and for displaying a plurality of piñatas on the display and randomly selecting a number of the piñata. Each piñata has an associated bonus game multiplier. The number of selected piñatas being equal to the randomly determined number of swings. The controller 20 determines a total bonus game multiplier as a function of the bonus game multiplier associated with each of the selected piñatas and awards a bonus as a function of the total bonus game multiplier.

[0067] The bonus is determined as a function of a plurality of pay tables, each pay table having a plurality of bonus game multipliers. Each pay table has a probability associated with each bonus game multiplier.

[0068] In one embodiment, the number of swings at the piñatas is one of two, three and four swings. When the third bonus game is entered, the number of swings (two, three, or four) is randomly selected. The third bonus game has first, second, and third pay tables, corresponding to two, three, or four swings. Each pay table has a plurality of possible multipliers, e.g., eight multipliers. Each of the possible multipliers has an associated probability, e.g., one-eighth.

[0069] In one embodiment, after the number of swings is randomly selected each of the piñatas is randomly assigned one of the possible bonus game multipliers. In another embodiment, one of the possible bonus game multipliers is randomly selected after the player selects one of the piñata. In the latter embodiment, after a bonus game multiplier has been selected and assigned to a player selected bonus game item, it becomes unavailable for future selected bonus game items.

[0070] The total bonus game multiplier is the sum of the bonus game multipliers associated with each of the selected piñatas. The bonus is determined as a function of the total bonus game multiplier and a number of credits wagered by the player, e.g., the bonus may be equal to a number of credits wagered by the player on a winning pay line multiplied by the total bonus game multiplier.

[0071] With particular reference to FIG. 10, an example of the third triggering event, as implemented in the Winny™ game, is defined as the occurrence of a predetermined game element, a “Swatta Piñata” game element 501, in the last three positions of a selected pay line.

[0072] After the third triggering event occurs, the player is presented with three game items: a golf club, a maraca, and a guitar (not shown). The player is then prompted to chose one of the items, in this example, a golf club. With particular reference to FIG. 11, after the player chooses one of the items, third bonus game screen 74 is displayed in the game screen area 26. The third bonus game screen 74 depicts Winny™ and a plurality of piñatas 78. Winny™ 68 is holding the chosen item, shown as a golf club 76. In the Winny™ game there are eight piñatas, however, seven of which, labeled 78A-78G, are shown in FIG. 11. A sign 80 is also represented which indicates how many swings or “swats” are remaining. A counter 82 is also shown which includes a running count of the total bonus multiplier. In the illustrated example, Winny™ 68 started with 4 swats and has three remaining. With each swat, Winny 68 is animated and swings at a random piñata 78. The player is awarded the bonus multiplier associated with the randomly selected piñata 78. The bonus multiplier is then added to the previous total (starting at zero), which is displayed at 82. The sign 80 is then modified to indicate the remaining swings or swats. After Winny™ has used all of her swats, the player is awarded a bonus as a function of the total bonus multiplier.

[0073] With reference to FIG. 12, a method 84, according to an embodiment of the present invention, operates a gaming machine 10 for playing a game. The game includes a base game and a bonus game. In a first process step 86, a plurality of game elements 50 are displayed during the base game. In a decision step 88, if the third bonus game triggering event has occurred then the game proceeds to a second process step 90. If the third bonus game triggering event has not occurred then the game proceeds back to the first process step 86.

[0074] In the second process step 90, the third bonus game is entered. In a third process step 92, a plurality of bonus game items are displayed. In a fourth process step 94, the player is prompted to select one of the bonus game items and a number of swings is randomly determined in a fifth process step 96. In a sixth process step 98, a plurality of piñatas 78 are displayed. In this process step, an animated character swings the selected bonus item the randomly determined number of swings, breaking open a number of randomly selected piñata equal to the number of swings. In a seventh process step 100, a total bonus award is determined as a function of the bonus multiplier associated with each chosen piñata and the player is awarded a bonus as a function of the total bonus multiplier.

[0075] Other aspects, objects, and features of the present invention may be obtained from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationG07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3244, G07F17/32, G07F17/3267
European ClassificationG07F17/32M4, G07F17/32K, G07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 16, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GETZ, JAMES;FUJITA, SHUNICHI;HAYAG, SIMON;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:013308/0850
Effective date: 20020916