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Publication numberUS20070238505 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/394,348
Publication dateOct 11, 2007
Filing dateMar 31, 2006
Priority dateMar 31, 2006
Publication number11394348, 394348, US 2007/0238505 A1, US 2007/238505 A1, US 20070238505 A1, US 20070238505A1, US 2007238505 A1, US 2007238505A1, US-A1-20070238505, US-A1-2007238505, US2007/0238505A1, US2007/238505A1, US20070238505 A1, US20070238505A1, US2007238505 A1, US2007238505A1
InventorsKazuo Okada
Original AssigneeAruze Corp.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Service supply system, gaming machine and server
US 20070238505 A1
Abstract
A service supply system of the present invention has: a gaming machine; and a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line, wherein the gaming machine comprises: code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information in such a manner that the code information can be captured by the image pickup means from the outside, and the server comprises: ID data storage means for receiving URL information and ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device which generates the URL information on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means, and for storing the received ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device; premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device; extraction means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, which is stored in the ID data storage means; and premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by the extraction means to the portable terminal device.
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Claims(19)
1. A service supply system having:
a gaming machine; and
a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
wherein
said gaming machine comprises:
code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information in such a manner that the code information can be captured by said image pickup means from the outside, and
said server comprises:
ID data storage means for receiving URL information and ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device from said portable terminal device which generates said URL information on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means, and for storing the received ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device;
extraction means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, which is stored in said ID data storage means; and
premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by said extraction means to said portable terminal device.
2. The service supply system according to claim 1,
wherein
said code information is code information generated by coding URL information associated with the machine model of the gaming machine.
3. A server constituting the service supply system according to claim 1, comprising:
ID data storage means for receiving said URL information and the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device from said portable terminal device, and for storing the received ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device;
extraction means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, which is stored in said ID data storage means; and
premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by said extraction means to said portable terminal device.
4. A gaming machine constituting the service supply system according to claim 1, comprising:
code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
5. A service supply system having:
a gaming machine; and
a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
wherein
said gaming machine comprises:
code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information in such a manner that the code information can be captured by said image pickup means, and
said server comprises:
URL information reception means for receiving URL information from the portable terminal device which recognizes the code information from image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information and generates the URL information from the code information;
e-mail address acquisition means for acquiring an e-mail address of said portable terminal device from said portable terminal device which is a transmission source of said URL information;
e-mail address storage means for storing the e-mail address acquired by said e-mail address acquisition means; and
e-mail transmission means for transmitting an e-mail to the portable terminal device on the basis of the e-mail address stored in said e-mail address storage means, at predetermined timing.
6. A gaming machine constituting the service supply system according to claim 5, comprising:
code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by said image pickup means.
7. A server constituting the service supply system according to claim 5, comprising:
URL information reception means for receiving URL information from the portable terminal device which recognizes the code information from image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information and generates the URL information from the code information;
e-mail address acquisition means for acquiring an e-mail address of said portable terminal device from said portable terminal device which is a transmission source of said URL information;
e-mail address storage means for storing the e-mail address acquired by said e-mail address acquisition means; and
e-mail transmission means for transmitting an e-mail to the portable terminal device on the basis of the e-mail address stored in said e-mail address storage means, at predetermined timing.
8. A service supply system having:
a gaming machine; and
a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means through a communication line,
wherein
said gaming machine comprises:
code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information in such a manner that the code information can be captured from the outside, and
said server comprises:
reception time data storage means for storing reception time data with the reception time data made to be associated with ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device or player ID data for identifying a player, the reception time data being indicative of the time at which the URL information is received from said portable terminal device which generates the URL information on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means;
calculation means for calculating the time interval at which the URL information is received from said portable terminal device, on the basis of plural reception time data stored in said reception time storage means, made in association with said ID data or player ID data;
time interval data storage means for storing time interval data indicative of the time interval calculated by said calculation means with the time interval data made to be associated with said ID data or player ID data;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device;
extraction means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means on the basis of said time interval data; and
premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by said extraction means to said portable terminal device.
9. A server constituting the service supply system according to claim 8, comprising:
reception time data storage means for storing reception time data indicative of the time at which said URL information is received from said portable terminal device with the reception time data made to be associated with said ID data or player ID data;
calculation means for calculating the time interval at which the URL information is received from said portable terminal device, on the basis of plural reception time data stored in said reception time storage means, made in association with said ID data or player ID data;
time interval data storage means for storing time interval data indicative of the time interval calculated by said calculation means with the time interval data made to be associated with said ID data or player ID data;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device;
extraction means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means on the basis of said time interval data; and
premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by said extraction means to said portable terminal device.
10. A gaming machine constituting the service supply system according to claim 8, comprising:
code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
11. A gaming machine comprising:
time measurement means for measuring the current time;
time acquisition means for acquiring the current time from said time measurement means; and
code information display means for displaying code information generated by coding at least acquired time data indicative of the time acquired by said time acquisition means, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
12. A gaming machine comprising:
time acquisition means for acquiring the current time from the outside; and
code information display means for displaying code information generated by coding acquired time data indicative of the time acquired by said time acquisition means, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
13. A service supply system having:
the gaming machine according to claim 11; and
a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
wherein
said server comprises:
reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means;
determination means for determining whether or not said reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device; and
premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means to transmit it to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means, but to transmit no premium data to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means.
14. A service supply system having:
the gaming machine according to claim 12; and
a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
wherein
said server comprises:
reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means;
determination means for determining whether or not said reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device; and
premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means to transmit it to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means, but to transmit no premium data to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means.
15. A server constituting the service supply system according to claim 13, comprising:
reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means;
determination means for determining whether or not said reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device; and
premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means to transmit it to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means, but to transmit no premium data to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means.
16. A server constituting the service supply system according to claim 14, comprising:
reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means;
determination means for determining whether or not said reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means;
premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to said portable terminal device; and
premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means to transmit it to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means, but to transmit no premium data to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that said reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by said reception means.
17. A gaming machine comprising:
code information display means for displaying code information in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside; and
code information generation means for generating code information displayed with said code information display means,
wherein
said code information generation means generates code information generated by coding at least identification data uniquely allotted for each code information displayed with said code information display means.
18. A service supply system having:
the gaming machine according to claim 17; and
a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means through a communication line,
wherein
said server comprises:
reception means for receiving identification data from said portable terminal device which generates the identification data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means;
identification data storage means for storing the identification data received by said reception means;
determination means for determining whether or not the same identification data has been previously received, on the basis of the identification data received by said reception means and identification data which has been previously stored in said identification data storage means;
premium data storage means for storing premium data; and
premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means to transmit it to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that the same identification data has not been previously received, but to transmit no premium data to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that the same identification data has been previously received.
19. A server constituting the service supply system according to claim 18, comprising:
reception means for receiving identification data from said portable terminal device which generates the identification data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using said image pickup means, the code information displayed with said code information display means;
identification data storage means for storing the identification data received by said reception means;
determination means for determining whether or not the same identification data has been previously received, on the basis of the identification data received by said reception means and identification data which has been previously stored in said identification data storage means;
premium data storage means for storing premium data; and
premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from said premium data storage means to transmit it to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that the same identification data has not been previously received, but to transmit no premium data to said portable terminal device if said determination means determines that the same identification data has been previously received.
Description
    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    The present application relates to Japanese Patent Application Nos. 2004-249244, 2004-249245 and 2004-249248, filed on Aug. 27, 2004 and Japanese Patent Application Nos. 2004-339537 and 2004-339521, filed on Nov. 24, 2004. The contents of these applications are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to a service supply system including a gaming machine such as a pachi-slot gaming machine or a pachinko gaming machine and a server, the gaming machine constituting the service supply system and the server constituting the service supply system.
  • [0004]
    2. Discussion of the Background
  • [0005]
    Conventionally, in game arcades (so-called pachinko halls) in which there are installed gaming machines such as pachi-slot gaming machines (for example, refer to JP-A 2000-210413) and pachinko gaming machines, in the event of the occurrence of a BB (big bonus) or a big hit in a gaming machine, the game arcade provides services for further facilitating excitement of the BB or big hit, such as making announcement and varying the BGM in the arcade.
  • [0006]
    On the other hand, in recent years, images which are displayed on gaming machines such as pachi-slot gaming machines and pachinko gaming machines and music which are played in such gaming machines have been developed to be comparable with animations which are highly evaluated abroad and music which appears in the charts, as well as having being utilized for executing effects in the gaming machines. For example, such images and music have been used as ringing melodies (so-called cellular phone ring melodies) or waiting images for portable phones. Further, in the field of home-use games, game software of simulation games which simulate actual pachinko games or pachi-slot games have been higher in sales ranks, in comparison with other types of games and, therefore, the number of pachi-slot game freaks and pachinko game freaks has been prominently increased.
  • [0007]
    However, in cases where personnel in game arcades check the occurrences of BBs and big hits and provide human services, there has been the problem of increase of personal costs. Further, in the event of concurrent occurrences of plural BBs and big hits in a game arcade, it is impossible to provide sufficient services to all players, which may cause discomfort to players. Further, since these services are projected and provided by game arcades and, thus, are one-sidedly provided from game arcades to players, there has been the problem of difficulty of sufficiently reflecting player's preferences and the like thereon.
  • [0008]
    Further, gaming machine makers also have developed and sold products (for example, cellular phone ring melodies, waiting images, game software and the like) relating to gaming machines as described above, in order to obtain player's support to gaming machines manufactured by the gaming machine makers. Such products are also one-sidely provided from game arcades to players. Therefore, there has been the problem of difficulty of sufficiently reflecting player's preferences and the like thereon. Particularly, in recent years, a greater number of players have had strong attachment to characters and music which are used in effects in gaming machines manufactured by some gaming machine makers and, thus, the number of maniac customers who have preferences to certain gaming machine makers has been increased. In view of the aforementioned circumstances, there has been a need for services which can be provided from gaming machine makers and also can enhance player's support and attachment to gaming machines manufactured by the same gaming machine makers.
  • [0009]
    While it is possible to comprehensively survey preferences of players on the basis of the sale proceeds and the like in game arcades, it is difficult to survey the preferences of individual players on the basis of the sale proceeds and the like in game arcades. Accordingly, it has been difficult to provide services according to the preferences of respective players. However, since the number of pachi-slot game maniacs and pachinko game maniacs has been increased in recent years, there has been a need for services according to preferences of respective players, in order to link the support among maniac customers to an increase of the sales proceed.
  • [0010]
    Further, there are some gaming machines such as pachi-slot gaming machines and pachinko gaming machines, so-called explosive machines, which enables players to acquire a greater number of game media within short time periods. These gaming machines are generally popular since they can arouse player's passion for gambling. However, since extremely arousing player's passion for gambling will have social affects, gaming machine makers voluntarily impose restrictions thereon or public institutions impose restrictions thereon. These restrictions are strengthened or alleviated with time, in order to strike a balance between the popularity of gaming machines and the social influences. Accordingly, there has been the problem that such changes in the restrictions affect the profits of game arcades and gaming machine makers. Therefore, there has been a need for providing benefits which can enhance player's attachment to gaming machines and providing a variety of benefits which can provide new enjoyment to players, such as profitable information and rare premiums, in addition to medals paid out as a result of games.
  • [0011]
    The contents of JP-A 2000-210413 are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0012]
    The present invention is made in view of the aforementioned problems and aims at providing service supply systems, servers constituting the service supply systems and gaming machines constituting the service supply systems which are capable of providing services advantageous to both game arcades and the gaming machine maker depending on preferences of respective players, facilitating the utilization of such services, preventing the same premium data to be delivered with the services from being acquired plural times, enhancing player's support and attachment to gaming machines manufactured by the gaming machine maker and preventing the change of the restriction on gaming machines from affecting the profits of game arcades and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0013]
    In order to attain the aforementioned object, the present invention provides the following configurations.
  • [0014]
    The first aspect of the present invention provides the following configuration:
  • [0015]
    (1) A service supply system having:
  • [0016]
    a gaming machine; and
  • [0017]
    a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
  • [0018]
    wherein
  • [0019]
    the gaming machine comprises:
  • [0020]
    code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information in such a manner that the code information can be captured by the image pickup means from the outside, and
  • [0021]
    the server comprises:
  • [0022]
    ID data storage means for receiving URL information and ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device which generates the URL information on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means, and for storing the received ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device;
  • [0023]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device;
  • [0024]
    extraction means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, which is stored in the ID data storage means; and
  • [0025]
    premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by the extraction means to the portable terminal device.
  • [0026]
    According to the configuration (1), the gaming machine displays code information which is coded URL information and, if the image pickup means (for example, a camera or the like) in the portable terminal device (for example, a portable phone or the like) captures the code information according to player's operations and then URL information generated from the code information in the portable terminal device is transmitted to the server along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, the server stores the received ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device on the basis of the stored ID data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable terminal device. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable terminal devices with which individual players have accessed the server. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable terminal devices depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0027]
    (2) The service supply system according to the configuration (1),
  • [0028]
    wherein
  • [0029]
    the code information is code information generated by coding URL information associated with the machine model of the gaming machine.
  • [0030]
    According to the configuration (2), the gaming machine displays code information generated by coding URL information associated with the machine model of the gaming machine and, if the image pickup means in the portable terminal device captures the code information according to player's operations and then the URL information associated with the machine model of the gaming machine is transmitted from the portable terminal device to the server along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, the server stores the received ID data in association with the machine model of the gaming machine, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device on the basis of the stored ID data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable terminal device. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable terminal devices with which individual players have accessed the server, in association with the machine models of gaming machines. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable terminal devices depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0031]
    (3) A server constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (1), comprising:
  • [0032]
    ID data storage means for receiving the URL information and the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device, and for storing the received ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device;
  • [0033]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device;
  • [0034]
    extraction means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, which is stored in the ID data storage means; and
  • [0035]
    premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by the extraction means to the portable terminal device.
  • [0036]
    According to the configuration (3), if the URL information is transmitted from the portable terminal device along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, the server stores the received ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device on the basis of the stored ID data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable terminal device. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable phones terminal devices with which individual players have accessed the server. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable phones terminal devices depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming-machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game arcade facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0037]
    (4) A gaming machine constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (1), comprising:
  • [0038]
    code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
  • [0039]
    According to the configuration (4), code information which is coded URL information is displayed in such a manner that the code information can be captured from the outside. Thus, if the code information is captured by the portable terminal device to generate URL information from the code information and if the URL information is transmitted to the server along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, the server stores the received ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device on the basis of the stored ID data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable terminal device. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable phones terminal devices with which individual players have accessed the server. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable phones terminal devices depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game arcade facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0040]
    The second aspect of the present invention provides the following configuration:
  • [0041]
    (5) A service supply system having:
  • [0042]
    a gaming machine; and
  • [0043]
    a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
  • [0044]
    wherein
  • [0045]
    the gaming machine comprises:
  • [0046]
    code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information in such a manner that the code information can be captured by the image pickup means, and
  • [0047]
    the server comprises:
  • [0048]
    URL information reception means for receiving URL information from the portable terminal device which recognizes the code information from image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information and generates the URL information from the code information;
  • [0049]
    e-mail address acquisition means for acquiring an e-mail address of the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device which is a transmission source of the URL information;
  • [0050]
    e-mail address storage means for storing the e-mail address acquired by the e-mail address acquisition means; and
  • [0051]
    e-mail transmission means for transmitting an e-mail to the portable terminal device on the basis of the e-mail address stored in the e-mail address storage means, at predetermined timing.
  • [0052]
    According to the configuration (5), code information generated by coding URL information (for example, data indicative of the URL of a web site of the gaming machine maker) is displayed on the gaming machine and, if the player captures the code information with the image pickup means (for example, a CCD camera) included in the portable terminal device (for example, a portable phone) to generate image data and then transmits, to the server, game-related information which was generated from the obtained image data in the portable terminal device, the server can acquire the e-mail address of the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device which is the transmission source of the URL information. Then, the server stores the e-mail address. Thus, the server can transmit an e-mail to the portable terminal device on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address to provide, to the player, information profitable to the player, image data for a waiting image, music data for a cellular phone ring melody or the like, through the e-mail. Accordingly, there is provided, for the game facility, the advantage that code information required for acquiring services as described above can be displayed on the gaming machine, thereby enhancing the ability to attract customers. On the other hand, for the gaming machine maker, there is provided the advantage that the popularity of the gaming machine manufactured by the gaming machine maker can be enhanced in the game arcade. Thus, it is possible to provide services advantageous for both the game facility and the gaming machine maker. Further, it is possible to provide such services without involving additional burdens and efforts of personnel. Further, there is provided the advantage that the gaming machine maker or the game arcade can actively provide services through e-mails, in comparison with cases where the gaming machine maker or the game arcade provide services in response to accesses to the server. Further, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media, it is possible to provide, to players, new enjoyment of acquiring profitable information, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like through e-mails, wherein such enjoyment is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0053]
    (6) A gaming machine constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (5), comprising:
  • [0054]
    code information display means for displaying code information which is coded information related to a game, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by the image pickup means.
  • [0055]
    According to the configuration (6), code information generated by coding URL information (for example, data indicative of the URL of a web site of the gaming machine maker) is displayed on the gaming machine and, if the player captures the code information with the image pickup means (for example, a CCD camera) included in the portable terminal device (for example, a portable phone) to generate image data and then transmits, to the server, game-related information which was generated from the obtained image data in the portable terminal device, the server can acquire the e-mail address of the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device which is the transmission source of the URL information. Then, the server stores the e-mail address. Thus, the server can transmit an e-mail to the portable terminal device on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address to provide, to the player, information profitable to the player, image data for a waiting image, music data for a cellular phone ring melody or the like, through the e-mail. Accordingly, there is provided, for the game facility, the advantage that code information required for acquiring services as described above can be displayed on the gaming machine, thereby enhancing the ability to attract customers. On the other hand, for the gaming machine maker, there is provided the advantage that the popularity of the gaming machine manufactured by the gaming machine maker can be enhanced in the game facility. Thus, it is possible to provide services advantageous for both the game facility and the gaming machine maker. Further, it is possible to provide such services without involving additional burdens and efforts of personnel. Further, there is provided the advantage that the gaming machine maker or the game facility can actively provide services through e-mails, in comparison with cases where the gaming machine maker or the game facility provide services in response to accesses to the server. Further, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media, it is possible to provide, to players, new enjoyment of acquiring profitable information, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like through e-mails, wherein such enjoyment is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0056]
    (7) A server constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (5), comprising:
  • [0057]
    URL information reception means for receiving URL information from the portable terminal device which recognizes the code information from image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information and generates the URL information from the code information;
  • [0058]
    e-mail address acquisition means for acquiring an e-mail address of the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device which is a transmission source of the URL information;
  • [0059]
    e-mail address storage means for storing the e-mail address acquired by the e-mail address acquisition means; and
  • [0060]
    e-mail transmission means for transmitting an e-mail to the portable terminal device on the basis of the e-mail address stored in the e-mail address storage means, at predetermined timing.
  • [0061]
    According to the configuration (7), code information generated by coding URL information (for example, data indicative of the URL of a web site of the gaming machine maker) is displayed on the gaming machine and, if the player capture the code information with the image pickup means (for example, a CCD camera) included in the portable terminal device (for example, a portable phone) to generate image data and then transmits, to the server, game-related information which was generated from the obtained image data in the portable terminal device, the server can acquire the e-mail address of the portable terminal device from the portable terminal device which is the transmission source of the URL information. Then, the server stores the e-mail address. Thus, the server can transmit an e-mail to the portable terminal device on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address to provide, to the player, information profitable to the player, image data for a waiting image, music data for a cellular phone ring melody or the like, through the e-mail. Accordingly, there is provided, for the game facility, the advantage that code information required for acquiring services as described above can be displayed on the gaming machine, thereby enhancing the ability to attract customers. On the other hand, for the gaming machine maker, there is provided the advantage that the popularity of the gaming machine manufactured by the gaming machine maker can be enhanced in the game facility. Thus, it is possible to provide services advantageous for both the game facility and the gaming machine maker. Further, it is possible to provide such services without involving additional burdens and efforts of personnel. Further, there is provided the advantage that the gaming machine maker or the game facility can actively provide services through e-mails, in comparison with cases where the gaming machine maker or the game facility provide services in response to accesses to the server. Further, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media, it is possible to provide, to players, new enjoyment of acquiring profitable information, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like through e-mails, wherein such enjoyment is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0062]
    The third aspect of the present invention provides the following configuration:
  • [0063]
    (8) A service supply system having:
  • [0064]
    a gaming machine; and
  • [0065]
    a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means through a communication line,
  • [0066]
    wherein
  • [0067]
    the gaming machine comprises:
  • [0068]
    code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information in such a manner that the code information can be captured from the outside, and
  • [0069]
    the server comprises:
  • [0070]
    reception time data storage means for storing reception time data with the reception time data made to be associated with ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device or player ID data for identifying a player, the reception time data being indicative of the time at which the URL information is received from the portable terminal device which generates the URL information on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means;
  • [0071]
    calculation means for calculating the time interval at which the URL information is received from the portable terminal device, on the basis of plural reception time data stored in the reception time storage means, made in association with the ID data or player ID data;
  • [0072]
    time interval data storage means for storing time interval data indicative of the time interval calculated by the calculation means with the time interval data made to be associated with the ID data or player ID data;
  • [0073]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device;
  • [0074]
    extraction means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means on the basis of the time interval data; and
  • [0075]
    premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by the extraction means to the portable terminal device.
  • [0076]
    According to the configuration (8), code information which is coded URL information is displayed on the gaming machine and, if the image pickup means (for example, a camera or the like) in the portable terminal device (for example, a portable phone or the like) captures the code information according to player's operations and then URL information generated from the code information in the portable terminal device is transmitted to the server along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device or player ID data for identifying the player, the server stores time interval data indicative of the time interval at which the server received the URL information in association with the corresponding ID data or player ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device on the basis of the stored time interval data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable terminal device. Accordingly, the server can monitor the time intervals at which respective players accessed the server, thereby grasping preferences and the like of the players from the time intervals. This enables providing, for example, information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is profitable for players, music data for cellular phone ring melodies or image data for waiting images and the like to maniac players who often access the server, thereby providing services, to players, depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is the advantage that it is possible to provide services as described above without involving additional burdens and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0077]
    (9) A server constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (8), comprising:
  • [0078]
    reception time data storage means for storing reception time data indicative of the time at which the URL information is received from the portable terminal device with the reception time data made to be associated with the ID data or player ID data;
  • [0079]
    calculation means for calculating the time interval at which the URL information is received from the portable terminal device, on the basis of plural reception time data stored in the reception time storage means, made in association with the ID data or player ID data;
  • [0080]
    time interval data storage means for storing time interval data indicative of the time interval calculated by the calculation means with the time interval data made to be associated with the ID data or player ID data;
  • [0081]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device;
  • [0082]
    extraction means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means on the basis of the time interval data; and
  • [0083]
    premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted by the extraction means to the portable terminal device.
  • [0084]
    According to the configuration (9), when the portable terminal device transmits the URL information along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device or player ID data for identifying the player, the server stores time interval data indicative of the time interval at which the server received the URL information in association with the corresponding ID data or player ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device on the basis of the stored time interval data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable terminal device. Accordingly, the server can monitor the time intervals at which respective players accessed the server. This enables providing, for example, information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is profitable for players, music data for cellular phone ring melodies or image data for waiting images and the like to maniac players who often access the server, thereby providing services, to players, depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is the advantage that it is possible to provide services as described above without involving additional burdens and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0085]
    (10) A gaming machine constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (8), comprising:
  • [0086]
    code information display means for displaying code information which is coded URL information, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
  • [0087]
    According to the configuration (10), code information which is coded URL information is displayed in such a manner that the code information can be captured from the outside and, if the code information is captured by the portable terminal device, then URL information is generated from the code information in the portable terminal device and then the URL information is transmitted to the server along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device or player ID data for identifying the player, the server stores time interval data indicative of the time interval at which the server received the URL information in association with the corresponding ID data or player ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device on the basis of the stored time interval data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable terminal device. Accordingly, the server can monitor the time intervals at which respective players accessed the server, thereby grasping preferences and the like of the players from the time intervals. This enables providing, for example, information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is profitable for players, music data for cellular phone ring melodies or image data for waiting images and the like to maniac players who often access the server, thereby providing services, to players, depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is the advantage that it is possible to provide services as described above without involving additional burdens and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0088]
    The fourth aspect of the present invention provides the following configuration:
  • [0089]
    (11) A gaming machine comprising:
  • [0090]
    time measurement means for measuring the current time;
  • [0091]
    time acquisition means for acquiring the current time from the time measurement means; and
  • [0092]
    code information display means for displaying code information generated by coding at least acquired time data indicative of the time acquired by the time acquisition means, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
  • [0093]
    According to the configuration (11), code information generated by coding at least acquired-time data indicative of the time at which the current time was acquired from the time measurement means (for example, an internal clock) is displayed and, if the player captures the code information with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device (for example, a portable phone and the like) and then transmits acquired-time data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. This can urge the player to immediately transmit game-related information based on the captured code information after the player captures the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the code information. Thus, it becomes possible to facilitate the utilization of the service of transmitting premium data to portable terminal devices, on the basis of code information displayed on the gaming machine.
  • [0094]
    (12) A gaming machine comprising:
  • [0095]
    time acquisition means for acquiring the current time from the outside; and
  • [0096]
    code information display means for displaying code information generated by coding acquired time data indicative of the time acquired by the time acquisition means, in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside.
  • [0097]
    According to the configuration (12), code information generated by coding at least acquired-time data indicative of the time at which the current time was acquired from the outside (for example, the server of the arcade in which the gaming machine is installed) is displayed and, if the player captures the code information with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device and then transmits acquired-time data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. This can urge the player to immediately transmit game-related information based on the captured code information after the player captures the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the code information. Thus, it becomes possible to facilitate the utilization of the service of transmitting premium data to portable terminal devices, on the basis of code information displayed on the gaming machine.
