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Gaming machine with base game bonus feature

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Publication number
US20080113762A1
US20080113762A1 US12017941 US1794108A US2008113762A1 US 20080113762 A1 US20080113762 A1 US 20080113762A1 US 12017941 US12017941 US 12017941 US 1794108 A US1794108 A US 1794108A US 2008113762 A1 US2008113762 A1 US 2008113762A1
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US
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Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
game
feature
base
bonus
machine
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.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12017941
Inventor
George Roukis
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.)
Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd
Original Assignee
Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty 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
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    • 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
    • G07F17/3267Game outcomes which determine the course of the subsequent game, e.g. double or quits, free games, higher payouts, different new games
    • 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

Abstract

A gaming machine has a display and a game controller arranged to control images of symbols displayed on the display. The game controller is arranged to play a game wherein at least one random event is caused to be displayed on the display. If a predefined winning event occurs, the machine awards a prize. Further, if an appropriate determination is made by the controller during the playing of a base game, a game bonus feature is triggered. The game bonus feature comprises both a series of free games of the base game and a secondary feature of the base game. The gaming machine includes a selector operable by a player to be awarded either the series of free games or the secondary feature of the base game.

Description

    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to and benefit as a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/639,961, filed on Aug. 12, 2003, entitled “Gaming Machine With Base Game Bonus Feature,” which claims priority to Australian Application No. 2002950718, filed on Aug. 12, 2002, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    This invention relates to a gaming machine. More particularly, the invention relates to a gaming machine and to an improvement to a game played on such a gaming machine.
  • BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Players who regularly play gaming machines quickly tire of particular games and therefore it is necessary for manufacturers of these machines to develop innovative game features which add interest to the games. In so doing, it is hoped to keep players amused and therefore willing to continue playing the game as well as to attract new players.
  • [0004]
    Also, with the growth that has occurred in the gaming machine market, there is intense competition between manufacturers to supply various existing and new venues. When selecting a supplier of gaming machines, the operator of a venue will often pay close attention to the popularity of various games with their patrons. Therefore, gaming machine manufacturers are keen to devise games and/or game features which are popular with the players as a mechanism for improving sales, retaining customers and attracting new customers.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0005]
    According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a gaming machine having a display means and a game control means arranged to control images of symbols displayed on the display means, the game control means being arranged to play a game wherein at least one random event is caused to be displayed on the display means and, if a predefined winning event occurs, the machine awards a prize, wherein, if an appropriate determination is made by the control means during the playing of a base game, a game bonus feature is triggered, the game bonus feature comprising both a series of free games of the base game and a secondary feature of the base game, and the gaming machine including a selecting means operable by a player to be awarded one of the series of free games and the secondary feature of the base game.
  • [0006]
    Those skilled in the art will appreciate that, when a secondary feature associated with a base game is a series of free games, such free games normally have their own symbols, rules, paytables, etc associated with them which need not necessarily relate to the base game whether thematically or otherwise. In this specification, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the secondary feature is to be understood as any bonus event which is awarded when a trigger condition occurs in the base game. The bonus event is normally, but not necessarily always, thematically related to the base game.
  • [0007]
    Preferably, the gaming machine includes a composite bonusing feature comprising a plurality of bonus features, the bonus features being independent of each other. The game bonus feature of the present invention may form part of the composite, bonusing feature but it is to be understood that the bonus feature of the present invention need not necessarily be used exclusively as a part of a composite, bonusing feature. For ease of reference the composite, bonusing feature will be referred to as a “composite feature”.
  • [0008]
    In order to be eligible for the composite feature and, hence, the game bonus feature, the player may need to wager an additional amount over and above a standard game wager. More particularly, the composite feature may occur automatically or, instead, the player may have to wager an additional bet to be eligible for the composite feature. If the composite feature applies, it may occur independently of the base game.
  • [0009]
    If the composite feature applies, whether automatically or due to the wagering of an additional bet, the control means may make a random determination as to whether or not the composite feature is to occur.
  • [0010]
    Should the composite feature be triggered, the control means may make a further random determination as to which bonus feature of the composite feature is to be played.
  • [0011]
