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Publication numberUS20100273559 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/810,025
PCT numberPCT/JP2008/073532
Publication dateOct 28, 2010
Filing dateDec 25, 2008
Priority dateDec 28, 2007
Also published asCN101909709A, CN101909709B, WO2009084563A1
Publication number12810025, 810025, PCT/2008/73532, PCT/JP/2008/073532, PCT/JP/2008/73532, PCT/JP/8/073532, PCT/JP/8/73532, PCT/JP2008/073532, PCT/JP2008/73532, PCT/JP2008073532, PCT/JP200873532, PCT/JP8/073532, PCT/JP8/73532, PCT/JP8073532, PCT/JP873532, US 2010/0273559 A1, US 2010/273559 A1, US 20100273559 A1, US 20100273559A1, US 2010273559 A1, US 2010273559A1, US-A1-20100273559, US-A1-2010273559, US2010/0273559A1, US2010/273559A1, US20100273559 A1, US20100273559A1, US2010273559 A1, US2010273559A1
InventorsNobuhiro Goto, Kazuhiro Kusuda, Masato Okuaki, Takashi Uchiyama
Original AssigneeKonami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Network system of game apparatuses for business use and benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus constituting the same
US 20100273559 A1
Abstract
To give a player who plays a certain game apparatus less frequently an increased opportunity that the player plays selectively with the game apparatus.
Provided is a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus which, when a player corresponding to identification information received by an identification information receiving unit is decided to satisfy a predetermined benefit-imparting condition, outputs clear information in a state of being associated with the identification information on the player and also notifies the player of game apparatus designating information for designating a benefit-imparting game apparatus, and where the identification information is received after receipt of the clear information, a benefit-imparting process is performed for imparting the player a benefit according to the clear information associated with the same identification information as the received identification information. The benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus changes one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified based on a predetermined change condition.
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Claims(13)
1. A network system of game apparatuses for business use comprising:
a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus including,
an identification information receiving unit for receiving identification information on a player,
a decision unit for deciding whether the player corresponding to the identification information received by the identification information receiving unit satisfies a predetermined benefit-imparting condition,
a clear information output unit for outputting clear information indicating that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied, in a state of being associated with the identification information on the player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition, when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied, and
a notifying unit which notifies the player of game apparatus designating information for designating a benefit-imparting game apparatus when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied; and
a plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses respectively including,
an identification information receiving unit for receiving the identification information on the player,
a game progress control unit for controlling game progress,
a clear information receiving unit for receiving the clear information output by the clear information output unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus, and
a benefit-imparting processing unit for performing a benefit-imparting process, when the identification information receiving unit receives the identification information, in order to impart the player a benefit according to the clear information which is received by the clear information receiving unit and which is associated with the same identification information as the received identification information;
wherein the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus further comprises a notified content change unit for changing one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit based on a predetermined change condition.
2. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to claim 1,
wherein the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is a game apparatus including a game progress control unit for progressing and controlling a game which is different in content from a game that is progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus, and
the decision unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus decides whether the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied, based on a game progress result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit.
3. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to claim 1,
wherein at least one of the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses further comprises a bet object receiving unit for receiving bet objects and a payout processing unit which performs a payout process for paying out to the player an amount of payout objects according to an amount of bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit based on a game result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit thereof, and
where the identification information receiving unit receives identification information, the payout processing unit of at least one of the benefit-imparting game apparatuses functions as the benefit-imparting processing unit and pays out as the benefit to the player an amount of payout objects according to the clear information which is received by the clear information receiving unit and which is associated with the same identification information as the received identification information.
4. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to claim 3,
wherein the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is a game apparatus including a bet object receiving unit for receiving bet objects and a payout processing unit which performs a payout process for paying out to the player an amount of payout objects according to an amount of bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit, based on the game result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus.
5. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to claim 1,
wherein the benefit-imparting processing unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus performs the benefit-imparting process for imparting the player the benefit according to the clear information received by the clear information receiving unit in association with the same identification information as the received identification information on a condition where a result of a game progressed and controlled upon receipt of the identification information by the identification information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus satisfies a second benefit-imparting condition.
6. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to claim 1,
wherein the clear information output unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is to output benefit-imparting deadline information in association with the clear information,
the clear information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus is to receive the benefit-imparting deadline information output by the clear information output unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus, and
where the identification information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus receives the identification information, the benefit-imparting processing unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus decides whether a benefit-imparting deadline indicated by the benefit-imparting deadline information received by the clear information receiving unit in association with the clear information associated with the same identification information as the received identification information is exceeded or not, and does not perform the benefit-imparting process concerning the clear information when deciding that the benefit-imparting deadline is exceeded.
7. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to any one of claims 1 to 6,
wherein each benefit-imparting game apparatus further comprises a history information output unit for outputting play history information in a state of being associated with the identification information where the identification information receiving unit thereof receives the identification information and thereby the game progress control unit thereof controls game progress,
the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus further comprises a history information receiving unit for receiving the play history information output by the history information output unit of each benefit-imparting game apparatus, and
the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus specifies, based on the play history information received by the history information receiving unit in association with the same identification information as identification information received by the identification information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus, a game apparatus which is played at a relatively low frequency by a player related to the identification information, among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, and where one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified to the player related to the identification information by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit changes the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified to the player related to the identification information by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.
8. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising
a non-use status checking unit for checking a non-use status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus,
wherein the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus specifies benefit-imparting game apparatuses which are not played among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, based on a result checked by the non-use status checking unit, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit changes the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.
9. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising
a utilization status checking unit for checking an utilization status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus,
wherein the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus specifies a benefit-imparting game apparatus played by a player for a period, which is relatively short, among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, based on a result checked by the utilization status checking unit, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit changes the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.
10. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising
a utilization status checking unit for checking an utilization status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus,
wherein the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus specifies a benefit-imparting game apparatus in which the number of times of games is fewer within a predetermined period among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, based on a result checked by the utilization status checking unit, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit changes the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.
11. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising
a utilization status checking unit for checking an utilization status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus,
wherein the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses further comprise a bet object receiving unit for receiving bet objects and a payout processing unit which performs a payout process for paying out to the player an amount of payout objects according to an amount of the bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit, based on a game result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit thereof, and
the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus specifies, based on a result checked by the utilization status checking unit, a benefit-imparting game apparatus in which the amount of bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit within a predetermined period or the amount of payout objects paid out to the player by the payout process performed by the payout processing unit within a predetermined period is small, among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit changes the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.
12. The network system of game apparatuses for business use according to claim 1,
wherein the identification information receiving unit is composed of an identification information reading unit for reading out identification information from a storage medium which stores the identification information on the player.
13. A benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus comprising:
an identification information receiving unit for receiving identification information on a player;
a decision unit for deciding whether the player corresponding to the identification information received by the identification information receiving unit satisfies a predetermined benefit-imparting condition;
a clear information output unit which outputs clear information indicating that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied in a state of being associated with the identification information on the player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied;
a notifying unit which notifies the player of game apparatus designating information for designating a benefit-imparting game apparatus different from the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied; and
a notified content change unit for changing one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit, based on a predetermined change condition.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a network system of game apparatuses for business use composed of a plurality of apparatuses including a game apparatus and a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus constituting the network system of game apparatuses for business use.

BACKGROUND ART

In a game facility such as a gaming arcade, installed is a plurality of game apparatuses executing games having game content different from each other. A player who visits the game facility selects a game apparatus out of the game apparatuses and plays a game. Thus, conventionally, a game apparatus developer has devised a variety of ingenious ideas for each game apparatus in order to give a larger number of players an opportunity to play the game apparatus developed by the developer.

For example, Patent Document 1 discloses a network system of game apparatuses for business use using: a horse-racing game machine executing a training-type horse-racing simulation game installed in a game facility; and a mobile telephone held by a player. In this network system of game apparatuses for business use, if the player who plays the horse-racing game machine trains his/her own horse so as to win Japan's three main horse races, the player obtains a right allowing him/her to enter the horse in a triple crown race where only winners of the Japan's three main horse races are allowed to run. Before that, in order to enter in the triple crown race, there is a condition, i.e., where the player is required to clear a predetermined challenge in a mobile telephone game. Thus, in this network system of game apparatuses for business use, even a player who has won Japan's three main horse races cannot enter his/her own horse in the triple crown race unless the predetermined challenge is cleared in his/her own mobile telephone game. Imposing such a condition on a player contributes to enhancement of a game element provided in that horse-racing game machine.

Patent Document 1: Japanese Published Unexamined Patent Application No. 2002-325960

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION Problems to be Solved by the Invention

In general, the majority of players who visit a game facility tend to preferably select a game apparatus that they enjoyed playing in the past or a game apparatus of the same type that they enjoyed playing in the past. Any game apparatus providing an enjoyable game would be difficult in conveying enjoyment to players without having the players come to an installation location of a game apparatus to watch a demonstration screen or without having them actually play a game. Therefore, it is an important issue to attract players to an installation location of a game apparatus which is different from a game apparatus they enjoyed playing in the past or a game apparatus of the same type they enjoyed in the past and desirably encourage these players to actually play a game in view of allowing them to be aware of enjoyment provided by the different game apparatus.

It is also an important issue to attract players who play a game with a home game machine (including a portable game machine) in a concentrated manner to an installation location of a game apparatus (an arcade gaming machine) installed at a game facility and desirably encourage them to actually play a game in view of allowing many players to be aware of enjoyment provided with the game apparatus (the arcade game machine).

This issue is particularly important in a token-operated game machine and others in which a payout process is performed for paying out to a player an amount of payout objects (token, etc.) according to an amount of bet objects such as tokens on the basis of a game result.

A conventional method for solving such an issue is as follows: a flashy performance is carried out in each game apparatus or activities for advertisement and publicity for each game apparatus are launched, for example. In this way, a game content is conveyed to the player. In doing so, the player becomes interested in that game apparatus, giving an opportunity for the player to start playing that game apparatus. However, this conventional method is weak motivation for a player who does not usually play that game apparatus to start playing that game apparatus, and it is not highly effective for a large number of players to come to know enjoyment of that game apparatus.

The present invention realizes and provides a network system of game apparatuses for business use capable of increasing such an opportunity that allows even a player who does not play a certain game apparatus to play the game apparatus concerned and also a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus constituting the network system.

Means for Solving the Problem

As an aspect of the present invention, it is listed that a network system of game apparatuses for business use includes: a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus includes, an identification information receiving unit for receiving identification information on a player, a decision unit for deciding whether the player corresponding to the identification information received by the identification information receiving unit satisfies a predetermined benefit-imparting condition, a clear information output unit for outputting clear information indicating that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied, in a state of being associated with the identification information on the player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition, when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied, and a notifying unit which notifies the player of game apparatus designating information for designating a benefit-imparting game apparatus when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied; and a plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses respectively include, an identification information receiving unit for receiving the identification information on the player, a game progress control unit for controlling game progress, a clear information receiving unit for receiving the clear information output by the clear information output unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus, and a benefit-imparting processing unit for performing a benefit-imparting process, when the identification information receiving unit receives the identification information, in order to impart the player a benefit according to the clear information which is received by the clear information receiving unit and which is associated with the same identification information as the received identification information; wherein the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus further includes a notified content change unit for changing one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit based on a predetermined change condition.

In the network system of game apparatuses for business use, a player who has been decided to satisfy the predetermined benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is able to receive a benefit according to clear information related to the benefit-imparting condition in a benefit-imparting game apparatus different from the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus. As described above, the player who has satisfied the predetermined benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is allowed to receive the benefit by going to an installation location of the benefit-imparting game apparatus. Therefore, the player is strongly motivated to go to the installation location of the benefit-imparting game apparatus.

Then, in the present network system of game apparatuses for business use, the game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit, that is, information that notifies a player of the benefit-imparting game apparatus from which the player receives the benefit-impart, can be changed on the basis of the predetermined change condition. Thereby, a game apparatus to be selectively played by players (game apparatus designating information) can be changed whenever necessary, thus making it possible to effectively increase such an opportunity that players who have not so far played that game apparatus selectively play that game apparatus.

The notifying unit may notify the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information changed by the notified content change unit without change. Alternatively, where two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information changed by the notified content change unit are available, the notifying unit may notify some of the game apparatus designating information selected therefrom.

In the above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use, the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may be a game apparatus including a game progress control unit for progressing and controlling a game which is different in content from a game that is progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus, and the decision unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may decide whether the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied, based on a game progress result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit.

