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Publication numberUS20070123348 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/378,849
Publication dateMay 31, 2007
Filing dateMar 17, 2006
Priority dateNov 30, 2005
Publication number11378849, 378849, US 2007/0123348 A1, US 2007/123348 A1, US 20070123348 A1, US 20070123348A1, US 2007123348 A1, US 2007123348A1, US-A1-20070123348, US-A1-2007123348, US2007/0123348A1, US2007/123348A1, US20070123348 A1, US20070123348A1, US2007123348 A1, US2007123348A1
InventorsTakashi Nozaki
Original AssigneeAruze Corp.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine
US 20070123348 A1
Abstract
It is provided a gaming machine having one active line so that a player can be sufficiently entertained from playing games, while complying with regulatory requirements rules on gaming. The gaming machine includes a sub-control circuit for adjusting a light transmittance rate of non-effect areas 214 to 216 placed for each of symbol stop positions connected by an active line, always in a high state. If all the reels stop, the sub-control circuit lowers a light transmittance rate of effect areas placed for each of symbol stop positions that are not connected by an active line.
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Claims(4)
1. A gaming machine, comprising:
a symbol displaying means including a plurality of display units, each displaying a symbol, and a symbol stop position at which the symbol is displayed as being stopped for each of the display units;
a starting operation detecting means for detecting a starting operation by a player;
a winning combination determining means for determining a winning combination, if the starting operation is detected by the starting operation detecting means;
a symbol varying means for varying the symbols displayed on the display units by the symbol displaying means, if the starting operation is detected by the starting operation detecting means;
a stop operation detecting means for detecting a stop operation by the player;
a stop controlling means for performing a stop control of varying the symbols by the symbol varying means, based on the stop operation detected by the stop operation detecting means and the winning combination determined by the winning combination determining means;
a game value dispensing means for rewarding a predetermined game value to the player, if a previously determined symbol composition is displayed on a specific line connecting previously determined one symbol stop position for each display unit by the symbol displaying means; and
an adjusting means for adjusting a light transmittance rate of an area placed in the display unit, the area corresponding to each of the symbol stop positions,
wherein the adjusting means adjusts the light transmittance rate of a specific area always high, the specific area corresponding to each of the symbol stop positions connected by the specific line, and
wherein, if the varying of the symbols performed by the symbol varying means is controlled to stop by the stop controlling means, a light transmittance rate of a predetermined area corresponding to each of symbol stop positions that are not connected by the specific line is lowered.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein, if a predetermined symbol composition corresponding to the winning combination determined by the winning combination determining means is displayed along the specific line, the adjusting means adjusts the light transmittance rate of the predetermined area to generate information at the predetermined area for emphasizing the predetermined symbol composition.
3. The gaming machine of claim 1, wherein the adjusting means adjusts a light transmittance rate of an area overlapped by the symbols displayed through the predetermined area over the entire range of the predetermined area.
4. The gaming machine of claim 2, wherein the adjusting means adjusts a light transmittance rate of an area overlapped by the symbols displayed through the predetermined area over the entire range of the predetermined area.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based upon and claims the benefit of priority from the prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-346359, filed on Nov. 30, 2005; the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a gaming machine, and particularly to a gaming machine having one active line and with an image display device that adjusts a light transmittance rate to clearly display a winning combination.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A slot machine having stop buttons, so called, a pachinko slot machine (i.e., Japanese slot machine), includes a variable display device configured by arranging a plurality of mechanical rotation reels displaying a plurality of symbols in front display windows, or an electric variable display device displaying symbols on reels on a screen. According to a start operation of a player, a control means drives the variable display device to rotate each reel, thereby displaying the symbols variably. Each of the reels sequentially stops rotating automatically after a certain period of time or by a stop operation of the player. As a result, if symbols on the reels appeared within the display window reach a certain combination (winning symbol combination), then game tokens such as coins, medals are paid out to give a reward to the player.

The vast majority of current slot machines have various kinds of winning modes. In particular, if the player wins a prescribed prize of a predetermined symbol composition, then in addition to one time payout of coins, the game state is switched to an advantageous state for a certain period of time rather than a normal game state. As for such symbol composition, there is a big bonus (hereinafter, referred to as “BB”), which allows a certain number of games giving a relatively bigger return to the player, and a regular bonus (hereinafter, referred to as “RB”), which allows a certain number of games giving a relatively smaller return to the player.

Further, in the majority of current slot machines, certain symbol compositions line up along active winning lines (hereinafter, referred to as an active line). In order to win a prize where the coins or the medals are paid out, it is necessary that a certain symbol composition is determined to be won (hereinafter, referred to as internal winning) by an internal sampling process (hereinafter, referred to as internal lottery), and that the player performs a stop operation at the timing that would allow the symbol composition corresponding to a prize achieved by the internal winning (hereinafter, referred to as internal winning combination) to line up along the active line(s).

It means that even if the internal winning is achieved, the prize is not awarded in case where the timing of the player's stop operation is not appropriate. Therefore, a technique of performing the stop operation in a timely manner (which is so called “observe-and-push” technique) is highly necessary, and such a type of gaming machine, e.g. a pachinko slot machine, has become the majority today.

Further, in such a type of gaming machine, the number of the active lines depends on the number of inserted medals for one game, i.e., one active line for one bet medal, three active lines for two bet medals, and five active lines for three bet medals (for example, refer to Japanese Patent Publication No. 2004-337403).

Depending on the manner in which a gaming machine is set up, there is a concern that the above-mentioned gaming machine may have negative influence on people's morals. In order to manufacture the gaming machine, a special attention should be paid to the societal impact of the gaming machine so as not to encourage gambling habits excessively. As a standard for the above, there exists “Rules on Approval and Formal Inspection of Gaming Machine” subsidiary to “Law Enforcing Rules for Regulating Moral-related Business and Guiding Affairs thereon.” According to the above standard, it is desirable that the symbols displayed along the active lines, among symbols arranged on a main reel, should be clearly displayed for the player to recognize the symbols.

Under the circumstances, in order to reduce the number of symbols displayed along the active lines among the symbols on the main reel, a gaming machine having one active line is desired. Since the gaming machine having one active line itself is brand new, the player may express interest in the new gaming machine. In the meanwhile, however, the player may not sufficiently enjoy the game, because the player is not accustomed to games having only one active line.

It is an object of the present invention to provide the gaming machine having one active line that can be fully enjoyed by the player, while fully complying with the regulations on the game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a gaming machine, wherein an adjusting means adjusts the light transmittance rate of specific area always in a high state, the specific area corresponding to each of symbol stop positions connected by a specific line, and wherein, if a varying of symbols performed by a symbol varying means is controlled to stop by a stop controlling means, the light transmittance rate of area corresponding to each of symbol stop positions that are not connected by the specific line is lowered.

More specifically, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a gaming machine is provided as set forth below:

(1) In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, it is provided a gaming machine, including: a symbol displaying means (e.g., reels 3L, 3C, 3R and liquid crystal display, etc. to be described later) including a plurality of display units (e.g., symbol display areas 21L, 21C, 21R, etc.), each displaying a symbol, and a symbol stop position (e.g., a symbol stop position described later) at which the symbol is displayed as being stopped for each of the display units; a starting operation detecting means (e.g., a start switch 6S and a main control circuit 71, etc. to be described later) for detecting a starting operation (e.g., a start operation and an operation of a start lever, etc. to be described later) by a player; a winning combination determining means (e.g., a means for performing an internal winning process and a main control circuit 71, etc.) for determining a winning combination (e.g., a winning combination, an internal winning combination, a carryover combination, etc. to be described later), if the starting operation is detected by the starting operation detecting means; a symbol varying means (e.g., stepping motors 49L, 49C, 49R and main control circuit 71, etc.) for varying the symbols (e.g., varying display, etc.) displayed on the display units by the symbol displaying means, if the starting operation is detected by the starting operation detecting means; a stop operation detecting means (e.g., stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS, etc. to be described later) for detecting a stopping operation (e.g., an operation of the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R, etc. to be described later) by a player; a stop controlling means (e.g., a means for performing a reel stop control process and main control circuit 71, etc. to be described later) for performing a stop control of varying the symbol by the symbol varying means, based on the stop operation detected by the stop operation detecting means and the winning combination determined by the winning combination determining means; a game value granting means (e.g., a means for performing process of step S18 of FIG. 18 to be described later) for granting a predetermined game value (e.g., medal, etc. to be described later) to the player, if a previously determined symbol composition (e.g., “BLUE7-BELL-BELL” to be described later) is displayed on a specific line connecting previously one symbol stop position for each display unit by the symbol displaying means; and an adjusting means (e.g., an LCD panel 134, a sub-control circuit 72 and a graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a, etc. to be described later) for adjusting a light transmittance rate of an area (e.g., effect areas 211 to 213, non-effect areas 214 to 216, effect areas 217 to 219, etc. to be described later) placed in the display unit, the area corresponding to each of the symbol stop positions, wherein the adjusting means adjusts the light transmittance rate of specific area (e.g., non-effect area, non-effect areas 214 to 216, etc. to be described later) always in a high state, the specific areas corresponding to each of the symbol stop positions connected by the specific line, and wherein, if the varying of the symbols performed by the symbol varying means is controlled to stop by the stop controlling means (e.g., if all reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop, as described later), a light transmittance rate of a predetermined area (e.g., effect area, effect areas 211 to 213 and effect areas 217 to 219, etc. to be described later) corresponding to each of symbol stop positions not connected by the specific line is lowered.

In accordance with the gaming machine as described in (1), the adjusting means adjusts the light transmittance rate of specific area corresponding to each of the symbol stop positions that are connected by the specific line always in a high state, and if the varying of the symbols performed by the symbol varying means is controlled to stop by the stop controlling means, a light transmittance rate of the predetermined area corresponding to each of symbol stop positions that are not connected by the specific line is lowered. As such, even in case the varying of all the symbols is controlled to stop by the stop controlling means, since the light transmittance rate of the specific area is adjusted to the high state, the player may clearly recognize the symbols that are displayed as being stopped at each of the symbol stop positions connected by the specific line. That is, the symbol composition corresponding to the winning combination determined by the winning combination determining means is clearly displayed through the specific area so that the player may definitely recognize the symbol composition displayed by the symbol displaying means. If the varying of all the symbols is controlled to stop by the stop controlling means, the light transmittance rate of the predetermined area is lowered so that the specific area appears to be clearly recognizable. Since the specific area is arranged correspondingly to each of the symbol stop positions that are connected by the specific line, the player may easily recognize the specific line. Thus, the symbol composition is clearly displayed along the specific line by the symbol displaying means, thereby satisfying regulations on the game. Although the player is not accustomed to the gaming machine having one specific line, the player may enjoy the game because the specific line can be easily recognized. Further, for example, even in case the symbols consisting of the previously determined symbol composition are displayed as being stopped at the predetermined the symbol stop positions corresponding to the predetermined area, since the light transmittance rate of the predetermined area is lowered, the player may have difficulty in recognizing the symbol composition displayed as being stopped at the predetermined the symbol stop positions. Consequently, in accordance with the present invention, it is possible to prevent the player from mistakenly recognizing the symbol composition along the specific line, which is caused when the symbols consisting of the previously determined symbol composition are displayed as being stopped at the predetermined the symbol stop positions corresponding to the predetermined area.

