US20090233680A1 - Slot Machine Providing Return And Control Method Thereof - Google Patents

Slot Machine Providing Return And Control Method Thereof Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090233680A1
US20090233680A1 US12/193,260 US19326008A US2009233680A1 US 20090233680 A1 US20090233680 A1 US 20090233680A1 US 19326008 A US19326008 A US 19326008A US 2009233680 A1 US2009233680 A1 US 2009233680A1
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Prior art keywords
symbols
game
number
stopping state
specific
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Abandoned
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US12/193,260
Inventor
Kazumasa Yoshizawa
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Universal Entertainment Corp
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Universal Entertainment Corp
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Priority to US12/193,260 priority patent/US20090233680A1/en
Assigned to ARUZE CORP. reassignment ARUZE CORP. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: YOSHIZAWA, KAZUMASA
Publication of US20090233680A1 publication Critical patent/US20090233680A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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

Abstract

A slot machine of the present invention comprises a controller programmed to execute processing of storing a specific stopping state inputted from an input device, shifting a mode to an insurance mode on condition that a game medium has been inserted, counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of the symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium, when the last one symbol is stop-displayed after the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols in a state that only the last one symbol is variably displayed has been determined to satisfy a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one symbol is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state, and paying out the game media, when determining that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims benefit of priority based on U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/037,100 filed on Mar. 17, 2008. The contents of this application are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to a slot machine providing a return and a control method thereof.
  • 2. Discussion of the Background
  • Examples of a conventional slot machine are disclosed in: U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459, U.S. Pat. No. 6,695,697, US 2003/0069073-A1, EP 1192975-A, U.S. Pat. No. 6,254,483, U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,730, U.S. Pat. No. 5,639,088, U.S. Pat. No. 6,257,981, U.S. Pat. No. 6,234,896, U.S. Pat. No. 6,001,016, U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,820, U.S. Pat. No. 6,224,482, U.S. Pat. No. 4,669,731, U.S. Pat. No. 6,244,957, U.S. Pat. No. 5,910,048, U.S. Pat. No. 5,695,402, U.S. Pat. No. 6,003,013, U.S. Pat. No. 4,283,709, EP 0631798-A, DE 4137010-A1, GB 2326830-A, DE 3712841-A1, U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,638, U.S. Pat. No. 6,089,980, U.S. Pat. No. 5,280,909, U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,303, U.S. Pat. No. 6,270,409, U.S. Pat. No. 5,770,533, U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,817, U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,704, U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,707, U.S. Pat. No. 4,837,728, EP 1302914-A, U.S. Pat. No. 4,624,459, U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,700, WO 03/083795-A, DE 3242890-A1, EP 0840264-A, DE 10049444-A1, WO 04/095383-A, EP 1544811-A, U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,963, EP 1477947-A, EP 1351180-A, WO 07/026396-A1, WO 07/026399-A1, WO 07/026400-A1, WO 07/026401-A1, WO 07/026402-A1, WO 07/026403-A1, WO 07/026404-A1, WO 07/026406-A1, and WO 07/026407-A1. In a facility where a slot machine of this kind is installed, a variety of game media such as coins or cash are inserted into the slot machine to play a game. Each slot machine is configured to conduct a payout according to a winning state (game result) occurring along with the progress of games.
  • Among those conventional slot machines, there has been a slot machine in which a return is provided to the player when loss of the game media reaches a predetermined amount (for example, see U.S. Pat. No. 5,910,048). However, in a slot machine of this kind, there has been a problem that, since a return is not provided until a great loss occurs, a player is made to have a fear of hardly receiving a return. Further, in a conventional slot machine, a payout is not conducted even in a case where a combination of symbols after scrolling stops is only slightly different from a winning combination. Therefore, there has been a problem that the player feels frustrated.
  • An object of the present invention is to provide a slot machine capable of making a player feel less frustrated in the case that a winning combination is not established, as well as making a player realize a possibility of receiving a return, and a control method thereof.
