AU2010224318B2 - Competitive-collaborative community event - Google Patents

Competitive-collaborative community event Download PDF

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Publication number
AU2010224318B2
AU2010224318B2 AU2010224318A AU2010224318A AU2010224318B2 AU 2010224318 B2 AU2010224318 B2 AU 2010224318B2 AU 2010224318 A AU2010224318 A AU 2010224318A AU 2010224318 A AU2010224318 A AU 2010224318A AU 2010224318 B2 AU2010224318 B2 AU 2010224318B2
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Australia
Prior art keywords
team
gaming
player
associated
gaming terminals
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Ceased
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AU2010224318A
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AU2010224318A1 (en
Inventor
Joel R. Jaffe
Alfred Thomas
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Bally Gaming Inc
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WMS Gaming Inc
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Priority to US24418609P priority Critical
Priority to US61/244,186 priority
Priority to US26121809P priority
Priority to US61/261,218 priority
Application filed by WMS Gaming Inc filed Critical WMS Gaming Inc
Publication of AU2010224318A1 publication Critical patent/AU2010224318A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of AU2010224318B2 publication Critical patent/AU2010224318B2/en
Assigned to BALLY GAMING, INC. reassignment BALLY GAMING, INC. Request to Amend Deed and Register Assignors: WMS GAMING INC.
Application status is Ceased legal-status Critical
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3272Games involving multiple players
    • G07F17/3274Games involving multiple players wherein the players cooperate, e.g. team-play
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/3202Hardware aspects of a gaming system, e.g. components, construction, architecture thereof
    • G07F17/3204Player-machine interfaces
    • G07F17/3211Display means

Abstract

According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming system includes a plurality of linked gaming terminals. Each terminal includes a wager input device for receiving a wager to play a wagering game. Each gaming terminal further includes at least one display displaying a portion of a continuous image. Each gaming terminal further includes a controller coupled to the one or more displays and the wager input device. The controller is operative to cause at least one of the displays to display a community gaming event. At least one display of each of the linked gaming terminals displays a portion of a continuous image. Two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a first team and two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a second team.

Description

A ustralian Patents Act 1990 - Regulation 3.2 ORIGINAL COMPLETE SPECIFICATION STANDARD PATENT Invention Title Competitive-collaborative community event The following statement is a full description of this invention, including the best method of performing it known to me/us: P/00/01I S 1O2 C:\User\DER\Jmnvoven\NRP nb\DCC\DER\4904010_1.doc-4/02/2013 -lA Copyright [00011 A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever. Field of the Invention 100021 The present invention relates generally to a gaming apparatus, and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to wagering games having a competitive and collaborative community event. Background of the Invention [00031 Gaming terminals, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options. [00041 Other wagering games involve engaging multiple players to enter a shared, or community, wagering game wherein multiple gaming machines are linked together to play a shared basic game or secondary event. As the interest and demand for these types of community games increases, there is also a continuing need to develop new features for these games that enhance the gaming experience. Summary of the Invention [00051 According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a gaming system comprising: a plurality of linked gaming terminals, each terminal including a wager input device for receiving a wager to play a wagering game, one or more displays displaying a portion of a continuous image, and a controller coupled to the one or more displays and the wager input device, the controller operative to cause at least one of the displays to display a C Usrs\DER\menvoven\NR onb\DCCDER\4904010_ldoc-402/ 3 -2 community gaming event, wherein two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a first team and two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a second team, the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the first team forming a first portion of the continuous image representing the first team and the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the second team forming a second portion of the continuous image representing the second team; and wherein the first portion of the continuous image is altered in direct response to an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the second team. [00061 According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of conducting a community wagering game on a plurality of linked gaming terminals, the wagering game including a game sequence in which a player input is detected and a wagering game outcome is determined in response to the detected input, the wagering game including a basic game and a secondary event, the method comprising the acts of: using an interface device to detect the player input and transforming the detected player input to electronic data signals indicative of a wager to play the wagering game; using one or more processors to interpret the wager from the data signals and to cause the recording of a digital representation of the wager in one or more storage devices; using at least one of the processors to cause one or more display devices to display the basic game; and using at least one of the processors to initiate the secondary event in response to a triggering event during the basic game, the secondary event including a continuous image displayed across at least one display of each of the linked gaming terminals, wherein two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a first team and two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a second team, the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the first team forming a first portion of the continuous image representing the first team and the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the second team forming a second portion of the continuous image representing the second team, and C :Usrs\DERnterovenNRPonbDCC\DERu0O0I1_I doc-4/f2/2013 -3 wherein the first portion of the continuous image is altered in direct response to an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the second team. [0007] According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a gaming system comprising: a plurality of linked gaming terminals, each terminal including a wager input device for receiving a wager to play a wagering game, one or more displays displaying a portion of a continuous image, and a controller coupled to the one or more displays and the wager input device, the controller operative to cause the gaming system to: display a community gaming event in which two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a first team and two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a second team, the continuous image including a first portion representing the first team and a second portion representing the second team, add one or more collectable elements to the first portion of the continuous image in response to an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the first team, and transfer the one or more collectable elements to the second portion of the continuous image based on an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the second team. [0008] Deleted [00091 Deleted [00101 Deleted [00111 Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.

4 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [00121 FIG. I is a perspective view of a free-standing gaming terminal according to an embodiment of the present invention. 100131 FIG. 2 is a schematic view of a gaming system according to an embodiment of the present invention. [00141 FIG. 3 is an image of an exemplary basic-game screen of a wagering game displayed on a gaming terminal, according to an embodiment of the present invention. 100151 FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a group of linked gaming terminals, according to one embodiment. [00161 FIG. 5 is an image of a basic-game screen of a wagering game that may be displayed on a gaming terminal, according to an embodiment of the present invention. [00171 FIG. 6 is an image of a bonus-game screen that may be displayed on a gaming terminal, according to one embodiment. [00181 FIGs. 7-11 are images of bonus-game screens subsequent to the bonus-game screen of FIG. 6, according to one embodiment. [00191 FIG. 12 is an image of a bonus-game screen, according to another embodiment. 100201 FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a group of linked gaming terminals, according to another embodiment. [0021] FIGs. 14a, 14b are images of bonus-game screens, according to one embodiment. [00221 FIGs. 15-21 are images of bonus-game screens subsequent to the bonus-game screens of FIG. 14, according to one embodiment. [00231 FIGs. 22a,b are top views of a gaming table including a plurality of wagering game stations, according to one embodiment. [00241 FIG. 23 is a flowchart for an algorithm that corresponds to instructions executed by a controller in accord with at least some aspects of the disclosed concepts. [00251 While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

