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 numberUS20060199642 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/363,269
Publication dateSep 7, 2006
Filing dateFeb 28, 2006
Priority dateMar 4, 2005
Also published asCN1827196A, EP1699026A2, EP1699026A3
Publication number11363269, 363269, US 2006/0199642 A1, US 2006/199642 A1, US 20060199642 A1, US 20060199642A1, US 2006199642 A1, US 2006199642A1, US-A1-20060199642, US-A1-2006199642, US2006/0199642A1, US2006/199642A1, US20060199642 A1, US20060199642A1, US2006199642 A1, US2006199642A1
InventorsKazuo Okada
Original AssigneeAruze Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine
US 20060199642 A1
Abstract
It is an object to provide the player with an incentive to play the game repeatedly by varying an effect display mode since the effect display mode to notify the information relating to the game can be selected at the player's choice such that the player's taste and wish may be reflected on the mode. A gaming machine 1 comprises: a display device 4 for displaying a circumferentially-arranged image having a plurality of symbols arranged circumferentially; and a reading device 19 for reading the identification information from a game article storing the identification information, wherein an array change of the plurality of symbols in the circumferentially-arranged image is conducted in a case where the identification information is read; and wherein the display device displays a changed circumferentially-arranged image after the array change.
Images(17)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(16)
1. A gaming machine performing a game to shift from a base game mode to a special game mode upon satisfaction of a predetermined condition, the gaming machine comprising:
a display device for displaying a circumferentially-arranged image having a plurality of symbols arranged circumferentially; and
a reading device for reading the identification information from a game article storing the identification information,
wherein an array change of the plurality of symbols in the circumferentially-arranged image is conducted in a case where the identification information is read; and
wherein the display device displays a changed circumferentially-arranged image after the array change.
2. The gaming machine according to claim 1 wherein a symbol shift image showing a moving state of the symbols constituting the circumferentially-arranged image before the changed circumferentially-arranged image is displayed.
3. The gaming machine according to claim 1 wherein the array change is characterized by collecting symbols of a same kind.
4. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein the identification information is read in the base game mode;
wherein the changed circumferentially-arranged image is displayed in the special game mode;
wherein the identification information is associated with an appearance of the game article; and
wherein display contents in the special game mode is associated with the identification information.
5. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein the display device displays a symbol determination image specifying any one of the plurality of symbols.
6. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein the circumferentially-arranged image comprises any one of a circular area of a wheel to be used in a roulette game, a circular area of a dart board to be used in a dart game, and another circular area, each circular area being composed of radially-divided sectors, in which numerical symbols are arranged respectively.
7. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein game media are necessary to start the game in the base game mode;
wherein the game media are not necessary to advance the game in the special game mode; and
wherein the display device displays a symbol determination image for specifying a symbol corresponding to a game number in the special game mode among the plurality of symbols.
8. The gaming machine according to claim 2 wherein the array change is characterized by collecting symbols of a same kind.
9. The gaming machine according to claim 2,
wherein the identification information is read in the base game mode;
wherein the changed circumferentially-arranged image is displayed in the special game mode;
wherein the identification information is associated with an appearance of the game article; and
wherein display contents in the special game mode is associated with the identification information.
10. The gaming machine according to claim 2,
wherein the display device displays a symbol determination image specifying any one of the plurality of symbols.
11. The gaming machine according to claim 2,
wherein the circumferentially-arranged image comprises any one of a circular area of a wheel to be used in a roulette game, a circular area of a dart board to be used in a dart game, and another circular area, each circular area being composed of radially-divided sectors, in which numerical symbols are arranged respectively.
12. The gaming machine according to claim 2,
wherein game media are necessary to start the game in the base game mode;
wherein the game media are not necessary to advance the game in the special game mode; and
wherein the display device displays a symbol determination image for specifying a symbol corresponding to a game number in the special game mode among the plurality of symbols.
13. The gaming machine according to claim 3,
wherein the identification information is read in the base game mode;
wherein the changed circumferentially-arranged image is displayed in the special game mode;
wherein the identification information is associated with an appearance of the game article; and
wherein display contents in the special game mode is associated with the identification information.
14. The gaming machine according to claim 3,
wherein the display device displays a symbol determination image specifying any one of the plurality of symbols.
15. The gaming machine according to claim 3,
wherein the circumferentially-arranged image comprises any one of a circular area of a wheel to be used in a roulette game, a circular area of a dart board to be used in a dart game, and another circular area, each circular area being composed of radially-divided sectors, in which numerical symbols are arranged respectively.
16. The gaming machine according to claim 3,
wherein game media are necessary to start the game in the base game mode;
wherein the game media are not necessary to advance the game in the special game mode; and
wherein the display device displays a symbol determination image for specifying a symbol corresponding to a game number in the special game mode among the plurality of symbols.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is based upon and claims the benefits of priority from Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-061327 filed on Mar. 4, 2005, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a gaming machine comprising provided with a variable display device which displays a plurality of variably displayed symbols and an image display device which displays variable display images of the plurality of symbols.

