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Publication numberUS20080280670 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/970,919
Publication dateNov 13, 2008
Filing dateJan 8, 2008
Priority dateJan 10, 2007
Publication number11970919, 970919, US 2008/0280670 A1, US 2008/280670 A1, US 20080280670 A1, US 20080280670A1, US 2008280670 A1, US 2008280670A1, US-A1-20080280670, US-A1-2008280670, US2008/0280670A1, US2008/280670A1, US20080280670 A1, US20080280670A1, US2008280670 A1, US2008280670A1
InventorsHiro Sakuma
Original AssigneeAruze Corp.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Gaming machine apparatus having a plurality of gaming machines performing a multi-player-type game
US 20080280670 A1
Abstract
A gaming machine includes client terminals and a controller. Each client terminal includes a memory, a display device, and an input device. The controller is configured with logic to: (a) receive a signal indicating a request for a game played by a team from an input device of a particular client terminal, and consequently send a signal indicating an invitation to the game to other client terminals; (b) accumulate bets placed by the particular client terminal and client terminals that have transmitted a signal indicating participation; (c) determine an award in accordance with the accumulated bets and a result of a round of game performed by a second game program; (d) calculate a distribution of credit to be paid out to a player at a predetermined rate; and (e) control data related to the calculated distribution to be conveyed to the client terminals participated in the game.
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Claims(6)
1. A gaming machine, comprising:
a plurality of client terminals; and
a controller,
wherein each of the plurality of client terminals includes:
a memory storing a game program;
a display device for displaying a result of a game that has been executed in accordance with a first game program, which is applied to a game played by a single player and stored in the memory;
an input device allowing a player to bet on the game, and
wherein the controller is configured with logic to:
(a) receive a signal indicating a request for a game played by a team from an input device of a particular client terminal, and consequently send a signal indicating an invitation to the game to other client terminals;
(b) accumulate bets that have been placed through the input device of the particular client terminal and input devices of client terminals that have transmitted a signal indicating participation in the game when the controller receives the signal after transmission of the signal indicating the invitation;
(c) determine an award in accordance with the accumulated bets and a result of a round of game performed by a second game program that is applied to a game played by a plurality of players and different from the first game program;
(d) calculate a distribution of credit to be paid out to a player for the award at a predetermined rate; and
(e) control data related to the calculated distribution to be conveyed to the particular client terminal and the client terminals participated in the game.
2. The gaming machine according to claim 1,
wherein the distribution of credit excludes credit paid out for JACKPOT in the game performed by the first game program.
3. A gaming machine, comprising:
a plurality of client terminals; and
a central controller,
wherein each of the plurality of client terminals includes:
a memory storing a game program;
a display device for displaying a result of a first game that has been executed in accordance with a first game program, which is applied to a game played by a single player and stored in the memory;
an input device allowing a player to bet on the game;
a first controller for controlling the first game in accordance with the first game program; and
a second controller for controlling a second game played by a plurality of players in accordance with a second game program different from the first game program, and
wherein the central controller is configured with logic to:
(a) receive a signal indicating a request for a game played by a team from an input device of a particular client terminal, and consequently send a signal indicating an invitation to the game to other client terminals;
(b) accumulate bets that have been placed through the input device of the particular client terminal and input devices of client terminals that have transmitted a signal indicating participation in the game when the controller receives the signal after transmission of the signal indicating the invitation;
(c) send to the particular client terminal a signal indicative of executing a second game that includes the accumulated bets;
(d) receive from the particular client terminal a signal indicating determination of an award in accordance with a result of a round of the second game and the accumulated bets;
(e) calculate a distribution of credit to be paid out to a player for the award at a predetermined rate; and
(f) control data related to the calculated distribution to be conveyed to the particular client terminal and the client terminals participated in the game.
4. The gaming machine according to claim 3,
wherein the distribution of credit excludes credit paid out for JACKPOT in the first game.
5. A gaming machine, comprising:
a plurality of client terminals; and
a central controller,
wherein each of the plurality of client terminals includes:
a first memory storing a first game program that is applied to a game played by a single player;
a second memory storing a second game program that is applied to a game played by a plurality of players;
a display device for displaying a result of the game that has been executed in accordance with the first game program;
an input device allowing a player to bet on the game; and
a central controller for controlling a first game in accordance with the first game program, and
wherein the central controller is configured with logic to:
(a) receive a signal indicating a request for a game played by a team from an input device of a particular client terminal, and consequently send a signal indicating an invitation to the game to other client terminals;
(b) accumulate bets that have been placed through the input device of the particular client terminal and input devices of client terminals that have transmitted a signal indicating participation in the game when the controller receives the signal after transmission of the signal indicating the invitation;
(c) determine an award in accordance with the accumulated bets and a result of a round of game performed by the second game program;
(d) calculate a distribution of credit to be paid out to a player for the award at a predetermined rate; and
(e) control data related to the calculated distribution to be conveyed to the particular client terminal and the client terminals participated in the game.
6. The gaming machine according to claim 5,
wherein the central controller controls credit paid out for JACKPOT in the first game to be stored in the second memory, and the remaining credit to be distributed at the predetermined rate.
Description

This application is based on and claims the benefit of priority from Japanese Patent Application No. 2007-002556, filed on 10 Jan. 2007, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming machine apparatus having a plurality of gaming machines performing a multi-player-type game.

2. Related Art

Regarding a slot machine which is one of the conventional gaming machines, U.S. Pat. No. 6,984,174 discloses a gaming machine and methods where qualification for play of a bonus game is linked to play of a normal playing mode. Specifically, multiple players may qualify for the bonus game by achieving preselected criteria associated with play of the normal playing mode. Each qualified player may also eliminate other qualified players by occupying the same space in the bonus game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

However, in the gaming machine disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,984,174, since each qualified player may also eliminate other qualified players by occupying the same space in the bonus game, the other qualified players thus eliminated cannot participate in the bonus game. In addition, since the gaming machine disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,984,174 is configured so that the multiple players may qualify for the bonus game by achieving preselected criteria associated with play of the normal playing mode, the players cannot perform the bonus game without satisfying the criteria in the normal playing mode.

The object of the present invention is to provide a gaming machine which performs a multi-player-type playing game by players selecting the multi-player-type playing game, and thus has further novel entertainment properties.

In an aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is provided, which includes a plurality of client terminals and a controller. Each of the plurality of client terminals includes a memory storing a game program, a display device, and an input device. The display device displays a result of a game that has been executed in accordance with a first game program, which is applied to a game played by a single player and stored in the memory. The input device allows a player to bet on the game. The controller is configured with logic to: (a) receive a signal indicating a request for a game played by a team from an input device of a particular client terminal, and consequently send a signal indicating an invitation to the game to other client terminals; (b) accumulate bets that have been placed through the input device of the particular client terminal and input devices of client terminals that have transmitted a signal indicating participation in the game when the controller receives the signal after transmission of the signal indicating the invitation; (c) determine an award in accordance with the accumulated bets and a result of a round of game performed by a second game program that is applied to a game played by a plurality of players and different from the first game program; (d) calculate a distribution of credit to be paid out to a player for the award at a predetermined rate; and (e) control data related to the calculated distribution to be conveyed to the particular client terminal and the client terminals participated in the game.

According to the gaming machine described above, one of the plurality of client terminals of the gaming machine can start a game with other participating players when the player at the particular client terminal performs a betting operation. Other client terminals can participate in the game when the players place a bet through input devices. Since the gaming machine performs distribution of the credit that is determined in accordance with the accumulated bets among the players, it provides a game that one player can enjoy with other players.

In another aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is provided, in which the distribution of credit excludes credit paid out for JACKPOT in the game performed by the first game program.

Since the distribution of credit excludes the credit paid out for JACKPOT, the gaming machine can provide not only an exciting chance to obtain credit in the game participated by other players, but also another chance to obtain credit for JACKPOT in the game played by a single player.