In the network system of game apparatuses for business use, players who intensively play in a game apparatus which is the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus are encouraged to visit an installation location of a game apparatus (benefit-imparting game apparatus) different from that game apparatus. Thereby, the above-described players are given such an opportunity that the players play game apparatuses which have been so far played less frequently.

In the above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use, at least one of the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses may further include a bet object receiving unit for receiving bet objects and a payout processing unit which performs a payout process for paying out to the player an amount of payout objects according to an amount of bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit based on a game result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit thereof, and where the identification information receiving unit receives identification information, the payout processing unit of at least one of the benefit-imparting game apparatuses may function as the benefit-imparting processing unit and pay out as the benefit to the player an amount of payout objects according to the clear information which is received by the clear information receiving unit and which is associated with the same identification information as the received identification information.

In the network system of game apparatuses for business use, a benefit imparted to a player who has been decided to satisfy the predetermined benefit-imparting condition by the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is to pay out payout objects. Therefore, it is possible to strongly motivate the player to go to the installation location of the benefit-imparting game apparatus concerned.

In particular, where the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is a game apparatus which is not a game apparatus (a token-operated game machine, etc.) to perform a payout process for paying out to a player an amount of payout objects according to an amount of bet objects on the basis of a game result, it is often found that the majority of players who will play a game apparatus which is the above-described benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus play the benefit-imparting game apparatus such as a token-operated game machine less frequently. In this instance, according to the present network system of game apparatuses for business use, these players are also encouraged to play the benefit-imparting game apparatus such as a token-operated game machine, which is extremely profitable.

In the above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use, the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may be a game apparatus including a bet object receiving unit for receiving bet objects and a payout processing unit which performs a payout process for paying out to the player an amount of payout objects according to an amount of bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit, based on the game result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus.

In the network system of game apparatuses for business use, it is possible to provide a new game attractiveness which has not been so far available, that is, a player who plays a game apparatus (a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus) such as a token-operated game machine is able to receive payout objects paid out by the game apparatus according to the game progress result of the game apparatus, and where satisfying the predetermined benefit-imparting condition, the player is also able to have payout objects paid out by another game apparatus (a benefit-imparting game apparatus) such as a token-operated game machine.

In the above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use, the benefit-imparting processing unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus may perform the benefit-imparting process for imparting the player the benefit according to the clear information received by the clear information receiving unit in association with the same identification information as the received identification information on a condition where a result of a game progressed and controlled upon receipt of the identification information by the identification information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus satisfies a second benefit-imparting condition.

A condition under which a player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus receives a benefit in the benefit-imparting game apparatus may be simply that in which the benefit-imparting game apparatus receives the identification information on the player. However, in this instance, there is a possibility that the player may move away from the benefit-imparting game apparatus without playing a game. For this reason, it is less effective in increasing an opportunity that the player plays selectively with the benefit-imparting game apparatus.

In the present network system of game apparatuses for business use, not only to receive the identification information on the player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus but also to satisfy the second benefit-imparting condition by the result of a game played with the benefit-imparting game apparatus are conditions for receiving a benefit on the basis of the benefit-imparting condition satisfied in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus. Thereby, even the player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is unable to receive a benefit on the basis of the benefit-imparting condition if the player does not play the benefit-imparting game apparatus. Therefore, it is possible to effectively increase an opportunity that the player plays selectively with the benefit-imparting game apparatus.

In the above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use, the clear information output unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may be to output benefit-imparting deadline information in association with the clear information, the clear information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus may be to receive the benefit-imparting deadline information output by the clear information output unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus, and where the identification information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus receives the identification information, the benefit-imparting processing unit of the benefit-imparting game apparatus may decide whether a benefit-imparting deadline indicated by the benefit-imparting deadline information received by the clear information receiving unit in association with the clear information associated with the same identification information as the received identification information is exceeded or not, and do not perform the benefit-imparting process concerning the clear information when deciding that the benefit-imparting deadline is exceeded.

In the network system of game apparatuses for business use, even a player who has satisfied the predetermined benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is unable to receive a benefit in the benefit-imparting game apparatus if the benefit-imparting deadline is past. Thereby, the player who has satisfied the predetermined benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is encouraged to visit soon an installation location of the benefit-imparting game apparatus.

In the above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use, each benefit-imparting game apparatus may further include a history information output unit for outputting play history information in a state of being associated with the identification information where the identification information receiving unit thereof receives the identification information and thereby the game progress control unit thereof controls game progress, the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may further include a history information receiving unit for receiving the play history information output by the history information output unit of each benefit-imparting game apparatus, and the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may specify, based on the play history information received by the history information receiving unit in association with the same identification information as identification information received by the identification information receiving unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus, a game apparatus which is played at a relatively low frequency by a player related to the identification information, among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, and where one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified to the player related to the identification information by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit may change the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified to the player related to the identification information by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.

In the network system of game apparatuses for business use, it is possible that each player is effectively encouraged to visit an installation location of a game apparatus in which the player plays less frequently.

The above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use may further include a non-use status checking unit for checking a non-use status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus, wherein the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may specify benefit-imparting game apparatuses which are not played among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, based on a result checked by the non-use status checking unit, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit may change the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.

In the network system of game apparatuses for business use, a player who has satisfied the predetermined benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus can be encouraged to visit an installation location of a benefit-imparting game apparatus which is not played by another player. Thereby, there is less likelihood of a situation taking place that a player who has actually visited an installation location of a benefit-imparting game apparatus is required to wait until another player who plays the benefit-imparting game apparatus stops playing a game.

The above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use may further include a utilization status checking unit for checking an utilization status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus, wherein the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may specify a benefit-imparting game apparatus played by a player for a period, which is relatively short, among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, based on a result checked by the utilization status checking unit, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit may change the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.

The above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use may further include a utilization status checking unit for checking an utilization status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus, wherein the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may specify a benefit-imparting game apparatus in which the number of times of games is fewer within a predetermined period among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, based on a result checked by the utilization status checking unit, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit may change the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.

The above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use may further include a utilization status checking unit for checking an utilization status of each benefit-imparting game apparatus, wherein the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses may further include a bet object receiving unit for receiving bet objects and a payout processing unit which performs a payout process for paying out to the player an amount of payout objects according to an amount of the bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit, based on a game result progressed and controlled by the game progress control unit thereof, and the notified content change unit of the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus may specify, based on a result checked by the utilization status checking unit, a benefit-imparting game apparatus in which the amount of bet objects received by the bet object receiving unit within a predetermined period or the amount of payout objects paid out to the player by the payout process performed by the payout processing unit within a predetermined period is small, among the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses, and where the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit are different from game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus, the notified content change unit may change the one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit to the game apparatus designating information on the specified game apparatus.

In these above-described network systems of game apparatuses for business use, a player who has satisfied the predetermined benefit-imparting condition in the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus can be encouraged to visit an installation location of a benefit-imparting game apparatus which is less popular among players (used less frequently by players) in the plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses constituting the present network system of game apparatuses for business use. Thereby, players are directed to less popular apparatuses, thus making it possible to increase the operating rate of game apparatuses in the present network system of game apparatuses for business use as a whole.

In the above-described network system of game apparatuses for business use, the identification information receiving unit may be composed of an identification information reading unit for reading out identification information from a storage medium which stores the identification information on the player.

The identification information receiving unit includes, for example, a unit which receives identification information input by forcing a player work on inputting characters of the identification information. However, the unit is not preferable because the player is forced such a troublesome work. In the present network system of game apparatuses for business use, a player is allowed to have the above-described storage medium and is able to receive identification information read out from the storage medium. Thereby, the player is not forced to be engaged in such a troublesome work.

As another aspect of the present invention, it is listed that a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus includes: an identification information receiving unit for receiving identification information on a player; a decision unit for deciding whether the player corresponding to the identification information received by the identification information receiving unit satisfies a predetermined benefit-imparting condition; a clear information output unit which outputs clear information indicating that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied in a state of being associated with the identification information on the player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied; a notifying unit which notifies the player of game apparatus designating information for designating a benefit-imparting game apparatus different from the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus when the decision unit decides that the benefit-imparting condition is satisfied; and a notified content change unit for changing one or two or more pieces of game apparatus designating information to be notified by the notifying unit, based on a predetermined change condition.

The benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus works with the benefit-imparting game apparatus, thereby strongly motivating a player who has satisfied the predetermined benefit-imparting condition to go to an installation location of the benefit-imparting game apparatus. In addition, a game apparatus to be selectively played by a player (game apparatus designating information) can be changed whenever necessary. Therefore, it is possible to effectively increase such an opportunity that a player who has so far played the game apparatus less frequently plays selectively with the game apparatus concerned.

Effect of the Invention

According to the present invention, it is possible to effectively increase such an opportunity that even a player who has so far played less frequently with a certain game apparatus (benefit-imparting game apparatus) plays the game apparatus concerned, preventing the concentration of players on some game apparatuses and also increase the operating rate of game apparatuses in the system as a whole.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic configuration diagram of a whole game system according to an embodiment.

FIG. 2 is an outline view showing one example of a horse-racing game machine constituting the same game system.

FIG. 3 is a control block diagram showing a main control unit for controlling a whole operation of the same horse-racing game machine in an integrated way.

FIG. 4 is a control block diagram showing a station control unit arranged in each station of the same horse-racing game machine.

FIG. 5 is an explanatory view for explaining the configuration of a station unit in a pusher game machine constituting the same game system.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing a main configuration of a game control system of the same pusher game machine.

FIG. 7 is an explanatory view showing an example of a slot game screen displayed on a display unit of the same pusher game machine.

FIG. 8 is an explanatory view showing an example of a bingo game screen displayed on the display unit of the same pusher game machine.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing the outline of a slot machine constituting the same game system.

FIG. 10 is a detailed front view showing a part of a front panel of the same slot machine.

FIG. 11 is a control block diagram relating to a main configuration of the same slot machine.

FIG. 12 is a control block diagram of a management server.

FIG. 13 is an outline view showing a gaming arcade terminal unit.

FIG. 14 is a control block diagram of the gaming arcade terminal unit.

FIG. 15 is a sequence flowchart showing a flow of a total jackpot drawing.

FIG. 16 is a sequence flowchart for explaining a determining process of a total jackpot performance timing.

FIG. 17 is an explanatory view showing an example of a jackpot start screen displayed on a display unit at each of the stations, etc., which are drawing targets.

FIG. 18 is an explanatory view showing an example of a slot screen displayed on a display unit at each of the stations, etc., which are drawing targets.

FIG. 19 is a flowchart showing a flow of a token rally event.

FIG. 20 is a sequence flowchart for explaining a payout process for clear bonus tokens of the same token rally event.

DESCRIPTION OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

1000 Horse-racing game machine (token-operated game machine)

1010 Station

1015, 3013 a, 5007 Card reading surface

1101 Main control device

1108, 2625, 3107, 4003, 5003 External communication device

1201 Station control device

1204, 2605, 3013, 5007 Card reader

2000 Pusher game machine (token-operated game machine)

2500 Play field

2601, 2611, 2621 Control device

3000 Slot machine (token-operated game machine)

3101 Control device

4000 Management server

4001 Control device

5000 Gaming arcade terminal unit

5001 Control device

5002 Storage device

5005 Display device

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

The following description will explain one embodiment applied to a game system, as a network system of game apparatuses for business use, configured with three types of token-operated game machines as arcade game machines (business-use game apparatuses) that are a plurality of benefit-imparting game apparatuses having game contents different from each other, and a gaming arcade terminal unit as a challenge notifying apparatus and a management server that are total performance processing apparatuses connected to these token-operated game machines so as to be capable of communicating with the token-operated game machines.

[System Overview]

First, the configuration of a whole game system according to the present embodiment will be explained.

FIG. 1 is a schematic configuration diagram of the whole game system according to the present embodiment.

Three types of token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 constituting the game system are different types of game machines having hardware configurations different from each other. In the present embodiment, the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 are installed in a game facility such as a game center, etc., and connected to a gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 in the gaming arcade via a LAN (Local Area Network) that is a high-speed communication network. A management server 4000 is connected to the gaming arcade terminal unit in each gaming arcade, via a WAN (Wide Area Network) that is a low-speed communication network. The management server 4000 performs data communication with the gaming arcade terminal unit that performs system management for the whole gaming arcade by performing data communication with each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 so as to manage the whole game system. It is noted that a game system covering a plurality of gaming arcades will be explained in the present embodiment; the explanation, however, will be applied also to a game system within a single gaming arcade.

