US 20040053680 A1
A game device and method are set forth where a bonus event includes at least one bonus level including a plurality of player choices to receive a bonus. For each choice there is displayed for the player, and prior to the player making their selection, the probabilities associated with the choice for obtaining a winning outcome, at least two of the choices having differently configured probabilities and awards inversely related to those probabilities.
1. An electronic device for a player to play a casino game of the type including a video display, apparatus for accepting a wager, apparatus for randomly selecting and presenting a base game outcome at the display representing combinations of game symbols, a processor configured to compare selected game symbol combinations to determine winning or losing combinations and to issue an award for obtaining a winning, base game combination, said device comprising;
said processor configured to detect an outcome including a bonus trigger and in response thereto provide a display of at least two bonus selections;
means for providing for each bonus selection a different, statistical chance of producing a winning outcome; and
said processor configured to control the display to display for each selection said statistical chance prior to selection by a player;
apparatus for a player to input a selection;
said processor configured to, in response to said player making a bonus selection, selecting and displaying one of a bonus winning or losing outcome according to said statistical chance of said selection; and
said processor configured to issue an award in response to a winning outcome.
2. The device of
3. The device of
4. The device of
5. The device of
6. The device of
7. The device
8. A method for playing a casino game of the type including providing a display, inputting a wager, randomly selecting and presenting a base game outcome at the display representing combinations of game symbols, providing a processor for comparing selected game symbol combinations to determine winning or losing combinations and for issuing an award for obtaining a winning, base game, combination, said method comprising;
configuring said processor to detect an outcome including a bonus trigger and in response thereto provide a display of at least two bonus selections;
providing for each bonus selection a different, statistical chance of producing a winning outcome and to display for each selection said statistical chance prior to selection by a player;
the player selecting one of said bonus selections;
configuring said processor to, in response to said player making a bonus selection, select and display one of a bonus winning or losing outcome according to said statistical chance of said selection; and
issuing an award for a winning outcome
9. The method of
10. The method of
 Turning to FIG. 1 there is shown a device 10 including a video, base game, display 12 for the apparatus and method game of the present invention. The display 12 may be embodied as a video, plasma or other electronic display 12 for a casino gaming device or computer monitor, where the game of the present invention is played for entertainment or over the Internet.
 While the following description is directed to a casino gaming apparatus 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.
 The display 12 is contained in a supporting housing 14 which includes the various components including a controlling computer processor 16 (including a random number generator) and wager accepting means of a type known in the art such as a coin acceptor, cash acceptor, script acceptor or the like. Associated with the processor 16 is a first data structure 18 which may be embodied as data stored in the processor hard drive memory, a read-only memory (ROM) or other data storage device as is known in the art. In an alternative optional embodiment the display 12 may communicate with a remotely located processor 16, such as at a remote server with the device 10 acting as a “smart” terminal. Preferably, the display 12 is embodied as a touch screen display which also provides means for the player to control the play of the game and input selections as hereinafter described. Alternatively, the play control means may be any suitable data input means such as game control buttons, keyboard, mouse or the like. For purposes of the following description, these data input means will be referred to as a touch screen display 12.
 The first data structure 18 stores data corresponding to base game symbols, a schedule of base game winning outcomes as well as awards for each winning outcome. Second through fourth data structures 20, 22 and 24 of the type suggested above, may also be provided to include data corresponding to first through third bonus level displays, and providing for each level a substantially predetermined statistical probability for the player to obtain a winning outcome as hereinafter described.
 To issue awards to the player, the device 10 includes a pay out apparatus which may be embodied as a hopper to receive coins/tokens and dispense the same into a tray, means for accumulating game play credits, apparatus for writing to a credit voucher, credit card device or the like as is known in the art.
 With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, the processor 16 controls the display 12 and play of the game of the method. For the player to control the action of the game method, the touch screen display 12 includes a game play area 26 where symbols, displays and screens for play are displayed as well as areas to impart information to the player and for the player to input data to the processor 16. Certain of these areas are allocated for display only and do not provide for touch screen input to the processor 16. For example, credit area 28 a on the display 12 displays the total amount of accumulated credits for play of the game. Select lines area 28 b (which does provide input to the processor 16) displays the number of enabled pay lines being played by the player and bet area 28 c (which also provides input to the processor 16 to incrementally increase the wager) displays the amount of credits wagered per enabled pay line whereas total area 28 d displays the total amount of the wager. Win area 28 e displays the total amount won for the hand or “spin” of the game and paid area 28 f shows the corresponding amount paid to the player in coins, tokens or credits, for a winning outcome and/or bonus as hereinafter described.
