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Publication numberUS20040219968 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/428,516
Publication dateNov 4, 2004
Filing dateMay 1, 2003
Priority dateMay 1, 2003
Also published asCA2463248A1, EP1473681A2, EP1473681A3, US7618319, US20040219969
Publication number10428516, 428516, US 2004/0219968 A1, US 2004/219968 A1, US 20040219968 A1, US 20040219968A1, US 2004219968 A1, US 2004219968A1, US-A1-20040219968, US-A1-2004219968, US2004/0219968A1, US2004/219968A1, US20040219968 A1, US20040219968A1, US2004219968 A1, US2004219968A1
InventorsDaniel Fiden, Michael Casey, Jeremy Hornik, Joel Jaffe
Original AssigneeFiden Daniel P., Casey Michael P., Hornik Jeremy M., Jaffe Joel R.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine with interactive pop-up windows
US 20040219968 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine includes interactive pop-up windows that provide a player with an opportunity to configure or view different aspects of a wagering game. For example, the windows may allow the player to make side bets on a selected symbol, modify the appearance or function of a selected symbol, view a pay history for a selected symbol, and/or adjust a wager on an individual pay line in the case of a reel slot game.
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Claims(48)
What is claimed is:
1. A method of configuring a video wagering game, comprising:
displaying a video image of a plurality of symbols;
selecting one of the symbols;
displaying a pop-up window for the selected symbol, the pop-up window overlaying the video image and including options for configuring the selected symbol; and
selecting one of the options.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the video wagering game is a reel slot game, the video image including a plurality of simulated reels that place the symbols in a symbol array.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the displaying step includes displaying the pop-up window around the selected symbol such that the selected symbol remains in its position within the array and also appears inside the pop-up window.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the pop-up window overlays a portion, but not all, of the symbol array.
5. The method of claim 1, further including a touch screen video display for displaying the video image, and wherein the step of selecting one of the symbols is performed by a player by touching the one of the symbols.
6. The method of claim 1, further including a touch screen video display for displaying the video image, and wherein the step of selecting one of the options is performed by a player by touching the one of the options.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein the pop-up window includes touch buttons associated with the respective options.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the options include a bonus event to be triggered by the selected symbol.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein the options include a special function indicating how the selected symbol will be evaluated during the wagering game.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the special function indicates that the selected symbol will be evaluated as a scatter, wild, left-to-right line pay, right-to-left line pay, a bonus trigger, or in an additional winning symbol combination during the wagering game.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein the step of selecting one of the options includes purchasing the special function.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein the options include artwork for the selected symbol.
13. The method of claim 1, wherein the options include a position of the selected symbol in a pay hierarchy for the wagering game.
14. The method of claim 1, wherein the wagering game is selected from a group consisting of reel slots, poker, keno, bingo, blackjack, and roulette.
15. The method of claim 1, wherein the options include a side bet that the selected symbol will yield an award during one or more subsequent plays of the wagering game.
16. A method of configuring a video reel slot game, comprising:
displaying a video image on a touch screen video display, the video image including a plurality of symbol-bearing reels that place symbols in an array;
selecting one of the symbols;
displaying a pop-up window for the selected symbol, the pop-up window overlaying the video image and including options for configuring the selected symbol; and
selecting one of the options.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein the displaying step includes displaying the pop-up window around the selected symbol such that the selected symbol remains in its position within the array and also appears inside the pop-up window.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein the steps of selecting one of the symbols and selecting one of the options are performed by a player by touching the one of the symbols and touching the one of the options, respectively.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein the options include a bonus event to be triggered by the selected symbol.
20. The method of claim 16, wherein the options include a special function indicating how the selected symbol will be evaluated during the reel slot game.
21. The method of claim 16, wherein the options include artwork for the selected symbol.
22. The method of claim 16, wherein the options include a position of the selected symbol in a pay hierarchy for the reel slot game.