In still another aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is provided, which includes a plurality of client terminals and a central controller. Each of the plurality of client terminals includes a memory, a display device, an input device, a first controller and a second controller. The memory stores a game program. The display device displays a result of a first game that has been executed in accordance with a first game program, which is applied to a game played by a single player and stored in the memory. The input device allows a player to bet on the game. The first controller controls the first game in accordance with the first game program. The second controller controls a second game played by a plurality of players in accordance with a second game program different from the first game program. The central controller is configured with logic to: (a) receive a signal indicating a request for a game played by a team from an input device of a particular client terminal, and consequently send a signal indicating an invitation to the game to other client terminals; (b) accumulate bets that have been placed through the input device of the particular client terminal and input devices of client terminals that have transmitted a signal indicating participation in the game when the controller receives the signal after transmission of the signal indicating the invitation; (c) send to the particular client terminal a signal indicative of executing a second game that includes the accumulated bets; (d) receive from the particular client terminal a signal indicating determination of an award in accordance with a result of a round of the second game and the accumulated bets; (e) calculate a distribution of credit to be paid out to a player for the award at a predetermined rate; and (f) control data related to the calculated distribution to be conveyed to the particular client terminal and the client terminals participated in the game.

Since the controller of a client terminal is responsible for processing applied to the game played by participants, it is possible to decrease load for the central controller. In addition, the gaming machine can efficiently use the program resources by directly applying processing to the game played by the participants and the game played by the single player.

In yet another aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is provided, which includes a plurality of client terminals and a central controller. Each of the plurality of client terminals includes a first memory, a second memory, a display device, an input device and a central computer. The first memory stores a first game program that is applied to a game played by a single player. The second memory stores a second game program that is applied to a game played by a plurality of players. The display device displays a result of the game that has been executed in accordance with the first game program. The input device allows a player to bet on the game. The central controller controls a first game in accordance with the first game program. The central controller is configured with logic to: (a) receive a signal indicating a request for a game played by a team from an input device of a particular client terminal, and consequently send a signal indicating an invitation to the game to other client terminals; (b) accumulate bets that have been placed through an input device of the particular client terminal and input devices of client terminals that have transmitted a signal indicating participation in the game when the controller receives the signal after transmission of the signal indicating the invitation; (c) determine an award in accordance with the accumulated bets and a result of a round of game performed by the second game program; (d) calculate a distribution of credit to be paid out to a player for the award at a predetermined rate; and (e) control data related to the calculated distribution to be conveyed to the particular client terminal and the client terminals participated in the game.

Since the central controller is responsible for processing applied to the game played by the participants, the gaming machine can decrease load for the client terminal. In addition, the central controller can serve as a controller for the game played by the participants.

In a further aspect of the present invention, a gaming machine is provided, in which the central controller controls credit paid out for JACKPOT in the first game to be stored in the second memory, and the remaining credit to be distributed at the predetermined rate.

Accordingly, the present invention is able to provide a gaming machine which performs a multi-player-type playing game by players selecting the multi-player-type playing game, and thus has further novel entertainment properties.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram which shows a schematic configuration of the gaming system 10 according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective diagram which shows an external configuration of the gaming system 10 according to the present embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a perspective diagram which shows a gaming machine 13 according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a diagram which shows an enlarged view of the display region of the gaming machine according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram which shows an electrical configuration of a controller of a gaming machine according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a block diagram which shows an electrical configuration of a display/input controller of a gaming machine according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a block diagram which shows an electrical configuration of a central controller according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a diagram showing a symbol line represented on each video reel according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a diagram showing a symbol arrangement table according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a diagram showing a symbol arrangement table according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a diagram showing a single play game payout table according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a diagram showing a bonus game payout table according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a flowchart which shows a processing flow in the single play game according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a flowchart which shows the processing operation in a team play game according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a continued flow chart from FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a continued flow chart from FIG. 15;

FIGS. 17 and 18 are diagrams which show an example for a single play game according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a diagram which shows an example for a team play game according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 20 is a diagram which shows an example for a participation confirmation image of a team play game according to the embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21 is a diagram which shows an example for an image for showing the end of accepting participation of a team play game according to the embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 22 is a diagram which shows an example for an image for selecting continuation of a game of a team play game according to the embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The embodiments of the present invention are hereinafter described in detail with reference to the attached drawings.

A description is provided regarding a schematic configuration of a gaming system 10 according to the present embodiment with reference to FIG. 1. FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a configuration of a gaming system 10 according to the present invention. In the gaming system 10 shown in FIG. 1, a network 12 is connected with a plurality of gaming machines 12 and a central controller 11.

The central controller 11 controls each gaming machine 13 via the network 12. More specifically, the central controller 11 performs processing for team play for a multi-player-type playing game, which is illustrated later in FIG. 14 through FIG. 16. As described later, the controller controls team play upon request for team play from one of the gaming machines 13. Although the present specification describes that the central controller 11 controls a team play game, the present invention is not limited thereto. Therefore, one of the gaming machines 13 that requests for team play may control the team play game. The other gaming machines 13 which participate in the game may also control the team play game. In this case, the gaming machine 13 also performs processing of what the central controller 11 performs, as described later in FIG. 14 through FIG. 16. The game based on processing for team play is performed such that the gaming machine 13, which participates in team play, serves as a client's terminal which operates a game, thereby performing one game in all. Although the present embodiment is configured to perform a slot game, any game may be performed if a game can be started by accepting input from all the gaming machines 13 which participate in a team play game.

Each gaming machine 13, for example, serves as a slot machine that a player can play a basic game as a single play game. In addition, one gaming machine 13 serves as a client's terminal for a team play game controlled by the central controller 11 by the player pressing down a team play button 4 (FIG. 3) described later. Furthermore, the other gaming machines 13 serve as a client's terminal to participate in a team play game by transmitting a bet signal in response to receiving a participation request signal from the central controller 11. A team play game is performed by being controlled using the central controller 11 in the present embodiment. Since the gaming machine 13, which a player uses, serves as a terminal for a team play game, the player can operates the team play game.

Based on the abovementioned configuration, the player can enjoy a single play game using the gaming machine 13. In addition, the player can also enjoy a team play game as well, which is different from the single play game, and can be performed with another player.

Furthermore, by controlling a team play game using one gaming machine 13, the central controller 11 may serve as a hub which controls communication between one gaming machine 13 and the other gaming machine 13.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing an external configuration of the gaming system 10 according to the present embodiment. As shown in FIG. 2, the gaming system 10 includes a plurality of gaming machines 13. The gaming machine 13 performs a slot game as a single play game described later in FIG. 13, and also performs a team play game as well under predetermined conditions, which is described later in FIG. 14 through FIG. 16.

A plurality of game machines 13 is connected to the central controller 11 (not shown) via the network 12 (not shown).

In addition, the gaming system 10 as shown in FIG. 2 is provided with a large-size monitor 16 at a place where players at a plurality of gaming machines 13 can see. In FIG. 2, a plurality of the game machines 13 (six gaming machines in the present embodiment) are provided so as to allow the players sitting on chairs 14 at the respective gaming machines 13 to see the large-size monitor 16. The players' situations, such as operations of selecting, may be displayed in the monitor 16 for showing a status of a team play game. For example, images of the players captured by a movable viewpoint camera 17 described later may be displayed as necessary. In this case, the monitor 16 is also connected to the central controller 11. The monitor 16 may directly connect with a central controller 11, and it may be connected through the network 12.

Furthermore, the gaming system 10 includes a plurality of movable viewpoint cameras 17 (three in the present embodiment). The movable viewpoint cameras 17 are installed on the upper end of the monitor 16, which allows images of the player's expressions to be captured. The images captured by the movable view point cameras 17 are displayed on the large-size monitor 16. Alternatively, the images may be displayed on liquid crystal displays 30 or 40 (see FIG. 3) of the gaming machines 13. The gaming system 10 is installed in an amusement facility such as a casino.

FIG. 3 is a perspective diagram illustrating the gaming machine 13 according to the embodiment of the present invention. The gaming machine 13 includes a cabinet 20. The cabinet 20 has a structure in which the face facing the player is open. The cabinet 20 includes various kinds of components. Such components include: a controller 100 (see FIG. 5) for electrically controlling the gaming machine 13; a hopper 44 for controlling insertion, retaining, and paying out of coins (game medium) (see FIG. 5), etc. The game medium is not restricted to coins. In addition, examples of such game media include medals, tokens, electronic money or electronic value information (credits) having the same value.

The liquid crystal display 30 is installed substantially in the middle of the front face of the cabinet 20, and the liquid crystal display 40 is installed in upper side of the cabinet 20.

