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Publication numberUS20070060243 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/201,010
Publication dateMar 15, 2007
Filing dateAug 10, 2005
Priority dateAug 10, 2005
Publication number11201010, 201010, US 2007/0060243 A1, US 2007/060243 A1, US 20070060243 A1, US 20070060243A1, US 2007060243 A1, US 2007060243A1, US-A1-20070060243, US-A1-2007060243, US2007/0060243A1, US2007/060243A1, US20070060243 A1, US20070060243A1, US2007060243 A1, US2007060243A1
InventorsBenjamin Gomez, Michael Casey, Bradley Rose
Original AssigneeGomez Benjamin T, Casey Michael P, Rose Bradley A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Wagering game having bonus payout based on similarity of objects
US 20070060243 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine and a method for conducting a wagering game at the gaming machine includes a bonus payout based on a similarity of objects that are accumulated by a player. The accumulated objects are compared with a final object and a player is awarded a first bonus payout based on identical matching of objects and a second bonus payout based on the similarity of objects.
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Claims(21)
1. A gaming machine for conducting a wagering game, comprising:
a value input device for receiving a wager; and
a controller operative to
accumulate at least one of a plurality of player-assigned objects;
compare said at least one player-assigned object to a final object revealed during the wagering game;
award a first payout in response to said at least one player-assigned object matching said final object to a first extent;
award a second payout in response to said at least one player-assigned object matching said final object to a second extent different from said first extent.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein said first payout is larger than said second payout.
3. The gaming machine of claim 1, further including at least one display for displaying said wagering game.
4. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein said first payout and said second payout correspond to a credit amount associated with said player-assigned objects being multiplied by at least one multiplier.
5. The gaming machine of claim 4, wherein said multiplier for said first payout is greater than said multiplier for said second payout.
6. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein said controller is operative to accumulate said at least one of said plurality of player-assigned objects in response to player input.
7. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein said controller is operative to initially assign said plurality of player-assigned objects to said player.
8. The gaming machine of claim 7, wherein said plurality of player-assigned objects that are initially assigned to said player are selected from an array of player-selectable objects.
9. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein said controller is operative to eliminate one or more of said player-assigned objects prior to awarding said first or second payout.
10. A method of playing a wagering game at a gaming machine, said method comprising:
in response to receiving a wager input from a player at said gaming machine, conducting said wagering game;
accumulating at least one of a plurality of player-assigned objects;
comparing said at least one player-assigned object to a final object;
in response to said at least one player-assigned object identically matching said final object, awarding a first payout; and
in response to said at least one player-assigned object being only similar to said final object, awarding a second payout.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein said first payout is larger than said second payout.
12. The method of claim 10, further comprising multiplying a credit amount associated with said player-assigned objects by at least one multiplier to obtain said first payout and said second payout.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein said multiplier for said first payout is greater than said multiplier for said second payout.
14. The method of claim 10, wherein said accumulating of at least one of said plurality of player-assigned objects includes initially assigning said at least one of said plurality of player-assigned objects to said player.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein said at least one of said plurality of player-assigned objects that are initially assigned to said player are selected from an array of player-selectable objects.
16. The method of claim 10, further including, after said accumulating, eliminating one or more of said plurality of player-assigned objects during play of said wagering game.
17. A computer readable storage medium encoded with instructions for directing said gaming machine to perform the method of claim 10.
18. 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;
triggering a bonus game having a plurality of objects;
accumulating at least one of said plurality of objects, said plurality of objects being associated with a credit amount;
reducing the number of said accumulated objects during the course of said bonus game based on predetermined criteria;
after said reducing, achieving an award based on matching of said remaining accumulated objects.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein said accumulating includes assigning said at least one of said plurality of objects to said player upon starting said bonus game.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein said achieving said award includes receiving a first payout based on identical matching of at least one of said remaining accumulated objects with a final object.
21. The method of claim 18, wherein said achieving said award includes receiving a second payout based on having at least one of said remaining accumulated objects that is similar to a final object.
Description
COPYRIGHT