Next, the configuration and the operation of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 will be explained.

[Horse-Racing Game Machine 1000]

The token-operated game machine 1000 is a horse-racing game machine. In the horse-racing game machine 1000, one or at least two players predict an order of arrival for a horse race played in the horse-racing game machine, and when the prediction is correct, the player is capable of receiving a token payout according to odds against that order.

FIG. 2 is an outline view showing one example of the horse-racing game machine 1000.

The horse-racing game machine 1000 is provided with a field unit 1002 arranged at the center portion and a plurality of stations 1010 arranged to surround the field unit 1002. In the field unit 1002, a field surface 1004 as a moving surface that resembles turf on a race track on which a starting gate 1003 as a model is installed, is arranged, and when a plurality of model horses (not shown) are moved within the field surface 1004, a race is developed. Around the field unit 1002, a plurality of speakers 1005 for providing live race coverage, cheers, etc., are placed. Above the field unit 1002, placed are: a display unit 1006 for displaying, for example, a total accumulated token count indicating the number of pieces to be paid out for a total jackpot drawing described later; an illuminating device 1007 for illuminating the field unit 1002; and a camera 1009 that is an imaging unit functioning as imaging means for imaging the field unit 1002. The display unit 1006, the illuminating device 1007, and the camera 1009 are supported by a support column 1008. The speaker 1005 and the illuminating device 1007 that are performance units functioning as performance means of the horse-racing game machine 1000.

In the station 1010, a display 1011 for displaying thereon a game screen according to the progress of the game, and a touch panel 1012 overlapped on a display surface of the display 1011, are arranged. When a player touches a predetermined position of the game screen displayed on the display 1011 according to an instruction on the game screen, the position is detected by the touch panel 1012 and an operation content of the player is recognized by the horse-racing game machine 1000. In the station 1010, further arranged are: a token drop-in unit 1013 into which a token is dropped in by the player; a token payout opening 1014 from which the token is paid out to the player; and a card reading surface 1015 which functions as identification information receiving means for reading out a card ID from a player card.

In the horse-racing game machine 1000, races having the same titles as those of actual horse races held by the Japan Racing Association are sequentially held according to a predetermined cycle. For races held during one year, about 60 races are prepared, and for each race, a time for betting a token, i.e., a time for purchasing a betting ticket; a time during which a race is held by model horses; and a time for displaying race results are secured. The player predicts the order of arrival for each race, and is capable of freely purchasing a betting ticket. The purchasing of the betting ticket is performed by betting a token, and when the purchased betting ticket matches the results of the race, the player is paid out, as a dividend, tokens of which the number of pieces corresponds to that obtained in accordance with the number of pieces of tokens to be bet and odds.

When a player uses a player card, it not only becomes possible for the player to train his/her own racehorse character (his/her horse) but also allows the horse to participate in a race. Concretely, the player selects a preferred racehorse character out of a plurality of prepared racehorse characters, and acquires the racehorse character by paying a predetermined number of tokens. Then, the player can train the racehorse character by breaking in (training) the racehorse character in order to enhance the capability of the acquired racehorse character. The player can also allow the broken in racehorse character to compete in a race that the player desires.

In the horse-racing game machine 1000 in the present embodiment, the field unit 1002 forms the field surface 1004, and on the field surface 1004, an artificial lawn resembling an actual turf and models such as a starting gate 1003, etc., are arranged. A model horse as a moving body is moved on the field surface 1004.

FIG. 3 is a control block diagram showing a main control unit for controlling the whole operation of the horse-racing game machine 1000 in an integrated way.

FIG. 4 is a control block diagram showing a station control unit arranged in each station 1010.

As shown in FIG. 3, the main control unit 1100 placed on the field unit side is provided with: a main control device 1101; a movement control device 1102 for controlling a movement of the model horse in the field unit 1002; an illumination control device 1103 for controlling the illuminating device 1007; an audio control device 1104 for controlling the cheers, the live coverage, etc., provided by the speaker 1005; an SRAM 1105 and a flash memory 1106 for temporarily recording data processed by the main control device 1101; a ROM 1107 in which a program necessary for the game and various types of databases are stored; and an external communication device 1108 for performing data communication via a LAN with an external device such as the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000. The main control device 1101 is connected to each of the movement control device 1102, the illumination control device 1103, the audio control device 1104, the SRAM 1105, the flash memory 1106, the ROM 1107, the external communication device 1108, and the camera 1009. In the ROM 1107, a movement control program that is movement control information for each model horse, various types of data relating to each horse used for the race, a database for a race schedule, etc., are stored.

As shown in FIG. 4, the station control unit 1200 arranged in each station 1010 is provided with: a station control device 1201; a token managing device 1202 for managing a payout of the token and any other similar task; a RAM 1203 for temporarily recording various types of data of the player; and a card reader 1204 as an identification information receiving unit that functions as identification information receiving means for reading a card ID from a player card placed over the card reading surface 1015. The station control device 1201 is connected to each of the token managing device 1202, the RAM 1203, and the card reader 1204. The station control device 1201 is also connected to each of units such as: the display 1011 and the touch panel 1012 (shown in FIG. 2) arranged in the station 1010; and a token drop-in sensor (not shown) for detecting the token dropped in via the token drop-in unit 1013.

Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, the station control device 1201 of each station 1010 is connected to the main control device 1101 on the game machine main body side, enabling data communication necessary between these components.

The main control device 1101 of the main control unit 1100, in order to realistically reproduce an actual horse race when holding a race, changes a movement control content of each model horse for each race according to various types of data such as a parameter of each horse. Then, the movement control content is determined before the start of a race, and the movement of the model horse is controlled according to the resultant movement control content. Concretely, before the start of a race, the main control device 1101 of the main control unit 1100 reads out various types of parameters of horses competing in the current race and data such as turf condition, from the ROM 1107, so as to determine the order of arrival for the current race. It is noted that only a first place horse and a second place horse affect the payout of the token to the player, and thus, it is not necessary to determine the orders of all the horses competing in that race and it suffices to determine at least the first place horse and the second place horse. In this case, the movement of the other horses is controlled according to the various types of parameters so that the other horses do not arrive at the finish line first or second. Order of arrival data, the parameter of each horse, etc., determined by the main control device 1101 are forwarded to the movement control device 1102.

The movement control device 1102 that receives the data from the main control device 1101 executes the movement control program recorded in a ROM (not shown) so as to perform movement control on each horse. The movement control device 1102 executing the movement control program calculates a moving pattern of each horse from the parameter, etc., of each horse, and transmits a control command to each control chip 1022 so that each model horse 1060 is moved according to the resultant moving pattern. Concretely, in order to generate a magnetic field allowing each model horse 1060 to move according to the moving pattern of each horse, a control command is transmitted to the control chip of each magnetic field generation-use circuit board. Each control chip 1022 that receives the control command controls a current that passes through each coil so that a magnetic force that pulls a south pole of a permanent magnet of each model horse 1060 along a planned moving route of each model horse 1060 is sequentially generated. Thereby, each model horse 1060 can be moved along the planned moving route. As a result, each model horse 1060 of which the movement is controlled by the movement control device 1102 develops the race in the play field.

When the player plays by using the player card, the player places his/her own player card over a card reading surface 1015 before playing. Thereby, a card ID is read from the player card by a card reader 1204, and the card ID is stored in an SRAM 1105 or a flash memory 1106. In the SRAM 1105 or the flash memory 1106, data (such as horse name data, parameter data and play history information indicating a winning GI race, etc.) relating to the racehorse character trained as a result of playing the game by the player is stored in a manner to be associated with the card ID.

In the horse-racing game machine 1000, when the player who plays by using the player card ends the game, game status data (used for restoring, upon resuming the game next time, a game status established when the game is ended) is saved in a gaming arcade terminal unit in a state of being associated with the card ID of that player. The game status data includes data relating to the racehorse character trained by the player. Then, when the player resumes the game from a point where the game was ended last, the player places his/her own player card over the card reading surface 1015 before play. In this way, the game status data corresponding to the card ID within the player card is downloaded from the gaming arcade terminal unit, and the data is stored in the SRAM 1105 or the flash memory 1106. Thereafter, the game is resumed.

[Pusher Game Machine 2000]

Next, the token-operated game machine 2000 will be explained.

The token-operated game machine 2000 is a pusher game machine.

FIG. 5 is an explanatory view for explaining the configuration of a station unit ST in the pusher game machine 2000.

In the pusher game machine 2000, four satellite units SA are arranged to surround a center drawing apparatus (not shown). Each satellite unit SA is provided with the four station units ST, and each player is to individually play a game at each station unit ST. Moreover, each satellite unit SA is provided with one satellite drawing apparatus 2001, and around the satellite drawing apparatus 2001, each station unit ST is lined and placed.

The station unit ST is configured mainly by: a token drop-in mechanism (drop-in unit) 2100; a play field 2500; a station control unit (not shown); and a display unit 2700. In the station unit ST, the token drop-in mechanism 2100 is placed on an upper near side, the display unit 2700 unit that functions as display means is placed on an upper far side, and the play field 2500 is placed at an upper center. The “near side” means a side on which the player is positioned during the game, the “far side” means a side opposite to the side on which the player is positioned during the game, and the “center” means an area between the “near side” and the “far side.”

The token drop-in mechanism 2100 is a mechanism for the player to drop a token M into the pusher game machine 2000 during the game. The token M dropped into the token drop-in mechanism 2100 is conveyed via a token conveyance route (not shown) in the interior of the cabinet of the station unit ST to a lift-up hopper, and the resultant token M is temporarily retained by the lift-up hopper. The lift-up hopper includes: a token retaining unit for accumulating the token M; the lift-up unit for lifting up the token M to a predetermined height; and a token discharge unit (discharge unit) for discharging the token M that is lifted up at a predetermined timing. At a discharge opening of the token discharge unit, arranged is a token discharge route 2400 for leading the discharged token M to the play field 2500 in a manner to laterally swing. An upper end of the lift-up unit is placed above the play field 2500. As a result, the token discharge unit arranged at the upper end of the lift-up unit is placed above the play field 2500. Therefore, the token M temporarily accumulated in the token retaining unit arranged below the play field 2500 is raised above the play field 2500 by the lift-up unit, and thereafter, the raised token M is exited via the token discharge route 2400 from the token discharge unit, out onto the play field 2500.

Within the play field 2500, arranged mainly are: a main table 2501 that is a token mount table for retaining thereon the token M, and the pusher unit 2510 as a token extruding member which is mounted on the main table 2501. The pusher unit 2510 includes: a top surface (this is called a sub table) for retaining thereon the token M; a sloping table on which the token M that falls from the sub table slides; and a push-forward wall that pushes forward the token M retained on the main table 2501. Moreover, the pusher unit 2510, which is arranged to enable sliding on the main table 2501 in the play field 2500, makes a back-and-forth slide movement in a constant cycle or an arbitrary cycle. A part (far side) of the pusher unit 2510 is housed in a housing part (described later) arranged beneath the display unit 2700. The pusher unit 2510, which slides to come out of and into the housing part, makes a back-and-forth reciprocating movement.

With the sub table, a frame member of the display unit 2700 comes into contact in a manner to enable sliding. Therefore, when the pusher unit 2510 moves to a direction in which it is housed in the housing part, the token M on the sub table is pushed forward by the frame member. By the pushing forward, some tokens M on the sub table fall onto the sloping table. Some tokens M that fall from the sub table enter into an opening (this is called a “chucker”) that is a token pass-through opening arranged on the sloping table. The remaining tokens M fall directly onto the main table 2501 and are retained on the main table 2501.

The tokens M on the main table 2501, similar to the tokens M on the sub table, are pushed forward by the slide movement of the pusher unit 2510. That is, the pusher units 2510 are seamlessly mounted on the main table 2501, and thus, when the pusher unit 2510 is moved in a discharge direction from the housing part, the tokens M on the main table 2501 are pushed forward by the push-forward wall on the front surface of the pusher unit 2510. By the pushing forward, some tokens M on the main table 2501 fall. Out of the tokens M that fall, the token M that falls from an end on the player side (this is called a “front end”) to a token fall groove is paid to the player, and the other tokens M, e.g., the tokens M that fall from both sides (these are called “side ends”) of the main table 2501 are stocked in a predetermined retaining unit within the station unit ST.