23. The method of claim 16, wherein the options include a side bet that the selected symbol will yield an award during one or more subsequent plays of the reel slot game.
24. A method of operating a video wagering game, comprising:
displaying a video image of a plurality of symbols;
selecting one of the symbols; and
displaying a pop-up window for the selected symbol, the pop-up window overlaying the video image and including a pay history for the selected symbol.
25. The method of claim 24, wherein the video wagering game is a reel slot game, the video image including a plurality of simulated reels that place the symbols in a symbol array.
26. The method of claim 24, wherein the displaying step includes displaying the pop-up window around the selected symbol such that the selected symbol remains in its position within the array and also appears inside the pop-up window.
27. The method of claim 24, wherein the pop-up window overlays a portion, but not all, of the symbol array.
28. The method of claim 24, further including a touch screen video display for displaying the video image, and wherein the step of selecting one of the symbols is performed by a player by touching the one of the symbols.
29. The method of claim 24, wherein the pay history includes information about when different winning combinations including the selected symbol last occurred.
30. A method of configuring a video reel slot game, comprising:
displaying a video image of an array of symbols in visual association with a plurality of pay lines;
selecting one of the pay lines;
displaying a pop-up window for the selected pay line, the pop-up window overlaying the video image and including an interface for changing a wager on the selected pay line; and
operating the interface to change the wager on the selected pay line.
31. The method of claim 30, wherein the pop-up window overlays a portion, but not all, of the symbol array.
32. The method of claim 30, further including a touch screen video display for displaying the video image, and wherein the steps of selecting one of the pay lines and operating the interface are performed by a player by touching the one of the pay lines and touching the interface, respectively.
33. A gaming machine for conducting a video wagering game, comprising:
a video display for displaying a video image of a plurality of symbols; and
a processor for causing the video display to display a pop-up window for one of the symbols selected by a player, the pop-up window overlaying the video image and including player-selectable options for configuring the selected symbol.
34. The machine of claim 33, wherein the video wagering game is a reel slot game, the video image including a plurality of simulated reels that place the symbols in a symbol array.
35. The machine of claim 33, wherein the pop-up window is displayed around the selected symbol such that the selected symbol remains in its position within the array and also appears inside the pop-up window.
36. The machine of claim 33, wherein the pop-up window overlays a portion, but not all, of the symbol array.
37. The machine of claim 33, wherein the video display is outfitted with a touch screen for allowing the player to make selections.
38. The machine of claim 33, wherein the pop-up window includes touch buttons associated with the respective options.
39. The machine of claim 33, wherein the options include a bonus event to be triggered by the selected symbol.
40. The machine of claim 33, wherein the options include a special function indicating how the selected symbol will be evaluated during the wagering game.
41. The machine of claim 40, wherein the special function indicates that the selected symbol will be evaluated as a scatter, wild, left-to-right line pay, right-to-left line pay, a bonus trigger, or in an additional winning symbol combination during the wagering game.
42. The machine of claim 40, wherein the special function is purchased by the player.
43. The machine of claim 33, wherein the options include artwork for the selected symbol.
44. The machine of claim 33, wherein the options include a position of the selected symbol in a pay hierarchy for the wagering game.
45. The machine of claim 33, wherein the wagering game is selected from a group consisting of reel slots, poker, keno, bingo, blackjack, and roulette.
46. The machine of claim 33, wherein the options include a side bet that the selected symbol will yield an award during one or more subsequent plays of the wagering game.
47. A method of configuring a video wagering game, comprising:
displaying a video image of a plurality of symbols; and
displaying a pop-up window for one of the symbols selected by a player, the pop-up window overlaying the video image and including player- selectable options for configuring the selected symbol.
48. The method of claim 47, wherein the player-selectable options are selected from a group consisting of a side bet that the selected symbol will yield an award during one or more subsequent plays of the wagering game; a bonus event to be triggered by the selected symbol; a special function indicating how the selected symbol will be evaluated during the wagering game; artwork for the selected symbol; and a position of the selected symbol in a pay hierarchy for the wagering game.
