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Patente

  1. Erweiterte Patentsuche
VeröffentlichungsnummerUS20040053676 A1
PublikationstypAnmeldung
AnmeldenummerUS 10/243,512
Veröffentlichungsdatum18. März 2004
Eingetragen12. Sept. 2002
Prioritätsdatum12. Sept. 2002
Veröffentlichungsnummer10243512, 243512, US 2004/0053676 A1, US 2004/053676 A1, US 20040053676 A1, US 20040053676A1, US 2004053676 A1, US 2004053676A1, US-A1-20040053676, US-A1-2004053676, US2004/0053676A1, US2004/053676A1, US20040053676 A1, US20040053676A1, US2004053676 A1, US2004053676A1
ErfinderPaulina Rodgers
Ursprünglich BevollmächtigterPaulina Rodgers
Zitat exportierenBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Externe Links: USPTO, USPTO-Zuordnung, Espacenet
Gaming device having a varied wild symbol in a bonus game
US 20040053676 A1
Zusammenfassung
A gaming device randomly selects one of the symbols or cards displayed in the final state of a game to be a wild symbol or card. The game can be any game where one symbol may be able to substitute for any other symbol to increase the chance of obtaining a winning combination or a better winning combination. The present invention increases player excitement because the wild symbol will be a symbol already displayed in the game. In a preferred embodiment, the wild symbol is displayed after the game has been completed so that the player may root for or anticipate a particular wild symbol. The present invention also includes the methods of operating such a gaming device.
Bilder(15)
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Ansprüche(17)
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. A gaming device comprising:
a plurality of symbols;
a game including a random generation and display of a set of symbols from said plurality of symbols;
at least one winning combination of symbols; and
a processor operable to randomly select one of the displayed symbols in the randomly generated set of displayed symbols, cause a wild symbol to substitute for said displayed symbol, determine if any winning combinations of symbols occurred, and provide an award to a player upon the occurrence of any winning combination of symbols.
2. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the wild symbol substitutes for any of the plurality of displayed symbols.
3. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein every occurrence of the selected symbol is substituted with a wild symbol.
4. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the wild symbol is displayed to the player in a wild symbol display controlled by the processor after the set of symbols is displayed to the player.
5. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the wild symbol is displayed to the player in a wild symbol display after the set of symbols and a set of possible wild symbols are displayed to the player.
6. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the processor selects the wild symbol upon the occurrence of a qualifying condition in the game.
7. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the game is a bonus game played upon the occurrence of a qualifying condition in a base game.
8. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the game is a slot-type game.
9. The gaming device of claim 1, wherein the game is a card based game.
10. A method of operating a gaming device, comprising the steps of:
(a) randomly generating and displaying a set of symbols from a plurality of symbols;
(b) selecting one of the symbols from the set of displayed symbols and causing a wild symbol to substitute for said symbol;
(c) determining the occurrence of one or more winning combinations of displayed symbols including the wild symbol; and
(d) providing an award to a player based on the occurrence, if any, of a winning combinations of displayed symbols including the wild symbol.
11. The method of claim 10, which includes the step of operating the method through a data network.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the data network is an internet.
13. The method of claim 10, which including causing the wild symbol to substitute for every occurrence of the selected symbol in the set.
14. A method of operating a gaming device, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) randomly generating and displaying a plurality of symbols and causing one of the generated symbols from said plurality of displayed symbols to be a wild symbol;
(b) determining any occurrence of a winning combination of displayed symbols including any symbol which is caused to be a wild symbol; and
(c) providing an award based on the occurrence, if any, of a winning combination of displayed symbols including any symbol which is caused to be a wild symbol.
15. The method of claim 14, which includes the step of operating the method through a data network.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein the data network is an internet.
17. The method of claim 14, which includes causing each occurrence of the symbol which is caused to be a wild symbol to be a wild symbol.
Beschreibung
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Contemporary gaming machines such as slot type games and card games are known. Certain known gaming machines include wild symbols or wild cards in such games to enhance the player's excitement because of the increased likelihood of obtaining a winning combination. One gaming device described in PCT Patent Application Serial No. PCT/AU97/00103 provides for a randomly chosen wild symbol for each play of a slot-type game to increase the chance of obtaining a winning combination. The symbol is chosen from among any of the possible reel symbols, and the chosen symbol is displayed during game play. The chosen wild symbol may not appear on any of the reels in a play of the game and thus not provide any increased chance of winning an award or an increased award in that play of the game.

