US 20030125101 A1
A distributed gaming system includes a host device and at least one peripheral device in communication with the host device. The peripheral device executes at least two games simultaneously. The outcome of at least one of the at least two games is dependent on aspects of another of the at least two games. A method of distributed gaming is also disclosed.
1. A distributed gaming system comprising:
a host device;
at least one peripheral device in communication with the host device, the peripheral device executing at least two games simultaneously, the outcome of at least one of the at least two games being dependent upon aspects of another of the at least two games.
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13. The distributed gaming system as set forth in
14. A method of distributed gaming including:
providing a host device and at least one peripheral device;
initiating a combined game session with a host device, the session comprising at least two games played simultaneously, at least one game of the at least two games having aspects dependent on another of the at least two games;
receiving game data from the host device with the peripheral device, the peripheral device having a human viewable display and an input means;
displaying the at least two games concurrently on the display.
15. The method as set forth in
receiving input from a user of the peripheral device;
transmitting that information to the host device, the input influencing an outcome of at least one of the at least two games.
16. The method as set forth in
using indicator images that hold one meaning for one of the at least two games and another meaning for another of the at least two games.
17. A gaming system comprising:
a computer having an output device and a storage means;
a first game held in said storage means;
a second game held in said storage means;
a random indicium generator communicating with said computer; and,
a game grid displayed on said output device, wherein said game grid pertains to both said first and second games, and wherein said game grid is revised each time said random indicium generator transmits another indicium to said computer.
18. An interactive gaming system comprising:
an electronic gaming device, the electronic gaming device being one of a stand alone device and a network dependent device;
a display area in communication with the electronic gaming device that displays first and second image elements concurrently, the first image element relating to a first game, and the second image element relating to a second game, the second image element being overlaid on the first image element, wherein the first and second image elements combine to form a meaningful composite image; and,
wherein the second game has unique rules of play different from the first game, and has common random factors to the first game, the first and second games being played concurrently.
 This application bases its priority on U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/344,140 dated Dec. 28, 2001.
 With the advent of programmable electronic gaming devices, many traditional games played with cards, play boards, and paper have been converted for play on electronic gaming devices incorporating a programmable computer and video display. Electronic gaming devices are capable, as disclosed in Itkis U.S. Pat. No. 4,856,787, of multiple, independent games simultaneously executed with their respective video images independently displayed on a single video display. Electronic gaming devices can be computer based devices dedicated solely to the purpose of game play or standard computers that are used for a plurality of functions, one of which is game play.
 Because of the flexible nature of the video display, multiple and independent colored images can be overlaid onto virtual layers or viewing planes with various degrees of transparency to create a compound image that appears to have depth. Expanding further on that concept, video images contained within a given game can be overlaid onto video images from a second independent game that is being played concurrently. The resulting compound video images would most likely be very difficult or not practical for the player to view and also understand the play action of two or more independent games with the first game's video images mixed, misaligned, and partially or fully covered by video images of a second game.
 Multiple such devices have been networked together to allow multiple users to participate in the same game. Each remote device shows the user his or her status within the game, and possibly other features such as the status of competitors. Such remote devices have been attached to a host by a hard link, or by RF communication means. As in the Itkis patent, multiple games can be displayed on a single remote device so a user may concurrently participate in multiple games. However, the games are independent of one another, and the outcome of one does not affect the outcome of another. Such networked systems are used in social environments such as trivia in restaurants, charitable environments such as bingo fund-raisers, and in competitive gambling such as in casinos.
 The present invention provides a new and improved method and apparatus that overcomes the above referenced problems and others.
 According to one aspect of the present invention, a distributed gaming system is provided. At least one peripheral device is in communication with a host device, the peripheral device executing at least two games simultaneously. The outcome of at least one of the at least two games is dependent upon aspects of another of the at least two games.
 According to another aspect of the present invention, a method of distributed gaming is provided. A host device and at least one peripheral device are provided. A combined game session is initiated with the host device, the session comprising at least two games being played simultaneously. At least one of the games has aspects that are dependent on at least another of the at least two games. Data is received from the host device with the peripheral device, the peripheral device having an input means and a human readable display. The at least two games are displayed concurrently on the screen.
 According to another aspect of the present invention, a gaming system is provided. A computer has an output device and a storage means. A first game is held in the storage means. A second game is also held in the storage means. A random indicium generator is in communication with the computer. A game grid displays both first and second games on the output device, revising each time the random indicium generator transmits another indicium to the computer.