Description
    REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/242,014 entitled “Gaming Machine With History Display,” filed Sep. 12, 2002, and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates generally to gaming machines and, more particularly, to a gaming machine with interactive pop-up windows that provide a player with an opportunity to configure or view different aspects of a wagering game.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing machines and the expectation of winning on each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are most likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting of the machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines available because such machines attract frequent and extended play and hence increase profitability to the operator. Accordingly, in the competitive gaming machine industry, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to produce new types of games, or enhancements to existing games, which will attract frequent and extended play by enhancing the entertainment value and excitement associated with the game.
  • [0004]
    U.S. patent application Publication No. U.S. 2003/0064800 A1 to Jackson et al. (“Jackson et al.”) notes that games displayed by video gaming machines are becoming increasingly complex. In an effort to provide a video gaming machine that is more easily understood by a player and yet provides all the features and excitement as any modern gaming machine, Jackson et al. proposes a video gaming machine with pop-up windows. Touching various icons on a touch screen video display, such as the symbols on simulated reels, pay line identifiers, and other icons, causes an associated pop-up window or other overlay to be generated. The overlay highlights or explains the selected feature. Jackson et al. asserts that such overlays reduce clutter on the display, can be graphically intensive to avoid the use of text, can be easily understood, can be quickly and logically accessed, and may even include animation. Jackson et al., however, is generally limited to the passive use of overlays for obtaining information about a selected feature so that the selected feature can be understood by the player.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    A gaming machine includes interactive pop-up windows that provide a player with an opportunity to configure or view different aspects of a wagering game. For example, the windows may allow the player to make side bets on a selected symbol, modify the appearance or function of a selected symbol, view a pay history for a selected symbol, and/or adjust a wager on an individual pay line in the case of a reel slot game.
  • [0006]
    In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a method of configuring a video wagering game is disclosed. A video display depicts an image of a plurality of symbols and a pop-up window for one of the symbols selected by a player. The pop-up window overlays the video image and includes player-selectable options for configuring the selected symbol.
  • [0007]
    Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0008]
    The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings in which:
  • [0009]
    [0009]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a video gaming machine embodying the present invention;
  • [0010]
    [0010]FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a control system suitable for operating the gaming machine;
  • [0011]
    [0011]FIGS. 3 through 7 are display images showing the use of a pop-up window to make a side bet;
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 8 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to select a bonus event to be triggered by a selected symbol;
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 9 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to select how a selected symbol will be evaluated during a basic reel slot game;
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 10 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to purchase a bonus function to be associated with a selected symbol;
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 11 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to select new artwork for a selected symbol;
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 12 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to change a selected symbol's position in a pay hierarchy, e.g., changing the selected symbol to the jackpot (top award) symbol;
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 13 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to view a pay history for a selected symbol; and
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 14 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to adjust a wager on an individual pay line.
  • [0019]
    While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. However, it should be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS
  • [0020]
    Turning now to the drawings and referring initially to FIG. 1, a video gaming machine 10 is operable to play a video wagering game. The gaming machine 10 includes a video display 12 preferably in the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal display (LCD), plasma, or other type of video display known in the art. A touch screen panel of the resistive, capacitive, or surface wave type is attached externally to the display 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the display 12 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the display 12 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle toward the player of the gaming machine 10.
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a control system suitable for operating the gaming machine 10. Money/credit detector 16 signals a central processing unit (“CPU”) 18 when a player has inserted money or played a number of credits. The money may be provided by coins, bills, tickets, coupons, cards, etc. Using a button panel 14 (see FIG. 1) and/or a touch screen 20, the player may select any variables associated with the wagering game and place his/her wager to purchase a play of the game. In a play of the game, the CPU 18 generates at least one random event using a random number generator (RNG) and provides an award to the player for a winning outcome of the random event. The CPU 18 operates the display 12 to represent the random event(s) and outcome(s) in a visual form that can be understood by the player. In addition to the CPU 18, the control system may include one or more additional slave control units for operating the display 12.