 In addition to the foregoing areas, certain portions of the display 12 define input buttons for inputting information to the processor 16 for controlling the game play action. Pay table button 30 a, if touched by the player, prompts the processor 16 to display the various winning outcomes and the pay for each. Help button 30 b prompts the processor 16 to display help information to the player such as game instructions. Cash out button 30 c, if touched, controls the processor 16 to issue the amount of accumulated credits amassed during the play of the game. Other action and control buttons may be provided as is known in the art.
 The processor 16 is configured to display in the game play area 26, a base game matrix 32 of coordinates shown for purposes of this description as a three-by-five matrix. During play of the method symbols are selected and displayed in each coordinate of the matrix 32. As shown in FIG. 2, the matrix 32 may be displayed in a fashion of five simulated slot machine reels defining the base game matrix 32. The device and method of the present invention apply to other game arrangements such as games having a 3×3 matrix or the like.
 When play of the game is prompted by the player touching a spin button or a maximum bet button (not shown), the processor 16 randomly selects and displays data from the first data structure 18, which stores data representing various symbols (or blanks) to be displayed, to define one or more outcomes for the play of a game hand. The selection of game symbols is based, for a casino game, upon a random number generator (RNG). Symbol data is stored and/or selected based upon a predetermined distribution such that each symbol has a predetermined, statistical probability of being selected as is known in the art. In most cases the symbols data is arranged in sets for each reel thus defining, for each reel, a statistical probability that the symbol will be selected and displayed. When the symbols are selected they are displayed in the coordinates of the matrix 32 to define the base game outcome.
 Cooperating with the matrix 32, the processor 16 is configured to display various pay lines for the matrix 32 grid as is known in the art. As is known, the device 10 and game may include nine (or more or less) pay lines embracing horizontal, diagonal reflecting and reflecting patterns each including five game symbols, e.g. five game coordinates, one from each reel. Markers 34 (FIG. 2) at the right and left hand margins of the game play area 26 of the display 12 may be displayed to indicate the enabled pay line(s) (not shown) or the amount wagered per each enabled pay line (not shown). As shown in the drawings, the display 12 for the base game includes nine pay lines.
 The first data structure 18 includes data representing a plurality of game symbols consistent with a theme for the game, shown in the drawings as a search for Egyptian treasure theme. The random number generator and first data structure 18 cooperate to provide for the random selection, assignment and display of game symbols into the coordinates of the game matrix 32 for the base game to define, along each player enabled pay line, a winning or losing outcome. Based upon the distribution of the game symbols in the first data structure 18, each predetermined winning combination on a pay line has a predetermined, statistical, probability of being selected as well as an assigned pay (award) for each to define the pay, or conversely “hold”, for the base game of the device 10. If a player obtains a winning symbol combination on one or more enabled (wagered upon) pay lines, the processor 16 issues a base game award to the player in the form of credits, coins, tokens or the like.
 In addition to line pays, the base game may also include what is known in the art as scatter pays. One or more game symbols may be designated as scatter pay symbols. In the event a spin of the game results in the selection of, for example, two or more scatter symbols anywhere in the game matrix, the player is issued an award.
 One or more game symbols or symbol combinations are defined as bonus triggers for the device 10 and method of the present invention. For example, data representing the display of one or more first bonus triggers symbols or combinations of base game symbols along any enabled pay line or scattered in the matrix 32 may be defined as the bonus trigger. As described below, when the processor 16 detects the selection and display of a bonus trigger combination, the processor 16 controls the display 12 to display the first level of a sequence of bonus displays prompting the player to make a section from displayed choices.
 Turning to the remaining FIGS. 3-12, the device 10 and method of the present invention will now be described. The following description shall assume that the player has obtained a bonus trigger outcome during play of the base game.
