|Publication number||US20050059446 A1|
|Application number||US 10/934,682|
|Publication date||Mar 17, 2005|
|Filing date||Sep 2, 2004|
|Priority date||Sep 15, 2003|
|Publication number||10934682, 934682, US 2005/0059446 A1, US 2005/059446 A1, US 20050059446 A1, US 20050059446A1, US 2005059446 A1, US 2005059446A1, US-A1-20050059446, US-A1-2005059446, US2005/0059446A1, US2005/059446A1, US20050059446 A1, US20050059446A1, US2005059446 A1, US2005059446A1|
|Original Assignee||Kaminkow Joseph E.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (99), Referenced by (17), Classifications (9), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/503,021, filed Sep. 15, 2003, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated and relied upon.
Wagering gaming machines are generally games of chance, not skill. Slot machines owe certain of their popularity to the fact that a player can play a slot machine at the player's own pace with no required skills. Most slot machines are set to pay off on average between 80 and 99 percent of the amounts wagered by the players. Nevertheless, players constantly try to inject skill or know-how into gaming devices with the hope of turning the odds in their favor.
For example, there is a consensus as to good and bad slot machine locations. Some players believe that the worst slot machines for the player are the machines near the gaming tables, such as the blackjack, baccarat, and roulette tables, because the players of these games do not want to be distracted by the noise and commotion created by large slot machine wins. Some players similarly believe that machines near patrons betting on sporting events and horse races are not good. Some players believe that the best machines are those that are the most visible to others so that other players, or potential players, can see large payouts. Some players believe that the machines near cafes or coffee shops provide large payouts to encourage patrons to finish quicker and return to gaming. Some players believe that machines near change booths have higher instances of large payouts to entice people in line purchasing tokens to buy more.
Another widely held belief is that slot machines go through a pay cycle, wherein the machines will payout a number of coins to meet the programmed percentage payout after a predetermined period. Certain players that believe a pay cycle exists may also believe that a non-payout cycle exists, wherein the machine does not payout after a larger payout or a pay cycle. The object of players subscribing to the these cycle theories is to play the machines at the right time.
However, it should be appreciated that most gaming machines or slot machines in the United States are programmed or set to randomly pay back a certain average percentage. There are certain known methods to maximizing gaming device payouts. One such method, for instance, is betting the maximum amount which increases the average expected payout.
Having a gaming machine solely based on skill would open the door to players becoming professionals at such games. Gaming devices of skill would also prejudice unskilled players, and unskilled players would be reluctant to play such games. Even though certain gaming machines such as video poker or blackjack involve certain skill and decision-making, their average outcomes ultimately turn upon mathematics and probabilities.
Accordingly, to increase player enjoyment and excitement, it is desirable to provide players with new gaming machines and games for gaming machines that are different, challenging and appealing. In particular, it is desirable to provide players with gaming machines and games for gaming machines wherein it appears to the player as if the player's skill at a particular game determines the player's success in the game, while the outcomes are still randomly determined or determined in another suitable manner.
The present invention provides a gaming device having a primary game operable upon a wager and including a display device operable to display a plurality of or a set of segments. In one embodiment, the segments are part of a secondary game initiated upon an occurrence of a triggering event in the primary game. In one embodiment, the segments are positioned adjacent to each other. In other embodiments two or more of the segments are spaced apart. The display device also displays a segment activator. The gaming device causes the segment activator, which in one embodiment is in the form of a projectile, to move towards one or more of the segments. If the segment activator or projectile engages by contacting or coming within a predetermined range of a segment or otherwise indicating the segment, the segment is activated. In one embodiment of the present invention, when a segment is activated, the segment is removed from the display device. In other embodiments, the segment is moved or otherwise altered after it is activated.
In one embodiment, the player receives an award based on the number of segments which are activated prior to the end of the game. In another embodiment, the player receives the award, if any, associated with each activated segment prior to the end of the game. One embodiment includes a combination of both such award schemes. Other suitable award schemes are contemplated by the present invention. It should also be appreciated that one or more segments may not have any awards associated with those segments. For instance, in another embodiment, the player receives the award, if any, associated with each remaining segment at the end of the game or a round of the game. In another embodiment, the segments activated and the segments remaining determine the award. In a further embodiment, the award or other outcome is based at least in part on the time it took one, a plurality, or all of the segments to be activated.