  • The contents of U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,459, U.S. Pat. No. 6,695,697, US 2003/0069073-A1, EP 1192975-A, U.S. Pat. No. 6,254,483, U.S. Pat. No. 5,611,730, U.S. Pat. No. 5,639,088, U.S. Pat. No. 6,257,981, U.S. Pat. No. 6,234,896, U.S. Pat. No. 6,001,016, U.S. Pat. No. 6,273,820, U.S. Pat. No. 6,224,482, U.S. Pat. No. 4,669,731, U.S. Pat. No. 6,244,957, U.S. Pat. No. 5,910,048, U.S. Pat. No. 5,695,402, U.S. Pat. No. 6,003,013, U.S. Pat. No. 4,283,709, EP 0631798-A, DE 4137010-A1, GB 2326830-A, DE 3712841-A1, U.S. Pat. No. 4,964,638, U.S. Pat. No. 6,089,980, U.S. Pat. No. 5,280,909, U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,303, U.S. Pat. No. 6,270,409, U.S. Pat. No. 5,770,533, U.S. Pat. No. 5,836,817, U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,704, U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,707, U.S. Pat. No. 4,837,728, EP 1302914-A, U.S. Pat. No. 4,624,459, U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,700, WO 03/083795-A, DE 3242890-A1, EP 0840264-A, DE 10049444-A1, WO 04/095383-A, EP 1544811-A, U.S. Pat. No. 5,890,963, EP 1477947-A, EP 1351180-A, WO 07/026396-A1, WO 07/026399-A1, WO 07/026400-A1, WO 07/026401-A1, WO 07/026402-A1, WO 07/026403-A1, WO 07/026404-A1, WO 07/026406-A1, and WO 07/026407-A1 are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides a slot machine having the following configuration.
  • Namely, the slot machine comprises: a symbol display capable of variably displaying a plurality of symbols; an input device with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state of symbols out of a plurality of the stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium; a memory; and a controller. The controller is programmed to execute processing of (A) storing the stopping state of symbols inputted from the input device as a specific stopping state in the memory, (B) shifting a mode from a non-insurance mode to an insurance mode on condition that a predetermined number of game media has been inserted, (C) stop-displaying the plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying the plurality of symbols to the symbol display, (D) determining, in a state that the symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in the processing (C) and only the last one of the symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in the memory, (E) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium, when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed after the specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in the processing (D), (F) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of the symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in the processing (E), after shifting the mode to the insurance mode, (G) determining whether or not the number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, and (H) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number in the processing (G)
  • In a case where a game medium is eventually not paid out though a possibility of payout of the game medium has been left in a step prior to the step in which a result of a game is determined, a player tends to be frustrated a lot.
  • However, according to the slot machine, an input device is provided, with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state of symbols out of a plurality of stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium. Further, the stopping state of symbols inputted from the input device is stored in a memory as a specific stopping state. Furthermore, a mode is shifted to an insurance mode on condition that a predetermined number of game media has been inserted.
  • There is counted a number of the game in which the game medium is eventually not paid out after a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one symbol is stop-displayed could be the stopping state stored in the memory has been satisfied, as a number of a specific game. Then, in the case that the number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, the game medium is paid out. Accordingly, the number of the game that may make the player be frustrated a lot is counted as the number of the specific game, so as to approach the predetermined number. Consequently, the frustration of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since only the number of the specific game is counted, the predetermined number, which is to be a condition for the payout of the game medium, can be set to a small number. As a result, the player can realize the possibility of receiving a return.
  • Moreover, the number of the specific game corresponding to the specific condition that the player has selected by his or her own choice is counted. In the case that the stopping state that the player has selected and has particularly aimed at misses being established, it is highly possible that the player is greatly disappointed. However, according to the slot machine, the number of the specific game selected by the player is counted, and the payout of the game medium is conducted in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number. Accordingly, the disappointment of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since the predetermined number of game media are required to be inserted to receive a return, it becomes possible for the management side of a recreation hall to control a loss.
  • Moreover, it becomes possible to provide a new enjoyment of expecting that the number of the specific game is counted.
  • It is desirable that the slot machine further has the following configuration.
  • The processing (B) is processing of shifting a mode from the non-insurance mode to the insurance mode on condition that the predetermined number of game media according to an occurrence probability of the specific stopping state stored in the memory in the processing (A) has been inserted.
  • According to the slot machine, a mode is shifted from the non-insurance mode to the insurance mode on condition that the predetermined number of game media according to the occurrence probability of the specific stopping state has been inserted. Accordingly, it is possible to provide the player with an enjoyment of selecting a stopping state to effect insurance, out of the stopping state having a high occurrence probability and the stopping state having a low occurrence probability.
  • At this time, to shift the mode to the insurance mode, the predetermined number of game media according to the occurrence probability are required to be inserted. Therefore, the player needs to determine whether or not to effect insurance considering an insertion number of the game media. Accordingly, it is possible to provide a game with greater strategic characteristics.