    In the case of the present invention, if the game bonus feature is triggered by the control means, a second screen may be displayed to afford the player an opportunity to make a selection. The second screen may comprise a plurality of devices displayed on the second screen with the player having to select one of the devices by means of the selecting means.
  • [0012]
    The selecting means may be implemented by a touch-sensitive part of the display means overlying the devices. In addition, or instead, the selecting means may comprise a button on a midtrim of the gaming machine. For example, the second screen may display three devices in the form of treasure chests with the player being required to select one of the treasure chests.
  • [0013]
    When the player has made the selection, the selected device may animate to reveal one of a plurality of outcomes each of which is either a number of free games of the base game or an automatic trigger or entry to the secondary feature of the base game.
  • [0014]
    According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a game to be played on a game playing apparatus, the game playing apparatus having a display means and a game control means arranged to control images displayed on the display means, wherein, if an appropriate determination is made by the control means during the playing of a base game, a game bonus feature is triggered, the game bonus feature comprising both a series of free games of the base game and a secondary feature of the base game and a player being required to operate a selecting means of the game playing apparatus to be awarded one of the series of free games and the secondary feature of the base game.
  • [0015]
    A game playing apparatus includes one which does not require the wagering of a stake in order to play the game and further includes apparatus which is connectable to a network.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0016]
    The invention is now described by way of example with reference to the accompanying diagrammatic drawings in which:—
  • [0017]
    FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a gaming machine, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 2 shows a block diagram of a control circuit of the gaming machine;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 3 shows a screen display of a base game forming part of a game played on the gaming machine of FIG. 1;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 4 shows a screen display when a composite feature occurs on the gaming machine of FIG. 1;
  • [0021]
    FIG. 5 shows an initial screen display of a game bonus feature;
  • [0022]
    FIGS. 6 a and 6 b show a sequence of screen displays of a first outcome of the game bonus feature;
  • [0023]
    FIGS. 7 a and 7 b show a sequence of screen displays of a second outcome of the game bonus feature; and
  • [0024]
    FIG. 8 shows a flow chart of the game played on the gaming machine when, firstly, the composite feature has occurred and, secondly, the game bonus feature of either FIGS. 6 a and 6 b or FIGS. 7 a and 7 b has been awarded.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0025]
    In FIG. 1 of the drawings, reference numeral 10 generally designates a gaming 30 machine, including a game, in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The machine 10 includes a console 12 having a video display unit 14 on which a game 16 is played, in use. The game 16 is, generally, a spinning reel game which simulates the rotation of a number of spinning reels 18. It will, however, be appreciated that the game 16 could be another type of game such as a card game, a ball-type game such as Bingo, Keno, or the like. A midtrim 20 of the machine 10 houses a keypad 22 of buttons for enabling a player to play the game 16. The midtrim 20 also houses a credit input mechanism 24 including a coin input chute 24.1 and a bill collector 24.2.
  • [0026]
    The machine 10 includes a top box 26 on which artwork 28 is carried. The artwork 28 includes paytables, details of bonus awards, etc.
  • [0027]
    A coin tray 30 is mounted beneath the console 12 for cash payouts from the machine 10.
  • [0028]
    Referring now to FIG. 2 of the drawings, a control means or control circuit 32 is illustrated. A program which implements the game and user interface is run on a processor 34 of the control circuit 32. The processor 34 forms part of a controller 36 that drives the screen of the video display unit 14 and that receives input signals from sensors 38. The sensors 38 include sensors associated with the keypad 22 and touch sensors mounted in the screen of the video display unit 14. The controller 36 also receives input pulses from the mechanism 24 to determine whether or not a player has provided sufficient credit to commence playing. The mechanism 24 may, instead of the coin input chute 24.1 or the bill collector 24.2, or in addition thereto, be a credit card reader (not shown) or any other type of validation device.
  • [0029]
    Finally, the controller 36 drives a payout mechanism 40 which, for example, may be a coin hopper for feeding coins to the coin tray 30 to make a pay out to a player when the player wishes to redeem his or her credit.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 3 of the drawings shows a screen display 50 of a base game 52 forming part of the game 16 played on the gaming machine 10. The base game 52 is a spinning reel game comprising a plurality of spinning reels 18. The example shown is the Applicant's base game called “Golden Canaries™”. However, any other base game 52 could be used in the game 16 such as, for example, the Applicant's “Sweethearts 2™”.
  • [0031]
    The game 16 includes a composite feature called “Lucky Devil™”. The composite feature comprises a plurality of independent bonus features. The bonus features are also independent of the base game 52. Therefore, the bonus feature could be triggered without any win occurring in the base game 52 or any special symbols occurring in the base game 52.
  • [0032]
    The “Lucky Devil™” composite feature comprises five different bonus features, one of which is a game bonus feature of the present invention and is described in greater detail below. For the sake of brevity, the game bonus feature will be referred to below as a “bonus feature”.
  • [0033]