The segments can have any suitable shape, size, format and spacing. The segments can also have different suitable shapes, sizes, formats and spacing. In one embodiment, the segments are rectangular, are adjacent or in contact with each other, and displayed at a first portion of the display device such as the upper portion. In this embodiment, the projectile is displayed within or movable within part or all of the area of the display device not occupied by the segments such as a segment movement area. The projectile may have any suitable shape, size and format. The processor of the gaming device determines the speed of the movement of the segment activator or projectile and causes the segment activator or projectile to move to different positions of the display device.
While in motion, the projectile may contact none, one or more segments. When the segment activator or projectile engages a segment, the segment is removed from the display device in one embodiment. In one embodiment, the remaining segments retain their position. In one embodiment, after the segment activator or projectile engages a segment or a designated number of segments, the segment activator or projectile moves away from the area of the segment or the area of the engaged segment. In another embodiment, the segment activator could continue to engage one or more further segments.
In one embodiment, the display device defines and/or displays one or more boundaries. In one embodiment, when the segment activator or projectile engages (by contacting or coming within a range of the boundary) the segment activator or projectile moves away from the boundary. In one embodiment, the display device displays three boundaries opposite the segments. The boundaries are displayed along an inside perimeter of the display device and the segment activator or projectile appears to bounce off of the boundary after contacting the boundary in one embodiment.
In one embodiment, the game includes a blocking member positioned near the bottom portion of the display device. The blocking member randomly moves, moves in a predetermined manner, moves in a controlled manner or is alternatively player controlled. In one embodiment, the blocking member moves in a horizontal direction to prevent the projectile from entering a projectile or game termination area lower than or on an opposite side of the blocking member. When the segment activator or projectile contacts the blocking member, the segment activator or projectile moves away from the member in another direction such as an upward direction toward one or more of the segments. The blocking member in one embodiment includes blocking dimensions that varies (either from game to game or within a game) based on at least one of: (i) an amount of the player's wager, (ii) an amount of a component of the player's wager, (iii) a random outcome, (iv) the occurrence of the projectile engaging the blocking member, (v) how many times the projectile has engaged the blocking member or another suitable game element.
Similarly, alternative embodiments, the size, shape, format, awards associated with the segments and segment activators, like the blocking members, can change. The variations can be based on various different factors such as one or more random events or determinations in another game, a triggering event, or the amount of a wager by the player in a game. Thus, the present invention provides numerous different displayable elements that can all together or each independently be changed depending on one or more factors. This, in part enables this game to be suitable for a primary game or a secondary game of a wagering gaming machine.
In one embodiment, the object of the game is to engage and eliminate as many segments displayed by the display device as possible using the segment activator or projectile, thus collecting a maximum award. A further object of the game is to prevent the segment activator or projectile from entering a projectile or game segment activator or termination area. In one embodiment, if the segment activator or projectile enters the projectile or game or termination area and the game ends, the segment activator or projectile is removed from the display device and the game ends. In another embodiment, a second segment activator or projectile is set into motion. The number of segment activators could vary as desired by the game implementor. In this embodiment, the game continues until there are no more segment activator projectiles. The number of segment activators, the awards associates with the segments, and other variables in the game can as mentioned above be based on the wager made by the player in the games or in a primary game which triggers the game or other factors. It should also be appreciated that awards can be associated with the segment activator. For instance, each segment activator used can reduce a modifier such as a multiplier.
In other alternative embodiments, the object of the game is to engage and eliminate as many segments as possible because the awards provided to the player are based on the remaining segments (i.e., the lower the number, the greater the award). In other alternative embodiments, the object of the game is to engage and eliminate as few segments as possible because the awards are based on values associated with the remaining segments.
In various embodiments, the processor randomly controls the movements of the segment activator or projectile, the movement is predetermined or the movement is controlled to provide a determined outcome. In another embodiment, the player completely or partially controls the movement. In another embodiment, the player controls the movements of the segment activator in part based on being able to control the direction member.