  • It is desirable that the slot machine further has the following configuration.
  • The processing (G) is processing of determining whether or not the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number determined for each stopping state of symbols for generating payout of the game medium.
  • According to the slot machine, the number of the specific game is determined whether or not to have reached the predetermined number determined for each stopping state of symbols for generating payout of the game medium. Namely, the predetermined number is determined according to the stopping state of symbols for generating payout of the game medium. Accordingly, in the case of setting the large amount of the payout of the game media based on the number of the specific game having reached the predetermined number, for example, the predetermined number corresponding to the stopping state of symbols can be set to a large number. Further, in the case of setting the small amount of the payout of the game media based on the number of the specific game having reached the predetermined number, for example, the predetermined number corresponding to the stopping state of symbols can be set to a small number. As just described, since the predetermined number is determined according to the stopping state of symbols, various states of the return to the player can be set.
  • The present invention provides a slot machine having the following configuration.
  • Namely, the slot machine comprises a symbol display capable of variably displaying a plurality of symbols; an input device with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state of symbols out of a plurality of the stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium; a memory; and a controller. The controller is programmed to execute the processing of (A) storing the stopping state of symbols inputted from the input device as a specific stopping state in the memory, (B) stop-displaying the plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying the plurality of symbols to the symbol display, (C) determining, in a state that the symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in the processing (B) and only the last one of the symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in the memory, (D) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium, when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed after the specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in the processing (C), (E) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of the symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in the processing (D), (F) determining whether or not the number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, and (G) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number in the processing (F).
  • In a case where a game medium is eventually not paid out though a possibility of payout of the game medium has been left in a step prior to the step in which a result of a game is determined, a player tends to be frustrated a lot.
  • However, according to the slot machine, an input device is provided, with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state out of a plurality of stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium. Further, the stopping state of symbols inputted from the input device is stored in a memory as a specific stopping state. There is counted a number of the game in which the game medium is eventually not paid out after a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one symbol is stop-displayed could be the stopping state stored in the memory has been satisfied, as a number of the specific game. Then, in the case that the number of a specific game has reached a predetermined number, the game medium is paid out. Accordingly, the number of the game that may make the player be frustrated a lot is counted as the number of the specific game, so as to approach the predetermined number. Consequently, the frustration of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since only the number of the specific game is counted, the predetermined number can be set to a small number. As a result, the player can realize the possibility of receiving a return.
  • Moreover, the number of the specific game corresponding to the specific condition that the player has selected by his or her own choice is counted. In the case that the stopping state that the player has selected and has particularly aimed at misses being established, it is highly possible that the player is greatly disappointed. However, according to the slot machine, the number of the specific game selected by the player is counted, and the payout of the game medium is conducted in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number. Accordingly, the disappointment of the player can be reduced.
  • Moreover, it becomes possible to provide a new enjoyment of expecting that the number of the specific game is counted.
  • The present invention further provides a control method of a slot machine having the following configuration.
  • Namely, the control method of a slot machine comprises the steps of: (A) storing a stopping state of symbols inputted from an input device as a specific stopping state in a memory; (B) shifting a mode from a non-insurance mode to an insurance mode on condition that a predetermined number of game media has been inserted; (C) stop-displaying a plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying the plurality of symbols to a symbol display; (D) determining, in a state that the symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in the step (C) and only the last one of the symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in the memory; (E) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating a payout of the game medium, when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed after the specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in the step (D); (F) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of the symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in the step (E), after shifting the mode to the insurance mode; (G) determining whether or not the number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number; and (H) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number in the step (G).
  • In a case where a game medium is eventually not paid out though a possibility of payout of the game medium has been left in a step prior to the step in which a result of a game is determined, a player tends to be frustrated a lot.
  • However, according to the control method of the slot machine, an input device is provided, with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state out of a plurality of stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium. Further, the stopping state of symbols inputted from the input device is stored in a memory as a specific stopping state. Furthermore, a mode is shifted to an insurance mode on condition that a predetermined number of game media has been inserted.
  • There is counted a number of the game in which the game medium is eventually not paid out after a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one symbol is stop-displayed could be the stopping state stored in the memory has been satisfied, as a number of a specific game. Then, in the case that the number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, the game medium is paid out. Accordingly, the number of the game that may make the player be frustrated a lot is counted as the number of the specific game, so as to approach the predetermined number. Consequently, the frustration of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since only the number of the specific game is counted, the predetermined number can be set to a small number. As a result, the player can realize the possibility of receiving a return.
