US 20060199634 A1
The present invention is directed to a gaming terminal and a method of playing a wagering game having a free-play outcome and a multiplier feature that changes during the free game-play. The free game-play continues until a winning combination is achieved. The award associated with the winning combination is multiplied by the multiplier value achieved during the free-game play.
1. A gaming terminal for playing a wagering game, comprising:
a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of said basic game that has been selected from a plurality of outcomes in response to receiving a wager input, at least one of said plurality of outcomes being a special-event outcome, said special-event outcome allowing continued game-play until a winning outcome is achieved;
a multiplier feature for multiplying an award associated with said winning outcome during said continued game-play; and
wherein said multiplier feature changes with the games that are played during said continued game-play until said winning outcome is achieved.
2. The gaming terminal of
3. The gaming terminal of
4. The gaming terminal of
5. The gaming terminal of
6. The gaming terminal of
7. The gaming terminal of
8. The gaming terminal of
9. The gaming terminal of
10. A method of playing a wagering game at a gaming terminal, said wagering game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of said wagering game, said randomly selected outcome being selected from a plurality of outcomes, said method comprising:
in response to receiving a wager input from a player at said gaming terminal, conducting said wagering game;
achieving a special-event outcome selected from said plurality of outcomes;
in response to achieving said special-event outcome, providing free game-play until a winning outcome is achieved, each game that is played during said free-game play having a multiplier feature for multiplying an award associated with said winning outcome during said free game-play, said multiplier feature changing during said free-game play until a winning outcome is achieved during said free-game play;
upon said winning outcome being achieved, awarding an award based on said winning outcome.
11. The method of
12. The method of
13. The method of
14. The method of
15. The method of
16. The method of
17. The method of
18. A computer readable storage medium encoded with instructions for directing said gaming terminal to perform the method of
19. A gaming terminal for playing a wagering game, comprising:
a display for displaying a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of said wagering game, said randomly selected outcome being selected from a plurality of outcomes, one of said plurality of outcomes including a special-event outcome, said special event outcome providing free game-play to a player until a winning outcome is achieved;
a multiplier feature for enhancing an award obtained by achieving said winning outcome, said multiplier feature increasing during said free game-play until said winning outcome is achieved; and
a controller coupled to said display, said controller operative to conduct said wagering game and to provide an award to said player corresponding to said winning outcome.
20. The gaming terminal of
21. The gaming terminal of
22. The gaming terminal of
23. A method for playing a wagering game at a gaming terminal, said wagering game having a plurality of outcomes, said method comprising:
achieving a free-play outcome that provides free game-play of said wagering game;
activating said free game-play until a winning outcome is achieved, said free game-play having a multiplier value that changes during said free game-play; and
awarding an award associated with said winning outcome, said award being multiplied by said multiplier value that is applicable when said winning outcome is achieved.
A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
The present invention relates generally to a gaming terminal and method of playing a wagering game at the gaming terminal, and more particularly, to a gaming terminal and method of playing a wagering game having a play-til-you-win feature that allows a player to continue playing until a winning combination is achieved. The wagering game also includes a multiplier feature that changes as the player continues to play while the play-til-you-win feature is activated.
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 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.
Consequently, shrewd operators strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines available because such machines attract frequent play and, hence, increase profitability to the operator. 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.
One concept that has been successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is that of a “bonus” game which may be played in conjunction with a “basic” game. The bonus game may comprise any type of game, either similar to or completely different from the basic game, and is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome of the basic game. Such a bonus game produces a significantly higher level of player excitement than the basic game because it provides a greater expectation of winning than the basic game.
Another concept that has been employed is the use of a progressive jackpot. In the gaming industry, a “progressive” involves collecting coin-in data from participating gaming device(s) (e.g., slot machines), contributing a percentage of that coin-in data to a jackpot amount, and awarding that jackpot amount to a player upon the occurrence of a certain jackpot-won event. The percentage of the coin-in is determined prior to any result being achieved and is independent of any result. A jackpot-won event typically occurs when a “progressive winning position” is achieved at a participating gaming device. If the gaming device is a slot machine, a progressive winning position may, for example, correspond to alignment of progressive jackpot reel symbols along a certain payline. The initial progressive jackpot is a predetermined minimum amount. That jackpot amount, however, progressively increases as players continue to play the gaming machine without winning the jackpot. Further, when several gaming machines are linked together such that several players at several gaming machines compete for the same jackpot, the jackpot progressively increases at a much faster rate, which leads to further player excitement.