  • [0098]
    (13) A service supply system having:
  • [0099]
    the gaming machine according to the configuration (11); and
  • [0100]
    a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
  • [0101]
    wherein
  • [0102]
    the server comprises:
  • [0103]
    reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means;
  • [0104]
    determination means for determining whether or not the reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means;
  • [0105]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device; and
  • [0106]
    premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means to transmit it to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means, but to transmit no premium data to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means.
  • [0107]
    According to the configuration (13), code information generated by coding acquired-time data indicative of the time at which the current time was acquired is displayed on the gaming machine and, if the player captures the code information with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device and then transmits acquired-time data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. This can urge the player to immediately transmit game-related information based on the captured code information after the player captures the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the code information. Thus, it becomes possible to facilitate the utilization of the service of transmitting premium data to portable terminal devices, on the basis of code information displayed on the gaming machine.
  • [0108]
    (14) A service supply system having:
  • [0109]
    the gaming machine according to the configuration (12); and
  • [0110]
    a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means, through a communication line,
  • [0111]
    wherein
  • [0112]
    the server comprises:
  • [0113]
    reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means;
  • [0114]
    determination means for determining whether or not the reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means;
  • [0115]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device; and
  • [0116]
    premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means to transmit it to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means, but to transmit no premium data to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means.
  • [0117]
    According to the configuration (14), code information generated by coding acquired-time data indicative of the time at which the current time was acquired is displayed on the gaming machine and, if the player captures the code information with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device and then transmits acquired-time data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. This can urge the player to immediately transmit game-related information based on the captured code information after the player captures the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the code information. Thus, it becomes possible to facilitate the utilization of the service of transmitting premium data to portable terminal devices, on the basis of code information displayed on the gaming machine.
  • [0118]
    (15) A server constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (13), comprising:
  • [0119]
    reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means;
  • [0120]
    determination means for determining whether or not the reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means;
  • [0121]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device; and
  • [0122]
    premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means to transmit it to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means, but to transmit no premium data to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means.
  • [0123]
    According to the configuration (15), if code information generated by coding acquired-time data indicative of the time at which the current time was acquired is captured with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device to generate image data and then the server receives the acquired-time data which was generated on the basis of the aforementioned image data, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. This can urge the player to immediately transmit game-related information based on the captured code information after the player captures the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the code information. Thus, it becomes possible to facilitate the utilization of the service of transmitting premium data to portable terminal devices, on the basis of code information displayed on the gaming machine.
  • [0124]
    (16) A server constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (14), comprising:
  • [0125]
    reception means for receiving acquired time data from the portable terminal device which generates the acquired time data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means;
  • [0126]
    determination means for determining whether or not the reception means receives the acquired time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means;
  • [0127]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable terminal device; and
  • [0128]
    premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means to transmit it to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means, but to transmit no premium data to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the reception means receives no acquired time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired time data received by the reception means.
  • [0129]
    According to the configuration (16), if code information generated by coding acquired-time data indicative of the time at which the current time was acquired is captured with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device to generate image data and then the server receives the acquired-time data which was generated on the basis of the aforementioned image data, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. This can urge the player to immediately transmit game-related information based on the captured code information after the player captures the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the code information. Thus, it becomes possible to facilitate the utilization of the service of transmitting premium data to portable terminal devices, on the basis of code information displayed on the gaming machine.
  • [0130]
    The fifth aspect of the present invention provides the following configuration:
  • [0131]
    (17) A gaming machine comprising:
  • [0132]
    code information display means for displaying code information in such a manner that the code information can be captured by image pickup means from the outside; and
  • [0133]
    code information generation means for generating code information displayed with the code information display means,
  • [0134]
    wherein
  • [0135]
    the code information generation means generates code information generated by coding at least identification data uniquely allotted for each code information displayed with the code information display means.
  • [0136]
    According to the configuration (17), code information generated by coding at least identification data is displayed, and identification data is uniquely determined for respective code information which is to be displayed on the gaming machine and, if the player capture the code information with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device (for example, a portable phone) and then transmits identification data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it has not previously received the same identification data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it has previously received the same identification data. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable terminal device plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. This can prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has only once been captured.
  • [0137]
    Further, when the server receives, from the portable terminal device, data generated on the basis of image data which was resulted from capturing code information, the server may determine whether or not it has previously received the same data from the same portable terminal device on the basis of the IP address and the like of the portable terminal device received along with the aforementioned data, in order to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. However, in such a case, since the determination as to whether or not the same data has been previously received from the same portable terminal device is performed on the basis of the identification data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, there is the possibility that image data or the like is first used for acquiring premium data and then is transmitted to another portable terminal device for acquiring the premium data again with the aforementioned another portable terminal device. However, according to the configuration (17), since code information includes identification data, even in the aforementioned case, it is possible to prevent premium data from being transmitted plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. Accordingly, it becomes possible to certainly prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has only once been captured.
  • [0138]
    (18) A service supply system having:
  • [0139]
    the gaming machine according to the configuration (17); and
  • [0140]
    a server capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from a portable terminal device including image pickup means through a communication line,
  • [0141]
    wherein
  • [0142]
    the server comprises:
  • [0143]
    reception means for receiving identification data from the portable terminal device which generates the identification data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means;
  • [0144]
    identification data storage means for storing the identification data received by the reception means;
  • [0145]
    determination means for determining whether or not the same identification data has been previously received, on the basis of the identification data received by the reception means and identification data which has been previously stored in the identification data storage means;
  • [0146]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data; and
  • [0147]
    premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means to transmit it to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the same identification data has not been previously received, but to transmit no premium data to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the same identification data has been previously received.
  • [0148]
    According to the configuration (18), code information generated by coding at least identification data is displayed, and identification data is uniquely determined for respective code information which is to be displayed on the gaming machine and, if the player captures the code information with an image pickup means included in a portable terminal device and then transmits identification data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it has not previously received the same identification data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it has previously received the same identification data. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable terminal device plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. This can prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has only once been captured.
  • [0149]
    Further, when the server receives, from the portable terminal device, data generated on the basis of image data which was resulted from capturing code information, the server may determine whether or not it has previously received the same data from the same portable terminal device on the basis of the IP address and the like of the portable terminal device received along with the aforementioned data, in order to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. However, in such a case, since the determination as to whether or not the same data has been previously received from the same portable terminal device is performed on the basis of the identification data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, there is the possibility that image data or the like is first used for acquiring premium data and then is transmitted to another portable terminal device for acquiring the premium data again with the aforementioned another portable terminal device. However, according to the configuration (18), since code information includes identification data, even in the aforementioned case, it is possible to prevent premium data from being transmitted plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. Accordingly, it becomes possible to certainly prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has only once been captured.
  • [0150]
    (19) A server constituting the service supply system according to the configuration (18), comprising:
  • [0151]
    reception means for receiving identification data from the portable terminal device which generates the identification data on the basis of image data obtained by capturing, using the image pickup means, the code information displayed with the code information display means;
  • [0152]
    identification data storage means for storing the identification data received by the reception means;
  • [0153]
    determination means for determining whether or not the same identification data has been previously received, on the basis of the identification data received by the reception means and identification data which has been previously stored in the identification data storage means;
  • [0154]
    premium data storage means for storing premium data; and
  • [0155]
    premium data transmission means for extracting premium data from the premium data storage means to transmit it to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the same identification data has not been previously received, but to transmit no premium data to the portable terminal device if the determination means determines that the same identification data has been previously received.
  • [0156]
    According to the configuration (19), when the server receives identification data generated from image data resulted from capturing code information with the image pickup means of the portable terminal device, the server transmits premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it has not previously received the same identification data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable terminal device if it determines that it has previously received the same identification data. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable terminal device plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. This can prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured.
  • [0157]
    Further, when the server receives, from the portable terminal device, data generated on the basis of image data which was resulted from capturing code information, the server may determine whether or not it has previously received the same data from the same portable terminal device on the basis of the IP address and the like of the portable terminal device received along with the aforementioned data, in order to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. However, in such a case, since the determination as to whether or not the same data has been previously received from the same portable terminal device is performed on the basis of the identification data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device, there is the possibility that image data or the like is first used for acquiring premium data and then is transmitted to another portable terminal device for acquiring the premium data again with the aforementioned another portable terminal device. However, according to the configuration (19), since code information includes identification data, even in the aforementioned case, it is possible to prevent premium data from being transmitted plural times on the basis of code information which has been once captured. Accordingly, it becomes possible to certainly prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of code information which has only once been captured.
  • [0158]
    According to the present invention, there are provided service supply systems which are capable of providing services advantageous to both game arcades and the gaming machine maker depending on preferences of respective players, facilitating the utilization of such services, preventing the same premium data to be delivered with the services from being acquired plural times, enhancing player's support and attachment to gaming machines manufactured by the gaming machine maker and preventing the change of the restriction on gaming machines from affecting the profits of game arcades and the gaming machine maker.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0159]
    FIG. 1 is a view of a network structure illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the first aspect of the present invention;
  • [0160]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically illustrating an example of the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 1;
  • [0161]
    FIG. 3 is a view schematically illustrating an exemplary image being displayed on the liquid crystal display device;
  • [0162]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the general structure of the liquid crystal display device included in the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 1;
  • [0163]
    FIG. 5 is an exploded view of a portion of the structure of the liquid crystal display device illustrated in FIG. 4;
  • [0164]
    FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 1;
  • [0165]
    FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of the sub control circuit illustrated in FIG. 6;
  • [0166]
    FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating a main routine of a game executing process which is conducted in the main control circuit;
  • [0167]
    FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit;
  • [0168]
    FIG. 10 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of an encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S233 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 9;
  • [0169]
    FIG. 11 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a display controlling process which is conducted by the display control circuit;
  • [0170]
    FIG. 12 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the portable phone illustrated in FIG. 1;
  • [0171]
    FIG. 13 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 1;
  • [0172]
    FIG. 14 is a flowchart illustrating a process which is conducted by the portable phone and the server;
  • [0173]
    FIG. 15A is a received-ID storage table which is used in step S601 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 14, FIG. 15B is a number-of-receptions storage table which is used in step S602 to S603 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 14, and FIG. 15C is a premium determination table which is used in step S604 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 14;
  • [0174]
    FIGS. 16A to C are views illustrating exemplary premiums transmitted to the portable phone from the server;
  • [0175]
    FIG. 17 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 14;
  • [0176]
    FIG. 18 is a view illustrating an exemplary premium transmitted from the server to the portable phone;
  • [0177]
    FIG. 19 is a network structure view illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the second aspect of the present invention;
  • [0178]
    FIG. 20 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of a sub control circuit included in the pachi-slot gaming machine according to the second embodiment;
  • [0179]
    FIG. 21 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit;
  • [0180]
    FIG. 22 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S1252 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 21;
  • [0181]
    FIG. 23 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 19;
  • [0182]
    FIG. 24 is a flowchart illustrating the process which is conducted between the portable phone and the server;
  • [0183]
    FIGS. 25A to D are views illustrating exemplary images which are displayed on the liquid crystal display panel of the portable phone;
  • [0184]
    FIG. 26 is a view of a network structure illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the third aspect of the present invention;
  • [0185]
    FIG. 27 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 26;
  • [0186]
    FIG. 28 is a flowchart illustrating the process which is conducted between the portable phone and the server;
  • [0187]
    FIG. 29A is a time interval calculation table which is used in steps S2601 to S2603 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 28, FIG. 29B is a premium determination table which is used in step S2604 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 28;
  • [0188]
    FIG. 30 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 28;
  • [0189]
    FIG. 31 is a view illustrating an exemplary waiting image which is transmitted to the portable phone from the server, as a premium;
  • [0190]
    FIG. 32 is a network structure view illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the fourth aspect of the present invention;
  • [0191]
    FIG. 33 is a perspective view schematically illustrating an example of the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 32;
  • [0192]
    FIG. 34 is a view schematically illustrating an exemplary image being displayed on the liquid crystal display device;
  • [0193]
    FIG. 35 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of a sub control circuit included in the pachi-slot gaming machine according to the fourth embodiment;
  • [0194]
    FIG. 36 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit;
  • [0195]
    FIG. 37A is a view illustrating exemplary acquired-time data and FIG. 37B is a view illustrating exemplary URL information;
  • [0196]
    FIG. 38 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S3254 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 36;
  • [0197]
    FIG. 39 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a display controlling process which is conducted by the display control circuit;
  • [0198]
    FIG. 40 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the portable phone illustrated in FIG. 32;
  • [0199]
    FIG. 41 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 32;
  • [0200]
    FIG. 42 is a flowchart illustrating the process which is conducted between the portable phone and the server;
  • [0201]
    FIG. 43 is a view illustrating an exemplary web page data extraction table used in step S3603 or step S3604 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 42;
  • [0202]
    FIG. 44 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 42;
  • [0203]
    FIGS. 45A to C are views illustrating exemplary images which are displayed on the liquid crystal display panel of the portable phone;
  • [0204]
    FIG. 46 is a view of a network structure illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the fifth aspect of the present invention;
  • [0205]
    FIG. 47 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of a sub control circuit included in the pachi-slot gaming machine according to the fifth embodiment;
  • [0206]
    FIG. 48 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit;
  • [0207]
    FIG. 49 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S4254 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 48;
  • [0208]
    FIG. 50 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the portable phone illustrated in FIG. 46;
  • [0209]
    FIG. 51 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 46;
  • [0210]
    FIG. 52 is a flowchart illustrating the process which is conducted between the portable phone and the server;
  • [0211]
    FIG. 53 is a view illustrating an exemplary web page data extraction table used in step S4603 or step S4604 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 52;
  • [0212]
    FIG. 54 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 52; and
  • [0213]
    FIGS. 55A to C are views illustrating exemplary images which are displayed on the liquid crystal display panel of the portable phone.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS
  • [0214]
    Hereinafter, first to fifth aspects of the present invention will be described. Unless otherwise specified, the term “the present invention” will include all the first to fifth aspects of the present invention.
  • First Embodiment
  • [0215]
    FIG. 1 is a view of a network structure illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the first aspect of the present invention. The service supply system 500 comprises a pachi-slot gaming machine 1, a portable phone 300 including a CCD camera 308 (not shown, see FIG. 12) which functions as image pickup means, and a server 200 capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the portable phone 300, in a wireless manner, via the Internet.
  • [0216]
    In the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, in the event of the transition to a BB (big bonus) as a special gaming state, a two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on a liquid crystal display device 5 at the end of the BB, wherein the two-dimensional code 92 is generated by coding URL information about the pachi-slot gaming machine 1. A player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. The URL information refers to data which includes at least an URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and, in the first embodiment, the URL included in the URL information about the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 indicates the address of a web site (including the web pages constituting the web site) of a gaming machine maker in the server 200 in the Internet.
  • [0217]
    The portable phone 300 recognizes the two-dimensional code from image data which has been obtained by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and then generates URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code. Then, the URL information and ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 are transmitted to the server 200.
  • [0218]
    The server 200 stores, in a hard disk drive 205 (not shown, see FIG. 13), the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300, which is the transmission source of the URL information, and machine model data indicative of the machine model of the pachi-slot gaming machine, which is determined from the URL information. The ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 may be, for example, the telephone number of the portable phone 300 itself, a terminal identification number of the portable phone 300, and the like. The terminal identification number is an identification number that the manufacture/sales maker of the portable phone sets for the portable phone in the manufacturing process thereof. While the telephone number of the player's portable phone is not changed even if the player changes the machine model of the portable phone, the terminal identification number of the portable phone is changed along with the change of the machine model thereof.
  • [0219]
    Next, the server 200 extracts premium data out of premium data (for example, information data which is information advantageous for players, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like) stored in the hard disk drive 205, on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 and the number of times the ID data has been received (the number of times of access to the server 200). Then, the server 200 transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300.
  • [0220]
    As described above, with the service supply system 500, the player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 which is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 at the end of a BB, with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300, to acquire the URL information. Further, the player can transmit the URL information and the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 to the server 200 to acquire premium data on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 and the number of times of access to the server 200.
  • [0221]
    The pachi-slot gaming machine 1 in the service supply system 500 corresponds to a gaming machine according to the first aspect of the present invention. The gaming machine according to the first aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and may be, for example, a pachinko gaming machine, a slot machine or the like.
  • [0222]
    While, in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where a two-dimensional code is employed as code information, the code information according to the first aspect of the present invention includes an one-dimensional code (barcode) as well as such two-dimensional code. Further, while, in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where a QR code (registered trademark) is employed as a two-dimensional code, the first aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case.
  • [0223]
    The portable phone 300 corresponds to a portable terminal device according to the first aspect of the present invention. Further, the portable terminal device according to the first aspect of the present invention is not particularly limited and may be any portable terminal device including image pickup means and also being capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the server through a communication line. For example, the portable terminal device according to the first aspect of the present invention may be a personal digital assistant, a dedicated portable terminal device for the aforementioned service supply system and the like.
  • [0224]
    Further, while in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable phone 300 and the server 200 transmit and receive data to and from each other in a wireless manner, the first aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and transmission and reception of data may be carried out in a wired manner. Namely, the communication line according to the first aspect of the present invention includes wired transmission lines and wireless transmission lines.
  • [0225]
    While, in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where the server 200 extracts premium data on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 and the number of times the server 200 has received the ID data, the first aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and the server may extract premium data on the basis of at least the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device. Namely, in the first aspect of the present invention, extracting premium data on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device is not limited to extracting premium data on the basis of only the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device and includes extracting premium data on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device and other data. Extracting premium data on the basis of only the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device includes, for example, extracting premium data on the basis of numerical characters, symbols and the like which constitute the terminal identification number or the like as ID data. Further, in the case where premium data is extracted on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable terminal device and other data, the other data is not particularly limited and may be, for example, data which is generated by the server on the basis of the fact that the server has received the ID data, such as the number of times the server has received the ID data, the time when the server received the ID data, the time intervals at which the server received the ID data. Also, in cases where the portable terminal device transmits along with the ID data, data of the number of medals acquired in BB (big bonus) games and the like to the server, the aforementioned other data may be the number of the acquired medals. Also, in the case where the portable terminal device transmits along with the ID data, information about the arcade at which games were played to the server, the aforementioned other data may be data of the arcade, the area thereof and the like.
  • [0226]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically illustrating an example of the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 1. The pachi-slot gaming machine 1 is a gaming machine which enables a player to play games using game media such as coins, medals, a token, a card storing information about the game currency which has been provided to the player or to be provided to the player. Hereinafter, the pachi-slot gaming machine will be described as a gaming machine which enables using medals.
  • [0227]
    The liquid crystal display device 5 is installed in the front surface of a casing 2 forming the entire pachi-slot gaming machine 1. The liquid crystal display device 5 includes a transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 (not shown) which can be partially or entirely switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state and is capable of displaying a two-dimensional code 92 as code information. The liquid crystal display device 5 functions as code information display means. While, in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where the liquid crystal display device 5 as code information display means is provided at the front of rotation reels 3, the position at which the code information display means is installed is not particularly limited in the first aspect of the present invention. Further, while in the first embodiment there will be described a case where the liquid crystal display device 5 as a code information display means is used to display effect images and the like, display means for displaying effect images and the like may be provided separately from the code information display means, in the first aspect of the present invention.
  • [0228]
    Further, behind the liquid crystal display device 5, there are provided three rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R as variable display means. The three rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R include identification information, such as plural symbols and the like, which is drawn on their respective outer peripheral surfaces. The three rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R are rotatably arranged along a lateral row.
  • [0229]
    The base portion 10 having a horizontal surface is formed under the liquid crystal display device 5. On the base portion 10, a medal insertion slot 22 is provided at the right side thereof and a 1-BET switch 11 and a maximum-BET switch 13 are provided at the left side thereof.
  • [0230]
    At a leftwardly-biased position on the front surface of the base portion 10, there is provided a stored-medal reimbursement switch 14 which enables switching between crediting and payout of medals which the player acquired in games, by performing pushing operations thereon. In the case where “payout” is selected through switching with the stored-medal reimbursement switch 14, medals are paid out from a medal payout opening 15 at a lower position of the front surface and the paid-out medals are stored on a medal receiving portion 16. On the other hand, in the case where “crediting” is selected, the number of medals is stored, as credit, in a memory (for example, a RAM 43 which will be described later) provided in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1.
  • [0231]
    At the right of the stored-medal reimbursement switch 14, there is mounted a start lever 6 which enables the player to start rotating the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R. The start lever 6 is mounted such that it is rotatable over a predetermined angle range. On the front surface of the base portion 10, at the center thereof, there are provided three stop buttons 7L, 7C and 7R for stopping the rotations of the three rotation reels 3L, 3R and 3C, respectively.
  • [0232]
    At a rightwardly-biased position on the front surface of the base portion 10, there are provided a determination button 26 and a cancel button 27. The determination button 26 and the cancel button 27 enable the player to change the screen displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 and input commands and the like, when operated. At a rightwardly-biased position on the front surface of the base portion 10, there is further provided a door opening/closing and lock releasing device 29 which enables opening and closing the front door by rightwardly rotating it and also releasing lock by leftwardly rotating it, with a predetermined key.
  • [0233]
    Speakers 21L and 21R are provided at the left side and the right side of the casing 2 at an upper portion and, between the two speakers 21L and 21R, there is provided an allotment table panel 23 indicating winning symbol combinations and the number of medals to be allotted and the like.
  • [0234]
    FIG. 3 is a view schematically illustrating an exemplary image being displayed on the liquid crystal display device. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the three rotation reels 3 (3L, 3C and 3R) including plural symbols as identification information drawn on their respective outer peripheral surfaces are rotatably arranged along a lateral row, behind the liquid crystal display device 5.
  • [0235]
    The liquid crystal display device 5 includes a front panel 31 and the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 (not shown) provided behind the front panel 31. The front panel 31 is constituted by a transparent display window 31 a and an image formation region 31 b having images drawn thereon, wherein screen images displayed on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 provided behind the front panel 31 can be viewed through the display window 31 a of the front panel 31.
  • [0236]
    The two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 illustrated in FIG. 3 at the center of a lower portion thereof. Further, under the two-dimensional code 92, there is displayed an image describing “Please capture with a camera” for urging the player to capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300.
  • [0237]
    Behind the liquid crystal display device 5, at the left side thereof, there are provided various types of lamps such as a game start indicating lamp 25, a WIN lamp 17, a medal insertion lamp 24, a maximum-BET lamp 9 c, a 2-BET lamp 9 b and a 1-BET lamp 9 a and various types of display portions such as a number-of-payouts display portion 18, a number-of-stored-medals display portion 19 and a number-of-activated-winning-games display portion 20. The image formation region 31 b of the front panel 31 is formed to be transparent at the portions thereof which are laid at the front of the aforementioned various types of lamps and the aforementioned various types of display portions so that the various types of lamps and the various types of display portions are viewable.
  • [0238]
    The 1-BET lamp 9 a, the 2-BET lamp 9 b and the maximum-BET lamp 9 c are lighted in accordance with the number of medals which are betted on a single game (hereinafter, referred to as the number of BETs). A single game ends at the time when all the rotation reels have been stopped or the payout of medals has been completed in cases where medals are paid out.
  • [0239]
    The WIN lamp 17 is lighted with a predetermined probability in the event of internal winning of a BB (big bonus) or a RB (regular bonus). Also, it is lighted in the event of establishment of winning of a BB or RB. The gaming medal insertion lamp 24 is flashed when inserted medals can be received. The game start indicating lamp 25 is lighted when at least a single line is made effective.
  • [0240]
    The number-of-payouts display portion 18 indicates the number of medals to be paid out in the event of establishment of winning. The number-of-stored-medals display portion 19 indicates the number of stored medals and the number-of-activated-winning-games display portion 20 indicates the number of possible RB games and the number of possible RB game winnings and the like. These display portions are constituted by 7-segment display devices.
  • [0241]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the general structure of the liquid crystal display device included in the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 1. FIG. 5 is an exploded view of a portion of the structure of the liquid crystal display device illustrated in FIG. 4. The liquid crystal display device 5 is constituted by the front panel 31 made of a protective glass 32 and a display plate 33, the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34, a light guide plate 35, a reflection film 36, fluorescent lamps 37 a, 37 b, 38 a and 38 b which are so-called white light sources, lamp holders 39 a to 39 h and a table carrier package (TCP) incorporating ICs for driving the transparent liquid crystal display panel, wherein the TCP is constituted by a flexible board (not shown) connected to a terminal portion of the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34.
  • [0242]
    The liquid crystal display device 5 is provided at the front of the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R. The rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R and the liquid crystal display device 5 are provided such that they are spaced apart from each other by a predetermined distance.
  • [0243]
    The protective glass 32 and the display plate 33 are formed from transparent members. The display plate 33 includes images and the like formed thereon at the positions which are aligned with the BET lamps 9 a to 9 c. Namely, the region of the display plate 33 in which images and the like are formed corresponds to the image formation region 31 b of the front panel 31 while the region of the display plate 33 in which no images and the like are formed corresponds to the display window 31 a of the front panel 31 (see FIG. 2). Also, it is possible to form the display window 31 a over the entire surface of the front panel 31 without forming the image formation region 31 b in the front panel 31. This can be realized by not forming images on the display plate 33 or by eliminating the display plate 33. The electric circuits and the like for operating the various types of lamps and the various types of display portions placed near the back surface of the display plate 33 are not illustrated in the figures.