  • [0022]
    A system memory 22 stores control software, operational instructions and data associated with the gaming machine 10. In one embodiment, the system memory 22 comprises a separate read-only memory (ROM) and battery-backed random-access memory (RAM). However, it will be appreciated that the system memory 22 may be implemented on any of several alternative types of memory structures or may be implemented on a single memory structure. A payoff mechanism 24 is operable in response to instructions from the CPU 18 to award a payoff to the player in response to certain winning outcomes that might occur in the basic game or bonus events. The payoff may be provided in the form of coins, bills, tickets, coupons, cards, etc. The payoff amounts are determined by one or more pay tables stored in the system memory 22.
  • [0023]
    The present invention is described below in the context of a video reel slot game. It should, however, be understood that the present invention may be implemented with other video wagering games such as poker, keno, bingo, blackjack, or roulette. The description below first describes the basic operation of a video reel slot game and then describes how a player can use interactive pop-up windows to configure different aspects of the game.
  • [0024]
    The basic operation of the video reel slot game is described with reference to FIG. 3. Referring to FIG. 3, a video slot game is implemented on the display 12 on simulated reels 30 that are rotated and stopped to place symbols on the reels 30 in visual association with a number of pay lines 32. In the illustrated example, the number of reels 30 is five and the number of pay lines 32 is nine, fifteen, or twenty. The number of reels and pay lines may, however, be varied to be more or less than the number illustrated. Each of the pay lines 32 extends through one symbol on each of the reels 30.
  • [0025]
    Generally, game play is initiated by inserting money or playing a number of credits, causing the CPU to activate a number of pay lines corresponding to the amount of money or number of credits played. In one embodiment, the player selects the number of pay lines (between one and nine) to play by pressing a “Select Lines” key 34. The player then chooses the number of coins or credits to wager on the selected pay lines by pressing a “Bet Per Line” key 36. After selecting a number of pay lines and a wager amount, the reels 30 may be set in motion by touching a “Spin Reels” key 38 or, if the player wishes to bet the maximum amount per line, by using a “Max Bet Spin” key 40. Alternatively, other mechanisms such as a lever or push button may be used to set the reels in motion.
  • [0026]
    The CPU uses a random number generator (RNG) to select a game outcome (e.g., “basic” game outcome) corresponding to a particular set of reel “stop positions.” The CPU then causes each of the simulated reels 30 to stop at the appropriate stop position. Video symbols are displayed on the reels 30 to graphically illustrate the reel stop positions and indicate whether the stop positions of the reels represent a winning game outcome.
  • [0027]
    A pay table identifies winning basic game outcomes (e.g., symbol combinations resulting in an award of credits or a bonus event) and the awards associated with such outcomes. In one embodiment, the pay table is affixed to the machine 10 and/or displayed by the video display 12 in response to a command by the player (e.g., by pressing a “Pay Table” button 42). A winning basic game outcome occurs when the symbols appearing on the reels 30 along an active pay line correspond to one of the winning combinations on the pay table. A winning combination, for example, could be three or more matching symbols along an active pay line, where the award is greater as the number of matching symbols along the active pay line increases. If the displayed symbols stop in a winning combination, the game provides the award identified in the pay table for that combination. If the award is a number of credits, the game typically multiplies that number of credits by the number of credits wagered on the winning pay line. The player may collect the amount of accumulated credits by pressing a “Collect” button 44. In the illustrated example, the winning combinations start from the leftmost reel and span adjacent reels, i.e., winning line pay combinations pay left to right only. In an alternative implementation, the winning combinations start from either the leftmost reel or the rightmost reel and span adjacent reels, i.e., winning line pay combinations pay left to right and right to left.