5 DETAILED DESCRIPTION 100261 While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated. [0027] Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a gaming terminal 10 similar to those used in gaming establishments, such as casinos. With regard to the present invention, the gaming terminal 10 may be any type of gaming terminal and may have varying structures and methods of operation. For example, in some aspects, the gaming terminal 10 is be an electromechanical gaming terminal configured to play mechanical slots, whereas in other aspects, the gaming terminal is an electronic gaming terminal configured to play a video casino game, such as slots, keno, poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, etc. It should be understood that although the gaming terminal 10 is shown as a free-standing terminal of the upright type, the gaming terminal is readily amenable to implementation in a wide variety of other forms such as a free-standing terminal of the slant-top type, a portable or handheld device primarily used for gaming, such as is disclosed by way of example in PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US2007/000792 filed January 26, 2007, titled "Handheld Device for Wagering Games," which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, a mobile telecommunications device such as a mobile telephone or personal digital assistant (PDA), a counter-top or bar-top gaming terminal, or other personal electronic device, such as a portable television, MP3 player, entertainment device, etcetera. 100281 The gaming terminal 10 illustrated in FIG. I comprises a cabinet or housing 12. For output devices, this embodiment of the gaming terminal 10 includes a primary display area 14, a secondary display area 16, and one or more audio speakers 18. The primary display area 14 and/or secondary display area 16 variously displays information associated with wagering games, non-wagering games, community games, progressives, advertisements, services, premium entertainment, text messaging, emails, alerts or announcements, broadcast information, subscription information, etc. appropriate to the particular mode(s) of operation of the gaming terminal. For input devices, the gaming terminal 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 includes a bill validator 20, a coin acceptor 22, one or more information readers 24, one or more player-input devices 26, and one or more player-accessible ports 28 (e.g., an audio output jack for headphones, a video headset jack, a wireless transmitter/receiver, etc.). While these typical components found in the gaming terminal 10 are described below, it should be 6 understood that numerous other peripheral devices and other elements exist and are readily utilizable in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming terminal in accord with the present concepts. [00291 The primary display area 14 include, in various aspects of the present concepts, a mechanical-reel display, a video display, or a combination thereof in which a transmissive video display is disposed in front of the mechanical-reel display to portray a video image in superposition over the mechanical-reel display. Further information concerning the latter construction is disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,517,433 to Loose et al. entitled "Reel Spinning Slot Machine With Superimposed Video Image," which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The video display is, in various embodiments, a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high-resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, a light emitting diode (LED), a DLP projection display, an electroluminescent (EL) panel, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming terminal 10, or other form factor, such as is shown by way of example in FIG. 1. The primary display area 14 includes, in relation to many aspects of wagering games conducted on the gaming terminal 10, one or more paylines 30 (see FIG. 3) extending along a portion of the primary display area. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, the primary display area 14 comprises la plurality of mechanical reels 32 and a video display 34, such as a transmissive display (or a reflected image arrangement in other embodiments), in front of the mechanical reels 32. If the wagering game conducted via the gaming terminal 10 relies upon the video display 34 only and not the mechanical reels 32, the mechanical reels 32 are optionally removed from the interior of the terminal and the video display 34 is advantageously of a non-transmissive type. Similarly, if the wagering game conducted via the gaming terminal 10 relies only upon the mechanical reels 32, but not the video display 34, the video display 34 depicted in FIG. I is replaced with a conventional glass panel. Further, in still other embodiments, the video display 34 is disposed to overlay another video display, rather than a mechanical-reel display, such that the primary display area 14 includes layered or superimposed video displays. In yet other embodiments, the mechanical-reel display of the above-noted embodiments is replaced with another mechanical or physical member or members such as, but not limited to, a mechanical wheel (e.g., a roulette game), dice, a pachinko board, or a diorama presenting a three-dimensional model of a game environment. [00301 Video images in the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 are rendered in two-dimensional (e.g., using Flash MacromediaTM) or three-dimensional graphics (e.g., using RenderwareTM). In various aspects, the video images are played back 7 (e.g., from a recording stored on the gaming terminal 10), streamed (e.g., from a gaming network), or received as a TV signal (e.g., either broadcast or via cable) and such images can take different forms, such as animated images, computer-generated images, or "real-life" images, either prerecorded (e.g., in the case of marketing/promotional material) or as live footage. The format of the video images can include any format including, but not limited to, an analog format, a standard digital format, or a high-definition (HD) digital format. [00311 The player-input or user-input device(s) 26 include, by way of example, a plurality of buttons 36 on a button panel, as shown in FIG. 1, a mouse, a joy stick, a switch, a microphone, and/or a touch screen 38 mounted over the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 and having one or more soft touch keys 40, as is also shown in FIG. 1. In still other aspects, the player-input devices 26 comprise technologies that do not rely upon physical contact between the player and the gaming terminal, such as speech recognition technology, gesture-sensing technology, eye-tracking technology, etc. The player-input or user-input device(s) 26 thus accept(s) player input(s) and transforms the player input(s) to electronic data signals indicative of a player input or inputs corresponding to an enabled feature for such input(s) at a time of activation (e.g., pressing a "Max Bet" button or soft key to indicate a player's desire to place a maximum wager to play the wagering game). The input(s), once transformed into electronic data signals, are output to a CPU or controller 42 (see FIG. 2) for processing. The electronic data signals are selected from a group consisting essentially of an electrical current, an electrical voltage, an electrical charge, an optical signal, an optical element, a magnetic signal, and a magnetic element. [00321 The information reader 24 (or information reader/writer) is preferably located on the front of the housing 12 and comprises, in at least some forms, a ticket reader, card reader, bar code scanner, wireless transceiver (e.g., RFID, Bluetooth, etc.), biometric reader, or computer-readable-storage-medium interface. As noted, the information reader may comprise a physical and/or electronic writing element to permit writing to a ticket, a card, or computer-readable-storage-medium. The information reader 24 permits information to be transmitted from a portable medium (e.g., ticket, voucher, coupon, casino card, smart card, debit card, credit card, etc.) to the information reader 24 to enable the gaming terminal 10 or associated external system to access an account associated with cashless gaming, to facilitate player tracking or game customization, to retrieve a saved-game state, to store a current-game state, to cause data transfer, and/or to facilitate access to casino services, such as is more fully disclosed, by way of example, in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0045354 entitled "Portable Data Unit for Communicating With Gaming Machine Over Wireless Link," which 8 is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The noted account associated with cashless gaming is, in some aspects of the present concepts, stored at an external system 46 (see FIG. 2) as more fully disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,280,328 to Holch et al. entitled "Cashless Computerized Video Game System and Method," which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, or is alternatively stored directly on the portable storage medium. Various security protocols or features can be used to enhance security of the portable storage medium. For example, in some aspects, the individual carrying the portable storage medium is required to enter a secondary independent authenticator (e.g., password, PIN number, biometric, etc.) to access the account stored on the portable storage medium. Turning now to FIG. 2, the various components of the gaming terminal 10 are controlled by one or more processors (e.g., CPU, distributed processors, etc.) 42, also referred to herein generally as a controller (e.g., microcontroller, microprocessor, etc.). The controller 42 can include any suitable processor(s), such as an Intel* Pentium processor, Intel* Core 2 Duo processor, AMD OpteronTM processor, or UltraSPARC* processor. By way of example, the controller 42 includes a plurality of microprocessors including a master processor, a slave processor, and a secondary or parallel processor. Controller 42, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware disposed in and/or disposed outside of the gaming terminal 10 that is configured to communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming terminal 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 42 comprises one or more controllers or processors and such one or more controllers or processors need not be disposed proximal to one another and may be located in different devices and/or in different locations. For example, a first processor is disposed proximate a user interface device (e.g., a push button panel, a touch screen display, etc.) and a second processor is disposed remotely from the first processor, the first and second processors being electrically connected through a network. As another example, the first processor is disposed in a first enclosure (e.g., a gaming machine) and a second processor is disposed in a second enclosure (e.g., a server) separate from the first enclosure, the first and second processors being communicatively connected through a network. The controller 42 is operable to execute all of the various gaming methods and other processes disclosed herein. 100331 To provide gaming functions, the controller 42 executes one or more game programs comprising machine-executable instructions stored in local and/or remote computer-readable data storage media (e.g., memory 44 or other suitable storage device). The term computer-readable data storage media, or "computer-readable medium," as used 9 herein refers to any media/medium that participates in providing instructions to controller 42 for execution. The computer-readable medium comprises, in at least some exemplary forms, non-volatile media (e.g., optical disks, magnetic disks, etc.), volatile media (e.g., dynamic memory, RAM), and transmission media (e.g., coaxial cables, copper wire, fiber optics, radio frequency (RF) data communication, infrared (IR) data communication, etc). Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a hard disk, magnetic tape (or other magnetic medium), a 2-D or 3-D optical disc (e.g., a CD-ROM, DVD, etc.), RAM, PROM, EPROM, FLASH-EPROM, any other memory chip or solid state digital data storage device, a carrier wave, or any other medium from which a computer can read. By way of example, a plurality of storage media or devices are provided, a first storage device being disposed proximate the user interface device and a second storage device being disposed remotely from the first storage device, wherein a network is connected intermediate the first one and second one of the storage devices. [00341 Various forms of computer-readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions to controller 42 for execution. By way of example, the instructions may initially be borne on a data storage device of a remote device (e.g., a remote computer, server, or system). The remote device can load the instructions into its dynamic memory and send the instructions over a telephone line or other communication path using a modem or other communication device appropriate to the communication path. A modem or other communication device local to the gaming machine 10 or to an external system 46 associated with the gaming machine can receive the data on the telephone line or conveyed through the communication path (e.g., via external systems interface 58) and output the data to a bus, which transmits the data to the system memory 44 associated with the processor 42, from which system memory the processor retrieves and executes the instructions. [00351 Thus, the controller 42 is able to send and receive data, via carrier signals, through the network(s), network link, and communication interface. The data includes, in various examples, instructions, commands, program code, player data, and game data. As to the game data, in at least some aspects of the present concepts, the controller 42 uses a local random number generator (RNG) to randomly generate a wagering game outcome from a plurality of possible outcomes. Alternatively, the outcome is centrally determined using either an RNG or pooling scheme at a remote controller included, for example, within the external system 46.