  • [0244]
    The transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 is formed such that a liquid crystal is filled into a gap portion between a transparent substrate such as a glass plate which includes thin-film transistors formed thereon and a transparent substrate opposing thereto. The display mode of the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 is set to a normally white. The “normally white” is a configuration in which a white displaying state is maintained when the liquid crystal is not driven (light transmitted therethrough to the displaying surface can be viewed from the outside). By providing the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 having such a normally white configuration, even in the event of occurrence of an accident which makes it impossible to drive the liquid crystal, it is possible to view the identification information such as symbols drawn on the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R being variably displayed or statically displayed, which enables continuously playing games. Namely, even in the event of such an accident, it is possible to play games mainly based on to the variable display mode and the static display mode of the identification information indicated on the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R.
  • [0245]
    The light guide plate 35, which is for directing light from the fluorescent lamps 37 a and 37 b to the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 (for illuminating the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34), is provided behind the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 and is constituted by, for example, a transparent member (having a light guiding function) made of an acrylic resin or the like which has a thickness of about 2 cm.
  • [0246]
    The reflection film 36, which is made of, for example, a white polyester film or a vapor-deposited silver film formed on an aluminum thin film, is used to reflect the light introduced into the light guide plate 35 toward the front surface side of the light guide plate 35. The reflection film 36 is constituted by a reflection region 36A and a non-reflection region (transparent region) 36B.
  • [0247]
    The fluorescent lamps 37 a and 37 b are placed along the upper end portion and the lower end portion of the light guide plate 35 and are supported at their opposite end portions by the lamp holders 39 (see FIG. 3). Light emitted from the fluorescent lamps 37 a and 37 b is reflected at the reflection region 36A of the reflection film 36 and then illuminates the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34.
  • [0248]
    The fluorescent lamps 38 a and 38 b are placed at an upper position and a lower position behind the reflection film 36 such that they are faced to the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R. Light emitted from the fluorescent lamps 38 a and 38 b is reflected by the surfaces of the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R and then is directed to the non-reflection region 36B to illuminate the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34.
  • [0249]
    As described above, in the liquid crystal display device 5, the light which is emitted from the fluorescent lamps 37 a and 37 b and then is reflected at the reflection region 36A of the reflection film 36 and the light which is emitted from the fluorescent lamps 38 a and 38 b and then is reflected at the surfaces of the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R toward the non-reflection region 36B illuminate the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34. Accordingly, the region of the liquid crystal display device 5 which corresponds to the non-reflection region 36B of the reflection film 36 is switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state depending on whether or not the liquid crystal is activated, while the region of the liquid crystal display device which corresponds to the reflection region 36A of the reflection film 36 is maintained at a non-transparent state regardless of whether or not the liquid crystal is activated.
  • [0250]
    While, in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, only a portion of the liquid crystal display device is switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state, the entire region of the display screen of the liquid crystal display device may be switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state in the gaming machine according to the first aspect of the present invention. In the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, if the entire region of the liquid crystal display device 5 is formed to be switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state, the entire region of the reflection film 36 can be constituted by the non-reflection region 36B or the reflection film 36 can be omitted.
  • [0251]
    FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 1. A main control circuit 81 is mainly constituted by a microcomputer 40 placed on a circuit board. The microcomputer 40 includes a CPU 41 which executes control operations according to preset programs, a ROM 42 and a RAM 43. A clock pulse generating circuit 144 and a frequency dividing circuit 145 for setting reference clock pulses and a random number generating circuit 146 and a sampling circuit 147 for generating random numbers to be sampled are connected to the CPU 41. Also, the main control circuit 81 may be structured to execute random number sampling in programs for operating the CPU 41, as means for executing random number sampling.
  • [0252]
    The ROM 42 stores various types of control commands (commands) to be transmitted to a sub control circuit 82. For example, the ROM 42 stores commands relating to control of the display on the liquid crystal display device 5, as such commands.
  • [0253]
    As such commands relating to control of the display on the liquid crystal display device 5, there are, for example, an effect starting command and an end effect command. The effect starting command is a command for displaying an effect image on the liquid crystal display device 5 at the start of rotations of the three rotation reels 3. The end effect command is a command for displaying an effect image on the liquid crystal display device 5 when all the three rotation reels 3 have been stopped. Further, the ROM 42 stores commands relating to setting or releasing of an RB and a BB, wherein these commands are for notifying the sub control circuit 82 of the fact that a RB or BB has been set or released. Also, instead of using the commands relating to setting or releasing of an RB or BB, various types of commands relating to control of the display on the liquid crystal display device 5 may include data indicating that an RB or BB is being executed.
  • [0254]
    The CPU 41 calls up the aforementioned various types of commands from the ROM 42 and sets them in the RAM 43, in the event that a predetermined condition is satisfied. The commands set in the RAM 43 are supplied to the sub control circuit 82 at predetermined timing. The sub control circuit 82 conducts various types of processes on the basis of the supplied commands.
  • [0255]
    The sub control circuit 82 does not input commands and the like to the main control circuit 81, and communication is performed therebetween only in a single direction from the main control circuit 81 to the sub control circuit 82. Further, the ROM 42 stores a symbol table for associating the rotational positions of the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R with the symbols drawn on the outer peripheral surfaces of the rotation reels. Further, it stores a winning symbol combination table which associates winning symbol combinations with the numbers of medals to be allotted for the corresponding winnings and winning determination codes indicative of the corresponding winnings. It further stores a lottery probability table required for performing lottery for determining an internal winning combination and the like. In addition to the aforementioned commands, the RAM 43 stores variables, flags and the like relating to the progress of games, such as the number of credits corresponding to the numbers of medals.
  • [0256]
    As main peripheral devices (actuators) which are operated under the control of control signals from the microcomputer 40, there are various types of lamps (the 1-BET lamp 9 a, the 2-BET lamp 9 b, the maximum-BET lamp 9 c, the WIN lamp 17, the gaming medal insertion lamp 24, the game start indicating lamp 25), various types of display portions (the number-of-payouts display portion 18, the number-of-stored-medals display portion 19 and the number-of-activated-winning-games display portion 20), a hopper (including a driving portion for payout) 50 for paying out a predetermined number of medals according to commands from the hopper driving circuit 51 and stepping motors 59L, 59C and 59R for rotating and driving the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R.
  • [0257]
    Further, a motor driving circuit 49 for driving and controlling the stepping motors 59L, 59C and 59R, the hopper driving circuit 51 for driving and controlling the hopper 50, a lamp driving circuit 55 for driving and controlling the various types of lamps and a display portion driving circuit 58 for driving and controlling the various types of display portions are connected to the output portion of the CPU 41 through the I/O port 48. These driving circuits controls the operations of the respective actuators, on receiving control commands such as driving commands output from the CPU 41.
  • [0258]
    As main input signal generation circuits which generate input signals required for causing the microcomputer 40 to generate control commands, there are the start switch 6S, the 1-BET switch 11, the maximum-BET switch 13, the stored-medal reimbursement switch 14, the inserted-medal sensor 22S, a reset switch 62, a setting key-type switch 63, a reel stop signal circuit 56, a reel position detecting circuit 60 and a payout completion signal circuit 61. These devices are also connected to the CPU 41 through the I/O port 48.
  • [0259]
    The start switch 6S detects the operation performed on the start lever 6. The inserted-medal sensor 22S detects medals inserted into the medal insertion slot 22. The reel stop signal circuit 56 generates stop signals in accordance with the operations performed on the respective stop buttons 7L, 7C and 7R. The determination button 26 and the cancel button 27 enables changing over the screen displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 and inputting of commands, when operated.
  • [0260]
    The reel position detecting circuit 60 transmits, to the CPU 41, signals used for detecting the positions of the respective rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R, on receiving pulse signals from reel rotation sensors. The payout completion signal circuit 61 generates a medal payout completion signal, when the count value of a medal detection portion 50S (the number of medals paid out from the hopper 50) reaches a designated number. On receiving the medal payout completion signal, the CPU 41 stops the driving of the hopper 50 through the hopper driving circuit 51 to complete the payout of medals. The medal detection portion 50S includes a medal sensor constituted by, for example, a physical sensor for detecting medals being paid out from the hopper 50 and is capable of counting the number of paid-out medals through the medal sensor.
  • [0261]
    In the circuit illustrated in FIG. 6, the random number generating circuit 46 generates random numbers within a certain numerical value range, and the sampling circuit 47 samples a single random number therefrom at proper timing after the start lever 6 is operated. On the basis of the sampled random number and the probability sortition table stored in the ROM 42, an internal winning combination is determined. After the determination of an internal winning combination, a random number is sampled again for selecting “a stopping control table”.
  • [0262]
    After the rotations of the reels 3L, 3C and 3R are started, the numbers of driving pulses supplied to the respective stepping motors 59L, 59C and 59R are counted and the count values are written into a predetermined area of the RAM 43. Reset pulses are generated from the reels 3L, 3C and 3R every time they have completed a single rotation and these pulses are input to the CPU 41 through the reel position detecting circuit 60. Through the generated reset pulses, the driving pulse count values counted in the RAM 43 are cleared to “0”. Consequently, in the RAM 43, there are stored count values corresponding to the rotational positions of the respective reels 3L, 3C and 3R within the range of a single rotation.
  • [0263]
    In order to associate the aforementioned rotational positions of the reels 3L, 3C and 3R with the symbols drawn on the reel outer peripheral surfaces, the symbol table is stored in the ROM 42. In the symbol table, code numbers which are successively provided to the respective reels 3L, 3C and 3R with a constant rotational pitch are associated with symbol codes indicative of the symbols provided in correspondence with the respective code numbers, based on the rotational positions at which the aforementioned reset pulses are generated.
  • [0264]
    Further, the ROM 42 stores the winning symbol combination table. In the winning symbol combination table, winning symbol combinations are associated with the numbers of medals to be allotted for the corresponding winnings and winning determination codes indicative of the corresponding winnings. Reference is made to the aforementioned winning symbol combination table, during the stopping control of the left reel 3L, the center reel 3C and the right reel 3R and during winning confirmation after all the reels are stopped.
  • [0265]
    In the event of internal winning as a result of a lottery process (probability sortition process) based on the aforementioned random number sampling, the CPU 41 transmits signals for controlling the stopping of the reels 3L, 3C and 3R to the motor driving circuit 49, on the basis of operations signals, which are transmitted from the reel stop signal circuit 56 at the timing when the player operates the stop buttons 7L, 7C and 7R, and the selected “stopping control table”.
  • [0266]
    In the event of the occurrence of a stop mode indicative of the establishment of winning of the internal winning combination, when “payout” has been selected through the switching with the stored-medal reimbursement switch 14, the CPU 41 causes the hopper 50 to pay out a predetermined number of medals, by sending a payout command signal to the hopper driving circuit 51. At this time, the medal detection portion 50S counts the number of medals being paid out from the hopper 50 and, when the count value reaches a designated number, it inputs a medal payout completion signal to the CPU 41. Thus, the CPU 41 stops the driving of the hopper 50 through the hopper driving circuit 51 to complete the “medal payout process”. On the other hand, when “crediting” has been selected through the switching with the stored-medal reimbursement switch 14, the number of medals to be paid out is stored as credit in the RAM 43.
  • [0267]
    The sub control circuit 82 is connected to the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41. The sub control circuit 82 controls the display on the liquid crystal display device 5 and the sound to be output from the speakers 21L and 21R, on the basis of control commands (commands) from the main control circuit 81.
  • [0268]
    FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of the sub control circuit illustrated in FIG. 6. While in the first embodiment the sub control circuit is configured such that the main control circuit 81 can send commands to the sub control circuit 82 while the sub control circuit 82 can not send signals to the main control circuit 81, the present invention is not limited thereto and the sub control circuit 82 may be configured such that it can transmit signals to the main control circuit 81.
  • [0269]
    The sub control circuit 82 includes a sub CPU 206, a program ROM 208 and a work RAM 210. Further, the determination button 26 and the cancel button 27 are connected to the sub control circuit 82 through an interface circuit 240. The sub control circuit 82 further includes a display control circuit 250 for controlling the display on the liquid crystal display device 5 and a sound control circuit 230 for conducting controls relating to the sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0270]
    The sub CPU 206 has the function of conducting various types of processes according to programs stored in the program ROM 208 and also controls the sub control circuit 82 according to various types of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Particularly, the sub CPU 206 conducts display controls on the display control circuit 250. The sub CPU 206 encodes the URL information relating to the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 to generate a two-dimensional code and stores it in the work RAM 210, at the timing when it receives a command relating to the BB setting from the main control circuit 81. Then, the sub CPU 206 extracts a two-dimensional code display pattern from the program ROM 208 and transmits it to the VDP 212, at the timing when it receives a command relating to BB releasing from the main control circuit 81. The two-dimensional code display pattern includes various types of data required for displaying a two-dimensional code, such as the position and the time interval at and during which the two-dimensional code is displayed. As will be described later, on receiving the two-dimensional code display pattern, the VDP 212 conducts a process for reading the two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 and displaying it on the liquid crystal display device 5, on the basis of the aforementioned two-dimensional code display pattern. While, in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where the URL information is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, such a two-dimensional code may be previously stored in an image data ROM 216 or the like in the first aspect of the present invention.
  • [0271]
    The program ROM 208 stores programs for causing the sub CPU 206 to control game effects on the liquid crystal display device 5 and also stores various types of tables such as a table for making determinations relating to effects. Further, the program ROM 208 stores plural types of effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 and further stores plural types of end effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 when all the reels 3 have been stopped. Further, the program ROM 208 stores a two-dimensional code display pattern including various types of data required for displaying a two-dimensional code.
  • [0272]
    While, in the first embodiment, the program ROM 208 is utilized as a storage medium for storing programs, tables and the like, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize other types of storage media capable of being read by a computer equipped with a CPU and the like and, for example, it is possible to store them in storage media, such as a hard disk device, a CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, a ROM cartridge. As a matter of course, the programs, the tables and the like stored in the program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42. Also, instead of previously storing such programs, these programs may be downloaded and stored in the work RAM 210 or the like after power up. Also, respective programs may be stored in different storage media.
  • [0273]
    While, in the first embodiment, the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 and the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 are configured separately from each other, the present invention is not limited thereto and only the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 may be structured. In the latter case, the programs stored in the aforementioned program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42 to be executed by the CPU 41. As a matter of course, the present invention may be configured to be provided with only the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 and, in this case, the programs stored in the aforementioned ROM 42 may be stored in the program ROM 208 to be executed by the sub CPU 206.
  • [0274]
    The work RAM 210 has the function of storing various types of flags and variable values, as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206. Further, the work RAM 210 stores a two-dimensional code resulted from encoding of the URL information. While, in the first embodiment, the work RAM 210 is utilized as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize any readable and writable storage media.
  • [0275]
    The sound control circuit 230 is constituted by a sound source IC 232 for conducting controls relating to sounds, a sound data ROM 234 for storing various types of sound data, and an amplifier 236 (hereinafter, abbreviated to as an AMP) for amplifying sound signals.
  • [0276]
    The sound source IC 232 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the sound data ROM 234 and the AMP 236. The sound source IC 232 controls sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0277]
    The sub CPU 206 selects single sound data from plural sound data stored in the sound data ROM 234, on the basis of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Then, the sub CPU 206 reads the selected sound data from the sound data ROM 234 and supplies it to the sound source IC 232. On receiving the sound data, the sound source IC 232 converts the sound data into predetermined sound signals and supplies the sound signals to the AMP 236. The AMP 236 amplifies the sound signals and causes the speakers 21 (21L and 21R) to generate sounds.
  • [0278]
    The display control circuit 250 conducts a process for generating a screen image according to the result of games determined by the CPU 41 or commands input through the various types of buttons 26 and 27 and controlling display of the aforementioned screen image on the liquid crystal display device 5. The display control circuit 250 is constituted by an image data processor (hereinafter, referred to as a VDP) 212, an image data ROM 216 for storing various types of image data, and a D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals. The VDP 212 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the image data ROM 216 which stores image data and the D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals.
  • [0279]
    The VDP 212 is a device including various types of circuits such as a sprite circuit, a screen circuit and a pallet circuit and being capable of conducting various types of processes for displaying screen images on the liquid crystal display device 5. Namely, the VDP 212 controls the display on the liquid crystal display device 5. Further, the VDP 212 includes a storage medium (for example, a video RAM) as a buffer used for displaying screen images on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5. By storing image data in a predetermined storage region of the storage medium, a screen image is displayed on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5 at a predetermined timing.
  • [0280]
    The image data ROM 216 stores, for example, background images, character images indicating characters and the like. While in the first embodiment there will be described a case where the URL information is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, such a two-dimensional code may be previously stored in the image data ROM 216 in the first aspect of the present invention.
  • [0281]
    The VDP 212 extracts effect images from the image data ROM 216, according to image displaying commands (commands) transmitted from the sub CPU 206. Further, when the VDP 212 receives a two-dimensional code display pattern from the sub CPU 206, it extracts a two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 on the basis of the two-dimensional code display pattern.
  • [0282]
    The VDP 212 superimposes the various types of images extracted from the image data ROM 216 and the work RAM 210 in the order of the position to be placed from rearmost to frontmost, for example, in the order of a background image, a character image and the two-dimensional code and stores them in the buffer (for example, a video RAM and the like) to synthesize a screen image and supplies it to the D/A converter 218 at a predetermined timing. The D/A converter 218 converts the screen image into image signals and supplies the image signals to the liquid crystal display device 5. As a result, the two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 (see FIG. 2). The player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. At this time, the liquid crystal display device 5 functions as code information display means for displaying the two-dimensional code (code information), which is generated from coding of the URL information relating to the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, in such a manner that the two-dimensional code can be captured with the CCD camera 308 (image pickup means) from the outside.
  • [0283]
    While in the first embodiment there will be described a case where the sub CPU 206 encodes the URL information to generate a two-dimensional code, in the first aspect of the present invention, such a two-dimensional code may be stored in the storage means included in the gaming machine.
  • [0284]
    The following description will be provided on the assumption that the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 has been activated and is being normally operated at a state where variable values used in the CPU 41 have been initialized to predetermined values and set values have been set to predetermined values.
  • [0285]
    FIG. 8 is a flowchart illustrating a main routine of a game executing process which is conducted in the main control circuit.
  • [0286]
    First, the CPU 41 determines whether or not there is a request for medal automatic insertion (step S120). Such a case where there is a request for automatic insertion is the case where winning of replaying of games (replay) was established in the previous game. If there is a request for medal automatic insertion, a required number of medals are automatically inserted (step S122), and a medal insertion command is transmitted to the sub control circuit 82 (step S123).
  • [0287]
    On the other hand, if it is determined in step S120 that there is no request for medal automatic insertion, the CPU 41 determines whether or not medals have been inserted (step S121). Namely, the CPU 41 determines whether or not it has received detection signals from the inserted-medal sensor 22S or detection signals from the BET switches (the 1-BET switch 11 or the maximum-BET switch 13) to determine whether or not medals have been inserted, wherein the inserted-medal sensor 22S generates such detection signals when it detects medals being inserted into the medal insertion slot 22. If it is determined that detection signals generated from the BET switches (the 1-BET switch 11 or the maximum-BET switch 13) have been received, the CPU 41 conducts a process for subtracting the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 by the number of credits corresponding to the number of BET medals.
  • [0288]
    If it is determined in step S121 that no medal has been inserted, the CPU 41 returns the process to step S120. Also, if it is determined in step S121 that medals have been inserted or if the process in step S123 has been conducted, the CPU 41 determines whether or not the start lever 6 has been operated (step S124). Namely, the CPU 41 determines whether or not input signals have been received from the start switch 6S.
  • [0289]
    If it is determined in step S124 that the start lever 6 has not been operated, the CPU 41 returns the process to step S120. On the other hand, if it is determined in step S124 that the start lever 6 has been operated, the CPU 41 conducts a process relating to various types of setting (step S125). In the various setting processes, a lottery process is conducted, wherein the lottery process is a process for sampling a random number from the random number generating circuit 146 at the timing when the start lever 6 is operated and then generating an internal winning combination (winning flag) on the basis of the sampled random number and the lottery probability table set in the RAM 43. Further, in the various setting processes, WIN-lamp lighting lottery process, a process relating to the selection of a stopping control table for stopping the rotation reels, a process for performing initialization of reel rotation and the like and then the rotation reels 3 (3L, 3C and 3R) are started to rotate.
  • [0290]
    After the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R are started to rotate, the numbers of driving pulses supplied to the respective stepping motors 59L, 59C and 59R are counted and the count values are stored in the RAM 43. Reset pulses are generated from the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R every time they have completed a single rotation and these pulses are input to the CPU 41 through the reel position detecting circuit 60. Through the generated reset pulses, the driving pulse count values counted in the RAM 43 are cleared to “0”. Consequently, in the RAM 43, there are stored count values corresponding to the rotational positions of the respective rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R within the range of a single rotation.
  • [0291]
    In the symbol table, which is stored in the ROM 42 in order to associate the rotational positions of the reels 3L, 3C and 3R with the symbols drawn on the rotation reel outer peripheral surfaces, the code numbers which are successively provided to the respective reels 3L, 3C and 3R with a constant rotational pitch are associated with the symbol codes indicative of the symbols provided thereon in correspondence with the respective code numbers. Further, reference is made to the winning symbol combination table stored in the ROM 42, during the stopping control of the respective rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R and during the winning confirmation after all the rotation reels are stopped. After conducting the process in step S125, the CPU 41 transfers the process to step S126.
  • [0292]
    In step S126, the CPU 41 sets an effect starting command in the RAM 43. The effect starting command is a command for starting displaying of a predetermined effect image on the liquid crystal display device 5 and includes data relating to the internal winning combination determined through the aforementioned lottery process. The effect starting command is supplied to the sub control circuit 82 at predetermined timing. After conducting the process in step S126, the CPU 41 transfers the process to step S128.
  • [0293]
    In step S128, the CPU 41 determines whether or not the stop buttons 7 (7L, 7C and 7R) are “ON”, on the basis of whether or not there are input signals from the reel stop signal circuit 56 (step S128). If it is determined that the stop buttons 7 are not “ON”, the CPU 41 determines whether or not the value of an automatic stopping timer is “0” (step S129) and, if it is determined that the value is not “0”, the process returns to step S128.
  • [0294]
    On the other hand, if it is determined in step S128 that the stop buttons 7 are “ON” or if it is determined in step S129 that the value of the automatic stopping timer is “0”, the CPU 41 stops the rotations of the rotation reels 3 corresponding to the stop buttons 7. At this time, the number of sliding symbols is determined on the basis of a winning request (which corresponds to an internal winning combination), the positions of symbols (the rotational positions of the rotation reels 3 at the time of operations), the selected stopping control table and the like (step S130).
  • [0295]
    Next, the CPU 41 conducts a process for rotating the rotation reels 3 by the number of sliding symbols determined in step S130 and then stopping them (step S131) and then sets a stopping request for a single rotation reel 3 (step S132).
  • [0296]
    Next, the CPU 41 determines whether or not all the three rotation reels 3 (3L, 3C and 3R) have been stopped (step S135). If it is determined that all the rotation reels 3 have not been stopped, the process returns to step S128. On the other hand, if it is determined that all the rotation reels 3 have been stopped, then the CPU 41 performs winning retrieval (step S136). At this time, the CPU 41 makes reference to the winning symbol combination table and the like stored in the ROM 42. Also, it may be determined whether or not the winning flag is normal and, if it is not normal, an illegal error may be indicated and then the process may be interrupted.
  • [0297]
    Next, the CPU 41 sets an end effect command in the RAM 43 (step S137). The end effect command is a command for displaying an effect image at the end of games depending on the result of the games and includes data about the result of the winning retrieval in step S136. The end effect command is supplied to the sub control circuit 82 at predetermined timing.
  • [0298]
    Next, the CPU 41 determines whether or not medals should be paid out, namely whether or not there are medals to be paid out as a result of winning (step S138). If CPU 41 determines that medals should be paid out, the CPU 41 stores or pays out medals, wherein the number of medals to be stored or paid out depends on the gaming state or the winning combination (step S139). When medals are to be stored, the CPU 41 conducts a process for incrementing the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when medals are to be paid out, the CPU 41 transmits a payout command signal to the hopper driving circuit 51 to cause the hopper 50 to pay out a predetermined number of medals. At this time, the medal detection portion 50S counts the number of medals being paid out from the hopper 50 and, when the count value reaches a designated value, the medal detection portion 50S inputs a medal payout completion signal to the CPU 41. Thus, the CPU 41 stops the driving of the hopper 50 through the hopper driving circuit 51 to complete the medal payout process.
  • [0299]
    Next, the CPU 41 determines whether or not winning of an RB has occurred (step S140). If the CPU 41 determines that winning of an RB has occurred, it conducts a process relating to RB setting (step S141). In step S141, the CPU 41 conducts a process for setting an RB lottery probability table and an RB winning symbol combination table. Further, in step S141, the CPU 41 starts a process for counting the number of RB game winnings and the like and a process for causing the number-of-activated-winning-games display portion 20 to display the count value. After conducting the process in step S141, the CPU 41 transfers the process to step S142.
  • [0300]
    In step S142, the CPU 41 sets an RB setting command in the RAM 43. The RB setting command is a command for displaying an RB effect image as a screen image on the liquid crystal display device 5. The RB setting command is supplied to the sub control circuit 82 at predetermined timing.
  • [0301]
    If it is determined in step S140 that winning of an RB has not occurred or if the process in step S142 has been conducted, the CPU 41 determines whether or not winning of a BB has occurred (step S143). If it is determined that winning of a BB has occurred, the CPU 41 conducts a process relating to BB setting (step S144). In step S144, the CPU 41 conducts a process for setting a BB lottery probability table and a BB winning symbol combination table and the like. Further, in step S146, the CPU 41 starts to count the number of completed BB games and the like, display the count value on the number-of-activated-winning-games display portion 20, and to count paid-out medals and the like. At this time, the CPU 41 functions as special game state shifting means for shifting the gaming state to a special gaming state (BB). Thereafter, the CPU 41 transfers the process to step S145.