Besides, as shown in FIG. 5, the station unit ST includes a ball drop-in mechanism 2800 on at least one side. The ball drop-in mechanism 2800 is configured to drop balls B1 and B2 that are spherical objects (as differently shaped objects described later) into the play field 2500, and includes a ball drop-in slope 2801 and a ball drop-in position drawing mechanism 2810. The balls B1 and B2 are objects for drawing used for executing a bingo game described later.

The ball drop-in slope 2801, which is configured to lead the balls B1 and B2 dropped in from a ball carrier 2520 described later to the ball drop-in position drawing mechanism 2810 by gravity, is formed as a downhill slope. The ball drop-in position drawing mechanism 2810 is configured to draw a position on the play field 2500 onto which the balls B1 and B2 are dropped. Thus, the balls B1 and B2 dropped in from the ball carrier 2520 described later to the station unit ST are dropped in via the ball drop-in slope 2801 and the ball drop-in position drawing mechanism 2810 onto the play field 2500.

As shown in FIG. 5, the station unit ST includes a ball transportation mechanism 2900 on at least one side. The ball transportation mechanism 2900 is configured, when the balls B1 and B2 fall from the main table 2501 in the play field 2500 onto the token fall groove arranged on the near side, to transport the balls B1 and B2 to the satellite drawing apparatus 2001, and includes a ball conveying route (not shown), a ball transporting unit 2910, and a ball transporting unit traveling slope 2901. The ball conveying route is arranged below the front end of the main table 2501, and leads the balls B1 and B2 that fall from the front end to the ball transporting unit 2910. The ball transporting unit 2910 is configured to transport the balls B1 and B2 received via the ball conveying route, to the satellite drawing apparatus 2001, and travels on the ball transporting unit traveling slope 2901 according to control of the control unit of the station unit ST. The balls B1 and B2 transported to the satellite drawing apparatus 2001 are handed over to the ball carrier 2520.

Moreover, the station unit ST includes a token payout mechanism 2030, and as a result of the token payout mechanism being driven, the tokens M of which the number of pieces is equal to that of the tokens M that fall onto the token fall groove from the front end of the main table 2501 are discharged to the retaining unit 2101 of the token drop-in mechanism 2100.

Next, a control system of the pusher game machine 2000 will be explained.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing a main configuration of a game control system of the pusher game machine 2000. In this block diagram, for the sake of explanation, configurations of a drive control system for driving each unit according to the game progress and any other systems are omitted.

The game control system of the pusher game machine 2000 is configured mainly by: a control unit 2600 at the station unit ST; a control unit 2610 of the satellite drawing apparatus 2001; and a control unit 2620 of the center drawing apparatus 2002. The control unit 2600 of the station unit ST mainly assumes a role of overall process control of a slot game and a bingo game described later, the control unit 2610 of the satellite drawing apparatus 2001 mainly assumes a role of control of a physical drawing of the bingo game and transportation control of the balls B1 and B2, and the control unit 2620 of the center drawing apparatus 2002 mainly assumes a role of a single-unit jackpot drawing control described later and overall control of the pusher game machine 2000.

The control unit 2600 of the station unit ST is configured mainly by: a control device 2601; a ROM 2602; a RAM 2603; a communication device 2604; and a card reader 1204 as an identification information receiving unit that functions as identification information receiving means. The control device 2601 executes various types of programs stored in the ROM 2602 so as to perform various types of controls. The ROM 2602 stores, for example, execution programs for various types of controls that should be performed in the control unit 2600 of the station unit ST. The RAM 2603 is for temporarily storing various types of data or information. The communication device 2604 is for performing data communication with the control unit 2610 of the satellite drawing apparatus 2001. The card reader 1204 is for reading a card ID from a player card held by a player. Although not shown, the station unit ST includes a performance unit, such as a speaker and an illuminating device, used for various types of performances, and the control device 2601 controls these performance units so as to carry out various types of performances.

The control unit 2610 of the satellite drawing apparatus 2001 is configured mainly by: a control device 2611; a ROM 2612; a RAM 2613; a station-side communication device 2614; and a center-side communication device 2615. The control device 2611 executes various types of programs stored in the ROM 2612 so as to perform various types of controls. The ROM 2612 stores, for example, execution programs for various types of controls that should be performed in the control unit 2610 of the satellite drawing apparatus 2001. The RAM 2613 is for temporarily storing various types of data or information. The station-side communication device 2614 is for performing data communication with the control unit 2600 of the each station unit ST belonging to the satellite unit SA. The center-side communication device 2615 is for performing data communication with the control unit 2620 of the center drawing apparatus 2002. Although not shown, the satellite unit SA includes a performance unit, such as a speaker and an illuminating device, used for various types of performances, and the control device 2611 controls these performance units so as to carry out various types of performances.

The control unit 2620 of the center drawing apparatus 2002 is configured mainly by: a control device 2621; a ROM 2622; a RAM 2623; a communication device 2624; and an external communication device 2625. The control device 2621 executes various types of programs stored in the ROM 2622 so as to perform various types of controls. The ROM 2622 stores, for example, execution programs for various types of controls that should be performed in the control unit 2620 of the center drawing apparatus 2002. The RAM 2623 is for temporarily storing various types of data or information. The communication device 2624 is for performing data communication with the control unit 2610 of each satellite unit SA. The external communication device 2625 is for performing data communication via a LAN with an external device such as a gaming arcade terminal unit 5000. Although not shown, the center drawing apparatus 2002 includes a performance unit, such as a speaker and an illuminating device, used for various types of performances, and the control device 2621 controls these performance units so as to carry out various types of performances.

In the above-described configuration, in the pusher game machine 2000, in addition to the pusher game, a slot game is performed by displaying a slot game screen as shown in FIG. 7 on the display unit 2700, and a bingo game is performed by displaying a bingo game screen as shown in FIG. 8 on the display unit 2700. In the pusher game machine 2000, a single-unit jackpot drawing using the center drawing apparatus 2002 is also performed. On the display unit 2700, a single-unit accumulated token count indicating the number of pieces to be paid out in a single-unit jackpot drawing described later and a total accumulated token count indicating the number of pieces to be paid out in a total jackpot drawing described later are displayed.

The slot game is a digital drawing game in which the control unit 2600 at the station unit ST mainly performs a drawing digitally. This slot game is started under the condition that the token M enters into any one of chuckers arranged on the sloping table at the pusher unit 2510. The slot game screen shown in FIG. 7 is displayed on the display unit 2700 during a period when the bingo game described later does not progress. When the token M enters into any one of the chuckers and thereby the slot drawing start condition is satisfied, the control unit 2600 performs display control to rotate three dice-shaped slots DS. In the digital drawing of the slot game, the control unit executes a predetermined drawing program, and checks a generated random number in reference to a predetermined winning table so as to determine whether to win any payout-symbol combination or lose. Thereafter, where a winning payout-symbol combination is determined, the control unit 2600 performs display control to stop the rotation of the three dice-shaped slots DS so that a combination of symbols relating to the winning payout-symbol combination is stopped and displayed on the display unit 2700.

In the present embodiment, as a payout-symbol combination for a digital drawing, prepared are: a minor payout-symbol combination A in which three tokens are supplied to the play field 2500; a minor payout-symbol combination B in which eight tokens are supplied to the play field 2500; a ball supply payout-symbol combination in which the ball B1 is supplied to the play field 2500; a normal bonus payout-symbol combination in which thirty tokens are supplied to the play field 2500; a probability-change bonus payout-symbol combination in which thirty tokens are supplied to the play field 2500 and a winning table at which a winning probability is set to be higher is used in subsequent digital drawings; a direct satellite payout-symbol combination in which the ball B1 is directly supplied to the satellite drawing apparatus 2001; a direct center payout-symbol combination in which the ball B1 is directly supplied to the center drawing apparatus 2002, and other payout-symbol combinations. The winning probability of each of these payout-symbol combinations is set to be lowered according to the above-described order. It is noted that, which payout-symbol combination is prepared or to which winning probability of each of the payout-symbol combinations is set is determined arbitrarily. For example, it may be possible to configure that various benefits are given to a player such as direct payout of tokens M to the player. Then, when these payout-symbol combinations are won, the control device 2601 of the station unit ST controls the speaker or the illumination device, etc., so as to carry out individual performance to liven up the winning.

The bingo game is a physical drawing game which progresses by a physical drawing using two types of balls B1 and B2 and the satellite drawing apparatus 2001. The bingo game progresses by the control unit 2610 of the satellite drawing apparatus 2001 and the control unit 2600 at the station unit ST. In the bingo game, the control unit 2610 of the satellite drawing apparatus 2001 mainly controls a drawing for determining winning bingo numbers of the bingo game. The control unit 2600 of each of the station units ST belonging to the satellite unit SA including the satellite drawing apparatus 2001 is mainly in charge of controlling the performance of the bingo game, a decision of the establishment of BINGO, and so on. In the present embodiment, the balls B1 and B2 are moved by the satellite drawing apparatus 2001, by which a physical drawing is performed in which one winning bingo number (a winning target) is selected from a plurality of bingo numbers (drawing targets) different from each other. In the physical drawing of the present embodiment, one winning bingo number is selected from the bingo numbers of “1” through “9”. Then, array information of the bingo card having these bingo numbers of “1” through “9” arrayed in a matrix is generated individually for each of the station units ST by the control unit 2600 that is as an array-information producing unit which functions as array-information producing means for the station unit ST, for example. Thereafter, a bingo card image BC in which images of the bingo numbers of “1” through “9” (drawing target images) are arrayed according to the array information is displayed on the display unit 2700 of each of the station units ST, as shown in FIG. 8. Then, when the BINGO is established, the control device 2601 of the station unit ST or the control device 2611 of the satellite unit SA each controls the speaker, the illuminating device, etc., so as to carry out an individual performance to liven up the establishment of BINGO.

In the single-unit jackpot drawing, when either one of conditions under which the single-unit jackpot drawing is started is satisfied, i.e., the balls B1 and B2 are thrown into a winning spot to which a right of starting a single-unit jackpot drawing in the center drawing apparatus 2002 in the physical drawing in the satellite drawing apparatus 2001 in the above-described bingo game is assigned, or the center combination is directly won in the above-described slot game, the control device 2621 of the control unit 2620 in the center drawing apparatus 2002 executes a single-unit jackpot execution program stored in the ROM 2622 so as to start the single-unit jackpot drawing. Then, in the center drawing apparatus 2002, the ball B1 is moved thereby to perform the physical drawing that determines whether a single-unit jackpot award is won or lost (including a case where awards other than the single-unit jackpot award are won). When the single-unit jackpot award is won, the control device 2621 of the center drawing apparatus 2002 controls the speaker, the illuminating device, etc., so as to carry out an individual performance to liven up the winning of the single-unit jackpot award.

Moreover, when the single-unit jackpot award is won, the control device 2621 reads out the single-unit JP retaining count data that is payout amount data from the RAM 2623, and performs a process for supplying the tokens M having the number of pieces indicated by a count value of that data, to the play field 2500 of the station unit ST that has satisfied the condition under which the jackpot drawing is started. At this time, another option would be: a token supply command is output to the control device 2601 of the control unit 2600 at the station unit ST from the control device 2621, and under the control of the control device 2601, the token M is supplied to the play field 2500 by using a method similar to a normal token supply process. In this case, however, the number of pieces of tokens to be supplied when the single-unit jackpot award is won is obtained by accumulatively adding the number of pieces equivalent to a part of the number of pieces of tokens to be dropped into all the station units ST (for example, 0.03 pieces) from a time when the single-unit JP retaining count data is reset to an initial value (for example, 500 pieces), therefore, it is a great number. For this reason, instead of the normal token supply process, a process using an original token supply mechanism may be optionally adopted. This is preferable as a performance carried out when the single-unit jackpot award is won. Moreover, when the single-unit jackpot award is won, the control device 2621 resets the single-unit JP retaining count data stored in the RAM 2623, to the initial value.

When playing with the pusher game machine 2000, the player places the player card over a card reading surface (not shown) before the play. Thereby, the card ID is read from the player card by the card reader 2605, and the card ID is stored in a RAM 2603. In the RAM 2603, play history information obtained when the player plays the pusher game machine 2000 (such as an accumulated token drop-in count, a combination of symbols that are won in a slot game, the number of times of bingos to be established in a bingo game, and the number of times to be won in a single-unit jackpot award) is stored in a state of being associated with the card ID. When the player who plays by using the player card ends the game, the play history information stored in the RAM 2603 is saved in the gaming arcade terminal unit in a state of being associated with the card ID. If the player places his/her own player card over the card reading surface before the next play, the play history information corresponding to the card ID within the player card is downloaded from the gaming arcade terminal unit, and this data is stored in the RAM 2603. As a result, a play result obtained from the play is added to the play history information.