(2) The gaming machine as described in (1), wherein, if a predetermined symbol composition (e.g., “REPLAY-REPLAY-REPLAY”, etc. to be described later) corresponding to the winning combination determined by the winning combination determining means is displayed on the specific line, the adjusting means adjusts the light transmittance rate of the specific areas to generate information (e.g., “Winning REPLAY!!” etc. to be described later) at the predetermined area for emphasizing the predetermined symbol composition.

In accordance with the gaming machine as described in (2), the adjusting means adjusts the light transmittance rate of the predetermined area to generate information at the predetermined area for emphasizing the predetermined symbol composition. The information, which emphasizes the predetermined symbol composition corresponding to the winning combination determined by the winning combination determining means, is given for the predetermined area located near the specific line connecting each of the symbol stop positions corresponding to the specific area, so that the player can understand the displayed symbol composition quickly and precisely without being distracted from the symbol displaying means.

(3) The gaming machine as described in (1) or (2), wherein the adjusting means adjusts a light transmittance rate of area overlapped by the symbols displayed through the predetermined area, out of the predetermined areas.

In accordance with the gaming machine as described in (3), the symbol displayed through the predetermined areas becomes difficult to recognize. Since it becomes difficult to recognize the symbols displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop positions that are not connected by the specific line, it is possible to implement a special symbol arrangement, which could not be realized by the gaming machine having 5 specific lines, that is, the arrangement in which each of the previously determined symbol compositions can be arranged and displayed as being stopped in one game.

In accordance with the present invention, the symbol composition can be displayed along the specific line by the symbol displaying means so that the regulations on the game can be satisfied. Further, the player may easily understand the specific line to sufficiently enjoy the game, even though the player is not accustomed to the game having one specific line.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects and features in accordance with the present invention will become apparent from the following descriptions of preferred embodiments given in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an appearance of a gaming machine in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a panel display, a liquid crystal display and a fixed display in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a schematic configuration of a liquid crystal display device.

FIG. 4 shows an example of symbols arranged on reels.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing structure of an electric circuit.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing structure of a sub-control circuit.

FIG. 7 shows a displaying example of the liquid crystal display.

FIG. 8 shows a symbol arrangement table.

FIG. 9 shows a symbol composition table.

FIG. 10 shows an internal lottery table determination table.

FIG. 11 shows an internal lottery table.

FIG. 12 shows an internal winning combination determination table.

FIG. 13 shows a reel stop initial determination table.

FIG. 14 shows a drawing ranking table.

FIG. 15 shows a bonus operating time table.

FIG. 16 shows various storing areas.

FIG. 17 is a main flow chart of a main controlling circuit.

FIG. 18 is the main flow chart continuing from FIG. 17.

FIG. 19 is a flow chart showing a bonus operation monitoring process.

FIG. 20 is a flow chart showing a medal inserting and a start checking process.

FIG. 21 is a flow chart showing a gaming state monitoring process.

FIG. 22 is a flow chart showing an internal winning process.

FIG. 23 is the flow chart continuing from FIG. 22.

FIG. 24 is a flow chart showing a reel stop initial setting process.

FIG. 25 is a flow chart showing a reel stop controlling process.

FIG. 26 is a flow chart showing a displaying combination retrieval process.

FIG. 27 is a flow chart showing a bonus end checking process.

FIG. 28 is a flow chart showing a bonus operation checking process.

FIG. 29 is a flow chart showing an interrupt handling process performed by a main CPU control.

FIG. 30 is a flow chart showing a reset-interrupt process performed by a sub CPU control.

FIG. 31 is a flow chart illustrating a command receiving process.

FIG. 32 is a flow chart illustrating a post-processing after all reels stop.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

Hereinafter, the embodiments of the present invention will be described by referring to FIGS. 1 to 32. FIG. 1 is a figure showing an appearance of a gaming machine 1 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. A gaming machine 1 is, so-called, a pachinko slot machine (i.e., Japanese slot machine). The gaming machine 1 may be played by using a game media such as a game card storing information regarding gaming values that have been granted or are to be granted to a player, in addition to coins, medals, gaming balls or tokens, etc. Hereinafter, for the simplicity of the explanation, it is assumed that the medals are preferably used for playing the game.

At a front side of a front door 2, a panel display 2 a, a liquid crystal display 2 b and a fixed display 2 c are formed to be a substantially vertical plane. Further, at a rear of the front door 2, three spinning reels 3L, 3C, 3R are placed in a line and a plurality types of symbols are shown on the peripheral surfaces of the respective reels. Each of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R rotates at a constant speed (e.g., 80 rpm).

A base portion 4 is formed to be a horizontal plane, below the panel display 2 a, the liquid crystal display 2 b and the fixed display 2 c. A medal insertion slot 10 for inserting medal is installed to the right side of the base portion 4. The inserted medals are credited or betted for playing the game. Further, to the left side of the base portion 4 are disposed a 1-BET switch 11, a 2-BET switch 12 and a maximum-BET switch 13 to bet the credited medals.

One medal from the credited medals is bet by operating the 1-BET switch 11 and two medals from the credited medals are bet by operating the 2-BET switch 12. A maximum allowed number of medals for one game is bet by operating the maximum-BET switch 13.

The BET-switches 11-to 13 are operated so as to activate a display line to be explained later. Hereinafter, the operations of the BET-switches 11-13 and the operation of inserting the medal into the medal insertion slot 10 (i.e., the operation of inserting the medal for playing the game) are referred to as “BET operation.” Further, an operating unit 17 is placed to an upper direction of the BET-switches 11-to 13. The operating unit 17 is operated to display information such as a gaming history on the liquid crystal display device 131 (refer to FIG. 3 to be explained later).

At the left side of the front face of the base portion 4, a credit medal settlement switch (i.e., C/P switch) 14 is installed in such a way that the player can credit/pay out the medals obtained from the game. By operating the C/P switch 14, the medals come to pay out from the medal paying out slot 15 placed at a lower portion of the front face and are stored to a medal tray 5. Speakers 9L, 9R, which output sound effects for the gaming atmosphere, are installed to the upper left and right side of the medal tray 5.

A start lever 6, which may move freely within predetermined angles, is mounted at the right side of the C/P switch 14 to start variably displaying the symbols as in symbol display areas 21L, 21C, 21R by rotating the reels initiated by the player's operation.

Three stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R for stopping the rotations of three reels 3L, 3C, 3R are installed to the right side of the start lever 6 preferably at the center of front face of the base portion 4. Further, in accordance with the preferable embodiment of the present invention, one game (i.e., an unit game) basically starts by operating the start lever 6 and ends when all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R are stopped.

Herein, in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention, a stop operation of the reels (i.e., an operation of the stop buttons) performed when all the reels are rotating is referred to as a first stop operation, and an operation that is performed after the first stop operation is referred to as a second stop operation. An operation that is performed after the second stop operation is referred to as a third stop operation. Further, stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS to be shown in FIG. 5 are placed at the rear side of the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R. The stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS detect the operation of the corresponding stop buttons (i.e., stop operation).

With reference to FIG. 2, the panel display 2 a, the liquid crystal display 2 b and the fixed display 2 c will be described. The panel display 2 a includes a bonus game information displaying unit 16, BET lamps 17 a to 17 c, a paying out displaying unit 18 and a credit displaying unit 19. The bonus game information displaying unit 16 is made of 7 segment LED's and displays bonus game information. The 1-BET lamp 17 a, the 2-BET lamp 17 b and the maximum BET lamp 17 c are lighted according to the number of medals bet for playing one game (hereinafter, referred to as BET number).

The 1-BET lamp 17 a is lighted when the BET number is one. The 2-BET lamp 17 b is lighted when the BET number is two. The maximum-BET lamp 17 c is lighted when the BET number is three. The paying out displaying unit 18 and the credit displaying unit 19 are made of 7 segment LED's and display the number of paid out medals and the number of credited medals, respectively, when the winning is achieved.

The liquid crystal display 2 b includes symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R, window frame displaying areas 22L, 22C, 22R and an effect displaying area 23. The displayed contents of the liquid crystal display 2 b may vary with mode of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, e.g., rotating or stopped, and an operation of the liquid crystal display device 131 to be described later.

The symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R are installed corresponding to each of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, and display symbols arranged on the reels 3L, 3C, 3R or show various effects. A central line 8 is drawn at the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R as a display line. The display line is activated by the player's push operation of the BET switches 11 to 13 or the player's inserting the medals to the medal insertion slot 10 (Hereinafter, the activated display line is referred to as an active line). The display line is activated regardless of the BET number, if and when the BET number is equal to or more than one.

For each of the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R, three symbol stop positions (upper, middle, lower) are set in a vertical direction. If the variable symbol display (i.e., movement display) of each of the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R stops, the symbol is displayed as being stopped at each of the symbol stop positions arranged in the respective symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R. Each of the display lines connects the symbol stop positions in the respective symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R.

The symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R move to a transparent state enabling the player to recognize the symbols on the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, at least when the corresponding reels 3L, 3C, 3R are under rotation and when the corresponding stop buttons 7L, 7 c, 7R can be pushed.

The window frame displaying areas 22L, 22C, 22R are placed to surround each of the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R. The window frame displaying areas 22L, 22C, 22R indicate window frames of the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R placed to the front face of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R.

The effect displaying area 23 corresponds to an area excluding the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R and the window frame displaying areas 22L, 22C, 22R, among the entire area of the liquid crystal display 2 b. The fixed display 2 c indicates an area where a predetermined figure or picture is drawn. It is possible to display one still image or moving picture by connecting the figure, the picture drawn on the fixed display 2 c to the image displayed at the effect displaying area 23.

FIG. 3 shows a schematic structure of the liquid crystal display device 131. First, the internal structure of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R is described. Inside the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, LED receiving circuit substrates are installed at the rear side of the vertically lined three symbols (i.e., 9 symbols in total) displayed at each of the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R when the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop rotating. Each of the LED receiving circuit substrates has three LED receiving units (i.e., 9 receiving units in total), and a plurality of LED lamps are installed in the LED receiving units.

The LED lamps illuminate the rear sides of reel sheets installed along the periphery surface of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, with white light. More specifically, the LED lamps illuminate areas corresponding to the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R. The reel sheets are configured to have transparent property so that light emitted by the LED lamps is transmitted to front face.

Further, the left reel 3L includes a cylindrically-shaped frame structure formed by separating two ring-shaped frames by a predetermined gap (for example, a reel width) and then connecting the ring-shaped frames with a plurality of connecting units, and a transferring unit for transferring driving force of a stepping motor 49L installed at the center of the frame structure to the ring-shaped frames. Further, the reel sheet is covered along the periphery surface of the left reel 3L.