    To be eligible for the composite feature, the player must wager an additional bet. The “Golden Canaries™” base game 52 has twenty paylines, and, assuming the player wagers one bet per line, a total of twenty credits would be required to play all twenty lines of the base game 52. However, to be eligible for the composite feature, an additional wager of five credits needs to be wagered by the player as indicated at 54 on a bet meter on the screen display 50. Wagering of the additional bet merely gives the player eligibility to participate in the composite feature. It does not guarantee that the composite feature will occur during the playing of the base game 52.
  • [0034]
    A decision as to whether or not the composite feature is to occur is made by the controller 36 randomly. The determination as to whether or not the composite feature is to occur is entirely independent of the base game 52 and also of the result of that base game. In other words, as indicated above, no win need occur in the base game 52 nor need any special symbols occur in the base game 52 for the composite feature to occur. The chances of the composite feature occurring are preferably the same regardless of which base game 52 is played on the gaming machine 10.
  • [0035]
    Should the controller 36 determine that the composite feature is to occur, a special banner 56 (FIG. 4) is displayed over the base game 52 after completion of the current base game 52 in order to alert the player that one of the bonus features of the composite feature is about to occur.
  • [0036]
    The controller 36 also makes a random determination as to which bonus feature of the composite feature is to be played. Should it be determined that the bonus feature to occur is a “Treasure Chest” feature, being the bonus feature of the present invention, the screen display 50 is replaced by a second screen display 60 as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings. In the second screen display 60, an animation of a “Lucky Devil™” character 62 appears on the screen 60 together with three treasure chests 64. A message 66 is also displayed on the screen 60 encouraging the player to select one of the treasure chests 64. The video display unit 14 has a selecting means in the form of a touch sensitive facility so that, when one of the treasures chests 64 is touched by the player to select that treasure chest 64, the controller 36 causes the selected treasure chest 64 to animate.
  • [0037]
    As shown in FIG. 6 a of the drawings, if the third treasure chest 64 is selected, it animates to reveal a bonus feature. In this case, the bonus feature is, as indicated by message 68, a predetermined number of free game of the base game 52. In the example illustrated, twenty free games of the base game 52 are awarded. Other versions of this embodiment could be a greater or fewer number of free games of the base game 52.
  • [0038]
    Irrespective of the number of free games of the base game 52 which is awarded, the second screen 60 is replaced so that the screen display 50 of the base game 52 is again displayed. The twenty free games are played automatically without requiring any wager to be staked by the player. The free games follow exactly the same rules that normally apply for the base game 52 with the only difference being that no cost applies. In the case of the Applicant's “Golden Canaries™” game 52, its standard rules apply including the pay structures, paytables etc. The standard “Golden Canaries™” game includes a secondary feature where, if three or more scatter symbols, represented by an egg symbol 70, occur, a series of eight free games is awarded during which wins are accumulated on to a win meter 74. In the secondary feature, each time a Canary symbol 72 is spun up in any of the free games, a counter (not shown) is incremented. At the end of the series of eight free games, the total win on the win meter 74 is repeated by the number of Canary symbols 72 that have appeared on the reels during the free games. By “repeated” is meant that the win is multiplied by the number of Canary symbols 72 on the counter plus one. That total win is then the prize that is awarded for the secondary feature of the base game 52.
  • [0039]
    In the bonus feature of the present invention, should the trigger condition of the three scatter symbols 70 occur during the playing of any one of the free games of the base game 52 then the secondary feature, as described above, applies as it would normally do.
  • [0040]
    Referring now to FIGS. 7 a and 7 b of the drawings, a second outcome of a selection made by the player is illustrated. With reference to the previous drawings, like reference numerals refer to like parts, unless otherwise specified.
  • [0041]
    In this embodiment, it is assumed that, once again, the player has selected the third treasure chest 64 by touching it. Once again, the controller 36 causes an animation of the treasure chest 64 opening to reveal a message 76. In this case, the feature which is awarded is the “Golden Canaries™” secondary feature as described above.
  • [0042]
    Once the message 76 has been displayed, the second screen display 60 is replaced by a screen display 78 which is the initial screen display of the secondary feature, as described above, of the base game 52.
  • [0043]
    Eight free games are then played during which Canary symbols 72 are collected. The total win from the eight free games is repeated by the number of Canary symbols 72 which have been collected. In other words, the base game secondary feature is entered directly as if a trigger condition had occurred in the base game 52.
  • [0044]
    In the playing of the game 16 on the gaming machine 10, a random weighted decision is made by the controller 36 as to whether or not the composite feature is to occur and, if so, which bonus feature is to be awarded. These determinations are made by the controller 36 such that the overall return to player of the gaming machine 10 is substantially unchanged in comparison with a gaming machine 10 without the composite feature.
  • [0045]
    It is therefore an advantage of the invention that a bonus feature is provided which, as one of its options, provides access to a secondary feature of a base game without the need for a trigger condition occurring in that base game. It is a further advantage of the invention that a bonus feature is provided which forms part of a composite feature. The composite feature, in turn, enhances a base game which underlies the composite feature. As a result, the player's enjoyment of the game is enhanced.
  • [0046]
    It will be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the invention as shown in the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiments are, therefore, to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not restrictive.