10 [00361 As shown in the example of FIG. 2, the controller 42 is coupled to the system memory 44. The system memory 44 is shown to comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM), but optionally includes multiple RAM and multiple program memories. 100371 As shown in the example of FIG. 2, the controller 42 is also coupled to a money/credit detector 48. The money/credit detector 48 is configured to output a signal the controller 42 that money and/or credits have been input via one or more value-input devices, such as the bill validator 20, coin acceptor 22, or via other sources, such as a cashless gaming account, etc. The value-input device(s) is integrated with the housing 12 of the gaming terminal 10 and is connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming terminal 10, as appropriate, via a wired connection, such as I/O 56, or wireless connection. The money/credit detector 48 detects the input of valid funds into the gaming terminal 10 (e.g., via currency, electronic funds, ticket, card, etc.) via the value-input device(s) and outputs a signal to the controller 42 carrying data regarding the input value of the valid funds. The controller 42 extracts the data from these signals from the money/credit detector 48, analyzes the associated data, and transforms the data corresponding to the input value into an equivalent credit balance that is available to the player for subsequent wagers on the gaming terminal 10, such transforming of the data being effected by software, hardware, and/or firmware configured to associate the input value to an equivalent credit value. Where the input value is already in a credit value form, such as in a cashless gaming account having stored therein a credit value, the wager is simply deducted from the available credit balance. [00381 As seen in FIG. 2, the controller 42 is also connected to, and controls, the primary display area 14, the player-input device(s) 26, and a payoff mechanism 50. The payoff mechanism 50 is operable in response to instructions from the controller 42 to award a payoff to the player in response to certain winning outcomes that occur in the base game, the bonus game(s), or via an external game or event. The payoff is provided in the form of money, credits, redeemable points, advancement within a game, access to special features within a game, services, another exchangeable media, or any combination thereof. Although payoffs may be paid out in coins and/or currency bills, payoffs are alternatively associated with a coded ticket (from a ticket printer 52), a portable storage medium or device (e.g., a card magnetic strip), or are transferred to or transmitted to a designated player account. The payoff amounts distributed by the payoff mechanism 50 are determined by one or more pay tables stored in the system memory 44.