The liquid crystal display 30 is provided for displaying various kinds of images with respect to the game such as images for visual effects. Such a configuration allows the player to advance the game while visually confirming various kinds of images displayed on the aforementioned liquid crystal display 30. In a single play game, slot games shown later in FIGS. 17 and 18 are displayed. In a team play game, slot games shown later in FIGS. 19 through 22 are displayed.

In a configuration in which the gaming machine 13 includes video reels, five virtual reels are displayed on the liquid crystal display 30. It should be noted that the term “video reel” as used here represents a mechanism for displaying a reel on the liquid crystal display 30 in the form of an image. Multiple kinds of symbols necessary for the single play game include “BONUS”, “WILD”, “TREASURE BOX”, “GOLDEN MASK”, “HOLY CUP”, “COMPASS & MAP”, “SNAKE”, “A”, “K”, “Q”, “J”, and “10”. With such an arrangement, the liquid crystal display 30 displays these symbols with an image as if the reel has rotated.

The liquid crystal display 40 in the upper side of the liquid crystal display 30 serves as a sub display, which displays rules of the single play game and the team play game, demonstration images, and the like. In addition, the liquid crystal display 40 may also be configured to display a player's expression captured by the movable viewpoint camera 17.

Furthermore, sound transmission openings 29 a and 29 b are provided to both upper left and right sides of the liquid crystal display 40. Here, the sound transmission openings 29 are provided for transmitting sound effects generated by a speaker 41 (see FIG. 5) stored within the cabinet 20. The sound transmission openings 29 a and 29 b generate sound effects and the like in accordance with the progress of the game. Decorative lamps 42 a and 42 b are provided on both right and left sides of the substantially center portion of the gaming machine 13. The decorative lamps 42 a and 42 b emit light in accordance with the progress of the game.

The gaming machine 13 includes a substantially horizontal operation unit 21 below the liquid crystal display 30. A coin insertion opening 22 is provided on the right side of the operation unit 21, which allows the player to insert coins. On the other hand, the components provided to the left side of the operation unit 21 include: a bet switch 23 which allows the player to determine which lines are to be set to active pay lines among nine lines L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, L6, L7, L8, and L9, for providing an award described later (which will simply be referred to as “active pay lines” hereafter), and which allows the player to select the amount of coins as game media which are to be bet on the aforementioned active pay lines; a spin repeat bet switch 24 which allows the player to play the game again without changing the amount of coins bet on the aforementioned active pay lines from that in the immediately prior game. Such an arrangement allows the player to set the amount of coins bet to the active pay line by performing a pressing operation on either the bet switch 23 or the spin repeat bet switch 24.

With the aforementioned operation unit 21, a start switch 25 is provided on the left side of the bet switch 23, which allows the player to input a start operation instruction for the single play game in increments of games. Upon performing a pressing operation on either the start switch 25 or the spin repeat bet switch 24, which serves as a trigger to start the game, the image that the aforementioned five mechanical reels 3A to 3E start to rotate is displayed.

In addition, a team play button 4, which a player presses when the player plays the team play game, is disposed in the back of start switch 25. When the player presses the team play button 4, an input signal for team play request is transmitted to the central controller 11. Then, the other gaming machines 13 transmit a signal for participation request. Consequently, the team play game is performed.

A cash out switch 26 is provided near the coin insertion opening 22 on the operation unit 21. Upon the player pressing the cash out switch 26, the inserted coins are paid out from a coin payout opening 27 provided at a lower portion of the front face. The coins thus paid out are retained in a coin tray 28.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view which shows the display region of the gaming machine 13. The gaming machine 13 has the nine lines L1 through L9 for providing awards as shown in FIG. 4. Each of the lines L1 through L9 for providing awards is formed such that it extends so as to pass through one of the symbols for each of the video reels 3A to 3E when the five video reels have stopped.

Upon pressing the aforementioned bet switch 23 once, the line L3 for providing a third award, the line L5 for providing a fifth award, and the line L7 for providing a seventh award, are set to be active pay lines, and one coin is input as a credit medal, for example.

Furthermore, upon pressing the aforementioned bet switch 23 twice, the line L1 for providing a first award, the line L4 for providing a fourth award, and the line L8 for providing an eighth award, are set to be active pay lines, in addition to the aforementioned three lines, and two coins are input as credit medals, for example. Moreover, upon pressing the aforementioned bet switch 23 three times, the line L2 for providing a second award, the line L6 for providing a sixth award, and the line L9 for providing a ninth award, are set to be active pay lines, in addition to the aforementioned six lines, and three coins are input as credit medals, for example.

The game available in the present embodiment is a game in which a predetermined set of symbols are made along the active pay lines. This game is common in the single play game and in the team play game.

Furthermore, various kinds of display units, i.e. a payout display unit 48, a credit amount display unit 49, a bet amount display unit 50, and Jackpot amount display unit 51, are configured to be displayed on the upper side of the liquid crystal display 30 in order from the left. The payout display unit 48 is a component for displaying the amount of the coins paid out when a particular combination of the symbols has been displayed along any one the active pay lines for providing an award. The credit amount display unit 49 is a component for displaying the amount of the coins retained in the gaming machine 13 in the form of credits. The bet amount display unit 50 is a component for displaying the bet amount which is the amount of coins bet on the aforementioned active pay lines. The Jackpot amount display unit 51 is a component for displaying the amount of the coins retained in the central controller 11 in the form of credits as Jackpot. As described later, a portion of the credits obtained from a team play game is pooled as the credits displayed in the Jackpot amount display unit 51. Moreover, the credits are paid out when a predetermined combination is achieved on the winning line during a single play.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram which shows an electrical configuration of the controller 100 of the gaming machine 13. As shown in FIG. 5, the controller 100 of the gaming machine 13 is a micro computer, and includes an interface circuit group 102, an input/output bus 104, a CPU 106, ROM 108, RAM 110, a communication interface circuit 111, a random number generator 112, a speaker driving circuit 122, a hopper driving circuit 124, a lamp driving circuit 126, and a display/input controller 140.

The interface circuit group 102 is electrically connected with the input/output bus 104, which carries out input and output of data signals or address signals for CPU 106.

The start switch 25 is electrically connected with the interface circuit group 102. In the interface circuit group 102, a start signal generated by the start switch 25 is converted into a predetermined form of signal to be supplied to the input/output bus 104.

Furthermore, the bet switch 23, the spin repeat bet switch 24, and the cash out switch 26 are connected to the interface circuit group 102. Each of the switching signals output from these switches 23, 24, and 26 is also supplied to the interface circuit group 102, and is converted into a predetermined signal by the interface circuit group 102. The switching signals thus converted are supplied to the input/output bus 104.

A coin sensor 43 is also electrically connected with the interface circuit group 102. The coin sensor 43 detects coins inserted into the coin insertion slot 22, and is disposed at an appropriate position relative to the coin insertion slot 22. The sensing signal output from the coin sensor 43 is also supplied to the interface circuit group 102, and is converted into a predetermined signal by the interface circuit group 102. The sensing signal thus converted is supplied to the input/output bus 104.

The team play button 4 is also electrically connected with the interface circuits 102. The input signal for team play request output from the team play button 4 is also supplied to the interface circuit group 102, and is converted into a predetermined signal by the interface circuit group 102. The sensing signal thus converted is supplied to the input/output bus 104.

The ROM 108 and the RAM 110 are connected to the input/output bus 104.

When the start switch 25 accepts an instruction for starting a single play game, the CPU 106 reads a single play game program and executes the single play game. The single play game program has been programmed so as to instruct the CPU 106 to perform the following operations of displaying an image of the five video reels commencing to scroll the symbols on the five video reels on the liquid crystal display 30 via the display/input controller 140; then displaying an image of the five video reels stopping such that the combination of the symbols on these five video reels is rearranged, upon which a new combination of the symbols is made along the active pay lines. In a case where a specified combination of the symbols for providing an award has been made along any one of the active pay lines when they are stationary, the CPU 106 pays out a predetermined amount of coins corresponding to the specified combination for providing the award.

Furthermore, the CPU 106 controls the team play game. Specifically, the CPU 106 controls the team play game based on a signal transmitted from the central controller 11 via a communication interface circuit 111, which is described later.