[0002] Other known gaming machines provide a bonus event upon the occurrence of a qualifying condition or triggering event. These machines provide the player with a bonus award or opportunity to play a bonus game through which the player may be provided an additional award. To maintain player interest, it is desirable to provide the player with a feature where through a randomly selected wild symbol in a game or bonus event the wild symbol is certain to increase the chance of or size of a possible award.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention provides a gaming device that randomly selects a wild symbol or card from the plurality of symbols or cards randomly generated and displayed to the player in each iteration of the game. The present invention increases the player's enjoyment by enabling the player to anticipate the choosing of a particular wild symbol that will maximize the award to the player. The wild symbol is chosen from the random outcome such as the set of symbols randomly generated on the reels and displayed to the player. Thus, in each game, the player will obtain an increased chance of receiving or increasing an award amount upon the selection and display of the wild symbol. The invention can be incorporated as either a base game or as a bonus game played upon the occurrence of a qualifying condition in a base game.

[0004] In one embodiment, the gaming device is a slot-type game. After the reels spin and the symbols are generated in each game, the gaming device randomly selects one of the generated symbols on one or more of the pay lines as a wild symbol that will substitute for any other symbol. The gaming device will display to the player the randomly generated symbols for the play of the game prior to selecting the wild symbol. In one embodiment, possible wild symbols are displayed continually in sequence to the player before displaying the chosen wild symbol. Because the wild symbol will be one of the randomly generated symbols on the reels, the player knows that the chances of obtaining a winning combination or a higher paying winning combination will increase once the wild symbol is randomly chosen and displayed. Certain symbols on the reels, when wild, will trigger a greater award to the player than other symbols either because there are more occurrences of that symbol randomly generated on the reels or a better combination will result if a certain one of the randomly generated symbols is the wild symbol. Therefore, the player will root for these more advantageous symbols after the reels are spun and stopped in each game, increasing the player's excitement.

[0005] In another embodiment, the gaming device displays a card based game such as video poker. In this embodiment, once the final five card hand is reached in the game, the gaming device randomly chooses one of the final face values or cards to be wild. Again, the player will root for a certain face value or card to be wild to maximize the award at the end of each bonus game. For example, a final hand may consist of a Eight, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. The player will root for the Eight to be wild because a straight will occur whereas if any of the other cards are chosen to be wild, only a pair will occur.

[0006] It is therefore an advantage of the present invention to provide a gaming device that randomly chooses a wild symbol from the final displayed symbols in a game to increase the award provided to a player.

[0007] Other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed disclosure, taken in conjunction with the accompanying sheets of drawings, wherein like numerals refer to like parts, elements, components, steps and processes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0008]FIG. 1A is a perspective view of a slot-type game embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention.

[0009]FIG. 1B is a perspective view of a video poker embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention.

[0010]FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of the electronic configuration of one embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention.

[0011]FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C are plan views of a slot-type game embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention, illustrating the display of the wild symbol.

[0012]FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C are plan views of a slot-type game with scatter pay feature embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention, illustrating the display of the wild symbol.

[0013]FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C are plan views of a video poker embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention, illustrating the display of the wild symbol.

[0014]FIGS. 6A and 6B are plan views of a slot-type game embodiment of the gaming device of the present invention utilized as a bonus event, illustrating the display of the wild symbol.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Gaming Device and Electronics

[0015] Referring now to the drawings, two embodiments of the gaming device of the present invention are illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B as gaming device 10 a and 10 b, respectively. Gaming device 10 a and gaming device 10 b are generally referred to herein as gaming device 10. Gaming device 10 is constructed so that a player can operate it while standing or sitting. It should be appreciated that gaming device 10 can be constructed as a pub-style table-top game (not shown) which a player can operate preferably while sitting. Furthermore, gaming device 10 can be constructed with varying cabinet and display designs. Gaming device 10 can incorporate any game apparatus for operating any game such as slot, blackjack, poker and keno, any of their bonus qualifying conditions and any of their secondary and bonus round games. The symbols and indicia used on and in gaming device 10 may be in mechanical, electrical or video form.

[0016] As illustrated in FIGS. 1A and 1B, gaming device 10 includes a coin slot 12 and a bill acceptor 14 where the player inserts money, coins or tokens. The player can place coins in the coin slot 12 or paper money or ticket vouchers in the bill acceptor 14. Other devices could be used for accepting payment such as readers or validators for credit cards or debit cards. When a player inserts money in gaming device 10, a number of credits corresponding to the amount deposited is shown in a credit display 16. After depositing the appropriate amount of money, a player can begin the game by pulling arm 18 or pushing deal or play button 20.