RELATED ART

There has been a gaming machine which displays a game image (for example, a card image and a variable display image composed of a plurality of symbols) and performs a game utilizing the game image. There has been a gaming machine of this kind which notifies a player of information relating to game contents and information of change of the game contents by an effect image specifically determined. For example, Japanese unexamined patent publication No. 2003-180908 discloses a gaming machine (hereafter referred to as “conventional machine”) which notifies beforehand a change (shift) to a predetermined number of variable display games (may also be called “free game”) in which no game media are necessary when a predetermined symbol is stopped and displayed.

However, the conventional machine can only notifies a specific effect image (specific symbol being stopped and displayed) that has been predetermined in the conventional machine although it notifies the shift. Therefore, contents of the effect have little variation and are monotonous although the effect is conducted such that the player will be bored if the game is repeated and no incentive to continue to play the game is not provided to the player.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In the present invention, the player can have an option in the way of displaying the information relating to a game such that the player may be provided with an incentive to play the game repeatedly since the way of display the information is variable.

According to the present invention, there is provided a gaming machine performing a game to shift from a base game mode to a special game mode upon satisfaction of a predetermined condition. The gaming machine comprises: a display device for displaying a circumferentially-arranged image having a plurality of symbols arranged circumferentially; and a reading device for reading the identification information from a game article storing the identification information. In the gaming machine, an array change of the plurality of symbols in the circumferentially-arranged image may be conducted in a case where the identification information is read; and the display device may display a changed circumferentially-arranged image after the array change.

Further features of the present invention, its nature, and various advantages will be more apparent from the accompanying drawings and the following description of the preferred embodiment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a general configuration of a slot machine according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating mainly an internal configuration.

FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an example of an internal configuration of an image control circuit.

FIG. 4 is a partially broken front view of a figure.

FIG. 5 illustrates an example of a figure present-absent array pattern table.

FIG. 6 illustrates an example of a figure ID array pattern table.

FIG. 7 illustrates an example of a relationship between the array pattern and symbol arrangement.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of a main process from the start to the end of a slot game.

FIG. 9 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of a bonus game process according to the first operation contents.

FIG. 10 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of a bonus game process according to the second operation contents.

FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustrating an operation procedure of a bonus game process according to the third operation contents.

FIG. 12 illustrates a general appearance of a circumferentially-arranged image before a symbol array change.

FIG. 13 illustrates a general appearance of a circumferentially-arranged image (A pattern) after a symbol array change.

FIGS. 14A to 14C illustrate examples of images displayed in a array pattern effect process and a game content determination effect process.

FIGS. 15A to 15C illustrate examples of images displayed in a symbol shift effect process.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Hereinafter, an explanation will be made for a gaming machine of an embodiment according to the present invention. In the following description, like element numerals are used to describe like elements illustrated in one or more figures and duplicated explanation may be omitted.

A slot machine according to the embodiment of the present invention is a coin-insertion type of gaming machine with which it is required to input game media such as bills and coins to start a game. And a usual variable display game (hereafter referred to as “base game”) is initiated with the slot machine when a player inputs game media and conduct a predetermined operation. Then, a special game is triggered in the base game when a predetermined condition is satisfied. A game mode where the base game is conducted is referred to as a base game mode and a game mode where the special game, which the base game mode is shifted to, is conducted is referred to as a special game mode. In the present embodiment, the special game is a free game in which no additional game media are inputted (or inserted) to initiate a variable display game. The slot machine is configured to perform an effect to show circumferentially-arranged image, symbol determination image and the like so as to notify the player of the number of free games (hereafter referred to as “free game number”) when the game is shifted into the special game mode. The configuration of the slot machine 1 will be explained in the following paragraphs.

(Overall Configuration of Slot Machine)

FIG. 1 is a perspective view to show the overall configuration of the slot machine. The slot machine 1 is configured to perform a variable display game (being possibly referred to as slot game) utilizing a variable display image of a plurality of symbols. The slot machine 1 is provided with a figure installation unit 19 on which a figure 90 can be set as described later.

The slot machine 1 is also provided with a main display 3 including a liquid crystal display device on the front face of the cabinet 2. It is also provided with a sub display 4 including a liquid crystal display device in a similar manner on an upper part above the main display 3.

The main display 3 includes nine variable display parts 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 3E, 3G, 3H and 3I being arranged in three rows and three columns. The main display 3 is configured to show a variable display image (a reel image showing varying symbols as if the mechanical reel were rotated) showing a plurality of symbols moving down in each variable display part 3A to 3I in either base game mode or special game mode. As shown in FIG. 1, since the slot machine 1 has nine variable display parts 3A to 3I, eight activation lines are set in total as three vertical, three horizontal and two diagonal lines can be drawn in the variable display parts 3A to 3I.

The sub display 4 as display means of this embodiment displays a roulette image 100 as a circumferentially-arranged image of this embodiment mimicking the wheel utilized in the roulette game when a shift condition to the special game mode is satisfied, details of which will be described later. Subsequently, a symbol determination image 106 is displayed to specify the numerical symbol corresponding to the symbol of this embodiment as if the knife having been thrown by the venturer had hit the roulette image 100. And the array display of the roulette image 100 is configured to be changed depending on whether the figure 90 is set in the figure installation unit 19 or not. The sub display 4 further displays other images such as game contents and explanation thereof which are not directly related to the variable display itself.

The slot machine 1 also is provided with an operation panel 11 being arranged substantially in a horizontal manner at the bottom of the main display 3. The operation panel 11 is provided with the figure installation unit 19, a coin insertion slot 6, a bill insertion slot 7, a spin switch 8, a 1-BET switch and a max BET switch.