The LED receiving circuit substrate disposed at the inner side of the reel 3L has three LED receiving units, each of which receives a plurality of LED lamps. The LED receiving circuit substrate is disposed in such a way that the LED receiving units are placed at the rear side of each of the symbols (3 symbols in total) that can be recognized by the player through the symbol displaying area 21L. Further, the center reel 3C and the right reel 3R have the same structure as that of the left reel 3L, and have the LED receiving circuit substrates installed therein.

Next, the transparent liquid crystal display device 131 will be described. The liquid crystal display device 131 includes a protecting glass 132, a displaying plate 133, a liquid crystal panel 134, a light guide plate 135, a reflecting film 136, a fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b, 138 a, 138 b of a white light source (e.g., a light source comprising of lights having all wavelengths at the ratio where no specific color is visible to human eye), lamp holders 139 a to 139 h, and a flexible substrate (not shown) connected to a terminal of the liquid crystal panel 134 and formed by a table carrier package having an IC for a liquid crystal panel driving.

The liquid crystal display device 131 is placed in front of the display areas of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R upon seeing in the front face. Further, the reels 3L, 3C, 3R are disposed separately from the liquid crystal display device 131 (e.g., with a predetermined gap).

The protecting glass 132 and the displaying plate 133 are preferably made of, e.g., transparent materials. The protecting glass 132 is installed for the purpose of protecting the liquid crystal panel 134. In the displaying plate 133, figures and pictures may be drawn in areas corresponding to the panel display 2 a and the fixed display 2 c (See FIG. 2).

Herein, FIG. 3 omits illustrations of other various displaying units (a bonus game information display unit 16, a paying out display unit 18, a credit display unit 19, etc.) installed at the rear side of the displaying plate 133 corresponding to the panel display 2 a, and an electric circuit for operating BET lamps 17 a to 17 c.

The liquid crystal panel 134 has transparent substrates such as glass plates on which a thin film transistor layer is formed, and a liquid crystal is inserted and sealed into a gap between the transparent substrates opposing to each other. A display mode of the liquid crystal panel 134 is set to as a normally white, which refers to a configuration in which the liquid crystal is displayed in white under the state of not driving the liquid crystal (i.e., the state where no voltage is applied to the liquid crystal panel 134). Accordingly, the light is transmitted to the display surface and the transmitted light can be recognized from outside.

By employing the liquid crystal panel 134 configured to be normally white, even in case where the liquid crystal cannot function, the symbols arranged on the reels 3L, 3C, 3R can be recognized through the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R, thereby rendering the player to continue the game. That is, even in case the liquid crystal cannot function, the player can continue playing the game mainly based on the rotation and stop of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, which are recognized through the display surface.

In order to introduce light from the fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b to the liquid crystal panel 134 (i.e., in order to illuminate the liquid crystal panel 134), the light guide plate 135 is installed at the rear side of the liquid crystal panel 134 and is made of, e.g., transparent materials such as acryl-series resin having width of about 2 cm (i.e., materials having the function of guiding light).

The reflecting film 136 has a silver vapor deposition film formed on, e.g., a white polyester film and an aluminum thin film. The reflecting film 136 reflects light introduced to light guide plate 135 toward the front face, thereby illuminating the liquid crystal panel 134. The reflecting film 136 includes a reflecting area 136A and a non-reflecting areas (i.e., a transparent area) 136BL, 136BC, 136BR. The non-reflecting areas 136BL, 136BC, 136BR are made of a transparent material and accordingly is formed as a light transmitting unit that transmits the incident light instead of reflecting the light.

Further, the non-reflecting areas 136BL, 136BC, 136BR are disposed in front of each of the symbols displayed on the reels when the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop rotating. The non-reflecting areas 136BL, 136BC, 136BR are defined to have same sizes and positions as those of symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R (see FIG. 2). In the reflecting film 136, the reflecting area 136A corresponds to an area excluding the non-reflecting areas 136BL, 136BC, 136BR. The reflecting area 136A reflects the light introduced to the light guide plate 135 toward the front face.

The fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b are installed along the upper and the lower portion of the light guide plate 135. Each end of the fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b is supported by the lamp holders 139 a, 139 b, 139G, 139H. The fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b generate light to be introduced to the light guide plate 135. The fluorescent lamps 138 a, 138 b are disposed at an upper and the lower positions of rear side of the reflecting film 136. The fluorescent lamps 138 a, 138 b generate light to be reflected at the surface of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R and then to enter the non-reflecting areas 136BL, 136BC, 136BR. The entered light passes through the non-reflecting areas 136BL, 136BC, 136BR to illuminate the liquid crystal panel 134.

A description will be provided regarding the function of the LED lamp and the fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b, 138 a, 138 b. First, the function of each lamp is described for the case the liquid crystals of symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R are not driven (i.e., the voltage is not applied to each of the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R).

A portion of light emitted from the fluorescent lamps 138 a, 138 b comes to be reflected from the reel sheets covered on the reels. Rather, a portion of light emitted from the LED lamp disposed at the LED receiving circuit substrate is transmitted through the reel sheets. Since the reflected light is transmitted through the liquid crystal panel 134 and the light guide plate 135 corresponding to the non-reflecting areas 136BL, 136BC, 136BR, the player can recognize the symbols arranged on the reels.

After the light is emitted from the fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b and introduced to the light guide plate 135, the light enters the player's eye through the liquid crystal panel 134. That is, the fluorescent lamps 137 a, 137 b illuminate areas of the liquid crystal panel 134 corresponding to the window frame display areas 22L, 22C, 22R and the effect display area 23.

Next, the function of each lamp is described for the case the liquid crystals of symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R are driven (i.e., the voltage is applied to each of the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R). A portion of light emitted from the fluorescent lamps 138 a, 138 b is reflected from the reel sheets. Further, a portion of light emitted from the LED lamp is transmitted through the reel sheets. Since, in areas where the liquid crystals are driven among the liquid crystal panel 134, a portion of the reflected light is reflected, absorbed or transmitted, the player can recognize images displayed in the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R.

FIG. 4 shows a string of symbols having twenty one (21) symbols arranged on each of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R. Code number ranging from “00” to “20” is assigned to each of the symbols, and is stored into ROM 32 (FIG. 5) as a data table to be described later. On each of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, the symbol string including symbols of “BLUE7 (symbol 91)”, “CABBAGE (i.e., HAISAI or pe-tsai) (symbol 92)”, “BAR (symbol 93)”, “BELL (symbol 94)”, “RED CHERRY (symbol 95)”, “BLUE CHERRY (symbol 96)”, “REPLAY (symbol 97)”, and “RED7 (symbol 98)” are shown. Each of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R are driven in such a way that each of the symbol string rotates in a direction indicated by an arrow of FIG. 4.

The symbols “RED7” and “BAR” constituting the symbol composition of MB (activating a continuous operating device by a class II special generator) are separated with a symbol spacing exceeding a maximum number of sliding symbols (e.g., 4 in the embodiment).

Herein, in accordance with the embodiment of the present invention, MB1, MB2, RED CHERRY, BLUE CHERRY, BELL, WATERMELON, BLUE7 BELL, CABBAGE, a complex combination, and REPLAY are arranged as a winning combination. Collectively, MB1 and MB2 are referred to as a middle bonus (MB). Further, RED CHERRY, BLUE CHERRY, BELL, WATERMELON, BLUE7 BELL, and CABBAGE are collectively referred to as a small win (i.e., a minor combination).

Basically, the winning combination (winning combination data) may indicate control information previously associating the returns granted to the player to each of the symbol compositions therefore. The winning combination is used for performing stop control of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, switching (moving) the gaming state and granting the playing money. In the complex combination, the returns granted to the player are associated to the winning combination of the symbol composition in plural (i.e., the complex combination indicates a set of the plural winning combinations). The displayed symbol composition (accordingly, the returns granted to the player) is determined by an operating timing of the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R operated by the player.

Further, in accordance with the preferable embodiment of the present invention, the gaming state includes a normal gaming state and a challenge bonus gaming state (hereinafter, referred to as CB gaming state). Basically, the gaming state can be discriminated by types of an internal lottery table used for determining the internal winning combination, and the stop control mode of the reels (e.g., a maximum number of sliding symbols, etc.) To be more specific, the gaming state can be distinguished by the kinds of the internal winning combination, the internal winning probability of the internal winning combination, and the maximum number of the sliding symbols, etc. Under the CB gaming state, the left reel 3L stops within a first time (e.g., 75 ms) after the stop button 7L is operated. In other states, the left reel 3L stops within a second time (e.g., 190 ms). That is, the maximum time taken for the reels 3L, 3C, 3R to stop after operating the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R is varying with the gaming states.

Under the normal gaming state, there exist three time periods, i.e., a normal period without a carryover combination, a replay time period (hereinafter, referred to as RT period) having a higher probability of internally winning REPLAY than the normal period, and a carryover period having the carryover combination. MB is not internally won in the carryover period, and MB may be internally won in the normal period and the RT period. The RT period has higher probability of internally winning REPLAY than the normal period and the carryover period.

Accordingly, the normal period, the RT period and the carryover period can be regarded as corresponding to different gaming states. The symbol composition corresponding to the carryover combination is allowed to line up along the active line across one or more games (depending on the internal winning combination). The carryover combination is a portion of the internal winning combination. Hereinafter, a gaming period other than the RT period under the normal gaming state is referred to as non-RT period.

The RT period can be determined by observing whether a RT game number counter value is not less than one. The RT game number counter value is set to as 50 when the normal gaming state is initiated after MB is achieved (step S134 of FIG. 27 to be described later). The counter value decreases by one for one game (step S10 of FIG. 17 to be described later). When MB is won internally, the counter value is updated to be zero (i.e., the counter value is cleared).

Whether it is the carryover period or not can be determined by the existence of the carryover combination. In case the carryover combination does not exist and the RT game number counter value has zero, it is the normal period.

Under the CB gaming state, the continuous operating device by class II special generator is activated during the game. In the CB gaming state, the left reel 3L is not controlled (i.e., the maximum number of sliding symbols is one), and the maximum number of sliding symbols for the other reels is 4. In the gaming state other than the CB gaming state, the maximum number of sliding symbols for the other reels is 4. The number of sliding symbols indicates an amount of movement after the corresponding stop button is operated.

The CB gaming state can be indicated by ON or OFF of a CB operation flag. The CB operation flag indicates whether the gaming state is the CB gaming state. The CB operation flag is updated to be ON, on condition that an MB operation flag to be explained later becomes ON. The CB operation flag is updated to be OFF on condition that one game ends (See step S131 of FIG. 27 to be explained later).

The MB operation flag indicates whether the game is under an advantageous situation provided by the achievement of MB. Under this advantageous situation, an amount of game value expected to be rewarded to the player per a unit game value (for example, one sheet of medal betted for one game) better for playing the game is rather higher than that of the normal gaming state (i.e., the level of advantageousness is comparatively high under MB operation). The MB operation flag becomes ON, on condition that MB is achieved. MB relates to a combination continuous operating device by the class II special generator. The MB operation flag is updated to be OFF, on condition that the sheet number of the paid out medals exceeds a payable sheet number (i.e., a bonus ending sheet number counter value becomes zero). The payable sheet number is the number of medals that can be paid out in the game from the time when the MB operation flag is updated to be ON to the time when the MB operation flag is updated to be OFF. When the MB is achieved, the bonus ending sheet number counter value is initially set to 250.

