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Publication numberUS20070060277 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/262,742
Publication dateMar 15, 2007
Filing dateNov 1, 2005
Priority dateAug 30, 2005
Also published asWO2007026400A1
Publication number11262742, 262742, US 2007/0060277 A1, US 2007/060277 A1, US 20070060277 A1, US 20070060277A1, US 2007060277 A1, US 2007060277A1, US-A1-20070060277, US-A1-2007060277, US2007/0060277A1, US2007/060277A1, US20070060277 A1, US20070060277A1, US2007060277 A1, US2007060277A1
InventorsKazuo Okada
Original AssigneeAruze Gaming America, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine, game control method and game system
US 20070060277 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine of the present invention includes: output means capable of outputting an image or a sound; winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery; means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination; means for, when the number of games accumulatively counted each time a game is played reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games and that is selected from plural candidate values determined stepwise in advance, generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined; and means for providing, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, by outputting an image or a sound with the output means.
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Claims(20)
1. A gaming machine comprising:
output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;
winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;
means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;
means for, when the number of games accumulatively counted each time a game is played reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with said number of games, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance, generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined; and
means for providing, when said number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than said set value, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value, by outputting an image or a sound with said output means.
2. A gaming machine connected through a communication line to a control device which counts the number of games accumulatively for every gaming machine of plural gaming machines, comprising:
output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;
winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;
means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;
means for transmitting an identification information of a gaming machine to said control device through said communication line each time a game is played;
means for receiving a command signal transmitted from said control device when said number of games counted accumulatively by said control device based on said identification information of the gaming machine reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with said number of games, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;
means for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player, and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to said set value is determined, based on said command signal;
means for receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from said control device when said number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than said set value; and
means for providing, based on said preliminary announcement command signal, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value, by outputting an image or a sound with said output means.
3. A gaming machine comprising:
output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;
winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;
means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;
means for counting accumulatively the number of games each time a game is played;
means for selecting a set value that is an object of comparison with said number of games from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;
means for determining whether or not said number of games has reached said set value;
means for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to said set value is determined, when said number of games is determined to have reached said set value; and
means for providing, when said number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than said set value, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value, by outputting an image or a sound with said output means.
4. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein
said means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides, when said number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than anyone of said plural candidate values, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value.
5. The gaming machine according to claim 1, further comprising:
determining means for determining whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated, wherein
when said determining means determines to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, said means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated.
6. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein
the means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides a preliminary announcement without including information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement.
7. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein
the larger a set value said number of games reaches, said means for generating said second special game state generates a second special game state in which a larger degree of advantage is determined.
8. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein
reception means that can accept for one game an insertion of game media up to a predetermined upper limit value is provided, and said means for generating said second special game state generates a second special game state in a case where the number of inserted game media for the game played by the player is equal to said upper limit when said number of games reaches said set value.
9. A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device,
wherein
said processing device executes:
a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in said storage device;
a processing reading from said storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing said program;
a processing reading from said storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined when the number of games counted accumulatively each time a game is played reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with said number of games, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance, and executing said program; and
a processing reading from said storage device, when said number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than said set value, preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value, and outputting an image or a sound with said output device based on said preliminary announcement data.
10. A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device, and connected through a communication line to a control device which counts the number of games accumulatively for every gaming machine of plural gaming machines,
wherein
said processing device executes:
a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in said storage device;
a processing reading from said storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing said program;
a processing transmitting an identification information on a gaming machine stored in the storage device to said control device through said communication line each time a game is played;
a processing receiving a command signal transmitted from said control device when said number of games counted accumulatively by said control device based on said identification information on the gaming machine reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with said number of games and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;
a processing reading from said storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to said set value is determined based on said command signal, and executing said program;
a processing receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from said control device when said number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than said set value; and
a processing reading from said storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value, based on said preliminary announcement command signal, and outputting an image or a sound with said output device based on said preliminary announcement data.
11. A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device,
wherein
said processing device executes:
a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in said storage device;
a processing reading from said storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing said program;
a processing counting the number of games accumulatively each time a game is played;
a processing selecting a set value that is an object of comparison with said number of games from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;
a processing determining whether or not said number of games has reached said set value;
a processing reading from said storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to said set value is determined when said number of games is determined to have reached said set value, and executing said program; and
a processing reading from said storage device, when said number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than said set value, preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value, and outputting an image or a sound with said output device based on said preliminary announcement data.
12. The gaming machine according to claim 9,
wherein
said processing device executes a processing reading from said storage device preliminary announcement data for providing, when said number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than any one of said plural candidate values, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by said predetermined value, and outputting an image or a sound with said output device based on said preliminary announcement data.
13. The gaming machine according to claim 9,
wherein
said processing device executes:
a processing reading from said storage device a program for determining whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated, and executing said program; and
a processing reading from said storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, and outputting an image or a sound with said output device based on said preliminary announcement data.
14. The gaming machine according to claim 9,
wherein
said processing device executed a processing reading from said storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated with said preliminary announcement data not having information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement, and outputting an image or a sound with said output device based on said preliminary announcement data
15. The gaming machine according to claim 9,
wherein
the larger a set value said number of games reaches, said processing device executes a program for generating said second special game state in which a larger degree of advantage is determined.
16. The gaming machine according to claim 9,
wherein
said processing device executes a program for generating said second special game state when said number of games reaches said set value in a case where the number of inserted game media for a game played by the player is the upper limit value of the number of game media to be inserted for one game.
17. A gaming machine comprising:
means for giving a stepwise different profit to a player according to the number of games played by the player; and
means for providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to said number of games that said stepwise different profit is given according to said number of games played by the player until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given.
18. A game control method comprising:
a step of giving a stepwise different profit to a player according to the number of games played by the player; and
a step of providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to said number of games that said stepwise different profit is given according to said number of games played by the player until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given.
19. A game system equipped with a gaming machine and a control device,
wherein
said control device includes:
means for transmitting a signal to said gaming machine according to the number of games played in said gaming machine by a player, and
said gaming machine includes:
means for giving a stepwise different profit according to said number of games based on said signal received from said control device; and
means for providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to said number of games that said stepwise different profits is given according to said number of games until said stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given.
20. A gaming machine comprising:
output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;
winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;
means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;
means for, when the number of games accumulatively counted each time a game is played reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with said number of games, generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and that is the same type as or different type from the first special game state; and
means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value by outputting an image or a sound with said output means when said number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by the predetermined value than said set value.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit of priority based on PCT/JP2005/015803 filed on Aug. 30, 2005. The contents of this application are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming machine such as a slot machine in which a game is conducted using a game media (game valuable) such as a coin and the like, a game control method for the gaming machine, and a game system comprising the gaming machine and a control device.

2. Discussion of the Background

Conventionally, in a facility in which gaming machines such as a slot machine are installed, a game is played by inserting various kinds of game media such as a coin, cash and the like into a gaming machine. Each gaming machine pays out a dividend to a player according to a prize wining state (a result of playing the game) generated while the game is in progress.

In a casino where plural slot machines are installed, a credit spent in each slot machine is partly reserved and in a case where the reservation reaches a predetermined amount, one of the slot machines provides a so-called “jackpot” paying out a big amount, which is not paid out in an ordinary hit (JP-A 2003-117053). In such slot machines, a hit in each machine usually occurs on a preset probability and a player advances a game with expectation of the hit to be encountered. One of the slot machines has a chance to hit a jackpot at a timing in a lottery different from a common lottery in which a hit based on the above-mentioned probability is set in the slot machines. Generally, plural casinos are interconnected in a network in order to increase a payout amount in a jackpot.

Furthermore, a system has been available in which a host computer and plural gaming machines are interconnected on a network and the generating of a bonus in the gaming machines is controlled by the host computer (U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459). In this system, not only is the number of coins inserted into each gaming machine added up, but part of a total number of inserted coins in the plural gaming machines are separately added up as a bonus pool. The host computer gives a bonus qualification to a gaming machine in which the number of inserted coins reaches a predetermined number. The host computer transmits a command to one gaming machine selected from gaming machines having bonus qualification, when a value of the bonus pool reaches a predetermined threshold value. The gaming machine which received the command is enabled to play a bonus game high in gambling characteristic.

In a slot machine described in JP-A 2003-117053, however, it is a player who plays a game in a gaming machine selected in a lottery that enjoys a profit from a jackpot. Hence, there has arisen a case where a player having spent many coins cannot enjoy a jackpot at all, but another player who has just started the game acquires a jackpot profit.

In the system described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459 as well, a chance to acquire the profit of a bonus game is one of gaming machines in which a total number of inserted coins reaches a predetermined number. A chance to acquire the profit of a bonus game is not always given to a player having spent many coins. Therefore, in the system described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459, there has arisen a case where a player having spent many coins cannot secure the profit of a bonus game and another player who has just started the game acquires a bonus game profit, in a similar way to that in a slot machine described in JP-A 2003-117053.

In the system described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459, part of the number of inserted coins in each of plural gaming machines is added up as a bonus pool. Hence, in a case where an operation rate of the gaming machines in the system is low, a player, who has spent many of coins, has had a possibility not to be rewarded by the profit of a bonus game since the value of the bonus pool does not reaches a predetermined threshold value. Moreover, since the bonus game in the system described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459 is high in gambling characteristic, there has arisen a case where the profit of the bonus game cannot be acquired sufficiently by a player, even when he is given a chance capable of acquiring the profit.

If such circumstances occur, a player who has spent many coins may feel unpleasant against the game, build up distrust thereto, or lose interest in or a concern on the game.

The contents of JP-A 2003-117053 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459 are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention has been made in light of the above-mentioned problems and it is an object of the present invention to provide: a gaming machine capable of preventing a player who has spent many of the game media such as coins from feeling unpleasant against a game, building up a distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game; a game control method related to the gaming machine; and a gaming machine system equipped with the gaming machine and a control device.

In order to solve the above-mentioned problems, the present invention provides the following configuration:

(1) A gaming machine comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for, when the number of games accumulatively counted each time a game is played reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance, generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined; and

means for providing, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, by outputting an image or a sound with the output means.

According to the configuration (1), when the number of games reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games, which is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance (for example, “500”,“1000” and “2000”), the second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a determined degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is generated. Hence, even if the first special game state is not generated for a long period leading to the spending of many of the game media, the second special game state is generated as long as the game is played such that the number of games reaches the set value and thus a player can make profit for playing the game.

Further, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement (for example, “450”) which is smaller by a predetermined value (for example, “50”) than the set value (for example, “500”), a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number (for example, 50 times) indicated by the predetermined value is provided by outputting an image or a sound with the output means. Therefore, a player can recognize the number of games before the second special game state will been generated by the image or the sound. As a result, an impression can be made on the player that a return is carried out as a result of playing the game such that the number of games reaches the set value.

Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(2) A gaming machine connected through a communication line to a control device which counts the number of games accumulatively for every gaming machine of plural gaming machines, comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for transmitting an identification information of a gaming machine to the control device through the communication line each time a game is played;

means for receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games counted accumulatively by the control device based on the identification information of the gaming machine reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;

means for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player, and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined, based on the command signal;

means for receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value; and

means for providing, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, by outputting an image or a sound with the output means.

According to the configuration (2), the second special game state is generated by the receiving of a command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games counted in the control device reaches a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. It is then provided a preliminary announcement by outputting an image or sound with the output means that when a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device is received in a case where the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(3) A gaming machine comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for counting accumulatively the number of games each time a game is played;

means for selecting a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;

means for determining whether or not the number of games has reached the set value;

means for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined, when the number of games is determined to have reached the set value; and

means for providing, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, by outputting an image or a sound with the output means.

According to the configuration (3), a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance and the number of games is counted accumulatively each time a game is played. Moreover, it is determined whether or not the number of games reaches the set value, and when it is determined that the number of games has reached the set value, the second special game state is generated. It is then provided a preliminary announcement by outputting an image or sound with the output means that when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value. Therefore, it can be prevented from for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(4) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (1) to (3), wherein the means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides, when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than any one of the plural candidate values, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value.

According to the configuration (4), when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (for example, “450”, “950”, or “1950”) which is smaller by a predetermined value (for example, “50”) than any one of the plural candidate values (for example, “500”, “1000”, “2000”), a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number (for example, 50 times) indicated by the predetermined value is provided by outputting an image or a sound with the output means. Therefore, a player can recognize the number of games before the second special game state will been generated by the image or the sound. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(5) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (1) to (3), further comprising:

determining means for determining whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated, wherein

when the determining means determines to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, the means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated.

According to the configuration (5), it is determined whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated. when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated is provided. Therefore, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated also in the case where the second special game state is not generated. On the other hand, it may not be provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated in the case where the second special game state is generated. Since the second special game state is not always generated according to the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(6) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (1) to (3), wherein the means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides a preliminary announcement without including information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement.

According to the configuration (6), since a preliminary announcement is provided without including information (for example, information that the preliminary announcement is based on a set value “500”) concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game occurring in the case where there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state that a degree of advantage is relatively small is generated.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(7) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (1) to (3), the larger a set value the number of games reaches, the means for generating the second special game state generates a second special game state in which a larger degree of advantage is determined.

According to the configuration (7), since a larger profit can be made in the second special game state with larger number of games, a profit matching the number of games played by the player can be given to the player in the second special game state. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(8) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (1) to (3),

wherein

reception means that can accept for one game an insertion of game media up to a predetermined upper limit value is provided, and the means for generating the second special game state generates a second special game state in a case where the number of inserted game media for the game played by the player is equal to the upper limit when the number of games reaches the set value.

According to the configuration (5), a player can be urged to insert the game media up to the upper limit, thereby enabling a facility such as a casino to increase its profit.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(9) A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device,

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in the storage device;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing the program;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined when the number of games counted accumulatively each time a game is played reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance, and executing the program; and

a processing reading from the storage device, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (9), the second special game state is generated when the number of games reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. When the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, an image or sound is then outputted with the output device based on preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(10) A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device, and connected through a communication line to a control device which counts the number of games accumulatively for every gaming machine of plural gaming machines,

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in the storage device;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing the program;

a processing transmitting an identification information on a gaming machine stored in the storage device to the control device through the communication line each time a game is played;

a processing receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games counted accumulatively by the control device based on the identification information on the gaming machine reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined based on the command signal, and executing the program;

a processing receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value; and

a processing reading the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (10), the second special game state is generated by the receiving of the command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games counted in the control device reaches a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. In a case where a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device is received when the number of games counted by the control device has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value is provided by outputting an image or a sound with the output device. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(11) A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device,

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in the storage device;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing the program;

a processing counting the number of games accumulatively each time a game is played;

a processing selecting a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;

a processing determining whether or not the number of games has reached the set value;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined when the number of games is determined to have reached the set value, and executing the program; and

a processing reading from the storage device, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (11), a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance and the number of games is counted accumulatively each time a game is played. Moreover, it is judged whether or not the number of games has reached the set value and if it is judged that the number of games has reached the set value, the second special game state is generated. When the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value by outputting an image or a sound with the output device. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(12) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (9) to (11),

wherein

the processing device executes a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing, when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than any one of the plural candidate values, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (12), when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (for example, “450”, “950”, or “1950”) which is smaller by a predetermined value (for example, “50”) than any one of plural candidate values (for example, “500”, “1000”, “2000”), there is provided a preliminary announcement based on preliminary announcement data that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number (for example, 50 times) indicated by the predetermined value by outputting an image or a sound with the output device. Therefore, a player can recognize the number of games before the second special game state will been generated by the image or the sound. As a result, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(13) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (9) to (11),

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing reading from the storage device a program for determining whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated, and executing the program; and

a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (13), it is determined whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated. when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated is provided. Therefore, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated also in the case where the second special game state is not generated. On the other hand, it may not be provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated in the case where the second special game state is generated. Since the second special game state is not always generated according to the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(14) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (9) to (11), wherein the processing device executed a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated with the preliminary announcement data not having information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (14), since there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated based on preliminary announcement data not including information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game occurring in the case where there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state that a degree of advantage is relatively small is generated.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(15) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (9) to (11), wherein the larger a set value the number of games reaches, the processing device executes a program for generating the second special game state in which a larger degree of advantage is determined.