The figure installation unit 19 comprises a reading part 19 b and a base fitting part 19 a being fixed on the surface of the operation panel 11. The base fitting part 19 a comprises a circular recess inside with a certain depth corresponding to the disk shape of a base portion 91 of the figure 90 to be described later (refer to FIG. 4). The reading part 19 b is positioned in the recess of the base fitting part 19 a and provided with an IC chip reader/writer 19 c.

The coin insertion slot 6 is provided for the player to insert coins to bet in the game and has an insertion coin sensor 6 a which outputs a signal showing the coin insertion (refer to FIG. 2). The bill insertion slot 7 is also provided for the player to insert a bill and has an insertion bill sensor 7 a which outputs a signal showing the bill insertion (refer to FIG. 2). The spin switch 8 initiates a display of the variable display image such that it is provided for the player to conduct the operation to initiate the game. The 1-BET switch 9 is provided for the player to bet one coin by one operation thereof. The max BET switch 10 is provided for the player by one operation thereof to bet the maximum number of coins which can be bet in one game.

Further, the slot machine 1 is provided with a coin receiving part 14 holing coins paid out and a coin payout opening 13 at the bottom of the cabinet 2. Further, speakers 12L and 12R are provided on the left and right sides of the coin payout opening 13, respectively.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the slot machine 1 showing mainly the inside configuration. The slot machine 1 has a plurality of components around the micro-computer 31.

The micro-computer 31 comprises a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 32, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 33 and a ROM (Read Only Memory) 34. The CPU 32 operates according to the program stored in the ROM 34 and receives signals from respective parts of the control panel 11 via an I/O port 39 while the CPU 32 inputs and outputs signals from and to other components so as to control the whole operation of the slot machine 1. The RAM 33 stores data and programs to be used when the CPU 32 operates. By way of example, random numbers being sampled by a sampling circuit 36 to be described later are stored in the RAM 34 temporarily after the game starts. The ROM 34 stores a program to be executed by the CPU 32 and permanent data, for example, a game content determination table (not shown) as described later.

The slot machine 1 is also provided with a random number generator 35, the sampling circuit, a clock pulse generation circuit 37, a frequency divider 38 and data storage 41. The random number generator 35 operates according to the instruction by the CPU 32 so as to generate a certain range of random numbers. The sampling circuit 36 picks up any random numbers from the random numbers having been generated by the random number generator 35 and thus-picked random numbers are inputted to the CPU 32. The clock pulse generator 37 generates a standard clock frequency for activating the CPU 32 and the frequency divider 38 inputs to the CPU 32 a signal being divided with a certain cycle time. The data storage 41 stores a figure ID array pattern table 51 and a pattern table with and without figures to be described later.

Further, the slot machine 1 is provided with a touch panel 61, a hopper driving circuit 63, a hopper 64, a payout completion signal circuit 65 and a coin detection section 66. The slot machine 1 also provided with an image control circuit 81, a sound control circuit 72 and an IC chip reader/writer 19 c.

The touch panel 61 is provided in a manner that the display screen of the main display is covered and detects a position where the player touches on the panel so that the signal corresponding to the detected position is inputted to the CPU 32. The hopper driving circuit 63 drives the hopper 64 according to the control by the CPU 32 and the hopper 64 operates to pay out coins having been acquired by the winning such that the coins are paid out from the payout opening 13 to the coin receiving part 14. The coin detection section 66 counts the number of coins being paid out from the hopper 64 and sends data of the counted number of the coins to the payout completion signal circuit 65. The payout completion signal circuit 65 receives the data of the counted number of the coins from the coin detection section 66 and sends a notification signal of the coin payout completion as the counted number reaches the predetermined number.

The image control circuit 81 controls the main display 3 and the sub display such that the main display 3 displays a variable display image of the plurality of symbols and that the sub display 4 displays the circumferentially-arranged image, symbol determination image and the like.

The image control circuit 81 comprises an image control CPU 81 a, a work RAM 81 b, a program ROM 81 c, an image ROM 81 d, a video RAM 81 e and a VDP (Video Display Processor) 81 f as shown in FIG. 3.

The image control CPU 81 a determines an image to be displayed on the sub display 4 and an image (variable display image, stop symbol image being displayed when the variable display is stopped) to be displayed on the main display 3 according to the image control program (relating to the display on the main display 3 and the sub display 4) having been stored in the program ROM 81 c based on the parameters being set by the micro-computer 31.

The work RAM 81 b is configured to be temporary storage means when the image control CPU 81 a executes the image control program. The program ROM 81 c stores the image control program, various kinds of selection tables and the like. The image ROM 81 d stores dot data for forming images. In this embodiment, such dot data include symbol image data for showing various symbols utilized in the base game and the free game, image data of the circumferentially-arrayed image and the like. The video RAM 81 e is configured to be temporary storage means for forming images by the VDP 81 f. The VDP 81 f comprises the control RAM 81 g and forms images corresponding to the display contents on the main display 3 and the sub display 4 having been determined by the image control CPU 81 a.

The sound control circuit 72 (refer to FIG. 2) send sound signals to the speakers 12L and 12R such that the speakers 12L and 12R output sound.