[0017] As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, gaming device 10 also includes a bet display 22 and a bet one button 24. The player places a bet by pushing the bet one button 24. The player can increase the bet by one credit each time the player pushes the bet one button 24. When the player pushes the bet one button 24, the number of credits shown in the credit display 16 decreases by one, and the number of credits shown in the bet display 22 increases by one. A player may cash out and thereby receive a number of coins corresponding to the number of remaining credits by pushing a cash out button 26. When the player cashes out, the player receives the coins in a coin pay out tray 28. The gaming device 10 may employ other pay out mechanisms such as credit slips redeemable by a cashier or electronically recordable cards which keep track of the player's credits.

[0018] Gaming device 10 also includes one or more display devices. The embodiment shown in FIG. 1A includes a central display device 30, but other embodiments such as the one illustrated in FIG. 1B can include a central display device 30 and an upper display device 32. Each embodiment preferably also includes a wild symbol display 33. The wild symbol display 33 can be a separate display device as shown in FIG. 1A or can be incorporated in central display device 30 as illustrated in FIGS. 3A through 3C and 4A through 4C or in upper display device 32 as illustrated in FIG. 1B. A display device can be any viewing surface such as glass, a video monitor or screen, a liquid crystal display or any other display mechanism.

[0019] A slot machine game of gaming device 10 as shown in FIG. 1A preferably displays a plurality of reels 34, such as three to five reels 34, in mechanical or video form on one or more of the display devices. Each reel 34 displays a plurality of indicia such as bells, hearts, fruits, numbers, letters, bars or other symbols which preferably correspond to a theme associated with gaming device 10. If the reels 34 are in video form, the display device displaying the video reels 34 is preferably a video monitor.

[0020] Similarly, if the game is card based such as video poker, the display device is preferably a video monitor as shown in FIG. 1B. The cards 35 are associated with one or more decks of cards used in conventional poker games including any wild cards. The cards 35 may further display a variety of images such as bells, hearts, fruits, numbers, letters or other images which may correspond to a theme associated with gaming device 10. Furthermore, each gaming device 10 includes speakers 36 for making sounds or playing music.

[0021] As illustrated in FIG. 2, the general electronic configuration of gaming device 10 preferably includes: a processor 38; a memory device or data storage device 40 for storing program code or other data; a display device 30; a sound card 42; a plurality of speakers 36; and one or more input devices 44. The processor 38 is preferably a microprocessor or microcontroller-based platform which is capable of displaying images, symbols and other indicia such as images of people, characters, places, things and faces of cards. The data storage device 40 can include random access memory (RAM) 46 for storing event data or other data generated or used during a particular game. The data storage device 40 can also include read only memory (ROM) 48. ROM 48 preferably stores program code which controls the gaming device 10 so that it plays a particular game in accordance with applicable game rules and pay tables.

[0022] As further illustrated in FIG. 2, the player preferably uses the input devices 44, such as pull arm 18, deal or play button 20, the bet one button 24, the cash out button 26 and the hold buttons 27 to input signals into gaming device 10. In certain instances it is preferable to use a touch screen 50 and an associated touch screen controller 52 instead of a conventional video monitor display device. Touch screen 50 and touch screen controller 52 are connected to a video controller 54 and processor 38. A player can make decisions and input signals into the gaming device 10 by touching touch screen 50 at the appropriate locations. As further illustrated in FIG. 2, the processor 38 can be connected to coin slot 12 or bill acceptor 14. The processor 38 can be programmed to require a player to deposit a certain amount of money in order to start the game.

[0023] It should be appreciated that although a processor 38 and data storage device 40 are preferable implementations of the present invention, the present invention can also be implemented using one or more application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC's) or other hard-wired devices, or using mechanical devices (collectively or alternatively referred to herein as a “processor”). Furthermore, although the processor 38 and data storage device 40 preferably reside on each gaming device 10 unit, it is possible to provide some or all of their functions at a central location such as a network server for communication to a playing station such as over a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), Internet connection, microwave link, and the like. The processor 38 and memory device 40 are at times generally referred to herein as the “computer” or “controller.”