The ROM 108 stores: a control program for central control of the gaming machine 13; a program for executing a routine shown in FIGS. 13 through 16 (which is referred to as the “routine execution program” hereafter); initial data for executing the control program; and various data tables used for determination processing. It should be noted that the routine execution program includes the aforementioned single play game program, the team play game program, and the like. On the other hand, examples of the data tables include tables such as those shown in FIGS. 9 through 11. The RAM 110 temporarily stores flags, variables, etc. used for the aforementioned control program.

Furthermore, a communication interface circuit 111 is connected to the input/output bus 104. The communication interface circuit 111 is a circuit for communicating with the central controller 11, etc. via the network 12 including various kinds of networks such as a LAN. In the present embodiment, in cases in which the gaming machine 13 requests a team play game, the CPU 106 transmits a request input signal for team play to the central controller via the communication interface circuit 111. Then, the CPU 106 transmits and receives various signals in the case of playing a team play game. In addition, in cases in which the gaming machine 13 participates in a team play game, the CPU 106 receives a participation request signal transmitted from the central controller 11 via the communication interface circuit 111. Then, the CPU 106 transmits and receives various signals in the case of playing a team play game. For example, the CPU 106 receives data necessary for displaying an image for inquiring for player's participation in the team play game, which is received from the central controller 11 via the communication interface circuit 111, and displays the image thus received on the liquid crystal display 30 as the image of the team play game. Subsequently, the liquid crystal display 30 serves as a terminal by which the gaming machine 13 performs operations in the team play game.

The random number generator 112 for generating a random number is connected to the input/output bus 104. The random number generator 112 generates random numbers in a predetermined range of “0” to “65535” (the sixteenth power of two minus one), for example. Alternatively, an arrangement may be made in which the CPU 106 generates a random number by computation.

The speaker drive circuit 122 for the speakers 41 is also electrically connected with the input/output bus 104. The CPU 106 reads the sound data stored in the ROM 108, and transmits the sound data thus read to the speaker driving circuit 122 via the input/output bus 104. In this way, the speakers 41 generate predetermined sound effects.

The hopper drive circuit 124 for driving the hopper 44 is also electrically connected with the input/output bus 104. Upon reception of a cash out signal input from the cash out switch 26, the CPU 106 transmits a driving signal to the hopper driving circuit 124 via the input/output bus 104. Accordingly, the hopper 44 pays out coins such that the amount thereof is equivalent to the current number of coins remaining as credits, which is stored in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110.

The lamp drive circuit 126 for driving the decorative lamps 42 a and 42 b is also connected with the input/output bus 104. The CPU 106 transmits the signal for driving the lamps according to the predetermined conditions based on the program stored in the ROM 108 to the lamp driving circuit 126. Thus, decorative lamps 42 a and 42 b blinks and the like.

The display/input controller 140 is connected to the input/output controller 140. The CPU 106 creates an image display command corresponding to the state and results of the game, and outputs the image display command thus created to the display/input controller 140 via the input/output bus 104. Upon reception of the image display command input from the CPU 106, the display/input controller 140 creates a driving signal for driving the liquid crystal display 30 according to the image display command thus input, and outputs the driving signal thus created to the liquid crystal display 30. As a result, a predetermined image is displayed on the liquid crystal display 30. The display/input controller 140 transmits the signal input through the touch panel 32 provided on the liquid crystal display 30 to the CPU 106 via the input/output bus 104 in the form of an input signal. In addition, the image display command includes commands corresponding to a payout display unit 48, a credit amount display unit 49, a bet amount display unit 50, and Jackpot amount display unit 51.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating an electrical configuration of the display/input controller 140 of the gaming machine 13. The display/input controller 140 of the gaming machine 13 is a sub-microcomputer for performing image display processing and input control for the touch panel 32. The display/input controller 140 includes an interface circuit 142, an input/output bus 144, a CPU 146, ROM 148, RAM 150, a VDP 152, video RAM 154, image data ROM 156, a driving circuit 158, and a touch panel control circuit 160.

The interface circuit 142 is connected to the input/output bus 144. The image display command output from the CPU 106 of the aforementioned controller 100 is supplied to the input/output bus 144 via the interface circuit 142. The input/output bus 144 performs input/output of data signals or address signals to and from the CPU 146.

The ROM 148 and the RAM 150 are connected to the input/output bus 144. The ROM 148 stores a display control program for generating a driving signal, which is to be supplied to the liquid crystal display 30, according to an image display command received from the CPU 106 of the aforementioned controller 100. On the other hand, the RAM 150 stores flags and variables used in the aforementioned display control program.

The VDP 152 is connected to the input/output bus 144. The VDP 152 includes a so-called sprite circuit, a screen circuit, a palette circuit, etc., and can perform various kinds of processing for displaying images on the liquid crystal display 30. With such an arrangement, the components connected to the VDP 152 include: the video RAM 154 for storing image data according to the image display command received from the CPU 106 of the aforementioned controller 100; and the image data ROM 156 for storing various kinds of image data including the aforementioned image data for visual effects, etc. Furthermore, the driving circuit 158 for outputting a driving signal for driving the liquid crystal display 30 is connected to the VDP 152.

The aforementioned CPU 146 instructs the video RAM 154 to store the image data which is to be displayed on the liquid crystal display 30 according to the image display command received from the CPU 106 of the aforementioned controller 100 by reading the display control program stored in the ROM 148 and by executing the program thus read. Examples of the image display commands include various kinds of image display commands including the aforementioned image display commands for visual effects, etc.

The image data ROM 156 stores various kinds of image data including the aforementioned image data for visual effects, etc.

The touch panel control circuit 160 transmits the signals input via the touch panel 32 provided on the liquid crystal display 30 to the CPU 106 via the input/output bus 144 in the form of an input signal.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating an electrical configuration of a controller 200 of the central controller 11. As shown in FIG. 7, the central controller 11 comprises the controller 200 of the central controller 11 and several peripheral devices. Furthermore, a plurality of gaming machines (six gaming machines in the embodiment) 13 are connected to the central controller 11 via the communication interface circuit 212 of the central controller.

Furthermore, the controller 200 of the central controller 11 includes an input/output bus 204, a CPU 206, ROM 208, RAM 210, a communication interface circuit 212, a timer 214, a game controller 218, and a display controller 220.

The ROM 208 and the RAM 210 are connected to the input/output bus 204.

The CPU 206 performs various kinds of processing according to an input signal supplied from each of the gaming machines 13, and data and programs stored the ROM 208 and the RAM 210. Furthermore, the CPU 206 transmits command signals to the gaming machines 13 based upon the results of the processing thus performed. Thus, the CPU 206 centrally controls each of the gaming machines 13, thereby advancing the game.

The ROM 208 comprises semiconductor memory or the like, for example. The ROM 208 stores a program for providing basic functions of the central controller 11, a program for providing the functions of the movable viewpoint cameras 17 and a program for centrally controlling each of the gaming machines 13. Examples of such programs include a program shown in FIGS. 14 through 16. On the other hand, examples of the data tables include tables such as those shown in FIGS. 9, 10, and 12.

On the other hand, the RAM 210 temporarily stores bet information in each gaming machines with respect to an area storing an award for a team play game, the amount of Jackpot accumulated up to the current point in time, and the results of the processing executed by the CPU 206, etc.

The timer 214 for performing time measurement is connected to the input/output bus 204. The time information supplied from the timer 214 is transmitted to the CPU 206 via the input/output bus 204. The CPU 206 measures time duration for participation based upon the time information received from the timer 214, as described later at Step S203 in FIG. 14.

Furthermore, a game controller 218 is also connected to the input/output bus 204. The CPU 206 receives a start signal transmitted via the communication interface circuit 212, and performs control of a slot game based on the data and programs stored in the ROM 208 and the RAM 210. Specifically, the CPU 206 controls the display of images in which a video reel is being rotated and stopped, and also controls the output of sounds.

Furthermore, the display controller 220 is connected to the input/output bus 204. The CPU 206 performs various kinds of processing based upon the data and programs stored in the ROM 208 and the RAM 210. The CPU 206 controls the monitor 16 and captures images based upon the results of the processing thus performed.

Furthermore, the movable viewpoint cameras 17 are connected to the input/output bus 204. The CPU 206 performs various kinds of processing based upon the data and programs stored in the ROM 208 and the RAM 210. The CPU 206 controls the movable viewpoint cameras 17 and captures images based upon the results of the processing thus performed.

