Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060030397 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/913,849
Publication dateFeb 9, 2006
Filing dateAug 6, 2004
Priority dateAug 6, 2004
Publication number10913849, 913849, US 2006/0030397 A1, US 2006/030397 A1, US 20060030397 A1, US 20060030397A1, US 2006030397 A1, US 2006030397A1, US-A1-20060030397, US-A1-2006030397, US2006/0030397A1, US2006/030397A1, US20060030397 A1, US20060030397A1, US2006030397 A1, US2006030397A1
InventorsVincent Chan
Original AssigneeWms Gaming Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Video gaming machine with player-selectable banner
US 20060030397 A1
Abstract
A video gaming machine having a player-selectable banner is disclosed wherein the banner is displayable simultaneously with display of a wagering game. The video gaming machine includes a touch screen having a soft button which activates a change in information displayed in the banner. A method for displaying information to a player of a wagering game wherein the player may select the information displayed is disclosed.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(32)
1. A gaming terminal, comprising:
at least one display for displaying a wagering game, including symbols indicating a randomly selected outcome of said wagering game, a portion of said display having a banner, said banner adapted to display a player-selectable informational phrase;
a player-input device; and
a controller coupled to said display and said player-input device, said controller operative to cause said player-selectable informational phrase in said banner to change to a different, player-selected informational phrase in response to operation of said player-input device.
2. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein the primary functionality of the player-input device is to directly cause said change in said player-selectable informational phrase.
3. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said different, player-selected informational phrase is horizontally scrolled onto the display from either the left or right side of the display.
4. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said change in said player-selectable informational phrase is displayed by a video transition.
5. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said change in said player-selectable informational phrase comprises displaying a menu of informational phrases or informational phrase categories.
6. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said banner is located horizontally across a top portion of said display.
7. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said banner is located horizontally across a bottom portion of said display.
8. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said banner is located vertically on a right side portion of said display.
9. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said banner is located vertically on a left side portion of said display.
10. The gaming terminal of claim 1, wherein said different, player-selected informational phrase is selected from the group of the wagering game name, symbol functions, bonus triggering events, and payout related communications.
11. A gaming terminal, comprising:
at least one display for displaying a wagering game, including symbols indicating a randomly selected outcome of said wagering game, a portion of said display having a banner, said banner adapted to display a player-selectable informational phrase;
a touch screen over at least a portion of said display;
a soft button on said touch screen, said soft button activated by a player touching said soft button; and
a controller coupled to said display and said touch screen, said controller operative to cause said player-selectable informational phrase in said banner to change to a different, player-selected informational phrase in response to said player touching said soft button.
12. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein the primary functionality of the player-input device is to directly cause said change in said player-selectable informational phrase.
13. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said different, player-selected informational phrase is horizontally scrolled onto the display from either the left or right side of the display.
14. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said change in said player-selectable informational phrase is displayed by a video transition.
15. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said change in said player-selectable informational phrase comprises displaying a menu of informational phrases or informational phrase categories.
16. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said banner is located horizontally across a top portion of said display.
17. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said banner is located horizontally across a bottom portion of said display.
18. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said banner is located vertically on a right side portion of said display.
19. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said banner is located vertically on a left side portion of said display.
20. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said different, player-selected informational phrase is selected from the group of the wagering game name, symbol functions, bonus triggering events, and payout related communications.
21. The gaming terminal of claim 11, wherein said soft button is located over said banner.
22. A method of playing a video wagering game, comprising:
providing at least one display for displaying a main game, a portion of said display having a banner, said banner adapted to display an informational phrase;
providing a touch screen over said display;
providing a soft button on said touch screen, said soft button activated by a player touching said soft button;
providing a player-input devise; and
providing a controller coupled to said display and said touch screen, said controller operative to cause said informational phrase in said banner to change upon said player touching said soft button;
23. A method of displaying information to a player of a wagering game, comprising:
displaying first information on a banner on a display to said player while said wagering game is being conducted;
receiving an input from said player selecting other information that said player desires to be displayed; and
displaying said other information on said banner on said display.
24. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said other information is selected from the group of the wagering game name, symbol functions, bonus triggering events, and payout related communications.
25. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said displaying said other information on said banner of said display occurs by horizontally scrolling said other information onto said banner of said display.
26. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said displaying said other information on said banner of said display occurs by video transitioning said other information onto said banner of said display.
27. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said banner is located horizontally across a top portion of said display.
28. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said banner is located horizontally across a bottom portion of said display.
29. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said banner is located vertically on a right side portion of said display.
30. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said banner is located on left side portion of said display.
31. The method of displaying information of claim 23, wherein said receiving an input from said player comprises the player pressing a soft button located on a touch screen over said display.
32. The method of displaying information of claim 31 wherein said soft button is located over said banner.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to gaming terminals and, more particularly, to a video gaming machine having a player-selectable banner.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming terminals, 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 terminals among players depends on the perceived likelihood of winning money at the terminal and the intrinsic entertainment value of the terminal relative to other available gaming options. Where the available gaming options include a number of competing terminals and the expectation of winning each terminal is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are most likely to be attracted to the more entertaining and exciting of the terminals.