The IC chip reader/writer 19 c comprises an antenna part, sending/receiving part and the like, and operates as reading means of this embodiment. The IC chip reader/writer 19 c is connected to the CPU 32 via the I/O port 39. The IC chip reader/writer 19 c sends to the CPU 32 the stored information (e.g., figure ID) having been read from the IC chip 93 built in the base portion 91 of the figure 90 being fitted (set) in the figure installation unit 19 and writes predetermined information on the IC chip 93 according to the instruction from the CPU 32.

(Figure Configuration)

As shown in FIG. 4, the figure 90 comprises the base portion 91 and the figure main body 92, and further comprises the IC chip 93 storing the figure ID.

The base portion 91 has a size corresponding to that of the base fitting part 19 a of the figure installation unit 19 and is formed in a shape of a short cup placed upside down as a top portion 91 a corresponding to the sole of the short cup is on the top such that the IC chip 93 is fitted and fixed in the circular open end at the bottom.

The figure main body 92 comprises a foot part 92 a fixed on the top portion 91 a of the base portion 91 and a figurine portion 92 b modeling a character such as a wizard, a warrior and the like standing on the foot part 92 a.

The IC chip 93 stores a specific figure ID for each FIG. 90. The figure ID is composed of four digits, which indicates the specific identification number to distinguish (discern one from the others) each figure from the others. The figure 90 can be identified as a certain kind by the player from the appearance of the figure main body 92 and can be identified individually by the slot machine from the figure ID. Here, the figure 90 of this embodiment is a “warrior” and the figure ID is “0002”. The FIG. 90 may be referred to as a game article according to the present invention and the figure ID may be referred to as identification information.

(Slot Machine Operation)

In the slot machine 1 of this embodiment, the CPU 32 may operate as game progress control means so as to control the game progress in the base game mode and the special game mode. The CPU 32 controls the variable display game progress to be initiated by the use of the game media such as a bill and a coin in the base game mode, and the free game progress in the special game mode, in which no game media are used. As the game is shifted to the special game mode, the circumferentially-arrayed image is displayed to notify the player of the free game. And the array change of numerical symbols in the circumferential image is conducted if the figure 90 is set. Therefore, the player can have a chance to obtain his or her favorite array of numerical symbols by using the figure 90. The first operation contents of the slot machine 1 will be explained in the following paragraphs in reference to FIGS. 8 and 9.

FIG. 8 shows a flow chart with each block process illustrating the main operation procedure from the beginning to the end of the game with the slot machine 1. Here, the step is abbreviated as ‘S’ in FIGS. 8 and 9.

(Main Operation)

The slot machine 1 conducts the figure ID reading process as the program proceeds to the step 1 once the main operation is initiated as shown in FIG. 8. When the figure ID reading process is initiated, the IC chip reader/writer 19 c operates as reading means such that the figure ID is read from the figure 90 set on the figure installation unit and is inputted to the CPU 32. When the figure ID is inputted, the CPU 32 sets “9” to the flag with the figure (figure-existing flag), which may be determination factor whether the figure ID can be read or not, and makes the RAM 33 stores the read figure ID. Then, the program proceeds to the subsequent step 2. Here, when the figure ID is not inputted to the CPU 32 (the figure ID cannot be read), the flag is set to the initial value of “0”. Further, when the figure ID is inputted, the CPU 32 may instruct the image control circuit 81 such that the sub display 4 displays an effect image to notify the change of the roulette image 100 as the circumferentially-arranged image.

In the step 2, the start acceptance process to demand the player to conduct the initiation operation for starting the game is initiated and the lottery process is conducted in the subsequent step 3. When the lottery process is initiated, the CPU 32 conducts a stop symbol determination process, a winning determination process and a winning mode determination process being similar to a free game lottery process to be described later. Here, the CPU 32 determines whether the shift condition to the special game mode is met or not (e.g., a special symbol is determined as the stop symbol or not) and sets “1” to the shift condition flag that is a determination factor to shift to the special game mode if the shift condition is satisfied while the CPU 32 sets “2” to the flag if the shift condition is not satisfied. When the program proceeds to the subsequent step 4, the base game is initiated and the CPU 32 makes the main display show the variable display image and the stop symbol image so that a predetermined payout is made if the winning is obtained. In the subsequent step 5, the CPU 32 determines whether the bonus game shift condition is satisfied or not. Here, the CPU 32 determines that the shift condition is satisfied if the shift condition flag is set to “1” and operates as shift means, and the bonus game process of the step 6 is conducted while the main process is terminated by determining that the shift condition is not satisfied if the shift condition flag is set to “2”. In the following paragraphs, the bonus game process will be explained in reference to FIG. 9.