FIG. 8 shows symbol lines on which 21 symbols arranged on each video reel 3A to 3E are represented. The symbol line for the first video reel corresponds to the video reel 3A. The symbol line for the second video reel corresponds to the video reel 3B. The symbol line for the third video reel corresponds to the video reel 3C. The symbol line for the fourth video reel corresponds to the video reel 3D. The symbol line for the fifth video reel corresponds to the video reel 3E.

Referring to FIG. 8, a code number of “00” to “20” is referred to for each symbol of video reels 3A to 3E. These code numbers are converted to be data in a data table so as to be stored in the aforementioned ROM 108 (FIG. 5) and ROM 208 (FIG. 7).

On each video reel 3A to 3E, a symbol line is represented with symbols as follows: “Bonus” symbol (symbol 61) (hereafter, “Bonus”), “Wild” symbol (symbol 62) (hereafter, “Wild”), “Treasure Chest” symbol (symbol 63) (hereafter, “treasure chest”), “Golden Mask” symbol (symbol 64) (hereafter, “Golden Mask”)”, “Holy Grail” symbol (symbol 65) (hereafter, “Holy Grail?”), “Compass and Map” symbol (symbol 66) (hereafter, “Compasses and Map”), “Snake” symbol (symbol 67) (hereafter, “Snake”), “Ace” symbol (symbol 68) (hereafter, “Ace”), “King” symbol (symbol 69) (hereafter, “King”), “Queen” symbol (symbol 70) (hereafter, “Queen”), “Jack” symbol (symbol 71) (hereafter, “Jack”), and “10” symbol (symbol 72) (hereafter, “10”). The symbol line of each video reel 3A to 3E displays an image moving to the direction of the arrow in FIG. 8 (moving below from the top) by displaying an image that the each video reel 3A to 3E is being rotated in forward direction.

Here in the present embodiment, each combination of “Bonus”, “Wild”, “Treasure Chest”, “Golden Mask”, “Holy Grail”, “Compass and Map”, “Ace”, “King”, “Queen”, “Jack” and “10” is set as an award combination. A combination (combination data) is control information which relates credits awarded to a player (the amount of payout of coins) to a combination of an award combination, and which is used for stop control of each video reel 3A through 3E, change (shift) of a game state, awarding of coins, and the like.

In addition, a game which causes symbols to be achieved along an active pay line can be performed in the present embodiment.

FIG. 9 shows a symbol arrangement table. The symbol arrangement table relates the code number indicating the position of each symbol which constitutes the aforementioned symbol lines to each symbol of the respective video reels 3A to 3E, and then, registers thereof. In addition, the first video reel through the fifth video reel corresponds to the video reels 3A to 3E, respectively. In other words, the symbol arrangement table includes symbol information corresponding to the symbol position (the code number) of video reels 3A to 3E.

FIG. 10 shows a random number table used in the slot game described later with reference to FIG. 13. In the random number table, a range of random numbers and the probability of winning are registered in association with each of the specified winning combinations. It should be noted that the range of the random numbers which is used for the single play game is different from that for the team play game. This is because the single play game generates a specified combination for providing a “BONUS” award as a result of the final game, while the team play game does not generate the specified combination for providing the “BONUS” award as a result of the final game. Accordingly, in the combination determination processing (Step S5 shown in FIG. 15), in a case where a random number extracted from a range of numbers between “0” to “65535” is any one of the numbers in a range of “0” to “29”, for example, the internal component of the gaming machine 13 determines to generate a specified combination for providing a “BONUS” award which is the final result of the game in the single play game. In other words, the probability is “30/65536” in the single play game that the combination of the symbols when they are stationary matches a specified combination for providing the “BONUS” award. In the team play game, the probability is “0/65536” that the combination of the symbols when they are stationary matches a specified combination for providing the “BONUS” award since there is no description. In addition, in a case where a random number extracted from a range of numbers of “0” to “65535” is any one of the numbers in a range of “13000” to “3999”, for example, the internal component of the gaming machine 13 and the central controller 11 determines to generate a specified combination for providing a “K” award as the final result of the game. In other words, the probability is “1000/65536” that the combination of the symbols when they are stationary matches a specified combination for providing the “K” award. On the other hand, in a case where a random number extracted from a range of numbers of “0” to “65535” is any one of the numbers in a range of “10000” to “65535”, the internal component of the gaming machine 13 and the central controller 11 determines to generate other combinations, i.e. losing combinations, as the final results of the game. In other words, the probability is “55536/65536” that the combination of the symbols when they are stationary matches any one of the losing combinations.

FIG. 11 shows a single play game payout table used in the single play game described later with reference to FIG. 13. In the single play game payout table, the coin amount to be paid out is registered in association with each specified combination for providing an award for each credit amount bet on one game. Therefore, in cases in which a determination is made whether the combination thus generated matches any one of winning combinations for providing an award, for example, when the combination thus generated matches the combination “K”, where the credit amount bet is “1”, 4 coins are paid out. In cases where the credit amount bet is “2”, 8 coins are paid out. In cases where the credit amount bet is “3”, 12 coins are paid out. Therefore, when the combination thus generated matches the combination “Bonus”, where the credit amount bet is “1”, 100+α coins are paid out. In cases where the credit amount bet is “12”, 200+α coins are paid out. In cases where the credit amount bet is “3”, 300+α coins are paid out. In addition, in a case where “Bonus” is achieved as a combination, the a coins which have been accumulated as Jackpot are paid out.

FIG. 12 shows a team play game payout table used in the team play game described later with reference to FIGS. 14 through 16. In the team play game payout table, the coin amount to be paid out is registered in association with each specified combination for providing an award for each credit amount bet on one game. Although in the present embodiment, three credits bet in one game are set in the team play game in the present embodiment, the present invention is not limited thereto. In addition, the amount of credits paid out in the team play game is configured to be more than that in the single play game.

FIG. 13 is a flow chart showing a processing operation in the single play game of the gaming machine 13, which is performed by the controller 100 of the gaming machine 13. On the other hand, the team play game is performed by the controller 200 of the central controller 11. The processing operation is called from a main program for the gaming machine 13 or the central controller 11 at a predetermined timing, and then executed.

In the following, although it is described that a slot game is processed during the single play game performed in the gaming machine 13, the slot game is processed similarly during the team play game performed by the central controller 11.

A description is provided below regarding a case in which the gaming machine 13 has been activated beforehand. Furthermore, the variables used by the CPU 106 included in the aforementioned controller 100 have been initialized to predetermined values, thereby operating the gaming machine 13 in a normal state.

First, the CPU 106 included in the aforementioned controller 100 determines whether or not any coins inserted by the player are remaining (Step S1). More specifically, CPU 106 reads the amount of credits C stored in the RAM 110, and executes processing according to the amount of credits C. When the amount of credits C equals “0” (NO in Step S1), the CPU 106 terminates the routine without executing any processing, since it cannot start a game. When the amount of credits C is not less than “1” (YES in Step S1), the CPU 106 determines that coins remain as credits, and the CPU 106 moves the processing to Step S2.

In Step S2, CPU 106 determines whether or not a pressing operation has been applied to the spin bet repeat switch 24. When the switch 24 has been pressed and the CPU 106 receives an operation signal from the switch 24 (YES in Step S2), the CPU 106 moves the processing to Step S13. On the other hand, when the CPU 106 does not receive the operation signal from the switch 24 after a predetermined period of time elapses (NO in Step S2), the CPU 106 determines that the switch 24 has not been pressed and moves the processing to Step S3.

In the following Step S3, the CPU 106 sets the game conditions. Specifically, the CPU 106 determines the amount of coins bet on the active pay lines in this game based on the operation of the bet switch 23. Then, the CPU 106 determines the bet amount to be bet on the active pay lines based upon the number of times signals that indicate operation of the bet switch 23 have been received, and stores the bet amount thus determined in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. The CPU 106 reads the amount of credits C stored in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110, and subtracts the total bet amount, which is the sum of the aforementioned bet amounts, from the amount of credits C thus read. Then, the CPU 106 stores the subtracted value in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. Subsequently, the CPU 106 moves the processing to Step S4.