Consequently, gaming terminal operators strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting terminals available because such terminals attract frequent play and, hence, increase profitability for the operators. Thus, in the highly competitive gaming terminal industry, there is a continuing need to develop new types of games, or improvements to existing games, that will enhance the entertainment value and excitement associated with the games.

Traditional gaming machines use mechanical slot reels or video depictions of such reels to display games and outcomes to players. Further, many traditional gaming machines use simulations of standard casino games such as cards, dice, bingo and the like to attract players. These traditional machines may become repetitive over time, and it is believed that more innovative displays and gameplay features will find success by offering players an interesting and exciting alternative to traditional games. 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. In particular, there is a need for engaging and entertaining games that can hold a player's interest more than existing games. The present invention is directed to satisfying this need.

Video gaming terminals typically have a banner across which information concerning the game, such as what outcomes trigger bonus play, is scrolled at random or pre-selected intervals. For example, some video gaming terminals automatically change the content of the banner following every three plays, or spins. Moreover, video gaming terminals generally include a help button which activates a help screen through which a player may scroll or search for information on the game. Therefore, a player cannot view specific information concerning the game which the player wishes to view while the wagering game is being played. Thus, there is a need for a video gaming machine on which a player may select the information to be displayed while the wagering game is being conducted. Embodiments of the present invention are directed to satisfying this need.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A video gaming machine having a player-selectable banner on which information concerning the game is disclosed. Information displayed may include any information which may be useful to the player regarding the game, including for example, the name of the game, symbol functions, bonus triggering events, and payout related communications.

In general, in one aspect, the invention is directed to a video gaming machine on which a player selects information concerning the game by pressing a soft button on a touch screen overlying the main display. Depression of the soft button activates a change of information on a portion of the main display.

In general, in another aspect, the invention is directed to a video gaming machine wherein depression of the soft button causes the information to scroll from the left to the right, from the right to the left, downward, or upward.

In general, in yet another aspect, the invention is directed to a video gaming machine wherein depression of the soft button activates a drop down menu of information from which a player may select the displayed information.

In general, in another aspect, the invention is directed to a method of displaying information to a player of a wagering game wherein the player changes the information displayed by selecting other information to be displayed.

The above summary of the present invention is not intended to represent each embodiment or every aspect of the present invention. The detailed description and Figures will describe many of the embodiments and aspects of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reading the following detailed description and upon reference to the drawings.

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a gaming terminal according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of the gaming terminal of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates a main display of the gaming terminal of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 illustrates the main display of FIG. 3 during banner selection; and

FIG. 5 illustrates the main display of FIG. 3 following banner selection by a player.

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.

DESCRIPTION OF ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of an exemplary gaming terminal 10 according to embodiments of the invention. The gaming terminal 10 may be operated as a stand-alone terminal, or it may be connected to a network of gaming terminals. Further, the gaming terminal 10 may have varying structures and methods of operation. In the example shown, the gaming terminal 10 is a video gaming machine having a player-selectable banner.

As shown, the gaming terminal 10 has a number of typical gaming terminal components, including input devices, such as the wager acceptors 16 a and 16 b, and the push buttons 22. In some embodiments, a player-identification card reader 24 may also be present, although such a player-identification card reader 24 is not necessary to the practice of the present invention. For outputs, the gaming terminal 10 includes a main display 26 for displaying information about the basic wagering game and a secondary display 27 for displaying information about the bonus wagering game. While these typical components found in the gaming terminal 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other elements may exist and may be used in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming terminal.

The wager acceptors 16 a and 16 b may be provided in many forms, including a card wager acceptor 16 a and a cash wager acceptor 16 b. The cash wager acceptor 16 b may include a coin slot acceptor or a note acceptor to input value to the gaming terminal 10. The card wager acceptor 16 a may include a card-reading device for receiving a stored value card and reading a recorded monetary value associated with the card. The card wager acceptor 16 a may also receive a card that authorizes a transfer of money from a player's credit or banking account to the gaming terminal 10.

The player-identification card reader 24, if present, is designed to read an identification card and extract information therefrom regarding the player's identity. The identification may then be used by casinos for rewarding certain players with complimentary services or special offers. For example, a player may be enrolled in the gaming establishment's players' club and may be awarded certain complimentary services as that player collects points in his or her player-tracking account. When the player inserts his or her card into the player-identification card reader 24, the casino's computers can register that player's wagering at the gaming terminal 10.