According to the configuration (15), since a larger profit can be made in the second special game state with larger number of games, a profit matching the number of games played by the player can be given to the player in the second special game state. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(16) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (9) to (11), wherein the processing device executes a program for generating the second special game state when the number of games reaches the set value in a case where the number of inserted game media for a game played by the player is the upper limit value of the number of game media to be inserted for one game.

According to the configuration (16), a player can be urged to insert game media up to the upper limit, thereby enabling a facility such as a casino to increase its profit.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(17) A gaming machine comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to a set value is determined when a payment balance in terms of the game media is equal to or less than the set value that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance and that is an object of comparison with a payment balance in terms of the game media; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than the set value.

According to the configuration (17), when the payment balance in terms of the game media reaches a value equal to or less than a set value that is an object of comparison with a payment balance in terms of the game media and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance (for example, “−500”, −1000” and −2000”), the second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined is generated. Therefore, if many of the game media are spent and a payment balance in terms of the game media is equal to or less than the set value, the second special game state is generated and thus the player can earn a profit for playing the game.

Further, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value by outputting an image or a sound with the output means when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement (for example, “−450”) which is greater by a predetermined value (for example, “50”) than the set value (for example, “−500”). Therefore, a player can recognize the spending of the game media before the second special game state will been generated by the image or the sound. As a result, an impression can be made on the player that a return is carried out as a result of playing the game such that payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value.

Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(18) A gaming machine connected through a communication line to a control device which counts the payment balance in terms of the game media accumulatively for every gaming machine of plural gaming machines, comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game status that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for transmitting a payment balance in terms of the game media in a game played by a player together with an identification information of the gaming machine to the control device through the communication line each time a game is played;

means for receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device when the payment balance in terms of the game media counted accumulatively by the control device based on the identification information of the gaming machine and the payment balance in terms of the game media in a game played by the player is equal to or less than a set value that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance and that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media;

means for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined, based on the command signal; and

means for receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device when the payment balance of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, by outputting an image or a sound with the output means.

According to the configuration (18), the second special game state is generated by the receiving of a command signal transmitted from the control device when the payment balance in terms of the game media counted in the control device becomes equal to or less than a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. It is then provided a preliminary announcement by outputting an image or sound with the output means that when a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device is received in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value, the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(19) A gaming machine comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for counting accumulatively the payment balance in terms of the game media each time a game is played;

means for selecting a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;

means for determining whether or not the payment balance in terms of the game media has become equal to or less than the set value;

means for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined, when the payment balance in terms of the game media is determined to have become equal to or less than the set value; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value by outputting an image or a sound with the output means when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than the set value.

According to the configuration (19), a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance and the payment balance in terms of the game media is counted accumulatively each time a game is played. Moreover, it is determined whether or not the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, and when it is determined that the payment balance in terms of the game media has becomes equal to or less than the set value, the second special game state is generated. It is then provided a preliminary announcement by outputting an image or sound with the output means that when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value, the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value. Therefore, it can be prevented from for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(20) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (17) to (19), wherein the means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than any one of a plurality of the candidate values.

According to the configuration (20), there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value by outputting an image or a sound with the output means when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (for example, “450”, “950”, or “1950”) which is larger by the predetermined value (for example, “50”) than any one of the plural candidate values (for example, “500”, “1000”, “2000”). Therefore, a player can recognize that the second special game state will be generated when the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, by the image or the sound. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(21) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (17) to (19), further comprising:

determining means for determining whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated, wherein

when the determining means determines to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, the means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated.

According to the configuration (21), it is determined whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated. when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated is provided. Therefore, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated also in the case where the second special game state is not generated. On the other hand, it may not be provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated in the case where the second special game state is generated. Since the second special game state is not always generated according to the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(22) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (17) to (19), wherein the means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated provides a preliminary announcement without including information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement.

According to the configuration (22), since a preliminary announcement is provided without including information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game occurring in the case where there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state that a degree of advantage is relatively small is generated.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(23) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (17) to (19), the smaller a set value the payment balance in terms of the game media reaches, the means for generating the second special game state generates a second special game state in which a larger degree of advantage is determined.

According to the configuration (23), since a larger profit can be made in the second special game state with smaller payment balance in terms of the game media, a profit compensating the loss of the player can be given to the player in the second special game state. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(24) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (17) to (19),

wherein

reception means that can accept for one game an insertion of game media up to a predetermined upper limit value is provided, and the means for generating the second special game state generates a second special game state in a case where the number of inserted game media for the game played by the player is equal to the upper limit when the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value.

According to the configuration (24), a player can be urged to insert the game media up to the upper limit, thereby enabling a facility such as a casino to increase its profit.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(25) A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device,

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in the storage device;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing the program;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined when the payment balance in terms of the game media counted accumulatively each time a game is played becomes equal to or less than a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance, and executing the program; and

a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than the set value, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (25), the second special game state is generated when the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. An image or sound is then outputted with the output device based on preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(26) A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device, and connected through a communication line to a control device which counts the payment balance in terms of the game media accumulatively for every gaming machine of plural gaming machines,

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in the storage device;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing the program;

a processing transmitting the number of inserted game media and the number of payout game media in the game played by a player together with an identification information on the gaming machine which are stored in the storage device to the control device through the communication line each time a game is played;

a processing receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device when the payment balance in terms of the game media counted accumulatively by the control device based on the identification information on the gaming machine, the number of inserted game media and the number of payment media in the game played by a player reaches a value equal to or less than a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating the second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined based on the command signal, and executing the program; and

a processing receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value; and

a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (26), the second special game state is generated by the receiving of the command signal transmitted from the control device when the payment balance in terms of the game media counted in the control device becomes equal to or less than a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. A preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device is received when the payment balance in terms of the game media counted by the control device has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value by outputting an image or a sound with the output device. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(27) A gaming machine equipped with a processing device, a storage device and an image or sound output device,

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in the storage device;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, and executing the program;

a processing counting the payment balance in terms of the game media accumulatively each time a game is played;

a processing selecting a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance;

a processing determining whether or not the payment balance in terms of the game media has become equal to or less than the set value;

a processing reading from the storage device a program for generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and in which a degree of advantage corresponding to the set value is determined when the payment balance in terms of the game media is determined to have become equal to or less than the set value, and executing the program; and

a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than the set value, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (27), a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance and the payment balance in terms of the game media is counted accumulatively each time a game is played. Moreover, it is judged whether or not the payment balance in terms of the game media has become equal to or less than the set value and if it is judged that the payment balance in terms of the game media has become equal to or less than the set value, the second special game state is generated. There is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than the set value, by outputting an image or a sound with the output device. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(28) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (25) to (27),

where

the processing device executes a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the candidate value when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than any one of a plurality of the candidate values, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (28), there is provided a preliminary announcement based on preliminary announcement data that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the candidate value by outputting an image or a sound with the output device when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (for example, “450”, “950”, or “1950”) which is larger by the predetermined value (for example, “50”) than any one of the plural candidate values (for example, “500”, “1000”, “2000”). Therefore, a player can recognize that the second special game state will be generated by the image or the sound in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the candidate value. As a result, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(29) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (25) to (27),

wherein

the processing device executes:

a processing reading from the storage device a program for determining whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated, and executing the program; and

a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (29), it is determined whether or not to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated irrespective of whether or not the second special game state will be generated. when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated is provided. Therefore, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated also in the case where the second special game state is not generated. On the other hand, it may not be provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated in the case where the second special game state is generated. Since the second special game state is not always generated according to the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(30) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (25) to (27), wherein the processing device executed a processing reading from the storage device preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated with the preliminary announcement data not having information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement, and outputting an image or a sound with the output device based on the preliminary announcement data.

According to the configuration (30), since there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state is generated based on preliminary announcement data not including information concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game occurring in the case where there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state that a degree of advantage is relatively small is generated.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(31) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (25) to (27), wherein the smaller a set value the payment balance in terms of the game media reaches, the processing device executes a program for generating the second special game state in which a larger degree of advantage is determined.

According to the configuration (31), since a larger profit can be made in the second special game state with smaller payment balance in terms of the game media, a profit compensating the loss of the player can be given to the player in the second special game state. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(32) The gaming machine according to any of the configurations (25) to (27), wherein the processing device executes a program for generating the second special game state when the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value in a case where the number of inserted game media for a game played by the player is the upper limit value of the number of game media to be inserted for one game.

According to the configuration (32), a player can be urged to insert game media up to the upper limit, thereby enabling a facility such as a casino to increase its profit.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(33) A gaming machine comprising:

means for giving a stepwise different profit to a player according to the number of games played by the player; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to the number of games that the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given.

According to the configuration (33), the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player. A preliminary announcement that the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player is provided to the player by an image or a sound different according to the number of games until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(34) A gaming machine comprising:

means for giving a stepwise different profit to a player according to the payment balance in terms of the game media of the player; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to the payment balance in terms of the game media of that the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media of the player until the stepwise different profit according to the payment balance in terms of the game media of is given.

According to the configuration (34), the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media. A preliminary announcement that the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is provided to the player by an image or a sound different according to the payment balance in terms of the game media until the stepwise different profit according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is given. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(35) A game control method comprising:

a step of giving a stepwise different profit to a player according to the number of games played by the player; and

a step of providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to the number of games that the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given.

According to the configuration (35), the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player. A preliminary announcement that the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player is provided to the player by an image or a sound different according to the number of games until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(36) A game control method comprising:

a step of giving a stepwise different profit to a player according to the payment balance in terms of the game media of the player; and

a step of providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to the payment balance in terms of the game media that the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media until the stepwise different profit according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is given.

According to the configuration (36), the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media. A preliminary announcement that the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is provided to the player by an image or a sound different according to the payment balance in terms of the game media until the stepwise different profit according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is given. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(37) A game system equipped with a gaming machine and a control device,

wherein

the control device includes:

means for transmitting a signal to the gaming machine according to the number of games played in the gaming machine by a player, and

the gaming machine includes:

means for giving a stepwise different profit according to the number of games based on the signal received from the control device; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to the number of games that the stepwise different profits is given according to the number of games until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given.

According to the configuration (37), the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player. A preliminary announcement that the stepwise different profit is given according to the number of games played by the player is provided to the player by an image or a sound different according to the number of games until the stepwise different profit according to the number of games is given. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(38) A game system equipped with a gaming machine and a control device,

wherein

the control device includes:

means for transmitting a signal to the gaming machine according to the payment balance in terms of the game media of the player in the gaming machine, and

the gaming machine includes:

means for giving a stepwise different profit according to the payment balance in terms of the game media based on the signal received from the control device; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement to the player by an image or a sound different according to the payment balance in terms of the game media that the stepwise different profits is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media until the stepwise different profit according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is given.

According to the configuration (38), the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media. A preliminary announcement that the stepwise different profit is given according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is provided to the player by an image or a sound different according to the payment balance in terms of the game media until the stepwise different profit according to the payment balance in terms of the game media is given. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(39) A gaming machine comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for, when the number of games accumulatively counted each time a game is played reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games, generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and that is the same type as or different type from the first special game state; and

means for providing, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value by outputting an image or a sound with the output means.

According to the configuration (39), when the number of games reaches a set value (for example, “2000”) that is an object of comparison with the number of games, a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and that is the same type as or different type from the first special game state is generated. When the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value by outputting an image or a sound with the output device. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The present invention provides the following configuration:

(40) A gaming machine comprising:

output means capable of outputting an image or a sound;

winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery;

means for generating a first special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination;

means for, when the payment balance in terms of the game media reaches a set value that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media, generating a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and that is the same type as or different type from the first special game state; and

means for providing a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value by outputting an image or a sound with the output means when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by the predetermined value than the set value.

According to the configuration (40), when the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than a set value (for example, “−2000”) that is an object of comparison with the payment balance in terms of the game media, a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and that is the same type as or different type from the first special game state is generated. When the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value, there is provided a preliminary announcement that the second special game state will be generated in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value by outputting an image or a sound with the output device. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

As a result, according to the present invention, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing the entire construction of a game system according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing a gaming machine according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view showing the symbol sequence depicted on the outer circumferential surface of each reel;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the internal construction of the gaming machine shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing the internal construction of a control device according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a figure schematically showing an example of correspondence table between a gaming machine identification number and a game history;

FIG. 7 is a figure schematically showing an example of correspondence table between a set value and the number of payouts;

FIG. 8 is a figure schematically showing another example of correspondence table between a set value and the number of payouts;

FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing a procedure in an authentication reading processing for a game program and a game system program executed by a mother board and a gaming board shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a game mode selection processing;

FIGS. 11A and 11B are figures showing an image displayed on the lower image display panel when a game mode selection processing is executed;

FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a game execution processing;

FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a lottery processing;

FIG. 14 is a figure describing a relationship among winning combinations of plural kinds, establishment possibility of each winning combination and the number of coin-out in the present embodiment;

FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a reel rotating control processing;

FIGS. 16A to 16D are side views for describing a rotating operation of the reel;

FIG. 17 is a schematic diagram showing a correspondence table between the number of steps and the code No.;

FIG. 18 is flowchart showing a subroutine of a bonus game processing;

FIG. 19 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a return mode processing;

FIGS. 20A to 20C are figures showing an example of image displayed on the lower image display panel when a game state shifts to the return mode (when the second special game state is generated);

FIG. 21 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a counting processing;

FIGS. 22 is figure showing an example of image displayed on the lower image display panel when the number of games reaches a set value for preliminary announcement;

FIG. 23 is a flowchart showing another example of a subroutine of a counting processing; and

FIG. 24 is a flowchart showing another example of a subroutine of a game execution processing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram showing the entire construction of a game system according to one embodiment of the present invention.