Herein, there will be described the relationship between the MB operation flag and the CB operation flag from the time when the MB operation flag is updated to be ON to the time when the MB operation flag is updated to be OFF. When the MB is achieved, the MB operation flag is updated to be ON. In case where the MB operation flag is ON, the CB operation flag is updated to be ON. The CB operation flag is updated to be OFF when the game ends. If the MB operation flag is ON when the game starts, the CB operation flag is updated again to be ON. That is, CB operation flag becomes ON by referring to MB operation flag, when the game starts.

When the condition that the MB operation flag is updated to be OFF is satisfied, since the MB operation flag is updated to be OFF, the CB operation flag is maintained as being OFF from the time when the MB operation flag is updated to be OFF. Accordingly, while the MB operation flag is ON, the CB operation flag is updated to be ON for each game. Consequently, once MB is achieved, the CB gaming state is maintained until the MB operation flag is updated to be OFF.

FIG. 5 shows a circuit configuration including a main control circuit 71 for controlling a game processing operation in the gaming machine 1, peripheral devices (actuators) connected to the main control circuit 71, and a sub-control circuit 72 for controlling a liquid crystal display device 131, speakers 9L and 9R, LED's 100 a and lamps 100 b based on a control command transmitted from the main control circuit 71.

The main control circuit 71 includes, as a main element, a microcomputer 30 disposed on the circuit substrate, and additionally a circuit for random number sampling. The microcomputer 30 includes a CPU 31 for performing a control operation based on a previously set program (See FIGS. 17 to 29 to be described later), and storing means, e.g., ROM 32 and RAM 33.

A clock pulse generating circuit 34 for generating a reference clock pulse, a divider 35, a random number generator 36 and a sampling circuit 37 are connected to the CPU 31. The random number sampling can be performed by the microcomputer 30, i.e., by an operating program of the CPU 31. In that case, the random number generator 36 and the sampling circuit 37 can be omitted, or can remain as a backup for a random number sampling operation.

The microcomputer 30 stores in ROM 32 the internal lottery table (See FIG. 11 to be explained later) used for determining the random number sampling performed whenever the start lever 6 is operated (start operation), and the stop table group for determining the stop mode of the reels according to the stop button operation. The microcomputer 30 stores various control commands, etc. to be transmitted to the sub-control circuit 72. The sub-control circuit 72 does not input the command and the information, etc. to the main control circuit 71. Instead, the communication is performed in one direction from the main control circuit 71 to the sub-control circuit 72. RAM 33 stores various information and has multiple storing region installed. RAM 33 stores information such as the internal winning combination, the carryover combination, and the current gaming state, etc.

As shown by FIG. 5, the actuators controlled by a control signal from the microcomputer 30 includes the BET lamps (1-BET lamp 17 a, 2-BET lamp 17 b, and maximum BET lamp 17 c), a displaying unit including a bonus game information display 16, a payout display 18, a credit display 19, etc., a hopper (including a driving unit for paying out) for receiving medals and paying out a predetermined sheet number of medals based on command of a hopper driving circuit 41, and a stepping motors 49L, 49C, 49R for driving the rotation of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R.

A motor driving circuit 39 for driving the stepping motors 49L, 49C, 49R, a hopper driving circuit 41 for driving the hopper 40, a lamp driving circuit 45 for driving the BET lamps 17 a, 17 b, 17 c, and a displaying unit driving circuit 48 for driving the displaying unit such as the bonus game information display 16, the payout display 18, the credit display 19, etc. are connected to an outputting unit of the CPU 31. Each of the driving circuits controls an operation of respective actuators based on the control signal such as a driving command outputted from the CPU 31.

Further, as a main input signal generating means for generating an input signal necessary for the microcomputer 30 to generate the control command, there includes a start switch 6S, stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS, a 1-BET switch 11, a 2-BET switch 12, a maximum BET switch 13, a C/P switch 14, a medal sensor 10S, a reel position detecting circuit 50, and a pay out completion signaling circuit 51.

The start switch 6S outputs a game start command signal (a signal instructing start of the game) by detecting the operation of the start lever 6. The medal sensor 10S detects a medal inserted through the medal insertion slot 10. The stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS generate a stop command signal (a signal instructing stop of the symbol varying) based on the operation of the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R. The reel position detecting circuit 50 receives a pulse signal from the reel rotation sensor to provide a signal for detecting position of each reel 3L, 3C, 3R to the CPU 31. The payout completion signaling circuit 51 generates a signal for detecting a medal paying out completion, when a digitized value (the sheet number paid out from the hopper 40) of the medal detecting unit 40S reaches a predetermined sheet number.

As shown by FIG. 5, a random number generator 36 generates a random number falling within a predetermined numerical range. A sampling circuit 37 samples one random value at a suitable timing after the start lever 6 is operated. By using the random number sampled in the above way, the internal winning combination is determined based on, for example, the internal lottery table (FIG. 11 to be explained later) stored in ROM 32.

After initiating the rotation of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, the numbers of driving pulses supplied to each of the stepping motors 49L, 49C, 49R are counted, and the counter values are written to a predetermined area of RAM 33. A reset pulse is obtained from the reels 3L, 3C, 3R for every one rotation. The obtained reset pulse is inputted to the CPU 31 through the reel position detecting circuit 50. The counted values of the driving pulse written to RAM 33 are cleared to be zero by the reset pulse. In this way, for each of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, the counted values corresponding to each of the rotation positions within the range of one rotation can be stored into RAM 33.

In order to associate each of the rotation positions of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R with the symbol pictured on the periphery surfaces of each reel, the symbol arrangement table (See FIG. 8 to be explained later) is stored in ROM 32. In the symbol arrangement table, by referring to the rotation position where the above-mentioned reset pulse is generated, a code number assigned sequentially for every constant pitch of each of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R, is correspondingly associated with a symbol code indicating the symbol corresponding to the code number.

Further, the symbol composition table (See FIG. 9 to be explained later) is stored to ROM 32. The symbol composition table includes the symbol compositions entitled to achieving the combination (i.e., the winning combination, etc.), the sheet number of paying out medals corresponding to a display combination described later, and a winning determination code (i.e., an achievement determination code) indicating the winning (i.e., the achievement) of the combination (not shown), correspondingly associated to one another. In controlling the stop of the left reel 3L, the center reel 3C, and the right reel 3R, the above-mentioned symbol composition table is referenced to acknowledge the winning combination (the acknowledgement of the display combination), and determining the paying out sheet number after all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop. Basically, the display combination (i.e., a display combination data) refers to a combination (an achieved combination) corresponding to the symbol composition arranged along the active line. The returns corresponding to the display combination are granted to the player.

In case where the internal winning combination is determined by the winning process with a basis to the random number sampling (i.e., the internal winning process, etc.), the CPU 31 sends a signal for controlling the stop of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R to the motor driving circuit 39, based on the determined stop table and an operating signal transmitted from the stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS at a timing when the player operates the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R.

Upon the stop mode representing the winning combination (i.e., the winning mode), the CPU 31 provides a payout command signal to the hopper driving circuit 41 to render a predetermined number of medals to be paid out from the hopper 40. At this time, the medal detecting unit 40S counts the number of the medals paid out from the hopper 40. When the counted value reaches a predetermined number, a medal payout completion signal is inputted to the CPU 31. Then, the CPU 31 controls the hopper driving circuit 41 to stop the hopper's driving, and accordingly ends the medal paying out process.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing a structure of a sub-control circuit 72. The sub-control circuit 72 includes a graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a and a sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b. The graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a or the sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b is configured on a circuit substrate separately from the circuit substrate for the main control circuit 71.

The main control circuit 71 communicates to the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a in one direction from the main control circuit 71 to the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a. The graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a does not input a command or information, etc. to the main control circuit 71. The graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a communicates to the sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b in one direction from the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a to the sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b. The sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b does not input a command or information, etc. to the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a.

The graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a includes a graphic controlling microcomputer 81, a serial port 82, a program ROM 83, a work RAM 84, a calendar IC 85, a graphic controlling IC 86, a control RAM 87, a graphic ROM (a character ROM; CROM; 88) and a video RAM 89.

The graphic controlling microcomputer 81 includes an interrupt controller, and an input/output port (e.g., the serial port is shown). A CPU installed in the graphic controlling microcomputer 81 performs various operations by a control program stored in the program ROM 83, based on a command transmitted from the main control circuit 71. Although the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a does not include the divider, the random number generator and the sampling circuit, the random number sampling may be performed on an operating program of the graphic controlling microcomputer 81.

The serial port 82 receives a command, etc. transmitted from the main control circuit 71. The program ROM 83 stores a control program (FIGS. 30 to 32 to be explained later) executed at the graphic controlling microcomputer 81, and so forth. The work RAM 84 is configured as a temporary storing means for a work area, when the graphic controlling microcomputer 81 executes the above-mentioned control program. The work RAM 84 stores various types of information, e.g., an MB notification flag, etc. described later.

The calendar IC 85 stores date data. An operating unit 17 is connected to the graphic controlling microcomputer 81. In the preferable embodiment, the staff of the game arcade may operate the operating unit 17, thereby setting a date information, etc. The graphic controlling microcomputer 81 stores the date information that is set based on an input signal transmitted from the operating unit 17. The date information stored at the calendar IC 85 becomes backed up.

Further, the above-mentioned work RAM 84 and the calendar IC 85 are to be backed up. That is, even in case the electric power supplied to the graphic controlling microcomputer 81 is halted, an extra electric power is supplied continuously to prevent the stored information from being deleted. The graphic controlling IC 86 generates an image according to the contents of effects (the notification mode effects, etc. as described above) determined by the graphic controlling microcomputer 81, thereby outputting the contents to liquid crystal display device 131 (See FIG. 7 described later).

The control RAM 87 is included in the graphic controlling IC 86. The graphic controlling microcomputer 81 writes and reads information to and from the control RAM 87. A register of the graphic controlling IC 86, a sprite attribute table and a color palate table are arranged in the control RAM 87. The graphic controlling microcomputer 81 updates the register of the graphic controlling IC 86 and the sprite attribute table at a predetermined timing.

The graphic controlling IC 86 is connected to the liquid crystal display device 131, the graphic ROM 88 and the video RAM 89. Further, the graphic ROM 88 may be connected to the graphic controlling microcomputer 81. In that case, a large amount of graphic data such as 3-D graphic data can be efficiently processed. The graphic ROM 88 stores graphic data, dot data, etc. for generating the image. The video RAM 89 functions as a temporary storing means when the graphic controlling IC 86 generates the image. The graphic controlling IC 86 transmits a signal to the graphic controlling microcomputer 81, whenever data of the video RAM 89 is completely transmitted to the liquid crystal display device 131.