 Upon a bonus triggering outcome occurring the processor 16 initiates the first level of bonus play by controlling the display 12 to display, for example, the display of FIG. 3. The display of FIG. 3 presents to the player at least two choices, one of which will be a winning outcome and the other a losing outcome. According to the display, these choices are embodied at doors 36 a, b. The second data structure 20 is configured such that the processor 16 random number generator is utilized to randomly select data from the second data structure 20 to define which door 36 a, b is the winning selection. This may be done by simply having the random number generator select a number for a set having a predetermined distribution of winning door 36 a and winning door 36 b outcomes. According to the illustrative embodiment, the second data structure 20 and/or processor 16 is configured such that for each door 36 a, b, the probability that the selection will be a wining one is predetermined. That is, no matter which door 36 a, bthe player selects that door may have, for example, an 80% chance of being a winning outcome. The probabilities may be different as desired The chances for selection of the winning outcome at this level of the bonus are not known to or displayed for the player (but they could be if desired).
FIG. 4 is a display where the player has selected door 36 b (a losing selection). Upon the player selection by touching door 36 a, b, the processor 15 is prompted to display an outcome display. Where the player has made a losing selection for the first level, the processor 16 controls the display 12 to display the game character “Nigel” confronting a closed door 36 b. Where the player loses the first level, they may receive no bonus award or they may receive a consolation prize and the bonus event is over. FIG. 5 shows a display where the player has made a winning selection. When the player makes a first level winning selection, the processor 16 issues an award (in credits or as a multiplier of the total amount wagered for the base game which triggered the bonus) and controls the display 12 to display a bonus second level display (FIG. 6) presenting the player with additional bonus selections shown as tasking the player to correctly order three fanciful lids (Jackal, Hawk, Cat) from left-to-right on three jars. The processor 16, at level two, randomly selects the correct ordering from data stored in the third data structure 22. The processor 16 and/or third data structure 22 are configured to define for the player, a predetermined statistical probability that the player will select a winning ordering. For ordering, the possible orders of placement of the lids on the jars (numbered 1, 2 and 3 from left-to-right) are as follows:
 If any two possible matching sequences are randomly selected, this produces a one-in-three (2/6) or 33.33% chance that the player will put the lids in the correct order. The one in three probability is not be displayed for the player (but could be if desired). If the player incorrectly orders the lids on the jars, they lose the second level (but may be awarded a consolation prize), and all awards won from the level one and level two of the bonus are awarded and the player is returned to the base game. If the player correctly orders the lids from left-to-right, they are issued a second level award (credits or multiplier) in addition to the first level award from level one. The processor 16 controls the display 12 to display a second level winning outcome display as suggested by FIG. 7 showing the character Nigel celebrating. The processor 16 also controls the display 12 to display the bonus level three display offering the player additional choices, as shown in FIG. 8.
 With reference to FIG. 8, there are displayed four choices 38 a-d, illustrated as weapon choices to be used to fight the Mummy″ character. According to the present invention, each choice (weapon selection) has a predetermined, statistical probability of producing a winning outcome which is displayed to the player. The probabilities are different for at least two of the choices. There is also displayed with each choice the award available for obtaining a winning outcome. As shown the choices 38 a-d, chances for receiving a winning outcome and awards (multipliers) are set forth below,
 The multiplier award may be applied to the base game total wager (on all lines) or on the line wager.
 The assigned chances reflected above may be established by configuring the fourth data structure 24 and/or processor 16 such that the random number generator randomly selects a number from a universe of numbers and the selected number is mapped to a winning or losing outcome. The mapping would set forth a winning/losing geography which defines the desired, statistical chance for the random selection of a winning outcome as displayed.
 The player, based upon whether they want to play conservatively, may select the choice having the best chance of winning (but with a smaller award), or may play aggressively by choosing the choice with the least chance of winning but with the highest award. By displaying the chances of winning and the awards, the player has an option as how to play the bonus. Preferably, the awards offered are inversely related to the chances of winning. Thus the highest chance of winning produces the smallest award and the choice with the least chance of winning produces the highest award.