A game system 100 includes: plural gaming machines 10; and a control device 200 connected to the gaming machines 10 through a predetermined communication line 101. Such a game system 100 maybe constructed in one recreation facility capable of playing various kinds of games such as a bar, a casino and the like, or between plural recreation facilities. When the game system is constructed in one recreation facility, the game system 100 may be constructed on each floor or section of the recreation facility. The communication line 101 is not particularly limited, and may be wired or wireless, and either a dedicated line or a switched line can be used.

In the embodiment, the gaming machine 10 is a slot machine. In the present invention, however, a gaming machine is not limited to a slot machine, and for example, a so-called single gaming machine such as a video slot machine, a video card gaming machine and the like may be adopted, and a so-called mass game (multi-terminal gaming machine) such as a racing game, a bingo game, a public lottery and the like, which is a game that takes a predetermined time for a result to be displayed, may also be adopted.

In the gaming machine 10, a coin, a note or an electronic valuable information corresponding thereto is used as a game media. In the present invention, however, the game media is not particularly limited, and for example, a medal, a token, an electronic money and a ticket can be used. The ticket is not particularly limited and may include, for example, a ticket with a bar code as described later, and of the like tickets.

The control device 200 controls plural gaming machines 10. Especially, in the present embodiment, the control device 200 controls a transition to a return mode in each of the gaming machines 10. The return mode corresponds to the second special game state in the present invention and many coins are paid out in the return mode. The control device 200 may be a device which controls the return rate by controlling the transition to the return mode. In such a construction, the control device 200 may be a device which controls the return rates of each of the gaming machines 10 individually, or a device which controls the return rate across all gaming machines 10 collectively.

In the present embodiment, the control device 200 controls preliminary announcements of the transition to return mode in each of the gaming machines 10. In the present invention, a preliminary announcement is not configured to announce that the game mode will necessarily shift to the return mode as announced by the preliminary announcement, but that there is a possibility of a transition to the return mode. In the present invention, a game may shift to the return mode without providing a preliminary announcement announcing that a transition to the return mode will be made. In the present embodiment, described is a case where, when a preliminary announcement is provided, the game mode will necessarily shift to the return mode as announced by the preliminary announcement.

The control device 200 may further function as a so-called hole server which is installed in a recreation facility having plural gaming machines 10, or as a server which collectively controls plural recreation facilities. Moreover, every gaming machine 10 has its own identification number, and the source of data transmitted to the control device 200 from each of the gaming machines 10 is distinguished therein by their identification numbers. The identification number is also used to designate a transmission destination of data transmitted to the gaming machine 10 from the control device 200.

The identification number of a gaming machine corresponds to the identification information on a gaming machine of the present invention. The identification information on a gaming machine of the present invention is not particularly limited, and examples thereof may include: a letter, a symbol, a figure, a combination thereof, and the like.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing a gaming machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.

The gaming machine 10 includes: a cabinet 11; a top box 12 placed on the upper side of the cabinet 11; and a main door 13 provided at the front face of the cabinet 11. Inside the cabinet 11, three reels 14 (14L, 14C and 14R) are rotatively installed. Twenty-two designs (hereinafter, also referred to as symbols) are depicted as symbol sequences on the outer circumferential surface of each of the reels 14.

A lower image display panel 16 is provided over the reels 14 in the main door 13. The lower image display panel 16 is provided with a transparent liquid crystal panel, and various kinds of information, representation image and the like associated with the game are displayed while the game is played. The lower image display panel 16 is an output device for an image and functions also as output means capable of outputting an image.

A number-of-credits display section 31 and a number-of-payouts display section 32 are formed on the lower image display panel 16. The number of credited coins is displayed as an image on the number-of-credits display section 31. The number of coins to be paid out is shown as an image on the number-of-payouts display section 32, when a combination of symbols stop displayed on a winning line L is a predetermined combination.

Three display windows 15 (15L, 15C and 15R), the back faces of which are visually recognizable, are formed on the lower image display panel 16, and through each of the display windows 15, three of the symbols depicted on the outer circumferential surface of each of the reels 14 are displayed. One winning line L traversing horizontally the three display windows 15 is formed on the lower image display panel 16. The winning line L defines a combination of symbols. When a combination of symbols stop displayed on the winning line L is a predetermined combination, the number of coins corresponding to the combination and the number of inserted coins (the number of BETs) is paid out.

Moreover, in the present invention, for example, when: plural winning lines L which traverse horizontally or obliquely the three display windows 15 are formed; the winning lines L, the number thereof which becomes effective set to be dependent on the number of coin-in, become effective; and a combination of symbols stop displayed on the winning line L which became effective is a predetermined combination, the number of coins corresponding to the stop-displayed combination may be paid out.

A touch panel 69, which is not shown in the figure, is provided on the front face of the lower image display panel 16 and the player can input various kinds of commands by operating the touch panel 69.

Provided below the lower image display panel 16 are: a control panel 20 constituting of plural buttons 23 to 27 which are input by the player, commands associated with progress of the game; a coin receiving slot 21 as a reception means accepting coins into the cabinet 11; and a note identifier 22.

The control panel 20 is provided with: a spin button 23; a change button 24; a CASHOUT button 25; a 1-BET button 26; and a a maximum BET button 27. The spin button 23 is used for inputting a command to start the rotating of the reels 14. The change button 24 is used in a case where a player requests an attendant of a recreation facility to exchange money. The CASHOUT button 25 is used for inputting a command to pay out credited coins to a coin tray 18.

The 1-BET button 26 is used for inputting a command to bet one coin of the credited coins. The maximum BET button 27 is used for inputting a command to bet the maximum number of coins that can be bet on one game (50 coins in the present embodiment) of the credited coins.

In the present invention, insertion of a game media means that a game media is bet on a game. For example, when coins inserted into the coin receiving slot 21 are directly bet on a game, insertion of coins into the coin receiving slot 21 corresponds to insertion of a game media. However, when coins inserted into the coin receiving slot 21 are temporarily credited, and the credited coins are bet on a game by operating the 1-BET button 26 or the maximum BET button 27, as in the present embodiment, the bet of the credited coins on the game corresponds to insertion of a game media.

The note identifier 22 is used not only for discriminating a false note from a true note but also for accepting the true note into the cabinet 11. The note identifier 22 may be configured such that a ticket 39 with a bar code which will be described later can be read. A belly glass 34 on which characters and the like of the gaming machine 10 are depicted is provided on the front face of the lower portion of the main door 13, that is, below the control panel 20.

An upper image display panel 33 is provided at the front face of atop box 12. The upper image display panel 33 is provided with a liquid crystal panel and, for example, an image to introduce the contents of the game or explain a game rule is displayed thereto. Although the lower image display panel 16 is an image output device and functions also as the output means of an image in the present embodiment, in the present invention, the upper image display panel 33 may also be an image output device, which functions also as the output means of an image.

A speaker 29 is provided in the top box 12. The speaker 29 is a sound output device and functions as output means capable of outputting a sound. A ticket printer 35, a card reader 36, a data display 37 and a key pad 38 are provided beneath the upper image display panel 33. The ticket printer 35 prints on a ticket a bar code in which data such as the number of credits, date, time, identification number of the gaming machine 10 and of the like data are encoded, and outputs the ticket 39 with a bar code. A player can make the ticket 39 with a bar code to be read by a second gaming machine and play a game in the second gaming machine, or exchange in a predetermined place (for example, at a cashier in the casino) of a recreation facility the ticket 39 with a bar code to notes.

The card reader 36 is used for reading data from a smart card and writing data onto a smart card. The smart card is a card to be carried by a player, and for example, data to identify a player and data concerning a history of a game played by a player are stored thereon. Data corresponding to a coin, a note or a credit may also be stored on the smart card. As an alternative of a smart card, a magnetic stripe card may be adopted. The data display 37 is a fluorescent display and the like, and it is used, for example, to display data read by the card reader 36 and data inputted by a player from the key pad 38. The key pad 38 is used for inputting a command or data to issue a ticket and the like.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view showing the symbol sequence depicted on the outer circumferential surface of each reel.

Twenty two symbols each are depicted on the outer circumferential surface of the left reel 14L, the middle reel 14 C and the right reel 14 R. A sequence of the symbols depicted on the outer circumferential surface of each of the reels 14 is different from one another. The sequences of the symbols are combinations of the following symbols: “JACKPOT 7”, “BLUE 7”, “BELL”, “CHERRY”, “STRAWBERRY”, “PLUM”, “ORANGE” and “APPLE”.

When the same three symbols of one of the symbols of “JACKPOT 7”, “BLUE 7”, “BELL”, “CHERRY”, “STRAWBERRY”, “PLUM” and “ORANGE” are stop displayed on the winning line L, a predetermined number of credits is added to the account of the player as a credit owned by the player (see FIG. 14). As for “CHERRY” and “ORANGE”, even if one or two of one of the symbols are stop displayed, a predetermined number of credits are added to the account of the player as credits owned by the player according to the number of the symbols stop displayed (see FIG. 14).

The symbol sequence “APPLE” is a bonus game trigger (a symbol to transit to a bonus game). When three of the “APPLE” are stop displayed on the winning line L, a game state shifts to a bonus game. The bonus game corresponds to the first special game state. In the present embodiment, a bonus game is a free game (a game in which a predetermined number thereof can be played without inserting coins for BET).

In the present invention, the first special game state is not particularly limited as far as it is a game state advantageous to the player. A game state that is advantageous to the player is not particularly limited as far as it is more advantageous than an ordinary game state (a game state other than the first special game state or the second special game state) and examples thereof include: a state where more of the game media can be earned than in an ordinary game state, a state where the game media can be earned on a probability higher than in an ordinary game state, a state where the number of the game media spent by a player is less than in an ordinary game state and of the like state. More specifically, examples of the first special game state include a free game, a second game, a mystery bonus and the like.

The sequence of symbols depicted on each of the reels 14 are, when the spin button 23 is pressed after the 1-BET button or the maximum BET button 27 is pressed to start a game, scroll displayed by scrolling downwards in the display windows 15 during the rotating of the reels 14, and after a predetermined time elapses, the rotating of the reels 14 comes to a stop, and thus the sequence of symbols are stop displayed in the display windows 15. Various kinds of winning combinations (see FIG. 14) are predetermined based on combinations of symbols and when a combination of symbols corresponding to a winning combination stops on the winning line L, the number of payout coins corresponding to the winning combination is added to credits owned by the player. When a bonus game trigger has been established, a bonus game is generated.

When a return mode flag which will be described later has been set to the state “ON”, a game state shifts to a return mode after the symbols are stop displayed as described above. When a bonus game has been generated, the game state shifts to the return mode after the bonus game is over. The return mode corresponds to the second special game state. In the present embodiment, if a game state shifts to the return mode, a predetermined pay out number of coins are paid out. In the present embodiment, the payout number of coins in the return mode is set according to a set value described later.

In the present invention, the second special game state is not particularly limited as far as it is a game state advantageous to the player. Examples of such a game state include: a state where more of the game media can be earned than in an ordinary game state, a state where the game media can be earned on a probability higher than in an ordinary game state, a state where the number of the game media spent by a player is less than in an ordinary game state and of the like state. More specifically, examples of the second game state include a free game, a second game, a mystery bonus game and the like.

In the present invention, the second special game state may be a game state of the same kind as the first special game state, or a game state of a kind different from the first game state as in the present embodiment. When the second special game state is made to be a game state different from the first special game state, games can be high in versatility, which can enhance a sense of expectation for the second special game state. Moreover, a game state of the second special game state may be an exclusive game state generated only when the second special game state occurs. In such a situation, a sense of expectation for the second special game state can be further enhanced.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the internal construction of the gaming machine shown in FIG. 2.

A gaming board 50 includes: CPU (Central Processing Unit) 51, ROM 55 and boot ROM 52 which are interconnected to one another by an internal bus; a card slot 53S which accepts a memory card 53; an IC socket 54S which accepts GAL (Generic Array Logic) 54.

The memory card 53 is constituted of non-volatile memories such as CompactFlash (registered trademark) and stores a game program and a game system program. The game program contains a lottery program. The lottery program is a program for determining symbols (code Nos. corresponding to the symbols) on each of the reels 14 which are to be stop displayed on the winning line L. The lottery program contains one or more of symbol weighting determination data, each corresponding to respective plural kinds of payout rates (for example, 80%, 84% and 88%). The symbol weighting determination data is data showing a correspondence relationship between a code No. (see FIG. 3) of each symbol and one or plural random number values from a predetermined numerical value range (0to 255), for each of the three reels 14. A payout rate is determined based on data for setting a payout rate outputted from the GAL 54, and the lottery is executed based on symbol weighting determination data corresponding to the payout rate.

The card slot 53S is configured so that the memory card 53 can be inserted therein or drawn out therefrom, and connected to a mother board 40 through IDE bus. Therefore, a kind or contents of a game played in the gaming machine 10 can be changed by drawing out the memory card 53 from the card slot 53S, writing a different game program and game system program thereon, and inserting the memory card 53 into the card slot 53S thereafter. Moreover, a kind or contents of a game played in the gaming machine 10 can also be changed by changing a memory card 53 on which a game program and a game system program are stored to a different memory card 53 on which a different game program and game system program are stored. The game program includes a program related to progress in a game; a program for generating the first special game state; a program for generating the second special game state; and a program for providing a preliminary announcement. The program for providing a preliminary announcement includes a program for determining whether or not a preliminary announcement is to be provided. The game program further includes: image data and sound data output while a game is played; image data and sound data used as notification data; and image data and sound data used as preliminary announcement data.

GAL 54 is one kind of PLD having an OR fixed array structure. GAL 54 Is equipped with a plurality of an input port and an output port and when a predetermined data is inputted to the input port, data corresponding to the input data is outputted from the output port. The data outputted from the output port is the above-mentioned data for setting a payout rate.

The IC socket 54S is configured such that GAL 54 can be mounted thereto or demounted therefrom, and connected to the mother board 40 through PCI bus. Therefore, data for setting a payout rate outputted from GAL 54 can be changed by drawing out GAL 54 from the IC socket 54S, rewriting a program stored on GAL 54, mounting GAL 54 is to the IC socket 54S thereafter. Moreover, data for setting a payout rate can also be changed by changing GAL 54 to a different GAL 54.

CPU 51, ROM 55 and boot ROM 52 interconnected to each other by the internal bus are connected to the mother board 40 by PCI bus. The PCI bus not only conducts signal transmission between the mother board 40 and the gaming board 50, but also supplies electric power to the gaming board 50 from the mother board 40. ROM 55 stores country identification information and an authentication program therein. Boot ROM 52 stores a preliminary authentication program, a program for CPU 51 to activate the preliminary authentication program (a boot code) and the like therein.

The authentication program is a program to authenticate a game program and a game system program (an alteration check program). The authentication program is stated along a procedure for confirmation and certification that the game program and the game system program that are objects of an authentication capture processing are not altered, that is, a procedure for conducting authentication of the game program and the game system program (an authentication procedure). The preliminary authentication program is a program for authenticating the above-mentioned authentication program. The preliminary authentication program is stated along a procedure for certification that an authentication program that is an object of an authentication processing is not altered, that is, a procedure for authenticating the authentication program (an authentication procedure).