 According to another aspect of the present invention, an interactive gaming system is provided. The system includes a stand alone or network dependent gaming device. A display area in communication with the electronic gaming device displays first and second image elements concurrently, the first image element relating to a first game, and the second image element relating to a second game. The second image element is overlaid on the first image element, combining to find a meaningful composite image. The second game has unique rules of game play that are different from those of the first game. The two games have common random factors. The two games are played concurrently.
 According to a preferred embodiment, at least two games are logically programmed to be interactive with each other in play, while leaving the fundamental concept of each game intact. The content of the compound video images contained within the interactive game is simple to understand and has meaning to the play of both games, offering a plurality of new, interactive games that otherwise could not exist in the realm of fixed, pre-printed paper.
 Typical games that can be made interactive are Bingo, card games such as Poker or Black Jack, electronic Pull Tabs (E-Tabs), and many others. Two specific examples of interdependent interactive games will be discussed to illustrate fundamental principles involved. The first example is an interactive game of Bingo and E-Tabs and the second example is an interactive game of Bingo and Black Jack. The first example does not require player input during the interactive game to bring either game to a conclusion and the payouts are generally pre-determined for use in charitable gaming. The second example illustrates the action of an interactive game in which dynamic player input may alter the outcome of an interactive game, and the payouts are more random in nature for use in a casino environment. It is to be understood that many new interactive game combinations are possible and the present invention should not be limited to any one of such combinations.
 Bingo electronic gaming devices normally display the image of one or more Bingo faces on a video display. Typically, a video Bingo face image is a 5×5 square matrix containing 24 unique numbers, pre-selected, from a set of numbers ranging from 1 to 75 and also contains a FREE or wild number space in the center of the matrix to complete the set of 25 possible squares. As the game progresses, periodically a new random number is selected from a set of numbers ranging from 1 to 75 by a random number generator or by a mechanical means of selecting a random, plastic numbered ball such as an air driven ball scrambler commonly found in Bingo equipment and lottery systems. The randomly selected number, if appearing on a displayed Bingo face image, is then marked or daubed on the Bingo face image to differentiate it from other, non selected numbers displayed on the Bingo face. The marking means can be of many varieties such as changing the displayed number to a different color, placing a different color behind the displayed number in the square containing the number, or overlaying an icon image on the displayed number to mention just a few of possible indicium to electronically daub the number. Some electronic gaming devices currently in the marketplace offer a palette of e-daubing images that are of different colors and shapes for the player to select and use for playing the Bingo game.
 Paper Pull Tabs are an instant win/lose type of game. Generally, a given Pull Tab contains three or more imprinted images arranged in a straight line. Those images are selected from a palette of images and adjacently printed on the card and then covered such that they are not visible to the player when the card is purchased. The selection of the images prior to printing is done in a manner such that the total number of wining cards from a group of printed cards is pre-determined. A winning card is defined by the relative positions of the images to one another and the similarities of the printed images. Generally, three identical images in a row would yield the highest payout amount and three un-like images in a row results in no pay out for the card. In between those extremes, graduated payouts can be awarded based on the similarity of the images and their relative positions to one another. An E-Tab game is essentially an electronic video representation of the paper game, in that the player cannot see the associative video images prior to purchase of the E-Tab.
 With reference to FIG. 1, a game grid, and more specifically, a Bingo face 10 that is in play in a preferred embodiment is illustrated. A winning pattern 12 of “T” shape shown by the shaded area has been defined to win a Bingo game prize of $100. It is to be understood that the Bingo prize may be more or less, as decided by a proprietor of the Bingo facility. The shading is optionally displayed or not displayed by the player during game play to change the difficulty factor of the game. Prior to the start of the Bingo game, the player has the option of purchasing an E-Tab to be played interactively with the Bingo game, creating a new interactive game experience. From a large palette of e-dauber images, the player or computer can select the images that would be in play during the interactive game. Normally for a Bingo game, only one image would be selected. However, the E-Tab game requires multiple images to be selected. In a preferred embodiment, five e-daubing base images, a circle 14, square 16, rectangle 18, diamond 20, and triangle 22 are selected as shown in FIG. 2. The E-Tab winners of the preferred embodiment are defined as follows: Three adjacent circles 14 in a row on the winning Bingo pattern is awarded $100, and three adjacent circles 14 anywhere on the face is awarded $25, and two adjacent diamonds 20 anywhere on the face is awarded $5. It is to be understood that as with the Bingo awards, the E-Tab awards may vary at the discretion of the house proprietor.
