GB2181589A - Entertainment machines - Google Patents

Entertainment machines Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2181589A
GB2181589A GB08624121A GB8624121A GB2181589A GB 2181589 A GB2181589 A GB 2181589A GB 08624121 A GB08624121 A GB 08624121A GB 8624121 A GB8624121 A GB 8624121A GB 2181589 A GB2181589 A GB 2181589A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
display
jackpot
machine according
characterised
displays
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB08624121A
Other versions
GB8624121D0 (en
GB2181589B (en
Inventor
John Laurence Wain
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Barcrest Ltd
Original Assignee
Barcrest Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to GB858524908A priority Critical patent/GB8524908D0/en
Application filed by Barcrest Ltd filed Critical Barcrest Ltd
Publication of GB8624121D0 publication Critical patent/GB8624121D0/en
Publication of GB2181589A publication Critical patent/GB2181589A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of GB2181589B publication Critical patent/GB2181589B/en
Application status is Expired legal-status Critical

Links

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
    • G07F17/3244Payment aspects of a gaming system, e.g. payment schemes, setting payout ratio, bonus or consolation prizes

Abstract

A coin- or token-operated entertainment machine such as a fruit machine produces a symbol combination e.g. by random rotation of symbol-bearing reels (8) and a win indication is given if the combination is of a predetermined winning nature. There is also a jackpot feature whereby prize value is transferred between separate jackpot displays (18a, 18b, 18c) as successive games are played. On attaining a jackpot win, the player can receive a prize corresponding to one or more of the jackpots. The jackpot displays may simulate movement of coins (21,22) from one to the other of the jackpots (18a, 18b, 18c). <IMAGE>

Description

1 -11 GB 2 181 589 A 1

SPECIFICATION

Entertainment machines This invention relates to coin- (or token-) operated entertainment machines of the kind which is operable to play games resulting in the selection and display of combinations of symbols and with which a win indication is given in the eventthat a symbol combination of a predetermined winning nature is obtained. The invention is more particularly, although not exclusively, concerned with such a machinewhich is a fruit machine and with which the displayed symbols (typically representations of fruit) are selected at random, for example, by rotation of reels or by change of a video display simulating the rotation of reels.

With a viewto promoting the entertainment value of fruit machines it is known to provide ajackpot feature. With traditional mechanical fruit machines this customarily involvesthe provision of a mechanism which diverts occasional inserted coins into an exposed glass-fronted receptacle, the accumulated contents of the receptacle being discharged to the player on attaining a predetermined jackpot symbol combination. With modern electronicfruit machines it is known to provide a display simulating this traditional jackpotfeature comprising a number of representations of coins which are successively il- luminated to simulate the filling of a receptacle, a payout determined by the number of illuminated coin representations being made, and illumination of the representations being correspondingly extinguished, when a jackpotwin is obtained. This modern jackpotfeature is commonly linked to an auxiliary displaywith which different display regions, such as letters of a word orsections of a path or ladder, are illuminated in correspondence with selection of auxiliary symbols such as numbers or letters accompanying (e.g. printed over) the main combination symbols, the jackpotwin being obtained for examplewhen all letters of a word have been illuminated or illumination has progressed along a path or ladderto reach a jackpot indicator.

With this known jackpot arrangement problems arise. Firstly, in so far asthe accumulated jackpot prize value is carried forward atthe end of each game and displayed priorto purchase and commencement of the next game, an element of predict- ability is introduced which may be undesirable or unacceptable. Secondly, after payout of a jackpot prize the feature may be of little interest to the player until sufficient games have been played to give rise to the accumulation of an appreciable prizevalue.

An object of the present invention is to provide an entertainment machine having a jackpotfeature and with which the above-described problems can be avoided or at least appreciably reduced.

According to the invention therefore there is prov- ided a coin(ortoken-) operated entertainment machinewhich is operableto play games resulting in the selection and display of combinations of symbols and with which a win indication is given in the event that a symbol combination of a predetermined winn- ing nature is obtained, characterised in that there is also a plurality of jackpot displays between which jackpot prize value is transferred as successive games are played, and the arrangement is such that the player has the opportunity in at least some games of achieving a prize award equal to the accumulated value of at least one of the jacket displays.