  • [0028]
    Included among the plurality of basic game outcomes are start-feature outcomes for triggering play of different bonus events. The bonus events may, for example, include The Big Bass Bonus and The Fishin' Bonus referenced in FIG. 8 and may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic video reel slot game. A start-feature outcome may be defined in any number of ways. For example, a start-feature outcome may occur when a special start-feature symbol or a special combination of symbols appears on one or more of the reels 30. The start-feature outcome may require the combination of symbols to appear along an active pay line, or may alternatively require that the combination of symbols appear anywhere on the display (i.e., “scattered”) regardless of whether the symbols are along an active pay line. The appearance of a start-feature outcome causes the CPU to shift operation from the basic game to the associated bonus event. Upon completion of the bonus event, the CPU shifts operation back to the basic game.
  • [0029]
    In accordance with the present invention, the player can open interactive pop-up windows by touching different portions of the touch screen video display 12 and can, in turn, configure different aspects of the wagering game via the pop-up windows. Several figures (i.e., FIGS. 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 14) depict a hand 46 pointing to a portion of the display image. The hand 46 is not part of the display image, but rather represents the player's physical hand touching a portion of the display image to either open a pop-up window or select an option within a previously opened pop-up window.
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIGS. 3 through 7 are display images showing the use of a pop-up window to make a side bet. Before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch any symbol to place a side bet (FIG. 3). In the illustrated example, the player touches a big fish symbol 48. Touching the big fish symbol 48 opens a pop-up window 50 (FIG. 4). Using the pop-up window 50, the player can then wager that the big fish symbol 48 will yield a line pay either (i) on the next reel spin (which pays the “next spin” side bet multiplied by 50) by touching an onscreen button 52 or (ii) at any point during the next ten reel spins (which pays the “next 10 spins” side bet multiplied by 5) by touching an onscreen button 54. In the illustrated example, the player wagered five credits that the big fish symbol 48 will yield a line pay on the next reel spin and ten credits that the big fish symbol 48 will yield a line pay at least once during the next ten reel spins (FIG. 5). When the player has finished placing side bets, side bet meters 56 appear on the display to indicate the placed side bets (FIG. 6). After selecting a number of pay lines to play and a number of credits to wager on each line as described previously, the player may set the reels 30 in motion by touching the “Spin Reels” key 38 or, if the player wishes to bet the maximum amount per line, by touching the “Max Bet Spin” key 40. FIG. 6 depicts the reels 30 in motion. In the illustrated example, the reels 30 stop with three big fish symbols 48 along an active pay line 32 (FIG. 7). Therefore, in addition to a standard payout of 45 credits as determined by a standard pay table for the game, the player is also awarded a side bet award of 300 credits. The side bet award includes 250 credits (=550) for the ““next spin” side bet and 50 credits (=105) for the “next 10 spins” side bet.
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 8 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to select a bonus event to be triggered by a selected symbol. Before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch any symbol. Alternatively, the player may only be allowed to select certain symbols that are predefined as capable of triggering bonus events. In the illustrated example, the player touches a fishing reel symbol 58. Touching the fishing reel symbol 58 opens a pop-up window 60. Using the pop-up window 60, the player can then select a bonus event (e.g., The Big Bass Bonus or The Fishin' Bonus) to be triggered by the fishing reel symbol 58. In the illustrated example, the player touches an onscreen button 62 to select The Big Bass Bonus or an onscreen button 64 to select The Fishin' Bonus. If the start-feature outcome is, for example, a combination of at least three fishing reel symbols 58 along an active pay line, then the appearance of this combination along an active pay line during the basic reel slot game will trigger the bonus event selected via the pop-up window 60.