 Presently, the interactive game has been defined as incorporating a dauber image 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 that is dynamically active during game play and shared by both concurrent games, yet has different meaning to each game. The award amount outcome of the E-Tab game is dependent on the defined E-Tab winning images falling within the winning Bingo pattern 12, and also defined as independent of the Bingo game winning pattern 12. Many additional variations of interactive game definitions are possible.
 In an example for purposes of illustrating a preferred embodiment, the game starts with the selection of a random Bingo number or other indicium by a random indicium generator. Each individual participating in the game has a gaming computer with a screen or other output device and a storage means. The selected number is daubed with what appears to the player as a randomly selected image from the five base images shown in FIG. 2. In reality, the daubing images or other indicia need not be selected on a purely random basis because winning combinations and the resultant payouts would be unknown to game operations, which is of concern in the charitable gaming industry. The Bingo numbers, however, are necessarily generated randomly.
 The Bingo winning “T” pattern 12 of the present example requires that in addition to the FREE space, at least eight random numbers be called to win. With reference to FIG. 3, a Bingo card face 10 is illustrated, particularly as it looks after the numbers 4, 5, 24, 67, 34, 11, 47, 75, 9, 26, 7, 55, 40, 72, and 43 were called. Note that all random numbers called do not appear on the illustrated face 10 and that a Bingo win has not occurred on this face 10, but an E-Tab win pattern 28 of three adjacent circles 14 in a row within the Bingo win pattern 12 has occurred. It is to be noted that completion of the second game of the interactive game can be achieved independently of the completion of the first game. Other sequences of game completions can be achieved by a combination of program logic and natures of the two interactive games. The Bingo game continues with additional numbers or other indicia being called or generated and FIG. 4 illustrates Bingo game completion with all elements of the “T” winning pattern 12 being daubed or otherwise marked on the output device. The player of this face 10 is awarded the Bingo game payout of $100 and the maximum payout of $100 for the winning E-Tab because it was interactively imaged on the winning Bingo pattern 12.
 To accomplish pre-determined payouts, as in a charitable gambling establishment, the Bingo faces in play during a game are pre-selected by the use of defining serial numbers and permutations within a set of Bingo faces such that, typically, only a single person will have a winning card for a given game. Likewise for E-Tabs, the frequency of winning combinations and the payout amounts for each combination are pre-determined within a set of E-Tabs. The percentage of payouts, the payout amount, and the winning image combinations for the E-Tabs can be dynamically determined based on the total number of E-Tabs purchased by all players and then stored in a database. When the player purchases Bingo faces and E-Tabs, the pre-determined faces and E-Tab combinations are selected from their respective databases and loaded into the particular peripheral gaming device, via any conventional means of wired, networked wired or wireless connectivity. In a preferred embodiment, the winning distribution function is generated prior to the start of any gaming session for stand alone gaming devices, and is generated in real time just before the start of a given game for networked gaming devices.
 In a preferred embodiment, the number of E-Tabs purchased does not exceed the number of Bingo faces purchased for any given game. In an embodiment where multiple sets of e-daub images are available, a player or the computer selects an e-daub image from a palette of images, the program simply substitutes each of the pre-defined E-Tab images with one of the new images, leaving the probability of winning unchanged. The program alerts the player what images are related to what payout combination prior to the start of the game. In effect, each E-Tab game is customized and has variety to maintain player's interest levels. For gaming regulatory security, a printout or record of the E-Tab database can be provided and archived to verify the odds and payouts used for the game and a printout or record of which E-Tabs from the database went into each player's unit can also be provided. In addition, the computer can sort and display for the player the Bingo faces with the highest probability of winning the Bingo game, or the E-Tab game, or display the best of both games. Optionally, the player is enabled to select how the faces are sorted and displayed. The preferred embodiment of the Bingo and E-tabs interactive game includes two games, each having its own unique rules and win conditions, but both sharing common random factors.
 In Black Jack, one or more standard card decks each containing 52 cards is used. The purpose of the game is to accumulate cards whose sum is equal to or less than 21. Each card has a numeric value associated with it to allow a numerical total to be generated. The player places a bet on the outcome of the game. The dealer deals a single card face down to the player and a single card face down for the dealer. The dealer then deals a card face up to the player and a card face up to the dealer. The player can then indicate if he would like another face up card “hit” from the dealer or “stay” with the current cards dealt. The dealer then makes the same decision concerning hit/stay for his hand. The dealer typically must hit if the total is less than 16. When no more hits are requested, all cards are turned face up and the sum of the player's cards are compared to the sum of the dealer's cards to determine a win, lose, or draw outcome of the game.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show an illustrative example of an interactive Bingo and Black Jack game. In this embodiment, like components are identified by like numerals with a primed suffix (′) and new components are identified by new numerals. A Bingo winning “T” pattern 12′ is identical to the previously discussed Interactive Bingo and E-Tabs game. A touch screen is used on the gaming device display. It is to be noted that in lieu of the touch screen, a keypad or other input means can be used with no detriment to game play. For this particular example of the interactive game, two or more decks of cards will be used.