With this arrangement it will be understood that additional entertainment value arises in thatthe playercan observethe accumulation of prize value occurring in onejackpot display bytransferfrom the otherdisplay or displays, but atthe same timethere isthe possibility of avoiding undue predictability in so far asthe player may not know in advancewhich jackpot prizevalue will be awarded should he achieve a jackpotwin. Moreover, following ajackpot win, player interestcan be maintained since it isfeasible immediatelyto resetthejackpot displays so that appreciable prize value is again available for award. In this respect, it isto be understood thatthejackpot arrangement of the invention relies essentially on the re-distribution ratherthan overall accumulation of prize valuewherebythe total prize value can be maintained at an appreciable level at all times. Indeed, and in accordancewith a preferred embodiment of the invention the overall prize value may be maintained constant orsubstantially constant at all times.

Conveniently there may bethree separatejackpot displays although any suitable number may be provided as desired. The displays may comprise simula- ted coin receptacles, numerical displays or any other suitable display or combination of displays.

The arrangement may be such thattransfer occurs atthe start or end of a game or during the course of a game on a regular predictable basis or at random or in response to selection of a predetermined symbol or combination of symbols as desired. Transfer may involve simulated movement, e.g. of a coin, f rom one to another of the jackpot displays. Transfer may occur in a predetermined direction and in a pred- etermined manner. In a particularly preferred embodimenttransfer occurs from displayto display in a predetermined order until an end display is filled. The displays maythen reset or, alternatively, transfer may then occurfrom the filled display back to the other display or displays either moving in reverse or continuing around a loop.

Thejackpot prizevalue may be a value of coins (or tokens) or may constitute one or more gamefeatures (such asfruit machine "hold" or"nudge" steps) or any other suitable award.

Award of jackpot prize value may be made available in response to selection of a predetermined symbol combination. Alternatively the jackpot feature may be linked to an auxiliary displaywhereby it is necessaryto reach a predetermined position on a ladder or path orto illuminate a word orthe like, by attaining successively appropriate auxiliary symbols accompanying the main symbol display, in orderfor ajackpot prize award to be made available. Alternati- vely or additionally the jackpot prize award may be made available on a random basis.

When made available the appropriate jackpot value may be awarded automatically. Alternatively it may be necessary forthe playerto take appropriate action, for example, by pressing a jackpot payout 2 GB 2 181 589 A 2 button and in this case an element of skill or choice maybe introduced in that, for example, the jackpots andlor different combinations of the jackpots are made available in turn and the player has to press the button atthe appropriate instantto obtain a desired payout.

The machine of the invention is preferably afruit machine of the kind described above.

The invention will now be described further byway of example only and with reference to the ac- companying drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a diagrammatic view of the front of one form of an entertainment machine according to the invention; and Figure2 is a schematic circuitcliagram of the 80 machine.

The entertainment machine shown in the drawings is a fruit machine and comprises a floor-standing box-shaped housing 1 having a front wall which in- cludes a screen-printed glass sheet 2 and, belowthis sheet 2 a series of operating buttons including a start button 3, hold/nudge buttons 4, and a jackpot button 5. The frontwall also contains a payout opening 6 and a coin slot 7.

Within the housing there arethree axially aligned reels 8 having, say, 20 symbols (such as pictures of fruit) at regularly spaced positions around their peripheries. The reels 8 are axially rotatable and are drivably connected to respective stepper motors 9. The reels 8 are arranged behind a window 10 defined by a printed region of the glass panel 2. Each reel 8 can be arrested, bythe respective stepper motor 9, in any of 20 stopping positions in which one symbol is in precise registration with a horizontal win line 11 in the centre of the window 10 and two further symbols are visible above and belowthe win line 11.

The stepper motors 9 are connected to a microprocessor-based control unit 12. This control unit 12 is also connected to a coin mechanism 13, a payout mechanism 14, the buttons 3-5, various lamps 15 behind printed display regions of the panel and lamps 16 in the buttons 3-5.

The panel 2 bears printed matter additional to the window 10 including the following:- information relating to the playing of the game including details of awards which can be achieved; an auxiliary display constituting a ladder 17; three jackpot displays 18 (indicated 18a, 18b, 18c); a series of display indicators 19 alongside the dis- plays; a "double" indication 20 beneath each display 18.

The jackpot displays 18 constitute three sets of 10 representations 21 of coins linked by a circular path made up of further representations 22 of coins.