The mother board 40 is constructed with a general-purpose mother board commercially available (a printed circuit board on which basic parts of a personal computer are mounted) and includes: a main CPU 41; ROM (Read Only Memory) 42; RAM (Random Access Memory) 43 and a communication interface 44. The main CPU 41 is the processing device of the present invention.

ROM 42 is constituted of a memory device such as a flash memory and stores thereon a program such as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) executed by the main CPU 41 and permanent data. When BIOS is executed by the main CPU 41, not only is an initialization processing for predetermined peripheral devices conducted, but a capture processing for the game program and the game system program stored on the memory card 53 is also started via the gaming board 50. In the present invention, contents of ROM 42 may be rewritable or not rewritable.

RAM 43 stores data and a program used at the time of operation of the main CPU 41. RAM 43 can store the authentication program read through the gaming board 50 together with the game program and the game system program. RAM 43 is the storage device of the present invention.

RAM 43 is provided with a storage region for a return mode flag. The return mode flag is a flag to be referred to when a game state is to be selected whether it should be shifted to a return mode corresponding to the second special game state or not. The storage region of the return mode flag is constituted of a storage region with, for example, a predetermined number of bits and the return mode flag is turned “ON” or “OFF” according to storage contents in the storage region. If the return mode flag is set to the state “ON”, the game state thereafter shifts to the return mode without fail. RAM 43 further stores data on the number of credits, the number of coin-in or coin-out for one game, and the like.

The communication interface 44 is used to communicate with the control device 200 through the communication line 101. The main CPU 41 transmits the number of coin-in and the number of coin-out together with the gaming machine identification number of the gaming machine 10 to the control device 200 each time a game is played. The number of games, an accumulative number of coin-in and an accumulative number of coin-out is made to be associated with each gaming machine identification number, and stored in the control device 200. In the control device 200, a set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games is preliminary determined with respect to each gaming machine identification number, and when the number of games of one gaming machine 10 reaches a set value determined for that gaming machine 10, a return command signal is transmitted from the control device 200. When the main CPU 41 receives the return command signal through the communication interface 44, the return mode flag is set to the state “ON”.

Further, in the control device 200, after the number of games played in a certain gaming machine 10 has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, the control device 200 transmits a preliminary announcement command signal to the gaming machine 10. On receiving the preliminary announcement command signal through the communication interface 44, the main CPU 41 executes processing related to preliminary announcements, such as processing for reading the program for determining whether or not a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode is to be provided, and executing the program; and processing for outputting an image or sound related to preliminary announcements.

Both a body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 and a door PCB 80 which will be described later are connected to the mother board 40 by USB. A power supply unit 45 is also connected to the mother board 40. When electric power is supplied from the power supply unit 45 to the mother board 40, not only is the main CPU 41 of the mother board 40 activated, but CPU 51 is also activated from electric power supplied through the PCI bus to the gaming board 50.

Equipment and devices which generate input signals to be inputted to the main CPU 41, and equipment and devices of which operations are controlled by a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41 are connected to the body PCB 60 and the door PCB 80. The main CPU 41 executes a game program and a game system program stored in RAM 43 based of an input signal inputted to the main CPU 41, and thereby performs a predetermined computational processing, stores results of thereof into RAM 43 and transmits a control signal to each equipment and device as a control processing for each of the equipment and devices.

A lamp 30, a sub CPU 61, a hopper 66, a coin detecting section 67, a graphic board 68, a speaker 29 as an output device, a touch panel 69, a note identifier 22, a ticket printer 35, a card reader 36, a key switch 38S and a data display 37 are connected to the body PCB 60. The lamp 30 is lit up in a predetermined pattern based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41.

The sub CPU 61 controls the rotation and stopping of the reels 14 (14L, 14C and 14R). A motor driving circuit 62 equipped with FPGA (Field Programmable Gate array) 63 and a driver 64 is connected to the sub CPU 61. FPGA 63 is an electronic circuit such as LSI capable of programming and works as a control circuit of a stepping motor 70. The driver 64 works as an amplifier circuit of a pulse to be inputted to the stepping motor 70. The stepping motors 70 (70L, 70C and 70R) which rotate each of the reels 14 are connected to the motor driving circuit 62. The stepping motor 70 is a 1-2 phase excitation type stepping motor.

In the present invention, an exciting type of the stepping motor is not particularly limited, and for example, a motor of a 2 or 1 phase excitation type can be adopted. A DC motor may be adopted instead of a stepping motor. When a DC motor is adopted, a deviation counter, a D/A converter and a servo amplifier are sequentially connected to the sub CPU 61 in this order and the DC motor is connected to the servo amplifier. A rotational position of the DC motor is detected by a rotary encoder and a current rotational position of the DC motor is supplied as data from the rotary encoder to the deviation counter.

An index detecting circuit 65 and a position change detecting circuit 71 are connected to the sub CPU 61. The index detecting circuit 65 is used for detecting positions (indexes described later) of the rotating reels 14 and can also detect an out-of-order state of the reels 14. As for the control of the rotating and stopping of the reels 14, detailed description will be given later by making reference to the figures.

The position change detecting circuit 71 detects a change of stoppage positions of the reels 14 after the stopping of the rotating of the reels 14. The position change detecting circuit 71 detects the change of stoppage positions of the reels 14, for example, in a case where the stoppage position is changed by force by a player as if the combination of symbols was in a wining state, despite the fact that the combination of symbols is not actually in a wining state, and of the like cases. The position change detecting circuit 71 is configured to be capable of detecting the change of stoppage position of the reel 14 by, for example, detecting fins (not shown in the figure) attached with a predetermined space on the inner side of the reel 14.

The hopper 66 is installed in the cabinet 11 and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout exit 19 to a coin tray 18 based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41. A coin detecting section 67 is installed inside the coin pay out exit 19 and when detecting that a predetermined number of coins has been paid out from the coin payout exit 19, outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41.

The graphic board 68 controls, based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, image displays on the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16 as an output device. The number of credits stored in RAM 43 is displayed on the number-of-credits display section 31 of the lower image display panel 16. The number of coin-out is displayed on the number-of-payouts display section 31 of the lower image display panel 16.

The graphic board 68 is equipped with VDP (Video Display Processor) which generates image data based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41 and a video RAM which temporarily stores image data generated by VDP, and of the like equipments. Note that image data used in generating image data with VDP is read from the memory card 53 and contained in a game program stored in RAM 43.

The note identifier 22 not only discriminates a true note from a false note, but also accepts the true note into the cabinet 11. The note identifier 22, when accepting a true note, outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 based on a face amount of the note. The main CPU 41 stores the number of credits corresponding to the amount of the note transmitted with the input signal.

The ticket printer 35, based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, prints on a ticket a bar code obtained by encoding data such as the number of credits, date and time, the identification number of the gaming machine 10, and of the like data stored in RAM 43, and outputs the ticket 39 with a bar code.

The card reader 36 transmits to the main CPU 41 data read from the smart card and writes data onto the smart card based on a control signal from the main CPU 41. The key switch 38S is provided on the keypad 38, and when the key pad 38 is operated by a player, outputs a predetermined input signal to the main CPU 41. The data display 37 displays, based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, data read by the card reader 36 and data inputted by a player through the key pad 38.

The control panel 20, a reverter 21S, a coin counter 21C and a cold cathode tube 81 are connected to the door PCB 80. The control panel 20 is provided with a spin switch 23s corresponding to the spin button 23, a change switch 24S corresponding to the change button 24, a CASHOUT switch 25S corresponding to the CASHOUT button 25, a 1-BET switch 26S corresponding to the 1-BET button 26, and a maximum BET switch 27S corresponding to the maximum BET button 27. When the buttons 23 to 27 are operated by a player, each of the switches 23S to 27S corresponding thereto outputs input signals to the main CPU 41.

The coin counter 21C is installed inside the coin receiving slot 21, and discriminates whether a coin inserted by a player into the coin receiving slot 21 is true or false. Coins other than the true ones are discharged from the coin payout exit 19. The coin counter 21C also outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when a true coin is detected.

The reverter 21S operates based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41 and distributes coins recognized by the coin counter 21C as true coins into a cash box (not shown in the figure) or the hopper 66, which are disposed in the gaming machine 10. In other words, when the hopper 66 is filled with coins, true coins are distributed into the cash box. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not filled with coins, true coins are distributed into the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 works as a backlight installed on the back face sides of the lower image display panel 16 and the upper image display panel 33 and is lit up based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing the internal construction of a control device according to one embodiment of the present invention.

A control device 200 includes: CPU 201 as a processing device; ROM 202; RAM 203 as a temporary storage device; a communication interface 204; and a hard disc drive 205. The communication interface 204 is connected to the communication interface 44 of the gaming machine 10 through the communication line 101. ROM 202 stores a system program for controlling operations of the control device, a permanent data, and the like. RAM 203 temporarily stores data received from each of the gaming machines 10 and data such as results of the computational operation. Moreover, a game history of a gaming machine 10 is stored in the hard disc drive 205, by being associated with the gaming machine identification number of each of the gaming machines 10.

FIG. 6 is a figure schematically showing an example of correspondence table between a gaming machine identification number and a game history.

Each of the gaming machine identification numbers correspond to a game history based on the number of games, an accumulative number of coin-in, an accumulative number of coin-out, a payment balance in terms of the coins and a return rate of coin-out.

A set value that is an object of comparison with the number of games is determined for each of the gaming machine identification numbers. The set value is selected from plural candidate values “600”, “1200” and “2400” stepwise determined in advance.

Further, a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value is defined for each of the gaming machine identification numbers. When the set value is “600”, the set value for preliminary announcement is “550” which is smaller than the set value “600” by a predetermined value “50”. When the set value is “1200”, the set value for preliminary announcement is “1150” which is smaller than the set value “1200” by a predetermined value “50”. When the set value is “2400”, the set value for preliminary announcement is “2350” which is smaller than the set value “2400” by a predetermined value “50”. As such, the set value for preliminary announcement is defined by the selected set value.

For the gaming machine 10 with a gaming machine identification number of “001”, defined are a set value of “600” and a set value for preliminary announcement of “550”. For the gaming machine 10 with a gaming machine identification number of “002”, defined are a set value of “600” and a set value for preliminary announcement of “550”. For the gaming machine 10 with a gaming machine identification number of “003”, defined are a set value of “1200” and a set value for preliminary announcement of “1150”. In the present invention, the candidate values and the values or number of the set values for a preliminary announcement are not particularly limited, and may be set according to circumstances. Moreover, the set value does not need to be set individually for each of the gaming machines 10, but assigned to plural gaming machines 10 collectively. Further, the set value for preliminary announcement does not need to be set individually for each of the gaming machines 10, but assigned to plural gaming machines 10 collectively.

When CPU 201 receives the number of coin-in, the number of coin-out and the gaming machine identification number from the gaming machine 10 through the communication interface 204, a game history corresponding to the gaming machine identification number is updated. More specifically, 1 is added to the number of games, the number of coins inserted is added to the accumulative number of coin-in and the number of coins paid out is added to the accumulative number of coin-out. Furthermore, a payment balance in terms of the coins and a return rate are calculated based on the accumulative number of coin-in and the accumulative number of coin-out. When CPU 201 determines that the number of games updated has reached a set value, CPU 201 determines the number of coin-out in the return mode based on the set value.

Further, when CPU 201 determines that the updated number of games has reached the set value for preliminary announcement, the CPU 201 thereafter transmits to the gaming machine 10 a preliminary announcement command signal for providing a preliminary announcement of the transition to the return mode, based on the set value for preliminary announcement.

FIG. 7 is a figure schematically showing an example of correspondence table between a set value and the number of payouts.

The number of coin-out “1000” in the return mode is assigned at a set value of “600”. The number of coin-out “2000” in the return mode is assigned at a set value of “1200”. The number of coin-out “4000” in the return mode is assigned at a set value of “2400”. Since, in the present embodiment, the number of coin-out in the payout return mode is larger the larger a set value is, a profit matching the number of games played by a player is given to the player in the return mode. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game. Note that the correspondence table shown in FIG. 7 is stored on the hard disc drive 205 as data.

It is not necessary for the number of coin-out set to correspond to a set value to be constantly the same, and for example, the number of coin-out set to correspond to a set value may be changeable according to a game history and the like.

FIG. 8 is a figure schematically showing another example of correspondence table between a set value and the number of payouts.

At a set value “600”, “(−payment balance)×50% (provided that the number of coin-out=1000 if a payment balance≧0)” is set as the number of coin-out in the return mode. Hence, if a payment balance is “−2000” when the number of games reaches 600, the number of coin-out is 1000, and if a payment balance is “−4000”, the number of coin-out is 2000. At a set value “1200”, “(−payment balance)×60% (provided that the number of coin-out=2000 if payment balance≧0)” is set as the number of coin-out in the return mode. At a set value “2400”, “(-payment balance)×70% (provided that the number of coin-out=4000 if payment balance≧0)” is set as the number of coin-out in the return mode.

Next, description will be given of a processing performed in the gaming machine 10.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing a procedure in an authentication reading processing for a game program and a game system program executed by a mother board and a gaming board shown in FIG. 4. Note that the memory card 53 is inserted into the card slot 53S on the gaming board 50 and GAL 54 is mounted to the IC socket 54S.

When a power supply switch is turned on in the power supply unit 45, the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50 are activated (steps S1-1 and S2-1). When the mother board 40 and the gaming board 50 are activated, separate processing are performed at the same time. That is, in the gaming board 50, CPU 51 reads a preliminary authentication program stored in the boot ROM 52 and performs the preliminary authentication which in advance, prior to capturing the authentication program into the mother board 40, confirms or certificates that the program is not altered according to the read preliminary authentication program (step S2-2). On the other hand, in the mother board 40, the main CPU 41 executes BIOS stored in ROM 42 to expand on RAM 43 compressed data incorporated in BIOS (step S1-2). Then, the main CPU 41 executes BIOS expanded on RAM 43 to perform diagnosis on and initialization of various kinds of the peripheral devices (step S1-3).

Then, since ROM 55 on the gaming board 50 is connected to the main CPU 41 through PCI bus, the main CPU 41 not only performs reading of the authentication program stored in ROM 55, but also stores the read authentication program into RAM 43 (step S1-4). On this occasion, the main CPU 41 takes a checksum according to ADDSUM method (a standard check function) with the help of the function of a standard BIOS of BIOS, and by performing a confirmation processing for whether or not storage is conducted without error, stores the authentication program into RAM 43.

Then, after confirming what is connected to the IDE bus, the main CPU 41 accesses the memory card 53 inserted into the card slot 53S through the IDE bus, and conducts reading of the game program and the game system program from the memory card 53. In this case, the main CPU 41 reads 4 bites at a time of data constituting the game program and the game system program. Next, the main CPU 41 authenticates by confirming and certifying according to the authentication program stored in RAM 43, that the read game program and game system program has not been altered (step S1-5). When the authentication processing is normally completed, the main CPU 41 writes and stores in RAM 43 the game program and the game system program that have been an object of authentication (have been authenticated) (steps S1 to S6). Then, main CPU 41 accesses through the PCI bus to GAL 54 mounted to the IC socket 54S, reads data for setting a payout rate from GAL 54 and writes and stores the data in RAM 43 (step S1-7). Then, the main CPU 41 not only reads through the PCI bus country identification information stored in ROM 55 on the gaming board 50, but also stores the read country identification information into RAM 43 (step S1-8).