(Bonus Game Process)

When the bonus game process is initiated, the free game number determination process is conducted as the program proceeds to the step 61 as shown in FIG. 9. When the free game number determination process is initiated, the CPU 32 operates as game content determination means and determines the free game number (game contents) performed in the special game mode. Here, the CPU 32 instructs the random generator 35 to generate a certain range of random numbers. Also, the CPU 32 instructs the sampling circuit 36 to pick up any random number from the random numbers having been generated by the random number generator 35 such that the free game number is obtained by referring to the game content determination table (not shown) stored in the ROM 34 as the picked random number is used as the search key. The game content determination table is a table in which the game determination factors as the free game numbers (e.g., “0 time,” “10 times,” and “20 times”) are stored in association with the random numbers. Thus, the CPU 32 operates as the game content determination means and determines the game contents (the free game number) by obtaining (specifying) one game determination factor from the plurality of game determination factors. As described later, the numerical symbol corresponding to the game contents (free game number) having been determined by the CPU 32 is to be specified from the plurality of numerical symbols in the symbol determination image 106 (refer to FIG. 14). Here, the game contents are not limited to the free game number, but may include at least either a payout number (the number of game media to be paid out when the winning is obtained) or payout rate (the rate of the number of game media to be paid out to the number of game media having been used in one game). In such a case, the game determination factor may be, for example, “the payout number is 10,” “the payout number is 20,” “the payout rate is 10 times,” “the payout rate is 20 times,” and so on. Further, it is also possible to store various kinds of game content determination factors in one game content determination table. For example, “the free game number is 10,” “the payout number is 10,” “the free game number is 20,” and “the payout rate is 20 times” may be stored. In such a case, by setting the random number as the search key, the free game number is obtained in an occasion and the payout number or the payout rate may be obtained in another occasion. Further, the game determination factor may be a combination of the free game number and the payout number, for example, “the free game number is 10 and the payout rate is 10,” “the free game number is 20 and the payout number is 20,” and the like.

As the program proceeds to the subsequent step 62, the procedure branches depending on whether the CPU 32 has read the figure ID or not. Here, it is determined that the figure ID has not been read unless the flag with the figure (figure-present flag) is set to “9.” Then, the program proceeds to the steps 63 to 65. On the other hand, it is determined that the figure ID has been read if the flag with figure (figure-present flag) is set to “9.” Then, the procedure branches off to the steps 66 to 68. Thus, the array change of the numerical symbols is conducted in the roulette image 100 by changing the steps to be executed depending on whether the figure ID has been read or not.

First, the steps 63 to 65 which are conducted if the FIG. 1D has not been read are explained.

When the program proceeds to the step 63, the array pattern determination process without the figure is conducted. Once the array pattern determination process without the figure is initiated, the CPU 32 obtains the array pattern corresponding to the flag with the figure (figure-present flag) of “0” by referring to the figure present-absent array table 50 (FIG. 5). Here, the figure present-absent table 50 to be referred to includes a figure present-absent column 50 a to be used as the main key and an array pattern column 50 b in association with figure existence such that the value of “0” set to the flag with figure is set to be the search key to obtain the corresponding array pattern. FIG. 7 shows symbol arrays for respective array patters and the pattern without the figure is so arranged that “0”, “10”, “20”, “0”, “10”, “20”, “0”, “10”, “20”, “0”, “10”, and “20” are allocated in respective divided areas of Nos. 0 to 11.

When the program proceeds to the subsequent step 64, an array pattern effect process is conducted, and when the program proceeds to the subsequent step 65, a game content determination effect process is conducted. The array pattern effect process and the game content determination effect process are similar to respective processes conducted in the steps 67 and 68. Therefore, they are described later.

Next, respective process at the steps 66 to 68 will be explained when it is determined that the figure ID has been read.

When the program proceeds to the step 66, the array patter change process is conducted. When the array pattern change process is initiated, the CPU 32 operates as change means and obtains an array pattern corresponding to the flag (“9”) with figure after the change by referring to the figure present-absent array table 50 (FIG. 5). The array pattern after the change which is obtained at this step is “A pattern” and, as shown in FIG. 7, the pattern is so arranged that “0”, “0”, “0”, “0”, “10”, “10”, “10”, “10”, “20”, “20”, “20”, and “20” are allocated in respective divided areas of Nos. 0 to 11.

In “A pattern”, symbols of the same kind are collected for respective kinds: “0”, “10” and “20”. Therefore, it is easy for the player to recognize the ratio of each kind to the entirety. By way of example, a sample game mode may be described as follows. The roulette as shown in FIG. 14A is rotated (FIG. 14B) and a knife is thrown to hit one of the regions in the roulette which specifies the number corresponding to the free game number (FIG. 14C). Since there is a lottery feature in such a sample game mode, this ratio is important. That is, the player tends to consider it is quite likely that the knife hits one of these regions of the kind. Since it is usually thought that an internal lottery is set in this way in the gaming machine, the ratio of each region to the entirety is important.

Further, the player may think it is more likely for the knife to hit this specific region if this kind of region is scattered evenly along the circumferential direction depending on the rotational speed of the roulette. Further, a character mimicking a venturer is used in FIG. 14B, but the player may think another kind of array may cause more often the knife to hit this specific region if another kind of character corresponding to the identification information is used. Therefore, an appearance of the figure, an array change of symbols and an appearance of the character in the screen can be mutually associated with the key of identification information and the player may enjoy the game more.

When the program proceeds to the subsequent step 67, an array pattern effect process is conducted. When the array pattern effect process is initiated, the CPU 32 operates as display control means and obtains the array pattern (A pattern) so as to instruct the image control circuit to display the roulette image 109 as the changed circumferentially-arranged image after the array change accordingly. The roulette image 109 is composed of radially-divided areas, in which numerical symbols are placed respectively, of the circular area of the wheel used in the roulette game. In the array pattern effect process, for example, the sub display 4 displays the roulette image 109 as shown in FIG. 13 along with a logo image such as “FREE GAME” and “CHANCE” as shown in FIG. 14A

When the program proceeds to the subsequent step 68, the game content determination process is conducted. Once the game content determination process is initiated, the CPU 32 instructs the image control circuit 81 to display an image appearing as if the roulette were rotating, a character image 102 being associated with the venturer, and a knife image 103 appearing to be thrown by the venturer on the sub display 4 as shown in FIG. 14B.