In the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a, the graphic controlling microcomputer 81 also controls the effect of the sound lamp. The graphic controlling microcomputer 81 determines the types the sound lamp and outputting timing thereof based on the determined effect. The graphic controlling microcomputer 81 transmits a command to the sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b through the serial port 82 at a predetermined timing. The sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b performs only outputting of the sound lamp based on the command transmitted from the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a.

The sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b includes a sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111, a serial port, a program ROM 113, a work RAM 114, a sound source IC 115, a power amp 16, and a sound source ROM 117. The sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111 includes a CPU, an interrupt controller, and an input/output port (a serial port is shown). The CPU in the sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111 outputs the sound lamp by a control program stored in the program ROM 113, based on the command transmitted from the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a. The LED's 100 a and the lamps 100 b are connected to the sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111. The sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111 transmits an output signal to the LED's 100 a and the lamps 100 b, based on a command transmitted from the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a at a predetermined timing. Consequently, the LED's 100 a and the lamps 100 b emit light in a predetermined mode of the effects.

The serial port 112 receives a command, etc. transmitted from the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a. The program ROM 113 stores a control program executed by the sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111. The work RAM 114 functions as a temporary storing means for a work area, when the sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111 executes above-mentioned control program.

The sound source IC 115 generates a sound source based on a command transmitted from the graphic control circuit (gSub) 72 a to output the generated sound source to the power amp 16. The power amp 16 indicates an amplifier to which the speakers 9L, 9R are connected. The power amp 16 amplifies a sound source outputted from the sound source IC 115 and outputs the amplified sound source to the speakers 9L, 9R. The sound source ROM 117 stores sound source data for generating the sound source (a phrase, etc.).

A volume adjustment unit 103 is connected to the sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111. The volume adjustment unit 103 can be operated by the staff of the game arcade to adjust a sound volume outputted from the speakers 9L, 9R. The sound lamp controlling microcomputer 111 controls the sound volume outputted from the speakers 9L, 9R, based on an input signal transmitted from the volume adjustment unit 103.

With reference to FIG. 7, there will be described an example of display of a liquid crystal display 2 b after all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop. FIG. 7 shows one mode of a displaying example of the liquid crystal display 2 b. The displaying example shows performing effects of displaying the phrase “Winning replay!! ” in an effect area (to be explained later) among the symbol displaying areas 21L, 21C, 21R.

Herein, the symbol displaying area 21L includes an effect area 211, a non-effect area 214 and another effect area 217. The effect area 211 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21L, and includes a symbol stop position of an upper portion of the symbol displaying area 21L. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the upper portion of the symbol displaying area 21L through the effect area 211. The effect area 217 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21L, and includes a symbol stop position of a lower portion of the symbol displaying area 21L. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the lower portion of the symbol displaying area 21L through the effect area 217.

The non-effect area 214 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21L, and includes a symbol stop position at a middle portion of the symbol displaying area 21L. The non-effect area 214 indicates an area excluding the effect areas 211, 217. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the middle portion of the symbol displaying area 21L through the non-effect area 217.

The symbol displaying areas 21C includes an effect area 212, a non-effect area 215 and another effect area 218. The effect area 212 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21C, and includes a symbol stop position at an upper portion of the symbol displaying area 21C. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the upper portion of the symbol displaying area 21C through the effect area 212. The effect area 218 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21C, and includes a symbol stop position at a lower portion of the symbol displaying area 21C. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the lower portion of the symbol displaying area 21C through the effect area 218.

The non-effect area 215 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21C, and includes a symbol stop position at a middle portion of the symbol displaying area 21C. The non-effect area 215 indicates an area excluding the effect areas 212, 218. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the middle portion of the symbol displaying area 21C through the non-effect area 218.

The symbol displaying areas 21R includes an effect area 213, a non-effect area 216 and another effect area 219. The effect area 213 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21R, and includes a symbol stop position at an upper portion of the symbol displaying area 21R. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the upper portion of the symbol displaying area 21R through the effect area 213. The effect area 219 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21R, and includes a symbol stop position at a lower portion of the symbol displaying area 21R. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the lower portion of the symbol displaying area 21R through the effect area 219.

The non-effect area 216 occupies ⅓ area of the symbol displaying area 21R, and includes a symbol stop position at a middle portion of the symbol displaying area 21R. The non-effect area 216 indicates an area excluding the effect areas 213, 219. For example, the player may recognize the symbol displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position located at the middle portion of the symbol displaying area 21R through the non-effect area 219.

The effect areas 211, 212, 213, 217, 218, 219 are collectively referred to as the effect area. The non-effect areas 214, 215, 216 are collectively referred to as the non-effect area. Since the non-effect area includes the symbol stop positions located at the middle portions of the symbol displaying area 21L, 21C, 21R, the non-effect area has a central line 8 formed by connecting the symbol stop positions at the middle portion.

When one of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R is varied, the effect area is adjusted to increase the ratio of the light that transmitted through the effect area (i.e., transmission rate) so as to recognize that the symbol through the effect area. When the symbols are displayed as being stopped at all the symbol stop positions (i.e., all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R are stopped), the effect area is adjusted to decrease the transmission rate of the effect area, and simultaneously the effect is performed to the displayed symbols in the effect area. Accordingly, the effect is performed in an overlapping manner onto the symbols that are displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop positions included in the effect area.

In the meanwhile, regardless of whether the reels 3L, 3C, 3R are varied, the light transmittance rate of the non-effect area is always adjusted to be a high state so that the symbols can be clearly recognized through the non-effect area. That is, the symbol composition displayed along the central line 8 (i.e., the active line) can be always recognized clearly in the non-effect area.

As such, when all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop, the transparent rate of the effect area is adjusted to be a high state so that the player can easily recognize the symbols displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position of the non-effect area. By performing the effect in the effect area and decreasing the transparent rate of the effect area, the player cannot easily recognize the symbols displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position of the effect area. Consequently, the player can easily understand the active line corresponding to the non-effect area, and can recognize clearly the symbol composition displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position of the non-effect area. Since the effect is performed at the effect area in order to emphasize the symbol composition displayed as being stopped (e.g., the display combination), the player can easily recognize the symbol composition displayed along the active line.

In a configuration where it is difficult to recognize the symbols displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position of the effect area, since “BELL” displayed as being stopped at the symbol stop position of the upper portion is difficult to recognize, it is possible to prevent misconception that BELL is achieved as the display combination on the line connecting the symbol stop position of the upper portion. That is, it is possible to reduce the number of times the player misunderstand or is confused by the symbol composition displayed along a line other than the active line. Accordingly, it is possible to implement a special symbol arrangement (FIG. 4) where a plurality of display combinations can be achieved in one game, which is difficult to realize in the gaming machine having five active lines.

Further, the phrase “Winning the replay!!” in the effect area is displayed by adjusting the light transmittance rate of an area for defining the phrase “Winning the replay!!” and the effect area excluding that area and by further adjusting the color and the intensity of the light radiating the effect area from the rear side.

With reference to FIG. 8, the symbol arrangement table is described. The symbol arrangement table includes information of the symbols pictured on the periphery surfaces of the reels and corresponding to the symbol positions (i.e., the code numbers) of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R. The composition of the symbols arranged along the active line can be recognized, based on the symbol arrangement table and the symbol composition table described later.

With reference to FIG. 9, the symbol composition table is described. The symbol composition table includes display combinations corresponding to the compositions of the symbols displayed as being stopped at each of three symbol stop positions connected by one active line, and paying out sheet number information for each inserted sheet number (i.e., the BET number) corresponding to each of the display combinations. The symbol composition table is referred to when determining the paying out sheet number according to the composition of the symbols displayed along the active line, after all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop.

When the winning number (described later) is 1 (i.e., RED CHERRY), the display combination becomes RED CHERRY. When “RED CHERRY-ANY-ANY” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes RED CHERRY so that, if the inserted sheet number is 1, 15 sheets of medals are paid out, and if the inserted sheet number is 3, 3 sheets of medals are paid out. Herein, “ANY” represents an arbitrary symbol.

When “BLUE CHERRY-ANY-ANY” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes BLUE CHERRY so that, in case the inserted sheet number is 1, 15 sheets of medals are paid out, and if the inserted sheet number is 3, 3 sheets of medals are paid out. When “BELL-BELL-BELL” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes BELL so that, if the inserted sheet number is 1, 15 sheets of medals are paid out, and if the inserted sheet number is 3, 12 sheets of medals are paid out.

When “WATERMELON-WATERMELON-WATERMELON” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes WATERMELON so that, if the inserted sheet number is 1, 15 sheets of medals are paid out, and if the inserted sheet number is 3, 15 sheets of medals are paid out. When “BLUE7-BELL-BELL” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes the BLUE7 so that, if the inserted sheet number is 1, 12 sheets of medals are paid out, and if the inserted sheet number is 3, 1 sheet of medal is paid out. When “CABBAGE-CABBAGE-CABBAGE” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes CABBAGE so that, if the inserted sheet number is 1, 12 sheets of medals are paid out, and if the inserted sheet number is 3, 1 sheet of medal is paid out. When “REPLAY-REPLAY-REPLAY” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes REPLAY so that the medal is inserted automatically.

When “RED7-RED7-RED7” (the symbol composition activating the continuous operating device by the class II special generator) is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes MB1 so that the gaming state is switched to the CB gaming state. When “BAR-BAR-BAR” is arranged along the active line, the display combination becomes MB2 so that the gaming state is switched to the CB gaming state.

Herein, no special regulations exist on the number of the symbol compositions activating the continuous operating device by the class II special generator so that the number of the symbol compositions can be selected freely. For example, it is possible to arrange the symbols that are always drawn, e.g., BELL or REPLAY. For example, an upper bound for the paying out sheet number for the continuous operating device by the class II special generator (MB) is determined to be 250. A high probability replay game may be terminated on conditions that 50 games are played after MB ends or conditions that MB is internally won.

With reference to FIG. 10, the internal lottery table determination table is described. The internal lottery table determination table includes an internal lottery table corresponding to the gaming state (See FIG. 11 described later) and lottery number of times. In the normal gaming state, the internal lottery table for the normal gaming state is selected, and basically the lottery number of times is determined to be 9 (Step S71 of FIG. 22 described later). The lottery number of times indicates how many times the necessary processes are performed for determining the internal winning combinations.

To be more specific, the lottery number of times indicates the number of times of determining whether the generated random value is within a predetermined range (a numerical range defined by a lower and an upper limits corresponding to the winning number described in FIG. 11 to be explained later). Nevertheless, in the carryover period, the lottery number of times that was determined as 9 are updated to be 7 (See Step S73 of FIG. 22 to be explained later).

With reference to FIG. 11, the internal lottery table is described. The internal lottery table is set for each gaming state and includes numerical range information represented by the lower and upper limits corresponding to the winning number for each inserted sheet number. FIG. 11 shows the internal lottery table for a normal gaming state. Further, other lottery table than the internal lottery table for a normal gaming state, e.g., the internal lottery table for a CB gaming state, is omitted for the simplicity of explanation.