  • [0302]
    In step S145, the CPU 41 sets a BB setting command in the RAM 43. The BB setting command is a command for displaying an BB effect image as a screen image on the liquid crystal display device 5. The BB setting command is supplied to the sub control circuit 82 at predetermined timing.
  • [0303]
    If it is determined in step S143 that winning of a BB has not occurred or if the process in step S145 has been conducted, the CPU 41 determines whether or not the RB has been completed (step S146). If it is determined that the RB has been completed, then the CPU 41 conducts a process relating to release of the RB setting (step S147). In step S148, the CPU 41 conducts a process relating to changing the setting of the RB lottery probability table and the RB winning symbol combination table and the like which have been set through the process in step S141 to the lottery probability table for use in a normal gaming state (a gaming state other than RB and BB). Thereafter, the CPU 41 transfers the process to step S148.
  • [0304]
    In step S148, the CPU 41 sets an RB releasing command in the RAM 43. The RB releasing command is a command for stopping the displaying of the RB effect image as a screen image and displaying a normal effect image (for a gaming state other than RB and BB) on the liquid crystal display device 5. The RB releasing command is supplied to the sub control circuit 82 at predetermined timing.
  • [0305]
    If it is not determined in step S146 that the RB has been completed or if the process in step S148 has been conducted, the CPU 41 determines whether or not the BB has been completed (step S149). If it is determined that the BB has been completed, the CPU 41 conducts a process relating to release of the BB setting (step S150). In step S150, the CPU 41 conducts a process relating to changing the setting of the BB lottery table and the BB winning symbol combination table set through the process in step S144 to the lottery probability table for use in a normal gaming state (other than RB and BB). At this time, the CPU 41 functions as special game state completion means for completing a special gaming state. Thereafter, the CPU 41 transfers the process to step S151.
  • [0306]
    In step S151, the CPU 41 sets an BB releasing command in the RAM 43. The BB releasing command is a command for stopping the displaying of the BB effect image as a screen image and displaying a normal effect image (for a gaming state other than RB and BB) on the liquid crystal display device 5. The BB releasing command is supplied to the sub control circuit 82 at predetermined timing. If it is determined in step S149 that the RB has not been completed or if the process in step S151 has been conducted, this subroutine ends.
  • [0307]
    FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit. First, in step S200, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an effect starting command. If it is determined that no effect starting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S210. On the other hand, if it is determined that an effect starting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208, in step S201. When an RB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects an RB effect pattern while when a BB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects a BB effect pattern. Next, in step S202, effect pattern data which is data indicative of the effect pattern is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S202 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S210.
  • [0308]
    In step S210, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an end effect command. If it is determined that no end effect command has been received, the process proceeds to step S220. In step S211, on the other hand, if it is determined that an end effect command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an end effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of end effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208. Next, in step S212, end effect pattern data is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S210 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S220.
  • [0309]
    In step S220, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB setting command. If it is determined that no RB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S230. On the other hand, if it is determined that an RB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets an RB flag in step S221. After the process in step S221 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S230. The RB flag is a flag set at the start of an RB and cleared at the end of the RB.
  • [0310]
    In step S230, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB setting command. If it is determined that no BB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S240. On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets a BB flag in step S231. The BB flag is a flag set at the start of a BB and cleared at the end of the BB.
  • [0311]
    After conducting the process in step S231, the sub CPU 206 conducts an encoding process for coding the URL information relating to the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 into a two-dimensional code (step S233). The encoding process will be described in detail later with reference to FIG. 10. Next, the sub CPU 206 stores the two-dimensional code generated in step S233 in the work RAM 210 (step S234).
  • [0312]
    If it is determined in step S230 that no BB setting command has been received or if the process in step S234 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB releasing command (step S240). If it is determined that an RB releasing command has been received, the RB flag is cleared (step S241).
  • [0313]
    If it is determined in step S240 that no RB releasing command has been received or if the process in step S241 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB releasing command (step S250). If it is determined that no BB releasing command has been received, this subroutine is completed. On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB releasing command has been received, the sub CPU 206 clears the BB flag (step S251). Next, the sub CPU 206 reads two-dimensional code display pattern data from the program ROM 208 and sends it to the display control circuit 250 (step S252). Then, this subroutine is completed.
  • [0314]
    FIG. 10 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S233 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 9.
  • [0315]
    First, the sub CPU 206 sets the URL information relating to the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 in the work RAM 210 (step S400). In the figure, there is illustrated “http://***.***/.004.htm”, as an exemplary URL as the URL information relating to the pachi-slot gaming machine 1.
  • [0316]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 generates a mode identifier according to the type of the characters of the URL information (for example, numerical characters, alphanumeric characters and the like), in the work RAM 210 (step S401). Then, the sub CPU 206 generates a number-of-characters identifier according to the number of characters of the URL information, in the work RAM 210 (step S402). Then, the CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the URL information (step S403). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for adding an end pattern to the data obtained in steps S401 to S403 (step S404).
  • [0317]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts code language conversion on the data obtained in step S404 (step S405). Further, the sub CPU 206 generates an error correction code language on the basis of the data obtained in step S405 and adds it to the data obtained in step S405 (step S406). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the data obtained in step S406 and arranging it in a matrix shape (step S407). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for masking the data obtained in step S407 with a predetermined pattern (step S408). Next, it conducts a process for adding, thereto, format information including an error correction level and a mask identifier (step S409) and then generates a two dimensional code (step S410). The generated two-dimensional code is stored in the work RAM 210. Thereafter, this subroutine is completed.
  • [0318]
    While, in the first embodiment, there has been described a case where only the URL information is encoded (coded) into a two-dimensional code, the URL information and other data (for example, data of the number of medals acquired in BB (big bonus) games and the like) may be encoded, in the first aspect of the present invention.
  • [0319]
    FIG. 11 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a display controlling process which is conducted by the display control circuit. The VDP 212 generates a screen image according to various types of data transmitted from the sub CPU 206. If the VDP 212 has not received effect pattern data supplied from the sub CPU 206 (step S300: NO), it extracts a demonstration image from the image data ROM 216 and stores it in the buffer (step S301).
  • [0320]
    If the VDP 212 has received effect pattern data transmitted from the sub CPU 206 (step S300: YES), but has not received end effect pattern data (step S304: NO), it extracts an effect image from the image data ROM 216 and stores it in the buffer (step S305).
  • [0321]
    If the VDP 212 has received effect pattern data transmitted from the sub CPU 206 (step S300: YES) and also has received end effect pattern data (step S304: YES), it extracts an end effect image from the image data ROM 216 and then stores it in the buffer (step S306). After conducting the process in steps S301, S305 and S306, if the VDP 212 receives two-dimensional code display pattern data (step S320: YES), it extracts a two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 and stores it in the buffer (step S321). At this time, the two-dimensional code is stored therein in such a manner that it is superimposed on the effect image which has been extracted and stored in the buffer in steps S301, S305 and S306. Thereafter, if the timing of ending the displaying of the two-dimensional code comes (step S323: YES), the two-dimensional code display pattern data is cleared (step S324).
  • [0322]
    Then, at every predetermined timing (for example, at 1/30-second intervals) (step S307: YES), the screen image is output to the liquid crystal display device 5 (step S308). As a result, a two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5, as illustrated in FIG. 2. On the other hand, if the predetermined timing has not come (step S307: NO), the process returns to step S307.
  • [0323]
    Thereafter, if the effect has not been completed (step S310: NO), the process returns to step S300. On the other hand, if the effect has been completed (step S310: YES), the pattern data is cleared (step S311) and the process returns to step S300.
  • [0324]
    In the gaming machine according to the first aspect of the present invention, it is desirable that the code information (two-dimensional code) is displayed at the end of a special gaming state (BB) as in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1. This is because of the following reason. Since the code information is displayed at the end of a special gaming state at which the player is most likely to lose the enthusiasm about games, it is possible to raise his or her interest in games, again. Further, if the code information is displayed when the player is enthusing over games, this will prevent the player from easily capturing the code information with the image pickup means of the portable terminal device; on the other hand, even if the code information is displayed at the end of the special gaming state, this will not obstruct games thereby enabling the player to capture the code information without fail since the games are delimited at the end of the special gaming state. Further, the timing at which the code information is displayed in the gaming machine according to the first aspect of the present invention is not limited to the aforementioned case.
  • [0325]
    FIG. 12 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the portable phone illustrated in FIG. 1. The portable phone 300 corresponds to a portable terminal device according to the first aspect of the present invention. The portable terminal device 300 includes an operating portion 304, a liquid crystal display panel 306, a CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, a wireless communication portion 310, a sound circuit 312, a speaker 314, a microphone 316, a transmission/reception antenna 318, a nonvolatile memory 320, a microcomputer 322 and a secondary battery 324.
  • [0326]
    The wireless communication portion 310 performs transmission and reception to and from base stations using radio waves as media through the transmission/reception antenna 318, under the control of the microcomputer 322. The sound circuit 312 outputs, to the speaker 314, reception signals which have been output thereto from the wireless communication portion 310 through the microcomputer 322 and also outputs sound signals output from the microphone 316, as transmission signals, to the wireless communication portion 310 through the microcomputer 322.
  • [0327]
    The speaker 314 converts the reception signals output from the sound circuit 312 into reception sounds and outputs them. The microphone 316 converts sounds which have been generated and transmitted from an operator, into sound signals, and outputs them to the sound circuit 312. The CCD camera 308 is capable of capturing the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and, the image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92 is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320. While, in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where the CCD camera is utilized as image pickup means, the image pickup means according to the first aspect of the present invention is not particularly limited and may be, for example, a CMOS sensor camera or the like.
  • [0328]
    The nonvolatile memory 320 stores, in a nonvolatile manner, various types of data, such as image data generated by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies, and various types of programs. The secondary battery 324 supplies electric power to the respective circuits. The microcomputer 322 is constituted by a CPU, a ROM and a RAM, and conducts, for example, phone-call sending/receiving processing, e-mail generating/sending/receiving processing, Internet processing and the like. The microcomputer 322 conducts the transmission/reception of e-mails and the transmission/reception of data via the Internet, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318.
  • [0329]
    The microcomputer 322 downloads predetermined programs from the server 200 via the Internet, on the basis of predetermined commands input through the operating portion 304 and then stores them in the nonvolatile memory 320. Further, the microcomputer 322 reads the aforementioned programs from the nonvolatile memory 320 and executes them to provide the following functions (A) to (B).
  • [0330]
    (A) The microcomputer 322 recognizes a two-dimensional code from image data generated by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and then generates URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code. At this time, the microcomputer 322 functions as code information recognition means. (B) The microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information generated as in the aforementioned (A) to the server 200, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet. At this time, the microcomputer 322 functions as URL information transmission means.
  • [0331]
    While, in the first embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable terminal device 300 downloads programs from the server 200, such programs may be previously stored (preinstalled) in the nonvolatile memory 322 of the portable terminal device 300.
  • [0332]
    FIG. 13 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 1. The server 200 includes a CPU 201 as an arithmetic processing device, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication interface circuit 204 for communicating with the portable phone 300 via the Internet and a hard disk drive 205.
  • [0333]
    The hard disk drive 205 stores premium data (for example, information data which is information advantageous for the player, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like) in association with the number of times the ID data of the portable phone 300 has been received. The hard disk drive 205 functions as premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300. On receiving the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300 from the portable phone 300, the CPU 201 extracts premium data according to the number of times the URL information and the ID data have been received, from the hard disk drive 205, and transmits the premium data to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet. As a result, a site is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300, which enables the player to acquire premium data, wherein the site displayed thereon is in accordance with the number of times the server 200 has received the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300.
  • [0334]
    Further, the hard disk drive 205 stores programs to be downloaded to the portable phone 300. If the CPU 201 receives, from the portable phone 300, a signal commanding for downloading a program thereto, the CPU 201 reads the program from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits the program to the portable phone 300 from the communication interface circuit 204 via the Internet.
  • [0335]
    FIG. 14 is a flowchart illustrating a process which is conducted by the portable phone and the server. First, the microcomputer 322 included in the portable phone 300 drives the CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, on the basis of commands input through the operating portion 304 and, thus, the CCD camera 308 captures the two-dimensional code 92 included in a screen image displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 (step S500).
  • [0336]
    Then, the microcomputer 322 stores the image data obtained in step S500 in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S501). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a two-dimensional code recognizing process (step S502) to recognize a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S500 and generates URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code. The two-dimensional code recognizing process will be described later in detail.
  • [0337]
    In step S502, the microcomputer 322 functions as code information recognition means for recognizing a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained by capturing a two-dimensional code (code information) with the CCD camera 308 (image pickup means) and then generating URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code.
  • [0338]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information obtained through the two-dimensional code recognizing process in step S502 to the server 200, along with the ID data of the portable phone 300, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet (step S503).
  • [0339]
    On receiving the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300 via the Internet from the portable phone 300, the CPU 201 included in the server 200 stores, in the hard disk drive 205, the received ID data and machine model data indicative of the machine model of the pachi-slot gaming machine determined from the URL information (step S601). The hard disk drive 205 functions as ID data storage means for storing the ID data of the portable phone 300. FIG. 15A is a view illustrating an exemplary received-ID storage table. The table stores received ID data in association with the machine model data, in the order of reception. The ID that the server 200 has received most recently is “0000001a” and the determined machine model data is “004”. The second-most recently received ID is “0000003c” and the determined machine model data is “003”. The third-most recently received ID is “0000002b” and the determined machine model data is “004”. As machine model data, a single number (for example, “004”) is provided for each machine model.
  • [0340]
    Next, the CPU 201 refers to data of the number of receptions stored in the hard disk drive 205 and increments the number of receptions by one to update the data (step S602). Next, the updated number-of-receptions data is stored in association with the ID data (step S603). FIG. 15B is a view illustrating an exemplary number-of-receptions storage table. The table stores ID data and the number of times the respective ID data has been received, in association with each other. For example, the number-of-receptions data associated with ID data of “0000001a” is “6” and the number-of-receptions data associated with ID data of “0000002b” is “3”. If ID data of “0000001a” is stored in the received-ID storage table (FIG. 15A), the CPU 201 reads the number-of-receptions data (“6”) of the ID data “0000001a” from the number-of-receptions storage table, then increments it by one to update the data and stores the updated number-of-receptions data (“7”). If the CPU 201 can not find the received ID data in the received-ID storage table, it forms a new region for storing the ID data and sets “1” as the number of receptions thereof. If the number-of-receptions data exceeds 1000, the data is erased. However, the present invention is not limited thereto. While, in the first embodiment, the number of receptions is counted regardless of the machine model data, the numbers of receptions may be counted for respective machine models. In such a case, different premium determination tables can be used for respective machine models to store the numbers of receptions of ID data for respective pachi-slot gaming machine models, thereby enabling providing, to players, premiums according to the numbers of receptions stored for the respective machine models.
  • [0341]
    Next, the CPU 201 extracts premium data from the hard disk drive 205, according to the number-of-receptions data stored in step S603 (step S604). At this time, the CPU 201 functions as extraction means for extracting premium data from the hard disk drive 205 (premium data storage means), on the basis of the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300. Then, the CPU 201 transmits the premium data to the portable phone 300 (step S605). The CPU 201 functions as premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted in step S604 to the portable phone 300. FIG. 15C is a view illustrating an exemplary premium determination table used in step S604. If the number-of-receptions data is 1, the premium data is “information data A1”. Accordingly, the “information data A1” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. If the number-of-receptions data is 2, the premium data is “information data A2”. Accordingly, the “information data A2” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. If the number-of-receptions data is 3, the premium data is “information data A3”. Accordingly, the “information data A3” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. If the number-of-receptions data is 4, the premium data is “information data A4”. Accordingly, the “information data A4” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. If the number-of-receptions data is 5, 6 or 7, the premium data is “image data B1”, “image data B2” or “image data B3”, respectively. Accordingly, these premium data is transmitted to the portable phone 300. If the number-of-receptions data is 8, 9 or 10, the premium data is “music data C1”, “music data C2” or “music data C3”, respectively. Accordingly, these premium data is transmitted to the portable phone 300. If the number-of-receptions data is in the range of 11 to 1000, the premium data is “image data Z”. Accordingly, the “image data Z” is transmitted to the portable phone 300.
  • [0342]
    FIG. 16 is a view illustrating exemplary premiums transmitted to the portable phone from the server. FIGS. 16A to 16C illustrate only the display screen of the portable phone 300. In FIG. 16A, there is displayed, on the display screen, “Congratulations on winning of BB. From the next access, you will be notified of information and tricks each time you access this site.” The screen is the “information data A1” in the premium determination table (FIG. 15C) and is a screen which is displayed thereon when the number of receptions is determined to be 1. The screen displays a notification of the fact that the player can acquire information and the like, next time the player accessed the site. In FIG. 16B, there is displayed, on the display screen, “Congratulations on the second winning of BB. If “Ton chan” appears at an upper left position on the screen of the pachi-slot gaming machine, this indicates the establishment of BB.” The screen is the “information data A2” in the premium determination table (FIG. 15C) and is a screen which is displayed thereon when the number of receptions is determined to be 2. The screen displays information subsequent to the content which was displayed when the number of receptions was 1. In FIG. 16C, there is displayed, on the display screen, “Congratulations on the third winning of BB. If you push the leftmost stop button when the “Ton chan” turns red, you can win BB without fail.” The screen is, for example, for example, the “information data A3” in the premium determination table (FIG. 15C) and is a screen which is displayed when the number of receptions is determined to be 3. The screen displays content subsequent to the information which was displayed when the number of receptions was 2 and has additional information added thereto. As described above, in the first embodiment, it is desirable that each premium data is configured to be a part of continuous information, continuous images, continuous music or the like, which enables successively acquiring premium data to obtain more advantageous information, images, music or the like. Such a configuration enables providing more advantageous information, images, music or the like to players who have accessed the server a greater number of times.
  • [0343]
    The microcomputer 322 in the portable phone 300 stores the data (premium data) transmitted from the server 200, in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S504). Then, on the basis of the aforementioned data, the microcomputer 322 displays a site associated with the number-of-receptions data, on the liquid crystal display panel 306. Thus, the player can acquire the premium data by inputting predetermined commands by operating the operating portion 304.
  • [0344]
    FIG. 17 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 14. First, the microcomputer 322 conducts an image converting process on image data stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S700). The image converting process is a process for extracting image data of the region in which a two-dimensional code is displayed, from image data generated by capturing a two-dimensional code, then performing corrections of the inclination and the distortion thereon and converting the image data into a monochrome image with a predetermined threshold value to generate image data including a frontward-faced two-dimensional code.
  • [0345]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 extracts the two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S700 and performs corrections such as noise elimination (step S701). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a binarizing process on the two-dimensional code obtained in step S701 to substitute “0” or “1” for the respective dots constituting the two-dimensional code (step S702) and then generates binarized matrix data (step S703). Next, the microcomputer 322 decodes the binarized matrix data (step S704) and generates URL information (step S705). Then, the subroutine ends and the process is transferred to step S503 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 14.
  • [0346]
    As described above, if the portable phone 300 transmits the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300 to the server 200 (FIG. 14, step S503), the server 200 transmits premium data associated with the number-of-receptions data to the portable phone 300 (FIG. 14, step S605) and, thus, a screen display as illustrated in FIG. 18 is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300. FIG. 18 is a view illustrating an exemplary premium transmitted from the server to the portable phone. The liquid crystal display panel 306 displays information about the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, on the screen thereof. Further, at lower positions on the liquid crystal display panel 306, there are displayed two options, “Return” and “Save”. When an option of “Save” is selected through operations on the operating portion 304, the information data is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 in the portable phone 300.
  • [0347]
    As described above, with the server 200 and the service supply system 500 according to the first embodiment, the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 displays code information which is coded URL information and a player can capture the code information with the CCD camera 308 of the portable phone 300 by operating it and, if the URL information generated from the code information by the portable phone 300 and the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 are transmitted to the server 200, the server 200 stores the received ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the stored ID data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable phones with which individual players have accessed the server. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable phones depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0348]
    As described above, with the server 200 and the service supply system 500 according to the first embodiment, the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 displays code information which is coded URL information and a player can capture the code information with the CCD camera 308 of the portable phone 300 by operating it and, if the URL information generated from the code information by the portable phone 300 and the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 are transmitted to the server 200, the server 200 stores the received ID data in association with the machine model of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the stored ID data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable phones with which individual players have accessed the server, in association with the machine models of gaming machines. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable terminal devices depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0349]
    Further, with the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 according to the first embodiment, code information which is coded URL information is displayed in such a manner that it can be captured from the outside and the code information can be captured by the portable phone 300 and then URL information can be generated from the code information. Further, if the URL information is transmitted to the server 200 along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300, the server 200 stores the received ID data, extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the stored ID data thereafter, and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable terminal devices with which individual players have accessed the server. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable terminal devices depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0350]
    With the portable phone 300 according to the first embodiment, code information which is coded URL information displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 can be captured, then URL information can be generated from the image data obtained from the capturing of the code information and the URL information can be transmitted to the server 200 along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300. As a result, the server 200 stores the received ID data, extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the stored ID data thereafter, and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300. Accordingly, the server can monitor the ID data of portable terminal devices with which individual players have accessed the server. With such monitoring, for example, when the server provides information about pachi-slot games or pachinko games which is advantageous to players, it can provide information to the respective portable terminal devices depending on the numbers of times they have accessed the server. This enables providing more advantageous information to maniac players who often accesses the server, thereby providing services depending on the preferences of respective players. Further, there is an advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without requiring additional burden and efforts of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profit of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0351]
    While, in the first embodiment, premium data is information data which is information advantageous to players, image data for waiting images and music data for cellular phone ring melodies, the premium data is not limited to the case in the first aspect of the present invention. For example, data of a format for inputting personal information (for example, a name, an address and the like) for subscribing to premiums may be transmitted to the portable terminal device, as premium data. In this case, players can input predetermined personal information to the format and transmit the format to the server to acquire the premiums through home delivery services and the like. In this case, premiums may be corporeal things.
  • Second Embodiment
  • [0352]
    Hereinafter, a preferred embodiment according to the second aspect of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
  • [0353]
    A service supply system, a gaming machine and a server according to the second embodiment have the same configurations as the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment, except points which will be described later. Accordingly, in the description of the second embodiment, components corresponding to those of the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment will be designated by the same reference characters.
  • [0354]
    FIG. 19 is a network structure view illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the second aspect of the present invention. The service supply system 500 includes a pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and a server 200 capable of transmitting and receiving data (including e-mails) to and from a portable phone 300 including a CCD camera 308 as an image pickup means (not shown, see FIG. 12), via the Internet in a wireless manner.
  • [0355]
    In the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, when a BB (big bonus) as a special gaming state has been completed, a two-dimensional code 92 which is coded URL information is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5. The URL information refers to data including at least an URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and, in the second embodiment, the URL included in the URL information indicates an address of a website (including web pages constituting the web site) of the gaming machine maker in the server 200 in the Internet. Further, in the second aspect of the present invention, code information generated by coding other data than the URL information may be displayed thereon. In this case, the other data may be, for example, data indicative of an internal winning combination, data indicative of plural symbol combinations (so-called reach combinations) which are to be statically displayed when a certain internal winning combination has been carried over to the next game, data indicative of the result of games such as the number of paid-out game media and the number of inserted game media.
  • [0356]
    A player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. The portable phone 300 recognizes a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained from capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and generates URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code. Then, the URL information is transmitted to the server 200 to access the server 200.
  • [0357]
    A hard disk drive 205 (not shown, see FIG. 23) included in the server 200 stores web page data indicating web pages associated with URL information. The web pages are provided with a hyperlink indicative of an e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200. The server 200 extracts web page data on the basis of the URL information received from the portable phone 300. Then, the server 200 transmits the extracted web page data to the portable phone 300.
  • [0358]
    When the portable phone 300 receives the web page data from the server 200, a web page is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300 on the basis of the web page data, wherein the web page is provided with a hyperlink indicative of the e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200. The player selects the hyperlink by operating the portable phone 300 and transmits an e-mail (a so-called empty mail) to the server 200 on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address. When the server 200 receives the e-mail, the server 200 can acquire an e-mail address of the portable phone 300 included in this e-mail. Then, the server 200 transmits an e-mail to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the acquired e-mail address to provide, to the player, information profitable to the player, image data for a waiting image, music data for a cellular phone ring melody or the like.
  • [0359]
    As described above, with the service supply system 500, the player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300 to acquire the URL information with the portable phone 300. Further, the player can transmit the URL information to the server 200 to access the server 200 and then can receive an e-mail returned from the server 200 to acquire various types of services through the received e-mail.
  • [0360]
    The pachi-slot gaming machine 1 in the service supply system 500 corresponds to a gaming machine according to the second aspect of the present invention. The gaming machine according to the second aspect of the present invention is not limited thereto and may be, for example, a pachinko gaming machine, a slot machine or the like.
  • [0361]
    While, in the second embodiment, there will be described a case where the code information is a two-dimensional code, the code information according to the second aspect of the present invention includes a one-dimensional code (barcode) as well as a two-dimensional code. Further, while, in the second embodiment, there will be described a case where the two-dimensional code is a QR code (registered trademark), the second aspect of the present invention is not limited thereto.
  • [0362]
    The portable phone 300 corresponds to a portable terminal device according to the second aspect of the present invention. Further, the portable terminal device according to the second aspect of the present invention is not particularly limited and may be any portable terminal device including an image pickup means and also being capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the server through a communication line. For example, the portable terminal device according to the second aspect of the present invention may be a personal digital assistant, a dedicated portable terminal device for the aforementioned service supply system and the like.
  • [0363]
    Further, while in the second embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable phone 300 and the server 200 transmit and receive data to and from each other in a wireless manner, the second aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and transmission and reception of data may be carried out in a wired manner. Namely, the communication line according to the second aspect of the present invention includes wired transmission lines and wireless transmission lines.