In one embodiment, the present invention provides a gaming device with a bonus round that includes an action or event that requires or appears to require skill, wherein the skill element of the round appears to or partially does determine whether the player is successful and achieves one or more award. In certain such embodiments, the awards provided to the player can be predetermined, randomly determined or otherwise determined and displayed based in part on the skill. The present invention thus offers multiple ways of changing the display of the ultimate award because many different displayed variables can change (i.e., the segments, the award or outcomes associated with the segments, the segment activator, the boundaries, and the blocking member and the size, shape, number, format and placement of each of these elements or features).
The present invention includes various apparatuses and methods for providing a perceived skill game, where the player's outcome is determined randomly, but the game appears to be based on skill, e.g., the ability of the player to block and redirect the moving projectile. For example, after playing the game and accumulating a randomly predetermined award, the next segment (or the segment that yields the award) results in a terminator that ends the game. In another example, a game termination area appears to move randomly about the game boundary but actually is configured to move into the path of the projectile after the player has played the game and accumulated the random award.
Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed disclosure, taken in conjunction with the accompanying sheets of drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like parts, elements, components, steps and processes.
Referring now to the drawings, and in particular to
In a stand alone or a bonus embodiment, the gaming device 10 includes monetary input devices.
As shown in
Gaming device 10 also includes one or more display devices. The embodiment shown in
The slot machine base game of gaming device 10 displays a plurality of reels 34, such as three to five reels 34, in mechanical or video form on one or more of the display devices. Each reel 34 displays a plurality of indicia such as bells, hearts, fruits, numbers, letters, bars or other images which preferably correspond to a theme associated with the gaming device 10. If the reels 34 are in video form, the display device displaying the video reels 34 is preferably a video monitor. Each base game, especially in the slot machine base game of the gaming device 10, includes speakers 36 for making sounds or playing music.
Referring now to
As seen in
In certain instances, it is preferable to use a touch screen 50 and an associated touch screen controller 52 instead of a conventional video monitor display device. The touch screen enables a player to input decisions into the gaming device 10 by sending a discrete signal based on the area of the touch screen 50 that the player touches or presses. As further seen in
It should be appreciated that although a processor 38 and memory device 40 are preferable implementations of the present invention, the present invention also includes being implemented via one or more application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC's), one or more hard-wired devices, or one or more mechanical devices (collectively or alternatively referred to herein as a “processor”). Furthermore, although the processor 38 and memory device 40 preferably reside in each gaming device 10 unit, the present invention includes providing some or all of their functions at a central location such as a network server for communication to a playing station such as over a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), Internet connection, microwave link, and the like.
With reference to the slot machine base game of
In addition to winning base game credits, the gaming device 10, including any of the base games disclosed above, includes a bonus game that gives players the opportunity to win credits. The bonus game includes a program that automatically begins when the player achieves a qualifying condition in the base game.
In the slot machine embodiment, the qualifying condition includes a particular symbol or symbol combination generated on a display device. As seen in the five reel slot game shown in
In another embodiment, the qualifying condition includes a particular card combination in a video poker or blackjack game.
Referring now to
In one embodiment, the segments are positioned in one or more portions of the display such as an upper portion 62 of the display device and may be positioned spaced apart or adjacent to each other as illustrated in
A segment activator or projectile 66 is also displayed by the display device 32. The segment activator can vary in shape and size. The segment activator or projectile 66 can also be a symbol or based on a symbol used in the base game or other gaming device. In the illustrated embodiment, the segment activator 66 is a circular.
In one embodiment, the segment activator or projectile 66 is set into motion in or from a game initiation area 68 of the display device. The game initiation area can be along any suitable portion of the display device. In the illustrated embodiment, the game initiation area is along the left boundary. After the segment activator or projectile 66 is set into motion, it is capable of contacting one or more of the boundaries such as boundaries 64 a, 64 b or 64 c, one or more of the segments 60 a to 60 z, or a directional member 70. If the segment activator 66 contacts a boundary, in one embodiment the segment activator or projectile 66 is propelled or moves away from the boundary (in a bouncing-type motion in one embodiment), as illustrated in
If the segment projectile engages a segment such as segment 60 k as illustrated in
In one embodiment, when the segment activator 66 engages a segment, the player is awarded a value associated with that segment. The values or awards associated with the segment may be predetermined, randomly determined or otherwise suitably determined. In one embodiment, the segment transforms momentarily into a value or award before disappearing. In this embodiment, the object of the game is to remove as many segments from the screen or display as possible, thus earning the award associated with each removed segment. In an alternative embodiment, the player only receives a bonus award when a designated number such as a designed plurality or all of the segments are removed. The other award schemes mentioned above may also be employed in conjunction with this award scheme or instead of this award scheme.