[Slot machine 3000] Next, the token-operated game machine 3000 will be explained.

The token-operated game machine 3000 is a slot machine.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view showing the outline of a slot machine 3000 according to the present embodiment.

The slot machine 3000 includes a box-type cabinet 3002, a front panel 3003 attached to a front surface side of the cabinet 3002 in a freely openable and closable manner, and other components. On the front panel 3003, arranged are: a display window 3004 for displaying a part of a varying display unit described later; a token drop-in opening 3005; a start button 3006 as a start operation device; a dice display window 3007; a credit settlement button 3008; a speaker 3009; a token receiving tray 3010 having a token payout opening 3010 a; a performance panel 3011; a card reading surface 3013 a; a count display unit 3014; a BET operation unit 3015; and so on. The speaker 3009 and the performance panel 3011 that are performance units function as performance means of the slot machine 3000. Moreover, on the performance panel 3011, various types of information such as a total accumulated token count indicating the number of pieces of payouts in the total jackpot drawing described later are displayed.

Inside the cabinet 3002, three reels that as three varying display units of which the outer peripheral surface is printed with a plurality of types of symbols are assembled. The three reels (hereinafter, in the order of a “left reel”, a “middle reel”, and a “right reel”) are each rotated and driven by a reel drive motor (not shown) configured by a stepping motor. These reels are printed with a plurality of types of symbols such as “white 7”, “blue 7”, “green 7”, “red 7”, “cherry”, and “blank” in a predetermined order. In the present embodiment, the symbol of “blank” configures neither one of the payout-symbol combinations. A main control circuit board on which electronic circuits are formed by various types of electronic components such as a CPU and a ROM, a token payout device having a token hopper capable of containing a large number of pieces of tokens, an internal speaker, and any other similar components are also assembled.

FIG. 10 is a detailed front view showing a part of the front panel 3003.

Symbols formed by about three images at a predetermined rotation position of each reel are to be visually recognized by a player through the display window 3004. In this display window 3004, five winning lines IL are depicted across all of the reels. When symbols relating to a payout-symbol combination corresponding to an award group previously defined on these winning lines IL become all the same in a combination (hereinafter, this is simply referred to as the “symbols become all the same in a payout-symbol combination”), a game value is imparted to a player, such as the tokens are paid out to the token receiving tray 3010 and a current period is moved to a special game period during which a special game can be played. It is noted that, in the slot machine 3000 according to the embodiment, the five winning lines IL are arranged; however, the number of winning lines may be optionally increased or decreased. Moreover, the winning line may suffice to be visually recognized by a CPU 17 a, described later, for performing stop control of the slot machine, rather than to be visually recognized by the player.

The count display unit 3014 is provided with a credit display 3014 a, a bonus-count display 3014 b, a token payout count display 3014 c, etc.

The BET operation unit 3015 is configured by two buttons, i.e., a 1BET button 3015 a and a max BET button 3015 b.

FIG. 11 is a control block diagram relating to a main configuration of the slot machine 3000. The main control unit 3100 of the slot machine 3000 includes: a control device 3101; a reel control device 3102 for performing drive control for the three reels; a storage device 3103 in which various types of programs necessary for the game, various types of databases, etc., are stored; a display control device 3104 for performing display control of the count display unit 3014; an illumination control device 3105 for controlling illumination of the performance panel 3011, etc.; an audio control device 3106 for controlling a sound output from the speaker 3009; and an external communication device 3107 for performing a data communication with an external apparatus such as the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 via a LAN. The main control device 1101 is connected not only to these devices but also to, for example, the token drop-in sensor 3022, the card reader 3013 as an identification information receiving unit that functions as identification information receiving means for reading a card ID from a player card placed over the card reading surface 3013 a, the BET operation unit 3015, and the token payout device 3018.

Next, a flow of the game of the slot machine 3000 will be explained.

Before the game is started, as a preparation, a player first needs to drop a token into the token drop-in opening 3005. When a token is dropped by the player into the token drop-in opening 3005, the token passes through a passage (not shown) and falls onto the token hopper. In this passage, various components are arranged such as a fall opening through which a token smaller than a standard falls back to the token payout opening 3010 a, a token block solenoid for returning or permitting the token to the token payout opening 3010 a by blocking the passage of the token, and a token drop-in sensor 3022 configured by, for example, a photo sensor for detecting the passed tokens one by one. A token detection signal output from the token drop-in sensor 3022 that detects the token is forwarded to the control device 3101 of the main control unit 3100. In receipt thereof, by means of the display control device 3104, the control device 3101 performs control to increase a display count value by one on the credit display 3014 a and to increase a value of credit count data stored in the storage device 3103 by one. Normally, a plurality of pieces of tokens is dropped in at once so as to increase the number of pieces of credit to a certain extent. When the player operates the BET operation unit 3015 to perform a bet operation, the control device 3101 decreases the value of the credit count data stored in the storage device 3103 by as much as the number of pieces to be bet, and at the same time, performs control to decrease the display count value on the credit display 3014 a by as much as the number of pieces to be bet. Moreover, the control device 3101 recognizes the winning line IL that has become effective according to the number of pieces to be bet. It is noted that, unless the symbols become all the same in the payout-symbol combination on the effective winning line IL, the winning is not granted even when the symbols become all the same in the payout-symbol combination on an ineffective winning line IL.

When the start button 3006 is operated by the player, the control device 3101 that is a start-command receiving unit executes a start-command receiving program stored in the storage device 3103 thereby to function as start-command receiving means so as to receive a varying-display start command from its start button 3006. The control device 3101 that has received this varying-display start command, first, starts rotation drive of all the reels by the reel control device 3102. Further, the control device 3101 that has received the varying-display start command executes an award-group drawing program stored in the storage device 3103 so as to perform an internal drawing. In this case, the control device 3101 functions as means for performing an internal drawing to determine a winning in which any award group is selected out of a plurality of award groups or a loss in which neither award group is selected. The internal drawing is performed by checking random number data forwarded from a random-number generating circuit with a value on an award group drawing table stored in the storage device 3103. On this award-group drawing table, each random number is associated with any award group or the loss. As a result of such an association, any one of the award groups is won at an individual predetermined probability, or the loss occurs at a predetermined probability.

Rotation positions of the reels that start the rotation drive are respectively detected by a reel position sensor (not shown). The reel control device 3102 performs an arithmetic operation on the rotation speed of the reel based on an output signal from each reel position sensor. When the rotation speed of the reel is stabilized, the reel control device 3102 becomes capable of recognizing a position of each symbol on each reel based on the output signal from each reel position sensor. Then, the control device 3101 executes a stop control program stored in the storage device 3103, and based on a drawing result of the above-described internal drawing, performs stop control of the reel by the reel control device 3102 so that a combination of predetermined symbols is stopped and displayed on the winning line. Concretely, when any one of the award groups is won by the internal drawing, the control device 3101 performs stop control so that a combination of symbols relating to a payout-symbol combination corresponding to the award group that has won is stopped and displayed on the winning line IL. On the other hand, in the case of the loss as a result of neither one of the award groups being selected by the internal drawing, the control device 3101 performs stop control so that a combination of symbols corresponding to neither award group is stopped and displayed on the winning line IL.

In a normal game, the internal drawing is performed by using an award-group drawing table corresponding to that normal game. Examples of award groups that may be won by the internal drawing of this normal game include token payout awards of: a cherry award corresponding to a cherry combination formed by “cherry-ANY (any symbol pattern)-ANY (any symbol pattern)”; an ANY7 award corresponding to an ANY7 combination formed by a plurality of colors of “7” that are “ANY7 (any color of “7”)-ANY7 (any color of “7”)-ANY7 (any color of “7”)”; a white 7 award corresponding to a white 7 combination formed by “white 7-white 7-white 7”; a blue 7 award corresponding to a blue 7 combination formed by “blue 7-blue 7-blue 7”; a green 7 award corresponding to a green 7 combination formed by “green 7-green 7-green 7”; and a red 7 award corresponding to a red 7 combination formed by “red 7-red 7-red 7.” When any one of the token payout awards is won as a result of the internal drawing and the symbols corresponding thereto become all the same in a winning combination on the winning line IL, the control device 3101 causes the token payout count display 3014 c of the count display unit 3014 to display the number of pieces of tokens to be paid out corresponding to the winning award. Then, the control device 3101 performs a token payout process for paying out the number of pieces of tokens corresponding to the winning award. Concretely, the control device 3101 increases a value of the credit count data stored in the storage device 3103 by as much as the number of pieces of tokens to be paid out, and at the same time, performs control to increase the token credit on the credit display 3014 a by as much as the number of pieces of tokens to be paid out. When a token credit upper limit value is exceeded, the exceeded amount is paid out to the token receiving tray 3010 from the token payout opening 3010 a by the token payout device 3018. According to the order in which the above-described award groups are described, the number of pieces of tokens that are paid out is larger.

When playing with the slot machine 3000, the player places the player card over the card reading surface 3013 a before the play. As a result, the card ID is read from the player card by the card reader 3013, and the resultant card ID is stored in the storage device 3103. In the storage device 3103, play history information (such as an accumulated token drop-in count, and the number of times to be won for a red 7 award) obtained when the player plays the slot machine 3000 is stored in a state of being associated with the card ID. When the player who plays by using the player card ends the game, the play history information stored in the storage device 3103 is saved in the gaming arcade terminal unit in a state of being associated with the card ID. When the player places his/her own player card over the card reading surface 3013 a before the next play, the play history information corresponding to the card ID within the player card is downloaded from the gaming arcade terminal unit, and the data is stored in the storage device 3103. Thereafter, a play result obtained from the play is added to the play history information.

[Jackpot System]

Next, the total jackpot drawing performed in the whole system will be explained.

FIG. 12 is a control block diagram of the management server 4000 for performing progress control of the total jackpot drawing which is performed together with each gaming arcade terminal unit 5000.

The management server 4000 is configured mainly by a control device 4001, a storage device 4002 and an external communication device 4003. The storage device 4002 stores various types of control programs, and stores total accumulated token count data that is payout amount data of the whole system. The external communication device 4003 is for performing data communication via a WAN with an external apparatus such as the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 at each gaming arcade.

FIG. 13 is an outline view showing the gaming arcade server terminal unit for managing a system within each gaming arcade and also performing data communication between the management server 4000 and each token-operated game machine at the gaming arcade.

FIG. 14 is a control block diagram of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000.

The gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 is configured mainly by a control device 5001, a storage device 5002, an external communication device 5003, an intra-arcade communication device 5004, a display unit 5005 as a first challenge notifying unit and a second challenge notifying unit functioning as first challenge notifying means and second challenge notifying means, a touch panel 5006 as a operation accepting unit that functions as operation accepting means, and a card reader 5007. The storage device 5002 stores various types of control programs. The storage device 5002 stores intra-arcade accumulated token count data that is a part of the tokens consumed in the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 within the gaming arcade constituting the game system, and also stores the total accumulated token count data forwarded from the management server 4000. The external communication device 5003 is for performing data communication via a WAN with an external apparatus such as the management server 4000. The external communication device 5003 is for performing data communication via a LAN with each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000, etc. The display device 5005 is for displaying various information such as challenges in a token rally event described later. The touch panel 5006 is for accepting a player's operation. The card reader 5007 is for reading a card ID from a player card held by a player.

FIG. 15 is a sequence flowchart showing a flow of the total jackpot drawing in the present embodiment. In FIG. 15, for the sake of explanation, only one token-operated game machine and one gaming arcade terminal unit are described.

In the game system, when a player consumes the tokens in each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, data indicating a consumption amount is forwarded to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 located in its gaming arcade. Based on the data forwarded from each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, the control device 5001 of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 accumulatively stores, as the intra-arcade accumulated token count data, a part of the tokens (for example, 0.01 pieces) consumed by the player in the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 within the gaming arcade connected to this gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 into the storage device 5002. Then, the control device 5001 transmits the intra-arcade accumulated token count data in the storage device 5002 to the management server 4000 at a predetermined timing. It is noted that the intra-arcade accumulated token count data to be transmitted this time is as much as that accumulatively stored between a last transmission time point and a current transmission time point.