[0024] With reference to FIG. 1A, to operate gaming device 10 in the slot-type game embodiment, the player must insert the appropriate amount of money, tokens or other currency at coin slot 12 or bill acceptor 14 and then pull the arm 18 or push the deal or play button 20. The reels 34 will then begin to spin. Eventually, the reels 34 will come to a stop. After the reels 34 stop, processor 38 randomly selects one of the symbols on any of the pay lines to be a wild symbol. If the game has a scatter pay, processor 38 randomly selects one of the symbols displayed on any of the stopped reels 34 to be a wild symbol. After selecting the wild symbol, gaming device 10 displays the chosen symbol on wild symbol display 33. Then, the final position of reels 34 is compared to a pay table, and the appropriate award is provided to the player. Depending upon where the reels 34 stop and the wild symbol selected, the player may reach an award outcome and win additional credits, or the player may reach a non-award outcome and win no credits. It should be appreciated that the present invention can include a scatter pay feature or one or more pay lines, such as pay line 56, wherein the pay lines can be horizontal, diagonal or any combination thereof.

[0025] Similarly, with reference to FIG. 1B, to operate gaming device 10 in the video poker embodiment, the player must insert the appropriate amount of money or tokens at coin slot 12 or bill acceptor 14 and then push the deal or play button 20. Gaming device 10 enables the player to play a conventional game of video poker and initially deals five cards 35 all face up from a single fifty-two card deck. If the player wishes to draw, the player selects the cards 35 to hold by pressing related hold buttons 27 or the touch screen 50. The player then presses the deal button 20 and the unwanted cards 35 are removed from the display 30 and replacement cards 35 are dealt from the remaining cards in the deck. This results in a final five-card hand 35. Then, processor 38 randomly selects one of the cards or face values displayed in the final five-card hand 35 to be a wild symbol. After selecting the wild symbol, gaming device 10 displays the chosen symbol, a card or face value, on wild symbol display 33. With the wild symbol substituting for any other card, the final five-card hand 35 is compared to a pay table which utilizes conventional poker hand rankings to determine the winning hands. The player is provided with an award based on a winning hand and the credits the player wagered.

[0026] It should be appreciated that there may be additional variations of poker games such as a hand having a different number of cards, multiple hands simultaneously played, or variations of conventional poker hand rankings which gaming device 10 can be adapted to play. It should also be appreciated that other card-based games could be used in connection with the present invention as a base game or bonus game.

[0027] In addition to winning credits in this manner, in one embodiment gaming device 10 also gives players the opportunity to win credits in a secondary or bonus event, such as a bonus game. This embodiment of gaming device 10 includes a program which will automatically begin a bonus game when the player has achieved a qualifying condition in the game. In another embodiment, gaming device 10 enables the player to play one or more bonus games upon the occurrence of a qualifying condition. This qualifying condition can be a particular arrangement of one or more indicia on a display device such as symbols on a pay line or a particular hand in a poker game. The gaming device 10 may use a video-based display device 30 to enable the player to play the bonus game.

Variable Wild Symbol

[0028] In a preferred embodiment, after the completion of each game, gaming device 10 randomly selects one of the symbols or cards randomly generated and displayed upon the completion of the spin of the reels, deal of the cards or other such event to be a wild symbol. The wild symbol can be substituted for any other symbol or card to help achieve a winning combination. In the slot-type game embodiment, the wild symbol is chosen from the set of symbols appearing on the reels. In the video poker embodiment, the wild symbol is a particular card or face value chosen from the set of cards or face values appearing in the final hand or draw. This feature increases the player's enjoyment of the game because the wild symbol chosen is always one of the symbols randomly generated in and displayed at the completion of game play. Therefore, the wild symbol will increase the chance of or the size of any award to be won in the game, but the size of the increased award depends upon which displayed symbol is chosen.

[0029] For example, in a slot-type base game embodiment, an award is provided upon the occurrence of three or more of any one symbol in a pay line. In this example, after one game has been played as illustrated in FIG. 3A, a cherry symbol, two “Bar” symbols, and two “7” symbols occurred on the pay line 56 and are displayed to the player. In this example, the occurrence of four “7” symbols in a pay line triggers a larger award than four “Bar” symbols, and the occurrence of any four like symbols triggers a larger award than any three like symbols.

[0030] Next, gaming device 10 randomly selects one of the three displayed symbols on pay line 56, cherry, “7” or “Bar,” to be a wild symbol. Once the symbol is selected, gaming device 10 displays the wild symbol on wild symbol display 33. After seeing the symbols displayed on the pay line but prior to seeing the selected wild symbol, the player will root for a particular symbol to appear as the wild symbol. In some embodiments, player excitement can be increased by displaying the possible wild symbols in sequence in the wild symbol display 33 prior to displaying the selected symbol.