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.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a gaming machine and a method of playing a wagering game at the gaming machine, and more particularly, to a gaming machine and method of playing a wagering game having a bonus game that awards a bonus payout based on similarity of objects. The wagering game also includes an object-reducing feature that removes one or more objects that are assigned to a player while playing the bonus game.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Gaming machines, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for 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 at each machine is roughly the same (or believed to be the same), players are likely to be attracted to the most entertaining and exciting machines. Shrewd operators consequently strive to employ the most entertaining and exciting machines, features, and enhancements available because such machines attract frequent play and, hence, increase profitability to the operator. Therefore, there is a continuing need for gaming machine manufacturers to continuously develop new games and improved gaming enhancements that attract frequent play through enhanced entertainment value to the player.

One concept successfully employed to enhance the entertainment value of a game is the concept of a “secondary” or “bonus” game that 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, which is entered upon the occurrence of a selected event or outcome in the basic game. Generally, bonus games provide a greater expectation of winning than the basic game and may also be accompanied with more attractive or unusual video displays and/or audio. Bonus games may, additionally, award players with “progressive jackpot” awards funded, at least in part, by a percentage of coin-in from the gaming machine or a plurality of participating gaming machines. Because the bonus game concept offers tremendous advantages in player appeal and excitement relative to other known games, and because such games are attractive to both players and operators, there is a continuing need to develop gaming machines with new types of bonus games to satisfy the demands of players and operators.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine for conducting a wagering game includes a value input device for receiving a wager and a controller that is operative to accumulate at least one of a plurality of player-assigned objects. The controller is operative to compare at least one of the player-assigned objects to a final object that is revealed during the wagering game. The controller awards a first payout in response to at least one of the player-assigned objects matching the final object to a first extent and a second payout in response to at least one of the player-assigned objects matching the final object to a second extent that is different from the first extent.

In another aspect of the present invention, a method of playing a wagering game at a gaming machine is disclosed. The method includes, in response to receiving a wager input from a player at the gaming machine, conducting the wagering game and accumulating at least one of a plurality of player-assigned objects. The method further includes comparing at least one of the player-assigned objects to a final object and awarding a first payout in response to at least one of the player-assigned objects identically matching the final object. Additionally, the method includes awarding a second payout in response to at least one of the player-assigned objects being only similar to the final object.

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 includes the steps of, in response to receiving a wager input from a player at the gaming terminal, conducting the wagering game and triggering a bonus game having a plurality of objects. The method also includes accumulating at least one of the plurality of objects. The plurality of objects are associated with a credit amount. The method further includes reducing the number of accumulated objects during the course of the bonus game based on predetermined criteria and, after reducing, achieving an award based on matching of the remaining accumulated objects.

In other embodiments, a gaming machine for playing a wagering game is comprised of a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome that has been selected from a plurality of outcomes in response to receiving a wager input. The gaming machine also includes a bonus game having a plurality of objects that are accumulated by a player. The number of accumulated objects is reduced during the course of said wagering game based on predetermined criteria. After the reduction of accumulated objects, a payout is awarded based on matching of the remaining accumulated objects.

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 is a perspective view of a gaming machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the gaming machine of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a main display of the gaming machine of FIG. 1 displaying a wagering game according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a main or secondary display of a gaming machine displaying a bonus game according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a main or secondary display displaying a plurality of player-assigned objects according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a main display or secondary display wherein a player has made a selection from a first set of selectable objects according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a main display or secondary display wherein a player is prompted to make a selection from a second set of selectable objects according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a main display or secondary display wherein a player has selected an object associated with an object-reducing feature according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates a main display or a secondary display wherein a player has made a selection from a third set of selectable objects according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 illustrates a main display or a secondary display wherein the player-assigned objects are matched to a final object according to one embodiment of the present invention.