  • [0364]
    While, in the second embodiment, there will be described a case where the server 200 transmits, to the portable phone 300 which is the transmission source of the URL information, web page data indicating a web page provided with a hyperlink indicative of an e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200 and then receives an e-mail (so-called empty mail) from the portable phone 300 to acquire the e-mail address of the portable phone 300, the second aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case. For example, a nonvolatile memory 320 included in the portable phone 300 may store a program for causing the portable phone 300 to conduct a process for automatically transmitting the e-mail address of the portable phone 300 to the server 200 when the portable phone 300 transmits the URL information to the server 200.
  • [0365]
    FIG. 20 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of a sub control circuit included in the pachi-slot gaming machine according to the second embodiment. While, in the second embodiment, the sub control circuit is configured such that the main control circuit 81 can send commands to the sub control circuit 82 while the sub control circuit 82 can not send signals to the main control circuit 81, the present invention is not limited thereto and the sub control circuit 82 may be configured such that it can transmit signals to the main control circuit 81.
  • [0366]
    The sub control circuit 82 includes a sub CPU 206, a program ROM 208 and a work RAM 210. Further, the determination button 26 and the cancel button 27 are connected to the sub control circuit 82 through an interface circuit 240. The sub control circuit 82 further includes a display control circuit 250 for controlling the display on the liquid crystal display device 5 and a sound control circuit 230 for conducting controls relating to the sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0367]
    The sub CPU 206 has the function of conducting various types of processing according to programs stored in the program ROM 208 and also controls the sub control circuit 82 according to various types of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Particularly, the sub CPU 206 conducts display controls on the display control circuit 250. Further, the sub CPU 206 reads the URL information from the program ROM 208, encodes the URL information to generate a two-dimensional code and stores it in the work RAM 210, at the timing when it receives a command relating to BB releasing from the main control circuit 81. Then, the sub CPU 206 extracts a two-dimensional code display pattern from the program ROM 208 and transmits it to the VDP 212. The two-dimensional code display pattern includes various types of data for displaying a two-dimensional code, such as the position and the time interval at and during which the two-dimensional code is to be displayed. As will be described later, on receiving the two-dimensional code display pattern, the VDP 212 conducts a process for reading the two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 and displaying it on the liquid crystal display device 5, on the basis of the aforementioned two-dimensional code display pattern. While, in the second embodiment, there will be described a case where the URL information is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, the two-dimensional code may be prestored in an image data ROM 216 or the like in the second aspect of the present invention.
  • [0368]
    The program ROM 208 stores programs for causing the sub CPU 206 to control game effects on the liquid crystal display device 5 and also stores various types of tables such as a table for making determinations relating to effects. Further, the program ROM 208 stores the URL information. In the second embodiment, the URL information includes an URL indicating an address of a web site of the gaming machine maker in the server 200 in the Internet. Further, the program ROM 208 stores plural types of effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 and further stores plural types of end effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 when all the reels 3 have been stopped. Further, the program ROM 208 stores a two-dimensional code display pattern including various types of data for displaying a two-dimensional code.
  • [0369]
    While, in the second embodiment, the program ROM 208 is utilized as a storage medium for storing programs, tables and the like, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize other types of storage media capable of being read by a computer equipped with a CPU and the like and, for example, it is possible to store them in storage media, such as a hard disk device, a CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, a ROM cartridge. As a matter of course, the programs, the tables and the like stored in the program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42. Also, instead of previously storing such programs, these programs may be downloaded and stored in the work RAM 210 or the like after power up. Also, respective programs may be stored in different storage media.
  • [0370]
    While, in the second embodiment, the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 and the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 are configured separately from each other, the present invention is not limited thereto and only the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 may be structured. In the latter case, the programs stored in the aforementioned program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42 to be executed by the CPU 41. As a matter of course, the present invention may be configured to be provided with only the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 and, in this case, the programs stored in the aforementioned ROM 42 may be stored in the program ROM 208 to be executed by the sub CPU 206.
  • [0371]
    The work RAM 210 has the function of storing various types of flags and variable values, as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206. Further, the work RAM 210 stores a two-dimensional code resulted from encoding of the URL information. While, in the second embodiment, the work RAM 210 is utilized as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize any readable and writable storage media.
  • [0372]
    The sound control circuit 230 is constituted by a sound source IC 232 for conducting controls relating to sounds, a sound data ROM 234 for storing various types of sound data, and an amplifier 236 (hereinafter, abbreviated to as an AMP) for amplifying sound signals.
  • [0373]
    The sound source IC 232 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the sound data ROM 234 and the AMP 236. The sound source IC 232 controls sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0374]
    The sub CPU 206 selects single sound data from plural sound data stored in the sound data ROM 234, on the basis of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Then, the sub CPU 206 reads the selected sound data from the sound data ROM 234 and supplies it to the sound source IC 232. On receiving the sound data, the sound source IC 232 converts the sound data into predetermined sound signals and supplies the sound signals to the AMP 236. The AMP 236 amplifies the sound signals and causes the speakers 21 (21L and 21R) to generate sounds.
  • [0375]
    The display control circuit 250 conducts a process for generating a screen image according to the result of games determined by the CPU 41 or commands input through the various types of buttons 26 and 27 and controlling display of the aforementioned screen image on the liquid crystal display device 5. The display control circuit 250 is constituted by an image data processor (hereinafter, referred to as a VDP) 212, an image data ROM 216 for storing various types of image data, and a D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals. The VDP 212 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the image data ROM 216 which stores image data and the D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals.
  • [0376]
    The VDP 212 is a device including various types of circuits such as a sprite circuit, a screen circuit and a pallet circuit and being capable of conducting various types of processes for displaying screen images on the liquid crystal display device 5. Namely, the VDP 212 controls the display on the liquid crystal display device 5. Further, the VDP 212 includes a storage medium (for example, a video RAM) as a buffer used for displaying screen images on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5. By storing image data in a predetermined storage region of the storage medium, a screen image is displayed on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5 at a predetermined timing.
  • [0377]
    The image data ROM 216 stores, for example, background images, character images indicating characters and the like. While in the second embodiment there will be described a case where the URL information is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, such a two-dimensional code may be previously stored in the image data ROM 216 in the second aspect of the present invention.
  • [0378]
    The VDP 212 extracts effect images from the image data ROM 216, according to image displaying commands (commands) transmitted from the sub CPU 206. Further, when the VDP 212 receives a two-dimensional code display pattern from the sub CPU 206, it extracts a two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 on the basis of the two-dimensional code display pattern.
  • [0379]
    The VDP 212 superimposes the various types of images extracted from the image data ROM 216 and the work RAM 210 in the order of the position to be placed from rearmost to frontmost, for example, in the order of a background image, a character image and the two-dimensional code and stores them in the buffer (for example, a video RAM and the like) to synthesize a screen image and supplies it to the D/A converter 218 at a predetermined timing. The D/A converter 218 converts the screen image into image signals and supplies the image signals to the liquid crystal display device 5. As a result, the two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 (see FIG. 2). The player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. At this time, the liquid crystal display device 5 functions as code information display means for displaying the two-dimensional code (code information), which is generated from coding of the URL information as game-related information, in such a manner that the two-dimensional code can be captured with the CCD camera 308 (image pickup means) from the outside.
  • [0380]
    While in the second embodiment there will be described a case where the sub CPU 206 encodes the URL information to generate a two-dimensional code, in the second aspect of the present invention, such a two-dimensional code may be stored in the storage means included in the gaming machine.
  • [0381]
    FIG. 21 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit. First, in step S200, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an effect starting command. If it is determined that no effect starting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S210. On the other hand, if it is determined that an effect starting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208, in step S201. When an RB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects an RB effect pattern while when a BB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects a BB effect pattern. Next, in step S202, effect pattern data which is data indicative of the effect pattern is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S202 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S210.
  • [0382]
    In step S210, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an end effect command. If it is determined that no end effect command has been received, the process proceeds to step S220. In step S211, on the other hand, if it is determined that an end effect command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an end effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of end effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208. Next, in step S212, end effect pattern data is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S210 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S220.
  • [0383]
    In step S220, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB setting command. If it is determined that no RB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S230. On the other hand, if it is determined that an RB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets an RB flag in step S221. After the process in step S221 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S230. The RB flag is a flag set at the start of an RB and cleared at the end of the RB.
  • [0384]
    In step S230, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB setting command. If it is determined that no BB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S240. On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets a BB flag in step S231. The BB flag is a flag set at the start of a BB and cleared at the end of the BB. After the process in step S231 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S240.
  • [0385]
    If it is determined in step S230 that no BB setting command has been received or if the process in step S231 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB releasing command (step S240). If it is determined that an RB releasing command has been received, the RB flag is cleared (step S241).
  • [0386]
    If it is determined in step S240 that no RB releasing command has been received or if the process in step S241 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB releasing command (step S250). If it is determined that no BB releasing command has been received, this subroutine is completed.
  • [0387]
    On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB releasing command has been received, the sub CPU 206 clears the BB flag (step S1251). Next, the sub CPU 206 codes the URL information stored in the program ROM 208 into a two-dimensional code (step S1252). Next, the sub CPU 206 stores the two-dimensional code generated in step S1252, in the work RAM 210 (step S1253). Next, the sub CPU 206 reads two-dimensional code display pattern data from the program ROM 208 and sends it to the display control circuit 250 (step S1254). Then, this subroutine is completed.
  • [0388]
    FIG. 22 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S1252 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 21.
  • [0389]
    First, the sub CPU 206 sets the URL information which has been stored in the program ROM 208 in the work RAM 210 (step S400). In the figure, there is illustrated “http://***.***/.004.htm”, as an exemplary URL included in the URL information.
  • [0390]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 generates a mode identifier according to the type of the characters of the URL information (for example, numerical characters, alphanumeric characters, Kanjis and the like), in the work RAM 210 (step S401). Then, the sub CPU 206 generates a number-of-characters identifier according to the number of characters of the URL information, in the work RAM 210 (step S402). Then, the CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the URL information (step S403). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for adding an end pattern to the data obtained in steps S401 to S403 (step S404).
  • [0391]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts code language conversion on the data obtained in step S404 (step S405). Further, the sub CPU 206 generates an error correction code language on the basis of the data obtained in step S405 and adds it to the data obtained in step S405 (step S406). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the data obtained in step S406 and arranging it in a matrix shape (step S407). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for masking the data obtained in step S407 with a predetermined pattern (step S408). Next, it conducts a process for adding, thereto, format information including an error correction level and a mask identifier (step S409) and then generates a two dimensional code (step S410). The generated two-dimensional code is stored in the work RAM 210. Thereafter, this subroutine is completed.
  • [0392]
    While, in the second embodiment, there has been described a case where only the URL information is encoded (coded) into a two-dimensional code, the URL information and other data (for example, data indicative of the number of paid-out coins or the machine model of the gaming machine, data uniquely allotted for the concerned gaming machine to identify the gaming machine itself) may be encoded, in the second aspect of the present invention.
  • [0393]
    FIG. 23 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 19. The server 200 includes a CPU 201 as an arithmetic processing device, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication interface circuit 204 for communicating with the portable phone 300 via the Internet and a hard disk drive 205.
  • [0394]
    The hard disk drive 205 stores web page data indicating web pages associated with URL information. The web pages are provided with a hyperlink indicative of an e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200. Further, the hard disk drive 205 stores address data indicative of the e-mail address received from the portable phone 300. Further, the hard disk drive 205 stores text data constituting an e-mail to be transmitted to the portable phone 300, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like to be attached to the e-mail.
  • [0395]
    When the CPU 201 receives the URL information from the portable phone 300, the CPU 201 reads web page data associated with the URL information from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits it to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet. As a result, a web page is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300, wherein the web page provided with a hyperlink indicative of an e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200. The player selects the hyperlink and transmits an e-mail (so-called empty mail) to the server 200 on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address, by operating the operating portion 304. When the server 200 receives the e-mail, the server 200 can acquire the e-mail address of the portable phone 300 which is included in the e-mail. Then, the server 200 transmits an e-mail to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the e-mail address to provide, to the player, information profitable to the player, image data for a waiting image, music data for a cellular phone ring melody or the like.
  • [0396]
    Further, the hard disk drive 205 stores programs to be downloaded to the portable phone 300. If the CPU 201 receives, from the portable phone 300, a signal commanding for downloading a program thereto, the CPU 201 reads the program from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits the program to the portable phone 300 from the communication interface circuit 204 via the Internet.
  • [0397]
    FIG. 24 is a flowchart illustrating a process which is conducted by the portable phone and the server. First, the microcomputer 322 included in the portable phone 300 drives the CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, on the basis of commands input through the operating portion 304 and, thus, the CCD camera 308 captures the two-dimensional code 92 included in a screen image displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 (step S500).
  • [0398]
    Then, the microcomputer 322 stores the image data obtained in step S500 in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S501). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a two-dimensional code recognizing process (step S502) to recognize a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S500 and generates URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code. The two-dimensional code recognizing process will be described later in detail.
  • [0399]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information obtained through the two-dimensional code recognizing process in step S502 to the server 200, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet (step S1503).
  • [0400]
    On receiving the URL information from the portable phone 300 via the Internet (step S1600), the CPU 201 included in the server 200 extracts web page data stored in the hard disk drive 205 on the basis of the URL information (step S1601). The web page data is data indicating a web page provided with a hyper ink indicative of an e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200. Then, the CPU 201 transmits the web page data to the portable phone 300 (step S1602).
  • [0401]
    On receiving the web page data from the server 200, the microcomputer 322 in the portable phone 300 causes the liquid crystal display panel 306 to display a web page, on the basis of the web page data (step S1504). The web page includes a hyperlink indicative of an e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200. The player can select the hyperlink and transmit an e-mail to the server 200 on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address, by operating the operating portion 304.
  • [0402]
    The microcomputer 322 transmits the e-mail to the server 200 on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address, in accordance with commands which the player input by operating the operating portion 304 (step S1505). The e-mail includes the source e-mail address, as well as the destination e-mail address.
  • [0403]
    On receiving the e-mail from the portable phone 300 (step S1603), the CPU 201 in the server 200 stores the source e-mail address included in the e-mail, namely the e-mail address of the portable phone 300, in the hard disk drive 205 (step S1604). Then, the CPU 201 in the server 200 returns an e-mail to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the e-mail address stored in the hard disk drive 205 (step S1605). The microcomputer 322 in the portable phone 300 receives the e-mail from the server 200 (step S1506).
  • [0404]
    FIG. 25A is a view illustrating an exemplary image which is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300 when the process in step S1504 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 24 has been conducted in the portable phone 300. On the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed an image provided with a hyperlink of “xxx@xxx.co.jp” indicating an e-mail address for use in transmitting e-mails to the server 200. Further, there is displayed, on the liquid crystal display panel 306, an image describing “Member Registration: please send an empty mail to the following e-mail address” for urging the player to transmit an e-mail to the server 200. At this time, when the player selects the image provided with the hyperlink by operating the operating portion 304, an image as illustrated in FIG. 25B is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300.
  • [0405]
    FIG. 25B is an exemplary image for creating an e-mail to be transmitted to the server 200. On the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed an image describing “To; xxx@xxx.co.jp” as the destination e-mail address of the e-mail. Further, when the player selects the image provided with the hyperlink through the operating portion 304, the e-mail address “xxx@xxx.co.jp” included in the image is automatically input and, therefore, the player is not required to input this e-mail address by operating the operating portion 304. Further, on the liquid crystal display panel 304, at a lower left portion, there are displayed two options of “Send” and “Menu”. At this time, when the option “Send” is selected by operating the operating portion 304, an e-mail is transmitted to the server 200 (FIG. 24, step S1505). The e-mail includes the source e-mail address (the e-mail address of the portable phone 300, in the second embodiment), as well as the destination e-mail address (the e-mail address for transmitting e-mails to the server 200, in the second embodiment) as data.
  • [0406]
    On receiving the e-mail from the portable phone 300 (FIG. 24, step S1603), the CPU 201 in the server 200 stores the source e-mail address included in this e-mail, namely the e-mail address of the portable phone 300, in the hard disk drive 205 (FIG. 24, step S1604) and then returns an e-mail to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the aforementioned e-mail address (FIG. 24, step S1605). The microcomputer 322 in the portable phone 300 receives the e-mail from the server 200 (step S1506). FIG. 25C is a view illustrating an e-mail which the portable phone 300 receives from the server 200 in step S1506 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 24. On the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed an image describing “member registration has been completed, thank you” for notifying the player of the fact that the server 200 has acquired the e-mail address of the portable phone 300 from the portable phone 300.
  • [0407]
    Then, the server 200 transmits an e-mail to the portable phone 300, on the basis of the e-mail address stored in the hard disk drive 205, at one-week intervals. FIG. 25D illustrates a view illustrating the e-mail which the portable phone 300 received from the server 200. On the liquid crystal display panel 306, at the center portion, there is displayed an image describing “A waiting image is presented to members!!”. Under the image, there is further displayed an image as a waiting image. Further, there is displayed, at a lower portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, an image indicating two options of “Save” and “Return”. At this time, when the option “Save” is selected by operating the operating portion 304, the waiting-image image data is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 in the portable phone 300.
  • [0408]
    As described above, with the service supply system 500, a two-dimensional code 92 which is coded URL information is displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and, if the player capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300 to generate image data and then transmits, to the server 200, the URL information which the portable phone 300 generated from the obtained image data, the server 200 can acquire, from the portable phone 300, the e-mail address of the portable phone 300 which is the source of the URL information (see FIG. 24). Then, the server 200 stores the e-mail address. Thus, the server 200 can transmit an e-mail to the portable phone 300 on the basis of this e-mail address to provide, to the player, information profitable to the player, image data for a waiting image, music data for a cellular phone ring melody or the like, through the e-mail. Accordingly, there is provided, for the game facility, the advantage that a two-dimensional code 92 required for acquiring services as described above can be displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, thereby enhancing the ability to attract customers. On the other hand, for the gaming machine maker, there is provided the advantage that the popularity of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 manufactured by the gaming machine maker can be enhanced in the game facility. Thus, it is possible to provide services advantageous for both the game facility and the gaming machine maker. Further, it is possible to provide such services without involving additional burdens of personnel. Further, there is provided the advantage that the gaming machine maker can actively provide services through e-mails, in comparison with cases where the gaming machine maker provides services in response to accesses to the server 200. Further, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media, it is possible to provide, to players, new enjoyment of acquiring profitable information, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like through e-mails, wherein such enjoyment is not influenced by the restriction on the pachi-slot gaming machine. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 for arousing passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0409]
    While, in the second embodiment, there has been described a case where the server 200 transmits an e-mail to the portable phone 300 at single-week intervals, the timing at which the server transmits an e-mail to the portable terminal device is not particularly limited and, for example, the server may transmit an e-mail to the portable terminal device either at predetermined intervals or at the timing when the server receives a command for transmitting an e-mail which is input by an administrator or the like of the server. Also, when plural e-mail addresses are stored in the server, e-mails may be transmitted to the plural e-mail addresses at the same time or may be transmitted to the respective e-mail addresses at different timings.
  • [0410]
    The content of an e-mail, data attached to the e-mail and the like are not particularly limited and, for example, a single e-mail may be selected out of plural types of e-mails prestored in the server through lottery and the like, and the selected e-mail may be transmitted to the portable terminal device thereafter.
  • Third Embodiment
  • [0411]
    Hereinafter, a preferred embodiment according to the third aspect of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
  • [0412]
    A service supply system, a gaming machine and a server according to the third embodiment have the same configurations as the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment, except points which will be described later. Accordingly, in the description of the third embodiment, components corresponding to those of the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment will be designated by the same reference characters.
  • [0413]
    FIG. 26 is a view of a network structure illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the third aspect of the present invention. The service supply system 500 comprises a pachi-slot gaming machine 1, a portable phone 300 including a CCD camera 308 (not shown, see FIG. 12) which functions as image pickup means, and a server 200 capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the portable phone 300, in a wireless manner, via the Internet.
  • [0414]
    In the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, in the event of the transition to a BB (big bonus) as a special gaming state, a two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on a liquid crystal display device 5 at the end of the BB, wherein the two-dimensional code 92 is generated by coding URL information about the pachi-slot gaming machine 1. A player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. The URL information refers to data which includes at least an URL (Uniform Resource Locator) and, in the third embodiment, the URL included in the URL information about the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 indicates the address of a web site (including the web pages constituting the web site) of a gaming machine maker in the server 200 in the Internet.
  • [0415]
    The portable phone 300 recognizes a two-dimensional code from image data obtained from capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and generates URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code. Then, the URL information is transmitted to the server 200.
  • [0416]
    The server 200 stores reception time data indicative of the time at which the server 200 received the URL information, in the hard disk drive 205 (not shown, see FIG. 27), in association with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300. The time at which the server 200 received the URL information can be acquired from time measurement means (for example, an internal clock) included in the server 200. However, the time may be acquired via the Internet. Also, the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300 may be, for example, the telephone number of the portable phone 300 itself, a terminal identification number of the portable phone 300, and the like. The terminal identification number is an identification number that the manufacture/sales maker of the portable phone sets for the portable phone in the manufacturing process thereof. While the telephone number of the player's portable phone is not changed even if the player changes the machine model of the portable phone, the terminal identification number of the portable phone is changed along with the change of the machine model thereof.
  • [0417]
    While, in the third embodiment, there will be described a case where the reception time data is stored in association with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300, the reception time data may be stored in association with player-ID data for identifying the player. The player-ID data may be, for example, the player's name, a nickname or an e-mail address which the player input by operating the portable phone 300.
  • [0418]
    Next, the server 200 refers to reception time data history associated with the received ID data, calculates the time interval at which it received the URL information from the portable phone 300 and stores time interval data indicative of the calculated time interval, in the hard disk drive 205, in association with the ID data. The time interval at which the URL information was received can be calculated by referring to only the time of the current reception and the time of the previous reception or by referring to all the past reception history each time server 200 received the URL information and calculating the time interval until the server 200 has received the URL information predetermined times (for example, five times). The server 200 extracts premium data associated with the time interval data, from premium data (for example, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like) stored in the hard disk drive 205. Then, the server 200 transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300.
  • [0419]
    As described above, with the service supply system 500, the player can capture the two-dimensional code 92, which is displayed at the end of a BB on the liquid crystal display device 5 in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300 to acquire the URL information. Further, the player can transmit the URL information to the server 200 for acquiring premium data associated with the time interval data therefrom.
  • [0420]
    The pachi-slot gaming machine 1 in the service supply system 500 corresponds to a gaming machine according to the third aspect of the present invention. The gaming machine according to the third aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and may be, for example, a pachinko gaming machine, a slot machine or the like.
  • [0421]
    While, in the third embodiment, there will be described a case where a two-dimensional code is employed as code information, the code information according to the third aspect of the present invention includes an one-dimensional code (barcode) as well as such two-dimensional code. Further, while, in the third embodiment, there will be described a case where a QR code (registered trademark) is employed as a two-dimensional code, the third aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case.
  • [0422]
    The portable phone 300 corresponds to a portable terminal device according to the third aspect of the present invention. Further, the portable terminal device according to the third aspect of the present invention is not particularly limited and may be any portable terminal device including image pickup means and also being capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the server through a communication line. For example, the portable terminal device according to the third aspect of the present invention may be a personal digital assistant, a dedicated portable terminal device for the aforementioned service supply system and the like.
  • [0423]
    Further, while in the third embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable phone 300 and the server 200 transmit and receive data to and from each other in a wireless manner, the third aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and they transmission and reception of data may be carried out in a wired manner. Namely, the communication line according to the third aspect of the present invention includes wired transmission lines and wireless transmission lines.
  • [0424]
    FIG. 27 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 26. The server 200 includes a CPU 201 as an arithmetic processing device, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication interface circuit 204 for communicating with the portable phone 300 via the Internet and a hard disk drive 205.
  • [0425]
    The server 200 further includes an internal clock (not shown) and, when the CPU 201 receives the URL information from the portable phone 300, it acquires the reception time from the internal clock. The CPU 201 stores the acquired reception time, as reception time data, in the hard disk drive 205, in association with the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300. The internal clock may be included in the CPU 201.
  • [0426]
    In the hard dick drive 205, premium data (for example, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like) is stored for respective URL information, in association with the time interval at which the URL information is received. The hard disk drive 205 functions as premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300. Plural premium data in association with the time interval at which the URL information is received may be stored in association with each single time interval and, out of the plural premium data, single premium data may be determined through lottery. When the CPU 201 receives the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300 from the portable phone 300, the CPU 201 reads premium data associated with the time interval data and transmits it to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204 and via the Internet from the hard disk drive 205. As a result, a site is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300, wherein the site is associated with the time interval at which the server 200 received the URL information and, thus, the player can acquire premium data on the site.
  • [0427]
    Further, the hard disk drive 205 stores programs to be downloaded to the portable phone 300. If the CPU 201 receives, from the portable phone 300, a signal commanding for downloading a program thereto, the CPU 201 reads the program from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits the program to the portable phone 300 from the communication interface circuit 204 via the Internet.
  • [0428]
    FIG. 28 is a flowchart illustrating a process which is conducted by the portable phone and the server. First, the microcomputer 322 included in the portable phone 300 drives the CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, on the basis of commands input through the operating portion 304 and, thus, the CCD camera 308 captures the two-dimensional code 92 included in a screen image displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 (step S500).
  • [0429]
    Then, the microcomputer 322 stores the image data obtained in step S500 in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S501). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a two-dimensional code recognizing process (step S502) to recognize a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S500 and generates URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code. The two-dimensional code recognizing process will be described later in detail.
  • [0430]
    In step S502, the microcomputer 322 functions as code information recognition means for recognizing a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained by capturing a two-dimensional code (code information) with the CCD camera 308 (image pickup means) and then generating URL information from the recognized two-dimensional code.