In determining the winning number based on the internal lottery table, the random value is determined to be within the numerical range defined by the lower and the upper limits corresponding to the winning number, starting from the same winning number as the predetermined lottery number of times for each gaming state in a descending order, until the winning number reaches zero. When the random value is determined to be within the numerical range defined by the lower and the upper limits, the winning number corresponding to such lower and upper limits is deemed to be selected. At this time, the number of times of determining whether the random value is within the numerical range defined by the lower and the upper limit corresponding to the winning number is identical to the lottery number of times determined in the internal lottery table determination table of FIG. 10.

If the random number has not been even once within the numerical rage defined by the lower and the upper limits of the internal lottery table, until the winning number decreases to be zero, then the winning number becomes zero (indicating, e.g., ‘MISS’). ‘MISS’ of the internal winning combination indicates that the combination associated to the benefits of the player is not determined throughout the internal winning process. In accordance with the embodiments, ‘MISS’ corresponds to the combination providing no game token to the player. Further, the symbol composition corresponding to MISS as the internal winning combination may be regarded as a separate arbitrary symbol composition different from the symbol composition corresponding to the previously defined plurality of internal winning combinations. However, in the preferable embodiments, the symbol composition corresponding to MISS is not expressively defined.

In determining whether the winning number in the descending order until the winning number becomes zero, the numerical ranges defined by the lower and the upper limits corresponding to each of the plurality of winning numbers may overlap to each other so that more than one winning numbers can be determined to define the internal winning combinations. Based on the determined winning numbers, the gaming state, the inserted sheet number, and the internal winning combination determination table (FIG. 12 to be explained later), the internal winning combination is determined.

For example, if the inserted sheet number in the normal gaming state (excluding the carryover period) is 3, if the random number value from the range from 0 to 65535 is sampled to be 850, the random number value X (850)—the lower limit L (544) is firstly calculated for the winning number 9. The calculated result is equal to or more than zero. Next, the random value R (850)—the upper limit U (895) is calculated. The calculated result is equal to or less than zero. Since the random value is within the numerical range defined by the lower limit and the upper limits (i.e., L≦R≦U), if the sampled random value is 850, it is determined that the winning number 9 is achieved. When the winning number 9 is achieved, MB2 corresponding to the winning 9 becomes the internal winning combination based on the internal winning combination determination table (FIG. 12) to be explained later.

Next, the random number value R (850)—the lower limit L (171) is calculated for the winning number 8. The calculated result is equal to or more than zero. Accordingly, the random value R (850)—the upper limit U (522) is calculated sequentially. The calculated result is equal to or less than zero. Since the random number is not between the lower and the upper limits corresponding to the winning number 8, if the sampled random value is 850, it is determined that the winning number 8is not achieved.

In such a way, the calculations of the random number value R (850)—the lower limit L, and the random number value R (850)—the upper limit U are performed, until the winning number reaches zero, thereby determining whether each of the winning numbers 7 to 1 is achieved. For the sampled random number of 850, it is determined that each of the winning number numbers 7 to 2 is achieved. In this case, it is determined that the winning number 1 is achieved, since the lower limit L is 807 and the upper limit U is 936 for the winning number of 1. Accordingly, when the sampled random number is 850, it is determined that the winning numbers 1 and 9 are achieved. Based on the internal winning combination determination table (See FIG. 12) to be explained later, both RED CHERRY and MB2 are determined as the internal winning combination.

During the carryover period, since the lottery number of times is updated to be 7 (See Step S73 of FIG. 22 to be explained later), the winning number 8 or 9 are not considered. Accordingly, during the carryover period, it is impossible that MB1 or MB2 is determined as to be the internal winning combination, based on the internal winning combination determination table (FIG. 12) to be explained later. During the RT period, the upper limit corresponding to the winning number 7 and the inserted sheet number 1 is changed to 32217, and the upper limit corresponding to the inserted sheet number 3 is changed to 37808, so that the probability of internally winning REPLAY becomes higher than that during the normal period and the carryover period. More specifically, the probability of internally winning REPLAY during the replay period is 29800/65536 for the inserted sheet numbers of 1 and 3. The probability of internally winning REPLAY during the non-RT period is 8980/65536 for the inserted sheet numbers of 1 and 3.

During the normal period, the internal lottery table for the normal gaming state has a lottery value 8980 (the upper limit−the lower limit) corresponding to the winning number 7 in case of the inserted sheet number 3. In the mean while, in the RT period, the internal lottery table for the normal gaming state has a lottery value 29800 corresponding to the winning number 7 in case of the inserted sheet number 3. Accordingly, a plurality of the internal lottery tables for the normal gaming state (winning combination determining information) are stored to determine the internal winning combination.

With reference to FIG. 12, the internal winning combination determination table is described. The internal winning combination determination table includes information (data) of the internal winning combination (in a from of a flag) corresponding to the winning number. The flag is represented with a binary number. The internal winning combinations 1 and 2 displayed corresponding to the winning number to recognize the internal winning combination, each having one byte data length. The internal winning combination 1 basically relates to the carryover combination.

Under the normal gaming state, if the winning number is 0 and the internal winning combination 2 is “00000000,” the internal winning combination is WATERMELON. If the winning number is 1 and the internal winning combination 2 is “00000001,” the internal winning combination is RED CHERRY. If the winning number is 2 and the internal winning combination 2 is “00000010”, the internal winning combination is BLUE CHERRY. If the winning number is 3 and the internal winning combination 2 is “00000100”, the internal winning combination is BELL. If the winning number is 4 and the internal winning combination 2 is “00001000”, the internal winning combination is WATERMELON. If the winning number is 5 and the internal winning combination 2 is “00010000”, the internal winning combination is BLUE7BELL. If the winning number is 6 and the internal winning combination 2 is “00100000”, the internal winning combination is CABBAGE.

If the winning number is 7 and the internal winning combination 1 is “00000001,” the internal winning combination is REPLAY. If the winning number is 8 and the internal winning combination 1 is “00000010”, the internal winning combination is MB1. If the winning number is 9 and the internal winning combination 1 is “00000100”, the internal winning combination is MB2.

During the CB gaming state, for each case where the winning number is 0 to 6, the internal winning combination 2 is “00111111” so that the internal winning combination becomes a complex combination. Basically, the internal winning combination (the internal winning combination data) is information to recognize the mode of the stop control, or the combination that can be the display combination (the combination allowed to be the display combination). In the internal winning combination, through the mode of the stop control (the stop table) corresponding to the internal winning combination, the corresponding symbol composition and the benefits to be granted to the player are associated indirectly.

With reference to FIG. 13, the reel stop initial determination table is described. The reel stop initial determination table includes information of the stop table corresponding to each value of a stopping select counters ranging from 0 to 10. In the stopping select counter, the winning number is basically set (See step S106 of FIG. 24). In case where the internal winning combination is the complex combination, the stopping select counter is set to be 10 (See Step S108 of FIG. 24).

The stop tables include information to define the mode of the stop control of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R. More specifically, the stop table includes information of stop mode of the reels 3L, 3C, 3R (for example, a symbol stop position, a number of sliding symbols, etc.) corresponding to the operating timing of the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R by the player. Basically, each of the stop tables is configured in such as way that the corresponding internal winning combination can be drawn.

With reference to FIG. 14, the drawing ranking table is described. The drawing ranking table includes information of the relative ranks of drawing the symbol compositions corresponding to the internal winning combinations. Basically, the drawing refers to stopping the reel that is a target of stop control (i.e., the reel corresponding to the stop operation) so as to display, within the maximum number of sliding symbols, the symbols (hereinafter, referred to as the draw target symbols) constituting the symbol composition corresponding to a draw target combination at the symbol stop positions (hereinafter, referred to as the active symbol stop positions) connected by the active line. The draw target combination refers to the internal winning combination that corresponds to the symbol composition intended to arrange along the active line.

For the second stop operation and the third stop operation, if the symbols constituting the symbol composition corresponding to the draw target combination are displayed at the symbol stop positions together with the draw target symbol corresponding to the first stop operation, the draw target symbols are displayed at the symbol stop positions in the symbol display areas 21L, 21C, 21R coupled by the active line connecting the active symbol stop positions, i.e., the draw target symbols are drawn.

As shown in the drawing ranking table, REPLAY has the highest drawing ranking. Next, MB has a higher rank than the small wins. Accordingly, if REPLAY is internally won when MB is carried over, the replay is achieved preferentially. Further, if the small wins are internally won when MB is carried over, MB is achieved with priority. Further, RED CHERRY, BLUE CHERRY, BELL and WATERMELON have a higher priority than BLUE7BELL and CABBAGE. Accordingly, in the CB gaming state, RED CHERRY, BLUE CHERRY, BELL and WATERMELON are drawn with a higher rank than BLUE7BELL and CABBAGE for the stop controls of the center reel 3C and the right reel 3R.

With reference to FIG. 15, the bonus operating time table is described. The bonus operating time table includes, for each of the display combinations, an operation flag that is updated to be ON, a value that is set to the bonus ending sheet number counter, a playable sheet number and prize winnable number of times. For example, the bonus operating time table is referred to for performing the process at step S144 of FIG. 28 to be explained later.

The operation flag indicates an operational gaming state under playing (i.e., the current gaming state). The operation flag may include an MB operation flag corresponding to the display combinations. The bonus ending sheet number counter represents the sheet number of the medals paid out from the time when the MB operation flag turns on to the time when the MB operation flag turns off.

With reference to FIG. 16, descriptions will be provided regarding the storing areas (the memory areas) for the internal winning combination 1, the internal winning combination 2, the carryover combination and the random number. FIG. 16 (1) shows the internal winning combination 1 storing area. In the internal winning combination 1 storing area, information (data) of the internal winning combination is stored (memorized) into the internal winning combination 1 storing area having one byte data length. In the internal winning combination 1 storing area, a bit 0 (a first bit) corresponds to REPLAY and a bit 1 (a second bit) corresponds to MB1. A bit 2 (a third bit) corresponds to MB2. Bits 3-7 (a fourth bit to an eighth bit) are not used. By referring to the internal winning combination 1 storing area, a combination that corresponds to a bit having a value of one is determined to be the internal winning combination. For example, when “00000010” is stored in the internal winning combination 1 storing area (the bit 1, i.e., the second bit, is one), the internal winning combination is determined to be MB1.

FIG. 16 (2) shows the internal winning combination 2 storing area. In the internal winning combination 2 storing area, information (data) of the internal winning combination is stored (memorized) into the internal winning combination 2 storing area having one byte data length. In the internal winning combination 2 storing area, a bit 0 (a first bit) corresponds to RED CHERRY and a bit 1 (a second bit) corresponds to BLUE CHERRY. A bit 2 (a third bit) corresponds to BELL. A bit 3 (a fourth bit) corresponds to WATERMELON. A bit 4 (a fifth bit) corresponds to the BLUE7BELL. A bit 5 (a sixth bit) corresponds to CABBAGE. Bits 6-7 (a seventh bit and an eighth bit) are not used. Similar to the internal winning combination 1 storing area, be referring to the internal winning combination 2 storing area, a combination that corresponds to a bit having a value of one is determined to be the internal winning combination. For example, when “00000010” is stored in the internal winning combination 2 storing area (the bit 1, i.e., the second bit, is one), the internal winning combination is BLUE CHERRY.