In use, when the machine isfirstswitched on, selected ones upto half in total (preferably half i.e. 15) of the coin representations 21 are backilluminated. The illuminated representations 21 are distributed between the three displays 18 (e.g. say five in each). This start-up procedure, as in the case with the subsequent game playing procedure yetto be described, iscontrolled bythe control unit 12 in accordance with a game programme stored in ROM memory addressed bythe microprocessor of the unit.

When the player inserts coins into the coin mechanism 13 through the coin slot 7 sufficientto generate creditfor one or more games, the machine is actuated such that a game can now be played. In con- ventional mannerthe player can press the start button 3 to cause the reels 8 to rotate and come to rest after different respective random periods of time so as to display a selected symbol combination on the win line 11. At random atthe start of some games the player is given the opportunity of arresting one or more reels 8 against rotation by pressing one or more hold/nudge buttons 4. At random atthe end of some games the player is given the opportunity of stepping one or more reels 8 through one or more steps by pressing one or more hold/nudge buttons 4.

Atthe end of the game the combination of symbols on the win line 11 is known by the control unit 12 since the original starting position of the reels 8 and the number of steps throug h which each reel has rotated is known (because each stepper motor 9 is driven by a counted number of impulses fed from the control unit 12). If the final combination is of a predetermined winning nature corresponding to a payout, the payout mechanism 14 is appropriately actuated.

One or more symbols on the periphery of each reel is overprinted in conventional mannerwith a number. Initially (e.g. when credit is first accumulated by insertion of coins),the bottom "rung" 23 of the ladder 17 is illuminated. Atthe end of a gamethe illumination moves upthe ladder, in conventional manner, in correspondence with thevalue of any overprinted numberwhich is on the win line 11. On reaching thetop of the ladder 17the illumination re- turnstothe bottom "rung" 23. The top four positions 24-27 on the ladder correspond to jackpot features. If the top position 24 is illuminated,the playercan press thejackpot button 5 and a payout equal tothe total contents of all jackpot displays 18 is made (e.g.

15 coins). If the next position 25 is illuminated the indicators 19 alongsidethe displays 18 are illuminated slowly in sequence and the playercan pressthe button 5 atthe appropriate instantto obtain a payout equal to the contents of a selected one of the displays 18 (i.e. that display 18 which has the corresponding indicator 19 illuminated). If the next position 26 is illuminatedthe playercan again pressthe button 5to obtain payout equal tothe contents of one of the displays 18which has a corresponding indicator 19 il- luminated butthe sequencing of the illuminated indicators 19 occurs rapidly so thatskill must be excerised in orderto select a desired display 18. If the position 27 is illuminated one display 18 is selected at random for payout purposes.

In randomly selected occasional games the "double" indicators 20 are illuminated. Anyjackpot payout made in relation to a display 18 corresponding to an illuminated "double" indicator 20 is of a value equal to double the contents of that display 18.

At appropriate occasions, e.g. at random or atthe start or end of each game, the contents of the displays 18 are redistributed. On each such occasion there is a change representing movement of one or more coins. Movement may occur successively from display 18a to display 18b to display 18c and then A -W 3 GB 2 181 589 A 3 1..

backto display 18a. In more detail, initiallycoins move alternatelyfrom display 18ato display 18b and then from display 18bto display 18cuntil the end display 18cisfull. Then coins movefrom display 18cto display 18a and so on. Other patterns of movement are also possible. Movement occurs by extinguishing a lamp 15 in one display 18, temporarily illuminating the lamp 15 (or successive lamps 15) between this display 18 and the next display 18 (at location 22) and then illuminating a lamp 15 in the latter display 18. Atthe end of a game not resulting in a jackpotwin the distribution of coins in the displays 18 is maintained forthe next game, even if there is no credit remaining forthe playing of the next game. The lamps 15 of the displays 18 may remain lit during this carry over period between games. In the eventthat a jackpotwin is obtained the machine resetswith regard to the displayed pattern of coins. Thus, the display may return to the original starting pattern. Alter- natively, and particularly where the jackpot payout corresponds to only part of the total available, that part may be resetwhereby the overall pattern is maintained as it was before the payout.

With the arrangement described there is carry over of a jackpotfeature f rom game to game butthere is little predictability because the player cannot know in advance which jackpot wil 1 be awarded on achieving a jackpot win. Moreover, it will be seen thatthetotal possible jackpot payout is always the same since it is the distribution, notthe overall accumulation, which changes.