 Based upon the displayed chances of winning and the awards, the player makes their choice by touching the display 12 on the choice. The processor 16 in response to the player making a selection, controls the display 12 to display an outcome sequence representing the selected outcome. FIGS. 9-12 show some illustrative displays of the character Nigel fighting the character Mummy with the player chosen weapon. If the outcome selected is a winning outcome, the processor 16 controls the display 12 to display Nigel defeating the Mummy. If the outcome is a losing outcome the Mummy is shown defeating Nigel. If the outcome is a winning outcome the award is issued to the player for the bonuses accumulated through levels one through three and the player is returned to the base game to make another wager. If the outcome is a losing award the player may be awarded a consolation prize (or no prize) and the player is returned to the base game.
FIG. 13 illustrates the play of the game in a flowchart form. At 50 the player inputs their wager to play the base game and prompts play. A base game outcome is selected from the first data structure 18 by the random number generator 51. The processor 16 tests the randomly selected base game outcome at 52 to determine if the outcome includes a bonus trigger. If not, the outcome is tested at 54 to see if a winning base game outcome has been obtained. If so, at 56, an award is issued to the player and the player is returned to input another base game wager. If there is no winning base game outcome, the player is returned to input another base game wager.
 If at 52 the processor 16 senses a bonus trigger outcome, at 58 the processor 16 controls the display 12 to display the first level bonus selections and selects from the second data structure 20, employing a random number generator 40, which door 36 a, b is the winning outcome. The player, using the touch screen display 12, selects one of doors 36 a, b and at 62 the processor tests the selection, If the selection is a winning selection, at 64 the processor controls the display 12 to display a winning display and issue a first level bonus award. If the selection is incorrect, the bonus event is over and the player is returned to the base game.
 If the player has made the correct selection at the first level, the player moves on to the bonus, second level, selections. At 68 there is displayed at the display 12 the second level selection display for the player to arrange the jar lids. The processor 16, employing a random number generator 40 and third data structure 22, determines which order(s) of lids is a winning outcome. The player, using the touch screen display 12, selects the order of the lids. At 70 the processor 16 tests the order in comparison to the winning order. If the player selected ordering is correct, the processor 16 controls the display 12 to display a “win” display sequence and to issue an award at 71. At 72 the processor 16 also controls the display 12 to display the bonus level three selections as well as, for each, the chances of winning with that selection and the award to be won. If the player has mis-ordered the lids, the bonus event is over and the player is returned to the base game.
 At 72 the player selects the desired choice by touching the display 12 on the choice. The processor 16 employs the random number generator 40 and fourth data structure 24 to randomly select for that choice an outcome. At 74 the processor 16 tests the outcome and if it is a winning outcome controls the display 12 to display the award sequence of displays and issue the award to the player at 76. The player is then returned to the base game. If the outcome selected is a losing outcome, the bonus event is over and the player is returned to the base game.
 As suggested above, at any bonus level where the player has obtained a losing outcome and the bonus event is concluded, the player may receive a consolation prize of credits or a multiplier.
 The display of probabilities of success may be done for all bonus levels. Further, the device and method of the present invention may include a single bonus level where the probabilities are displayed on the manner described herein.
 While we have shown and described certain embodiments of the present invention, it should be understood that it is subject to many modifications and changes without departing from the spirit and scope of the appended claims. The game may have any theme, and bonuses can be in the form of fixed values, multipliers, or prizes. cm I claim
 These and other features and advantages will become appreciated as the same becomes understood with reference to the claims, description and drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 shows an example of a device for the play of the game method of the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows an example of a display of a base game outcome;
FIG. 3 shows a bonus first level display offering the player bonus selections;
FIG. 4 shows a display where the player has made a losing choice for the bonus first level;
FIG. 5 shows a display where the player has made a winning selection for the bonus first level;
FIG. 6. shows a display of the bonus second level providing for player selections;
FIG. 7 shows a display where the player has made a correct level two bonus selection;
FIG. 8 shows a display of the level three bonus selections as well as the win probability for each and the award for a winning outcome;
 FIGS. 9-12 show displays of various actions where the player has made a level three selection; and
FIG. 13 shows a logic diagram for the play of the game.