In the following Step S4, the CPU 106 determines whether the start switch 25 is ON, and then, waits for the start switch 35 to be operated. Upon the start switch 25 being operated, and accordingly, upon the operation signal being input from the start switch 25 (in a case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S4), the CPU 106 determines that the start switch 25 has been operated, and the flow proceeds to Step S5.

On the other hand, in step S13, the CPU 106 determines whether the amount of credits C is at least the total bet number in a previous game. In other words, the CPU 106 determines whether it can start a game in response to a pressing operation applied to the spin repeat bet switch 24. Specifically, in a case that the spin repeat bet switch 24 has been pressed, and accordingly, in a case that the operation signal has been input from the aforementioned switch 24, the CPU 106 reads the amount of credits C and the bet amount bet on each of the active pay lines L1 to L9 in the previous game stored in the predetermined memory areas of the aforementioned RAM 110. Then, the CPU 106 determines whether or not the aforementioned amount of credits C is at least the total bet amount bet in the previous game based upon the relation between the amount of credits C and the bet amount thus read. When the CPU 106 determines that the amount of credits C is less than the total bet number (NO in Step S13), the CPU 106 terminates the routine without any processing, since it cannot start a game. On the other hand, in a case where determination has been made that the aforementioned amount of credits C is at least the total bet amount bet in the previous game (in a case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S13), the CPU 106 subtracts the total bet amount bet in the previous game from the aforementioned amount of credits C, and stores the subtracted value in a predetermined area of the RAM 110. Subsequently, CPU 106 moves the processing to step S5.

In the following Step S5, the CPU 106 performs processing for determining the combination. Specific description will be made below regarding processing for determining the combination.

In the aforementioned processing for determining the combination, first, the CPU 106 determines the combinations of the symbols along the aforementioned active pay lines when they are stationary. Specifically, the CPU 106 issues a command for the random number generator 112 to generate a random number, thereby extracting a random number in a predetermined range (in a range of “0” to “65535” in the present embodiment) generated by the random number generator 112. The CPU 106 stores the random number thus extracted in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. It should be noted that a description is being provided in the present embodiment regarding an arrangement in which the random number is generated by the random number generator 112, which is a separate component from the aforementioned CPU 106. In addition, an arrangement may be made in which the random number is generated by computation processing by the CPU 106 without involving the random number generator 112. Specifically, a random number is generated by computation process by the CPU 106 when the central controller executes. The CPU 106 reads a random number table (see FIG. 10), and a specified combination table (not shown) for providing an award, each of which is stored in the ROM 108. Then, the CPU 106 stores the random number table and the specified combination table thus read in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. Note that the CPU 106 controls display of the symbols when they are stationary for each reel based upon the aforementioned random number table. Furthermore, the CPU 106 reads the random number table and the specified combination table for providing an award stored in the predetermined area of the aforementioned RAM 110. Then, the CPU 106 determines the combination of the symbols when they are stationary with respect to the aforementioned active pay lines with reference to the aforementioned random number table as a parameter, using the random number stored in the predetermined memory region of the aforementioned RAM 110. Upon determination of specified combinations for providing an award, the CPU 106 stores the specified combination data for providing an award thus determined in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. Then, the CPU 106 reads the random number and the specified combination data for providing an award stored in the predetermined memory area of the RAM 110, and determines the combination of the symbols to be displayed to be stationary based upon the random number and the specified combination data for providing an award thus read. In this stage, a symbol arrangement table (see FIG. 9) stored in the ROM 108 is read by the CPU 106. The symbol arrangement table thus read is stored in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110, and used as reference data. The CPU 106 stores the data for the stationary symbols thus determined in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. Alternatively, an arrangement may be made in which the symbols when they are stationary are determined for each reel using the aforementioned random number table.

Upon determination of the combination of the symbols when stationary with respect to the aforementioned active pay lines, the CPU 106 determines whether the combination of the symbols when they are stationary with respect to the active pay lines matches any one of the specified combinations for providing an award. In a case where the combination of the symbols when they are stationary with respect to the active pay lines matches any one of the specified combinations for providing an award, the CPU 106 activates a flag, which indicates that the player has won the award that corresponds to the kind of specified combination for providing an award, in order to provide the award that corresponds with the specified combination of symbols with respect to the active pay lines for providing the award. The activated flag, which indicates the player has won an award, is stored in a predetermined area of the RAM 110 according to the instruction from the CPU 106. On the other hand, in a case where the combination of the symbols when they are stationary with respect to the active pay lines matches any one of the other combinations, i.e. the losing combinations, the CPU 106 does not activate the flag which indicates that the player has won an award. Subsequently, CPU 106 moves the processing to Step S6.

In the following Step S6, the CPU 106 instructs the video reels 3A through 3E to start to rotate. Specifically, the CPU 106 displays an image which shows rotating the video reels 3A to 3E, in sequence or simultaneously, based upon the symbol arrangement table stored in the aforementioned RAM 110.

Upon displaying the image which shows the video reels 3A to 3E starting to rotate, the CPU 106 waits for a predetermined period of time to elapse (Step S7). After the predetermined period of time has elapsed (in a case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S7), the CPU 106 instructs the video reels 3A to 3E to automatically stop rotating (Step S8). Specifically, the CPU 106 displays an image which shows the video reels 3A to 3E stopping rotation in sequentially or simultaneously such that the symbols when they are stationary, which correspond to the specified combinations for providing an award determined in the aforementioned Step S5, are displayed within a display region that has a visually interactive relationship with the player. Subsequently, the CPU 106 moves the processing to Step S9.

In the following Step S9, the CPU 106 determines whether or not a predetermined symbol combination has been formed based upon the results of the combination determination processing performed in Step S5. Specifically, the CPU 106 makes this determination based upon the state of the flag that indicates whether the player has won an award with respect to the active pay lines stored in the predetermined memory area of the aforementioned RAM 110. In a case where the flag, which indicates that the player has won an award, has not been activated, i.e. in a case where the symbol combination matches any one of the “other” combinations, which are combinations other than the specified combinations for providing an award (in a case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S9), the CPU 106 determines that the specified combination for providing an award has not been formed, and ends this routine. On the other hand, in a case where the flag, which indicates that the player has won an award, has been activated, i.e. in a case where the symbol combination matches any one of the combinations other than the “other” combinations (in a case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S9), the flow proceeds to Step 10 according to the instruction from the CPU 106.

In a case where the flow has proceeded to Step S10, the CPU 106 pays out the amount of coins corresponding to the aforementioned specified combination for providing an award. Specifically, the CPU 106 calculates the amount of coins to be paid out for the aforementioned specified combination for providing an award, with reference to the single play game payout table. In addition, when a team play game is performed, the amount of coins is paid out using the team play game payout table (FIG. 12). The CPU 106 reads the credit amount stored in the aforementioned predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. Then, the CPU 106 calculates the sum total amount of coins to be paid out thus calculated and the credit amount thus read, and stores the sum thus calculated in a predetermined memory area of the RAM 110. The CPU 106 displays the aforementioned value thus stored on the credit amount display unit 49. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S11 according to the instruction from the CPU 106. In addition, in the case of team play game, the number of credits of the team fund stored in RAM210 is added.

In the following Step S11, the CPU 106 determines whether the symbol combination thus formed based upon processing for determining a combination performed in Step S5 is a “Bonus”. Specifically, in a case that the specified combination is “Bonus” which provides an award (in a case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S11), the CPU 106 advances the flow to Step S12. On the other hand, in a case that the specified combination is not “Bonus” which provides an award (in the case of determination of “NO” in the processing in step S11), the CPU 106 ends the routine.

In the following Step S12, the CPU 106 performs paying out Jackpot. Specifically, the CPU 106 receives the credits of Jackpot stored in the RAM 210 of the central controller 11 and pays out thereof, and then, clears the credit of the Jackpot stored in The RAM 210 of the central controller 11. Subsequently, the CPU 106 terminates the routine.

In addition, in the case that a team play game is processed in the central controller 11, it starts with the processing in Step S5.