After the processing is over, the main CPU 41 sequentially reads and executes the game program and the game system program to such that a game is progressed.

After the processing shown in FIG. 9 is over, the main CPU 41 performs a game mode selection processing.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a game mode selection processing.

The main CPU 41 conducts a processing for adding credits stored in RAM 43 as an interrupt processing when it receives a detection signal outputted from the coin counter 21C in a case where the coin counter 21C detects a coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 21 while executing the subroutine.

FIGS. 11A and 11B are figures showing an image displayed on the lower image display panel when a game mode selection processing is executed.

To begin with, the main CPU 41 conducts a processing to display on the lower image display panel 16 an image for requesting to the player selection of a game mode (step S3). In this processing, the main CPU 41 transmits a depiction command for the game mode selection image to the graphic board 68. On the graphic board, VDP extracts image data from RAM 43 and expands the data on the video RAM to produce image data for one frame and to output the image data to the lower image display panel 16, based on the depiction command. As a result, for example, an image as shown in FIG. 11A is displayed on the lower side display panel 16.

FIG. 11A is a figure showing an example of game mode selection image displayed on the lower image display panel. In the figure, numerical reference 15 (15L, 15C and 15R) indicates display windows. An image showing “Select a mode!!” is displayed in the upper portion of the lower image display panel 16. The image is an image for requesting a player to select a game mode. Moreover, images showing “INSURANCE” and “NO INSURANCE” are displayed in the lower portion of the lower image display panel 16. The images are images indicating game mode options and the player touches a predetermined site of the touch panel 69 corresponding to a display region of the image, and is thereby enabled to input a command for selecting a game mode.

The option “INSURANCE” corresponds to the with-insurance mode. A predetermined number of credits (for example, number of credits equivalent to 1 dollar) is required for selecting the with-insurance mode. As an alternative of the number of credits, a note or a coin equivalent to the number of credits may be directly inserted. In a case where the with-insurance mode has been selected, when the number of games reaches a set value (for example, 600) without a bonus game being generated, the return mode flag is set to the state “ON” and a game state shifts to the return mode. In the payout return mode, the player can receive payout of coins corresponding to the set value. In other words, in the with-insurance mode, a game can be played in a state where an insurance is carried for compensating all or part of a loss arising in a case where no bonus game has arisen for a long time. On the other hand, an option “NO INSURANCE” corresponds to the without-insurance mode. In a case where the without-insurance mode has been selected, the return mode flag is not set to the state of “ON” and a game state does not shift to the payout return mode even if no bonus game has arisen for a long time after the without-insurance mode is selected.

After the processing in step S3, the main CPU 41 determines whether the with-insurance mode has been selected or not (step S4). In a case where it is determined that the with-insurance mode has been selected, the main CPU conducts a processing for subtracting a predetermined number of credit from the number of credits stored in RAM 43 (step S5). Thereafter, the game execution processing in the with-insurance mode is conducted (step S6).

While detailed description of the above-mentioned processing will be given later by making reference to FIG. 12, when played in the with-insurance mode, an image showing “INSURED” is displayed in the upper left of the lower image display panel 16, as shown in FIG. 11B. The image is an image showing that a game mode is in the with-insurance mode.

On the other hand, in the case where, in step S4, it is determined that the without-insurance mode has been selected, the main CPU 41 conducts the game execution processing in the without-insurance mode (step S7). Since this processing is a processing almost the same as the game execution processing in the with-insurance mode (see FIG. 12) except that neither a processing related to transition to the return mode nor a processing related to counting of the number of games is conducted, description thereof is omitted here. When the processing in step S6 or S7 has been executed, the process is returned to step S3 thereafter.

FIG. 12 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a game execution processing in the with-insurance mode that is called and executed in step S6 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 10.

In the game execution processing, the main CPU 41 at first determines whether or not a coin is BET (step S10). In the processing, the main CPU 41 determines whether an input signal outputted from the 1-BET switch 26S or the maximum BET switch 27S has been received or not when the 1-BET button 26 or the maximum BET button 27 is operated, respectively. If it is determined that a coin has not been BET, the process returns to step S10.

On the other hand, if it is determined in step S10 that a coin is BET, the main CPU 41 conducts a processing for subtracting the number of credits stored in RAM 43 according to the number of BET coins (step S11). In a case where the number of BET coins is more than the number of credits stored in RAM 43, the process returns to step S10 without conducting subtraction on the number of credits stored in RAM 43. In a case where the number of BET coins exceeds the upper limit (50 coins in the present embodiment) up to which a BET is possible in one game, the process advances to step S12 without conducting a processing for subtracting the number of BET coins from the number of credits stored in RAM 43.

Then, the main CPU 41 determines whether the spin button 23 has been turned ON or not (step S12). In the processing, the main CPU 41 d determines, when the spin button 23 is pressed, whether an input signal outputted from the spin switch 23S has been received or not.

If it is determined that the spin button 23 has not been turned ON, the process returns to step S10. Note that in a case where the spin button has not been turned ON (for example, in a case where a command of terminating a game has been inputted without turning ON the spin button), the main CPU 41 cancels a result of the subtracting processing in step S11.

In the present embodiment, description will be given of a case in which: after a coin is BET (step S10), a processing for conducting subtraction on the number of credits (step S11) is conducted prior to the determination on whether the spin button has been turned ON or not (step S12). However, the present invention is not limited to this example. For example, a processing for subtraction on the number of credits (step S11) maybe conducted after a coin is BET (step S10), determined whether the spin button 23 has been turned ON or not (step S12), and when determined that the spin button 23 has been turned ON (YES in step S12).

Meanwhile, in step S12 of FIG. 12, if it is determined that the spin button 23 has been turned ON therein, the main CPU 41 conducts a lottery processing (step S13). In the lottery processing, the main CPU 41 (processing device) executes a lottery program stored in RAM 43 (storage device) to thereby determine a code No. of the stopped reels 14. Thus, a combination of symbols stop displayed is determined. Detailed description of the processing will be given later by making reference to FIGS. 13 and 14. When the processing in step S13 is executed, the main CPU 41 works as winning combination determination means for determining a winning combination by a lottery. In the present embodiment, description will be given of a case where a combination of symbols stop displayed is determined, and one winning combination of plural winning combinations is determined thereafter. However, in the present invention, one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations may at first be determined by a lottery, and the combination of symbols to be stop displayed may be determined thereafter, based on the determined winning combination.

Then, the main CPU 41 conducts a reel rotating control processing (step S14). The processing is a processing which, after all of the reels 14 starts to rotate, stops the rotating of each of the reels 14 such that a combination of symbol sequences corresponding to the winning combination determined in step S13 is stop displayed on the winning line L. Detailed description of the processing will be given later by making reference to FIGS. 15 to 17.

Then, the main CPU 41 determines whether a bonus game trigger has been established or not, that is whether “APPLE” is stop displayed in the display window 15 or not (step S15). If it is determined that the bonus game trigger has been established, the main CPU 41 (processing device) reads a program for conducting a bonus game from RAM 43 (storage device) to execute a bonus game processing (step S16). Here, the first special game state is generated. Detailed description of the bonus game processing will be given later by making reference to FIG. 18. When the processing in step S16 is executed, the main CPU 41 functions as means for generating the first special game state.

On the other hand, if it is determined that the bonus game trigger has not been established, the main CPU 41 determines whether a winning combination has been established or not (step S17). If it is determined that a winning combination has been established, the main CPU 41 conducts payout of a coin corresponding to the number of coin-in and the winning combination (step S18).

In a case where coins are reserved, the main CPU 41 conducts a processing to add the coins to the number of credits stored in RAM 43. On the other hand, in a case where payout of a coin is conducted, the main CPU 41 transmits a control signal to the hopper 66 and conducts payout of a predetermined number of coins. In that situation, the coin detecting section 67 counts the number of coins paid out from the hopper 66 and when the number of counts reaches a designated number, transmits a payout completion signal to the main CPU 41. Thus, the main CPU 41 stops the driving of the hopper 66 to terminate the coin payout processing.

When the processing in step S16 or S18 is executed, or when it is determined that no winning combination has been established (that a winning combination has failed to be established) in step S17, the main CPU 41 determines whether the return mode flag stored in RAM 43 is set to the state “ON” (step S19) or not. If it is determined that the return mode flag has been set to the state “ON”, the main CPU 41 (processing device) reads from RAM 43 (storage device) a program for shifting a game state to the return mode, executes the return mode processing, to thus shift a game state to the return mode (step S20). Here, the second special game state has been generated. Detailed description will be given of the payout return mode processing later using FIG. 19. The main CPU 41, when executing the processing in step S20, functions as means for generating the second special game state.

If the processing in step S20 has been executed, or if it is determined that the return mode flag has not been set to the state “ON” in step S19, the main CPU 41 determines whether the bonus game (step S16) has been executed or not or whether a game state has shifted to the return mode (step S20) or not (step S21).

If it is determined that a bonus game has not been executed, or that a game state has not shifted to the payout return mode, the main CPU 41 executes a counting processing (step S22).

The counting processing is a processing conducted between the gaming machine 10 and the control device 200. The number of coin-in and the number of coin-out for one game together with the gaming machine identification number are transmitted to the control device 200. In the control device 200, the number of games, an accumulative number of coin-in, an accumulative number of coin-out and the like are updated with respect to each gaming machine identification number.

When the number of games reaches the set value for preliminary announcement, a preliminary announcement command signal indicative of the set value for preliminary announcement is thereafter transmitted from the control device 200 to the gaming machine 10. On receiving the preliminary announcement command signal, the main CPU 41 executes processing related to the preliminary announcement, such as processing for determining whether or not a preliminary announcement of the transition to the return mode is to be provided, or processing for outputting an image or a sound related to the preliminary announcement.

Moreover, When the number of games reaches a set value, the number of coin-out in the return mode is determined according to the set value, and a return command signal showing the set value and the number of coin-out is transmitted to the gaming machine 10 from the control device 200. The main CPU 41, when receiving the return command signal, sets the return mode flag to the state “ON”. Detailed description of the counting processing will be given later by making reference to FIG. 21. After the processing in step S22 is executed, the main CPU 41 returns the process to the processing in step S10 and subsequently executes a game in the with-insurance mode.

On the other hand, when it is determined that a bonus game has been executed or a game state has shifted to the payout return mode, the present subroutine is completed and the process returns to the processing shown in FIG. 10. As a result, a player can once again select whether a game is to be played by the with-insurance mode or the without-insurance mode.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a lottery processing called and executed in step S13 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 12. The processing is a processing conducted by executing a lottery program stored in RAM 43 with the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 executes a random number generating program included in the lottery program, and a random number value from the numerical value range of 0 to 255 is selected thereby such that each of the selected random number values correspond to each of the three reels 14 (step S31). In the present embodiment, description will be given of a case where random numbers are generated on a program (a case where so-called software random numbers are used). In the present invention, however, a random number generator may be used, and random numbers may be extracted therefrom (so-called hardware random numbers may be used).

After the random number values are selected, the main CPU 41 (processing device) refers to symbol weighting determination data corresponding to payout rate setting data which is outputted from GAL 54 and stored in RAM 43, and determines, based on the selected three random number values, code Nos. (see FIG. 3) for each of the reels 14 (step S32). The code Nos. of the reels 14 correspond to code Nos. of the symbols stop displayed on the winning line L. The main CPU 41 determines code Nos. of the reels 14 to thereby determine a winning combination. For example, in a case where code Nos. of the reels 14 are determined “00”, “00” and “00”, it means that the main CPU 41 determined a winning combination as “JACKPOT”. Based on the code Nos. determined for each of the reels, a reel rotating control processing which will be described later is conducted. On this occasion, the main CPU 41 functions as winning combination determination means.

Here, description of a winning combination in the present embodiment will be given.

FIG. 14 is a figure describing a relationship among winning combinations of plural kinds, establishment possibility of each winning combination and the number of coin-out in the present embodiment. The establishment possibilities of each of the winning combinations shown In FIG. 14 are of a case where a payout rate is set to 88% in a game other than a bonus game. The establishment possibilities shown in the figure show possibilities of the establishment of each of the shown winning combinations in such a case that code Nos. of each of the reels 14 are determined based on the selected three random number values by referring to a symbol weighting determination data. In other words, the random number values are not made to correspond to each of the winning combinations.

An establishment possibility of a bonus game trigger is 0.5%. If a player hits the bonus game trigger, three “APPLE” symbols are stop displayed on the winning line L and a bonus game is generated. In the bonus game, executed is a free game of which the number of games is determined by a lottery.

An establishment possibility of “JACKPOT 7” is 0.5%. If the winning combination has been established, three “JACKPOT 7” symbols are stop displayed on the winning line L, and 30 coins per one coin-in are paid out. The lower the establishment possibility of the winning combination is, the higher the number of coin-out is set. When a combination of symbols stop displayed is not hitting any of the winning combinations shown in FIG. 14, this is a failure, and there is no coin-out.

FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing a reel rotating control processing called and executed in step S15 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 12. This processing is a processing conducted between the main CPU 41 and the sub CPU 61.

The main CPU 41 transmits to the sub CPU 61 a start signal that starts the rotating of reels (step S40). The sub CPU 61 conducts a reel rotating processing when it receives the start signal from the main CPU 41 (step S51). In the processing, the sub CPU 61 supplies a pulse to the motor driving circuit 62. The pulse outputted from the sub CPU 61 is amplified by the driver 64 and supplied to each of the stepping motors 70 (70L, 70C and 70R). As a result, the stepping motors 70 rotate, thereby making the reels 14 (14L, 14C and 14R) to rotate. A stepping motor 70 is a 1-2 phase excitation type stepping motor which has a step angle of 0.9 degree and requires the number of steps of 400 for one rotation. Hence, if 400 pulses are supplied to the stepping motor 70, the reels 14 rotate once.

When the reels 14 start to rotate, the sub CPU 61 supplies to the motor driving circuit 62 pulses at a lower frequency, and the pulse frequency is gradually raised. A rotational speed of the reels 14 is thereby increased. When a predetermined time elapses, the pulse frequency is controlled to be constant. As a result, the reels 14 rotate at a constant speed.

Here, description of a rotational operation of the reels 14 will be given, by using FIG. 14.

FIGS. 16A to 16D are side views for describing a rotating operation of a reel 14.

As shown in FIG. 16A, a semicircular metal plate 14 a is attached to the side surface of a reel 14. The metal plate 14 a rotates together with the reel 14. Twenty two symbols (see FIG. 3) are depicted on the circumferential surface of the reel 14. Three symbols of the twenty two symbols depicted on the circumferential surface of the reel 14 can be visually recognizable through the display window 15 formed in front of the reel 14. The arrow mark of a heavy line in the figure indicates a rotating direction of the reel 14. A proximity sensor 65 a is provided on the side of the reel 14. The proximity sensor 65 a is used to detect the metal plate 14 aThe proximity sensor 65 a does not rotate nor move even if the reel 14 rotates.