 The present invention relates to electronic gaming devices and methods using selected and displayed symbol combinations to determine winning and losing outcomes and where a bonus feature is provided and represented by various displays. More particularly it relates to such devices and methods which include at least one bonus feature where selections are provided having different and displayed probabilities of success and corresponding awards.
 Electro-mechanical slot machines are well known. Mechanical reels include symbols on their reel strips and are driven by stepper motors to rotate and stop presenting symbol combinations on one or more pay lines. Depending upon 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”).
 Modernly it has been known to provide a secondary bonus screen for electro-mechanical slot machines, embodied, for example, as a plasma screen disposed apart from the game display or as an electro-mechanical device or lit display. Based upon a triggering event, the bonus is randomly selected from a range of bonuses.
 In addition to the electro-mechanical 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 enabled pay line(s) are compared to the established pay table of winning outcomes to determine if a winning or a losing outcome has 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”).
 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 prize”) during the play of the base game. It is also known to provide secondary screens or devices for issuing a bonus. That is, when the player obtains a certain, predetermined outcome during play of the base game, the game processor controls the display to remove the base game matrix display and display a secondary screen where the player can select from certain options to obtain their bonus. Alternatively a secondary bonus device is activated to determine a bonus for the player. In such games, the bonuses issued are randomly selected from a range of bonus or multiplier awards.
 For any bonus award or player bonus selections, the processor, memory and/or random number generator are configured so that it is known (or can be be empirically determined) the probability of selection. Based upon the award for each selection and the determined probability, the contribution to the overall performance of the device can be determined. These parameters are constructed into the machine and remain, at least prior to selection of the award, undisclosed to the player. Thus the player does not have probability information to guide his/her bonus selections.
 There is a need for a game and device which provides probability of the chances of winning versus losing information to a player so that the player can make bonus decisions and selections based upon that information.
 There is also a need for a game and device where there are provided a plurality of choices, where each choice has a different, probability of resulting in a winning outcome and where the probabilities of obtaining a winning outcome are displayed to help the player make their choice.
 There is also a need, for the game and device above, to provide awards which are inversely related to the probabilities of obtaining a winning outcome whereby the player may decide to, with their choice(s) assume a higher risk of obtaining a losing outcome to receive a greater award.
 There is, therefore, set forth according to the present invention an electronic device and method having a theme and for playing a casino game of the type including a video display, apparatus for accepting a wager and an apparatus for randomly selecting and presenting a base game outcome at the display representing combinations of game symbols. A processor is configured to compare selected game symbol combinations to determine winning or losing combinations and to issue an award for obtaining a winning, base game combination. The device further includes configuring the processor to detect an outcome including a first bonus trigger which may be preselected symbols selected and displayed at the display in a scattered fashion or a predetermined number and/or arrangement of designated symbols on an enabled pay line for the device and/or designated symbols in adjacent positions, e.g. three symbols on adjacent reels. Said processor is configured to, in response to detection of a base game outcome including a bonus trigger, provide a display of at least two bonus selections for the player to select from. For each bonus selection, there is an established, different, probability or chance of producing a winning outcome. That is, for example, for selection A the player may have a 50/50 chance of obtaining, based upon a random selection, a winning outcome for which the player receives a bonus award. The other selection B may provide the player with only a 25% (1 in 4) chance of obtaining a winning outcome based on random selection; but selection B may have a greater award. The chances of success for each selection are displayed as well as the awards so the player may play conservatively (selection A) or seek a higher award and play aggressively (selection B). The processor is configured to, in response to said player making a bonus selection, randomly select and display for that selection one of a bonus winning or losing outcome according to said statistical chance of said selection and if a winning outcome is obtained, issue an award.
 Thus the device and method of the present invention provides the player with multiple bonus selections, each of which has a different chance or probability of success (i.e. producing a winning outcome) and displays those chances of success for the player prior to the player making the selection. Thus the player may select according to his/her desire to play aggressively, conservatively or somewhere in between. The bonus game also provides the player with displayed risk versus rewards opportunity. By providing an inverse relationship between the award to be won and chances of obtaining a winning outcome, the player may make an informed decision to risk a higher chance of losing versus winning to obtain a larger award. This feature contributes to the excitement of the game.