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

The present invention is directed to a gaming machine and a method of playing a wagering game at the gaming machine that includes player-attractive features that enhance game-play and offer players more and greater ways to win. The wagering game of the present invention includes a feature for matching similar objects that have been assigned to or collected by a player during a bonus game. Additionally, the wagering game includes an object-reducing feature that removes some of the assigned or collected objects during play of the bonus game. Once a player reaches the end of the bonus game, he or she may be awarded a bonus payout based on the matching of similar objects.

While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and is herein described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure shall be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

Referring to FIG. 1, a gaming machine 10 is used in gaming establishments such as casinos. With regard to the present invention, the gaming machine 10 may be any type of gaming machine and may have varying structures and methods of operation. In the present invention, the gaming machine 10 is an electronic gaming machine configured to play video poker.

The gaming machine 10 comprises a housing 12 and includes input devices, including a value input device 18 and a player input device 24. For output, the gaming machine 10 includes a primary display 14 for showing information about the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 can also show information about a bonus wagering game and a progressive wagering game. The gaming machine 10 may also include a secondary display 16 for showing game events, game outcomes, and/or signage information. While these typical components found in the gaming machine 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 machine 10.

The value input device 18 may be provided in many forms, individually or in combination, and is preferably located on the front of the housing 12. The value input device 18 receives currency and/or credits inserted by a player. The value input device 18 may include a coin acceptor 20 for receiving coin currency (see FIG. 1). Alternatively, or in addition, the value input device 18 may include a bill acceptor 22 for receiving paper currency. Furthermore, the value input device 18 may include a ticket reader, or barcode scanner for reading information stored on a credit ticket, a card, or other tangible portable credit storage device. The credit ticket or card may also authorize access to a central account, which can transfer money to the gaming machine 10.

player input device 24 comprises a plurality of push buttons 26 on a button panel for operating the gaming machine 10. In addition, or alternatively, the player input device 24 may comprise a touch screen 28 mounted by adhesive, tape, or the like over the primary display 14 and/or secondary display 16. The touch screen 28 contains soft touch keys 30 denoted by graphics on the underlying primary display 14 used to operate the gaming machine 10. The touch screen 28 provides players with an alternative method of input. A player enables a desired function either by touching the touch screen 28 at an appropriate touch key 30, or by pressing an appropriate push button 26 on the button panel. The touch keys 30 may be used to implement the same functions as push buttons 26. Alternatively, the push buttons 26 may provide inputs for one aspect of game operation while the touch keys 30 may allow for input needed for another aspect of game operation.

The various components of the gaming machine 10 may be connected directly to, or contained within, the housing 12 as seen in FIG. 1, or may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the housing 12 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods. Thus, the gaming machine 10 comprises these components whether housed in the housing 12, or outboard of the housing 12 and connected remotely.

The operation of the basic wagering game is shown to the player on the primary display 14. The primary display 14 can also show the bonus game associated with the basic wagering game. The primary display 14 may take the form of a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high resolution LCD, a plasma display, an LED, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming machine 10. As shown, the primary display 14 includes the touch screen 28 overlaying the entire monitor (or a portion thereof) to allow players to make game-related selections. Alternatively, the primary display 14 of the gaming machine 10 may include a number of mechanical reels to display the outcome in visual associated to at least one payline 32. In the illustrated embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is an “upright” version in which the primary display 14 is oriented vertically relative to the player. Alternatively, the gaming machine may be a “slant-top” version in which the primary display 14 is slanted at about a thirty-degree angle towards the player of the gaming machine 10.

A player begins play of the basic wagering game by making a wager via the value input device 18 of the gaming machine 10. A player can select play by using the player input device 24, via the buttons 26 or the touch screen keys 30. The basic game consists of a plurality of symbols arranged in an array, and includes at least one payline 32 indicating one or more outcomes of the basic game; such outcomes are randomly selected in response to the wagering input by the player.