11 100391 Communications between the controller 42 and both the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10 and the external system 46 occur through input/output (1/0) circuit 56, which can include any suitable bus technologies, such as an AGTL+ frontside bus and a PCI backside bus. Although the I/O circuit 56 is shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that the I/O circuit 56 alternatively includes a number of different types of I/O circuits. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the components of the gaming terminal 10 can be interconnected according to any suitable interconnection architecture (e.g., directly connected, hypercube, etc.). [00401 The I/O circuit 56 is connected to an external system interface or communication device 58, which is connected to the external system 46. The controller 42 communicates with the external system 46 via the external system interface 58 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC, 1 ObT, near field, etc.). The external system 46 includes, in various aspects, a gaming network, other gaming terminals, a gaming server, a remote controller, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components, in any combination. In yet other aspects, the external system 46 may comprise a player's portable electronic device (e.g., cellular phone, electronic wallet, etc.) and the external system interface 58 is configured to facilitate wireless communication and data transfer between the portable electronic device and the controller 42, such as by a near field communication path operating via magnetic field induction or a frequency-hopping spread spectrum RF signals (e.g., Bluetooth, etc.). 100411 The gaming terminal 10 optionally communicates with external system 46 (in a wired or wireless manner) such that each terminal operates as a "thin client" having relatively less functionality, a "thick client" having relatively more functionality, or with any range of functionality therebetween (e.g., an "intermediate client"). In general, a wagering game includes an RNG for generating a random number, game logic for determining the outcome based on the randomly generated number, and game assets (e.g., art, sound, etc.) for presenting the determined outcome to a player in an audio-visual manner. The RNG, game logic, and game assets are contained within the gaming terminal 10 ("thick client" gaming terminal), the external systems 46 ("thin client" gaming terminal), or are distributed therebetween in any suitable manner ("intermediate client" gaming terminal). 100421 Referring now to FIG. 3, an image of a basic-game screen 60 adapted to be displayed on the primary display area 14 is illustrated, according to one embodiment of the present invention. A player begins play of a basic wagering game by providing a wager. A player can operate or interact with the wagering game using the one or more player-input 12 devices 26. The controller 42, the external system 46, or both, in alternative embodiments, operate(s) to execute a wagering game program causing the primary display area 14 to display the wagering game that includes a plurality of visual elements. [00431 In accord with various methods of conducting a wagering game on a gaming system in accord with the present concepts, the wagering game includes a game sequence in which a player makes a wager, such as through the money/credit detector 48, touch screen 38 soft key, button panel, or the like, and a wagering game outcome is associated with the wager. The wagering game outcome is then revealed to the player in due course following initiation of the wagering game. The method comprises the acts of conducting the wagering game using a gaming apparatus, such as the gaming terminal 10 depicted in FIG. 1, following receipt of an input from the player to initiate the wagering game. The gaming terminal 10 then communicates the wagering game outcome to the player via one or more output devices (e.g., primary display 14) through the display of information such as, but not limited to, text, graphics, text and graphics, static images, moving images, etc., or any combination thereof. In accord with the method of conducting the wagering game, the controller 42, which comprises one or more processors, transforms a physical player input, such as a player's pressing of a "Spin Reels" soft key 84 (see FIG. 3), into an electronic data signal indicative of an instruction relating to the wagering game (e.g., an electronic data signal bearing data on a wager amount). [0044] In the aforementioned method, for each data signal, the controller 42 is configured to processes the electronic data signal, to interpret the data signal (e.g., data signals corresponding to a wager input), and to cause further actions associated with the interpretation of the signal in accord with computer instructions relating to such further actions executed by the controller. As one example, the controller 42 causes the recording of a digital representation of the wager in one or more storage devices (e.g., system memory 44 or a memory associated with an external system 46), the controller, in accord with associated computer instructions, causing the changing of a state of the data storage device from a first state to a second state. This change in state is, for example, effected by changing a magnetization pattern on a magnetically coated surface of a magnetic storage device or changing a magnetic state of a ferromagnetic surface of a magneto-optical disc storage device, a change in state of transistors or capacitors in a volatile or a non-volatile semiconductor memory (e.g., DRAM), etc.). The noted second state of the data storage device comprises storage in the storage device of data representing the electronic data signal from the controller (e.g., the wager in the present example). As another example, the 13 controller 42 further, in accord with the execution of the instructions relating to the wagering game, causes the primary display 14 or other display device and/or other output device (e.g., speakers, lights, communication device, etc.), to change from a first state to at least a second state, wherein the second state of the primary display comprises a visual representation of the physical player input (e.g., an acknowledgement to a player), information relating to the physical player input (e.g., an indication of the wager amount), a game sequence, an outcome of the game sequence, or any combination thereof, wherein the game sequence in accord with the present concepts comprises acts described herein. The aforementioned executing of computer instructions relating to the wagering game is further conducted in accord with a random outcome (e.g., determined by the RNG) that is used by the controller 42 to determine the outcome of the game sequence, using a game logic for determining the outcome based on the randomly generated number. In at least some aspects, the controller 42 is configured to determine an outcome of the game sequence at least partially in response to the random parameter. [00451 The basic-game screen 60 is displayed on the primary display area 14 or a portion thereof. In FIG. 3, the basic-game screen 60 portrays a plurality of simulated movable reels 62a-e. Alternatively or additionally, the basic-game screen 60 portrays a plurality of mechanical reels or other video or mechanical presentation consistent with the game format and theme. The basic-game screen 60 also advantageously displays one or more game session meters and various buttons adapted to be actuated by a player. 100461 In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 3, the game-session meters include a "credit" meter 64 for displaying a number of credits available for play on the terminal; a "lines" meter 66 for displaying a number of paylines to be played by a player on the terminal; a "line bet" meter 68 for displaying a number of credits wagered (e.g., from 1 to 5 or more credits) for each of the number of paylines played; a "total bet" meter 70 for displaying a total number of credits wagered for the particular round of wagering; and a "paid" meter 72 for displaying an amount to be awarded based on the results of the particular round's wager. The depicted user-selectable buttons include a "collect" button 74 to collect the credits remaining in the credits meter 64; a "help" button 76 for viewing instructions on how to play the wagering game; a "pay table" button 78 for viewing a pay table associated with the basic wagering game; a "select lines" button 80 for changing the number of paylines (displayed in the lines meter 66) a player wishes to play; a "bet per line" button 82 for changing the amount of the wager which is displayed in the line-bet meter 68; a "spin reels" button 84 for moving the reels 62a-e; and a "max bet spin" button 86 for wagering a maximum number of credits 14 and moving the reels 62a-e of the basic wagering game. While the gaming terminal 10 allows for these types of player inputs, the present invention does not require them and can be used on gaming terminals having more, less, or different player inputs. [0047] As shown in the example of FIG. 3, paylines 30 extend from one of the payline indicators 88a-i on the left side of the basic-game screen 60 to a corresponding one of the payline indicators 88a-i on the right side of the screen 60. A plurality of symbols 90 is displayed on the plurality of reels 62a-e to indicate possible outcomes of the basic wagering game. A winning combination occurs when the displayed symbols 90 correspond to one of the winning symbol combinations listed in a pay table stored in the memory 44 of the terminal 10 or in the external system 46. The symbols 90 may include any appropriate graphical representation or animation, and may further include a "blank" symbol. [00481 Symbol combinations are evaluated in accord with various schemes such as, but not limited to, "line pays" or "scatter pays." Line pays are evaluated left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, or any combination thereof by evaluating the number, type, or order of symbols 90 appearing along an activated payline 30. Scatter pays are evaluated without regard to position or paylines and only require that such combination appears anywhere on the reels 62a-e. While an embodiment with nine paylines is shown, a wagering game with no paylines, a single payline, or any plurality of paylines will also work with the present invention. Additionally, though an embodiment with five reels is shown in FIG. 3, different embodiments of the gaming terminal 10 comprise a greater or lesser number of reels in accordance with the present invention. [0049] Referring now to FIG. 4, a group of gaming terminals 100 is shown according to one embodiment. Each individual gaming terminal 102a,b 104a,b in the group of gaming terminals 100 is a member of a team. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, for example, gaming terminals 102a, 102b form a first team 105a (e.g., Team 1), and gaming terminals 104a and 104b form a second team 105b (e.g., Team 2). A player playing the gaming terminal 102a will herein be referred to as Player IA, and a player playing the gaming terminal 102b will be referred to as Player 1B. Similarly, a player playing the gaming terminal 104a will be referred to herein as Player 2A, and a player playing the gaming terminal 104b will be referred to as Player 2B. [0050] Each gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b of the illustrated embodiment includes a "Pirate" theme and displays a respective pirate ship 106a-106d on the secondary display area 16. As will be described in detail below, the secondary display areas 16 of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b function together as a single, continuous "metascreen," displaying a 15 single, continuous image. Thus, for example, an image may be shown as moving across one of the secondary display areas 16 of one gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b into a secondary display area 16 of an adjacent gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b. Furthermore, during play of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b of FIG. 4, the players on Team I (i.e., Player IA and Player 1 B) collaborate with one another and compete against the players on Team 2 (i.e., Player 2A and Player 2B). 100511 Turning now to FIG. 5, an image of a basic-game screen 110 adapted to be displayed on the primary display area 14 (or a portion thereof) of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b of FIG. 4 is illustrated, according to one embodiment. In FIG. 5, the basic game screen 110 portrays a plurality of simulated movable reels 112a-e. Alternatively or additionally, the basic-game screen 110 may portray a plurality of mechanical reels, a combination of movable and mechanical reels, or the like. [00521 In the illustrated embodiment, the basic-game screen 110 includes several game session meters, as described with respect to FIG. 3 above. Additionally, the basic game screen 110 includes a time "eligibility" meter 114. The eligibility meter 114 displays the amount of time remaining during which the player of that gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b is eligible to participate in a bonus game. The eligibility meter increases corresponding to and dependent upon the size of the primary wager, the rate of play of the primary wagering game, the outcomes or awards achieved by a player, the number of objects or symbols collected, or any combination thereof. For example, each time the player spins the reels 112, an additional amount of time (e.g., 8 seconds) may be added to the eligibility meter. The eligibility meter 114 counts down (decreases) until the player spins again. Thus, the player is encouraged to spin as often and as quickly as possible in order to increase the amount of time remaining in the eligibility meter 114, thereby remaining eligible for the secondary event or bonus game. The eligibility meter 114 may also include a plurality of multiplier levels such that the eligibility meter 114 displays both a running time meter clock (as in FIG. 5) and a current multiplier level 115. Moreover, as time eligibility is increased, the multiplier levels may increase. Likewise, as time eligibility decreases, the multiplier levels may also decrease. One example of such an eligibility meter is described in PCT Patent Publication WO 2006/121663 and U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2006/0135243, both of which are assigned to WMS Gaming Inc. and are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety as if fully set forth herein. 10053] Turning now to FIG. 6, a secondary event or bonus game 111 is illustrated on the gaming terminal 102a of FIG. 4, according to one embodiment. The basic-game reels I 12a-e 16 displayed on the primary display 14 during the basic game 110 of FIG. 5 are replaced by a bonus set of reels 120a-e, as shown in FIG. 6. In other embodiments, the same set of basic game reels 112a-e or a modified version of the basic-game reels 112a-e (e.g., the basic-game reels 112a-e with substitute symbols or additional symbols) may be used during the bonus game 111. [0054] The bonus game 111 of FIG. 6 may be entered upon the occurrence of a special start-bonus game outcome (e.g., symbol trigger, mystery trigger, etc.) in or during the basic game 110 on any of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b. Alternatively or additionally, the bonus game 11 may be triggered by a time-based trigger. For example, the bonus game 111 may be automatically triggered after every 30 seconds of basic game play. [00551 In order to participate in the bonus game 111, the player playing the gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b must be eligible (e.g., the player must have time remaining on the eligibility meter 114 of FIG. 5). As will be described in more detail below, a "virtual" player may substitute for a player of one of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b that is ineligible to compete or is absent. [0056] During the bonus game 11l, eligible players receive a predetermined amount of individual bonus spins on the bonus set of reels 120a-e displayed on the primary displays 14 of their respective gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b. Each of the players in the group of gaming terminals 100 receives the same amount of bonus spins, and the bonus set of reels 120a-e spin simultaneously on all of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b in the group of gaming terminals 100. 100571 As illustrated in the embodiment of FIG. 6, when Player IA achieves three adjacent or "clumped" "WILD CHEST" symbols 122a-c during a bonus spin, a treasure chest 124 is added to Player IA's pirate ship 106a. It is contemplated that other outcomes may additionally or alternatively cause a treasure chest 124 to be added to the player's pirate ship 106a (e.g., a single WILD CHEST symbol 122 appearing anywhere on the bonus set of reels 120a-e, a predetermined amount of scattered WILD CHEST symbols 122 appearing on the bonus set of reels 120a-e, or the like). As shown in FIG. 6, Player 1 A achieved a total of four treasure chests 124a-d during the bonus spins. [00581 After the predetermined number of free spins is concluded, the bonus game 111 is terminated. In other embodiments, the bonus game III is terminated when one or more end game outcome is achieved. At the end of the bonus game 111, the treasure chests 124 achieved by each player during play of the bonus game 11 may be exchanged or converted into a credit award, which is then awarded to the respective player. Each treasure chest 124 17 may be worth a fixed amount of credits. In another embodiment, the value of each treasure chest 124 increases as the amount of treasure chests 124 achieved increases (e.g., the value of the first treasure chest 124 achieved is less than the value of the second treasure chest 124 achieved, which is less than the value of the third treasure chest 124 achieved, etc.). Each treasure chest 124 may also have a random value associated therewith. [00591 If, during the bonus game 111, a player (e.g., Player IA) achieves a predetermined number of treasure chests 124, the treasure chests 124 may be automatically exchanged for a random jackpot award that is awarded to each of the players (e.g., Player IA and Player I B) on his or her team (e.g., Team 1). A jackpot award of the embodiments described herein is a credit award represented as a monetary value (see FIG. 7). 100601 In the embodiment of FIG. 7, Player 2A playing the gaming terminal 104a (see FIG. 4) has achieved five treasure chests 130a-e. The five treasure chests 130a-e are then automatically traded in for one of the displayed jackpot awards 132. Which jackpot award 132 is awarded may be determined in any suitable way, including randomly, blind-selection by the player, or the like. Player 2A and all of the players (i.e., Player 2B) on Player 2A's team (i.e., Team 2) are awarded the selected jackpot award 132a of $22.01. Because each of the players on Player 2A's team is awarded the same jackpot award achieved by Player 2A, a sense of community and collaboration is achieved among the players on the team (i.e., Team 2). [00611 In one embodiment, once a jackpot award 132a is awarded, that award (e.g., $22.01) is removed from the displayed possible jackpot awards 132 and may no longer be awarded. If only one jackpot award 132 is displayed, and that award is awarded, that jackpot award 1 32 may continue to be displayed after being awarded and may be awarded again. In another embodiment, once all of the displayed jackpot awards 132 have been awarded and removed from the display, a new set of jackpot awards is displayed. [0062] An additional or alternative bonus game embodiment is shown in FIG. 8. FIG. 8 shows the displays 14, 16 of the gaming terminals 102b and 104a of FIG. 4. As illustrated, a "CANNON" symbol 140 has been achieved by Player IB on the bonus reel 120c of the bonus game I 11 on the second gaming terminal 102b. The appearance of the CANNON symbol 140 on one or more of the bonus reels 120a-e triggers a "Pirate Battle" bonus game. It is contemplated that the Pirate Battle bonus game may be triggered in other ways including, but not limited to, randomly. During the Pirate Battle bonus game, a cannonball 142 launches from the pirate ship 106b at one of the pirate ships 106c,d of the opposing team. Here, the cannonball 142 launches at Player 12A's pirate ship 106c. The determination of which 18 opposing-team member's pirate ship 106 is hit by the cannonball 142 may be made randomly, sequentially, by the player, or in any other suitable way. According to one embodiment, if a player achieves a predetermined symbol (e.g., an "EVADE" symbol) on one or more of the reels of the bonus set of reels 120a-e, the player's pirate ship 106 may avoid getting hit by a cannonball 142 launched from a player on an opposing team. It is contemplated that, in certain embodiments, EVADE symbols may only be achieved on less than all of the reels 120a-e, e.g., the fourth reel 120d and the fifth reel 120e. [00631 Hitting a pirate ship 106 with a predetermined number of cannonballs 142 causes the pirate ship 106 to sink. The player who fired the final cannonball that caused the pirate ship 106 to sink then "steals" the treasure chests accumulated on the sunken ship. Referring to FIGs. 9a-d, for example, the secondary display areas 16 of the four gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b are shown. As discussed above, the secondary display areas 16 of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b, which are positioned generally adjacent to one another, function as a single, larger "metascreen" 107. Thus, an object (e.g., a cannonball 142) is displayed as moving from a secondary display area 16 of one gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b to the secondary display area 16 of another gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b. 100641 FIG. 9a shows Player I B's pirate ship 106b launching a cannonball 150a at Player 2A's pirate ship 106c. FIG. 9a also shows Player 2B's pirate ship 106d launching a cannonball 150b at Player IA's pirate ship 106a. The cannonballs are displayed on the metascreen 107 as moving across one or more of the four secondary display areas 16 of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b. Thus, it appears as if they cannonballs 150a,b are actually flying through the air from one pirate ship 106 to another along one continuous display. Because the cannonball 150b launched by Player 2B's pirate ship 106d was the fourth cannonball to hit Player IA's pirate ship 106a, Player lA's pirate ship 106a begins to sink, as shown in FIGs. 9b-d. 100651 Prior to being sunk, Player lA's pirate ship 106a included two treasure chests 152a,b (see FIG. 9a) achieved by Player IA during the previous bonus spins. After Player IA's pirate ship 106a is sunk, Player IA's treasure chests 152a,b are shown as floating atop the water 154 (see FIG. 9c). The treasure chests 152a,b are then "stolen" by Player 2B, who fired the cannonball 150b that ultimately caused Player lA's pirate ship 106a to sink. Thus, as shown in FIG. 9d, the treasure chests 152a,b are added to and displayed on Player 2B's pirate ship 106d. 100661 As shown in the embodiment of FIGs. 9a-d, the pirate ships 106a-d may be displayed as progressively looking more damaged after each time they are hit with a 19 cannonball 142. For example, Player IB's pirate ship 106b and Player 2B's pirate ship 106d have not been hit by any cannonballs, so they are displayed as being undamaged. Player 2A's pirate ship 106c has been hit by at least one cannonball and is, thus, shown as being on fire. When it appears that two pirate ships 106 are sinking at the same time, random fire order determines which pirate ship 106 sinks first. 100671 According to one embodiment, a player (e.g., Player IA of FIGs. 9a-d) having a sunken pirate ship (e.g., pirate ship 106a) may not fire cannonballs at opponents (e.g., Team 2) but may still collect treasure chests during the individual bonus spins (see FIG. 6). As shown in FIG. 10, for example, after Player lA's pirate ship 106a has been sunk, Player IA achieves four additional treasure chests 160a-d during subsequent bonus spins. The additional treasure chests 160a-d are shown as floating on the water 162. The floating treasure chests 160a-d may be traded for a jackpot award. Furthermore, Player 1A may receive jackpot awards obtained by his or her teammates (e.g., Player 1B). However, the floating treasure chests 160a-d may or may not be exchanged or converted into an individual credit award when the bonus game 111 (see FIG. 6) is terminated. [00681 According to one embodiment, a player's sunken ship may be resurrected as a rescue ship or a "ghost ship." A ghost ship may be achieved in a variety of ways. For example, after a predetermined number of bonus spins during the bonus game 111, a team's sunken ships (if any) may be automatically resurrected into ghost ships. The ghost ships may then generally act like regular pirate ships. For example, a ghost ship may fire cannonballs sinking other pirate ships and may steal treasure chests of pirate ships that it sinks. The ghost ship may also re-enable the player's eligibility to obtain a jackpot award (see FIG. 7). Like "regular," non-ghost pirate ships, ghost ships may also sink, e.g., by being hit with a predetermined amount of cannonballs. 100691 As shown in FIG. 11, for example, Player lA's sunken ship has been revived as a "ghost ship" 170. The treasure chests 160a-d previously shown as floating on the water 162 (see FIG. 10) may then be displayed aboard the ghost ship 170. The ghost ship 170 also makes the player re-eligible to exchange its treasure chests 160 (e.g., five treasure chests) for a jackpot award, which would then be awarded to all of the players on Player lA's team (e.g., Player IB). 100701 According to one embodiment, the bonus game continues until all of the pirate ships 106 of one of the teams have been sunk. Alternatively, the bonus game may continue until only a single pirate ship 106 remains floating (i.e., is not sunk). Thus, the amount of 20 free spins is variable in these embodiments. The winning team or player may be awarded, for example, an additional award, promotional coupon, or the like. [00711 As discussed above, a "virtual player" may substitute for an absent or ineligible player during the bonus game 111 on one of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b. Referring back to FIG. 6, a virtual player may not participate in the bonus spins. However, the virtual player's secondary display area 16 may display a pirate ship, treasure chests, and the like. In other words, the secondary display area 16 of the virtual player appears much the same as (or the same as) that of the other "non-virtual," human players. Cannonballs may also be fired from and launched at the virtual player's pirate ship. [00721 In another embodiment, an instant "Little Event" feature may be awarded when a player playing the basic game triggers a bonus while the bonus game IIl (see FIG. 6) is already running on the player's gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b. For example, a player may begin wagering on a gaming terminal 102a,b, 104a,b, in which a virtual player was substituting for an absent player in the Pirate Battle bonus game. Instead of achieving a bonus award, the player may be awarded a credit equivalent of a bonus award. Thus, in one example, an instant award of "1000 credits" may be randomly awarded to the player as a Little Event award in the basic game. [0073] FIGs. 12a shows the result of a bonus spin in which three "MAP" symbols 180a-c were achieved by a player. Each of the MAP symbols 180a-c masks either a credit award or a number of additional bonus spins. The player who achieved the three MAP symbols 180a-c may select one of the MAP symbols 180a-c, and the award associated with the selected MAP symbol 180a-c is then awarded. If the player selects a MAP symbol masking a credit award, the corresponding credit award is awarded to the player only. If, however, the player selects a MAP symbol masking an award of additional bonus spins, such bonus spins are awarded to all of the players in the group of gaming terminals 100. [0074] As shown in FIG. 12b, the player of the illustrated embodiment selected the second map symbol 180b, which masked a "3 MORE FREE SPINS" award 182b. Thus, the player, the player's teammate(s), and the players on the opposing team receive three additional bonus spins. If, on the other hand, the player had selected one of the other MAP symbols 180a,c, which masked CREDITS awards, only the player would receive the associated credit amount. The player's teammate(s) and/or the members of the opposing team would not receive the credit award. [00751 In one embodiment, all award values achieved during the bonus spins may be multiplied by a multiplier. The multiplier may be a "Big Event" type multiplier, as described 21 in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. ***. For example, the multiplier may be displayed to the player during the basic game via the eligibility meter, as described above. The multiplier may be based, for example, on the amount the player has wagered, the rate of play, combinations thereof, or the like. The multiplier generally does not come into play until the bonus game is triggered. [00761 Another type of bonus event - a "Cannon Bonus" - is shown on the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b in FIG. 13. In this embodiment, the metascreen 107 formed by the combination of secondary display areas 16 of the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b displays two pirate ships 200a, 200b. The first pirate ship 200a is associated with Team I and is displayed on the secondary display areas 16 of the first and second gaming terminals 102a,b. The second pirate ship 200b is associated with Team 2 and is displayed on the secondary display areas 16 of the third and fourth gaming terminals 104a,b. As described above, elements displayed on the metascreen 107 may move across the various secondary display areas, thereby making it appear that the secondary display areas are actually a single, large display area. 100771 The Cannon Bonus may be triggered in any suitable way. In one non-limiting example, the Cannon Bonus is triggered by the appearance of three clumped "WILD CANNON" symbols (not shown), three scattered WILD CANNON symbols, the appearance of other symbols, or the like. The Cannon Bonus may also be triggered at random ("mystery") times or at predetermined times by the controller. 100781 After the Cannon Bonus is triggered, each of the first and second pirate ships 200a, 200b is displayed with various values 210 thereon (see FIGs. 14a,b). As shown in FIGs. 14a,b, question mark "?" symbols 212 are included among the values 210. FIG. 14a shows the secondary display areas 16 of the first and second gaming terminals 102a,b (Team 1), and FIG. 14b shows the secondary display areas 16 of the third and fourth gaming terminals 104a,b (Team 2). [00791 As shown in FIG. 15, the values 210 randomly "explode" one by one until only value 210 remains. In one embodiment, the "explosions" alternate in sequence between pirate ships 200a,b until only one value 210 remains on each pirate ship 200a,b. Referring to FIG. 16, the final remaining value on the first pirate ship 200a is 100 credits. That value of 100 credits is then awarded to each of the members (Players IA and IB) of Team 1. 100801 If the final remaining value 210 is a question mark symbol (see FIG. 17), the question mark symbol "bangs up" to end on a credit value. In other words, the question mark symbol is transformed into, e.g., a "0" credit value, which incrementally increases until it 22 randomly stops at a given credit value. As shown in FIGs. 18, the team having the highest remaining value 210 enters a "Treasure Bonus" game, while players of the non-winning team(s) resume their basic games. 10081] As shown in FIG. 19, during the Treasure Bonus game, the value 210 of the winning team (e.g., Team 1) is displayed on the pirate ship 200a. As shown, each of the gaming terminals 102a, 102b displays a map 220a, 220b. Each of the maps 220a, 220b includes five player-selectable treasure chests 222. Each player may select one treasure chest 220 displayed on his or her respective gaming terminal 102a, 102b to "dig up." Once a treasure chest is selected, a pirate 230a, 230b and a parrot 232a, 232b begin digging in a space corresponding with the treasure chest 220a, 220b selected by the player. Referring to FIG. 20, for example, the first pirate 230a of gaming terminal 102a digs in a lower, left-hand area 234 corresponding with the position of the treasure chest 220a selected by Player 1A, thereby uncovering an award value of 125 credits. Likewise, the second pirate 230b digs in an upper, right-hand area 236 corresponding with the position of the treasure chest 220b selected by Player I B, thereby uncovering a "2x" multiplier. [00821 As shown in FIG. 21, any award value and/or multiplier dug up by the players of the winning team is combined with the Cannon Bonus award (e.g., 100 credits, see FIG. 18), and the resulting award is awarded to each player on the winning team. Thus, in the illustrated embodiment, each player receives 100 credits (the Cannon Bonus award) plus 125 credits (obtained by Player IA during the Treasure Bonus game). The resulting credit amount (225 credits) is then multiplied by two (2x multiplier obtained by Player IB during the Treasure Bonus game). Thus, Player IA and Player lB both receive a total of 450 credits. [00831 If more than one multiplier is obtained by the players during the Treasure Bonus game, the multipliers are combined and awarded to each of the players on the team. For example, if Player IA "digs up" a 2x multiplier, and Player l B also digs up a 2x multiplier, a 4x multiplier would be applied to the Cannon Bonus award (e.g., 100 credits, see FIG. 18). Thus, Player IA and Player lB would both receive an award of 400 credits. 100841 If the team participating in the Treasure Bonus game includes a virtual player, the pirate 230 (see FIG. 20) digs up a treasure chest positioned in a randomly-determined location. The resulting award value is awarded to the virtual player's teammates(s). [00851 If all of the players of a particular team are ineligible for the bonus, a virtual team may participate in the Cannon Bonus game. However, if the virtual team receives the highest final remaining value 210 in the Cannon Bonus game, the Treasure Bonus game is not triggered.