  • [0431]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information obtained through the two-dimensional code recognizing process in step S502 to the server 200, along with the ID data of the portable phone 300, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet (step S503).
  • [0432]
    On receiving the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300 from the portable phone 300 via the Internet, the CPU 201 included in the server 200 stores the URL information, the reception time data and the ID data in the hard disk drive 205, in association with one another (step S2601). The hard disk drive 205 functions as a reception time data storage means for storing the reception time data indicative of the time at which the URL information was received, in association with the ID data of the portable phone 300. FIG. 29A is a view illustrating an exemplary time interval calculation table. For example, in the case where the URL information received from the portable phone is “http://***.***.100.htm” and the ID data of the portable phone is “0000001a”, a reception time of “2003/10/3013:00” is stored in association with the URL information “http://***.***.100.htm” and the ID data of the portable phone “0000001a”. Further, for example, in the case where the URL information received from the portable phone is “http://***.***.200.htm” and the ID data of the portable phone is “0000003c”, a reception time of “2003/10/2813:40” is stored in association with the URL information “http://***.***.200.htm” and the ID data of the portable phone “0000003c”. When the CPU 201 can not find the received ID data of the portable phone in the time interval calculation table, it forms a new region for storing the ID data of the portable phone, the reception time and the time interval data, at a position associated with the received URL information.
  • [0433]
    Next, the CPU 201 refers to the reception time data history stored in the hard disk drive 205 and calculates the reception time interval (step S2602). At this time, the CPU 201 functions as a calculation means for calculating the time interval at which it received the URL information from the portable phone 300. Next, the CPU 201 stores the URL information, the calculated time interval data and the ID data, in the hard disk drive 205, in association with one another (step S2603). The hard disk drive 205 functions as a time interval data storage means for storing the URL information, the calculated time interval data and the ID data in association with one another. In FIG. 29A, for example, in the case where the URL information received from the portable phone is “http://***.***.100.htm” and the ID data of the portable phone is “0000001a”, the time interval at which the URL information was received (“01” day) is calculated from the time of the current reception “2003/10/30 13:00” and the time of the previous reception “2003/10/29 12:14”, and the calculated time interval is stored at the right of the time of the current reception “2003/10/30 13:00” in association with the URL information “http://***.***.100.htm” and the ID data of the portable phone “0000001a”. While there has been described a case where the time interval is calculated by the day, it may be calculated by any of the year, the month, the day, the hour or the minute. Further, while, in the third embodiment, the time interval data history is erased after the elapse of 3 years, the present invention is not limited thereto.
  • [0434]
    Next, the CPU 201 extracts premium data associated with the time interval data which was stored in step S2603, from the hard disk drive 205 (step S2604). At this time, the CPU 201 functions as an extraction means for extracting the premium data from the hard disk drive 205 (premium data storage means), on the basis of the time interval data calculated from the URL information received from the portable phone 300. Then, the CPU 201 transmits the premium data to the portable phone 300 (step S2605). The CPU 201 functions as premium data transmission means for transmitting the premium data extracted in step S2604 to the portable phone 300. FIG. 29B is a view illustrating an exemplary premium determination table. When the time interval data is in the range of 0 to 1, the premium data is “a waiting image A”. Accordingly, the “waiting image A” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. When the time interval data is in the range of 2 to 3, the premium data is “a waiting image B”. Accordingly, the “waiting image B” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. When the time interval data is in the range of 4 to 5, the premium data is “music data X”. Accordingly, the “music data X” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. When the time interval data is in the range of 6 to 7, the premium data is “music data Y”. Accordingly, the “music data Y” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. When the time interval data is in the range of 8 to 10, the premium data is “music data Z”. Accordingly, the “music data Z” is transmitted to the portable phone 300. When the time interval data is in the range of 11 to 1095, there is no premium data. Accordingly, an image indicative of the fact that there is no premium data is transmitted to the portable phone 300.
  • [0435]
    The microcomputer 322 in the portable phone 300 stores the data (premium data) transmitted from the server 200, in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S504). Then, on the basis of the aforementioned data, the microcomputer 322 displays a site associated with the time interval data, on the liquid crystal display panel 306. Thus, the player can acquire the premium data by inputting predetermined commands by operating the operating portion 304.
  • [0436]
    FIG. 30 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 28. First, the microcomputer 322 conducts an image converting process on image data stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S700). The image converting process is a process for extracting image data of the region in which a two-dimensional code is displayed, from image data generated by capturing a two-dimensional code, then performing corrections of the inclination and the distortion thereon and converting the image data into a monochrome image with a predetermined threshold value to generate image data including a frontward-faced two-dimensional code.
  • [0437]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 extracts the two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S700 and performs corrections such as noise elimination (step S701). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a binarizing process on the two-dimensional code obtained in step S701 to substitute “0” or “1” for the respective dots constituting the two-dimensional code (step S702) and then generates binarized matrix data (step S703). Next, the microcomputer 322 decodes the binarized matrix data (step S704) and generates URL information (step S705). Then, the subroutine ends and the process is transferred to step S503 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 28.
  • [0438]
    As described above, when the portable phone 300 transmits the URL information and the ID data of the portable phone 300 to the server 200 (FIG. 28, step S503), the server 200 transmits premium data associated with the time interval at which it received the URL information, to the portable phone 300 (FIG. 28, step S2605) and, then, an image as illustrated in FIG. 31 is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300. FIG. 31 is a view illustrating an exemplary waiting image which is transmitted to the portable phone from the server, as a premium. At the center portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed a waiting image indicating a character which appears in effects in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1. Further, at a lower portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there are displayed two options of “Return” and “Save”. When the option “Save” is selected by operating the operating portion 304, the waiting-image image data is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 in the portable phone 300.
  • [0439]
    As described above, with the server 200 and the service supply system 500 according to the third embodiment, code information which is coded URL information is displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and, if the code information is captured with the CCD camera 308 of the portable phone 300, according to the operation of the player and then the URL information which is generated from the code information in the portable phone 300 is transmitted to the server 200 along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300, the server 200 stores time interval data indicative of the time interval at which the server 200 received the URL information in association with the corresponding ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the stored time interval data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300. Accordingly, the server 200 can monitor the time intervals at which respective players accessed the server 200, thereby grasping preferences and the like of the players from the time intervals. This enables providing services to players, depending on the preferences of respective players and, for example, it is possible to provide, to maniac players who often access the server 200, information which is profitable for players about pachi-slot games or pachinko games, music data for cellular phone ring melodies or image data for waiting images and the like. Further, there is the advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without involving additional burdens of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0440]
    Further, with the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 according to the third embodiment, code information which is coded URL information is displayed thereon in such a manner that the code information can be captured from the outside and, if the code information is captured by the portable phone 300, then URL information is generated from the code information in the portable phone 300 and then the URL information is transmitted to the server 200 along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300, the server 200 stores time interval data indicative of the time interval at which the server 200 received the URL information in association with the corresponding ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the stored time interval data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300. Accordingly, the server can monitor the time intervals at which respective players accessed the server, thereby grasping preferences and the like of the players from the time intervals. This enables providing services to players, depending on the preferences of respective players and, for example, it is possible to provide, to maniac players who often access the server, information which is profitable for players, about pachi-slot games or pachinko games, music data for cellular phone ring melodies or image data for waiting images and the like. Further, there is the advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without involving additional burdens of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0441]
    With the portable phone 300 according to the third embodiment, it is possible to capture code information which is coded URL information displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 to generate image data, then generate URL information from the obtained image data and transmit the URL information to the server 200 along with the ID data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300. As a result, the server 200 stores time interval data indicative of the time interval at which the server 200 received the URL information in association with the corresponding ID data, then extracts premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300 on the basis of the stored time interval data and then transmits the extracted premium data to the portable phone 300. Accordingly, the server 200 can monitor the time intervals at which respective players accessed the server 200, thereby grasping preferences and the like of the players from the time intervals. This enables providing services to players, depending on the preferences of respective players and, for example, for example, it is possible to provide, to maniac players who often access the server, information which is profitable for players about pachi-slot games or pachinko games, music data for cellular phone ring melodies or image data for waiting images and the like. Further, there is the advantage that it is possible to provide the aforementioned services without involving additional burdens of personnel. Further, such services can provide, to players, new enjoyment which is not influenced by the restriction on the gaming machine, in addition to the fun of acquiring game media. Accordingly, even if the restriction on the gaming machine is enhanced thus resulting in reduction of the characteristic of the gaming machine for arousing player's passion for gambling, it is possible to maintain the popularity of the gaming machine, thereby preventing the change of the restriction on the gaming machine from affecting the profits of the game facility and the gaming machine maker.
  • [0442]
    While, in the third embodiment, premium data is image data for waiting images and music data for cellular phone ring melodies, the premium data is not limited to the case in the third aspect of the present invention. For example, data of a format for inputting personal information (for example, a name, an address and the like) for subscribing to premiums may be transmitted to the portable terminal device, as premium data. In this case, players can input predetermined personal information to the format and transmit the format to the server to acquire the premiums through home delivery services and the like. In this case, premiums may be corporeal things.
  • Fourth Embodiment
  • [0443]
    Hereinafter, a preferred embodiment according to the fourth aspect of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
  • [0444]
    A service supply system, a gaming machine and a server according to the fourth embodiment have the same configurations as the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment, except points which will be described later. Accordingly, in the description of the fourth embodiment, components corresponding to those of the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment will be designated by the same reference characters.
  • [0445]
    FIG. 32 is a view of a network structure illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the fourth aspect of the present invention. The service supply system 500 comprises a pachi-slot gaming machine 1, a portable phone 300 including a CCD camera 308 (not shown, see FIG. 40) which functions as image pickup means, and a server 200 capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the portable phone 300, in a wireless manner, via the Internet.
  • [0446]
    In the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, when a BB (big bonus) as a special gaming state has been completed, a two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5, wherein the two-dimensional code 92 is generated by coding URL information including game-related information relating to games (for example, information about the result of the BB game) and acquired-time data indicative of the time acquired from the internal clock (not shown, see FIG. 35) included in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1.
  • [0447]
    The player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. The portable phone 300 recognizes a two-dimensional code from the image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and then generates URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data from the recognized two-dimensional code. Then, the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data is transmitted to the server 200.
  • [0448]
    The hard disk drive 205 (not shown, see FIG. 41) included in the server 200 stores web page data including premium data (for example, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like) and web page data including no premium data. The respective web page data is associated with game-related information.
  • [0449]
    On receiving the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data from the portable phone 300, the server 200 stores the received game-related information and acquired-time data in the hard disk drive 205. Further, the server 200 determines whether or not it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined time period (for example, within three days) since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. Then, if the server 200 determines that it received the acquired-time data within the predetermined time period, it extracts web page data including premium data associated with the received game-related information from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits the extracted web page data including the premium data to the portable phone 300. On the other hand, if the server 200 determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined time period, it transmits the web page data including no premium data to the portable phone 300. When the portable phone 300 receives the web page data from the server 200, it displays a web page, on the basis the web page data. Also, when the portable phone 300 receives premium data from the server 200, it stores the premium data.
  • [0450]
    The pachi-slot gaming machine 1 in the service supply system 500 corresponds to a gaming machine according to the fourth aspect of the present invention. The gaming machine according to the fourth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and may be, for example, a pachinko gaming machine, a slot machine or the like.
  • [0451]
    While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where a two-dimensional code is employed as code information, the code information according to the fourth aspect of the present invention includes an one-dimensional code (barcode) as well as such two-dimensional code. Further, while, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where a QR code (registered trademark) is employed as a two-dimensional code, the fourth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case.
  • [0452]
    Further, while in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable phone 300 and the server 200 transmit and receive data to and from each other in a wireless manner, the fourth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and transmission and reception of data may be carried out in a wired manner. Namely, the communication line according to the fourth aspect of the present invention includes wired transmission lines and wireless transmission lines.
  • [0453]
    FIG. 33 is a perspective view schematically illustrating an example of the pachi-slot gaming machine illustrated in FIG. 32. The pachi-slot gaming machine 1 is a gaming machine which enables a player to play games using game media such as coins, medals, a token, a card storing information about the game currency which has been provided to the player or to be provided to the player. Hereinafter, the pachi-slot gaming machine will be described as a gaming machine which enables using medals.
  • [0454]
    The liquid crystal display device 5 is installed in the front surface of a casing 2 forming the entire pachi-slot gaming machine 1. The liquid crystal display device 5 includes a transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 (not shown) which can be partially or entirely switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state and is capable of displaying a two-dimensional code 92 as code information. The liquid crystal display device 5 functions as code information display means. While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where the liquid crystal display device 5 as code information display means is provided at the front of rotation reels 3, the position at which the code information display means is installed is not particularly limited in the fourth aspect of the present invention. Further, while in the fourth embodiment there will be described a case where the liquid crystal display device 5 as a code information display means is used to display effect images and the like, display means for displaying effect images and the like may be provided separately from the code information display means, in the fourth aspect of the present invention.
  • [0455]
    Further, behind the liquid crystal display device 5, there are provided three rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R. The three rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R include identification information, such as plural symbols and the like, which is drawn on their respective outer peripheral surfaces. The three rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R are rotatably arranged along a lateral row.
  • [0456]
    The base portion 10 having a horizontal surface is formed under the liquid crystal display device 5. On the base portion 10, a medal insertion slot 22 is provided at the right side thereof and a 1-BET switch 11 and a maximum-BET switch 13 are provided at the left side thereof.
  • [0457]
    At a leftwardly-biased position on the front surface of the base portion 10, there is provided a stored-medal reimbursement switch 14 which enables switching between crediting and payout of medals which the player acquired in games, by performing pushing operations thereon. In the case where “payout” is selected through switching with the stored-medal reimbursement switch 14, medals are paid out from a medal payout opening 15 at a lower position of the front surface and the paid-out medals are stored on a medal receiving portion 16. On the other hand, in the case where “crediting” is selected, the number of medals is stored, as credit, in a memory (for example, a RAM 43 which will be described later) provided in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1.
  • [0458]
    At the right of the stored-medal reimbursement switch 14, there is mounted a start lever 6 which enables the player to start rotating the rotation reels 3L, 3C and 3R. The start lever 6 is mounted such that it is rotatable over a predetermined angle range. On the front surface of the base portion 10, at the center thereof, there are provided three stop buttons 7L, 7C and 7R for stopping the rotations of the three rotation reels 3L, 3R and 3C, respectively.
  • [0459]
    At a rightwardly-biased position on the front surface of the base portion 10, there are provided a determination button 26 and a cancel button 27. The determination button 26 and the cancel button 27 enable the player to change the screen displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 and input commands and the like, when operated. At a rightwardly-biased position on the front surface of the base portion 10, there is further provided a door opening/closing and lock releasing device 29 which enables opening and closing the front door by rightwardly rotating it and also releasing lock by leftwardly rotating it, with a predetermined key.
  • [0460]
    Speakers 21L and 21R are provided at the left side and the right side of the casing 2 at an upper portion and, between the two speakers 21L and 21R, there is provided an allotment table panel 23 indicating winning symbol combinations and the number of medals to be allotted and the like.
  • [0461]
    FIG. 34 is a view schematically illustrating an exemplary image being displayed on the liquid crystal display device. As illustrated in FIG. 34, the three rotation reels 3 (3L, 3C and 3R) including plural symbols as identification information drawn on their respective outer peripheral surfaces are rotatably arranged along a lateral row, behind the liquid crystal display device 5.
  • [0462]
    The liquid crystal display device 5 includes a front panel 31 and the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 (not shown) provided behind the front panel 31. The front panel 31 is constituted by a transparent display window 31 a and an image formation region 31 b having images drawn thereon, wherein screen images displayed on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 provided behind the front panel 31 can be viewed through the display window 31 a of the front panel 31.
  • [0463]
    In FIG. 34, at a lower left position on the liquid crystal display panel 34, there is displayed a two-dimensional code 92 which is coded URL information. Further, at the right thereof, there is displayed an image describing “Please capture it with a camera” for urging the player to capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 of the portable phone 300. Further, under the image, there is displayed an expiration time notification image 93 describing “Premium reception expiration date: **/XX/04” (“**” and “XX” are indicative of the date and month, respectively) for notifying the player of the expiration time by which the player can acquire premium data associated with the two-dimensional code from the server 200.
  • [0464]
    Behind the liquid crystal display device 5, at the left side thereof, there are provided various types of lamps such as a game start indicating lamp 25, a WIN lamp 17, a medal insertion lamp 24, a maximum-BET lamp 9 c, a 2-BET lamp 9 b and a 1-BET lamp 9 a and various types of display portions such as a number-of-payouts display portion 18, a number-of-stored-medals display portion 19 and a number-of-activated-winning-games display portion 20. The image formation region 31 b of the front panel 31 is formed to be transparent at the portions thereof which are laid at the front of the aforementioned various types of lamps and the aforementioned various types of display portions so that the various types of lamps and the various types of display portions are viewable.
  • [0465]
    The 1-BET lamp 9 a, the 2-BET lamp 9 b and the maximum-BET lamp 9 c are lighted in accordance with the number of medals which are betted on a single game (hereinafter, referred to as the number of BETs). A single game ends at the time when all the rotation reels have been stopped or the payout of medals has been completed in cases where medals are paid out.
  • [0466]
    The WIN lamp 17 is lighted with a predetermined probability in the event of internal winning of a BB (big bonus) or a RB (regular bonus). Also, it is lighted in the event of establishment of winning of a BB or RB. The gaming medal insertion lamp 24 is flashed when inserted medals can be received. The game start indicating lamp 25 is lighted when at least a single line is made effective.
  • [0467]
    The number-of-payouts display portion 18 indicates the number of medals to be paid out in the event of establishment of winning. The number-of-stored-medals display portion 19 indicates the number of stored medals and the number-of-activated-winning-games display portion 20 indicates the number of possible RB games and the number of possible RB game winnings and the like. These display portions are constituted by 7-segment display devices.
  • [0468]
    FIG. 35 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of the sub control circuit included in the pachi-slot gaming machine according to the fourth embodiment. While in the fourth embodiment the sub control circuit is configured such that the main control circuit 81 can send commands to the sub control circuit 82 while the sub control circuit 82 can not send signals to the main control circuit 81, the present invention is not limited thereto and the sub control circuit 82 may be configured such that it can transmit signals to the main control circuit 81.
  • [0469]
    The sub control circuit 82 includes a sub CPU 206, a program ROM 208, a work RAM 210 and an internal clock 260. Further, the determination button 26 and the cancel button 27 are connected to the sub control circuit 82 through an interface circuit 240. The sub control circuit 82 further includes a display control circuit 250 for controlling the display on the liquid crystal display device 5 and a sound control circuit 230 for conducting controls relating to the sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0470]
    The sub CPU 206 has the function of conducting various types of processes according to programs stored in the program ROM 208 and also controls the sub control circuit 82 according to various types of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Particularly, the sub CPU 206 conducts display controls on the display control circuit 250.
  • [0471]
    At the timing when the sub CPU 206 receives a command relating to BB releasing, from the main control circuit 81, the sub CPU 206 extracts game-related information associated with the result of games of the BB, from game-related information stored in the program ROM 208, and stores it in the work RAM 210. Further, the sub CPU 206 acquires the current time from the internal clock 260 and stores it as acquired-time data in the work RAM 210.
  • [0472]
    Further, the sub CPU 206 encodes URL information including the extracted game-related information and the acquired acquired-time data to generate a two-dimensional code and stores it in the work RAM 210. The URL information includes the game-related information, the acquired-time data and an URL indicative of a predetermined address in the server 200 in the Internet. The sub CPU 206 extracts a two-dimensional code display pattern from the program ROM 208 and transmits it to the VDP 212. Further, the sub CPU 206 generates an expiration time display pattern on the basis of the acquired acquired-time data and transmits it to the VDP 212. The two-dimensional code display pattern and the expiration time display pattern include various types of data required for displaying a two-dimensional code and an expiration time notification image, such as the positions and the time intervals at and during which the two-dimensional code and the expiration time notification image are to be displayed. As will be described later, on receiving the two-dimensional code display pattern and the expiration time display pattern, the VDP 212 conducts a process for reading the two-dimensional code and an expiration time notification image from the work RAM 210 and displaying them on the liquid crystal display device 5, on the basis of the aforementioned two-dimensional code display pattern and the expiration time display pattern. While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, such a two-dimensional code associated with URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data may be prestored in an image data ROM 216 or the like in the fourth aspect of the present invention.
  • [0473]
    The program ROM 208 stores programs for causing the sub CPU 206 to control game effects on the liquid crystal display device 5 and also stores various types of tables such as a table for making determinations relating to effects. Further, the program ROM 208 stores plural types of effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 and further stores plural types of end effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 when all the reels 3 have been stopped. Further, the program ROM 208 stores a two-dimensional code display pattern including various types of data required for displaying a two-dimensional code. Further, the program ROM 208 stores game-related information relating to games.
  • [0474]
    The internal clock 260 measures the current time. The internal clock functions as time measurement means for measuring the current time. The sub CPU 206 acquires the current time from the internal clock 260 by sending, to the internal clock 260, a command for transmitting the current time. At this time, the sub CPU 206 functions as time acquisition means. While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where the internal clock 260 included in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 measures the current time, the time measurement means according to the fourth aspect of the present invention is not limited thereto and, for example, the sub CPU 206 may measure the current time.
  • [0475]
    While, in the fourth embodiment, the program ROM 208 is utilized as a storage medium for storing programs, tables and the like, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize other types of storage media capable of being read by a computer equipped with a CPU and the like and, for example, it is possible to store them in storage media, such as a hard disk device, a CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, a ROM cartridge. As a matter of course, the programs, the tables and the like stored in the program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42. Also, instead of previously storing such programs, these programs may be downloaded and stored in the work RAM 210 or the like after power up. Also, respective programs may be stored in different storage media.
  • [0476]
    While, in the fourth embodiment, the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 and the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 are configured separately from each other, the present invention is not limited thereto and only the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 may be structured. In the latter case, the programs stored in the aforementioned program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42 to be executed by the CPU 41. As a matter of course, the present invention may be configured to be provided with only the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 and, in this case, the programs stored in the aforementioned ROM 42 may be stored in the program ROM 208 to be executed by the sub CPU 206.
  • [0477]
    The work RAM 210 has the function of storing various types of flags and variable values, as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206. Further, the work RAM 210 stores a plurality of two-dimensional codes resulted from encoding of the URL information. While, in the fourth embodiment, the work RAM 210 is utilized as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize any readable and writable storage media.
  • [0478]
    The sound control circuit 230 is constituted by a sound source IC 232 for conducting controls relating to sounds, a sound data ROM 234 for storing various types of sound data, and an amplifier 236 (hereinafter, abbreviated to as an AMP) for amplifying sound signals.
  • [0479]
    The sound source IC 232 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the sound data ROM 234 and the AMP 236. The sound source IC 232 controls sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0480]
    The sub CPU 206 selects single sound data from plural sound data stored in the sound data ROM 234, on the basis of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Then, the sub CPU 206 reads the selected sound data from the sound data ROM 234 and supplies it to the sound source IC 232. On receiving the sound data, the sound source IC 232 converts the sound data into predetermined sound signals and supplies the sound signals to the AMP 236. The AMP 236 amplifies the sound signals and causes the speakers 21 (21L and 21R) to generate sounds.
  • [0481]
    The display control circuit 250 conducts a process for generating a screen image according to the result of games determined by the CPU 41 or commands input through determination button 26 and cancel button 27 and controlling display of the aforementioned screen image on the liquid crystal display device 5. The display control circuit 250 is constituted by an image data processor (hereinafter, referred to as a VDP) 212, an image data ROM 216 for storing various types of image data, and a D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals. The VDP 212 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the image data ROM 216 which stores image data and the D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals.
  • [0482]
    The VDP 212 is a device including various types of circuits such as a sprite circuit, a screen circuit and a pallet circuit and being capable of conducting various types of processes for displaying screen images on the liquid crystal display device 5. Namely, the VDP 212 controls the display on the liquid crystal display device 5. Further, the VDP 212 includes a storage medium (for example, a video RAM) as a buffer used for displaying screen images on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5. By storing image data in a predetermined storage region of the storage medium, a screen image is displayed on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5 at a predetermined timing.
  • [0483]
    The image data ROM 216 stores, for example, background images, character images indicating characters, expiration time notification image data for indicating the expiration time of acquisition of premium data, and the like. While in the fourth embodiment there will be described a case where the URL information including the game-related information and acquired-time data is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, such a two-dimensional code may be previously stored in the image data ROM 216 in the fourth aspect of the present invention.
  • [0484]
    The VDP 212 extracts effect images from the image data ROM 216, according to image displaying commands (commands) transmitted from the sub CPU 206. Further, when the VDP 212 receives a two-dimensional code display pattern from the sub CPU 206, it extracts a two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 on the basis of the two-dimensional code display pattern.
  • [0485]
    The VDP 212 superimposes the various types of images extracted from the image data ROM 216 and the work RAM 210 in the order of the position to be placed from rearmost to frontmost, for example, in the order of a background image, a character image and the two-dimensional code and stores them in the buffer (for example, a video RAM and the like) to synthesize a screen image and supplies it to the D/A converter 218 at a predetermined timing. The D/A converter 218 converts the screen image into image signals and supplies the image signals to the liquid crystal display device 5. As a result, the two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 (see FIG. 33). The player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. At this time, the liquid crystal display device 5 functions as code information display means for displaying the two-dimensional code (code information), which is generated from coding of at least the acquired-time data, in such a manner that the two-dimensional code can be captured with the CCD camera 308 (image pickup means) from the outside.
  • [0486]
    While in the fourth embodiment there will be described a case where the sub CPU 206 encodes game-related information and acquired-time data to generate a two-dimensional code, in the fourth aspect of the present invention, such a two-dimensional code may be stored in the storage means included in the gaming machine.