In one embodiment, the display device also displays a game termination area 72. In an embodiment, the game termination area is represented by an area positioned near the bottom of the display device. If the segment activator enters this area (which can function to terminate the segment activator or as a game termination area), the segment activator is removed from the display device.
In one embodiment, the game enables the player to use at least one direction or blocking member 70 to try to prevent the segment activator from entering the game termination area 72. The blocking member 70 may have any size and shape which in one embodiment may be based on other factors such as the wager made by a player in a primary game. In the illustrated embodiment, the blocking member 70 is rectangular and positioned near the bottom of the screen, above the game termination area 72. The direction or blocking member 70 has a horizontal length that is greater than its vertical length in the illustrated embodiment.
In one embodiment, the player positions the direction or blocking member 70 by using one or more control features or input devices (not shown). The control feature may for instance include a plurality of buttons such as three buttons corresponding to movement to the left or right, as well as stoppage of movement. In one embodiment, the player moves the direction member by pressing the touch screen at the location the player desires the direction member to move to. In one embodiment, the member is moveable in a one direction, however the direction member may be moveable in a plurality of directions. Gaming device 10 in various embodiments provides one or more dials, knobs, joysticks, trackballs or other suitable type of player input device 44 for moving blocking member 70.
In alternative embodiments, the player can only partially control the movement of the direction member, or the direction member is completely controlled by the processor. For instance, in alternative embodiments, the processor causes the direction member to continuously move or intermittently move. This enables the processor to control the outcome. The movement of the blocking member may also be random, be in a predetermined pattern or be made in a non-player controlled manner. A suitable input device 40 and prompt can also be provided to initiate the introduction of projectile 66 into the confined space defined by boundaries 64.
Referring now to
If a segment activator enters a termination area, and additional segment activators are available, the next segment activator is then set into motion. In various embodiments, the number of segment activators may be predetermined, randomly determined, based on an event in a game, based on the player's wager, skill or otherwise suitably determined.
In an alternative embodiment, the segments are not in contact with each other, but are in proximity, as illustrated in
In one embodiment, the processor controls the segment activator and member and simulates a game. The game is played until the player receives an award amount that the processor predetermines. In another embodiment, the processor controls the segment activator and member, but the award amount is randomly determined.
In one alternative embodiment, the player is able to control the direction blocking; however, the award amount a player receives is predetermined. For example, during a game, a player controls the blocking member and accumulates awards as the segment activator engages or contacts the segments. The processor predetermines the total award amount the player receives. Accordingly, as a player approaches the predetermined award amount, the processor reduces the amount of control a player has on the member. For example, a player may require the blocking member to move horizontally to the left to prevent a segment activator from entering the termination area. The processor increases or decreases the speed of the blocking member to increase the difficulty of achieving an award. As a result, the player may attempt to move the blocking member with proper timing; however, the processor can prevent contact between the direction member and the segment activator. Likewise, the processor can decrease or increase the speed of the blocking member to help the player contact a segment activator and achieve the predetermined amount. Thus, in this embodiment, there is a perception of skill on the part of the player; however, the player's skill only determines how quickly the player attains the predetermined award amount.
In one embodiment, the processor controls the speed of the segment activator. The processor increases or decreases the speed of the segment activator to raise or lower the difficulty of attaining an award. It is appreciated that the processor can increase or decrease the speed of the segment activator, direction member, or both in a particular game.
In one embodiment, the processor varies the award values assigned to one or more particular segments based on the awards the player attains. For example, the processor predetermines the total award amount a player receives. If the player has already earned a portion of the total award amount, the processor varies the values for each segment based on the amount the player has already attained in order for the player to eventually achieve the predetermined award amount.
It should also be appreciated that various outcomes can be associated with the segments besides values. For instance, award modifiers such multiplier, additional segment activators, triggers of one or more free games, spins or activations, activation of one or more bonus games, additional segments, and additional blocking members may be associated with one or more segments. It should also be appreciated that each level of segments can have different type or value awards or outcomes.