After that, the CPU 32 operates as display control means and instructs the image control circuit 81 to display the symbol determination image 106 to specify the numerical symbol (any one of the numerical symbols showing the same number as the free game number) corresponding to the free game number having been determined in the free game number determination process (step 61) among the plurality of numerical symbols in the roulette image 109 on the sub display 4. The symbol determination image 106 is composed of a knife image appearing to specify the numerical symbol of “20” by sticking out of the roulette image 109 as shown in FIG. 14C, logo images 107 of “FREE GAME” AND “20”, and a character image 102 appearing to raise both hands for joy so as to notify the player that the free game number is 20. Here, the character image 102 appearing in the symbol determination image may be associated with the appearance of the figure main body 92.

As described in the foregoing, in the slot machine 1, the array pattern of the roulette image 100 may be changed by setting the figure 90 and the roulette image 109 after the change is displayed so that the player may choose either image 100 or 109 (before or after the change) by selecting the game without or with the figure 90 to be read.

In the slot machine 1, the numerical symbol may also include “0”. In other words, the symbol corresponding to the game number (game contents) may include a losing symbol so that it is possible to perform an effect (losing effect) specifying the losing symbol as the game content after notifying that the shift condition to the special game mode is satisfied. Therefore, it is possible to enhance the amusement of the game by performing such an unexpected effect so as to keep tension high. Further, the character's posture (action effect) in the symbol determination image may be changed according to the determined contents as the game contents (the free game number in this embodiment) such that the effect display of the action may be designed to match the player's emotion so as to enhance the game amusement.

When the program proceeds to the subsequent step 69, the free game process is initiated, and the free game lottery process and scrolling process are repeated as many times as determined in the free game number determination process (step 61).

When the free game lottery process is initiated, a stop symbol determination process, a winning/losing determination process and a winning mode determination process are conducted. When the stop symbol determination process is initiated, the CPU 32 instructs the random number generator 35 to generate a certain range of random numbers, picks up any random numbers among the generated random numbers, and obtains stop symbols to be stopped and displayed in respective variable display parts 3A to 3I by referring to the symbol determination table not shown (table storing code numbers of symbols in association with random numbers) and the stop table (table storing symbol code numbers in association with stop symbols).

When the subsequent winning determination process is initiated, the CPU 32 determines whether it is won or not by referring to the winning determination table including distinguishably winning symbol patterns and non-winning symbol patterns in association with respective code numbers and combinations thereof, and when the winning mode determination process is initiated, the CPU 32 obtains payout information corresponding to the winning mode by referring to the mode table including the payout information in association with the winning symbol pattern (winning mode).

When the subsequent scrolling process is initiated, the CPU 32 makes the variable display of symbols displayed in respective variable display parts 3S to 3I on the main display 3, and causes the payout of coins or the like corresponding to the obtained payout information in the winning mode determination process.

When the program proceeds to the subsequent step 70, the CPU 32 conducts a process clearing the flag with the figure, that is, setting the initial value of “0” to the flag with the figure and terminates the bonus game process.

In the slot machine 1 performing the aforementioned first operation contents, the roulette image 100 having a plurality of numerical symbols arranged circumferentially is displayed, and the numerical symbol array in the roulette image 100 may be changed when the figure 90 is set (the figure ID is read by the IC chip reader/writer 19 c). Therefore, in the slot machine 1, the player may select the roulette image 100 by utilizing the figure 90. Further, since the roulette images 100 before and after the change are displayed according to the player's wish, the display mode of the roulette images 100 is not monotonous so as to be an incentive for the player to play the game repeatedly.

Further, in the slot machine, the sub display 4 displays the symbol determination image 106 to specify the numerical symbol corresponding to the free game number (game determined information) having been determined as game contents among the plurality of numerical symbols in the roulette image 100. Therefore, the numerical symbol in the roulette image 100 and the free game number (game contents) get related and the player can easily identify (grasp) the free game number in the symbol determination image 106.

Although the numerical symbol indicates the same number as the free game number in the present slot machine 1, other numerical symbols such as numerical characters representing one-tenth and one-hundredth of the free game number to be determined as the game contents may be arranged in the circumferentially-arranged image.

Further, the symbol determination image is to be displayed after shifting to the special game mode and before the free game process (step 69) under the control of the CPU 32 in the present slot machine 1 so that the player is to be notified of the free game number, before the initiation of the free game, by the circumferentially-arranged image including the circumferentially-arranged image after the change.

Next, the second operation contents of the slot machine 1 are explained. The second operation contents differ from the first operation contents in the operation contents of the bonus game process. Therefore, the different parts of the bonus game process of the first operation contents are mainly explained.