23 100861 According to another embodiment, when a player's pirate ship 106 is hit with a cannonball 142 or sunk during the bonus game 11 (see FIGs. 9A-9D), the number or value of potential winning outcomes is affected. In one example, when the player's pirate ship 106 is hit or sunk, the number of reels in the bonus set of reels 120a-e is reduced. For example, one or more of the player's reels may be deactivated, thereby making the symbols positioned thereon unable to contribute to winning symbol combinations. Thus, the ability to achieve high payouts (e.g., by achieving more matching symbols on more activated pay lines) may be affected by a previous event or events, e.g., an event caused by a player on an opposing team. Furthermore, a player may lose his or her ability to achieve certain winning combinations based on another player's actions adversely affecting the player. [00871 Additionally or alternatively, hitting or sinking a player's pirate ship 106 may cause the player's award multiplier (see multiplier 115 of FIG. 5) to decrease. For example, the player's award multiplier may be reduced each time the player's pirate ship 106 is hit, and the multiplier may be reduced to lx if and when the player's pirate ship 106 is sunk. [00881 According to one embodiment, one or more reels of the players on a particular team are "communal" reels. In other words, the communal reel(s) of the team will always spin identically, i.e., display the same symbols, on the gaming terminals of all of the players on that team. The remaining "non-communal" reels will display different symbols for the different team members. Referring to the embodiments discussed herein, for example, it is also contemplated that the players of the first team 105a will have one or more communal reels, and the players of the second team 105b will have a different number of communal reels (e.g., no communal reels). 100891 According to another embodiment, players playing different wagering games (e.g., other than the pirate-themed game discussed herein) may place side wagers on the outcome of the Pirate Battle bonus game (e.g., bonus game I11 of FIGs. 6-11) via, e.g., a portal mechanism. Thus, according to one example, a player playing a different, unrelated base wagering game and/or type of wagering game on a portal gaming terminal may be alerted when the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b of the pirate-themed game enter the Pirate Battle bonus game, and the player may be given the opportunity to place a side wager on the outcome of the Pirate Battle bonus game. Furthermore, the player playing an unrelated base wagering game may be alerted when his or her friend playing the pirate-themed game enters the Pirate Battle bonus game such that the player may place a side wager on his or her friend's pirate ship 106. The players placing side wagers ("portal players") may then be treated as members of the team on which they place their side wagers. In other words, when 24 the team (or team member) on which the portal player placed his side wager is awarded an award, the portal player may likewise be awarded the same award. Such side wagering provides an opportunity for players not participating in the Pirate Battle bonus game to experience a community, team aspect. [00901 In one embodiment, when a Pirate Battle bonus game is triggered, the portal gaming terminal at which a portal player has placed a side wager displays at least a portion of the Pirate Battle bonus game. For example, at least a portion of at least one of the displays (the primary display, the secondary display, or a portion thereof) may display the bonus set of reels 120a-e of the Pirate Battle bonus game, the pirate ships 106 firing cannonballs 142 at one another (see FIGs. 9a-9d), or a combination thereof. If the portal gaming terminal only includes a single display, the Pirate Battle bonus game may temporarily interrupt and "take over" the portal gaming terminal such that only the Pirate Battle bonus game can be viewed. The basic game of the portal gaming terminal may be put "on hold" pending the conclusion of the Pirate Battle bonus game. In another embodiment, a screen-in-screen display may be used in which the Pirate Battle bonus game is displayed, for example, in a corner or other portion of the portal gaming terminal's display. In yet another embodiment, the Pirate Battle bonus game is not displayed on the portal gaming terminal. The player is merely alerted visually, via audio, or a combination thereof - that the Pirate Battle bonus game was triggered and/or the results of the Pirate Battle bonus game. 100911 According to yet another embodiment illustrated in FIGs. 22a,b, the wagering games of the embodiments disclosed herein may be displayed on a gaming table 250 synchronized with a bank of games and portal games. Referring to FIG. 22a, the table 250 is shown having four players playing base wagering games 252a, 252b, 252c, 252d thereon. Each of the wagering games 252a-d is displayed on adjacent primary and secondary displays 14, 16 located at respective stations 254a-d. The first station 254a displays a Time-Machine themed base game, the second station 254b and the fourth station 254d display pirate-themed base games, and the third station 254c displays a fruit-based base game. The center of the table 250 includes a center display 256. 100921 As shown in FIG. 22a, prior to the Pirate Battle bonus game being triggered, the primary displays 14 of the respective stations 254a-d display the base game of each of the wagering games 252a-d, and the secondary displays 16 of the respective stations 254a-d display the bonus games associated with each of the wagering games 252a-d. In the embodiment of FIG. 22a, the center display 256 displays the four pirate ships 106a-d of the pirate-themed bonus game (shown displayed on the secondary displays 16 in FIG. 4).