At each reception of the intra-arcade accumulated token count data forwarded from each gaming arcade terminal unit 5000, the management server 4000 accumulatively adds the number of pieces of tokens indicated by the received data to the total accumulated token count data in the storage device 4002. Thereby, a part of the number of pieces of tokens (for example, 0.01 pieces) consumed in all the token-operated game machines constituting the present game system is added up as the total accumulated token count data. In the present embodiment, for example, an initial value of the total accumulated token count data is 1000 pieces of tokens and a part of the number of pieces of tokens consumed by the player is accumulatively added to this initial value.

In the present embodiment, also in the above-described pusher game machine 2000, the single-unit jackpot drawing is performed, and the accumulated token count data of the single-unit jackpot drawing is obtained by calculation only from the number of pieces of tokens consumed in that pusher game machine 2000. On the other hand, the accumulated token count data of the total jackpot drawing managed and run by the management server 4000 is obtained by calculation from the number of pieces of tokens consumed by all the token-operated game machines constituting the present game system. As a result, it is possible to increase the number of pieces of tokens to be paid out to a winner when the winner wins the jackpot drawing.

A specific process flow will be now explained. The control device 4001 of the management server 4000 receives the intra-arcade accumulated token count data transmitted from each gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 at a predetermined timing (for example, at intervals of 10 minutes) thereby, first, to perform a process for accumulatively adding to the total accumulated token count data in the storage device 4002, as shown in FIG. 12. Thereafter, the total accumulated token count data stored in the storage device 4002 at this time point is transmitted to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 that is a transmission source of the intra-arcade accumulated token count data that is received immediately before. The gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 that receives the total accumulated token count data transmits the same data to each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000. Then, in each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 that receive that data, respective displays of the total accumulated token count are updated based on the received total accumulated token count data. In the present embodiment, the total numbers of pieces of accumulated tokens are individually displayed in each token-operated game machine. In this case, a display device for displaying the total accumulated token count may be arranged within the gaming arcade in order to omit the individual display in each token-operated game machine.

The total jackpot drawing in the present embodiment is started under the condition that the management server 4000 receives the intra-arcade accumulated token count data from the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000. Therefore, when receiving the intra-arcade accumulated token count data from each gaming arcade terminal unit 5000, the control device 4001 of the management server 4000 executes the total jackpot drawing program so as to perform the total jackpot drawing to determine whether the generated random number is won or lost in reference to the predetermined winning table. When the winning is determined in the total jackpot drawing, the control device 4001 transmits winning data to the effect that the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 is won in the total jackpot drawing, to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 that has transmitted the intra-arcade accumulated token count data that is a condition for starting the drawing.

The gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 that has received the winning data performs a process for determining, as a winner for the total jackpot award, which one of the players who plays in the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 connected to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 in the gaming arcade. In this process, it is informed that there is a winner for the total jackpot drawing within the gaming arcade. In this way, a sense of expectancy to the effect that any player can be a winner is grown and an interest in who has won the game is developed. In doing so, a total performance (hereinafter, referred to as a “total jackpot performance”) is carried out for getting attention of, for example, the player and the audience in the whole gaming arcade. This total jackpot performance needs to be carried out simultaneously at all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 in the gaming arcade, and in this case, due to a certain reason related to the game progress at each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, a timing at which the performance is carried out (total jackpot performance timing) needs to be adjusted. Because at each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, the game is individually progressed, and thus, depending on a certain progress situation, the progress of that game may be impeded by the total jackpot performance, resulting in an undesirable case where a sense of enjoyment of the player is greatly decreased.

For example, in the horse-racing game machine 1000, if the total jackpot performance is suddenly started at a time when a race is reproduced by using the field unit 1002, the excitement of the game originally provided in that horse-racing game machine is significantly decreased, hence not preferable. Further, in the pusher game machine 2000, if the total jackpot performance is suddenly started in the middle of a drawing where a large amount of tokens to be paid out can be expected such as in a physical drawing of the bingo game and the single-unit jackpot drawing, the excitement of the game originally provided in that pusher game machine is significantly decreased, hence not preferable. Moreover, in the slot machine 3000, if the total jackpot performance is suddenly started in the middle of the winning performance when a large amount of tokens to be paid out such as in the green 7 award and the red 7 award is determined, the joy of the player is significantly decreased, hence, not preferable.

On the other hand, at each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, there is a timing at which adverse effect (such as decreasing the enjoyment originally provided in that token-operated game machine) is less caused even when the individual game progress is impeded by the total jackpot performance. For example, in the horse-racing game machine 1000, at a timing used for betting a token by the player, i.e., a timing used for purchasing a betting ticket, the adverse effect is less caused. Thus, this timing is suitable for starting the total jackpot performance. Further, for example, in the pusher game machine 2000, at a timing except for a middle of a drawing where a large amount of tokens to be paid out can be expected or a middle of the winning performance therefor, the adverse effect is less caused. Thus, this timing is suitable for starting the total jackpot performance. Moreover, for example, in the slot machine 3000, at a timing from a first slot game is ended to a subsequent slot game is started, concretely, from a time after the loss is determined in the last slot game or after the winning performance is ended to a time before the start button 3006 of the subsequent slot game is operated, the adverse effect is caused less. Thus, this timing is suitable for starting the total jackpot performance.

In each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 of the present embodiment, the game progress situations illustrated here are set in advance as situations where the total jackpot performance can be carried out.

FIG. 16 is a sequence flowchart for explaining a determining process of the total jackpot performance timing.

The gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 that has received the winning data, first, inquires all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 through the LAN of a timing at which the game progress situation becomes capable of carrying out the total jackpot performance. In response to this inquiry, the control devices 1101, 2621, and 3101 of the respective token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, by solely working or working together with the other control devices 1201, 2601, and 2611, perform a process for predicting a timing at which each game progress situation becomes the above-described setting situation previously determined. Then, the control devices 1101, 2621, and 3101 of the respective token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 send total performance enabling timing information indicating the anticipated timing, back to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 from the external communication devices 1108, 2625, and 3107. The control device 5001 of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000, based on the total performance enabling timing information forwarded from each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, determines the total performance timing at which the total jackpot performance is carried out. Concretely, based on each total performance enabling timing information, an earliest timing at which the total performance enabling timings of all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 overlap is specified, and the resultant timing is determined as a total performance timing. Then, information on the determined total performance timing is transmitted to each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000. In each token-operated game machine that has received the information, at the determined total performance timing, the game progress is controlled so that the game progress situation at each token-operated game machine becomes the above-described predetermined setting situation where the total jackpot performance can be carried out. A specific method of controlling is as follows: the above-described setting situation is stored in each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, the stored information on the setting situation is read out to perform the game progress control, or the above-described setting situation is previously installed in a game progress control-use program, and the game progress control is performed according to a content of that program.

It is noted that the method for determining the total performance timing is not limited to those described above.

For example, rather than inquiring each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 of the total performance enabling timing, the total performance timing is determined according to a predetermined total performance timing determining condition. Then, the determined total performance timing is transmitted to each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, and the game progress control is performed in each token-operated game machine so that the game progress situation at each token-operated game machine becomes the above-described predetermined setting situation in which the total jackpot performance can be carried out at the determined total performance timing. This method is effective particularly when the token-operated game machine constituting the present game system is high in the degree of freedom of the control of the game progress situation.

When the total performance timing determined by the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 arrives, as shown in FIG. 15, the control device 5001 of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 performs a player presence confirming process for recognizing the players who play at each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000. Concretely, all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 are inquired through the LAN of whether a player is present at each game machine. In the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 that have been inquired, the player presence confirming process according to the respective game content is performed. Concretely, in the case that the card ID is read by the card readers of respective token-operated game machines 1000, 200, and 3000, it is decided that a player is present. It is noted that the method for confirming whether a player is present is not limited to those described above, and may adopt any other methods.

Each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 performs the player presence confirming process, and then, sends back presence confirming information that is the process result of that confirming process to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 from the external communication devices 1108, 2625, and 3107. The control device 5001 of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 recognizes the station or the station unit or the slot machine played by the player (hereinafter, referred to as a “station and others”) which are specified based on the presence confirming information forwarded from each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000. Then, the control device 5001 executes a winner determination drawing program so as to perform a winner determination drawing process for determining which drawing target is won while respectively regarding the recognized station and others as the drawing targets. Concretely, a winning table on which each drawing target is assigned an equal winning probability is generated, and a drawing target corresponding to a random number generated based on the winning table is chosen, thereby determining the winning of the chosen drawing target. In the present embodiment, in the winner determination drawing process, in addition to the total jackpot award, prepared are: a big winning with a fixed number of pieces of tokens (big bonus award), a medium winning with a fixed number of pieces of tokens (middle bonus award), and a small winning with a fixed number of pieces of tokens (small bonus award). Therefore, for these awards, the control device 5001 sequentially determines the winning drawing target by using the above-described method.

It is noted that the winning probability of each drawing target is set equally; however, it is not always the case. For example, in the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000, token consumption data is regularly received from each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, and thus, the degree of contribution contributed to an increase in the total accumulated token count data of this time per each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 (i.e., a ratio of the token consumption data received from each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 for the purpose of increasing the total accumulated token count data of this time) can be specified. For the drawing target corresponding to the token-operated game machine with a high ratio, the winning probability may be relatively increased, and for the drawing target corresponding to the token-operated game machine with a lower ratio, the winning probability may be relatively decreased.

The winner determination drawing process is ended in this way, and the station and others that have won each award are determined. Then, the control device 5001 that is a control command transmitting unit of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 functions as control command transmitting means, informs each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 of the winning result, and at the same time, transmits the total performance control command to each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000. Thereby, the total jackpot performance that utilizes the performance unit of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 connected to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 is carried out.

In each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 that has received the total performance control command from the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000, jackpot start screens to the effect that a total jackpot drawing is started as shown in FIG. 17 are simultaneously displayed on the display 1011, the display unit 2700, and the performance panel 3011 that are display units functioning as each of display means of the station and others relating to the drawing target. At the station and others that are not the drawing targets, i.e., the station and others at which it is decided that a player is not playing the game, this jackpot start screen is not displayed.

In the present embodiment, at the station and others that are not drawing targets, a player is capable of playing a game of the token-operated game machine even during the total jackpot performance. Thus, there is a probability that during the total jackpot performance, an individual performance according to the game progress at the station and others that are not the drawing target is carried out. However, it is probable that if an individual performance not related to the total jackpot performance is carried out during the total jackpot performance, the total jackpot performance is impeded by the individual performance, thereby decreasing a good characteristic of the total jackpot performance. Therefore, in the present embodiment, the station and others that are not the drawing targets are controlled so that the individual performance according to the game progress is not carried out or a subtle performance only is carried out by decreasing a sound volume, a light amount, etc., so that the individual performance does not stand out during the total jackpot performance.

As a result of working solely or working together with the other control devices 1201, 2601, and 2611, the control devices 1101, 2621, and 3101 that are total performance control units of the respective token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 function as total performance control means so as to carry out the total jackpot performance process by executing the total performance program. In particular, when the performance units such as the speaker and the illuminating device of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 are caused to carry out a performance assuming a part of the total jackpot performance, it becomes possible to carry out a single total performance (total jackpot performance) in which all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 connected to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 are cooperated with each other. Concretely, for example, in all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, illumination in blue and red are alternately emitted at the same timing, the same music or sound effect to the effect that the total jackpot drawing is started is output at the same timing, and other similar effects are provided.

It is noted that, in the present embodiment, the performance unit of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 is configured by hardware different from each another, and thus, it is not possible to carry out the completely same performance. To solve this, it may be possible to carry out the total jackpot performance that gives a sense of unity as a whole by deliberately combining the performances different from each other at each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000. As an example of music and sound effect, the horse-racing game machine 1000 may take a low-sound part, the pusher game machine 2000 may take a middle-sound part, and the slot machine 3000 may take a high-sound part.

There are specific, various performance methods for the total jackpot performance that can carry out a performance that gives a sense of unity as a whole, which is achieved as a result of a mutual synchronization of the performances provided by the performance units of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000.