FIG. 16A shows a position of the meal plate 14 a when the metal plate 14 a starts being detected by the proximity sensor 65 a (hereinafter also referred to as a position A). If the reel 14 rotates when the metal plate 14 a is at the position A, the metal plate 14 a moves to a position shown in FIG. 16B. FIG. 16B shows a position of the metal plate 14 a when the metal plate 14 a is being detected by the proximity sensor 65 a (hereinafter also referred to as a position B). If the reel 14 rotates when the metal plate 14 a is at the position B, the metal plate 14 a moves to a position shown in FIG. 16C. FIG. 16C shows a position of the metal plate 14 a when the metal plate 14 a will no longer be detected by the proximity sensor 65 a (hereinafter also referred to as a position C).

If the reel 14 rotates when the metal plate 14 a is at the position C, the metal plate 14 a moves to a position shown in FIG. 16D. FIG. 16D shows a position of the metal plate 14 a when the metal plate 14 a is not detected by the proximity sensor 65 a (hereinafter also referred to as a position D). If the reel 14 further rotates, a position of the metal plate 14 a returns to the position A. As described above, together with the rotating of the reel 14, the metal plate 14 a changes its position in the order from the position A, to the position B, to the position C, to the position D, to the position A and so forth.

The proximity sensor 65 a constitutes an index detecting circuit 65 (see FIG. 3). When it is referred to as “High” at a state where the proximity sensor 65 a detects the metal plate 14 a, and as “Low” at a state where the proximity sensor 65 a does not detect the metal plate 14 a, a state of the index detecting circuit 65 is “High” during the period when the metal plate 14 a moves from the position A to the position B and to the position C, and a state of the index detecting circuit 65 is “Low” during the period when the metal plate 14 a moves from the position C to the position D and to the position A. The sub CPU 61 assigns a rise from “Low” to “High” as an index (origin) 1 and a fall from “High” to “Low” as an index (origin) 2 to thereby recognize the rotating position of the reel 14.

The main CPU 40, after transmitting in step 40 a start signal to the sub CPU 61, executes representation to be executed while the reels are rotating (step S41). The process is a processing which conducts display of an image on the lower image display panel 16 and output of a sound from the speaker 29 over a period (for example, 3 seconds) determined according to a result and the like of the lottery processing (step S13 in FIG. 12).

Then, the main CPU 40 determines whether it is the timing at which a command is to be issued so as to stop the rotating of the reel 14, or not (step S42).

The timing at which a command is issued so as to stop rotation of a reel 14 is a timing before the time when the representation to be executed while the reels are rotating is terminated, which is an interval having the minimum time necessary for stopping the rotating of the reel 14. Note that the minimum time necessary for stopping the rotating of the reel 14 is determined in advance.

If it is determined in step S42 that it is not the timing at which the command to stop the rotating of the reel 14 is to be issued, the process returns to the processing in step S42 and the representation to be executed while the reels are rotating continues to be conducted. On the other hand, if it is determined in step S42 that it is the timing at which the command to stop the rotating of the reel 14 is to be issued, the main CPU 41 transmits to the sub CPU 61 a code No. of the reel which is stored in RAM 43 (step S43). When the sub CPU 61 receives a code No. of the reel from the main CPU 41, the code No. is converted to a stopping position of the reel (the number of steps) from an index, based on a correspondence table between the number or steps and the code Nos. stored in ROM (not shown in the figure) included in the sub CPU 61 (step S52).

FIG. 17 is a schematic diagram showing a correspondence table between the number of steps and the code No. Each of the code Nos. are related to an index and the number of steps.

Each code No. corresponds to the symbols depicted on the circumferential surfaces of the reels 14 (see FIG. 3) and symbols of code Nos. “00” to “10” correspond to the index 1. Moreover, symbols of code Nos. “11” to “21” correspond to the index 2. The number of steps in the correspondence table shown in FIG. 17 is the number of steps with the index 1 as a reference. For example, if a code No. is “08”, a stopping position of the reel is at 145 steps from the index 1. If a code No. is “12”, a stopping position of the reel is at 218 steps from the index 1.

Then, the sub CPU 61 executes a reel stopping processing (step S53). In the processing, the sub CPU 61 detects a rise in the index detecting circuit 65 from “Low” to “High” (the index 1) on each of the reels 14, and supplies to the motor driving circuit 65 pulses corresponding to the number of steps which were converted in step S52 from a code No. at a timing at which the index 1 is detected, and supply of pulses is ceased thereafter.

For example, when, in step S52, the stopping positions of the reels are determined to be 145 steps from the index 1, the sub CPU 61 supplies 145 pulses to the motor driving circuit 65 at a timing at which the index 1 is detected, and the supply of pulses is terminated thereafter. Furthermore, when, in step S52, the stopping positions of the reels are determined to be 218 steps from the index 1, the sub CPU 61 supplies 218 pulses to the motor driving circuit 65 at a timing at which the index 1 is detected. As a result, the reels 14 stop at the code No. determined in step 32 of FIG. 13 and the combination of symbols corresponding to the winning combination determined in step S32 of FIG. 13 is stop displayed on the winning line L. On the other hand, the main CPU 41 terminates the representation to be executed while the reels are rotating. After the processing in steps S44 and S53 are over, the present reel rotating control processing is completed.

Moreover, when an index corresponding to the code No. transmitted in step S43 is different from an index detected by the index detecting circuit 65 when the rotating of the reels 14 stop, this means that an out-of-order state occurred on the reels 14; therefore, the main CPU 41 conducts a processing for displaying an error message on the lower image display panel 16 to temporarily stop a game.

For example, in a case where, even though a processing for stopping the reel 14L was executed at the code No. 12 corresponding to the index 2, the index 1 is detected by the index detecting circuit 65 when the rotating of the reel 14L stops, the game is temporarily stopped.

FIG. 18 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a bonus game processing called and executed in step S16 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 12. In the bonus game processing, firstly, the main CPU 41 determines a number T of bonus games from 10 to 25 games, based on a random number value obtained by executing a random number generation program included in a lottery program stored in RAM 43 (step S60). The main CPU 41 stores as data into RAM 43 the number of games of the determined bonus games.

Next, the main CPU 41 conducts a lottery processing (step S61) and a reel rotating control processing (step S63). The processing in step S61 is a processing almost the same as the processing described using FIG. 13. The processing in step S63 is a processing almost the same as the processing described using FIG. 15. Since descriptions of these processing have already been given, descriptions thereof are omitted herein.

Then, the main CPU 41 determines whether a bonus game trigger has been established or not, that is, whether three “APPLE” are stop displayed in the display windows 15 or not (step S64). If it is determined that the bonus game trigger has been established, the number t of additional games of the bonus game is determined in a lottery (step S65) and the determined number t of additional games is added to the number T of games of the bonus game (step S66). Thus, when a bonus game is hit during the bonus game, a remaining number of bonus games increases. More specifically, for example, in a case where a game state shifts to 20 bonus games for the first time, and hits 17 bonus games upon conducting 12 of the bonus games, another 25 bonus games (20 bonus games−12 bonus games+17 bonus games) are to be conducted.

If a bonus game trigger has not been established, the main CPU 41 determines whether a winning combination has been established or not (step S67). If it is determined that the winning combination has been established, the main CPU 41 conducts payout of coins corresponding to the number of coin-in and the winning combination (step S68). Since the processing is similar to the processing in step S18 and description thereof has already been given, the description of the present processing is omitted herein.

In a case where the processing in step S66 or S68 has been executed, or if it is determined in step S67 that any winning combination has not been established (if it is determined that a failure has occurred), the main CPU 41 reads the number T of bonus games stored in RAM 43, and one bonus game is subtracted from the read number T of bonus games. The number T of bonus games after the subtraction is again stored into RAM 43 (step S69).

Then, the main CPU 41 determines whether the number T of bonus games reaches the number of games determined in step S60 the number T of games stored in RAM 43 has become 0 or not, and if the number T of games is not 0, that is, if it is determined that the number of bonus games played does not reach the number of games which were determined in step S60, the process returns to step S61 and the above-mentioned processing is repeated. On the other hand, if the number T of games is 0, that is, if it is determined that the number T of games has reached the number of games which were determined in step S60, a number-of-games reset signal is transmitted to the control device 200 (step S71), and the present subroutine is completed thereafter. The number-of-games reset signal includes the gaming machine identification information of the gaming machine 10, and CPU 201 of the control device 200, when receiving the number-of-games reset signal, resets to 0 the number of games of which is stored in the hard disc drive 205 by being made to correspond to the gaming machine identification information included in the number-of-games reset signal.

FIG. 19 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a return mode processing called and executed in step S20 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 12.

Firstly, the main CPU 41 (processing device) extracts image data corresponding to a set value from image data as notification data which is stored in RAM 43 (storage device), conducts, based on the image data, a processing for displaying an image corresponding to a set value on the lower image display panel 16 (output device), and notifies the transition to the return mode by an image (step S80). The set value is transmitted as data to the gaming machine 10 from the control device 200 and stored in RAM 43 by step S22 of FIG. 12. Image data for notifying the transition to the payout return mode is read from the memory card 53 and included in a game program stored into RAM 43. In the game program, as image data for notifying the transition to the payout return mode, included are a plurality of image data which are made to correspond to the set values.

The main CPU 41 determines the image to be displayed on the lower image display panel 16, based on the set value stored in RAM 43. The main CPU 41 transmits to the graphic board 68 a depiction command based on the result determined. In the graphic mode 68, VDP extracts from RAM 43 image data corresponding to the set value, expands the data on the video RAM, produces image data for one frame and outputs the image data to the lower image display panel 16. As a result, for example, images as shown in FIGS. 20A to 20C are displayed on the lower image display panel 16.

FIGS. 20A to 20C are figures showing an example of image displayed on the lower image display panel when a game state shifts to the return mode (when the second special game state is generated). Numerical reference 15 (15L, 15C and 15R) in the figures indicates display windows. An image shown in FIG. 20A is an image displayed on the lower image display panel 16 when a game state shifts to the return mode at a set value of 600. On the lower image display panel 16, an image showing “BONUS!!”, together with two images showing fireworks are displayed. An image showing “TIME OF PLAY 600” is also displayed in the lower portion of the lower image display panel 16. This image is an image showing that the number of games reached 600).

An image shown in FIG. 20B is an image displayed on the lower image display panel 16 when a game state shifts to the return mode at a set value of 1200. On the lower image display panel 16, an image showing “BONUS!!”, together with four images showing fireworks are displayed. An image showing “TIME OF PLAY 1200” is also displayed in the lower portion of the lower image display panel 16. This image is an image showing that the number of games reached a set value of 1200.

An image shown in FIG. 20C is an image displayed on the lower image display panel 16 when a game state shifts to the return mode at a set value of 2400. On the lower image display panel 16, an image showing “BONUS!!”, together with six images showing six fireworks are displayed. An image showing “TIME OF PLAY 2400” is displayed in the lower portion of the lower image display panel 16.

In the gaming machine 10, when the game state shifts to the return mode, an image showing on which set value the return mode generated is based is thus displayed on the lower image display panel 16.

Then, the main CPU 41 (processing device) extracts from sound data as data for notification stored in RAM 43 (storage device), sound data corresponding to a set value, and based on the sound data, outputs from the speaker 29 (output device) a sound corresponding to the set value, to thereby notify transition to the return mode with a sound (step S81).

The sound data for notifying transition to the return mode is included in a game program read from the memory card 53 and stored in RAM 43. In the game program, sound data of plural kinds which are made to correspond to the set values are included as sound data which notifies that the game state has shifted to the return mode.

The main CPU 41 determines the sound outputted from the speaker 29, based on the set value stored in RAM 43. The main CPU 41 extracts a sound data from RAM 43, based on the result determined, and converts the sound data to a sound signal to supply the signal to the speaker 29. As a result, a sound showing on which set value the return mode generated is based, is outputted from the speaker 29.

Then, the main CPU 41 conducts payout of the number of coins determined according to a set value (step S82). The number of payout coins in step S82 is the number of coin-out in the return mode and is determined according to the set value by the control device 200. The number of coins in the return mode is included in the return command signal as data transmitted to the gaming machine 10 from the control device 200 in step S22 of FIG. 12. The number of coin-out in the return mode is stored as data in RAM 43 of the gaming machine 10 which received the return command signal.

In a case where coins are reserved, the main CPU 41 conducts a processing for adding the number of credits stored in RAM 43. On the other hand, in a case where the coins are to be paid out, the main CPU 41 transmits a control signal to the hopper 66 to conduct a predetermined number of coin-out. In the payout of coins, the coin detecting section 67 counts the number of coins paid out from the hopper 66 and when the number of counts reaches a designated number, and transmits a payout completion signal to the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 thereby ceases the driving of the hopper 66 to end the coin-out processing, sets the return mode flag to the state “OFF” (step S83) thereafter, and thus the present subroutine is completed.

FIG. 21 is a flowchart showing a counting processing called and executed in step S22 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 12.

The processing is a processing conducted between the main CPU 41 of a gaming machine 10 and CPU 201 of the control device 200. Here, one set value selected from plural candidate values “600”, “1200” and “2400” stepwise determined in advance is set to each of the plural gaming machines 10 (see FIG. 6).

To begin with, the main CPU 41 transmits by the communication interface 44 the number of coin-in and the number of coin-out stored in RAM 43 together with the gaming machine identification number to the control device 200 through the communication line 101 (step S90). The number of coin-in and the number of coin-out transmitted to the control device 200 from the gaming machine 10 are those of the game concerned.

The processing in step S90 is a processing in which the main CPU 41 (processing device) transmits the identification information of the gaming machine 10 stored in the main RAM 43 (storage device) to the control device 200 through the communication line 101, each time a game is played. When the processing in step S90 is executed, the main CPU 41 functions as means for transmitting the identification information of the gaming machine 10 to the control device 200 through the communication line 101.

On the other hand, the CPU 201 of the control device 200, when receiving from the gaming machine 10 the number of coin-in, the number of coin-out and the gaming machine identification number through the communication line 101 by the communication interface 204, updates the number of games, the accumulative number of coin-in and the accumulative number of coin-out corresponding to the received gaming machine identification number (step S100), by choosing the data, which are made to correspond to each of the gaming machine identification numbers, of the number of games, the accumulative number of coin-in, the accumulative number of coin-out stored in the hard disc drive 205 (see FIG. 6).

Then, CPU 201 determined whether or not the number of games after the updating has reached the set value for preliminary announcement (step S101). If it is determined that the number of games after the updating has not reached the set value for preliminary announcement, the process returns to step S101.

On the other hand, when it is determined in step S140 that the updated number of games has reached the set value for preliminary announcement, the CPU 201 transmits by the communication interface 204 a preliminary announcement command signal indicative of the set value for preliminary announcement to the gaming machine 10, in which the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement, through the communication line 101 (step S141).

When the preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200 in step S141 is received, the main CPU 41 of the gaming machine 10 determines whether or not preliminary announcement is to be provided (step S130).