FIG. 16 (3) shows the carryover combination storing area. In the carryover combination storing area, information (data) of the carryover combination is stored into the carryover combination storing area having one byte data length. In the carryover combination storing area, a bit 1 (a second bit) corresponds to MB1 and a bit 2 (a third bit) corresponds to MB2. A bit 0 (a first bit) and bits 3-7 (a fourth bit and an eighth bit) are not used. When the carryover combination exists (i.e., in case of the carryover period), the value of one is stored to the bit 1 (the second bit) or the bit 2 (the third bit) corresponding to MB1 or MB2 of the carryover combination storing area (i.e., “00000010” or “00000100” is stored to the carryover combination storing area).

With reference to the main flowchart shown by FIGS. 17 and 18, a control operation of the main control circuit 71 is described. First, the CPU 31 performs an initialization (step S1). Specifically, the CPU 31 initializes the contents stored in RAM 33 and communication data, etc. and then proceeds to step S2. At step S2, predetermined stored contents of RAM 33 are deleted (cleared). Specifically, the CPU 31 deletes data in a writing area of RAM 33 used in the previous game, and writes parameters necessary for the next game into the writing area of RAM 33. The CPU 31 indicates the starting address of a sequence program of the next game.

At step S3, it is performed a bonus operation monitoring process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 19, and then it proceeds to step S4. At step S4, it is performed a medal inserting and start checking process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 20, and then it proceeds to step S5. During the medal inserting and start checking process, BET number updating, etc. is performed, based on inputs from the start switch 6S, the medal sensor 10S, or the BET switches 11 to 13.

At step S5, the random number for lottery is sampled and then proceeds to step S6. The sampled random number is used in an internal lottery process to be described later. At step S6, it is performed a gaming state monitoring process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 21, and then it proceeds to step S7. At step S7, it is performed the internal lottery process to be explained later with reference to FIGS. 22 and 23, and then it proceeds to step S8. At step S8, it is performed a reel stop initial setting process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 24, and then it proceeds to step S9.

At step S9, a start command is transmitted, and then it proceeds to step S10. The start command includes information of the gaming state, the internal winning combination, etc., and is transmitted to the sub-control circuit 72. At step S10, a RT game number counter subtraction process is performed, and then it proceeds to step S11 of FIG. 18. In performing the RT game number counter subtraction process, if the RT game number counter value is equal to or more than one, the counter value is decreased by one.

At step S11 of FIG. 18, it is determined whether 4.1 second has elapsed since the previous rotation starting of the reels. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S13. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S12. At step S12, a game start time is waited, and then it proceeds to step S13. Specifically, while a predetermined time period (e.g., 4.1 second, etc.) is elapsing from the preceding game starts, it is performed a process for invalidating inputs based on an operation of the player for starting the game.

At step S13, all the reels are required to start rotating, and then it proceeds to step S14. At step S14, it is performed a reel stop control process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 25, and then it proceeds to step S15. At step S15, it is performed a display combination searching process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 26, and then it proceeds to step S16. At step S16, a display combination command is transmitted, and then it proceeds to step S17.

At step S17, the medal paying out process is performed, and then it proceeds to step S18. At step S18, a bonus ending sheet number counter is updated based on the paid out sheet number, and then it proceeds to step S19. If the bonus ending sheet number counter has a value equal to more than one, then the counter is decreased according to the paid out medal number. At step S19, it is determined whether the MB operation flag or the CB operation flag is turned on. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S20. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S21.

At step S20, it is performed a bonus end checking process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 27, and then it proceeds to step S21. At step S21, it is performed a bonus operation checking process to be explained later with reference to FIG. 28, and then it proceeds to step S2 of FIG. 17.

With reference to FIG. 19, a bonus operation monitoring process is described. First, the CPU 31 determines whether the MB operation flag is turned on (step S31). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S32. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S4 of FIG. 17. At step S32, the CB operation flag is updated to be ON, and then it proceeds to step S4.

With reference to FIG. 20, a medal inserting and a start checking process is described. First, the CPU 31 determines whether the automatic insertion counter has a value of zero, i.e., REPLAY was achieved in the preceding game (step S41). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S42. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S43. The automatic insertion counter represents the number of the automatically inserted medals when the display combination is REPLAY. At step S42, the medal insertion is allowed, and then it proceeds to step S45. At step S43, the insertion sheet number (i.e., the insertion sheet number counter) is updated based on the automatic insertion counter, and then it proceeds to step S44. The insertion sheet number counter calculates the sheet number of the inserted medals.

At step S44, a BET command is transmitted, and then it proceeds to step S45. At step S45, it is determined whether the medal insertion is allowed. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S46. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S53. At step S46, a medal sensor and a BET switch are checked, and then it proceeds to step S47. Specifically, the inputs from the medal sensor 10S or the BET switches 11 to 13 are checked.

At step S47, it is determined whether a signal from the medal sensor or the BET switches is detected, i.e., whether the medals are inserted. Specifically, it is determined whether the signal from the medal sensor 10S or the BET switches 11 to 13 is detected. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S48. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S53. At step S48, it is determined whether the insertion sheet number counter has a value less than the maximum insertion sheet number. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S49. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S52.

At step S49, the insertion sheet number counter adds up by one, and then it proceeds to step S50. At step S50, the active line counter has a value of one stored, and then it proceeds to step S51. The active line counter refers to a counter for recognizing the number of the active lines to which the display combinations are determined, among a plurality of active lines. At step S51, the BET command is transmitted, and then it proceeds to step S53. At step S52, the credit counter adds up by one, and then it proceeds to step S53.

At step S53, it is determined whether the insertion sheet number is equal to or more than one. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S54. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S45. At step S54, it is determined whether the start switch is turned on. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S5 of FIG. 17. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S45.

With reference to FIG. 21, a gaming state monitoring process is described. First, the CPU 31 determines whether the CB operation flag is turned on (step S61). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S62. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S63. At step S62, an identifier of the CB gaming state is stored, and then it proceeds to step S7 of FIG. 17. At step S63, an identifier of the normal gaming state is stored, and then it proceeds to step S7 of FIG. 17. In the gaming state monitoring process, the gaming state is monitored based on the operation flag (the CB operation flag), and information for selecting types of the internal lottery tables according to the gaming state at step S71 of FIG. 22 explained later is stored into RAM 33 (e.g., the gaming state storing area).

With reference to FIGS. 22 and 23, an internal lottery process is described. First, the CPU 31 determines the lottery number of times according to the gaming state, based on the internal lottery table determination table (FIG. 10) (step S71), and then it proceeds to step S72. At step S72, it is determined whether data (information) stored in the carryover combination storing area is zero (i.e., whether the carryover combination exists). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S74. If the result of the determination is “NO”, which means that it is in the carryover period, then it proceeds to step S73. At step S73, the lottery number of times is updated to be 7, and then it proceeds to step S74.

At step S74, a value identical to the lottery number of times is set to a register of the CPU 31 as the winning number, and then it proceeds to step S75. Accordingly, “9” is set for the normal gaming state, “6” is set for the CB gaming state, and “7” is set for the internal winning state (i.e., the carryover period). At step S75, a lower limit L is obtained based on the winning number and the insertion number with reference to the internal lottery table, and then it proceeds to step S76. At step S76, the lower limit is subtracted (R-L) from the random number R stored in the random number storing area of RAM 33, and then it proceeds to step S77.

At step S77, it is determined whether a digit borrowing is performed. Specifically, it is determined whether the calculation result of R-L is minus. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S86 of FIG. 23. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S78. When the result of the determination is “YES”, the random value is less than the lower limit (L>R), and when the result of the determination is “NO”, the random value is equal to or more than the lower limit (L≦R).

At step S78, the upper limit U is obtained based on the current period, the winning number and the insertion sheet number, with reference to the internal lottery table, and then it proceeds to step S79. At step S79, the upper limit U is subtracted from the random number R stored in the random number storing area of RAM 33, and then it proceeds to step S80.

At step S80, it is determined whether the subtracted result, i.e., the calculation result of R-U is zero. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S82 of FIG. 23. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S81. When the result of the determination is “YES”, the random value is identical to the lower limit (R=U), and when the result of the determination is “NO”, the random value is not equal to the lower limit (R≠U).

At step S81, it is determined whether a digit borrowing is performed. Specifically, it is determined whether the calculation result of R-U is minus. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S82 of FIG. 23. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S86 of FIG. 23. When the result of the determination is “YES”, the random value is less than the upper limit (R>U), and when the result of the determination is “NO”, the random value is more than the upper limit (R>U).

At step S82, the winning number is stored to an internal lottery result information storing area of RAM 33, and then it proceeds to step S83. At step S83, with reference to the internal winning combination determination table, the internal winning combination 1 and the internal winning combination 2 are determined based on the winning number, and then it proceeds to step S84. At step S84, the logical OR between the internal winning combination 2 and the internal winning combination 2 storing area (FIG. 16) is stored in the internal winning combination 2 storing area. A bit according to the type of the achieved small win is set in the internal winning combination 2 storing area.

At step S85, the logical AND between the internal winning combination 1 and a bonus check data is performed and the logical OR with the carryover combination area is stored in the carryover combination storing area, and then it proceeds to step S86. Accordingly, the determined MB is stored in the carryover combination storing area. At this time, the bonus check data has a value of “00000110.” At step S86, the logical OR between the internal winning combination 1 and the carryover combination storing area is stored to the internal winning combination 1 storing area, and then it proceeds to step S87. A bit according to the achieved MB or REPLAY is set to the internal winning combination 1 storing area.

At step S87, the lottery number of times decreases by one, and then it proceeds to step S88. At step S88, it is determined whether the lottery number of times becomes zero. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S89. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S74 of FIG. 22. When the result of the determination is “YES”, the number of times of determining whether the random number R is within the numerical range defined by the upper limit U and the lower limit L is 9 for the normal gaming state, 6 for the MB gaming state, and 7 for the internal winning state (i.e., during the carryover period). When the result of the determination is “NO”, the above number of times is less than 9 for the normal gaming state, less than 6 for the MB gaming state, and less than 7 for the internal winning state (i.e., during the carryover period).

At step S89, with reference to the internal winning combination determination table, the internal winning combination 1 and the internal winning combination 2 are determined based on the winning number, and then it proceeds to step S90. At step S90, the logical OR between the internal winning combination 2 and the internal winning combination 2 storing area (FIG. 16) is stored in the internal winning combination 2 storing area. At step S91, the logical AND between the internal winning combination 1 and the bonus check data is performed and the logical OR with the carryover combination storing area is stored to the carryover combination storing area, and then it proceeds to step S92. Accordingly, the carryover combination is stored to the carryover combination storing area. At step S92, the logical OR between the internal winning combination 1 and the carryover combination storing area is stored in the internal winning combination 1 storing area, and then it proceeds to step S8 of FIG. 17. Accordingly, the random number R is not included in any numerical range of the internal lottery table of FIG. 11 so that, if steps S82 to S86 are not performed, MISS or the carryover combination is stored to the internal winning combination 1 storing area.