  • [0032]
    [0032]FIG. 9 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to select how a selected symbol will be evaluated during the basic reel slot game. A symbol may, for example, be evaluated as a scatter, wild, left-to-right line pay, right-to-left line pay, or a bonus trigger. All, some, or none of these functions may be available for a selected symbol. Before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch any symbol. In the illustrated example, the player touches an old boot symbol 66. Touching the old boot symbol 66 opens a pop-up window 68. Using the pop-up window 68, the player can then select how the old boot symbol 66 will be evaluated (e.g., scatter pay or wild) during the basic reel slot game. In the illustrated example, the player touches an onscreen button 70 to make the old boot symbol 66 pay scattered, i.e., the appearance of a winning combination of old boot symbols 66 on the stopped reels 30 during the basic reel slot game results in an award whether or not the symbols appear along an active pay line 32. The player touches the onscreen button 72 to make the old boot symbol 66 wild (substitute) for other symbols during the basic reel slot game.
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 10 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to purchase a bonus function to be associated with a selected symbol. The bonus function is preferably in addition to the standard function for the selected symbol. As described in connection with FIG. 9, possible bonus functions may, for example, include evaluation of the selected symbol as a scatter, wild, left-to-right line pay, right-to-left line pay, or a bonus trigger, or having additional winning combinations on the pay table. All, some, or none of these functions may be available for purchase for a selected symbol. One or more of these functions (e.g., left-to-right line pay) may already be a standard function and therefore not available for purchase. Before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch any symbol. In the illustrated example, the player touches a bobber symbol 74. Touching the bobber symbol 74 opens a pop-up window 76. Using the pop-up window 76, the player can then purchase a bonus function (e.g., scatter pay or trigger for The Fishin' Bonus) for the bobber symbol 74. In the illustrated example, the player touches an onscreen button 78 to make the old boot symbol 66 pay as a scatter and the onscreen button 80 to make the old boot symbol 66 operate as a trigger for the Fishin' Bonus. The purchase price for the selected bonus function may be a predetermined number of credits or any number of credits selected by the player. The credit amount may need to be greater than a predetermined minimum (e.g., 5 credits) and, with each press of the applicable button 78 or 80, may increment in predetermined steps. The credit amount may be the cost per spin of the reels 30 as illustrated, or may be the cost for a block of spins of the reels 30. If the selected bonus function occurs during the basic reel slot game, the award for the occurrence of the bonus function is multiplied by the number of credits used to purchase the bonus function.
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 11 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to select new artwork for a selected symbol. The new artwork may entail changes to the background, color, shape, orientation, or other graphic attribute of the selected symbol. Before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch any symbol. In the illustrated example, the player touches a medium fish symbol 82. Touching the medium fish symbol 82 opens a pop-up window 84. Using the pop-up window 84, the player can then select new artwork for the medium fish symbol 82 from a plurality of possible artwork schemes denoted by respective onscreen buttons 86. The player selects one of the artwork schemes 86 by touching it.
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 12 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to change a selected symbol's position in a pay hierarchy, e.g., changing the selected symbol to the jackpot (top award) symbol. Before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch any symbol. Alternatively, the player may only be allowed to select certain symbols that are predefined as capable of serving as the jackpot symbol. In the illustrated example, the player touches a small fish symbol 88. Touching the small fish symbol 88 opens a pop-up window 90. Using the pop-up window 90, the player can then press a “yes” button 92 to make the small fish symbol 88 the jackpot symbol or the “no” button 94 to keep the small fish symbol 88 in its existing position within the pay hierarchy. Although the illustrated example only allows the player to change a selected symbol to the jackpot symbol, it should be understood that pop-up windows could also be used to configure the selected symbol so that it is in any desired position within the pay hierarchy.
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 13 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to view a pay history for a selected symbol. Before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch any symbol. Alternatively, the player may only be allowed to select certain symbols that are predefined as capable of displaying their pay history. In the illustrated example, the player touches a lure symbol 96. Touching the lure symbol 96 opens a pop-up window 98. The pop-up window 98 provides information about when different winning combinations including the lure symbol 96 last occurred. In the illustrated example, a winning line pay of five lure symbols 96 last occurred 83 spins ago; a winning line pay of four lure symbols 96 last occurred 7 spins ago; and a winning line pay of three lure symbols 96 last occurred 16 spins ago.