FIGS. 14 through 16 are flowcharts which show the processing and operation in the team play game performed by the gaming system 10. With reference to FIGS. 14 through 16, descriptions will be made regarding the team play game processing program for the gaming machine 13 executed by the CPU 106 of the gaming machine 13 which requests the team play game, the team play game processing program for the central controller 11 executed by the CPU 206 of the central controller 11, and the team play game processing program for the gaming machine 13 executed by the CPU 106 of the gaming machine 13 which participates in the team play game, in that order. It is note that each of the programs shown in the flowcharts in FIGS. 14 through 16 is stored in the ROM 108 and the RAM 110 included in the gaming machine 13, or the ROM 208 and the RAM 210 included in the central controller 11. These programs are executed by the CPU 106 included in the gaming machine 13 or the CPU 206 included in the central controller 11.

First, a description will be made regarding the team play game processing program for the gaming machine 13, which presses a team play button 4 based on FIGS. 14 through 16. In Step S101 of the FIG. 14, the CPU 106 determines whether the team play button 4 was pressed by a player. Specifically, the CPU 106 determines whether or not a signal generated by pressing the team play button 4 was received from the input/output bus 104 via the interface circuit group 102. In a case where the team play button has been pressed (in a case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S101), the flow proceeds to Step S102. On the other hand, in a case where the team play button has not been pressed (in a case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S101), the flow remains in Step S101, and waits for the team play button 4 to be pressed.

In Step S102, the CPU 106 transmits an input signal for requesting team play to the central controller 11. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S103.

In Step S103 of FIG. 15, the CPU 106 determines whether a failure signal regarding team play from the central controller 11 was received. In a case where the team play failure signal has been received (in a case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S103), the CPU 106 determines that team play has failed and then terminates the processing. On the other hand, in the case where the team play failure signal has not been received (in a case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S103), the CPU 106 returns the flow to step S104.

In step S104, the CPU 106 transmits a bet signal. The bet signal transmits a predetermined credit to the central controller 11 for performing a team play game. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S105.

In Step S105, the CPU 106 transmits a start switch pressing signal, which is transmitted when a player presses the start switch 25, to the central controller 11. When the central controller 11 receives the start switch pressing signal from all the gaming machines 13 which participate in a team play game, it starts a slot game, which is a team play game (Step S211 in FIG. 16 described later). Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S106 shown in FIG. 16.

In step S106 of FIG. 16, the CPU 106 displays an image for selecting continuation of a game. Specifically, the CPU 106 displays an image, such as that shown in FIG. 22 described later, on the liquid crystal display 30, and causes a player to select whether to perform continuously a team play game. Subsequently, the CPU 106 advances the flow to Step S107.

In Step S305, the CPU 106 determines whether an end button was pressed. Specifically, in Step S106, based on the image shown in FIG. 22, the CPU 106 determines whether the player presses a button which ends the team play game. In the case where the end button has been pressed (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S107), the flow proceeds to Step S107. In the case where the end button has not been pressed (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S107), the flow proceeds to Step S108.

In Step S108, the CPU 106 determines whether the team play end signal was received from the central controller 11. In the case where the team play end button has been pressed (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S108), the flow proceeds to Step S109. In the case where this signal has not been received (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S108), the CPU 106 returns the flow to Step S103, and continues to perform the team play game.

In Step S109, the CPU 106 performs processing for payout of a team fund. Specifically, the CPU 106 receives distributed credits for a team play game, which are transmitted from the central controller 11, and stores them in the RAM 110. Subsequently, the CPU 106 terminates the processing.

Next, team play game processing, which the CPU 206 of the central controller 11 performs based on FIG. 14 through FIG. 16, is described.

In Step S201 shown in FIG. 14, the CPU 206 receives an input signal for requesting a team play game transmitted from the gaming machine 13 in Step S201. Upon receiving the input signal for requesting a team play game, the CPU 206 displays, on the large-size monitor 16, an image indicating that a start of the team play game is being requested. By displaying the image indicating the participation in the team play game on the large-size monitor 16, players of the other gaming machine 13 can identify the presence of a player requesting the start of the team play game. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S202 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step 202, the CPU 206 transmits a participation request signal to the gaming machines 13, except for the gaming machine 13 transmitting the input signal for requesting a team play game. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S203 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step 203, the CPU 206 activates a timer for a period for accepting participation. If the CPU 206 receives a participation signal from another gaming machine 13 within a predetermined amount of time, a team play game is established. Otherwise, the team play game is not established. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S204 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step S204, the CPU 206 determines whether a period for accepting a team play game has expired. Specifically, the CPU 206 determines whether the timer activated in Step S203 has passed a predetermined amount of time. In the case where the period for accepting the team play game has expired (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S204), the flow proceeds to Step S205. In the case where the period for accepting the team play game has not expired (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in step S204), the CPU 206 performs the processing in Step S204, and waits for the period for accepting the team play game to expire.

In Step S205, the CPU 206 transmits a signal indicating an expiration of the period for accepting the team play game to the other gaming machines 13. Subsequently, the CPU 206 moves the processing to Step S206 of FIG. 15.

In Step S206 of FIG. 15, the CPU 206 determines whether the participation signal was received from another gaming machine 13. In the case where the CPU 206 has received the participation signal (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S106), the flow proceeds to Step S108 according to the instruction from the CPU 206. In the case where the CPU 206 has not received this signal (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S206), the flow proceeds to Step S207 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step 207, the CPU 206 transmits the team play failure signal to the gaming machine 13 which requested the team play game. Subsequently, the CPU 106 terminates the processing.

On the other hand, in Step S208, the CPU 206 receives a bet signal from the gaming machine 13 which participates in a team play game. Based on the bet signal thus received, in the RAM 210 the CPU 206 stores the amount of credits and a team fund included in the signal. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S209 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step S209, the CPU 206 receives a signal generated by pressing the start switch 25 from the gaming machines 13 which participate in the team play game. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S210 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step S210, the CPU 206 determines whether the CPU 206 has received a signal generated by pressing the start switch 25 from the gaming machines 13 which participate in the team play game. In the case where the CPU 206 has received a signal generated by pressing the start switch 25 from the gaming machines 13 which participate in the team play game (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S101), the CPU 206 moves the processing to Step S211 in FIG. 16. On the other hand, in the case where the CPU 206 has not received a signal generated by pressing the start switch 25 from the gaming machines 13 which participate in the team play game (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S210), the CPU 206 waits for the signal generated by pressing the start switch 25 to be transmitted from all the gaming machines 13 which participate in the team play game.

In Step S211 of FIG. 16, the CPU 206 performs processing of a slot game, which is similar to the processing flow of a slot game for a single play game, but it starts with Step S5. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S212 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step S212, the CPU 206 determines whether a game can continue employing a team fund. In the case where the game can continue employing the team fund (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S212), the flow proceeds to Step S213 according to the instruction from the CPU 206. On the other hand, in the case where the game cannot continue based on the team fund (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S212), the flow proceeds to Step S214 according to the instruction from the CPU 306.

In Step S213, the CPU 206 determines whether the CPU 206 has received the end signal from a gaming machine 13 which participates in the team play game. In the case where the CPU 206 has received the end signal (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S311), the flow proceeds to Step S214 according to the instruction from the CPU 214. In the case where the CPU 206 has not received this signal (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S213), the flow proceeds to Step S206 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

On the other hand, the CPU 206 transmits a team play end signal to the gaming machine 13 which participates in the team play game. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S215 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step S215, the CPU 206 performs computation processing. Specifically, the CPU 206 performs computation processing to distribute the credits which have been accumulated as a team fund in the RAM 210 of the central controller 11. More specifically, the CPU 206 also stores 10 percent of the credits among all the team fund as a jackpot. Then, the remaining 90 percent of the credits is divided by the number of the gaming machines 13 which participated in the team play game so as to distribute the credits to those machines. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S216 according to the instruction from the CPU 206.

In Step S216, the CPU 206 transmits the credit paid out to each gaming machine 13 to the gaming machines 13 which participated in the team play game so as to distribute the team fund. Subsequently, the CPU 206 terminates the processing.

Finally, a description regarding a team play game processing program is provided based on FIG. 14 through FIG. 16. The team play game processing program is executed by the CPU 106 of the other gaming machines 13 which were inquired from the central controller 11 about participating in the team play game. In step S301 of FIG. 14, the CPU 106 receives a participation request signal transmitted from the central controller 14. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S302 according to the instruction from the CPU 106.

In step S302, the CPU 106 displays a participation confirmation image, such as that shown in FIG. 20 described later, on the liquid crystal display 30. Subsequently, the CPU 106 advances the flow to Step S303.