In addition to the features described above, wagering game operators are continually striving to find new ways to attract new players and keep current players at the gaming terminals. One way of accomplishing this is to provide wagering games having a feature that allows players to “play-til-they-win.” This feature, in effect, allows free game play until the player achieves a winning outcome in the wagering game. A player may ultimately play only a single game or may play several games before a winning outcome is achieved. Other features that continue to attract players include the use of multipliers to enhance awards earned by the players. Such multipliers add to the gaming experience by offering increased awards without requiring additional wager inputs.
In one aspect of the present invention, a gaming terminal for playing a wagering game is comprised of a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of the basic game that has been selected from a plurality of outcomes in response to receiving a wager input. At least one of the plurality of outcomes is a special-event outcome. The special-event outcome allows continued game-play until a winning outcome is achieved. The gaming terminal also includes a multiplier feature for multiplying an award associated with the winning outcome during the continued game-play. The multiplier feature changes with the games that are played during the continued game-play until the winning outcome is achieved.
In another aspect of the present invention a method of playing a wagering game at a gaming terminal is disclosed. The wagering game has a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of the wagering game. The randomly selected outcome is selected from a plurality of outcomes. The method is comprised of conducting the wager game in response to receiving a wager input from a player at the gaming terminal and achieving a special-event outcome selected from the plurality of outcomes. In response to achieving the special-event outcome, the method provides free game-play until a winning outcome is achieved. Each game that is played during the free-game play has an multiplier feature associated therewith. The multiplier feature changes during the free-game play until a winning outcome is achieved during the free-game play. Upon achieving a winning outcome, the method awards an award based on the winning outcome.
In another aspect of the present invention, a gaming terminal for playing a wagering game is comprised of a display for displaying a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome of the wagering game. The randomly selected outcome is selected from a plurality of outcomes. One of the plurality of outcomes includes a special-event outcome. The special event outcome provides free game-play to a player until a winning outcome is achieved. The gaming terminal includes a multiplier feature for enhancing an award obtained by achieving a winning outcome. The multiplier feature increases during the free game-play until the winning outcome is achieved. A controller coupled to the display operates to conduct the wagering game and to provide an award to the player that corresponds to the winning outcome.
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.
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.
The present invention is directed to a gaming terminal and a method of playing a wagering game at the gaming terminal that includes player-attractive features that enhance game-play and offer players more and greater ways to win. Specifically, the gaming terminal of the present invention provides a free-play outcome that allows free game-play until a winning outcome is achieved. Additionally, as the player continues to play after receiving the free-play outcome, a multiplier feature changes during the free game-play. Once a winning outcome occurs, the player receives the corresponding award that is multiplied by the last multiplier value achieved during the free game-play.
As shown, the gaming terminal 10 includes input devices, such as a wager acceptor 16 (shown as a card wager acceptor 16 a and a cash wager accepter 16 b), a touch screen 21, a push-button panel 22, and an information reader 24. For outputs, the gaming terminal 10 includes a payout mechanism 23, a main display 26 for displaying information about the basic wagering game, and a secondary display 27 that may display an electronic version of a pay table, information about a bonus game, and/or also possibly game-related information or other entertainment features. 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 acceptor 16 may be provided in many forms, individually or in combination. 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 reading a card that has a recorded monetary value with which it is associated. The card wager acceptor 16 a may also receive a card that authorizes access to a central account, which can transfer money to the gaming terminal 10.
Also included is the payout mechanism 23, which performs the reverse functions of the wager acceptor. For example, the payout mechanism 23 may include a coin dispenser or a note dispenser to output value from gaming terminal 10. Also, the payout mechanism 23 may also be adapted to receive a card that authorizes the gaming terminal to transfer credits from the gaming terminal 10 to a central account.
The push button panel 22 is typically offered, in addition to the touch screen 21, to provide players with an option on how to make their game selections. Alternatively, the push button panel 22 provides inputs for one aspect of operating the game, while the touch screen 21 allows for inputs needed for another aspect of operating the game. The gaming terminal 10 may include a lever 25 that allows a player to initiate game play after inputting a wager input into the wager acceptor 16. Alternatively, or in addition to the lever 25, buttons on the touch screen 21 or the push-button panel 22 may also initiate game play.
The outcome of the wagering game is displayed to the player on the main display 26. The main display 26 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, LED, or any other type of video display suitable for use in the gaming terminal 10. As shown, the main display 26 includes the touch screen 21 overlaying the entire monitor (or a portion thereof) to allow players to make game-related selections. Alternatively, the gaming terminal 10 may have a number of mechanical reels to display the game outcome, as well. The secondary display 27 may display information relating to the basic wagering game or a bonus game. Like the main display 26, the secondary display 27 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, LED, or any other type of video display suitable for use in the gaming terminal 10.