In one embodiment, the game of the present invention is a bonus game of a gaming device. In such case, the player usually receives at least some type of award. The game may be played so that success is not judged upon whether the player wins an award but on how much of an award the respectively wins.
The bonus game payout fits within the overall mathematics or payout percentage of the gaming device. That is, the gaming device pays back to the player a portion of each dollar wagered. Part of that payout percentage is dedicated to the bonus game. To that end, the payout on average is known to and controlled by the gaming device.
Providing a bonus game based on or controlled by skill would add an element of unpredictability to the payout scheme of the gaming device, which is not desirable in many gaming devices. Moreover, many if not most gaming jurisdictions do not allow wagering games based on skill. The game or bonus game of the present invention, therefore, in one embodiment provides random but predictable or controllable payouts that appear to be determined at least in part based upon player skill but in reality are generated regardless of the player's skill in playing the bonus game. As discussed below, the present invention includes various features for providing such a game.
Assume for purposes of illustration that gaming device 10 generates randomly but within the payout mathematics of the game an award of one hundred credits for the player. One way to ensure that the player obtains one hundred credits, regardless of the player's skill level, is to not provide termination area 72 and to make the next or (current) segment 60 (referring collectively to segments 60 a to 60 z) hit by projectile 66 after the player reaches (or upon the player reaching) one hundred credits yield a terminator or pooper. Gaming device 10 provides a suitable audio, visual or audiovisual message informing the player that the game includes terminators or poopers and to try to hit as many credit yielding segments 60 before hitting a terminating segment.
The segment elimination game is played in one embodiment in multiple stages. For example, the game could be structured to provide or randomly determine to provide twenty of the one hundred credits in a first stage, thirty credits in a second stage and fifty credits in a final stage. The stages are separated by terminators. In one embodiment, the termination is provided upon hitting a particular segment. In another embodiment, the termination occurs when projectile 66 engages or runs into termination area 72. Still further, a terminator can occur when projectile 66 hits or engages blocking member 70. In other embodiments, termination can occur after a certain amount of time or upon any suitable random event.
In any of the embodiments described herein, the player's ultimate award value can be dependent upon the player's wager, e.g., number of paylines wagered, wager per payline, total bet, etc. The following discussion illustrates just a few of the possible embodiments for implementing the segment elimination game of the present invention in a perceived skill format.
Referring now to
The examples shown in
In a alternative embodiment, the segment 60 that increases the player's accumulated award value to the randomly determined award value also results in a game terminator or pooper for the player. In the example above, the segment 60 e in
Referring now to
Because the player has accumulated the randomly determined total award value of one hundred in
In this embodiment as well as any other embodiment described herein, projectile 66 can contact and rebound from any apparatus at a different speed than the speed at which the projectile engages the apparatus. Speed changes can be speed increases or decreases and can also occur with or without impact (i) randomly, (ii) after a predetermined time or (iii) after a particular credit accumulation or accumulation of a percentage of the player's total determined award value; (iv) after engaging each of a particular subset of segments; (v) upon engaging a first one of a particular subset of segments; or, (vi) any combination thereof.
Path 82 illustrates an alternative embodiment. Here, projectile 66 busts upon contacting blocking member 70. In such a case as illustrated, projectile 66 can be a bomb which is lit throughout game play and makes an audio, visual or audiovisual ticking indicia or sound. Thus it can appear to the player that the bomb has finally exploded once the bomb reaches blocking member 70. In any case, the player does not achieve any additional credits after the total reaches the randomly determined total. To that end, blocking member 70 may vary as described above until one of the termination conditions occur. The gaming device accordingly provides a suitable message 76 indicating that the base or bonus game has ended and indicating the player's total win.
While the present invention is described in connection with what is presently considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments, it should be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments, and is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the claims. Modifications and variations in the present invention may be made without departing from the novel aspects of the invention as defined in the claims, and this application is limited only by the scope of the claims.
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|U.S. Classification||463/7, 463/16|
|Cooperative Classification||G07F17/3295, G07F17/32, G07F17/3267|
|European Classification||G07F17/32P8, G07F17/32M4, G07F17/32|
|Sep 2, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: IGT, NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KAMINKOW, JOSEPH E.;REEL/FRAME:015773/0848
Effective date: 20040830