With reference to FIG. 24, a reel stop initial setting process is described. First, the CPU 31 compares the data in the internal winning combination 2 storing area with the complex combination check data (“00111111”) (step S101), and then it proceeds to step S102. At step S102, it is determined whether the data in the internal winning combination 2 storing area is identical to the complex combination check data. If the result of the determination is “YES” (i.e., when the internal winning combination is the complex combination), then it proceeds to step S108. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S103.

At step S103, it is determined whether the winning number is zero. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S104. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S106. At step S104, the logical AND between the data in the internal winning combination 1 storing area and the operating combination check data (“00000111”) is performed, and then it proceeds to step S105. At step S105, it is determined whether the above logical AND is zero. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S106. If the result of the determination is “NO” (i.e., when REPLAY or the carryover combination exists), then it proceeds to step S107.

At step S106, the winning number is stored to the stopping select counter, and then it proceeds to step S109. At step S107, the data in the internal winning combination 1 storing area is numbered and added by 6 to be stored in the stopping select counter, and then it proceeds to step S109. The numbering is performed for example, in such a way that, if the bit 0 is ON (i.e., 1 is stored to the bit 0), it corresponds to 1, if the bit 1 is ON (i.e., 1 is stored to the bit 1), it corresponds to 2, if the bit 2 is ON (i.e., 1 is stored to the bit 2), it corresponds to 3, and so firth. Specifically, when the data in the internal winning combination 1 storing area is MB1 or MB2, the value 8 and 9 are stored into the stopping select counter, for MB1 and MB2, respectively.

At step S108, a value of 10 is stored into the stopping select counter, and then it proceeds to step S109. At step S109, the stop table is determined based on the reel stop initial setting table and stored, and then it proceeds to step S9 of FIG. 17.

With reference to FIG. 25, a reel stop controlling process is described. First, the CPU 31 determines whether the valid stop button is pushed, i.e., whether there exist inputs from the stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS (step S111). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S114. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S112. At step S112, it is determined whether the automatic stop timer has a value of zero. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S113. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S111.

At step S13, the information of a reel rotating more towards the right side is set, and then it proceeds to step S114. By using the above information, for example, when more than one reels are rotating, the reels automatically stop from the reel more towards the right side. At step S14, the number of sliding symbols is determined based on the internal winning combination, the stop table and the drawing priority table, and then it proceeds to step S115. At step S115, the target stop position (i.e., the position at which the symbol is to stop) is determined based on the determined number of sliding symbols and the current symbol position, and then it proceeds to step S116. At step S116, a state is switched to a target stop position waiting state, and then it proceeds to step S117.

At step S117, the reel stop command is transmitted, and then it proceeds to step S118. At step S118, it is determined whether any of the reels are rotating. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S111. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S115.

With reference to FIG. 26, a displaying combination retrieval process is described. First, the CPU 31 obtains the value of the active line counter (step S121), and then it proceeds to step S122. When the game is started, the active line counter has a value of 1 stored (step S50 of FIG. 20). At step S122, it is determined whether the active line counter has a value of zero. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S16 of FIG. 18. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S123. The value of the active line counter becomes zero when the retrieval of the display combination ends for one active line.

At step S123, the display combination is determined based on the symbol composition table (FIG. 9), and then it proceeds to step S124. At step S124, the logical OR between the display combination and the value in the display combination storing area is stored in the display combination storing area, and then it proceeds to step S125. At step S125, the paying out sheet number is updated based on the display combination and the insertion sheet number, and then it proceeds to step S126. At step S126, the active line to be retrieved is changed, and then it proceeds to step S127. At step S127, the active line counter value decreases by one, and then it proceeds to step S122.

With reference to FIG. 27, a bonus end checking process is described. First, the CPU 31 updates the CB operation flag to be off (step S131), and then it proceeds to step S132. At step S132, it is determined whether the bonus ending sheet number counter has a value of zero. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S133. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S21 of FIG. 18. At step S133, the bonus ending process is performed, and then it proceeds to step S134. At step S134, a value of 50 is stored to the RT game number counter, and then it proceeds to step S21 of FIG. 18.

With reference to FIG. 28, a bonus operation checking process is described. First, the CPU 31 determines whether the display combination is REPLAY (step S141). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S142. If the result of the determination is “NO”, and then it proceeds to step S143. At step S142, the insertion sheet number counter is copied to the automatic insertion counter, and then it proceeds to step S145. Specifically, at step S145, the number same as the insertion sheet number inserted for the current game is set to the automatic insertion counter (i.e., automatically inserted).

At step S143, it is determined whether the display combination is MB. If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S144. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S2 of FIG. 17. At step S144, a MB operation time process is performed based on the bonus operating time table, and then it proceeds to step S145. In the MB operation time process, the MB operation flag is updated to be on, and a value of 250 is set to the bonus ending sheet number counter. At step S145, the carryover combination is cleared, and then it proceeds to step S2 of FIG. 17.

With reference to FIG. 29, an interrupt handling process by a main CPU (CPU 31) control is described. The periodic interrupt handling is performed periodically every 1.1173 ms. First, the CPU 31 saves the register (S151), and then it proceeds to step S152. At step S152, an input port checking process is performed, and then it proceeds to step S153. Specifically, it is determined whether there exists an input from the start switch 6S by pushing the start lever 6. At step S153, the reel control process is performed, and then it proceeds to step S154. Specifically, information indicating the reel to be controlled is set as a reel identifier, and the driving of the reel is controlled.

At step S154, a lamp and a 7SEG driving process is performed, and then it proceeds to step S155. Specifically, the BET lamps 17 a to 17 c are lighted based on the number of medals betted for the game. The number of credited medals and the paying out sheet number of medals, etc. are displayed onto the credit displaying unit 19. At step S155, the register is restored and the periodic interrupt handling is completed.

With reference to FIG. 30, a reset-interrupt process by a sub CPU (a graphic control microcomputer 81) is described. First, the electric power is applied and accordingly the voltage is applied to the reset terminal so that the graphic control microcomputer 81 generates a reset interrupt. Based on the generated reset interrupt, “the reset-interrupt process by a sub CPU” stored in the program ROM 83 is performed sequentially.

First, the graphic control microcomputer 81 performs an initialization of the work RAM 84, the control RAM 87, the video RAM 89, etc. (step S161), and then it proceeds to step S162. At step S162, an input monitoring process is performed for monitoring whether there exists an input from the operating unit 17, etc., and then it proceeds to step S163. At step S163, a command receiving process described later with reference to FIG. 31 is performed, and then it proceeds to step S164. At step S164, a command outputting process for outputting a command to the sound lamp control circuit (mSub) 72 b is performed, and then it proceeds to step S165. At step S165, a graphic control process is performed, and then it proceeds to step S161.

With reference to FIG. 31, a command receiving process is described. First, the sub-control circuit 72 determines whether the command is received (step S171). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S172. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S164 of FIG. 30. At step S172, based on a jump table, a process of a jump routine is determined to perform the corresponding process, and then basically, it proceeds to step S164 of FIG. 30. The process of the jump routine includes, e.g., a post-processing after all reels stop, (see FIG. 32 to be explained later) etc.

With reference to FIG. 32, a post-processing after all reels stop is described. The post-processing after all reels stop is performed when all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop. First, the sub-control circuit 72 determines whether a predetermined symbol composition (e.g., the symbol composition corresponding to the display combination) is displayed along the active line (step S181). If the result of the determination is “YES”, then it proceeds to step S182. If the result of the determination is “NO”, then it proceeds to step S183. At step S182, the displayed symbol composition is emphasized, the effect data blocking the effect area is stored, and then it proceeds to step S164 of FIG. 30. At step S183, the effect data blocking the effect area is stored, and then it proceeds to step S164 of FIG. 30. The effect data emphasizing the displayed symbol composition refers to identification information for indicating, e.g., the phrases of “Winning replay!!” shown in FIG. 7, and/or for instructing the image display corresponding to the “REPLAY.” The effect data blocking the effect area refers to identification information for instructing a control to reduce the transparent rate of the effect area, thereby rendering the symbol recognizable through the effect area to be difficult to identify.

Up until now, although the present invention is described in accordance with the preferable embodiments, but the present invention is not limited thereto. (1) In the preferable embodiments, while the preferable embodiment describe that the transparency rate of the effect area is controlled to be low after all the reels 3L, 3C, 3R stop, the present invention is not limited thereto. For example, only in case the symbol composition corresponding to the internal winning combination is displayed along the active line, the transparency rate of the effect area may be controlled to be low. In this way, the player may recognize quickly that the symbol composition corresponding to the internal winning combination is displayed along the active line.

(2) Further, for example, the transparency rate may be controlled in such a way that information of the winning combination is defined in the effect area, on condition that the operation of the stop buttons 7L, 7C, 7R by the player is detected by the stop switches 7LS, 7CS, 7RS. In this way, when both the bonus and the small win are won, the player may perform the stop operation to display the symbol composition corresponding to the small win as being stopped, since the bonus can be carried over.

(3) For example, the transparency rate of the effect area may be controlled to be low before the starting operation. After the start switch 6S detects the operation of the start lever 6 by the player, the transparency rate of the effect area may be controlled to be high. In this way, the player may recognize the active line easily before starting the game.

In accordance with one of the gaming machines (1) to (3), when one symbol composition among the predetermined symbol compositions is displayed on the specific line, the symbols displayed on the display units are arranged in such a way that a predetermined symbol composition among the previously predetermined symbol compositions is displayed on a predetermined line connecting each one of symbol stop positions for each of the display units and including at least one symbol stop position that is not connected by the specific line.

Accordingly, the special symbol arrangement, which is difficult to implement by the conventional gaming machine having 5 specific lines, i.e., the arrangement where each of the previously determined symbol compositions can be displayed as being stopped in one game, can be readily realized.

Further, in accordance with the preferable embodiments, for example, the adjusting means may lower the transparency rate of the predetermined area, on condition that the predetermined symbol composition among the previously determined symbol compositions is displayed on the predetermined line.

Besides the gaming machine (1), the present invention can be applied to other gaming machine, e.g., a pachinko gaming machine, a pachi-slot gaming machine (i.e., Japanese slot machine), etc. Further, the present invention can be implemented in a form of a game program executing the operations of the gaming machine (1), thereby enabling the game to be played by a home gaming device. In that case, a recordable medium recording the game program includes a CD-ROM, a flexible disk (FD) and other arbitrary recording medium.

While the present invention has been shown and described with respect to a preferred embodiment, those skilled in the art will recognize that various changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7927210Mar 17, 2004Apr 19, 2011Wms Gaming Inc.Accounting service in a service-oriented gaming network environment
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/30, 463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/34
European ClassificationG07F17/34
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 13, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ARUZE CORP., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NOZAKI, TAKASHI;REEL/FRAME:017785/0940
Effective date: 20060329