Claims (14)

1. A gaming machine having a display and a game controller arranged to control images of symbols displayed on the display means, the game controller being arranged to play a game wherein at least one random event is caused to be displayed on the display and, if a predefined winning event occurs, the machine awards a prize, wherein, if an appropriate determination is made by the game controller during the playing of a base game, a game bonus feature is triggered, the game bonus feature comprising both a series of free games of the base game and a secondary feature of the base game, and the gaming machine including an input sensor operable by a player to be awarded one of (a) the series of free games and (b) the secondary feature of the base game.
2. The gaming machine of claim 1 which includes a composite feature comprising a plurality of bonus features, the bonus features being independent of each other, the game bonus feature forming part of the composite feature.
3. The gaming machine of claim 2 which, in order to be eligible for the composite feature and, hence, the game bonus feature, the player needs to wager an additional amount over and above a standard game wager.
4. The gaming machine of claim 1 in which, if the game bonus feature is triggered by the game controller, a second screen is displayed to afford the player an opportunity to make a selection.
5. The gaming machine of claim 4 in which the second screen comprises a plurality of devices displayed on the second screen with the player having to select one of the devices by means of the input sensor.
6. The gaming machine of claim 5 in which the input sensor is implemented by a touch-sensitive part of the display overlying the devices.
7. The gaming machine of claim 5 in which the input sensor comprises a button on a midtrim of the gaming machine.
8. The gaming machine of claim 5 in which, when the player has made the selection, the selected device animates to reveal one of a plurality of outcomes each of which is either a number of free games of the base-game or an automatic trigger or entry to the secondary feature of the base game.
9. A game to be played on a game playing apparatus, the game playing apparatus having a display and a game controller arranged to control images displayed on the display, wherein, if an appropriate determination is made by the game controller during the playing of a base game, a game bonus feature is triggered, the game bonus feature comprising both a series of free games of the base game and a secondary feature of the base game an a player being required to operate a input sensor of the game playing apparatus to be awarded one of (a) the series of free games and (b) the secondary feature of the base game.
10. The game of claim 9 which includes a composite feature comprising a plurality of bonus features, the bonus features being independent of each other, the game bonus feature forming part of the composite feature.
11. The game of claim 10 in which, in order to be eligible for the composite feature and, hence, the game bonus feature, the player needs to wager an additional amount over and above a standard game wager.
12. The game of claim 9 in which, if the game bonus feature is triggered by the game controller, a second screen is displayed to afford the player an opportunity to make a selection.
13. The game of claim 12 in which the second screen comprises a plurality of devices displayed on the second screen with the player having to select one of the devices by means of the input sensor of the game playing apparatus.
14. The game of claim 13 in which, when the player has made the selection, the selected device animates to reveal one of a plurality of outcomes each of which is either a number of free games of the base game or an automate trigger or entry to the secondary feature of the base game.
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