When the bonus game process is initiated, the program proceeds to the step 71 as shown in FIG. 10 and the free game number determination process is conducted in a similar manner to that in the bonus game process of the first operation contents (hereafter referred to as “first bonus game process”). Then, the program proceeds to the subsequent step 72. In the step 72, the procedure branches depending on whether the flag with the figure is set to “9” or not. And the CPU 32 controls the game so that it proceeds to the steps 73 to 75 if the flag with the figure is not set to “9” and the array pattern determination process without the figure, the array pattern effect process and game content determination process are conducted in a similar manner to those in the first bonus game process. Then, the program proceeds to the step 79 and the free game process is initiated.

On the other hand, the program proceeds to the step 76 if the flag with the figure is set to “9” and the CPU 32 operates as the change means and a changed array pattern determination process conducting the array change is executed according to the array pattern corresponding to the figure ID having been read by the IC chip reader/writer 19 c from the plurality of array patterns stored in association with the figure IDs. Here, the CPU 32 obtains the array pattern corresponding to the figure ID by referring to the figure ID array pattern table 51 (refer to FIG. 6) stored in the data storage 41 as the figure ID stored in the RAM 33 is set as the search key. The figure ID array pattern table 51 now being referred to includes a figure ID column in which the main key may be set and an array pattern column 51 b which is associated with the figure ID such that the array pattern can be obtained by setting the figure ID as the search key. Since the figure ID stored in the figure of this embodiment is “0002”, “B pattern” is obtained as the array pattern.

As shown in FIG. 7, “B pattern” so arranged that “0”, “0”, “10”, “10”, “20”, “20”, “0”, “0”, “10”, “10”, “20”, and “20” are allocated in respective divided areas of Nos. 0 to 11.

When the program proceeds to the steps 77 and 78, processes similar to those in the first bonus game process are conducted and the program proceeds to the subsequent step 79. After the free game process is conducted, the program proceeds to the step 80 so as to clear the flag with the figure and the bonus game process is completed.

The slot machine 1 executing the above-described second operation contents is configured to conduct the array change of the numerical symbols according to the array pattern corresponding to the figure ID having been read by the IC chip reader/writer 19 c as the figure 90 is set. Therefore, the player may change the original roulette image 100 to a new roulette image 100 corresponding to a new figure 90 by replacing the original FIG. 90 with the new figure 90 so as to have more options in the roulette image 100. Especially, since the array pattern composed of numerical symbols is changed according to the figure ID stored in the figure 90, it is possible to provide the player with an incentive to play the game repeatedly as the player expects the game with various kinds of array patterns and thus the player is provided with new amusement by collecting various kinds of FIGS. 90 as he or she becomes eager to collect the figures.

Now, the third operation contents of the slot machine 1 are explained. Here, the third operation contents differ from the first or the second operation contents partially in the operation contents of the bonus game process. Therefore, the differences in the bonus game process from the first or the second operation contents are mainly explained in reference to FIG. 11.

When the bonus game process is initiated, the program proceeds to the step 81 as shown in FIG. 11 and the CPU 32 operates as the change means in a similar manner to the way in the first bonus game process so as to branch the procedure depending on whether the flag with the figure is set to “9” or not. Then, under the control of the CPU 32, the program proceeds to the steps 83 to 85 if the flag with the figure is not set to “9”, the array pattern determination process without the figure, the array pattern effect process and the game content determination process are conducted in a similar manner as described in the first bonus game process and the program proceeds to the step 89 to initiate the free game process.

On the other hand, the program proceeds to the step 86 if the flag with the figure is set to “9” and the figure present array pattern determination process is conducted so as to proceeds to the step 87.

When the program proceeds to the step 87, a symbol shift effect process is conducted. When the symbol shift effect process is initiated, the CPU 32 operates as the display control means and instructs the image control circuit 81 to display the roulette image 100 before the array change (the numerical symbol array of the pattern without the figure) as shown in FIG. 15A on the sub display 4. Next, the CPU 32 instructs the image control circuit 81 to display a symbol shift image 108 showing a moving state of the numerical symbols constituting the roulette image 100 on the sub display 4 as illustrated in FIG. 15B. And the CPU 32 instructs the image control circuit 81 to display a roulette image of “A pattern” corresponding to a circumferentially-arranged image after the change as shown in FIG. 15C and the symbol shift effect process is completed.

When the program proceeds to the subsequent steps 88, 89 and 90, the game content determination effect process, the free game process and the figure-present flag clearance are conducted in a similar manner as described in the first or the second bonus game process and the bonus game process is completed.

The above-described slot machine 1 executing the third operation contents and the slot machine 1 executing the first operation contents has common effects. Further, the present slot machine 1 can notify the player by the image effect appearing as if the numerical symbols were moving during the transition period from the roulette image 100 before the array change to the roulette image 109 after the array change such that the player can easily recognize the array change of the roulette image 100 by setting the figure. In the above explanation of the third operation contents, an example to change the numerical symbol array pattern to “A pattern” is illustrated, but it should be understood that the numerical symbol array pattern can be changed to the array pattern (for example, B pattern or C pattern) corresponding to the figure ID as described in the second operation contents.

The gaming machine according to the present invention is not limited to the above-mentioned embodiments, but may include a gaming machine capable of performing a game utilizing a card image of the card game or a mah-jong tile image of the mah-jong game. It may also include a gaming machine comprising a slot machine including a plurality of mechanical reels, which is provided with display means composed of a liquid crystal display device or the like.

Further, the plurality of symbols constituting the circumferentially-arranged image are not limited to the numerical symbols, but may include alphabet symbols, Greek alphabet symbols, and other character symbols and word symbols.