 This embodiment has a game grid 50 including a Bingo face 10′ and a predetermined palette of fifty-two daubing images 30 functionally the same as that found in a deck of cards, a face down image 32, and an image unrelated to the Black Jack game play, such as a square 34. First, the player selects one Bingo face 10′ from the many Bingo faces that are in play. In this embodiment of the game, only that face will be used to interactively play Black Jack. The game is started by the computer placing a face down image 32 in the FREE space, which represents a face down card dealt to the player, and, within an extended area 36 of the game grid 50, a second face down image 32 is placed representing the face down card dealt to the dealer. The computer also selects a random card image from the multi-deck for each of the face down cards 32, but does not display either card. At any time during the game play, the player can touch the FREE space to reveal his face down card causing the computer to substitute the actual card image for the face down card image within the FREE space. The FREE space is thereafter inactive to player input. When a random number is called during the Bingo game, a random card image 30 is selected from the remaining cards within the multi-deck to daub the number. If the number does not appear on the Bingo face, the card image is placed within an extended area 38 of the game grid 50 designated for the player. The very next random number that is called will result in the random selection of a card image 30 from the deck and displaying of that image next to the dealer face down image 32.
FIG. 5 illustrates a Bingo face 10′ in which two face down cards 32 were dealt, and the player has activated the FREE space button revealing his card. The first random Bingo number called was 47 and it was daubed with an ace of spades for the player's hand. The second number called was 71 resulting in 71 being daubed with a square 34 and the eight of clubs was placed in the dealer area. The player chooses to hit or stay. In the case of FIG. 5, the player stays with 21. At that point, the dealer can hit or stay until the rule set is satisfied, that is, the dealer hits until it is over 16, and then the face down card 32 for the dealer is revealed to display the outcome of the game. If the dealer has lost, the player has a two card Black Jack win and would receive additional awards above the normal Black Jack payout since the two cards are located within the Bingo win pattern. If the player then proceeds to win the Bingo game, the awarded jackpot would escalate further because of the combinational wins.
 Note that FIG. 5 also illustrates the player's name 40, in this case, Monica. The player's name is displayed if player tracking information is downloaded into the electronic gaming device. If the player wishes to hit, he would activate a “hit” button 42 on the touch screen. If the player wishes to stay, he activates the “stay” button 44. If a hit is selected, the card selection from the deck repeats itself as described above. The computer also determines to hit or stay the dealer's hand based on the given rule set. The computer finishes the dealer's hand and reveals the dealer's face down card and the win, lose, draw outcome of the game is determined by the given rule set. The “Monica” 40 and “Dealer” 46 displays can be alternately blinked or colored by the computer to clearly illustrate which person is the active player at any given moment.
FIG. 6 illustrates a game that has progressed further than the game shown in FIG. 5. Two face down cards 32 are dealt and the player activates the FREE space, revealing the five of hearts. The first player number called, 75, is daubed with the four of spades. The first dealer number, 10, does not appear on the face and the two of diamonds is displayed in the dealer area. The player with a total of 9, hits. The second player number, 49, does not appear on the face so the jack of hearts is displayed in the player area 38. Assuming the dealer hits, the second dealer number, 24, is daubed with a square and the seven of spades is displayed in the dealer area 36. The player with a total of 19, stays. Assuming the dealer stays, the dealer face down card 32 is revealed to display the outcome of the game. In this instance, if the player wins, the player is awarded the standard Black Jack payout since the player's cards are not all within the Bingo win pattern 12′.
 In an instance in which the Bingo game is completed prior to the completion of the Black Jack game, the computer has knowledge of this event, alerts the player, and continues play of the Black Jack game at a much faster pace since there is no wait time associated with the delay between Bingo number calls. This game example illustrates an interactive game with player input and the possibility of the first game being completed first, at the same time, or after the completion of the second game. In addition, the outcome (payout) of the Black Jack game is dependent on the Bingo game.