With regard to the indicators 19, more of these are shown than the displays 18a, 18b, 18c. The arrangement may be such that there is one indicator for each display and the indicator is appropriately identified to correspond to the respective display. Thus, three indicators may respectively bearthe printed information POT 1, POT 2, POT3. The other indicators may be appropriately identified to correspond to otherop- tions e.g.'iose','chance'etc. whereby selection of these during thejackpot phase results correspondingly in a lostjackpot or a randomly selected jackpot payout or otherwise.

Whilst reference is made to movement of features on and interpretation of the displayed information on the front panel 2, it is of course to be appreciated that the motivation forthe changes in the displays and the interpretation of such changes occurs within the control unit 12.

Thus, when lights advance up rungs of the ladder 17 in correspondence with overprinted numbers on the reel displays, this occurs because the unit 12 knowsthe stopping positions of the reels (as discussed above) and istherefore ableto derive a num- erical value (corresponding to the overprinted number) from stored data. This numerical value is used to control thetransmission of switching pulses to the ladder lights and thefinally illuminated rung is known as a function of the number of such switching pulses. Similarly, movement of the coins and illumination of indicators 19,20 is controlled byfeed of switching pulsesfrom the unit and responseto a final display (in terms of payoutto be made) is determined bythe unit 12 on assessment of the pattern orsequ- ence of light switching pulses with reference to sto- red data. In effect therefore the pots 18a, 18b, 18c correspond to the contents of respective incremented and decremented memories or respective stored numerical values in a memory area of the unit 12.

It is of course to be understood thatthe invention is not intended to be restricted to the details of the above embodimentwhich are described by way of exampleonly.

Claims (11)

1. A coin (or token-) operated entertainment machine which is operable to play games resulting in the selection and display of combinations of symbols and with which a win indication is given in the event that a symbol combination of a predetermined winning nature is obtained, characterised in thatthere is also a plurality of jackpot displays between which jackpot prize value is transferred as successive games are played, and the arrangement is such that the player has the opportunity in at least some games of achieving a prize award equal to the accumulated value of at least one of the jackpot displays.
2. A machine according to claim 1, characterised in that there are three separate jackpot displays.
3. A machine according to claim 1 or2, characterised in that the said transfer of value involves simulated movement from one to another of the jackpotdisplays.
4. A machine according to claim 3, characterised in thatthe displays comprise simulated coin recep tacles and the simulated movement involves move ment of coins.
5. A machine according to claim 3 or4, char- acterised in that transfer occurs from display to display in a predetermined order until an end display is filled.
6. A machine according to claim 5, characterised in that afterfilling of the end displaytransferthen occurs from the filled display backto the other displayordisplays.
7. A machine according to anyone of claims 1 to 6, characterised in that a jackpot prize award is made available after attaining a predetermined position on an auxiliary display path or ladder.
8. A machine according to claim 7, characterised in that progression along the path or ladder is achieved in dependence on the attainment of successive symbols auxiliaryto the said symbol com- bination.
9. A machine according to anyone of claims 1 to 8, characterised in that a jackpot payout is arranged to be awarded, when made available, only after pressing a payout button.
10. A machine according to anyone of claims 1 to 9, characterised in that it is a fruit machine and the said symbol combination is selected by random rotation of reels.
11. A machine according to claim 1, substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to and as illustrated in the accompanying drawing.
Printed for Her Majesty's Stationery Office by Croydon Printing Company (UK) Ltd,3187, D8991685. Published by The Patent Office, 25Southampton Buildings, London, WC2A lAY, from which copies maybe obtained.
GB8624121A 1985-10-09 1986-10-08 Entertainment machines Expired GB2181589B (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB858524908A GB8524908D0 (en) 1985-10-09 1985-10-09 Entertainment machines

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GB8624121D0 GB8624121D0 (en) 1986-11-12
GB2181589A true GB2181589A (en) 1987-04-23
GB2181589B GB2181589B (en) 1989-04-05

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GB8624121A Expired GB2181589B (en) 1985-10-09 1986-10-08 Entertainment machines

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Also Published As

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EP0219305A3 (en) 1987-07-29
GB8624121D0 (en) 1986-11-12
GB8524908D0 (en) 1985-11-13
EP0219305A2 (en) 1987-04-22
GB2181589B (en) 1989-04-05

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