In some embodiments, the gaming machine 10 may also include a player information reader 52 allowing for identification of a player by reading a card with information indicating his or her true identity. The player information reader 52 is shown in FIG. 1 as a card reader, but may take on many forms including a ticket reader, bar code scanner, RFID transceiver, or computer readable storage medium interface. Currently, casinos use this identification for rewarding certain players with complimentary services or special offers. For example, a player may be enrolled in the gaming establishment's loyalty 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 information reader 52, allowing the casino's computers to register that player's wagering at the gaming machine 10. The gaming machine 10 may use the secondary display 16 or other dedicated player-tracking display for providing the player with information about his or her account or other player-specific information. Also, in some embodiments, the information reader 52 may be used to restore game assets that the player achieved and saved during a previous game session.

Turning now to FIG. 2, the various components of the gaming machine 10 are controlled by a central processing unit (CPU) 34, also referred to herein as a controller or processor (such as a microcontroller or microprocessor). To provide gaming functions, the controller 34 executes one or more game programs stored in a computer readable storage medium, in the form of memory 36. The controller 34 performs the random selection using a random number generator (RNG) of an outcome from the plurality of possible outcomes of the wagering game. Alternatively, the random event may be determined at a remote controller. The remote controller may use either an RNG or a pooling scheme for its central determination of a game outcome. It should be noted that the controller 34 may include one or more microprocessors, including but not limited to a master processor, a slave processor, and a secondary or parallel processor.

The controller 34 is also coupled to the system memory 36 and a money/credit detector 38. The system memory 36 may comprise a volatile memory (i.e., a random-access memory [RAM]) and a non-volatile memory (i.e., an EEPROM). The system memory 36 may include multiple RAM and multiple program memories. The money/credit detector 38 signals the processor that money and/or credits were input via the value input device 18. Preferably, these components are located within the housing 12 of the gaming machine 10. However, as explained above, these components may be located outboard of the housing 12 and connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming machine 10 via a variety of different wired or wireless connection methods.

As seen in FIG. 2, the controller 34 is also connected to, and controls, the primary display 14, the player input device 24, and a payoff mechanism 40. The payoff mechanism 40 is operable in response to instructions from the controller 34 to award a payoff to the player in response to certain winning outcomes that might occur in the basic game or the bonus game(s). The payoff may be provided in the form of points, bills, tickets, coupons, cards, etc. For example, in FIG. 1, the payoff mechanism 40 includes both a ticket printer 42 and a coin outlet 44. However, any of a variety of payoff mechanisms 40 well known in the art may be implemented, including cards, coins, tickets, smartcards, cash, etc. One or more pay tables stored in the system memory 36 determine the payoff amounts distributed by the payoff mechanism 40.

Communications between the controller 34 and both the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 and external systems 50 occur through input/output (I/O) circuits 46, 48. More specifically, the controller 34 manages and receives inputs from the peripheral components of the gaming machine 10 through the input/output circuits 46. Further, the controller 34 communicates with the external systems 50 via the I/O circuits 48 and a communication path (i.e., serial, parallel, IR, RC, 10bT, etc.). The external systems 50 may include a gaming network, other gaming machines, a gaming server, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components. Even though the I/O circuits 46, 48 may be shown as a single block, it should be noted that each of the I/O circuits 46, 48 may include a number of different types of I/O circuits.

Controller 34, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware that may be disposed or reside inside and/or outside the gaming machine 10 that may communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming machine 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 34 may comprise one or more controllers or processors. In FIG. 2, the controller 34 in the gaming machine 10 is depicted as comprising a CPU, but the controller 34 may alternatively comprise a CPU in combination with other components, such as the I/O circuits 46, 48 and the system memory 36.