25 [00931 FIG. 22b shows the table 250 of FIG. 22a after the Pirate Battle bonus game has been triggered. As shown in FIG. 22b, the stations 254b, 254d at which the pirate-themed base game is being played display the bonus set of reels 120a-e on the primary displays 14 and the respective player's pirate ships 106 on the secondary display 16. In the illustrated embodiment, the stations at which games other than the pirate-themed base game are being played ("portal stations") 254a, 254c continue to display the respective base games on the primary displays 14. Once the Pirate Battle bonus game has been triggered, the secondary displays 16 of the portal stations 254a, 254c begin to display elements of the Pirate Battle bonus game. For example, as shown in FIG. 22b, the secondary displays 16 of the portal stations 254a, 254c may display the Pirate Battle bonus set of reels 120a-e. The secondary displays 16 of the portal stations 254a, 254c may also or alternatively display the pirate ship 106 on which the player playing the wagering game 252a, 252c of the portal station 254a, 254c placed a side wager. The center display 256 displays the four pirate ships 106a-d firing and being hit with cannonballs 142, as described above with respect to FIGs. 9a-d. [0094] According to one embodiment, the gaming terminals and/or the gaming table described herein include a sensory immersion game including features that assist in making a player feel as if he or she is on a pirate ship, on the ocean, etc. For example, the gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b may include lighting on the outside of the gaming terminal (e.g., surrounding the primary display 14 and/or the secondary display 16) that changes based on occurrences of the wagering game. For example, the lighting may become darker or display darker colors when the Pirate Battle bonus game is triggered. 100951 The gaming terminals 102a,b, 104a,b may also include 3D or surround sound speakers mounted on a chair of the gaming machines 102a,b, 104a,b, for example typically behind a player's head at the top of the chair. Celebratory music or other sounds may be played back through the 31) or surround sound speakers of the chair upon occurrence of the triggering event, thereby making the player feel as if he or she is on the ocean, on a pirate ship under attack, etc. For more information regarding such surround sound gaming terminal chairs, the reader is referred, for example, to the commonly-assigned U.S. Patent No. 7,367,886 entitled "Gaming System With Surround Sound" and issued May 6, 2008, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. If a portal gaming terminal does not include such a chair, the sounds associated with the Pirate Battle bonus game may include a mix of audio from the base game of the portal gaming terminal and the Pirate Battle bonus game. Alternatively, the Pirate Battle bonus game sounds may interrupt the base game sounds or may not be played at all on the portal gaming terminal.