The push buttons 22, which may be mechanical push buttons, allow players to select various options with respect to the games played on the gaming terminal 10. The gaming terminal 10 may also include soft buttons on a touch screen 21 located over the main display 26 that serve similar functions.

A payout mechanism 23 is also provided to deliver awards to a player. Such awards may be in the form of cash, tokens, magnetic cards or the like. Thus, the payout mechanism 23 may be any of a number of known types of delivery mechanisms for such awards.

The main display 26 displays the outcome of the video game and may take a variety of forms. For example, the main display 26 may be a cathode ray tube (CRT), a liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, or any other type of display that is suitable for a main video game. The secondary display 27, which may also be a CRT, LCD, plasma display, or other type of suitable display, displays a secondary or bonus game that is often played on the gaming terminal 10 in addition to the main game.

FIG. 2 shows the various components of the gaming terminal 10 in block diagram form. As can be seen, the components of the gaming terminal 10 are controlled by a central processing unit (CPU) 30, such as a microprocessor or microcontroller. The CPU 30 executes one or more programs that randomly selects the outcomes for the gaming terminal 10 and controls the overall operation of the gaming terminal 10. The gaming terminal 10 also includes a storage unit 32 that includes a volatile memory 33 (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory 34 (e.g., hard drive, optical drive, an EEPROM). It should be appreciated that the CPU 30 may include one or more microprocessors. Similarly, the storage unit 32 may include multiple volatile memories and non-volatile memories.

Communication between the components of the gaming terminal 10 and the CPU 30 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 35. As such, the CPU 30 also controls and receives inputs from the various components of the gaming terminal 10.

The gaming terminal 10 may be operated as part of a wagering game control network 40 (not shown) that includes several gaming terminals. An example of such a wagering game control network 40 is described in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/502,762, filed on Sep. 12, 2003, and entitled “Restricted Access Progressive Game For A Gaming Terminal,” which is commonly owned and incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The gaming terminal 10 often has multiple ports, each port dedicated to providing data to a specific host computer system that performs a specific function (e.g., accounting, player-tracking, or a progressive game control system, etc). These ports may take the form of one or more custom interface boards mounted in the gaming terminal 10. The ports may also take the form of, for example, network interface cards designed to establish an Ethernet connection from the gaming terminal 10 to the wagering game control network 40.

In some embodiments, the wagering game control network 40 may include a server 41 that controls one or more functions of the gaming terminal 10. The server 41 may be any computer capable of executing programs for controlling slot machines and other types of gaming terminals. In such embodiments, the gaming terminal 10 may be a simple input/output terminal with regard to the functions controlled by the server 41. For example, instead of the random selection being performed by the CPU 30, the random selection of outcomes for the basic game and the bonus game may be functions performed by the server 41 and subsequently provided to the gaming terminal 10. Functions that are not provided by the server 41, such as control of the local lights, sounds, and displays of the gaming terminal 10, are handled by the local CPU 30.

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the main display 26 of the gaming terminal in more detail. As shown in FIG. 3, a wagering game is displayed having three reels 50, each reel containing a plurality of symbols 51 for indicating the randomly selected outcome. A banner 52 is located above a topmost reel toward the top of the main display 26. As shown in FIG. 3, a “Lucky Seals” game is displayed. The symbols 51 used in the “Lucky Seals” game include the Lucky Seals Logo, Underwater Seal, Seal Slide, Wild, Seal Head, Eskimo, Polar Bear, Penguin, Orange Cold Water Fish, Blue Cold Water Fish, Igloo, Fish Bucket, Iceberg, and Beach Ball.

In FIG. 3, the banner 52 is shown displaying information concerning symbol function, namely “Wild is Wild for All Symbols Except ‘Seal Slide symbol’ and ‘Free Spin symbol’.” The banner 52 is accessed by pressing the soft button 53 on the touch screen 21 over the main display 26. The banner 52 may be adapted to display a variety of information and information types. For example, the banner 52 may display the game name. Alternatively or in addition, the banner 52 may display information on symbol functions, bonus triggering events, payout related communications, and any other information which may be useful to a player. Examples of symbol function information may include: “Wild symbols are X and do Y,” and “Scatter symbols are A and do B” wherein X, Y, A, and B are pre-selected symbols or outcomes. Bonus triggering event information includes phrases which describe those events which activate a bonus game, e.g. “If you get 3 Sliding Seals, you get a bonus game.” Payout communications information includes phrases such as: “Top payout is 1,000 credits,” and “Three Polar Bear symbols on a single reel cause a 5× multiplier to apply to any award.” Such information as those contained in the quotations above are referred to as informational phrases. Categories of informational phrases include, for example, the game name, symbol functions, bonus triggering events, and payout related communications.