In Step S303, the CPU 106 transmits the signal indicating an expiration of the period for accepting the team play game, which was transmitted from the central controller 11. Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S304 in FIG. 15.

In Step S304, the CPU 106 determines whether or not the participation request signal has been transmitted. Specifically, the CPU 106 determines whether the participation request signal has been transmitted by a player who participates in the team play game by pressing a button 82 on the lower image of FIG. 20 described later. In the case where the CPU 106 has transmitted the participation request signal (in the case of determination of “YES” in the processing in Step S304), the CPU 106 advances the flow to Step S306. In the case where CPU 106 has not transmitted the participation request signal (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S304), the CPU 106 returns the flow to Step S305.

In Step S305, the CPU 106 displays an image for showing the end of the accepting participation time in a team play game such as that shown in FIG. 21, described later, on the liquid crystal display 30. Then, the CPU 106 determines that the gaming machine 13 does not participate in the team play game and terminates the processing.

On the other hand, the CPU 106 transmits a bet signal to the central controller 11. Subsequently, the CPU 106 advances the processing to Step S307.

In Step S307, the CPU 106 transmits a start switch pressing signal, which is transmitted when the start switch 25 is pressed, to the central controller 11. In central controller 11, the CPU 106 starts a slot game which is a team play game by receiving the start switch pressing signal from the gaming machines 13 which participate in the team play game (Step S211 in FIG. 16 described later). Subsequently, the flow proceeds to Step S308 in FIG. 16.

In Step S308 of FIG. 16, the CPU 106 displays an image for selecting continuation of a game. Specifically, the CPU 106 displays an image such as that shown in FIG. 22, described later, on the liquid crystal display 30, and causes a player to select whether to continue the team play game. Subsequently, the CPU 106 advances the processing to Step S309.

In Step S309, the CPU 106 determines whether an end button has been pressed. More specifically, the CPU 106 determines whether the player has pressed a button 87 for ending the team play game based on the image shown in FIG. 22 described later and described in Step S308. In the case where the end button has been pressed (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S309), the flow proceeds to Step S311. On the other hand, in the case where the end button has not been pressed (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S309), the flow proceeds to Step S310 according to the instruction from the CPU 106.

In Step S310, the CPU 106 determines whether a team play game end signal has been received from the central controller 11. In the case where the team play game end signal has been received (in the case of “YES” in the determination processing in Step S310), the CPU 106 advances the processing to Step S311. In the case where this signal has not been received (in the case of “NO” in the determination processing in Step S310), the CPU 106 returns the flow to Step S304 in FIG. 15. Then, the CPU 106 determines that the participation signal has been received and continuously performs the team play game.

In Step S311, the CPU 106 performs processing payout of a team fund. Specifically, the CPU 106 receives the distributed credits for a team play game, which was transmitted from the central controller 11, and stores it in the RAM 110. Subsequently, the CPU 106 terminates the processing.

According to the abovementioned processing, a game which performs one game with a plurality of gaming machines 13 can be executed as team play. In addition, the credits bet in the gaming machines 13 during the start of the team play game are used for the fund for the team play game. Moreover, the fund for the team play game is distributed to each of the gaming machine 13 at the time of ending the game.

Although it should be noted that, in the present embodiment, the central controller 11 has been set forth as the one which controls performing the team play game, it is not limited thereto. In addition, the central controller 11 may simply function as a controller for controlling data transmission between the gaming machines 13, and then the controller 100 of the gaming machine 13 which transmitted the team play request signal may perform the team play game.

FIGS. 17 and 18 show examples of a basic game which is a single play game in the gaming machine 13 in the embodiment of the present invention. In the example shown in FIG. 17, the symbols are displayed to be stationary on the liquid crystal display 30 of the gaming machine 13, but a predetermined combination is not achieved. On the other hand, in the example shown in FIG. 18, symbols of “BONUS” are stopped on the active pay line L5. More specifically, in the FIG. 18, a payout display unit 48, a credit amount display unit 49, a bet amount display unit 50, and a jackpot amount display unit 51 are configured to be displayed on the upper side of the liquid crystal display 30 in order from the left. Here, the information of credits regarding the single play game can be referred to. Furthermore, in the center of the image, five video reels 3A to 3E are displayed when they are stationary. When a combination except “Other” shown in FIG. 10 on the line shown in the abovementioned FIG. 4 is achieved, the predetermined credits shown in FIG. 11 are paid out. In this example, the predetermined credits shown by “Bonus” are paid out.

FIG. 19 shows an example of a team play game which is displayed on the monitor 16 of the gaming machine 13 in the embodiment of the present invention. In this example, a slot game is performed with team play, and the image in which video reels 3A to 3E are rotating is displayed. A team fund is displayed on the lower right part of the monitor 16. The team play game is configured to be performed using the team fund.

FIG. 20 shows an example of a participation confirmation image displayed on the liquid crystal display 30 during start of the team play game on the other gaming machines 13.

A single play game is being performed in the gaming machine 13 (FIG. 20). Upon receiving the participation request signal from the central controller 11, the image shows an aircraft moving from the upper right to the upper left (the upper image of FIG. 20), and then a small window 85 is displayed on the center of the image (the lower image of FIG. 20). In the small window, the phrase “Join a team play game!”, the amount of coins which is prerequisite for participation, and the remaining time for entry are displayed. For example, the remaining time for entry is counted down from 30 seconds. In this example, it is requested to reply within 13 seconds. Furthermore, a button 82 “Join” and a button 83 “Don't join” from the left side are displayed on the lower part of the small window. The player presses either button within 13 seconds, thereby recognizing participation in the team play game. In this example, regarding the button 82 “Join” and the button 83 “Don't join”, the signals thereof are transmitted to the CPU 106 via the CPU 146 by a player pressing the screen of the liquid crystal display 30, which is a touch panel. Alternatively, for example, a bet switch 23 and a cash out switch 26 may be used instead without using the touch panel 32.

FIG. 21 shows an example of an image for showing the end of time for accepting participation in a team play game, which is displayed on the liquid crystal display 30 of the other gaming machines 13. The abovementioned image for showing the end of accepting participation is displayed on the liquid crystal display 30 of the other gaming machines 13 that do not request participation in a team play game. In the small window 85, it is displayed that accepting participation in the team play game has expired.

FIG. 22 shows an example of an image for selecting continuation of a game, which is displayed on the liquid crystal display 30 of the gaming machine 13. The abovementioned image for selecting continuation of a game is displayed in the case where the team play game still can be continued using the team fund after the central controller 11 has performed processing for a slot game. In the small window 85, a button 86 “Continue” and a button 87 “Quit” are displayed, by which the player can select whether to continue the team play game. By a player operating the screen, the player of the gaming machine 13 can select whether to perform the team play game or return to the single play game.

While the gaming system according to the present invention has been described above by way of embodiments, it should be clearly understood that the embodiments in no way restrict the present invention, and that the specific configurations such as the means and components may be modified and altered as suitable. Moreover, it should be understood that the advantages described in association with the embodiments are merely a listing of most preferred advantages, and that the advantages of the present invention are by no means restricted to those described in connected with the embodiments.

For example, although a game performed in the gaming machine 13 is normally set forth as the single play game performed in a slot machine, the present invention is not limited thereto. Any game which can play a single play game may be available. In addition, regarding a team play game, games of the present embodiment are not limited to a single game that can be performed for common use and pay out credits.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7601063 *Dec 8, 2006Oct 13, 2009Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Game system including slot machines and game control method thereof
US7731585 *Dec 12, 2006Jun 8, 2010Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Game system including slot machines and game control method thereof
US7753771 *May 22, 2007Jul 13, 2010Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Games system including slot machines and game control method thereof
US7789752 *Dec 11, 2006Sep 7, 2010Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Gaming system including slot machines and gaming control method thereof
US7798897 *Dec 12, 2006Sep 21, 2010Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Gaming system including slot machines and gaming control method thereof
US8128484Apr 27, 2010Mar 6, 2012Aruze Gaming America, Inc.Game system generating second game according to game result of a device and allowing other devices to participate in second game thus generated
US8651947Nov 9, 2007Feb 18, 2014IgtGaming system and method providing a multiple-player bonus redemption game
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/20
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3276, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32M8D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 25, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: ARUZE CORP., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SAKUMA, HIRO;REEL/FRAME:021320/0965
Effective date: 20080206