The primary display 14 of one embodiment of the present invention is shown in more detail in FIG. 3. In this embodiment, the basic wagering game is a slot machine game, with symbols on five reels 136, 138, 140, 142, 144. The reels 136, 138, 140, 142, 144 may be either traditional mechanical reels or they may be computer-generated images of reels, with each reel including a plurality of symbols. Upon receiving a wager input, the payline indicator(s) 146 indicates which paylines have been selected (i.e., activated) by the player. A randomly selected outcome from a plurality of outcomes is then indicated along the payline(s) in the form of a combination of symbols on reels 136, 138, 140, 142, 144. An outcome indicator (not shown) may indicate whether the outcome has resulted in a winning outcome or a non-winning outcome. While a single payline is shown as being active in FIG. 3, a gaming terminal 10 with multiple active paylines will also work with the present invention. Additionally, while the embodiment shown in FIG. 3 includes five reels, gaming terminals having more or less than five reels are also contemplated by the present invention.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the basic wagering game, entitled “Cat's Meow,” includes different symbols and/or objects on the reels 136, 138, 140, 142, 144. In this embodiment, the symbols have a cat theme and include items such as a mouse, an opened tuna or sardine can, a milk bottle, a necklace, a bouquet of flowers, etc. These symbols may vary from one embodiment to another. The present invention is not limited to the particular symbols shown in this embodiment.

Once a player places a wager, the randomly selected outcome is displayed via the primary display 14 on reels 136, 138, 140, 142, 144. The symbols displayed on the reels 136, 138, 140, 142, 144 indicate the randomly selected outcome to the player. One of the randomly selected outcomes may correspond to a start-bonus-game outcome and may include any number of symbols or symbol combinations on one or more active paylines. For example, three “Big City Bonus” symbols on reels 136, 138, 140 along a center payline 146 correspond to a start-bonus-game outcome and trigger a bonus game in the “Cat's Meow” wagering game, as depicted in FIG. 3. It is contemplated that more or less than three symbols on the same or different paylines may also trigger the bonus game, as well as different combinations of symbols other than those depicted in FIG. 3.

Once triggered, the bonus game may prompt a player to make certain selections at various times throughout the bonus game. These selections may include selecting certain objects that are player-selectable objects. These player-selectable objects may include player-assigned objects. The player-assigned objects may be assigned by the controller 34 or collected by a player at the beginning of the bonus game or at various times throughout the bonus game.

At the beginning of the bonus game, the player may be allowed to select player-selectable objects from a plurality of objects as shown in FIG. 4. In FIG. 4, a player selects an object from an array of player-selectable objects 165 a, 165 b, 165 c. These player-selectable objects 165 a, 165 b, 165 c may be displayed on a primary display 14 or secondary display 16. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 4, a player selects a cat from a group of three cats displayed on the primary display 14. The selected object, in this case object 165 b, is used throughout the play of the bonus game.

In some embodiments, upon selection of a player-selectable object, i.e., 165 b, the player may be assigned at least one player-assigned object 167. For example, in FIG. 4, the player is awarded six player-assigned objects, i.e., six presents. These player-assigned objects 167 a, 167 b, 167 c, 167 d, 167 e, 167 f, as depicted in FIG. 5, may be held by the player and used throughout the bonus game. In some embodiments, upon awarding the player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f, the primary display 14 or secondary display 16 may show a character, such as a female cat, that is dreaming of an item that she would like to receive as a present that is associated with player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f. The item that the female cat is dreaming about may be revealed to the player at this time (as well as at the end of the bonus game as described below).

As the bonus game proceeds, the player-assigned objects may be displayed for use with other player-selectable objects. For example, as shown in FIG. 5, player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f are displayed on primary display 14 along with a first set of player-selectable objects 169 a, 169 b, 169 c, 169 d, 169 e. In this embodiment, the player-selectable objects 169 a-169 e are selectable “trash cans.”