In some embodiments of the invention, the banner 52 is adapted to display symbol function information. In other embodiments of the invention, the banner 52 is adapted to display information on bonus, triggering events. In yet other embodiments of the invention, the banner 52 is adapted to display payout related communications. In yet other embodiments of the invention, the banner 52 is adapted to provide all such information or any pre-selected subset of such information. In some embodiments of the invention, by touching the soft button 53, a player causes the banner information to scroll to the next phrase in a pre-selected list of informational phrases. In such embodiments, the informational phrases may scroll from the left or right of the main display 26. In other embodiments, the informational phrases may scroll upward or downward within the banner 52. In yet other embodiments, the informational phrases may dissolve and reappear or be changed using any type of video transitional modes.

In some embodiments of the invention, a player activates a drop down menu of informational phrases or categories of informational phrases by pressing soft button 53. A player may then select a particular informational phrase or category of informational phrases to be displayed by selecting such from the drop down menu. A player may select from the drop down menu using the push buttons 22 or by pressing additional soft buttons located on the touch screen 21 over the main display 26.

Although the banner 52 is displayed at the top of the main display 26 in FIG. 3, it will be understood that the banner 52 may be located at any position on the main display 26 such that the banner 52 does not occlude the wagering game being played on the main display 26. For example, the banner 52 may be located below the reels 50 at a lower portion of the main display 26. Alternatively, the banner 52 could be displayed vertically on either the left or right side of the main display 26.

As further seen in FIG. 3, the main display 26 may include additional soft buttons 54-61. The soft button 54 may be used to change the denomination of a player's wager. The soft button 55 may be used to collect the awards earned by a player. The soft button 56 may be pressed to activate a help screen through which a player may scroll or which a player may search to obtain assistance or information on how to play the wagering game. The soft button 57 may be pressed to display a pay table on the main display 26. The soft button 58 allows a player to select one or more paylines on which to place a wager. The soft button 59 permits a player to enter a wager per selected payline. By pressing the soft button 60, a player initiates play and by pressing the soft button 61, a player initiates a maximum wager play.

As further seen in FIG. 3, the main display 26 may display additional information concerning the game, the player's wager and awards or credits earned. For example, the display area 62 indicates the number of paylines on which a player has made a wager could be placed, the display area 63 shows the amount wagered per selected payline, and the display area 64 indicates the total wager placed by the player. The display area 65 shows the total credits earned by the player while the display area 66 indicates the amount of credits available to a player. The display area 67 shows the denomination of the wagers entered by a player, which, as shown, is one cent.

It will be understood that the wagering game may utilize one or more reels and that each reel may contain a plurality of symbols. The symbols may take any form, including numbers, numerals, icons, pictures, logos, colors, words, and phrases. Such symbols may further include, for example, those symbols typically used on the reels of a slot machine. Alternatively, non-traditional symbols may include, for example, illustrations of animals or playing cards. In some embodiments, a bonus symbol is included in the possible symbols, and its occurrence may trigger one or more bonus games. Moreover, it will be understood that the video gaming machine of the present invention is not limited to reel-type video wagering games but rather may be adapted to play any video wagering game for which banner information may be useful. It will be further understood that the awarding of credits to a player will vary from game to game. The occurrence an event which triggers providing a player with an award to a player is referred to as a “winning event.”

FIG. 4 illustrates the main display 26 and a player's hand 68 pressing the soft button 53. FIG. 5 illustrates the main display 26 of FIG. 3 after the player has selected a different informational phrase, namely “‘Free Spin Bonus symbol’ Scattered on Reels 1, 3, and 5 Trigger the Bonus Game.” FIGS. 4 and 5 further illustrate the wagering game with a winning outcome corresponding to three polar bear symbols occurring horizontally on the middle reel.

In a further embodiment, the banner 52 can be used to display information regarding a progressive game that the player is eligible to play by playing the wagering game at the gaming terminal 10. For example, the player may select to display the types of progressive jackpots that are eligible to be won, the triggering events that result in a progressive jackpot, the amounts of the most recently awarded jackpots, etc.

It will be understood that many of the aspects of the gaming machine and method described above may be varied to optimize player enjoyment and/or operator profit. For example, the number of reels may be increased or decreased. Similarly, the number of symbols per reel may be increased or decreased.

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. 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.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8702494 *Jun 10, 2009Apr 22, 2014Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty LimitedGaming machine and method with award-enhancing symbols
US20080188296 *Feb 5, 2008Aug 7, 2008Atlantic City Cion & Slot Service Company, Inc.Progressive gaming device and method of use
US20090305769 *Jun 10, 2009Dec 10, 2009Gregory Leigh PlowmanGaming machine and method with award-enhancing symbols
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3211, G07F17/3227
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2F, G07F17/32E2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 13, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHAN, VINCENT;REEL/FRAME:015782/0182
Effective date: 20040830