In some embodiments, the information reader 24 is a card reader that allows for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating his or her true identity. Currently, identification is 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. The player inserts his or her card into the player-identification card reader 24, which allows the casino's computers to register that player's wagering at the gaming terminal 10. The information reader 24 may also include a keypad (not shown) for entering a personal identification number (PIN). The gaming terminal 10 may require that the player enter their PIN prior to obtaining information. The gaming terminal 10 may use the secondary display 27 for providing the player with information about his or her account or other player-specific information. Also, in some embodiments, the information reader 24 may be used to restore assets that the player achieved during a previous game session and had saved.
Some gaming terminals 10 may also include a multiplier display 70. The multiplier display 70 may be included on the secondary display 27 or may be a display that is distinct from the secondary display 27 (as shown in the alternative embodiment of
As shown in
Communications between the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10 and the CPU 30 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 35 a. As such, the CPU 30 also controls and receives inputs from the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10. Further, the CPU 30 communicates with external systems via the I/O circuits 35 b. Although the I/O circuits 35 may be shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that the I/O circuits 35 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits.
In some embodiments, the CPU 30 may not be inside the gaming terminal 10. Instead, the CPU 30 may be part of a game network 50 (
The gaming terminal 10 and associated gaming control system is capable of executing wagering games on or through a controller 60. Controller 60, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or resident inside and/or outside of a gaming terminal 10 or like machine which may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming terminal and a bus, another computer, processor, or device, and/or a service and/or a network. The network may include, but is not limited to a peer-to-peer, client/server, master/slave, star network, ring network, bus network, or other network architecture wherein at least one processing device (e.g., computer) is linked to at least one other processing device. The controller 60 may comprise the I/O circuits 35 a and 35 b and the CPU 30. In other embodiments, the CPU 30 may be housed outside of the controller 60, and a different processor may be housed within the controller 60.
The controller 60, as used herein, may comprise one or more controllers. In one implementation, each gaming terminal 10 comprises, or is connected to, a controller 60 enabling each gaming terminal 10 to transmit and/or receive signals, preferably both, in a peer-to-peer arrangement. In another example, the controller 60 may be adapted to facilitate communication and/or data transfer for one or more gaming terminals 10 in a client/server or centralized arrangement. In one aspect, shown in
The main display 26 of one embodiment of the present invention is shown in more detail in
Once a player places a wager, the randomly selected outcome is displayed via the main display 26 on reels 36, 38, 40. If the randomly selected outcome corresponds to a special-event outcome, such as a free-play outcome, the player may be awarded free spins of a reel-spinning wagering game. Alternatively, the special-event outcome may correspond to a start-bonus outcome, and a player may be awarded free play of a bonus game. In both scenarios, the special-event outcome awards free play of a wagering game.
The randomly selected outcome that corresponds to a free-play outcome may be triggered by any number of symbol combinations. For example, as shown in
As explained above, in the embodiment shown in
The secondary display 27 also includes a multiplier display 70. The multiplier display 70 displays a bonus game paytable that contains a multiplier value (i.e., 1×, 2×, 4×, etc.) resulting in a plurality of multiplier awards that correspond to the winning symbol combinations that can be achieved in the wagering game. As used, herein, the reference numeral 70 will be used with a suffix (e.g., a, b, c, d) to indicate the progression of the multiplier value (and awards) on the multiplier display 70. The multiplier display 70 a in
As shown in
If in the next three free spins of the illustrated embodiment a player achieves three more non-winning combinations, then the corresponding multiplier value continues to increase so as to result in a “5×” multiplier, as shown in multiplier display 70 c (
In some embodiments, the multiplier may be affected by certain symbols or combinations of symbols that occur on the reels during the free game-play. For example, the multiplier may increase by more than one multiplier value, i.e., from “1×” to “3×,” instead of increasing by only a single multiplier value, i.e., from “1×” to “2×.” This feature may be triggered when a player achieves a certain symbol on a payline during the free-play bonus. For example, after achieving a bonus symbol 49 on the payline as shown in the main display 26 in
As explained above, the free-play bonus continues until one of the free plays produces a winning combination on the reels. As shown in
In another embodiment of the present invention,
The multiplier display 70 may be displayed in many different forms in addition to what is described above. For example, once a player achieves a free-play outcome in a basic game, a multiplier may be displayed on a video display. As the free game-play continues, the multiplier displayed on the video display may change according to set of predetermined values as non-winning outcomes occur. Alternatively, the multiplier may change in a random manner.
In yet other embodiments of the present invention, the multiplier values change after a certain number of free-play spins (or non-winning outcomes) instead of changing after each free-play spin. For instance, the multiplier value may change after every two or three free-play spins. The next multiplier value that is displayed may be the next multiplier value of a set of predetermined values (such that the player is aware of what the next multiplier value will be) or may be a randomly generated multiplier value (such that the player is surprised when the next multiplier value is revealed).
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.