Further, the circumferentially-arranged image is not limited to the image comprising: a circular area mimicking a wheel in the roulette game and a plurality of numerical symbols arranged radially along the periphery, but may include a circular area mimicking a dart board of the dart game or other circular areas composed of radially and evenly divided sectors, in which numerical symbols are provided respectively; and an elliptic area or a polygonal area (e.g., hexagonal area and octagonal area) composed of circumferentially and evenly divided portions, in which numerical symbols are provided respectively.

Further, according to the present invention, the game article is not limited to the figure, but may include a card or the like (e.g., a membership card to be used permanently by the player and a house card to be used temporarily by the player); a cassette; and other articles. Further, the way to store the identification information in the game article is not limited to that utilizing the IC chip from which data can be read in a non-contact manner, but the storage media may be a contact type of data storage means. And without data storage means such as a memory, the game related information can be stored by the game article which is provided with an information display part having an information storing function by engraving the code on; directly printing the code on; or attaching a seal with the code to the game article, the code comprising: a bar-code and a two-dimensional code. Here, the two-dimensional code may be referred to as two-dimensional bar-code such as QR Code (Registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED). This two-dimensional code may include a large amount of information coding several tens and several hundreds of times as many data as the bar-code. As mentioned above, if the information display part is provided, a bar code reader or the like is provided as the reading means instead of the IC chip reader/writer.

Further, the game media for initiating the game is not limited to the bill or the coin, but may include an information storage media such as a prepaid card and a magnetic card. In this instance, a predetermined value is used from the monetary information or the credit stored in the information storage media to start the game.

According to the present invention, there may be provided a gaming machine which can provide the player with an incentive to play the game repeatedly by varying an effect display mode since the effect display mode to notify the information relating to the game can be selected at the player's choice such that the player's taste and wish may be reflected on the mode.

As mentioned above, a gaming machine in which an effect display mode for showing information about the game can be selected by the player such that the player's taste and wish may be reflected on the image allows the effect display mode to vary in order to provide an incentive to play the game repeatedly.

Therefore, the gaming machine may comprise: display means for displaying a circumferentially-arranged image having a plurality of symbols arranged circumferentially; reading means for reading identification information from a game article storing the identification information distinguishable from others; change means for conducting array change of symbols in the circumferentially-arranged image when the identification image is read by the reading means; and display means for displaying a changed circumferentially-arranged image after the change means conducts the array change.

In this gaming machine, since the changed circumferentially-arranged symbol array is displayed when the identification information is read from the game article, the circumferentially-arranged symbol array can be changed depending on whether the player allows the game article to be read or not. Thus, the player can choose the circumferentially-arranged symbol either before or after the change to be displayed by allowing the game article to be read or not.

Further, the above-mentioned display control means may cause the display means to display a symbol determination image specifying an image corresponding to at least one of the game contents such as a game number, a payout number and a payout rate.

In this gaming machine, there will be generated a relationship between the image in the circumferentially-arranged symbol array and the game contents such that the display of the symbol determination image may notify the player of the game contents.

Further, the above-mentioned change means may conduct the array change in accordance with the array pattern corresponding to the identification information having been read by the reading means among the plurality of array patterns corresponding to the identification information.

For such a gaming machine, the number of the options of the circumferentially-arranged image the player can choose is increased.

Further, the above-mentioned display control means may cause the changed circumferentially-arranged image after the circumferentially-arranged image before the change and a symbol shift image showing a moving state of each symbol constituting the circumferentially-arranged image.

In such a gaming machine, since the change display includes movement of a symbol array constituting the circumferentially-arranged image, the player may grasp the array change with ease.

The circumferentially-arranged image may comprise: any one of a circular area of a wheel to be used in a roulette game, a circular area of a dart board to be used in a dart game, and another circular area, each circular area being composed of radially-divided sectors, in which numerical symbols are arranged respectively.

In such a gaming machine, the player can easily grasp the array of the numerical symbols and the array change.

The gaming machine may be characterized by comprising: game progress control means for controlling progress of a game in a special game mode in which game media are not necessary for starting the game and a base game mode in which game media are necessary for starting the game; and shift means for shifting from the base game mode to the special game mode upon satisfaction of a shift condition, wherein the symbol determination image specifying a symbol corresponding to a game number in the special game mode from a plurality of symbols in the circumferentially-arranged image is displayed on the display means.

In such a gaming machine, the arrangement of the circumferentially-arranged image is changed when the identification information is read from the game article, thereby allowing the player to get options. And the player is notified of the game number by specifying a symbol corresponding to the game number in the symbol determination image.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7758415 *May 18, 2007Jul 20, 2010Universal Entertainment CorporationSlot machine
US8777734 *Feb 15, 2013Jul 15, 2014Universal Entertainment CorporationGaming machine
US20130217467 *Feb 14, 2013Aug 22, 2013Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Gaming machine and control method thereof
US20130217469 *Feb 15, 2013Aug 22, 2013Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Gaming machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/30
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3218, G07F17/3267, G07F17/3211
European ClassificationG07F17/32C2F, G07F17/32M4, G07F17/32C4B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 12, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ARUZE CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OKADA, KAZUO;REEL/FRAME:017894/0249
Effective date: 20060420