Each of the player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f and the player-selectable objects 169 a-169 e may be associated with an award, a bonus game feature or some other item that advances the bonus game. As the player progresses through the bonus game, some of these awards, features, etc. may be revealed to the player. For example, in FIG. 6, after the player selects a player-selectable object from the plurality of player-selectable objects 169 a-169 e, a credit award 171 is revealed. The selected player-selectable object 169 e reveals credit award 171 e, i.e., 10 credits, that is added to the player's bonus payout depicted in a bonus payout meter 173. The other credit awards 171 a-171 d associated with the non-selected player-selectable objects 169 a-169 d may also be revealed to the player but are not awarded to the player. In some embodiments, a player-selectable object may be associated with both a credit award and a player-assigned object that is added to the player's existing collection of player-assigned objects. For example, instead of credit award 171 e, a player-assigned object 167 g could be revealed upon selection of player-selectable object 169 e and then added to the player's existing inventory of player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f.

In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 6, even though the player-selectable objects 169 a-169 e and their respective credit awards 171 a-171 e are revealed to the player, the player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f may not be revealed until later in the bonus game. Instead, the player keeps the player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f and carries them over to the next bonus screen.

As the bonus game progresses, the player may be allowed to make additional selections from additional sets of player-selectable objects to further increase his or her bonus payout. As mentioned above, in addition to revealing other credit awards, some of the player-selectable objects, if selected, may reveal additional player-assigned objects, i.e., “presents,” that can be added to the player's existing collection of player-assigned objects.

In addition to credit awards and non-credit awards (i.e., player-assigned objects), other features may be revealed that are less desirable. As illustrated in FIG. 7, a second set of player-selectable objects 175 a-175 d are displayed to a player. The player makes a selection hoping that additional credit awards (such as credit awards 177 a-177 c in FIG. 8) are revealed. Instead, as shown in FIG. 8, the player selects player-selectable object 175 d that is associated with an object-reducing feature 179. The selection of object-reducing feature 179, in this case, a “Cat Trap” in the form of a bull dog, causes the player to have to make a selection from his or her player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f (i.e., the “presents”) to give away before he or she can move on to the next bonus screen. The player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f may be highlighted to indicate that the player must make a selection. In some embodiments, selection of which player-assigned object to give away/remove may be performed by the controller 34 instead of the player. The reduction in the number of player-assigned objects 167 during the course of the bonus game may be based on predetermined criteria.

Once a player makes a selection of one of the player-assigned objects 167 a-167 f, the item associated with the selected player-assigned object is revealed to the player. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 8, the player has selected player-assigned object 167 e to give away to appease the bull dog in the “Cat Trap.” The selected player-assigned object or “present” may include such items as a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers, or other similar items. The player-assigned object 167 e is then removed from the from the player's collection of player-assigned objects 167, which in this case, leaves the player with five player-assigned objects 167 a, 167 b, 167 c, 167 d, 167 f. The player is then allowed to advance to the next bonus screen which contains another set of player-selectable objects.

As the player advances through the bonus game, the successive screens may include a fewer number of play-selectable objects. In the embodiment described herein, the number of player-selectable objects, i.e., the number of trash cans, clothes line items and balconies, continues to decrease as the player moves to the final bonus screen. For example, FIG. 9 of the present embodiment shows a scene having a third set of only two player-selectable objects 181 a, 181 b. As the player selects player-selectable object 181 a, a credit award 183 is revealed and added to the bonus payout meter 173. The other player-selectable object 181 b in FIG. 9 that is not selected by the player is later revealed. In this case, player-selectable object 181 b is associated with object-reducing feature 185. Fortunately, the player does not have to give away one of his or her presents as this object was not selected.

Once the player reaches the end of the bonus scenes, all of the player-assigned objects 167 that are still held by the player are revealed. Along with revealing the player-assigned objects 167, a final object 187 is also revealed (see FIG. 10). Any credit awards associated with the remaining player-assigned objects 167 are credited to the player in the bonus payout. In addition to receiving the credit awards, the player may also be awarded a larger payout based on the matching of any of the player-assigned objects 167 to the final object 187. Matching of the assigned objects 167 to the final object 187 may occur to a first extent or to a second extent, wherein the first extent is different from the second extent.