 In an alternate embodiment a Bingo game and a card game similar to Black Jack are played. In this game, Bingo numbers (1-75) are each assigned a card value. The numbers 1-52 correspond to one full deck of cards. The additional numbers (53-75) are cards from a second deck chosen in such a way that the odds of a player winning are not altered. When a bingo number is called, every player playing the card game in addition to the Bingo game receives the same card, namely, the one that corresponds to the called number. The card corresponding to the FREE space on the Bingo face is dealt randomly so the results of a card game are not uniform for every person playing.
 In the preferred embodiment, with reference to FIG. 7, a host device 100 controls the interactive game experience. The host 100 is in communication with multiple peripheral devices 102 that receive game information from the host 100, such as the last generated bingo number, or which E-tab dauber to use, etc. via an information pathway 104. The pathway 104 can be an array of hard wire connections as shown in FIG. 7, an RF communication means as shown in FIG. 8, or other known communication means. Each player of the interactive game controls one of the peripheral devices 102. Each peripheral device includes a display 106 that displays to the player their status in the game, available input options, and the like. Each peripheral device also includes input means such as a keypad 108 or touch screen that the user can use to send information back to the host. Such information may include, but is not limited to, requests to join a game, announcements of leaving a game, answers to host queries, and the like.
 In another preferred embodiment, an RF system is illustrated. In this embodiment, like components are identified by like numerals with a primed suffix (′) and new components are identified by new numerals. In a wireless embodiment, as shown in FIG. 8, a hard wire 104′ from a host 100′ is connected to a plurality of transceivers 120 that communicate information to and from the host 100′. The transceivers 120 are in wireless communication with the peripheral devices, such as portable hand held devices 122. The hand held device 122 includes a display 124 and an input means 126. Each peripheral device includes a peripheral transceiver 128 that communicates information to and from the peripheral device 122. Naturally, a wireless embodiment is more versatile than the desktop. devices illustrated in FIG. 7, as a player can take his or her peripheral device 122 from place to place within its range, and still play the interactive games.
 In an alternate embodiment, the interactive gaming device is not in communication with a gaming network. A stand-alone computer includes a display and a storage means. A random indicium generator generates random indicia that pertain to first and second games. The games are displayed concurrently, and meaningfully to the player on a game grid.
 The two interactive game examples that have been described above, clearly illustrate the feasibility, diversity, and excitement of such interactive games that have unique rules of play from each other and common random factors between each other, and that a plethora of interactive games and variations of those games can be generated.
 It is further contemplated that a trivia side game could also be played on the peripheral device. In such a game, the host device would send questions to the peripheral devices. The game players would supply answers by using the keyboards on their peripheral devices. The trivia questions may be divided by category, and each category associated with a bingo column, for instance. A question from one category might be asked every time a “B” number is called. Another category of questions would be asked every time an “I” number is called, and so on. At the end of the evening of play, the hall operator could give an award to the player who supplied the most correct answers to the trivia game, to the player with the most correct answers in a single category, and so forth.
 As detailed above, this invention pertains to interactive games played on an electronic gaming device, the device being stand alone or networked, that uses a first displayed image element relating to the first game and then as a result of game execution, uses a second image element overlaid on the first image element to change its optical appearance to a meaningful composite image that is easily interpreted and is associative and deterministic with the play of the first game. The second image element is also associative and deterministic with the play of a second, concurrent game. The second game is different in nature from the first game. The interactive game is comprised of the first and second games.
 The invention has been described with reference to several preferred embodiments. Modifications and alterations will occur to others upon a reading and understanding of the preceding detailed description. It is intended that the invention be construed as including all such modifications and alterations insofar as they come within the scope of the appended claims or the equivalents thereof
 The invention may take form in various components and arrangements of components, and in various steps and arrangements of steps. The drawings are only for purposes of illustrating preferred embodiments and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.
FIG. 1 is an illustration of a Bingo face having a “T” winning pattern, in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an illustration of preferred dauber shapes for representing an E-Tabs portion of the present invention;
FIG. 3 depicts the Bingo face after several Bingo numbers have been called, the numbers appearing on the face being daubed with one of the shapes of FIG. 2, FIG. 3 also depicts a winning E-Tab game in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 4 depicts the Bingo game of FIG. 3 that has progressed to include a Bingo win as well as the E-Tab win;
FIG. 5 is an illustration of an interactive Black Jack/Bingo embodiment depicting a game where the player's entire Black Jack hand appears within the Bingo win pattern;
FIG. 6 is an illustration of the Black Jack/Bingo game where the player's hand includes a card removed from the Bingo win pattern.
FIG. 7 is an illustration of a host system connected to a plurality of peripheral systems.
FIG. 8 is an illustration of a wireless connection between a host transceiver and a peripheral device.