  • [0037]
    The information in the pay history may vary from the illustrated example. For example, the pay history may include the number of occurrences of each winning combination in a predetermined or player-selected number of prior spins. Also, the pay history may include time interval information showing an amount of time elapsed since each winning combination last occurred. Each winning combination may be associated with a respective timer counting up from 00:00:00:00 (i.e., days, hours, minutes, seconds):
    lure lure lure lure lure 00:00:17:10
    lure lure lure lure 00:00:01:54
    lure lure lure 00:00:03:27
  • [0038]
    Upon the occurrence of one of the winning combinations, the respective timer for that combination is reset to zero. Each timer may track the total real time or the total playing time (with coin-in) elapsed since the associated combination last occurred.
  • [0039]
    The pay history offers a number of significant advantages. First, the pay history assists in gaining the trust of players who perceive gaming machines as manipulating the probabilities in their own favor. The pay history serves as an accounting of recent plays and may reassure players that the machine does, in fact, pay out. For more sophisticated players, the pay history may even serve as evidentiary proof of the math and pay tables underlying the game. Second, the pay history serves as a powerful psychological tool that can take advantage of player perceptions. The pay history communicates information indicative of past outcomes without requiring a player to witness the machine over an extended period of time. Based on this information, the player may perceive the machine or certain outcomes to be “hot” or “cold” or due to hit and make his/her play decisions accordingly. The pay history subtly encourages players to strategize their play and alter their play strategies from the norm. For example, in the case of machines attached to progressive jackpots or large jackpot giveaways, on the one hand some players may avoid such machines because they do not believe the jackpots to be achievable. On the other hand, some players may gravitate toward such machines when they believe the jackpot is due to hit. The pay history may communicate to players when the last jackpot occurred, thereby providing players with a psychological benefit that the jackpot is achievable and/or is due to hit.
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 14 is a display image showing the use of a pop-up window to adjust a wager on an individual pay line. Instead of wagering the same number of credits on each pay line 32 as in most conventional reel slot games, the player can wager any desired number of credits on each pay line 32. While placing his or her wager before spinning the reels 30, the player can touch the bubble at the end of any pay line 32. In the illustrated example, the player touches a bubble at the end of a roof-shaped pay line 32. Touching the bubble opens a pop-up window 100. Using the pop-up window 100, the player can increase his/her,wager for that pay line 32 by pressing an “up” arrow 102 or decrease his/her wager for that pay line 32 by pressing a “down” arrow 104. The pop-up window 100 may present other interfaces, such as an onscreen numerical keypad, for adjusting the wager on a selected pay line 32.
  • [0041]
    While the present invention has been described with reference to one or more particular embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that many changes may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • [0042]
    For example, in view of the player's selections, the CPU may adjust other parameters (e.g., odds, payout schedules, functions of other symbols, etc.) of the game to ensure a desired house advantage. Further information about adjusting such parameters may be obtained from U.S. Pat. No. 6,068,552 to Walker et al., which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0043]
    In the illustrated examples, a player may “close” a pop-up window (i.e., remove the pop-up window from the display image) by touching any part of the display image outside the pop-up window. Alternatively or in addition, the pop-up window itself may include an onscreen “close,” “exit,” or “minimize” button akin to the buttons found in Microsoft Windows™.
  • [0044]
    Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationG07F17/32
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3211, G07F17/3232
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2F, G07F17/32E6
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 1, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FIDEN, DANIEL P.;CASEY, MICHAEL P.;HORNIK, JEREMY M.;ANDOTHERS;REEL/FRAME:014039/0102
Effective date: 20030501
Jul 29, 2015ASAssignment
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0048
Effective date: 20150629