  • [0487]
    FIG. 36 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit. First, in step S200, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an effect starting command. If it is determined that no effect starting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S210. On the other hand, if it is determined that an effect starting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208, in step S201. When an RB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects an RB effect pattern while when a BB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects a BB effect pattern. Next, in step S202, effect pattern data which is data indicative of the effect pattern is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S202 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S210.
  • [0488]
    In step S210, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an end effect command. If it is determined that no end effect command has been received, the process proceeds to step S220. In step S211, on the other hand, if it is determined that an end effect command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an end effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of end effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208. Next, in step S212, end effect pattern data is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S210 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S220.
  • [0489]
    In step S220, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB setting command. If it is determined that no RB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S230. On the other hand, if it is determined that an RB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets an RB flag in step S221. After the process in step S221 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S230. The RB flag is a flag set at the start of an RB and cleared at the end of the RB.
  • [0490]
    In step S230, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB setting command. If it is determined that no BB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S240. On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets a BB flag in step S231. The BB flag is a flag set at the start of a BB and cleared at the end of the BB.
  • [0491]
    If it is determined in step S230 that no BB setting command has been received or if the process in step S231 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB releasing command (step S240). If it is determined that an RB releasing command has been received, the RB flag is cleared (step S241).
  • [0492]
    If it is determined in step S2.40 that no RB releasing command has been received or if the process in step S241 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB releasing command (step S250). If it is determined that no BB releasing command has been received, this subroutine is completed. On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB releasing command has been received, the sub CPU 206 clears the BB flag (step S3251). Next, the sub CPU 206 extracts game-related information associated with the result of games of the BB from the game-related information stored in the program ROM 208 and stores it in the work RAM 210 (step S3252). Further, the sub CPU 206 acquires the current time from the internal clock 260 and stores it as acquired-time data in the work RAM 210 (step S3253). At this time, the sub CPU 206 functions as a time acquisition means for acquiring the current time from the internal clock 260. Then, the sub CPU 206 encodes the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data into a two-dimensional code (step S3254). The encoding process will be described later in detail.
  • [0493]
    While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where the current time is acquired from the internal clock 260 included in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, the fourth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and the current time may be acquired from the outside (for example, a clock included in a shop server connected to the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 through a LAN). In this case, the sub CPU 206 functions as a time acquisition means for acquiring the current time from the outside.
  • [0494]
    FIG. 37A is a view illustrating exemplary acquired-time data stored in the work RAM 210. In the figure, there is illustrated acquired-time data which was acquired at the end of a single BB. Further, the reference characters each consisting of a single alphabetic character and a single numerical character which are attached to the respective items are utilized in generating URL information (see FIG. 37B) on the basis of the acquired-time data.
  • [0495]
    The work RAM 210 stores, as acquired-time data, two-digit numbers corresponding to the year, the month, the day and the like at which the current time was acquired. The acquired-time data illustrated in FIG. 37A indicates a year of “04”, a month of “11” and a day of “02”, thereby indicating Nov. 2, 2004.
  • [0496]
    FIG. 37B is a view illustrating exemplary URL information. The URL information “http:/***.***/***.exe?a1=04&a2=11&a3=02&b1=001 . . . ” is exemplary URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data. In the URL information, “http:/***.***/***.exe” indicates a predetermined address in the server 200 in the Internet and is prestored in the program ROM 208. Further, “a1=04”, “a2=11” and “a3=02” indicate the acquired-time data illustrated in FIG. 37A. Further, “b1=001” indicates that the game-related information extracted in step S3252 is “001”. Further, although not illustrated, information about games is further added thereto subsequent to “b1=001” in a predetermined format.
  • [0497]
    After the process in step S3254, the sub CPU 206 stores the two-dimensional code generated in step S3254 in the work RAM 210 (step S3255). Next, the sub CPU 206 reads two-dimensional code display pattern data from the program ROM 208 and supplies it to the display control circuit 250 (step S3256). Further, the sub CPU 206 generates expiration time display pattern data on the basis of the acquired-time data acquired in step S3253 and supplies it to the display control circuit 250 (step S3257) and then the subroutine ends.
  • [0498]
    FIG. 38 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S3254 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 36.
  • [0499]
    First, the sub CPU 206 sets, in the work RAM 210, the URL information including the game-related information extracted in step S3252 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 36 and the acquired-time data acquired in step S3253 (step S3400).
  • [0500]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 generates a mode identifier according to the type of the characters (for example, numerical characters, alphanumeric characters, kanjis and the like) of the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data, in the work RAM 210 (step S401). Then, the sub CPU 206 generates a number-of-characters identifier according to the number of characters of the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data, in the work RAM 210 (step S402). Then, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data (step S403). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for adding an end pattern to the data obtained in steps S401 to S403 (step S404).
  • [0501]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts code language conversion on the data obtained in step S404 (step S405). Further, the sub CPU 206 generates an error correction code language on the basis of the data obtained in step S405 and adds it to the data obtained in step S405 (step S406). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the data obtained in step S406 and arranging it in a matrix shape (step S407). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for masking the data obtained in step S407 with a predetermined pattern (step S408). Next, it conducts a process for adding, thereto, format information including an error correction level and a mask identifier (step S409) and then generates a two dimensional code (step S410). The generated two-dimensional code is stored in the work RAM 210. Thereafter, this subroutine ends.
  • [0502]
    FIG. 39 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a display controlling process which is conducted by the display control circuit. The VDP 212 generates a screen image according to various types of data transmitted from the sub CPU 206. If the VDP 212 has not received effect pattern data supplied from the sub CPU 206 (step S300: NO), it extracts a demonstration image from the image data ROM 216 and stores it in the buffer (step S301).
  • [0503]
    If the VDP 212 has received effect pattern data transmitted from the sub CPU 206 (step S300: YES), but has not received end effect pattern data (step S304: NO), it extracts an effect image from the image data ROM 216 and stores it in the buffer (step S305).
  • [0504]
    If the VDP 212 has received effect pattern data transmitted from the sub CPU 206 (step S300: YES) and also has received end effect pattern data (step S304: YES), it extracts an end effect image from the image data ROM 216 and then stores it in the buffer (step S306). After conducting the process in steps S301, S305 and S306, if the VDP 212 receives two-dimensional code display pattern data and expiration time display pattern data (step S3320: YES), it extracts a two-dimensional code and an expiration time notification image from the work RAM 210 and stores it in the buffer (step S3321). At this time, the two-dimensional code and the expiration time notification image are stored therein in such a manner that they are superimposed on the effect image which has been extracted and stored in the buffer in steps S310, S305 and S306. Thereafter, if the timing of ending the displaying of the two-dimensional code and the expiration time notification image comes (step S3323: YES), the two-dimensional code display pattern data and the expiration time display pattern data are cleared (step S3324).
  • [0505]
    Then, at every predetermined timing (for example, at 1/30-second intervals) (step S307: YES), the screen image is output to the liquid crystal display device 5 (step S308). As a result, a two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5, as illustrated in FIG. 33. On the other hand, if the predetermined timing has not come (step S307: NO), the process returns to step S307.
  • [0506]
    Thereafter, if the effect has not been completed (step S310: NO), the process returns to step S300. On the other hand, if the effect has been completed (step S310: YES), the pattern data is cleared (step S311) and the process returns to step S300.
  • [0507]
    FIG. 40 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the portable phone illustrated in FIG. 32. The portable terminal device 300 includes an operating portion 304, a liquid crystal display panel 306, a CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, a wireless communication portion 310, a sound circuit 312, a speaker 314, a microphone 316, a transmission/reception antenna 318, a nonvolatile memory 320, a microcomputer 322 and a secondary battery 324.
  • [0508]
    The wireless communication portion 310 performs transmission and reception to and from base stations using radio waves as media through the transmission/reception antenna 318, under the control of the microcomputer 322. The sound circuit 312 outputs, to the speaker 314, reception signals which have been output thereto from the wireless communication portion 310 through the microcomputer 322 and also outputs sound signals output from the microphone 316, as transmission signals, to the wireless communication portion 310 through the microcomputer 322.
  • [0509]
    The speaker 314 converts the reception signals output from the sound circuit 312 into reception sounds and outputs them. The microphone 316 converts sounds which have been generated and transmitted from an operator, into sound signals, and outputs them to the sound circuit 312. The CCD camera 308 is capable of capturing the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and, the image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92 is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320. While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where the CCD camera is utilized as image pickup means, the image pickup means according to the fourth aspect of the present invention is not particularly limited and may be, for example, a CMOS sensor camera or the like.
  • [0510]
    The nonvolatile memory 320 stores, in a nonvolatile manner, various types of data, such as image data generated by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies, and various types of programs. The secondary battery 324 supplies electric power to the respective circuits. The microcomputer 322 is constituted by a CPU, a ROM and a RAM, and conducts, for example, phone-call sending/receiving processing, e-mail generating/sending/receiving processing, Internet processing and the like. The microcomputer 322 conducts the transmission/reception of e-mails and the transmission/reception of data via the Internet, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318.
  • [0511]
    The microcomputer 322 downloads predetermined programs from the server 200 via the Internet, on the basis of predetermined commands input through the operating portion 304 and then stores them in the nonvolatile memory 320. Further, the microcomputer 322 reads the aforementioned programs from the nonvolatile memory 320 and executes them to provide the following functions (A) to (B).
  • [0512]
    (A) The microcomputer 322 recognizes a two-dimensional code from image data obtained by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and then generates URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data from the recognized two-dimensional code. (B) The microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data generated as in the aforementioned (A) to the server 200, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet.
  • [0513]
    While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable phone 300 downloads programs from the server 200, such programs may be previously stored (preinstalled) in the nonvolatile memory 322 of the portable phone 300.
  • [0514]
    FIG. 41 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 32. The server 200 includes a CPU 201 as an arithmetic processing device, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication interface circuit 204 for communicating with the portable phone 300 via the Internet, a hard disk drive 205 and an internal clock 207.
  • [0515]
    The hard disk drive 205 stores web page data including premium data and web page data including no premium data. The hard disk drive 205 functions as premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300. While, in the fourth embodiment, there will be described a case where premium data is stored in the hard disk drive 205, the premium data storage means according to the fourth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and may be, for example, the ROM 202. When the CPU 201 receives URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data from the portable phone 300, the CPU 201 stores the received game-related information and acquired-time data in the hard disk drive 205.
  • [0516]
    On the basis of the received acquired-time data and the reception time acquired from the internal clock 207 included in the server 200, the CPU 201 determines whether or not it received the acquired-time data from the portable phone 300 within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired-time data. If the CPU 201 determines that it received the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time, it extracts web page data including premium data associated with the received game-related information from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits it to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet. On the other hand, if the CPU 201 determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined time, it extracts the web page data including no premium data from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits it to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet. As a result, a web page associated with the game-related information is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300. Further, when the portable phone 300 receives premium data, the premium data can be acquired on the web page.
  • [0517]
    Further, the hard disk drive 205 stores programs to be downloaded to the portable phone 300. If the CPU 201 receives, from the portable phone 300, a signal commanding for downloading a program thereto, the CPU 201 reads the program from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits the program to the portable phone 300 from the communication interface circuit 204 via the Internet.
  • [0518]
    FIG. 42 is a flowchart illustrating a process which is conducted by the portable phone and the server. First, the microcomputer 322 included in the portable phone 300 drives the CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, on the basis of commands input through the operating portion 304 and, thus, the CCD camera 308 captures the two-dimensional code 92 included in a screen image displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 (step S500).
  • [0519]
    Then, the microcomputer 322 stores the image data obtained instep S500 in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S501). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a two-dimensional code recognizing process (step S502) to recognize a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S500 and generates URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data from the recognized two-dimensional code. The two-dimensional code recognizing process will be described later in detail.
  • [0520]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data obtained through the two-dimensional code recognizing process in step S502 to the server 200, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet (step S3503).
  • [0521]
    The CPU 201 included in the server 200 receives the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data from the portable phone 300 via the Internet (step S3601). At this time, the CPU 201 functions as a receiving means for receiving, from the portable phone 300, the acquired-time data acquired in step S3253. Next, the CPU 201 stores the game-related information and the acquired-time data which was received in step S3600, in the hard disk drive 205 (step S3601).
  • [0522]
    Next, the CPU 201 determines whether or not it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired-time data which was received from the portable phone 300, on the basis of the received acquired-time data and the reception time acquired from the internal clock 207 included in the server 200 (step S3602). At this time, the CPU 201 functions as a determination means for determining whether or not the acquired-time data was received within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the acquired-time data received from the portable phone 300. If the CPU 201 determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time (step S3602: NO), it extracts the web page data including no premium data from the hard disk drive 205 (step S3603). On the other hand, if the CPU 201 determines that it received the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time (step S3602: YES), it extracts web page data including premium data associated with the received game-related information from the hard disk drive 205 (step S3604). Then, after the process in step S3603 or step S3604, the CPU 201 transmits the extracted web page data to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet (step S3605). In the process in steps S3603 to S3605, the CPU 201 functions as premium data transmission means that extracts premium data associated with the received game-related information from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits it to the portable phone 300 if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time in step S3602, but does not transmit premium data to the portable phone 300 if it determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time.
  • [0523]
    The microcomputer 322 in the portable phone 300 causes the liquid crystal display panel 306 to display a web page associated with the game-related information, on the basis of the web page data transmitted from the server 200 (step S3504). Further, the microcomputer 322 determines whether or not it received premium data along with the web page data (step S3505) and, if the microcomputer 322 determines that it received premium data, it stores the premium data in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S3506).
  • [0524]
    FIG. 43 is a view illustrating an exemplary web page data extraction table used in step S3603 or step S3604 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 42. Game-related information of “001” is associated with web page data AA including waiting-image data A as premium data and web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player accessed the URL associated with this game-related information within the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data AA including the waiting-image data A as premium data to the player. As a result, the player can acquire the waiting-image data A as premium data. On the other hand, if the player accesses this URL outside of the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can urge the player to immediately transmit the game-related information based on the captured two-dimensional code 92, after capturing the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the two-dimensional code 92.
  • [0525]
    Game-related information of “002” is associated with web page data BB including waiting-image data B as premium data and the web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player accessed the URL associated with this game-related information within the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data BB including the waiting-image data B as premium data to the player. As a result, the player can acquire the waiting-image data B as premium data. On the other hand, if the player accesses the URL outside of the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can urge the player to immediately transmit the game-related information based on the captured two-dimensional code 92, after capturing the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the two-dimensional code 92.
  • [0526]
    Game-related information of “003” is associated with web page data XX including music data X as premium data and the web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player accesses the URL associated with this game-related information within the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data XX including the music data X as premium data to the player. As a result, the player can acquire the music data X as premium data. On the other hand, if the player accesses this URL outside of the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can urge the player to immediately transmit the game-related information based on the captured two-dimensional code 92, after capturing the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the two-dimensional code 92.
  • [0527]
    Game-related information of “004” is associated with web page data YY including music data Y as premium data and the web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player accesses the URL associated with this game-related information within the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data YY including the music data Y as premium data to the player. As a result, the player can acquire the music data Y as premium data. On the other hand, if the player accesses this URL outside of the predetermined length of time, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can urge the player to immediately transmit the game-related information based on the captured two-dimensional code 92, after capturing the code information. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the two-dimensional code 92.
  • [0528]
    FIG. 44 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 42. First, the microcomputer 322 conducts an image converting process on image data stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S700). The image converting process is a process for extracting image data of the region in which a two-dimensional code is displayed, from image data obtained by capturing a two-dimensional code, then performing corrections of the inclination and the distortion thereon and converting the image data into a monochrome image with a predetermined threshold value to generate image data including a frontward-faced two-dimensional code.
  • [0529]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 extracts the two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S700 and performs corrections such as noise elimination (step S701). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a binarizing process on the two-dimensional code obtained in step S701 to substitute “0” or “1” for the respective dots constituting the two-dimensional code (step S702) and then generates binarized matrix data (step S703). Next, the microcomputer 322 decodes the binarized matrix data (step S704) and generates URL information including game-related information and acquired-time data (step S3705). Then, the subroutine ends and the process is transferred to step S3503 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 42.
  • [0530]
    As described above, when the portable phone 300 transmits the URL information including the game-related information and the acquired-time data to the server 200 (step S3503, FIG. 42), it is determined whether or not the acquired-time data was received within a predetermined length of time. If the acquired-time data was received within the predetermined length of time, web page data (for example, HTML data or the like) including premium data associated with the received game-related information is transmitted to the portable phone 300 and, thus, an image as illustrated in FIG. 45A is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300. On the other hand, if the acquired-time data was not received within the predetermined time interval, web page data including no premium data associated with the received game-related information is transmitted to the portable phone 300 and then an image as illustrated in FIG. 45C is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300.
  • [0531]
    FIG. 45A is a view illustrating an exemplary web page which is displayed if it is determined that acquired-time data was received within the predetermined length of time. At the center portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed an image indicating a character which is being pleased to acquire premium data. Further, under the image, there is displayed an image describing “Congratulations! A waiting image is presented to you”. Further, under the image, there is displayed a “waiting image A” which is an image with a hyperlink set thereon. When the player selects “waiting image A” which is the image with the hyperlink set thereon, by operating the operating portion 304, an image as illustrated in FIG. 45B is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300.
  • [0532]
    FIG. 45B is a view illustrating an exemplary waiting image. At the center portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed a waiting image indicating a character which appears in effects in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1. Further, at lower positions on the liquid crystal display panel 306, there are displayed two options, “Return” and “Save”. When an option of “Save” is selected through operations on the operating portion 304, image data A for the waiting-image is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 in the portable phone 300.
  • [0533]
    FIG. 45C is a view illustrating an exemplary web page which is displayed if it is determined that acquired-time data was not received within the predetermined length of time. At the center portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed an image indicating a character which seems rueful. Under the image, there is also displayed an image describing “Expiration time has passed. You can not get premium”. On the web page including no premium data, the player can not acquire premium data.
  • [0534]
    As described above, with the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, the service supply system 500 and the server 200 according to the fourth embodiment, a two-dimensional code 92 which is coded acquired-time data is displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and, if the player captures the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300 and then transmits acquired-time data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server 200, the server 200 transmits premium data to the portable phone 300 if it determines that it received the acquired-time data within a predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data. On the other hand, if the server 200 determines that it did not receive the acquired-time data within the predetermined length of time since the time indicated by the received acquired-time data, the server 200 transits no premium data to the portable phone 300. This can urge the player to immediately transmit game-related information based on the captured two-dimensional code 92 after the player captures the two-dimensional code 92. This can increase the chances of arousing player's motivation to further play games and also can prevent the player from forgetting to acquire premium data after capturing the two-dimensional code 92. Thus, it becomes possible to facilitate the utilization of the service of transmitting premium data to portable terminal devices, on the basis of the code information displayed on the gaming machine.
  • [0535]
    While, in the fourth embodiment, there has been described a case where code information includes acquired-time data, the data included in code information is not limited to acquired-time data and it is necessary only that code information includes data relating to time. For example, code information may include expiration time data indicative of the expiration time, instead of acquired-time data. In such a case, it is not necessary to preset the expiration time in the server, in order to determine whether or not the server received the expiration time data within a predetermined time, which can facilitate the management of the server.
  • [0536]
    While, in the fourth embodiment, premium data is image data for waiting images and music data for cellular phone ring melodies, the premium data according to the fourth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case. For example, the premium data may be image data indicative of the content of winning (for example, image data having the content of a winning screen which enables the player to acquire medals or premiums by showing it to personnel of the game facility) or the like may be transmitted to the portable terminal device or chargeable information (for example, game data and the like which can be conducted in portable terminal devices) may be transmitted to the portable terminal device. Also, for example, data indicating a format for inputting personal information (for example, a name, an address and the like) for subscribing to premiums may be transmitted to the portable terminal device, as premium data. In this case, the player can input predetermined personal information to the format and transmit the format to the server for acquiring the premiums through home-delivery services and the like. By increasing the variety of premium data as described above, it is possible to arouse the player's motivation to play games many times and also prevent the player from getting bored with games.
  • Fifth Embodiment
  • [0537]
    Hereinafter, a preferred embodiment according to the fifth aspect of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.
  • [0538]
    A service supply system, a gaming machine and a server according to the fifth embodiment have the same configurations as the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment, except points which will be described later. Accordingly, in the description of the fifth embodiment, components corresponding to those of the service supply system, the gaming machine and the server according to the first embodiment will be designated by the same reference characters.
  • [0539]
    FIG. 46 is a view of a network structure illustrating an exemplary service supply system according to an embodiment of the fifth aspect of the present invention. The service supply system 500 comprises a pachi-slot gaming machine 1, a portable phone 300 including a CCD camera 308 (not shown, see FIG. 50) which functions as image pickup means, and a server 200 capable of transmitting and receiving data to and from the portable phone 300, in a wireless manner, via the Internet.
  • [0540]
    In the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, at the end of a BB (big bonus) as a special gaming state, a two-dimensional code 92 which is coded URL information is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5, wherein the URL information includes game-related information (for example, information about the result of the BB game) relating to games and identification data, and such identification data is set for respective two-dimensional codes to be displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1.
  • [0541]
    A player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. The portable phone 300 recognizes the two-dimensional code from image data which has been obtained by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and then generates URL information including the game-related information and the identification data from the recognized two-dimensional code. Then, the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data is transmitted to the server 200.
  • [0542]
    The hard disk drive 205 (not shown, see FIG. 51) included in the server 200 stores web page data including premium data (for example, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies and the like) and web page data including no premium data. The web page data is associated with respective game-related information.
  • [0543]
    When the server 200 receives the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data from the portable phone 300, it stores the received game-related information and identification data in the hard disk drive 205. Further, the server 200 determines whether or not it has previously received the same identification data as the received identification data. Then, if the server 200 determines that it has not received the same identification data, it extracts web page data including premium data associated with the received game-related information from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits the extracted web page data including the premium data to the portable phone 300. On the other hand, if the server 200 determines that it has previously received the same identification data, the server 200 transmits the web page data including no premium data to the portable phone 300. When the portable phone 300 receives the web page data from the server 200, it displays a web page on the basis of the web page data. Also, when the portable phone 300 receives premium data from the server 200, it stores the premium data.
  • [0544]
    The pachi-slot gaming machine 1 in the service supply system 500 corresponds to a gaming machine according to the fifth aspect of the present invention. The gaming machine according to the fifth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and may be, for example, a pachinko gaming machine, a slot machine or the like.
  • [0545]
    While, in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where a two-dimensional code is employed as code information, the code information according to the fifth aspect of the present invention includes an one-dimensional code (barcode) as well as such two-dimensional code. Further, while, in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where a QR code (registered trademark) is employed as a two-dimensional code, the fifth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case.
  • [0546]
    Further, while in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable phone 300 and the server 200 transmit and receive data to and from each other in a wireless manner, the fifth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and transmission and reception of data may be carried out in a wired manner. Namely, the communication line according to the fifth aspect of the present invention includes wired transmission lines and wireless transmission lines.
  • [0547]
    FIG. 47 is a block diagram illustrating the structure of a sub control circuit included in the pachi-slot gaming machine according to the fifth embodiment. While in the fifth embodiment the sub control circuit is configured such that the main control circuit 81 can send commands to the sub control circuit 82 while the sub control circuit 82 can not send signals to the main control circuit 81, the present invention is not limited thereto and the sub control circuit 82 may be configured such that it can transmit signals to the main control circuit 81.
  • [0548]
    The sub control circuit 82 includes a sub CPU 206, a program ROM 208, a work RAM 210 and an internal clock (not shown). Further, the determination button 26 and the cancel button 27 are connected to the sub control circuit 82 through an interface circuit 240. The sub control circuit 82 further includes a display control circuit 250 for controlling the display on the liquid crystal display device 5 and a sound control circuit 230 for conducting controls relating to the sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0549]
    The sub CPU 206 has the function of conducting various types of processes according to programs stored in the program ROM 208 and also controls the sub control circuit 82 according to various types of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Particularly, the sub CPU 206 conducts display controls on the display control circuit 250.
  • [0550]
    At the timing when the sub CPU 206 receives a command relating to BB releasing from the main control circuit 81, the sub CPU 206 extracts game-related information associated with the result of games of the BB from game-related information stored in the program ROM 208 and stores it in the work RAM 210. Further, the sub CPU 206 extracts gaming machine identification information for identifying the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and a serial number for identifying a two dimensional code, which are stored in the program ROM 208, and then stores them as identification data in the work RAM 210. It is necessary only that the serial numbers for identifying two-dimensional codes identify the two-dimensional codes to be displayed on each of plural pachi-slot gaming machines 1 and may be, for example, three-digit numbers such as 001, 002, 003, and it is not necessary that these serial numbers identify the respective two-dimensional codes to be displayed on different pachi-slot gaming machines 1. Namely, two-dimensional codes to be displayed on different pachi-slot gaming machines may have the same serial number (for example, “001”). Further, each identification data is constituted by a serial number (for example, “001”) and gaming machine identification information (for example, “10000AA”) and, therefore, such data becomes unique data determined for different two-dimensional codes to be displayed on the respective pachi-slot gaming machines 1. While, in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where identification data is data constituted by gaming machine identification information for identifying the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and a serial number for identifying a two-dimensional code, identification data according to the fifth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and may be, for example, data and the like constituted by time data (for example, data indicative of the time at which the BB ended) acquired from the internal clock included in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and gaming machine identification information.
