|Publication number||US20050130732 A1|
|Application number||US 10/735,511|
|Publication date||Jun 16, 2005|
|Filing date||Dec 12, 2003|
|Priority date||Dec 12, 2003|
|Publication number||10735511, 735511, US 2005/0130732 A1, US 2005/130732 A1, US 20050130732 A1, US 20050130732A1, US 2005130732 A1, US 2005130732A1, US-A1-20050130732, US-A1-2005130732, US2005/0130732A1, US2005/130732A1, US20050130732 A1, US20050130732A1, US2005130732 A1, US2005130732A1|
|Inventors||Wayne Rothschild, Philip Gelber|
|Original Assignee||Rothschild Wayne H., Gelber Philip B.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (71), Referenced by (17), Classifications (8), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention is generally directed to gaming systems and is more particularly directed to systems and methods for awarding bonuses.
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 likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines available. Such machines attract frequent 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 play by enhancing the entertainment value and excitement associated with the game.
A feature employed in some prior games is a bonus feature that awards bonus awards to a player in addition to the awards available on a gaming machine's pay table. Bonus features of gaming machines may include special graphical and audio features that are in the style of a gaming machine's theme. Bonus features enhance the gaming experience for the player because they add to the entertainment value of the game and also represent an opportunity for greater rewards. Further, bonus features attract onlookers with attention-grabbing performances and the promise (or apparent promise) of additional awards from particular gaming machines. Because of this twofold effect on players and onlookers, there is an ongoing demand for enhanced bonus features.
Though bonus features improve the experience of playing a gaming machine, gaming machines are perceived by some players as having shortcomings in comparison to other gaming options. For example, in a casino environment table games such as roulette and blackjack offer the additional experience of interacting with other players in a more social way through the shared gaming experience. Gaming machines, in contrast, have traditionally been perceived as offering a more solitary gaming experience lacking in the fun and excitement of interacting with other players.
There exists a need for enhanced bonus features and for gaming elements that will add to a more socially-interactive gaming experience for players and observers of gaming machines.
A number of gaming machines feature a random bonus delivery mechanism. In response to gaming activity on gaming machines, a bonus feature is delivered to one or more gaming devices within a gaming environment. The bonus feature is accompanied by a visual display of bonus feature activity across multiple gaming machines, some or all of which may share in a bonus with one or more receiving a larger bonus than others.
Bonuses awarded in connection with visual bonus indicators on gaming machines may be awarded in connection with bonus award symbols left on gaming machine displays, and bonus awards according to the present invention may take a variety of forms.
According to some embodiments of the present invention, visual bonus indicators interact with display elements of a wagering game to alter outcomes or apparent outcomes of wagering games.
The above summary of the present invention is not intended to represent each embodiment, or every aspect, of the present invention. This is the purpose of the figures and the detailed description which follow.
The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings.
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. It should be understood, however, 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.
Turning now to the drawings and referring initially to
The gaming machine 10 allows the play of games of chance by a player. In one embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is operable to play a game entitled “Duck Duck Goose,” having a group game theme. The display 12 shows first, second and third reels (respectively, 14, 16, and 18), which spin in response to a wager and a player's pull of a spin handle 20 or push of a “play” button 22. A player is awarded an award when symbols 24 on the reels align with selected pay lines 26, in accordance with a pay table (not shown). A visual bonus indicator 28, in the form of a goose, indicates participation in a bonus feature (or potential bonus feature) as explained in greater detail below.
A system memory 38 stores control software, operational instructions, and data associated with the gaming machine 10. In one embodiment, the system memory 38 comprises a separate read only memory (ROM) and battery-backed random access memory (RAM). It will be appreciated, however, that the system memory 38 may be implemented on any of several alternative types of memory structures or may be implemented on a single memory structure. A payoff mechanism 40 is operable in response to instructions from the CPU 32 to award a payoff of coins or credits to the player in response to certain winning outcomes which may occur in the basic or bonus games. The payoff amounts corresponding to certain combinations of symbols in the basic game may be predetermined according to a pay table in the system memory 38. The payoff amounts corresponding to certain outcomes of the bonus game may also be stored in the system memory 38.
Visual display of gaming events may be accomplished with a single display 12 as shown in
A communications module 46 allows a gaming machine 10 to communicate with other gaming machines or with a central controller over a communications network. The communications module 46 may be a networking card (for example, an Ethernet card), a modem, a wireless networking module, or the like. The communications module 46 allows the gaming machine 10 to communicate its status to a network and to receive instructions from a network. The communications module 46 allows for several gaming machines to be monitored and/or controlled from a central point.
Turning now to
The visual bonus indicator 28 is an indicator to a player of a gaming machine that a probability exists of being awarded a bonus award. In the “Duck Duck Goose” game shown in
Visual bonus indicators 28 according to the present invention enable a variety of techniques for increasing the appeal of gaming machines to players. A visual bonus indicator 28 may leave behind bonus award symbols 68 on one or more of the gaming machines upon which the visual bonus indicator 28 has appeared. For example, in
The visual bonus indicator 28 may be displayed as traveling from gaming machine to gaming machine in a bank 48 of gaming machines. In such a display, the bonus indicator 28 may be displayed partially on the second gaming machine 52 before its display has completely terminated from the first gaming machine 50. Such a display is shown in
The sequential movement of the visual bonus indicator 28 from one display to a contiguous display, such as movement from the first display 58 to the second display 60, is advantageous in that it can provide an incentive for players to play gaming machines that the visual bonus indicator 28 appears to be heading toward. In one embodiment, the visual bonus indicator 28 is only displayed on gaming machines having an active wagering session in progress, so that only players who are actively playing a gaming machine may be awarded a bonus award. In another embodiment, the visual bonus indicator 28 may be displayed on idle machines which are not being wagered upon, even though idle machines may or may not be able to win. Random or apparently random display of the visual bonus indicator 28 is advantageous in that it provides an indication to players that a bonus award, in addition to the bonus awards that are generally available on gaming machines, may be available at any time. A player's engaging in a bonus award according to the present invention may be dependent on player-specific factors, including the number of coins per minute bet, the number of credits on the gaming machine, or other player status such as historical play data for a player to be awarded a bonus.
In addition to or in lieu of the awarding of a bonus award with the bonus award symbol 68 as shown in
Further, visual bonus indicators 28 according to the present invention may be animated in an even more eye-catching manner to award greater bonus awards on certain gaming machines. Turning now to
Displays for use with the present invention may be modified to maximize the impact of visual bonus indicators. For example, displays may be provided with multiple display screens or display areas, with particular screens or areas specified for displaying visual bonus indicators.
Visual bonus indicators 28 may be used to interact with gaming elements, as shown in
Visual bonus indicators 28 according to the present invention may be controlled and used in a variety of gaming environments using a variety of types of communication between gaming machines 10.
As shown in
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. For example, while the present invention has been described with respect to gaming machines operable to play slot games, it is to be understood that the principles of the present invention can be applied to gaming machines operable to play other games such as poker, blackjack, and keno. In addition, bonus indicator controllers according to the present invention may be implemented as part of a more comprehensive gaming machine management system. Further, while certain methods have been described above as being executed in sequences, it is to be understood that certain steps may be performed in a different order or performed concurrently without departing from the scope of the present invention. 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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|Cooperative Classification||G07F17/3211, G07F17/3244, G07F17/32|
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|Dec 12, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ROTHSCHILD, WAYNE H.;GELBER, PHILIP B.;REEL/FRAME:014812/0168
Effective date: 20031211
|Jul 29, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0048
Effective date: 20150629