[0031] In this example, the player will root for a “Bar” to be the wild symbol because this selection would trigger the highest award possible for this example, that for the occurrence of four “7” symbols as illustrated in FIG. 3B. However, the worst that can happen is that the cherry symbol is chosen, and gaming device 10 provides to the player the award corresponding to the occurrence of three “7” symbols as illustrated in FIG. 3C or three “Bars”. Thus, in the present invention, randomly selecting a wild symbol from the displayed symbols increases the award provided to the player and increases player excitement because the award increase is temporarily unknown.

[0032] In another example illustrated in FIGS. 4A through 4D, the invention can be used in connection with a scatter pay feature in a slot-type game embodiment. In a scatter pay feature, an award is provided upon the occurrence of a certain number of symbols anywhere on the reels 34 of a slot game. For example, an award is provided if five or more “7” symbols appear anywhere on the reels 34 of a slot game whereas other symbols only trigger an award if three or more appear on pay line 56. In this example, the award increases with the number of like symbols appearing, either “7” symbols scattered or other like symbols on pay line 56.

[0033] Various possibilities for winning combinations exist in the example as illustrated in FIGS. 4B and 4C. Because of the variety of possibilities, the player's excitement will increase in anticipation of which symbol is selected and displayed in wild symbol display 33. In the illustrated example at FIG. 4B, the player will root for a diamond symbol to be the wild symbol because then gaming device 10 will provide the award for six scattered “7” symbols. Also, in one embodiment, gaming device 10 may provide awards for any and all winning combinations achieved. Thus, the player may root for a heart symbol to the wild symbol because then gaming device 10 would provide the awards for three “Bar” symbols occurring in the pay line 56 and for five scattered “7” symbols as shown in FIG. 4C. Thus, depending on the pay table and the number of symbols used in the game, any number of possible winning combinations are available upon the selection and display of the wild symbol to increase player enjoyment.

[0034] In another example, in the video poker embodiment, gaming device 10 randomly selects a wild symbol after the completion of the game as illustrated in FIG. 5A. Upon the completion of a single game, gaming device 10 displays the cards 35 of the Jack of Clubs, the Jack of Hearts, and the Seven, Eight, and Nine of Diamonds as shown in FIG. 5A. Next, gaming device 10 randomly selects one of the four face values of the cards 35 to be the wild symbol, i.e. either Jack, Seven, Eight or Nine, and displays the chosen value in wild symbol display 33. In this example, after seeing the final five-card hand 35 the player will root for a Jack to be the wild symbol because the gaming device 10 will provide the award for a straight flush as shown in FIG. 5B. On the other hand, if any of the other symbols, Seven, Eight or Nine, are selected to be the wild symbol, only the award for three Jacks will be triggered as illustrated in FIG. 5C.

[0035] In other embodiments, the invention can be used as part of a bonus event in connection with a base game. In one embodiment, upon the occurrence of a qualifying condition in a base game, a bonus event occurs where one of the displayed symbols at the end of the base game is chosen to be a wild symbol. In an example illustrated in FIG. 6A, a slot-type game triggers a bonus event and upon the occurrence of a qualifying event such as the appearance of a special or triggering symbol 37 when the reels 34 have stopped spinning. In this example, the bonus event consists of the processor 38 of gaming device 10 randomly selecting one of the symbols appearing on the pay line 56 of the base game, “Bar,” cherry, diamond or “7,” to be a wild symbol and displayed in wild symbol display 33 as shown in FIG. 6B. The same could occur on a game with a scatter pay feature where the wild symbol is randomly selected from among all the displayed symbols on the stopped reels 34.

[0036] It should be appreciated that the present invention can be applied to any game, including but not limited to any variation of video poker, any slot-type game, black-jack, or other game where the wild symbol concept can enhance the chance of an increased award. Further, the present invention can be applied to gaming devices employing any variety of base games capable of generating a bonus event. It should also be appreciated that the invention can be utilized as a separate bonus game triggered upon the occurrence of a qualifying event in a base game. Also, the probability of any particular symbol being chosen by processor 38 of gaming device 10 as the wild symbol can be adjusted to conform to any pay out rules or regulations.

[0037] It should be understood that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention and without diminishing its intended advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be covered by the appended claims.

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Klassifizierungen
US-Klassifikation463/20
Internationale KlassifikationG07F17/32, G07F17/34
UnternehmensklassifikationG07F17/3244, G07F17/34
Europäische KlassifikationG07F17/32K, G07F17/34
Juristische Ereignisse
DatumCodeEreignisBeschreibung
12. Sept. 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: IGT, NEVADA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:RODGERS, PAULINA;REEL/FRAME:013293/0940
Effective date: 20020911