  • [0551]
    Further, the sub CPU 206 encodes the URL information including the extracted game-related information and identification data to generate a two-dimensional code and stores it in the work RAM 210. The URL information includes the game-related information, the identification data and an URL indicative of a predetermined address in the server 200 in the Internet. Then, the sub CPU 206 extracts a two-dimensional code display pattern from the program ROM 208 and transmits it to the VDP 212, at the timing when it receives a command relating to BB releasing from the main control circuit 81. The two-dimensional code display pattern includes various types of data required for displaying a two-dimensional code, such as the position and the time interval at and during which the two-dimensional code is displayed. As will be described later, on receiving the two-dimensional code display pattern, the VDP 212 conducts a process for reading the two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 and displaying it on the liquid crystal display device 5, on the basis of the aforementioned two-dimensional code display pattern. While, in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where the URL information including game-related information and identification data is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, such a two-dimensional code associated with URL information including game-related information and identification data may be previously stored in an image data ROM 216 or the like in the fifth aspect of the present invention.
  • [0552]
    The program ROM 208 stores programs for causing the sub CPU 206 to control game effects on the liquid crystal display device 5 and also stores various types of tables such as a table for making determinations relating to effects. Further, the program ROM 208 stores plural types of effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 and further stores plural types of end effect patterns associated with screen images to be displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 when all the rotation reels 3 have been stopped. Further, the program ROM 208 stores a two-dimensional code display pattern including various types of data required for displaying a two-dimensional code.
  • [0553]
    Further, the program ROM 208 stores game-related information relating to games. Further, the program ROM 208 stores the gaming machine identification information for identifying the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and the serial numbers for identifying two-dimensional codes.
  • [0554]
    While, in the fifth embodiment, the program ROM 208 is utilized as a storage medium for storing programs, tables and the like, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize other types of storage media capable of being read by a computer equipped with a CPU and the like and, for example, it is possible to store them in storage media, such as a hard disk device, a CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, a ROM cartridge. As a matter of course, the programs, the tables and the like stored in the program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42. Also, instead of previously storing such programs, these programs may be downloaded and stored in the work RAM 210 or the like after power up. Also, respective programs may be stored in different storage media.
  • [0555]
    While, in the fifth embodiment, the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 and the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 are configured separately from each other, the present invention is not limited thereto and only the main control circuit 81 including the CPU 41 and the ROM 42 may be structured. In the latter case, the programs stored in the aforementioned program ROM 208 may be stored in the ROM 42 to be executed by the CPU 41. As a matter of course, the present invention may be configured to be provided with only the sub control circuit 82 including the sub CPU 206 and the program ROM 208 and, in this case, the programs stored in the aforementioned ROM 42 may be stored in the program ROM 208 to be executed by the sub CPU 206.
  • [0556]
    The work RAM 210 has the function of storing various types of flags and variable values, as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206. Further, the work RAM 210 stores plural two-dimensional codes resulted from encoding of the URL information. While, in the fifth embodiment, the work RAM 210 is utilized as a temporal storage region for the sub CPU 206, the present invention is not limited thereto and it is possible to utilize any readable and writable storage media.
  • [0557]
    The sound control circuit 230 is constituted by a sound source IC 232 for conducting controls relating to sounds, a sound data ROM 234 for storing various types of sound data, and an amplifier 236 (hereinafter, abbreviated to as an AMP) for amplifying sound signals.
  • [0558]
    The sound source IC 232 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the sound data ROM 234 and the AMP 236. The sound source IC 232 controls sound to be generated from the speakers 21.
  • [0559]
    The sub CPU 206 selects single sound data from plural sound data stored in the sound data ROM 234, on the basis of commands transmitted from the CPU 41. Then, the sub CPU 206 reads the selected sound data from the sound data ROM 234 and supplies it to the sound source IC 232. On receiving the sound data, the sound source IC 232 converts the sound data into predetermined sound signals and supplies the sound signals to the AMP 236. The AMP 236 amplifies the sound signals and causes the speakers 21 (21L and 21R) to generate sounds.
  • [0560]
    The display control circuit 250 conducts a process for generating a screen image according to the result of games determined by the CPU 41 or commands input through the determination button 26 and cancel button 27 and controlling display of the aforementioned screen image on the liquid crystal display device 5. The display control circuit 250 is constituted by an image data processor (hereinafter, referred to as a VDP) 212, an image data ROM 216 for storing various types of image data, and a D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals. The VDP 212 is connected to the sub CPU 206, the image data ROM 216 which stores image data and the D/A converter 218 for converting image data into image signals.
  • [0561]
    The VDP 212 is a device including various types of circuits such as a sprite circuit, a screen circuit and a pallet circuit and being capable of conducting various types of processes for displaying screen images on the liquid crystal display device 5. Namely, the VDP 212 controls the display on the liquid crystal display device 5. Further, the VDP 212 includes a storage medium (for example, a video RAM) as a buffer used for displaying screen images on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5. By storing image data in a predetermined storage region of the storage medium, a screen image is displayed on the transparent liquid crystal display panel 34 of the liquid crystal display device 5 at a predetermined timing.
  • [0562]
    The image data ROM 216 stores, for example, background images, character images indicating characters and the like. While in the fifth embodiment there will be described a case where the URL information including game-related information and identification data is encoded to generate a two-dimensional code, such a two-dimensional code may be previously stored in the image data ROM 216 in the fifth aspect of the present invention.
  • [0563]
    The VDP 212 extracts effect images from the image data ROM 216, according to image displaying commands (commands) transmitted from the sub CPU 206. Further, when the VDP 212 receives a two-dimensional code display pattern from the sub CPU 206, it extracts a two-dimensional code from the work RAM 210 on the basis of the two-dimensional code display pattern.
  • [0564]
    The VDP 212 superimposes the various types of images extracted from the image data ROM 216 and the work RAM 210 in the order of the position to be placed from rearmost to frontmost, for example, in the order of a background image, a character image and the two-dimensional code and stores them in the buffer (for example, a video RAM and the like) to synthesize a screen image and supplies it to the D/A converter 218 at a predetermined timing. The D/A converter 218 converts the screen image into image signals and supplies the image signals to the liquid crystal display device 5. As a result, the two-dimensional code 92 is displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 (see FIG. 3). The player can capture the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300. At this time, the liquid crystal display device 5 functions as code information display means for displaying the two-dimensional code (code information), which is generated from coding at least the identification data, in such a manner that the two-dimensional code can be captured with the CCD camera 308 (image pickup means) from the outside.
  • [0565]
    While in the fifth embodiment there will be described a case where the sub CPU 206 encodes game-related information and identification data to generate a two-dimensional code, in the fifth aspect of the present invention, such a two-dimensional code may be stored in the storage means included in the gaming machine.
  • [0566]
    FIG. 48 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of a command receiving process which is conducted by the sub control circuit. First, in step S200, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an effect starting command. If it is determined that no effect starting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S210. On the other hand, if it is determined that an effect starting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208, in step S201. When an RB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects an RB effect pattern while when a BB flag is set, the sub CPU 206 selects a BB effect pattern. Next, in step S202, effect pattern data which is data indicative of the effect pattern is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S202 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S210.
  • [0567]
    In step S210, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an end effect command. If it is determined that no end effect command has been received, the process proceeds to step S220. In step S211, on the other hand, if it is determined that an end effect command has been received, the sub CPU 206 selects an end effect pattern associated with the command, from plural types of end effect patterns stored in the program ROM 208. Next, in step S212, end effect pattern data is transmitted to the display control circuit 250. After the process in step S210 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S220.
  • [0568]
    In step S220, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB setting command. If it is determined that no RB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S230. On the other hand, if it is determined that an RB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets an RB flag in step S221. After the process in step S221 is conducted, the process proceeds to step S230. The RB flag is a flag set at the start of an RB and cleared at the end of the RB.
  • [0569]
    In step S230, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB setting command. If it is determined that no BB setting command has been received, the process proceeds to step S240. On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB setting command has been received, the sub CPU 206 sets a BB flag in step S231. The BB flag is a flag set at the start of a BB and cleared at the end of the BB.
  • [0570]
    If it is determined in step S230 that no BB setting command has been received or if the process in step S231 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received an RB releasing command (step S240). If it is determined that an RB releasing command has been received, the RB flag is cleared (step S241).
  • [0571]
    If it is determined in step S240 that no RB releasing command has been received or if the process in step S241 has been conducted, the sub CPU 206 determines whether or not it has received a BB releasing command (step S250). If it is determined that no BB releasing command has been received, this subroutine is completed. On the other hand, if it is determined that a BB releasing command has been received, the sub CPU 206 clears the BB flag (step S4251). Next, the sub CPU 206 extracts game-related information associated with the result of games of the BB from game-related information stored in the program ROM 208 and stores it in the work RAM 210 (step S4252). Further, the sub CPU 206 extracts the gaming machine identification information for identifying the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and the serial number for identifying a two-dimensional code from the program ROM 208 and stores them as identification data in the work RAM 210 (step S4253). Then, the sub CPU 206 encodes the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data into a two-dimensional code (step S4254). At this time, the sub CPU 206 functions as code information generation means for generating the two-dimensional code 92. The encoding process will be described in detail later.
  • [0572]
    As an example of URL information to be encoded in step S4254, there is “http:/***.***/***.exe?a1=10000AA&a2=100&b1==001 . . . ”. In the URL information, “http:/***.***/***.exe” indicates a predetermined address in the server 200 in the Internet and is prestored in the program ROM 208. Further, “a1=10000AA” indicates that the gaming machine identification information of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 is “10000AA”. Further, “a2=100” indicates that the serial number of the two-dimensional code is “100”. Further, “b1=001” indicates that the game-related information extracted in step S4252 is “001”. Although not illustrated, information about games is further added subsequent to “b1=001” in a predetermined format. While, in the fifth embodiment, there has been described a case where the serial numbers of two-dimensional codes are three-digit numbers (for example, “100”), the present invention is not limited thereto. Further, while there has been described a case where the gaming machine identification information of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 is a 7-digit alphanumeric character (for example, “10000AA”), the present invention is not limited thereto.
  • [0573]
    After the process in step S4254, the sub CPU 206 stores the two-dimensional code generated in step S4254 in the work RAM 210 (step S4255). Next, the sub CPU 206 reads two-dimensional code display pattern data from the program ROM 208 and supplies it to the display control circuit 250 (step S4256). Then, the subroutine ends.
  • [0574]
    FIG. 49 is a flowchart illustrating the subroutine of the encoding process which is called up and conducted in step S4254 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 48.
  • [0575]
    First, the sub CPU 206 sets, in the work RAM 210, the URL information including the game-related information extracted in step S4252 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 48 and the identification data extracted in step S4253 (step S4400).
  • [0576]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 generates a mode identifier according to the type of the characters (for example, numerical characters, alphanumeric characters, kanjis and the like) of the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data, in the work RAM 210 (step S401). Then, the sub CPU 206 generates a number-of-characters identifier according to the number of characters of the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data, in the work RAM 210 (step S402). Then, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data (step S403). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for adding an end pattern to the data obtained in steps S401 to S403 (step S404).
  • [0577]
    Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts code language conversion on the data obtained in step S404 (step S405). Further, the sub CPU 206 generates an error correction code language on the basis of the data obtained in step S405 and adds it to the data obtained in step S405 (step S406). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for binarizing the data obtained in step S406 and arranging it in a matrix shape (step S407). Next, the sub CPU 206 conducts a process for masking the data obtained in step S407 with a predetermined pattern (step S408). Next, it conducts a process for adding, thereto, format information including an error correction level and a mask identifier (step S409) and then generates a two dimensional code (step S410). The generated two-dimensional code is stored in the work RAM 210. Thereafter, this subroutine ends.
  • [0578]
    FIG. 50 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the portable phone illustrated in FIG. 46. The portable terminal device 300 includes an operating portion 304, a liquid crystal display panel 306, a CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, a wireless communication portion 310, a sound circuit 312, a speaker 314, a microphone 316, a transmission/reception antenna 318, a nonvolatile memory 320, a microcomputer 322 and a secondary battery 324.
  • [0579]
    The wireless communication portion 310 performs transmission and reception to and from base stations using radio waves as media through the transmission/reception antenna 318, under the control of the microcomputer 322. The sound circuit 312 outputs, to the speaker 314, reception signals which have been output thereto from the wireless communication portion 310 through the microcomputer 322 and also outputs sound signals output from the microphone 316, as transmission signals, to the wireless communication portion 310 through the microcomputer 322.
  • [0580]
    The speaker 314 converts the reception signals output from the sound circuit 312 into reception sounds and outputs them. The microphone 316 converts sounds which have been generated and transmitted from an operator, into sound signals, and outputs them to the sound circuit 312. The CCD camera 308 is capable of capturing the two-dimensional code 92 displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 and, the image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92 is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320. While, in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where the CCD camera is utilized as image pickup means, the image pickup means according to the fifth aspect of the present invention is not particularly limited and may be, for example, a CMOS sensor camera or the like.
  • [0581]
    The nonvolatile memory 320 stores, in a nonvolatile manner, various types of data, such as image data generated by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308, image data for waiting images, music data for cellular phone ring melodies, and various types of programs. The secondary battery 324 supplies electric power to the respective circuits. The microcomputer 322 is constituted by a CPU, a ROM and a RAM, and conducts, for example, phone-call sending/receiving processing, e-mail generating/sending/receiving processing, Internet processing and the like. The microcomputer 322 conducts the transmission/reception of e-mails and the transmission/reception of data via the Internet, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318.
  • [0582]
    The microcomputer 322 downloads predetermined programs from the server 200 via the Internet, on the basis of predetermined commands input through the operating portion 304 and then stores them in the nonvolatile memory 320. Further, the microcomputer 322 reads the aforementioned programs from the nonvolatile memory 320 and executes them to provide the following functions (A) to (B).
  • [0583]
    (A) The microcomputer 322 recognizes a two-dimensional code from image data generated by capturing the two-dimensional code 92 with the CCD camera 308 and then generates URL information including game-related information and identification data from the recognized two-dimensional code. (B) The microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data generated as in the aforementioned (A) to the server 200, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet.
  • [0584]
    While, in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where the portable terminal device 300 downloads programs from the server 200, such programs may be previously stored (preinstalled) in the nonvolatile memory 322 of the portable phone 300.
  • [0585]
    FIG. 51 is a block diagram illustrating the internal structure of the server illustrated in FIG. 46. The server 200 includes a CPU 201 as an arithmetic processing device, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication interface circuit 204 for communicating with the portable phone 300 via the Internet and a hard disk drive 205.
  • [0586]
    The hard disk drive 205 stores web page data including premium data and web page data including no premium data. The hard disk drive 205 functions as a premium data storage means for storing premium data to be transmitted to the portable phone 300. While, in the fifth embodiment, there will be described a case where premium data is stored in the hard disk drive 205, the premium data storage means according to the fifth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case and may be, for example, the ROM 202. When the CPU 201 receives the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data from the portable phone 300, the CPU 201 stores the received game-related information and identification data in the hard disk drive 205. The hard disk drive 205 functions as identification data storage means for storing the received identification data.
  • [0587]
    On the basis of the identification data received from the portable phone 300 and the identification data which has been previously stored in the hard disk drive 205, the CPU 201 determines whether or not it has received the same identification data. If the CPU 201 determines that it has not previously received the same identification data, it extracts web page data including premium data associated with the received game-related information from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits it to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet. On the other hand, if the CPU 201 determines that it has previously received the same identification data, it extracts the web page data including no premium data from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits it to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet. As a result, a web page associated with the game-related information is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300. Further, when the portable phone 300 receives premium data, the player can acquire the premium data on the web page.
  • [0588]
    Further, the hard disk drive 205 stores programs to be downloaded to the portable phone 300. If the CPU 201 receives, from the portable phone 300, a signal commanding for downloading a program thereto, the CPU 201 reads the program from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits the program to the portable phone 300 from the communication interface circuit 204 via the Internet.
  • [0589]
    FIG. 52 is a flowchart illustrating a process which is conducted by the portable phone and the server. First, the microcomputer 322 included in the portable phone 300 drives the CCD camera 308 as image pickup means, on the basis of commands input through the operating portion 304 and, thus, the CCD camera 308 captures the two-dimensional code 92 included in a screen image displayed on the liquid crystal display device 5 of the pachi-slot gaming machine 1 (step S500).
  • [0590]
    Then, the microcomputer 322 stores the image data obtained in step S500 in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S501). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a two-dimensional code recognizing process (step S502) to recognize a two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S500 and generates URL information including game-related information and identification data from the recognized two-dimensional code. The two-dimensional code recognizing process will be described later in detail.
  • [0591]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 transmits the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data obtained through the two-dimensional code recognizing process in step S502 to the server 200, through the wireless communication portion 310 and the transmission/reception antenna 318, via the Internet (step S4503).
  • [0592]
    The CPU 201 included in the server 200 receives the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data, from the portable phone 300, via the Internet (step S4600). At this time, the CPU 201 functions as a receiving means for receiving the identification data from the portable phone 300 which generated the identification data on the basis of the image data resulted from the capturing in step S500. Next, the CPU 201 stores the game-related information and the identification data which was received in step S4600, in the hard disk drive 205 (step S4601). At this time, the hard disk drive 205 functions as an identification data storage means for storing the received identification data.
  • [0593]
    Next, on the basis of the identification data received from the portable phone 300 and the identification data which has been previously stored in the hard disk drive 205, the CPU 201 determines whether or not it has received the same identification data (step S4602). At this time, the CPU 201 functions as a determination means for determining whether or not it has received the same identification data on the basis of the identification data received from the portable phone 300 and the identification data which has been previously stored in the hard disk drive 205. If the CPU 201 determines that it has previously received the same identification data (step S4602: YES), it extracts the web page data including no premium data from the hard disk drive 205 (step S4603). On the other hand, if the CPU 201 determines that it has not previously received the same identification data (step S4602: NO), it extracts web page data including premium data associated with the received game-related information from the hard disk drive 205 (step S4604). After the process in step S4603 or step S4604, the CPU 201 transmits the extracted web page data to the portable phone 300 through the communication interface circuit 204, via the Internet (step S4605). In the steps S4603 to S4605, the CPU 201 functions as premium data transmission means that extracts premium data from the hard disk drive 205 and transmits it to the portable phone 300 if it determines that it has not previously received the same identification data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable phone 300 if it determines that it has previously received the same identification data.
  • [0594]
    The microcomputer 322 in the portable phone 300 causes the liquid crystal display panel 306 to display a web page associated with the game-related information, on the basis of the web page data transmitted from the server 200 (step S4504). Further, the microcomputer 322 determines whether or not it received premium data along with the web page data (step S4505) and, if the microcomputer 322 determines that it received premium data, it stores the premium data in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S4506).
  • [0595]
    FIG. 53 is a view illustrating an exemplary web page data extraction table used in step S4603 or step S4604 in the subroutine illustrated in FIG. 52. Game-related information of “001” is associated with web page data AA including waiting-image data A as premium data and web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player first accesses the URL associated with this game-related information on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data AA including the waiting-image data A as premium data to the player. On the other hand, if the player accesses this URL two or more times on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable phone 300 plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured. As a result, it becomes possible to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured.
  • [0596]
    Game-related information of “002” is associated with web page data BB including waiting-image data B as premium data and the web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player first accesses the URL associated with this game-related information on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data BB including the waiting-image data B as premium data to the player. On the other hand, if the player accesses the URL two or more times on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable phone 300 plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured. As a result, it becomes possible to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured.
  • [0597]
    Game-related information of “003” is associated with web page data XX including music data X as premium data and the web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player first accesses the URL associated with this game-related information on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data XX including the music data X as premium data to the player. On the other hand, if the player accesses this URL two or more times on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable phone 300 plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured. As a result, it becomes possible to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured.
  • [0598]
    Game-related information of “004” is associated with web page data YY including music data Y as premium data and the web page data ZZ including no premium data. If the player first accesses the URL associated with this game-related information on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data YY including the music data Y as premium data to the player. On the other hand, if the player accesses this URL two or more times on the basis of image data resulted from capturing the two-dimensional code 92, the server 200 transmits the web page data ZZ including no premium data to the player. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable phone 300 plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured. As a result, it becomes possible to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code 92 which has been once captured.
  • [0599]
    FIG. 54 is a flowchart illustrating the two-dimensional code recognizing process which is called up and conducted in step S502 in the process illustrated in FIG. 52. First, the microcomputer 322 conducts an image converting process on image data stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 (step S700). The image converting process is a process for extracting image data of the region in which a two-dimensional code is displayed, from image data generated by capturing a two-dimensional code, then performing corrections of the inclination and the distortion thereon and converting the image data into a monochrome image with a predetermined threshold value to generate image data including a frontward-faced two-dimensional code.
  • [0600]
    Next, the microcomputer 322 extracts the two-dimensional code from the image data obtained in step S700 and performs corrections such as noise elimination (step S701). Next, the microcomputer 322 conducts a binarizing process on the two-dimensional code obtained in step S701 to substitute “0” or “1” for the respective dots constituting the two-dimensional code (step S702) and then generates binarized matrix data (step S703). Next, the microcomputer 322 decodes the binarized matrix data (step S704) and generates URL information including game-related information and identification data (step S4705). Then, the subroutine ends and the process is transferred to step S4503 in the flowchart illustrated in FIG. 52.
  • [0601]
    As described above, when the portable phone 300 transmits the URL information including the game-related information and the identification data to the server 200 (FIG. 52, step S4503), it is determined whether or not the same identification data has been previously received. Then, if the same identification data has not been previously received, web page data (for example, HTML data) including premium data associated with the received game-related information is transmitted to the portable phone 300 and, thus, an image as illustrated in FIG. 55A is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300. On the other hand, if the same identification data has been previously received, the web page data including no premium data associated with the received game-related information is transmitted to the portable phone 300 and then an image as illustrated in FIG. 55C is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300.
  • [0602]
    FIG. 55A is a view illustrating an exemplary web page which is displayed if it is determined that the same identification data has not been previously received. At the center portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed an image indicating a character which is being pleased to acquire premium data. Further, under the image, there is displayed an image describing “Congratulations! A waiting image is presented to you”. Further, under the image, there is displayed a “waiting image A” which is an image with a hyperlink set thereon. When the player selects “waiting image A” which is the image with the hyperlink set thereon, by operating the operating portion 304, an image as illustrated in FIG. 55B is displayed on the liquid crystal display panel 306 of the portable phone 300.
  • [0603]
    FIG. 55B is a view illustrating an exemplary waiting image. At the center portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed a waiting image indicating a character which appears in effects in the pachi-slot gaming machine 1. Further, at lower positions on the liquid crystal display panel 306, there are displayed two options, “Return” and “Save”. When an option of “Save” is selected through operations on the operating portion 304, image data A for the waiting-image is stored in the nonvolatile memory 320 in the portable phone 300.
  • [0604]
    FIG. 55C is a view illustrating an exemplary web page which is illustrated if it is determined that the same identification data has been previously received. At the center portion of the liquid crystal display panel 306, there is displayed an image indicating a character which seems confused. Under the image, there is also displayed an image describing “the premium has been already transmitted”. On the web page including no premium data, the player can not acquire premium data.
  • [0605]
    As described above, with the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, the service supply system 500 and the server 200 according to the fifth embodiment, a two-dimensional code generated by coding at least identification data is displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1, wherein identification data is determined for respective two-dimensional codes which are to be displayed on the pachi-slot gaming machine 1. If the player captures the two-dimensional code with the CCD camera 308 included in the portable phone 300 and then transmits identification data generated on the basis of the obtained image data to the server 200, the server 200 transmits premium data to the portable phone 300 if it determines that it has not received the same identification data, but does not transmit premium data to the portable phone 300 if it determines that it has previously received the same identification data. This can prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable phone 300 plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code which has been once captured. This can prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code which has been once captured.
  • [0606]
    When the server 200 receives, from the portable phone 300, data generated on the basis of image data which was resulted from capturing a two-dimensional code, the server 200 may determine whether or not it has previously received the same data from the portable phone 300 on the basis of the IP address and the like of the portable phone 300 received along with the aforementioned data, in order to prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code which has been once captured. However, in such a case, since the determination as to whether or not the same data has been previously received from the portable phone 300 is performed on the basis of the identification data uniquely allotted for the portable phone 300, there is the possibility that image data or the like is first used for acquiring premium data and then is transmitted to another portable phone for acquiring the premium data again with the aforementioned another portable phone. However, according to the fifth embodiment, since two-dimensional codes include identification data, even in the aforementioned case, it is possible to prevent premium data from being transmitted to the portable phone 300 plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code which has been once captured. Accordingly, it becomes possible to certainly prevent premium data from being acquired plural times on the basis of a two-dimensional code which has been once captured.
  • [0607]
    While, in the fifth embodiment, premium data is image data for waiting images and music data for cellular phone ring melodies, the premium data according to the fifth aspect of the present invention is not limited to the case. For example, the premium data may be image data indicative of the content of winning (for example, image data having the content of a winning screen which enables the player to acquire medals or premiums by showing it to personnel of the game facility) or the like may be transmitted to the portable terminal device or chargeable information (for example, game data and the like which can be conducted in portable terminal devices) may be transmitted to the portable terminal device. Also, for example, data indicating a format for inputting personal information (for example, a name, an address and the like) for subscribing to premiums may be transmitted to the portable terminal device, as premium data. In this case, the player can input predetermined personal information to the format and transmit the format to the server for acquiring the premiums through home-delivery services and the like. By increasing the variety of premium data as described above, it is possible to arouse the player's motivation to play games many times and also prevent the player from getting bored with games.
  • [0608]
    While embodiments of the present invention have been described, these embodiments are merely concrete examples and are not intended to limit the present invention. The concrete configurations of the respective means and the like can be adequately designed and changed. Further, while, in the embodiments of the present invention, most preferable effects of the present invention have been merely listed, the effects of the present invention are not limited to those described in the embodiments of the present invention.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification463/16
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3223, G07F17/3232, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32C6, G07F17/32E6, G07F17/32
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 19, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: ARUZE CORP., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:OKADA, KAZUO;REEL/FRAME:017956/0001
Effective date: 20060628