For example, in FIG. 10, player-assigned objects 167 a-167 d, 167 f are “opened” and presented to “Stella,” the female cat. As Stella begins to daydream, the final object 187 in revealed. In this case, the final object 187 is a flower pot containing two daises. If any of the player-assigned objects 167 are identical matches to the final object 187, the player receives a first multiplier 189. The credit award of the matching player-assigned object 167 is multiplied by the value of the first multiplier 189 to provide a first bonus payout based on the identical matching. If no presents associated with the player-assigned objects 167 identically match the final object 187, the first multiplier 189 is not awarded to the player. In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 10, none of the player-assigned objects 167 a-167 d, 167 f match the final object 187.

Even if the player-assigned objects 167 do not match the final object 187 identically, the player may receive a second multiplier 191 if any of the player-assigned objects 167 are similar to the final object 187 (the daisies). For example, in FIG. 10, two of the player-assigned objects, 167 a and 167 d, are bouquets of roses. The bouquets of roses are not identical matches to the final object 187; however, because they are similar, i.e., both are flowers, the credit awards associated with player-assigned objects 167 a and 167 d are multiplied by the second multiplier 191 for a second bonus payout. For example, the credit award 193 a associated with player-assigned object 167 a, i.e., 100, is multiplied by two for a total credit award of 200. Similarly, the credit award 193 d associated with the player-assigned object 167 d, i.e., 50, is multiplied by two for a total credit award of 100. The second bonus payout, based on the second multiplier, is therefore equal to 300.

As described above, “similar” objects are objects that are not identical but share similarly-themed items, such as a flower pot or bouquet of roses, daises, or other flowers. Other items that may be “similar” may include necklaces, rings, earrings, and other jewelry-related items. Further examples are food-related items, such as fish and fish bones and/or a candy bar and piece of candy. It is contemplated that there are many other items that may be considered to be “similar” items and these particular examples are not meant to limit the types of items that may be considered similar.

In some embodiments, the first multiplier 189 is larger than the second multiplier 191. However, the first multiplier 189 may be the same as or smaller than the second multiplier 191. The final bonus payout is reflected in the bonus payout meter 173 which includes first and second bonus payouts (i.e., 300 credits), as well as the credit awards earned from selections of the player-selectable objects (i.e., 35 credits) and the remaining non-matched player-assigned objects (i.e., 230 credits). Thus, the total credit award reflected in the bonus payout meter 173 is 565 credits.

In other embodiments, a gaming machine for playing a wagering game is comprised of a basic game having a plurality of symbols that indicate a randomly selected outcome that has been selected from a plurality of outcomes in response to receiving a wager input. The gaming machine also includes a bonus game having a plurality of objects that are accumulated by a player. The number of accumulated objects is reduced during the course of said wagering game based on predetermined criteria. After the reduction of accumulated objects, a payout is awarded based on matching of the remaining accumulated objects.

The wagering game as described herein may be played via a computer readable medium encoded with instructions for directing the gaming machine 10.

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
US7862420 *Aug 20, 2003Jan 4, 2011IgtGaming device having a symbol accumulation game with a physical prize
US8075391 *Nov 10, 2006Dec 13, 2011Bally Gaming, Inc.Game and method having a perceived skill feature
US8187079Apr 8, 2009May 29, 2012Wms Gaming Inc.Gaming system with patterned enhancement features
US8251799 *Dec 8, 2011Aug 28, 2012Bally Gaming, Inc.Gaming machine and method having a perceived skill component
US8475263 *Aug 27, 2012Jul 2, 2013Bally Gaming, Inc.Gaming machine system and method having a perceived skill component
US8784186 *May 10, 2013Jul 22, 2014Bally Gaming, Inc.Portable gaming device having a perceived skill component
US20120083329 *Dec 8, 2011Apr 5, 2012Bally Gaming, Inc.Gaming machine and method having a perceived skill component
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 13, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GOMEZ, BENJAMIN T.;CASEY, MICHAEL P.;ROSE, BRADLEY A.;REEL/FRAME:017666/0776;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050906 TO 20050928