In the process, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a preliminary announcement is to be provided, based on a random number value obtained by executing a random number generation program included in a lottery program stored in RAM 43. When it is determined not to provide preliminary announcement (step S131: NO), the process returns to step S91. On the other hand, when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement (step S131: YES), the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S132. In step S131, the main CPU 41 functions as determining means for determining whether or not a preliminary announcement of the transition to the return mode is to be provided (generation of the second special game state).

In the present embodiment, there will be described a case where it is determined whether or not a preliminary announcement announcing that the second special game state will be generated is to be provided on receiving the preliminary announcement command signal. The present invention is, however, not limited to this example. In the present invention, for example, it may be determined whether or not a preliminary announcement announcing that the second special game state will be generated is to be provided even when the preliminary announcement command signal is not received. In this case, even though a preliminary announcement is provided, the second special game state will not be generated as announced by the preliminary announcement. A preliminary announcement announcing generation of the second special game state is provided even in the case the second special game state is not generated. On the other hand, a preliminary announcement announcing generation of the second special game state is not provided even in the case the second special game state is generated. As such, since the game state is not always in accordance with the preliminary announcement, a player who has spent many of the game media can be prevented from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

In step S132, the main CPU 41 executes a processing for extracting image data corresponding to the set value for preliminary announcement out of image data which is stored as preliminary announcement data in the RAM 43 and displaying an image corresponding to the set value for preliminary announcement on the lower image display panel 16, based on the extracted image data, to provide a preliminary announcement by image announcing that the game mode will shift to the return mode after the predetermined number of games are played (step S132). The set value for preliminary announcement is transmitted as data from the control device 200 to the gaming machine 10 and then stored in the RAM 43, through step S141. The image data for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode is included in the game program, which has been read from the memory card 53 and stored in the RAM 43. This game program includes, as image data for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode, plural types of image data corresponding to set values for preliminary announcement.

The main CPU 41 determines the image to be displayed on the lower image display panel 16, based on the set value for preliminary announcement stored in the RAM 43. The main CPU 41 transmits a depiction command based on the determination result to the graphic board 68. On the graphic board 68, VDP extracts image data corresponding to the set value for preliminary announcement from RAM 43, expands the data on the video RAM to produce image data for one frame, and outputs the image data to the lower image display panel 16, based on the depiction command. As a result, for example, image as shown in FIGS. 22 is displayed on the lower image display panel 16.

FIGS. 22 is figure showing example of image displayed on the lower image display panel when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement. In the figure, numerical reference 15 (15L, 15C and 15R) indicates display windows. The image shown in FIG. 22 is an image displayed on the lower image displaying panel 16 when the number of games reaches 550, 1150, or 2350 as the set value for preliminary announcement in the case where the set value is 600, 1200, or 2400, respectively. An image showing “BONUS CHANCE!” is displayed on the lower image display panel 16. Further, an image indicating “50 MORE PLAYS” is displayed at the lower portion of the lower image display panel 16. This image is an image displayed when the number of games has reached the set value for preliminary announcement (550, 1150 or 2350), and also is an image for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that the game mode will shift to the return mode after 50 more games are played.

As described above, in the gaming machine 10, when the number of games reaches the set value for preliminary announcement, the image providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode is displayed on the lower image display panel 16. When executing the processing in step S132, the main CPU 41 functions as means for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode after playing more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, by outputting an image to the lower image display panel 16 of which is an output means when the number of games reaches the set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by the predetermined value than the set value. Moreover, in the gaming machine 10, a preliminary announcement is provided without including information (for example, information that the preliminary announcement is based on a set value “600”) concerning the stage of the set value related to the preliminary announcement in the content of the preliminary announcement. Accordingly, a player who has spent many of the game media can be prevented from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game occurring in the case where a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode with a relatively small degree of advantage (generation of the second special game state) is provided.

Then, the main CPU 41 (processing device) extracts from sound data as data for notification stored in RAM 43 (storage device), sound data corresponding to a set value for preliminary announcement, and based on the sound data, outputs from the speaker 29 (output device) a sound corresponding to the set value for preliminary announcement, to thereby provide a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode with a sound (step

The sound data for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode is included in a game program read from the memory card 53 and stored in RAM 43. In the game program, sound data of plural kinds which are made to correspond to the set values for preliminary announcement are included as sound data which provide a preliminary announcement announcing that the game state has shifted to the return mode.

The main CPU 41 determines the sound outputted from the speaker 29, based on the set value stored in RAM 43. The main CPU 41 extracts a sound data from RAM 43, based on the result determined, and converts the sound data to a sound signal to supply the signal to the speaker 29. As a result, a sound providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode after playing the games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, is outputted from the speaker 29. When the processing in step S133 is executed, the main CPU 41 functions as means for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode after playing the games of the number indicated by the predetermined value when the number of games reaches the set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by the predetermined value than the set value, by outputting a sound with the speaker 29 as output means.

On the other hand, when the number of games has not reached the set value for preliminary announcement (NO in step S140) or after the processing in step S141, the CPU 201 of the control device 200 determines whether or not the updated number of games has reached the set value (step S101). When it is determined that the updated number of games has not reached the set value, the present subroutine is completed.

On the other hand, if it is determined in step S101 that the number of games after the updating has reached the set value, CPU 201 determines the number of coin-out corresponding to the set value, based on a correspondence table (see FIG. 7) between the set value and the number of coin-out stored in the hard disc drive 205 (step S102).

Then, CPU 201 transmits through the communication line 101 by the communication interface 204 to the gaming machine 10 in which the number of games has reached the set value, a return command signal showing the set value and the number of payout coins (step S103). Thereafter, CPU 201 resets to 0 the number of games stored in the hard disc drive 205 which are made to correspond to the gaming machine identification number of the gaming machine 10 (step S104). In succession thereto, CPU 201 selects a new set value by lottery and the selected set value is stored in the hard disc drive 205, being made to correspond to the gaming machine identification number of the concerned gaming machine 10 (step S105).

The main CPU 41 of the gaming machine 10, when receiving the return command signal transmitted from the control device 200 in step S103, sets the return mode flag to the state “ON” (step S91). The processing in step S91 is a processing for receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device. 200 when the number of games accumulatively counted by the control device 200 based on the identification information of the gaming machine 10 reaches a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. In step S91, the main CPU 41 functions as means for receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device 200. The main CPU 41 thereafter stores into RAM 43 data showing the set value and the number of payout coins, included in the return command signal (step S92). Thereafter, the present processing is terminated.

In the present embodiment, description has been given of a case where a game state shifts to the return mode when the number of games reaches a set value (see FIG. 21). The present invention is, however, not limited to this example. For example, in a case where the number of inserted game media for a game played by the player is at the upper limit value that can be accepted in one game when the number of games reaches the set value, the second special game state may be generated (the game state shifts to the return mode). This is because in such a case, a player can be urged to insert game media up to the upper limit and a facility such as a casino and the like can increase a profit.

Moreover, in a case where the second special game state is generated when the number of inserted game media is at the upper limit value, the second special game state maybe generated not when the number of games reaches the set value, but when the number of inserted game media is at the upper limit value for a game played by a player when the number of games in which insertion of game media is conducted to the upper limit value reaches a set value. This is because, in such a case, it can be prevented from a small number of game media to be inserted in a game, thereby leading to a fact that the second special game state is generated by the spending of only a small number of game media in total.

A gaming machine 10 according to the present embodiment includes: the main CPU 41 (processing device); RAM 43 (storage device); the lower image display panel 16 (output device); and the speaker 29 (output device), is a gaming machine 10 connected through the communication line 101 to the control device 200 which accumulatively counts the number of games in each gaming machine 10 of plural gaming machines 10, and wherein the main CPU 41 executes: a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in RAM 43 (see FIG. 13); a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for generating a bonus game (the first special game state) when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”, and executing the program (see FIG. 18); a processing transmitting through the communication line to the control device 200 the identification information of the gaming machine 10 stored in RAM 43 each time a game is played (step S90 in FIG. 21); a processing for receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games accumulatively counted, based on the identification information of the gaming machine, by the control device 200 reaches a set value that is an object with comparison of the number of games, and that is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance (step S91 in FIG. 21); a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for performing transition to the return mode (the generating of the second special game state) based on the command signal, and executing the program (see FIG. 19); and a processing reading from RAM 43 notification data for notifying that the second special game state has been generated based on the set value when the second special game state is generated, and executing a processing to output an image on the lower image display panel 16 and output a sound from the speaker 29, based on the notification data (see FIG. 19); a processing for receiving from a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value (step S130 in FIG. 21); and a processing for reading from the RAM 43 preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode (the second special game state will be generated) after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, and outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or outputting a sound from the speaker 29, based on the preliminary announcement data (see FIG. 21).

A gaming machine 10 is connected through the communication line 101 to the control device 200 which accumulatively counts the number of games for each gaming machine 10 of plural gaming machines 10 wherein: provided are output means (for example, the lower image display panel and the speaker 29) capable of outputting an image or a sound; winning combination determination means (for example, the main CPU 41) for determining a winning combination by lottery; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for generating a bonus game (the first special game state) when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for transmitting the identification information of the gaming machine 10 through the communication line 101 to the control device 200 each time a game runs; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the number of games accumulatively counted by the control device 200 based on the identification information of the gaming machine reaches a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for generating the second special game state based on the command signal; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value; and means for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, by outputting an image or a sound with the output means.

According to the gaming machine 10, a game state shifts to the return mode without fail by receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the number of games counted in the control device 200 reaches a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. Hence, even in a case where many coins have been spent without the generation of the first special game state for a long period of time, the game state shifts to the return mode without fail if the game is played until the number of games reaches a set value, and a player can earn a profit from the game.

Further, when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement (for example, “550”) which is smaller by the predetermined value (for example, “50”) than the set value (for example, “600”), provided is a preliminary announcement announcing that transition to the return mode will be executed (the second special game state will be generated) after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value (for example, 50 times), by outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 and outputting a sound from the speaker 29. Therefore, a player can recognize how many number of games should be played before the second special game state will be generated. As a result, an impression can be made on the player that a return is carried out as a result of playing the game such that the number of games reaches the set value while preventing the player from not receiving the return.

Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

A gaming machine 10 according to the present embodiment is connected to the control device 200 through the communication line 101, and the control device 200 conducts counting of the number of games in the gaming machine 10 and determines whether or not the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement. The gaming machine 10 is not required to use a network and may be standalone.

A standalone gaming machine 10 according to the present invention includes: the main CPU 41 (processing device), RAM 43 (storage device), the lower image display panel 16 (output device) and the speaker 29 (output device), wherein the main CPU 41 executes: a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combination determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in RAM 43; a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for generating a bonus game (the first special game state) when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”, and executing the program; a processing accumulatively counting the number of games each time a game is played; a processing selecting a set value from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance; a processing determining whether the number of games reaches a set value or not; a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for executing transition to the return mode (the generating of the second special game state) when it is determined that the number of games has reached the set value, and executing the program; and a processing for reading from the RAM 43 preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that transition to the return mode is made (the second special game state will be generated) after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, and outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or outputting a sound from the speaker 29, based on the preliminary announcement data.

The gaming machine 10 includes: output means (for example, the lower image display panel 16 and the speaker 29) capable of outputting an image or a sound; winning combination determination means (for example, the main CPU 41) for determining a winning combination by a lottery; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for generating a bonus game when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for accumulatively counting the number of games each time a game is played; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for selecting a set value from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance; means (for example, main CPU 41) for determining whether the number of games reaches a set value or not; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for conducting transition to the return mode (the generating of the second special game state) when the number of games is determined to have reached a set value; and a means (for example, the main CPU 41) for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that transition to the return mode is made (the second special game state will be generated) after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by a predetermined value than the set value, by outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or outputting a sound from the speaker 29.

In the gaming machine 10 according to the present embodiment, a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode (the generation of the second special game state) is provided when the number of games reaches a set value for preliminary announcement. However, the present invention is not limited to this example. In a gaming machine 10 of the present invention, a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode (the generation of the second special game state) may be provided when a payment balance in terms of coins is equal to or less than a set value selected from plural candidate values determined in advance.

Such a gaming machine 10 includes: the main CPU 41 (processing device); RAM 43 (storage device), the lower image display panel 16 (output device); and the speaker 29 (output device), and is connected through the communication line 101 to the control device 200 which accumulatively counts the payment balance in terms of coins in each gaming machine 10 of plural gaming machines 10, and wherein the main CPU 41 executes: a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in RAM 43; a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for generating a bonus game (the first special game state) when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”, and executing the program; a processing transmitting through the communication line 101 to the control device 200 the number of coin-in and the number of coin-out in one game which is stored in RAM 43, together with the identification information of the gaming machine 10, each time a game is played; a processing receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when, a payment balance in terms of coins accumulatively counted by the control device 200 based on the identification information of the gaming machine 10, the number of coin-in and the number of coin-out in the game reaches a value equal to or less than a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance; a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for conducting transition to the return mode (the generating of the second special game state) based on the command signal, and executing the program; a processing for receiving from a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value (step S130 in FIG. 21); and a processing for reading from the RAM 43 preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that transition to the return mode is conducted (the second special game state will be generated) in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, and outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or outputting a sound from the speaker 29, based on the preliminary announcement data.

The gaming machine 10 includes: an output means (for example, the lower image display panel 16 and the speaker 29) capable of outputting an image or a sound; winning combination determination means (for example, the main CPU 41) for determining a winning combination by a lottery; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for generating a bonus game (the first special game state) when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for transmitting through the communication line 101 to the control device 200 a payment balance in terms of coins in a game played, together with the identification information of the gaming machine 10, each time a game is played; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for receiving a command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the payment balance in terms of coins accumulatively counted by the control device 200 based on the identification information of the gaming machine 10 and the payment balance in terms of coins in the game played reaches a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for conducting transition to the return mode (the generating of the second special game state) based on the command signal; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for receiving from a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value; and means (for example, the main CPU 41) for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that transition to the return mode is conducted (the second special game state will be generated) in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, by outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or outputting a sound from the speaker 29.

Such gaming machine 10 shifts to the return mode, in a case where it receives a command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when a payment balance in terms of coins counted in the control device 200 is equal to or less than a set value selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. On receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value, a preliminary announcement is provided announcing that transition to the return mode is conducted in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, by outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or outputting a sound from the speaker 29. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game.

The gaming machine 10 is connected through the communication line 101 to the control device 200, and the control device 200 counts payment balance in terms of coins in the gaming machine 10 and determines whether or not the payment balance in terms of coins has reached a set value for preliminary announcement. The gaming machine 10 is, however, not necessarily required to be those using a network and may be standalone.