26 [00961 Additionally or alternatively, the chair may include a motion feature. The motion feature may be programmed such that the chair's movement is associated with occurrences of the wagering game. For example, the chair may vibrate when the pirate ship 106 of the gaming machine 102a,b, 104a,b is hit by a cannonball 142 during the Pirate Battle bonus game. One non-limiting example of a motion system that may be used is the D-BOX Motion CodeTM (D-BOX Technologies, Inc., Canada). [00971 FIG. 23, described by way of example above, represents one algorithm that corresponds to the at least some instructions executed by the controller 34 and/or external systems 50 in FIG. 2 to perform the above described functions associated with the disclosed concepts. At step 300, a user interface device accepts a player input from at least one of a plurality of linked gaming terminals and transforms the player input to electronic data signals indicative of a wager to play the wagering game. At step 302, one or more processors interprets the wager from the data signals and causes the recording of a digital representation of the wager in a storage device. At step 304, at least one of the processors causes the display of a visual indication of the wager on a display device, wherein the visual indication includes a basic game image. At step 306, at least one of the processors initiates a secondary event, the secondary event including a continuous image displayed across at least one display of each of the linked gaming machines. At step 308, an outcome of the secondary event is determined. [00981 Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims. 100991 Throughout this specification and the claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word "comprise", and variations such as "comprises" or "comprising", will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or step or group of integers or steps but not the exclusion of any other integer or step or group of integers or steps. 1001001 The reference in this specification to any prior publication (or information derived from it), or to any matter which is known, is not, and should not be taken as an acknowledgment or admission or any form of suggestion that that prior publication (or information derived from it) or known matter forms part of the common general knowledge in the field of endeavour to which this specification relates.