After the total jackpot performance is started in this way, on each of the display units 1011, 2700, and 3011, a slot screen as shown in FIG. 18 is displayed subsequent to the jackpot start screen as shown in FIG. 17. Then, after the three reel images on the slot screen start a varying display, stop/display control is performed on the three reel images on each of the display units 1011, 2700, and 3011 so that symbols that reflect winning or losing at the respective corresponding station and others are stopped and displayed. Concretely, in the present embodiment, as described above, there are the four awards, i.e., the total jackpot award, the big bonus award, the middle bonus award, and the small bonus award, and the stop/display control is performed so that a combination of symbols corresponding to the respective awards is stopped and displayed on the slot screen. More particularly, on the display units 1011, 2700, and 3011 of the station and others that have won the total jackpot award, the stop/display control is performed so that three identical A symbols are stopped and displayed. On the display units 1011, 2700, and 3011 of the station and others that have won the big bonus award, the stop/display control is performed so that three identical B symbols are stopped and displayed. On the display units 1011, 2700, and 3011 of the station and others that have won the middle bonus award, the stop/display control is performed so that a combination of symbols mixed with the A symbols and B symbols is stopped and displayed. On the display units 1011, 2700, and 3011 of the station and others that have won the small bonus award, the stop/display control is performed so that a combination of symbols is stopped and displayed. In this case, the combination is: the A symbol or the B symbol is stopped and displayed on both a left reel image and a middle reel image, and neither the A symbol nor the B symbol is stopped and displayed on a right reel image (i.e., a blank symbol is stopped and displayed).

It is noted that there is no need that the jackpot start screen and the slot screen are completely the same in all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000. For example, these screens may be appropriately modified according to hardware with which these screens are displayed, or may be arranged according to the game content of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000.

Moreover, in the present embodiment, the varying display of the reel images on the slot screen is simultaneously started in all the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000 connected to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000; however, a completion timing at which the three reel images are stopped and displayed is differed depending on each award. Concretely, with respect to a time it takes for the stop display completion timing, it takes the least time for the station and others corresponding to the loss; it gradually takes more time in the order of the small bonus award, the middle bonus award, the big bonus award, and the total jackpot award.

Further, in the present embodiment, also while the varying display of the reel images on the slot screen is started and the stop display is completed, the drawing performance (total jackpot performance) is carried out. For example, after the varying display of the reel image is started on the slot screen, the performance is carried out so that the station and others illuminated with a light are sequentially switched. In this case, the illumination of the corresponding station and others (that are drawing targets of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000) are lit only in periods different from each other. Then, the drawing performance is carried out so that at the timing at which the stop display of the reel images at the station and others is completed, the illumination of the station and others is flashed.

After the drawing performance is ended in this way, a token payout process for paying out the number of tokens corresponding to the award is performed for the player who plays at the station and others that have won each award. This token payout may be performed by utilizing the token payout unit of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, and 3000, or may be performed by way of an attendant pay in which the payout is made by an employee at the gaming arcade.

Next, the token rally event will be explained.

FIG. 19 is a flow chart showing a flow of a process of a token rally event in the present embodiment.

A player who participates in the token rally event, first, visits an installation location of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 and places his/her own player card over the card reading surface 5007 a of the card reader 5007. As a result, the card ID within the player card is read by the card reader 5007 (S1). At this time, the player may be asked to input a password. In this case, the password determined by the player in advance is stored in the storage device 4002 of the management server 4000 in a state of being associated with the card ID, for example. After the card ID is read out by the card reader 5007, the password associated with the card ID is downloaded from the management server 4000. If the password input by the player and the downloaded password do not match, the processes subsequent thereto are not performed. The process may advance to subsequent processes only when the both passwords match. In addition, the password data may be optionally stored in the player card.

After the card reader 5007 has read the card ID, the control device 5001 confirms whether there is an event participation flag associated with the card ID within the storage device 5002 (S2). For a player who participates in the token rally event for the first time, the event participation flag associated with the read card ID is not stored within the storage device 5002. The event participation flag remains stored within the storage device 5002 until the player ends the event by clearing the event or giving up on it midway. Therefore, the control device 5001 can comprehend whether the player of the card ID currently participates in the event by means of the presence or absence of the event participation flag.

When there is no event participation flag within the storage device 5002, the control device 5001 causes the display device 5005 to display a course selection screen (S3). The course selection screen displays an explanation about a plurality of courses that the player may select. In the present embodiment, two courses are prepared; one is a course for clearing a challenge by using two token-operated game machines selected by the control device 5001, and the other is a course for clearing a challenge by using three token-operated game machines selected by the control device 5001. Here, a case where the number of token-operated game machines required to play for clearing a challenge differs depending on each course is explained, and a content of each source is appropriately set. Alternatively, a course in which challenges to be cleared differ even in the same token-operated game machine, and a course including a challenge to be cleared by playing a home game machine (including a portable game machine), for example, may be prepared.

The player touches the course selection screen displayed on the display device 5005 so as to select the course. Then, the operation is accepted by the touch panel 5006 (S4), and its operation content is forwarded to the control device 5001. As a result, the control device 5001 stores information about the course selected by the player, into the storage device 5002, in a state of being associated with the card ID (S5). Then, the control device 5001 causes the display device 5005 to display a challenge notification screen indicating a content of the challenge that the player should clear in the course selected (S6), and stores the event participation flag associated with the read card ID, into the storage device 5002 (S7). As a result, the player is given the challenge to be cleared, and to clear the challenge, the player is to play by walking over to a plurality of token-operated game machines.

Here, provided that in the course selected by the player, the player is given two challenges, i.e., a first challenge “Get Kikuka Sho in the horse-racing game machine 1000!” and a second challenge “Get red 7 award in the slot machine 3000!” In this case, in order to clear either one of the challenges, the player moves to the installation location of the horse-racing game machine 1000 or the slot machine 3000 so as to play that token-operated game machine to try to clear the challenge.

For example, when the player plays the horse-racing game machine 1000 to try to clear the first challenge, the player first places his/her own player card over the card reading surface 1015. As a result, the card ID is read from that player card by the card reader 1204, and the card ID is stored in the SRAM 1105 or the flash memory 1106. Then, the player consumes his/her own tokens to train his/her own racehorse character, gives the racehorse character a chance to compete in the Kikuka Sho race, and tries to finish in first place in the Kikuka Sho race. When the player's horse finishes in first place in the Kikuka Sho race, play history information to the effect that the player wins the Kikuka Sho race is stored in the SRAM 1105 or the flash memory 1106 in a state of being associated with his/her own card ID. When the player ends the game, the play history information that is first clear information stored in the SRAM 1105 or the flash memory 1106, together with the card ID, is output to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 via the main control device 1001 from the station control device 1201, from the external communication device 1108. In the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 that has received these, the control device 5001 stores the received play history information into the storage device 5002 in a state of being associated with the received card ID.

When the player plays the slot machine 3000 to try to clear the second challenge, the player first places his/her own player card over the card reading surface 3013 a. As a result, the card ID is read from the player card by the card reader 3013, and the card ID is stored in the storage device 3103. The player plays by consuming his/her own tokens, and when the player wins the red 7 award, play history information to the effect that the player wins the red 7 award is stored in the storage device 3103 in a state of being associated with his/her own card ID. When the player ends the game, the play history information that is second clear information stored in the storage device 3103, together with the card ID, are output to the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 from the external communication device 3107 by the control device 3101. In the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 that has received these, the control device 5001 stores the received play history information in the storage device 5002 in a state of being associated with the received card ID.

Thus, the player who clears all the given challenges visits again the installation location of the gaming arcade terminal unit 50 as a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus so as to place his/her own player card over the card reading surface 5007 a of the card reader 5007 as an identification information receiving unit functioning as identification information receiving means. As a result, the card ID within the player card is read by the card reader 5007 (S1). After the card reader 5007 has read the card ID, the control device 5001 confirms whether there is an event participation flag associated with the card ID within the storage device 5002 (S2). Here, the event participation flag is already stored at S7, and thus, it is determined that there is an event participation flag. Therefore, the control device 5001 reads out the course information stored in a manner to be associated with the read card ID, the play history information for the horse-racing game machine 1000, and the play history information of the slot machine 3000, from the storage device 5002. Then, the control device 5001 that is a decision unit functions as decision means and confirms whether the information indicating that the first challenge and the second challenge corresponding to the read course information is cleared is included in the read play history information and play history information, and decides whether a benefit-imparting condition (a payout condition) where all the challenges are cleared is satisfied (S8). When there is still a challenge to be cleared in this determination, the control device 5001 causes the display device 5005 to display a screen showing a content of the challenge still to be cleared (S9) so as to notify the player of the challenge still to be cleared.

On the other hand, where deciding that all challenges are cleared, the control device 5001 first performs a process for allowing the display device 5005 to display a clear performance screen for celebrating event clearance (S10). This performance may be carried out by utilizing a performance unit of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000, as with the above-described total jackpot performance. After the performance, the control device 5001 which is a notifying unit functions as notifying means, thereby notifying a player of game apparatus designating information for designating a token-operated game machine which is a benefit-imparting game apparatus for receiving the payout of clear bonus tokens in an amount corresponding to the clear information (S11). Concretely, in the present embodiment, the storage device 5002 stores benefit-imparting game apparatus information for specifying a game apparatus (for example, the slot machine 3000) which is predetermined as a benefit-imparting game apparatus. The control device 5001 reads out the benefit-imparting game apparatus information from the storage device 5002, allowing a display device 5005 to display a model name of the slot machine 3000 as the game apparatus designating information. In this instance, it is preferable that such an explanation is displayed by the display device 5005 to the effect that tokens can be obtained by reading the card ID of a player card on the model of the machine concerned. Further, additional information on an installation location of the model of the machine concerned and game content of the model of the machine concerned (advertisements and others) may be provided at the same time.

Thereafter, the control device 5001 which is a clear information output unit functions as clear information output means, thereby outputting clear information indicating that a payout condition has been satisfied in a state of being associated with the card ID of the player (S12). The thus output clear information is stored in the storage device 5002 in a state of being associated with the card ID of the player (S13).

FIG. 20 is a sequence flowchart for explaining a payout process for clear bonus tokens of a token rally event.

A player who has been notified of the model name of a benefit-imparting game apparatus by the gaming arcade unit 5000 visits the installation location of the game apparatus of the notified model name (in this instance, the slot machine 3000). Then, the player places the player card over a card reading surface 3013 a of the slot machine 3000. Thereby, the card ID of the player card is read by a card reader 3013. Accordingly, a control device 3101 makes an inquiry to the gaming arcade unit 5000 about whether there is clear information corresponding to the thus read card ID.

The control device 5001 of the gaming arcade unit 5000 which has received the inquiry confirms whether the clear information corresponding to the card ID related to this inquiry is stored in the storage device 5002. Where confirming that no clear information is stored, the control device 5001 transmits the confirmation result to the slot machine 3000, i.e., a transmitter of the inquiry concerned. On the other hand, where confirming that the clear information is stored, the control device 5001 then compares data on the storage date with data on the present date in the clear information and confirms whether a predetermined payout deadline has been exceeded. Then, where the predetermined payout deadline has been exceeded, the control device 5001 transmits the confirmation result to the slot machine 3000, i.e., the transmitter of the inquiry concerned. And where the predetermined payout deadline has not been exceeded, the control device 5001 also transmits the confirmation result to the slot machine 3000, i.e., the transmitter of the inquiry concerned. The above-described payout deadline is provided, by which it is possible to encourage a player who has cleared all challenges of a token rally event to visit sooner an installation location of the slot machine 3000 which is a benefit-imparting game apparatus.

When the confirmation result is received by the control device 3101 of the slot machine 3000 which is a clear information receiving unit functioning as clear information receiving means, the control device 3101 decides on the basis of the confirmation result whether there is effective clear information whose payout deadline has not been exceeded and which also corresponds to the card ID of the player card concerned. Where deciding that no effective clear information is found, the control device 3101 performs the above-described process, for example, download of play history information corresponding to the card ID within the player card from the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000. On the other hand, where deciding that the effective clear information is found, the control device 3101 which is a payout processing unit functions as payout processing means, thereby performing a payout process for paying out to a player a predetermined number of tokens. Concretely, the control device 3101 performs a process for increasing credit count data housed in the storage device 3103 only by the predetermined number and also increasing the token credit of a credit display 3014 a only by the predetermined number. Alternatively, a token payout device 3018 is used to pay out the predetermined number of tokens from a token payout opening 3010 a to a token receiving tray 3010.

As described so far, according to the present embodiment, a player who has participated in a token rally event to clear all challenges is able to receive the clear bonus token by going to an installation location of the slot machine 3000 and allowing the slot machine to read the card ID of the player card. Thereby, the player is strongly motivated to go to the installation location of the slot machine 3000. As a result, it is possible to give the player an increased number of opportunities to play selectively with the slot machine 3000.