Such a gaming machine 10 includes: the main CPU 41 (processing device); RAM 43 (storage device); the lower image display panel 16 (output device); and the speaker 29 (output device), wherein the main CPU 41 executes: a processing determining one winning combination selected from plural winning combinations determined in advance by executing a lottery program stored in RAM 43; a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for generating a bonus game (the first special game state) when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”, and executing the program; a processing accumulatively counting a payment balance in terms of game media each time a game is played; a processing selecting a set value that is an object of comparison with a payment balance in terms of game media, from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance; a processing determining whether a payment balance in terms of game media is equal to or less than a set value or not; a processing reading from RAM 43 a program for conducting transition to the return mode (the generating of the second special game state) when it is determined that a payment balance in terms of game media is equal to or less than a set value, and executing the program; and a processing, on receiving from a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200 when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value, for reading from the RAM 43 preliminary announcement data for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that transition to the return mode is conducted (the second special game state will be generated) in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, based on the preliminary announcement command signal, and outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or out putting a sound from the speaker 29, based on the preliminary announcement data.

This gaming machine 10 includes: output means (for example, the lower image display panel 16 or the speaker 29) capable of outputting an image or a sound; winning combination determination means (for example, the main CPU 41) for determining a winning combination by a lottery; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for generating a bonus game (the first special game state) when the determined winning combination is a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for accumulatively counting a payment balance in terms of game media, each time a game is played; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for selecting a set value from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for determining whether a payment balance in terms of game media is equal Lo or less than a set value or not; means (for example, the main CPU 41) for conducting transition to the return mode (the generating of the second special game state) when it is determined that the payment balance in terms of game media is equal to or less than a set value; and means (for example, the main CPU 41), when the payment balance in terms of the game media has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is larger by a predetermined value than the set value, for providing a preliminary announcement announcing that transition to the return mode is conducted (the second special game state will be generated) in a case where the payment balance in terms of the game media becomes equal to or less than the set value, and outputting an image with the lower image displaying panel 16 or outputting a sound from the speaker 29, based on the preliminary announcement data.

In the present embodiment, description has been given of a case where a game state shifts to the return mode after a player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined number when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by the predetermined value than the set value. Namely, in the present embodiment, description has been given of a case where a game necessarily shifts to the return mode according to a preliminary announcement. In the present invention, a preliminary announcement does not necessarily announce that the game mode will necessarily shift to the return mode as announced by the preliminary announcement, but it is sufficient to announce that there is a possibility of transition to the return mode. For example, there may be provided a preliminary announcement announcing that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by the predetermined value than any one of a plurality of the candidate values. In employing above-mentioned embodiment for the gaming machine 10, for example, the following processing may be executed instead of the processing shown in FIG. 21.

FIG. 23 is a flowchart showing another example of a subroutine of a game execution processing. In the flowchart shown in FIG. 23, the same numerical references are assigned to steps which conduct processing similar to those in the flowchart shown in FIG. 21.

First, the CPU 41 executes a processing in step S90. On the other hand, after executing a processing in step S100, the CPU 201 determines whether or not the number of games after update has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (550, 1150, or 2350) which is smaller by the predetermined value (50) than anyone of a plurality of candidate values (600, 1200, 2400) (step S145). If it is determined that the number of games after update has not reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement, a processing shifts to step S101.

On the other hand, when it is determined in step S145 that the updated number of games reaches the candidate set value for preliminary announcement, the CPU 201 transmits a preliminary announcement command signal indicative of the candidate set value for preliminary announcement to the gaming machine 10 in which the number of games reaches a candidate set value for preliminary announcement, by the communication interface 204, and through the communication line 101 (step S146).

When the preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200 instep S146 is received, the main CPU 41 of the gaming machine 10 determines whether or not preliminary announcement is to be provided (step S130). In executing this processing, the main CPU 41 functions as means for receiving a preliminary announcement command signal transmitted from the control device 200. When it is determined not to provide a preliminary announcement (step S131: NO), the process returns to step S91. On the other hand, when it is determined to provide a preliminary announcement (YES in step S131), the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S135.

In step S135, the main CPU 41 executes a processing for extracting image data corresponding to the candidate set value out of image data which is stored as preliminary announcement data in the RAM 43, and displaying an image corresponding to the candidate set value on the lower image display panel 16, based on the extracted image data, to provide a preliminary announcement announcing that the game mode will shift to the return mode after the predetermined number of games are played, by image. The set value is transmitted as data from the control device 200 to the gaming machine 10 and then stored in the RAM 43, through step S146. The image data for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode is included in the game program, which has been read from the memory card 53 and stored in the RAM 43. This game program includes, as image data for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode, plural types of image data made to correspond to candidate set values.

The main CPU 41 determines the image to be displayed on the lower image display panel 16, based on the set value stored in RAM 43. The main CPU 41 transmits to the graphic board 68 a depiction command based on the result determined. In the graphic mode 68, VDP extracts from RAM 43 image data corresponding to the candidate set value for preliminary announcement, expands the data on the video RAM, produces image data for one frame and outputs the image data to the lower image display panel 16. As a result, for example, images based on the candidate set value are displayed on the lower image display panel 16.

In the gaming machine 10, when the number of games has reached a candidate set value, an image providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode is thus displayed on the lower image display panel 16. When executing the processing of step S135, the main CPU 41 functions as means for providing a preliminary announcement, which announces that the game shifts to the return mode after a player plays the games of number indicated by the predetermined value (50) when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (550, 1150, or 2350) which is smaller by the predetermined value (50) than any one of a plurality of candidate values (600, 1200, 2400), by outputting an image to the lower image display panel 16 as the output means.

Then, the main CPU 41 (processing device) extracts from sound data as preliminary announcement data stored in RAM 43 (storage device), sound data corresponding to a candidate set value, and based on the sound data, outputs from the speaker 29 (output device) a sound corresponding to the candidate set value, to thereby provide a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode with a sound (step S136). The sound data for providing a preliminary announcement of transition to the return mode is included in a game program read from the memory card 53 and stored in RAM 43. In the game program, sound data of plural kinds which are made to correspond to the candidate set values are included as sound data which provide a preliminary announcement announcing that the game state has shifted to the return mode.

The main CPU 41 determines the sound outputted from the speaker 29, based on the set value stored in RAM 43. The main CPU 41 extracts a sound data from RAM 43, based on the result determined, and converts the sound data to a sound signal to supply the signal to the speaker 29. As a result, a sound providing a preliminary announcement announcing that the game shifts to the return mode after a player plays a predetermined number of games (the games of number indicated by the predetermined value) is outputted from the speaker 29. When executing the processing of step S136, the main CPU 41 functions as means for providing a preliminary announcement, which announces that the game shifts to the return mode after a player plays the games of number indicated by the predetermined value (50) when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (550, 1150, or 2350) which is smaller by the predetermined value (50) than anyone of a plurality of candidate values (600, 1200, 2400), by outputting an sound to the speaker 29 as the output means.

Thus, in the present embodiment, when the number of games has reached a candidate set value for preliminary announcement (550, 1150, or 2350) which is smaller by the predetermined value (50) than any one of a plurality of candidate values (600, 1200, 2400), there will be provided a preliminary announcement announcing that the game shifts to the return mode after a player plays more games of the number indicated by the predetermined value, by outputting an image to the lower image displaying panel 16, and out putting a sound to the speaker 29. Therefore, a player can recognize the number of games before the game may shift to the return mode by the image or the sound. As a result, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game while preventing a decline of zest of the game.

On the other hand, when the number of games has not reached the set value for preliminary announcement (NO in step S145) or after the processing in step S146, the CPU 201 of the control device 200 executes the processes in step S101 to step S105, the present subroutine is completed. On the contrary, the CPU 41 executes the processes in step S91 to step S92, and the present subroutine is completed.

In the present embodiment, there has been described a case where a set value is selected from plural candidate values stepwise determined in advance. In the present invention, however, a set value maybe one kind of a set value (for example, “600”). In such a case, when the number of games reaches a set value (for example, “600”) that is an object of comparison with the number of games, a second special game state that is a game state advantageous to a player and that is the same type as or different type from the first special game state is generated. A preliminary announcement announcing that the second special game state will be generated after the player plays more games of the number indicated by a predetermined value is provided by outputting an image or a sound with the output means when the number of games has reached a set value for preliminary announcement which is smaller by the predetermined value than the set value. Therefore, it can be prevented for a player who has spent many of the game media from feeling unpleasant against the game, building up distrust thereto, or losing interest in or a concern on the game. Further, in such a configuration, the set value does not need to be set individually for each of the gaming machines 10, but assigned to plural gaming machines 10 collectively.

In the present embodiment, description has been given of a case where a game state shifts to the return mode when the return mode flag has been set to the state “ON”, without other conditions being established thereafter. The present invention is, however, not limited to this example and, for example, a game state may shift to the return mode when a predetermined condition has been met after the return mode flag is set to the state “ON”. In such a case, the predetermined condition for transition to the return mode is not particularly limited, and may include, for example, establishment of a bonus game trigger, stop display of a predetermined combination of symbols, and of the like conditions.

In the present embodiment, description has been given of a case where a game state shifts to the return mode when the return mode flag is set to the state “ON”, regardless of the combination of symbols stop displayed thereafter. However, the present invention is not limited to this example. For example, a combination of symbols corresponding to the transition to the return mode may be set in advance and a game state may shift to the return mode after the symbols are stop displayed in that winning combination.

In the present embodiment, description has been given of a case where symbols are stop displayed (step S14 in FIG. 12), a processing is conducted based on the stop displayed combination of symbols (steps S15 to S20 in FIG. 12), and the number of games is counted (step S22 in FIG. 12) thereafter. In the present invention, however, no specific limitation is placed on a timing at which counting of the number of games is conducted. For example, the timing may be a timing at which BET of a coin is conducted (after step S10 or S11 in FIG. 12) or a timing at which the spin button is turned ON (after step S12 in FIG. 12). The number of games may be counted at a predetermined timing that is in the period from the time when display of a change in symbol is started, to the time when symbol sequences are stop displayed, and a processing based on the stop displayed combination of symbols has been conducted (for example, a timing at which symbol sequences are stop displayed). Note that a timing at which a payment balance in terms of game media can be the same as described above.

In the present embodiment, description has been given of a gaming machine 10 in which in a case where a special winning combination, “bonus game trigger”, has been established (step S15 in FIG. 12) in the period from the time when the return mode flag is set to the state “ON” (step S22 in FIG. 12), to the time when transition to the return mode is conducted (step S20 in FIG. 12), transitions to the return mode is further conducted after the bonus game is generated (step S16 in FIG. 12). That is, a gaming machine according to the present embodiment generates the first special game state based on the a special winning combination, and further generates the second special game state, in a case where the special winning combination is established in the period from the time when the number of games reaches a set value, to the time when the second special game state is generated.

However, the present invention is not limited to this example. For example, in a case where a special winning combination is established in the period from the time when the number of games reaches a set value, to the time when the second special game state is generated, only the first special game state may be generated. In a case where the above embodiment is adopted, a player can earn a profit in the first special game state or the second special game state without fail when a game is played until the number of games reaches the set value. The above embodiment is one of the embodiments of the present invention. In a case where the above embodiment is adopted for the gaming machine 10, for example, the following processing has only to be conducted instead of the processing shown in FIG. 12.

FIG. 24 is a flowchart showing another example of a subroutine of a game execution processing. In the flowchart shown in FIG. 24, the same numerical references are assigned to steps which conduct processing similar to those in the flowchart shown in FIG. 12.

After the processing in steps S10 to S14 are executed, the main CPU 41 determines whether a bonus game trigger has been established or not (step S15) and if it is determined that the bonus game trigger has been established, a bonus game processing is executed (step S16). Then, it is determined whether a return mode flag is set to the state “ON” or not (step S25) and if the return mode flag is set to “ON”, the return mode flag is set to the state “OFF” (step S26). The processing in step S21 is performed thereafter and thus the present subroutine is completed. Since the other processing are processing similar to those described in FIG. 12, descriptions thereof are omitted here. In the subroutine shown in FIG. 24, after a coins is BET (step S10), in a case where it is determined whether the spin button 23 has been turned ON or not (step S12), and if it is determined that the spin button has been turned ON (YES in step S12), a processing for subtracting the number of credits (step S11) may be conducted, as in the subroutine shown in FIG. 12.

A more specific description of the processing shown in FIG. 24 will be given here with a case where a set value is 600. In a case where, in step S22, the number of games reaches 600 and a return mode flag has been established, if a bonus game trigger has been established (step S15) in the 601st game, the bonus game is generated (step S16) but transition to the return mode is not performed (steps S25 and S26). On the other hand, in a case where a bonus game trigger has not been established in the 601st game run, transition to the return mode is conducted (steps S19 and S20).

Hence, in a case where the processing shown in FIG. 22 is performed, a bonus game is generated or transition to the return mode is performed without fail, when the number of games reaches a set value.

In the present invention, in a case where a special winning combination has been established in the period from the time when the number of games reaches a set value, to the time when the second special game state is generated, only the second special game state may be generated, or alternatively, either the first special game state or the second special game state may be generated depending on a game situation and the like.

An embodiment similar to the above-mentioned embodiment can also be adopted in a case where the second special game state is generated according to a payment balance in terms of game media. In other words, in a case where a special winning combination has been established in the period from the time when a payment balance in terms of game media is equal to or less than a set value, to the time when the second special game state is generated, only the first special game state may be generated, only the second special game state may be generated, or either the first special game state or the second special game state may be generated depending on a game situation and the like.

Although this will be a repetition, in the return mode as the second special game state, a return situation to a player may be simply as such that a predetermined number of game media is paid out when the number of games reaches a set value (see FIG. 19). It may alternatively be a situation that when the number of games reaches a set value, the return mode as the second special game state, allowing a player to have a privilege in a similar manner to the first special game state such as a free game, a second game, a mystery game and the like, can be set, and a predetermined number of game media is paid out by one of the above-mentioned game mode.

In the aforementioned embodiment, both embodiments are exemplified. Both embodiments correspond to the second special game state in the present invention.

A timing at which a predetermined number of game media is paid out is not limited to such a timing at which one game is completed and symbol sequences are stop displayed as in the mystery game described above, and for example, game media may be immediately paid out when the number of games reaches a set value.

Moreover, a method for paying out a predetermined number of game media is also not particularly limited, and for example, coins may be actually paid out, the number of credits may be increased, or a ticket such as a ticket with a bar code may be issued.

However, in order to be able to discriminate and recognize whether a player is paid out by an ordinary game or a bonus game (the first special game state), or by the return mode (the second special game state), it is necessary to perform the following way. That is, in a case where coins are actually paid out in mystery bonus of the return mode (the second special game state), the timing for payout is required to be different from those of an ordinary game and bonus game (the first special game state). Moreover, it is required that payout in an ordinary game and a bonus game (the first special game state) is performed with actual coins and payout in the return mode (the second special game state) is performed with a ticket described above. With such an embodiment adopted, payout in an ordinary game and a bonus game (the first special game state), and payout in the return mode (the second special game state) can be discriminated from each other.

Although the embodiment according to the present invention has been described, the description presents only some of the specific examples, and is not intended to limit the present invention in any way and specific constructions of each means and the like can be properly changed in terms of design. Besides, the effects described in the embodiment of the present invention are only the most preferable effects generated from the present invention and effects to be caused by the present invention is not limited to those described in the embodiment of the present invention.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/17
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/3267
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32M4
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 27, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ARUZE GAMING AMERICA, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OKADA, KAZUO;REEL/FRAME:017500/0837
Effective date: 20051226