Claims (21)

1. A gaming system comprising: a plurality of linked gaming terminals, each terminal including a wager input device for receiving a wager to play a wagering game, one or more displays displaying a portion of a continuous image, and a controller coupled to the one or more displays and the wager input device, the controller operative to cause at least one of the displays to display a community gaming event, wherein two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a first team and two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a second team, the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the first team forming a first portion of the continuous image representing the first team and the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the second team forming a second portion of the continuous image representing the second team; and wherein the first portion of the continuous image is altered in direct response to an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the second team.
2. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the first team competes against the second team.
3. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the one or more displays are operative to display a basic game and a secondary event.
4. The gaming system of claim 3, wherein the secondary event is triggered on the plurality of linked gaming terminals at predetermined time intervals.
5. The gaming system of claim 4, wherein a player associated with one of the plurality of linked gaming terminals eligible for the secondary event at the time the secondary event is triggered participates in the secondary event. C:\User\DERntemoven\NRPrbl\DCC\DER\494010_ DOC-4/02/203 -28
6. The gaming system of claim 5, wherein a virtual player substitutes for a player associated with one of the plurality of linked gaming terminals ineligible for the secondary event at the time the secondary event is triggered.
7. The gaming system of claim 3, wherein the secondary event includes collecting one or more collectable elements in response to a predetermined event.
8. The gaming system of claim 7, wherein, in response to a gaming terminal associated with the first team obtaining a predetermined number of collectable elements, the collectable elements are exchanged for an award, the award being awarded on all of the gaming terminals associated with the first team.
9. A method of conducting a community wagering game on a plurality of linked gaming terminals, the wagering game including a game sequence in which a player input is detected and a wagering game outcome is determined in response to the detected input, the wagering game including a basic game and a secondary event, the method comprising the acts of: using an interface device to detect the player input and transforming the detected player input to electronic data signals indicative of a wager to play the wagering game; using one or more processors to interpret the wager from the data signals and to cause the recording of a digital representation of the wager in one or more storage devices; using at least one of the processors to cause one or more display devices to display the basic game; and using at least one of the processors to initiate the secondary event in response to a triggering event during the basic game, the secondary event including a continuous image displayed across at least one display of each of the linked gaming terminals, wherein two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a first team and two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a second team, the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the first team forming a first portion of the continuous image representing the first team and the displays of the linked gaming terminals associated with the second team forming a second portion C:\Uses\DER\lmenvoven\NRPkonbl\DCC\DER\49140 10_Ldoc-4/02/20I3 - 29 of the continuous image representing the second team, and wherein the first portion of the continuous image is altered in direct response to an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the second team.
10. The method of conducting a wagering game of claim 9, wherein at least two of the processors are located in separate enclosures from one another, and wherein the gaming apparatus further comprises a network communication link establishing operable communication between the processors in the separate enclosures.
11. The method of conducting a wagering game of claim 9, wherein the secondary event is triggered on the plurality of linked gaming terminals at predetermined time intervals.
12. The method of conducting a wagering game of claim 9, further comprising collecting one or more collectable elements in response to a predetermined event during the secondary event.
13. The gaming system of claim 12, wherein, in response to a gaming terminal associated with the first team obtaining a predetermined number of the collectable elements, exchanging the collectable elements for an award, the award being awarded on all of the gaming terminal associated with the first team.
14. The method of claim 9, wherein the outcome achieved on the one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the second team is achieved on a plurality of reels displayed on the one or more gaming terminals associated with the second team.
15. The gaming system of claim 9, wherein the alteration of the first portion of the continuous image affects the likelihood that a particular award will be achieved by the first team. C UsrsDER\lnterwoven\NRPonbl\CC\DER\4904010_l. DOC-t/02/2013 -30
16. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the outcome is achieved on a plurality of reels displayed on the one or more gaming terminals associated with the second team.
17. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the alteration of the first portion of the continuous image affects the likelihood that a particular award will be achieved by the first team.
18. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the one or more displays of the plurality of linked gaming terminals further display a plurality of reels, the number of activated reels of at least one gaming terminal associated with first team being reduced based on the outcome achieved on the one or more gaming terminals associated with the second team.
19. The gaming system of claim 1 further comprising a gaming table including at least one of the plurality of linked gaming terminals, the one or more displays being positioned on a top surface of the gaming table.
20. A gaming system comprising: a plurality of linked gaming terminals, each terminal including a wager input device for receiving a wager to play a wagering game, one or more displays displaying a portion of a continuous image, and a controller coupled to the one or more displays and the wager input device, the controller operative to cause the gaming system to: display a community gaming event in which two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a first team and two or more of the plurality of linked gaming terminals are associated with a second team, the continuous image including a first portion representing the first team and a second portion representing the second team, add one or more collectable elements to the first portion of the continuous image in response to an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the first team, and C:\Users\DER~ewoven\NRPortbl\DCC\DER\4904UI0_IDOC-4102/2013 -31 transfer the one or more collectable elements to the second portion of the continuous image based on an outcome achieved on one or more of the gaming terminals associated with the second team.
21. A gaming system or a method of conducting a community wagering game substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
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US20080311980A1 (en) * 2001-12-21 2008-12-18 Igt Method and apparatus for competitive bonus games based upon strategy or skill
US20060094495A1 (en) * 2004-10-29 2006-05-04 Philip Gelber Wagering game with competitive multi-tier event
US20080070680A1 (en) * 2006-06-13 2008-03-20 Igt Server based gaming system and method for selectively providing one or more different tournaments

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