In the present embodiment, an explanation has been made for a case where a benefit-imparting game apparatus (the slot machine 3000) is used to pay out a clear bonus token to a player who has satisfied a payout condition (a benefit-imparting condition) to clear all challenges of a token rally event. The benefit-imparting game apparatus may be used to pay out a clear bonus token paid out to the player who has satisfied the payout condition while playing a game apparatus other than the benefit-imparting game apparatus (not necessarily limited to a token-operated game machine). In this instance, on the basis of a game progress result controlled by a game progress control unit of a game apparatus other than the benefit-imparting game apparatus, a decision is made for whether the payout condition is satisfied. An explanation will be made by referring to a pusher game machine 2000, for example. A new payout symbol combination is provided in the above-described slot game performed in the pusher game machine 2000, and winning the payout symbol combination is given as a payout condition. Then, when winning the new payout symbol combination, a player is notified of, for example, a model of slot machine 3000 (game apparatus designating information) as a benefit-imparting game apparatus for having tokens paid out for the payout symbol combination in the winning performance. And also information on this winning (clear information) is output to the gaming arcade unit 5000 in association with the card ID of the player card. Thereby, the gaming arcade unit 5000 stores the information in the storage device 5002 in a state of being associated with the card ID. In this instance, when a player who has played the pusher game machine 2000 wins the new payout symbol combination in a slot game, the player is unable to have tokens paid out on the spot. However, the player is able to have tokens paid out for the payout symbol combination by going to the installation location of the slot machine 3000 and allowing the slot machine to read the card ID of the player card.

Further, in the present embodiment, a condition where a player who has satisfied a payout condition (a benefit-imparting condition) to clear all challenges of a token rally event has tokens paid out in the slot machine 3000 which is a benefit-imparting game apparatus is just that in which the card ID is read by the benefit-imparting game apparatus. However, other conditions may be added. For example, a condition of playing at least once with the slot machine 3000 which is a benefit-imparting game apparatus and a condition of winning a predetermined payout symbol combination of the slot machine 3000 may be included.

Further, in the present embodiment, the benefit-imparting game apparatus for paying out a clear bonus token may be changed. Concretely, such a case is acceptable that a touch panel 5006 which is a selection operation receiving unit of the gaming arcade unit 5000 is allowed to function as selection operation receiving means and an employee at a gaming arcade, etc., uses the touch panel 5006 to perform selection operation for selecting one or two or more model names (game apparatus designating information) to notify a player who has cleared all challenges of a token rally event, by which benefit-imparting game apparatus information for specifying a token-operated game machine related to the selection operation is stored in the storage device 5002. In this case, the player who has cleared all challenges of the token rally event is notified of a model name of the token-operated game machine related to the selection operation stored in the storage device 5002 as the game apparatus designating information. According to the above-described configuration, for example, an employee at a gaming arcade, etc., is able to change a setting by operating the touch panel 5006 so that a token-operated game machine which is less popular or a token-operated game machine which is not played at that time in the gaming arcade can be given as a benefit-imparting game apparatus. It is, thereby, possible to increase the operating rate of token-operated game machines in the whole gaming arcade.

Still further, the benefit-imparting game apparatus for paying out a clear bonus token may be that which is predetermined as described above. However, it is also acceptable that the control device 5001 of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 executes a selection program of the benefit-imparting game apparatus and selects the benefit-imparting game apparatus according to the program content.

For example, the control device 5001 stores play history information on a player of each card ID in the storage device 5002 of the gaming arcade unit 5000. Therefore, it is possible to comprehend the play frequency of each player with each token-operated game machine on the basis of the play history information. Thus, for example, where reading a card ID from a player card of a player who has satisfied a payout condition (a benefit-imparting condition) to clear all challenges of a token rally event, the control device 5001 specifies a token-operated game machine which is played at a relatively low frequency by the player in reference to the play history information corresponding to the card ID. Then, the player is notified of a model name of the specified token-operated game machine as game apparatus designating information. Thereby, it is possible that each player is effectively encouraged to visit the installation location of the token-operated game machine with which the player plays less frequently.

Further, for example, the control device 5001 which is a non-use status checking unit functions as non-use status checking means, thereby collecting information such as the number of players who play each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000. This information collection can be performed in a process similar to the above-described player presence confirming process. Thereby, it is possible to specify by each station a token-operated game machine which is unused. Then, the collected information is referenced to specify the model of the game machine lower in occupancy rate by players. And, benefit-imparting game apparatus information on the specified model is stored in the storage device 5002. According to this configuration, there is less likelihood of causing such a play-standby situation where a player who has actually gone to an installation location of a benefit-imparting game apparatus is required to wait until another player stops playing the benefit-imparting game apparatus. It is also possible to increase the operating rate of token-operated game machines in the whole gaming arcade concerned.

Still further, the control device 5001 which is a utilization status checking unit functions as utilization status checking means, for example, thereby collecting information on the utilization status of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000. In this instance, the utilization status may be construed as information for specifying a token-operated game machine relatively short in time during which a player plays out of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000. Concretely, means for counting playing time during which a player plays each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000 or non-playing time during which no player plays to output the counted playing time or non-playing time at a predetermined timing is provided. Then, information on the playing time or non-playing time of each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000 is stored in the storage device 5002. Thereby, the control device 5001 is able to specify a token-operated game machine shorter in playing time within a predetermined period (for example, a period from one week before to the present time) by each station by referring to the information on the playing time or non-playing time within the storage device 5002. Then, benefit-imparting game apparatus information on the specified model is stored in the storage device 5002. According to the above configuration, it is possible to direct players to a less popular model and increase the operating rate of game apparatuses in the present network system as a whole.

The above-described utilization status may be construed as information for specifying a token-operated game machine relatively small in the number of times of games within a predetermined period or smaller than a standard number of times of games out of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000. Concretely, means for counting the number of times of games played by a player within a predetermined period in each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000 and outputting the counted number of times at a predetermined timing is provided. Then, information on the number of times of games in each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000 is stored in the storage device 5002. Thereby, the control device 5001 is able to specify a token-operated game machine smaller in the number of times of games within a predetermined period (for example, a period from one week before to the present time) by each station by referring to the information on the number of times of games within the storage device 5002. Then, the benefit-imparting game apparatus information on the specified model is stored in the storage device 5002. According to the above configuration, it is also possible to direct players to a less popular model and increase the operating rate of game apparatuses in the present network system as a whole.

Further, the above-described utilization status may be construed as information for specifying among the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000 a token-operated game machine relatively small in the number of token bets or the number of paid-out tokens within a predetermined period or smaller than a standard number of tokens. Concretely, means for counting the number of bets received from a player or the number of tokens paid out to the player within a predetermined period in each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000 and outputting the counted number of token bets or the number of paid out tokens at a predetermined timing is provided. Then, information on the number of token bets and the number of paid out tokens in each of the token-operated game machines 1000, 2000, 3000 is stored in the storage device 5002. Thereby, the control device 5001 is able to specify a token-operated game machine smaller in the number of token bets or the number of paid out tokens within a predetermined period (for example, a period from one week before to the present time) by each station by referring to the information on the number of times of games within the storage device 5002. Then, benefit-imparting game apparatus information on the specified model is stored in the storage device 5002. According to the above configuration, it is possible to direct players to a less popular model and increase the operating rate of game apparatuses in the present network system as a whole.

Further, in the present embodiment, a card ID is stored in a player card and various player information is stored within the storage device 5002 of the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 in association with the card ID. However, at least a part of the player information may be stored within the player card. In this instance, if information is stored within the player card, the information can be utilized without communication with the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000. Therefore, for example, if clear information to the effect that all challenges of a token rally event have been cleared is stored in the player card, even a system in which the above-described benefit-imparting game apparatus is unable to communicate with the gaming arcade terminal unit 5000 is able to pay out a clear bonus token on the basis of the clear information concerned.

Still further, a token-operated game machine applicable to the present network system of the present embodiment is not limited to the above described type but also applicable to various types.

In addition, in the present embodiment, a player who has satisfied a payout condition of clearing all challenges of a token rally event is imparted a benefit of paying out a clear bonus token, by which the player is encouraged to go to the installation location of the slot machine 3000 which is a payout game apparatus. It is, however, possible to encourage the player to go to the installation location of the slot machine 3000 by other methods. The following description will explain examples.

Where the horse-racing game machine 1000 is given as a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus and a player satisfies a predetermined benefit-imparting condition (a condition where a total number of tokens bet by the player is more than a stipulated number of tokens or a condition where the player trains the player's own horse to be a winner of Japan's three main horse races) in the horse-racing game machine 1000, clear information indicating to the effect that the benefit-imparting condition concerned is satisfied in a state of being associated with the identification information on the player is output. In this instance, the player who has satisfied the benefit-imparting condition is notified of game apparatus designating information for designating the slot machine 3000 which is a benefit-imparting game apparatus by a notifying unit such as a display 1011 of the horse-racing game machine 1000. The slot machine 3000 reads the card ID of the player (identification information) and receives clear information corresponding to the card ID. Then, the slot machine 3000 performs a process for imparting the player a benefit according to the clear information.

This benefit may include anything beneficial to the player and is not limited to payout of tokens. For example, in the slot machine 3000, a benefit of transfer to a control mode in which a probability of winning a red 7 award in an internal drawing is higher than a case where no benefit-imparting condition is satisfied is acceptable. The control mode may be a mode exclusive to a player who has satisfied a benefit-imparting condition or may be an existing control mode (probability change mode).

Further, various types of benefits are available, that is, where in place of using the slot machine 3000 as a benefit-imparting game apparatus, another type of token-operated game machine, a coin game machine which does not deal with tokens (video game machine) and a home game machine are used.

For example, where, as a benefit-imparting game apparatus, a pachinko machine in which entry of a pachinko ball into a specified pocket starts a digital slot drawing and another entry of a pachinko ball into the specified pocket during the drawing retains a right of executing the digital slot drawing is used, a benefit that increases the number of drawing rights to be retained is acceptable. A benefit of increasing the number of drawing rights to be retained may be also imparted in a game apparatus including a pachinko machine as long as it is capable of retaining a drawing right.

Further, where a coin using game machine (a video game machine) or a home game machine is used as the benefit-imparting game apparatus, a benefit of obtaining a special item usable in a game of the machine concerned may be imparted or a benefit of increasing points, tokens or others usable in a game of the game machine concerned may be imparted.

Further, where a token-operated game machine is used as the benefit-imparting game apparatus, a benefit of paying out tokens in a greater number when a token payout condition is satisfied during the game concerned than when no clear information is available may be imparted.

Still further, where the above-described pusher game machine 2000 is used as the benefit-imparting game apparatus, a benefit that the slot game is performed a plurality of times may be imparted.

In addition, where a game apparatus which is different in game content from a game machine other than the horse-racing game machine 1000 is used as the benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus and also the horse-racing game machine 1000 is used as the benefit-imparting game apparatus, a benefit of presenting a betting ticket in the horse racing game thereof may be imparted.

Above-described benefits are imparted, by which a player who exclusively plays a benefit-imparting condition deciding apparatus is strongly motivated to go to an installation location of a benefit-imparting game apparatus. As a result, it is possible to increase the number of opportunities that the player plays the benefit-imparting game apparatus.

In the above-described embodiment, means realized by software such as a computer program may be optionally realized by hardware such as a circuit board and a chip. Moreover, means realized by hardware such as a circuit board and a chip may be optionally realized by software such as a computer program.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8157636Jun 1, 2009Apr 17, 2012Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.Game system, and game apparatus and management apparatus constituting the same
US20120021818 *Jul 21, 2010Jan 26, 2012Tien-Shu HsuSystem and Method for Validating Credit-Giving Unit Used on Gaming Machine
Classifications
U.S. Classification463/42, 463/29
International ClassificationA63F9/24
Cooperative ClassificationG07F17/3244, G07F17/32
European ClassificationG07F17/32, G07F17/32K
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jun 22, 2010ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CO., LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GOTO, NOBUHIRO;KUSUDA, KAZUHIRO;OKUAKI, MASATO;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20100607 TO 20100609;REEL/FRAME:024571/0033
Aug 12, 2014ASAssignment
Owner name: KONAMI GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CO., LTD.;REEL/FRAME:033516/0646
Effective date: 20140714