  • Moreover, the number of the specific game corresponding to the specific condition that the player has selected by his or her own choice is counted. In the case that the stopping state that the player has selected and has particularly aimed at misses being established, it is highly possible that the player is greatly disappointed. However, according to the slot machine, the number of the specific game selected by the player is counted, and the payout of the game medium is conducted in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number. Accordingly, the disappointment of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since the predetermined number of game media are required to be inserted to receive a return, it becomes possible for the management side of the recreation hall to control a loss.
  • Moreover, it becomes possible to provide a new enjoyment of expecting that the number of the specific game is counted.
  • The present invention further provides a control method of a slot machine having the following configuration.
  • Namely, the control method of a slot machine comprises the steps of: (A) storing a stopping state of symbols inputted from an input device as a specific stopping state in a memory, (B) stop-displaying a plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying the plurality of symbols to a symbol display, (C) determining, in a state that the symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in the step (B) and only the last one of the symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in the memory, (D) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating the payout of a game medium, when the last one of the symbols is stop-displayed after the specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in the step (C), (E) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of the symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in the step (D), (F) determining whether or not the number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, and (G) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number in the step (F).
  • In a case where a game medium is eventually not paid out though a possibility of payout of the game medium has been left in a step prior to the step in which a result of a game is determined, a player tends to be frustrated a lot.
  • However, according to the control method of the slot machine, an input device is provided, with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state out of a plurality of stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium. Further, the stopping state of symbols inputted from the input device is stored in a memory as a specific stopping state. There is counted a number of the game in which the game medium is eventually not paid out after a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one symbol is stop-displayed could be the stopping state stored in the memory has been satisfied, as a number of a specific game. Then, in the case that the number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, the game medium is paid out. Accordingly, the number of the game that may make the player be frustrated a lot is counted as the number of the specific game, so as to approach the predetermined number. Consequently, the frustration of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since only the number of the specific game is counted, the predetermined number can be set to a small number. As a result, the player can realize the possibility of receiving a return.
  • Moreover, the number of the specific game corresponding to the specific condition that the player has selected by his or her own choice is counted. In the case that the stopping state that the player has selected and has particularly aimed at misses being established, it is highly possible that the player is greatly disappointed. However, according to the slot machine, the number of the specific game selected by the player is counted, and the payout of the game medium is conducted in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number. Accordingly, the disappointment of the player can be reduced.
  • Moreover, it becomes possible to provide a new enjoyment of expecting that the number of the specific game is counted.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1A is an exemplary view of an image displayed to a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 1B is another exemplary view of an image displayed to a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 1C is another exemplary view of an image displayed to a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 1D is another exemplary view of an image displayed to a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 1E is another exemplary view of an image displayed to a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing the internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 4 is an explanatory view of a payout table in the present embodiment.
  • FIG. 5 is an explanatory view of a specific combination.
  • FIG. 6A is an exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 6B is another exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 6C is another exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 6D is another exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 7A is an exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 7B is another exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 7C is another exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 8A is an exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 8B is another exemplary view of an image displayed to the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart illustrating main processing conducted in the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • FIG. 10 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of insurance setting processing.
  • FIG. 11 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of game execution processing A (non-insurance mode).
  • FIG. 12 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of game execution processing B (insurance mode).
  • FIG. 13 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of rescue-pay execution processing.
  • FIG. 14 is a chart illustrating a procedure of activation processing executed by the mother board and the gaming board shown in FIG. 3.
  • FIG. 15 is a chart illustrating a procedure of peripheral-device initialization processing.
  • FIG. 16 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of to-be-stopped symbol determination processing.
  • FIG. 17 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of reel rotation control processing.
  • FIGS. 18A to 18D are side views for explaining the reel rotation.
  • FIG. 19 is a schematic view showing a correspondence table of the number of steps and code No.
  • FIG. 20 is an explanatory view of a specific combination according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 21 is a diagrammatic view showing an entire configuration of a game system according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • FIG. 22 is a chart illustrating a procedure of activation processing executed by the central controller shown in FIG. 22.
  • FIG. 23 is a perspective view schematically showing a slot machine according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS
  • First, there will be described an outline of a slot machine according to an embodiment of the present invention with reference to FIG. 1A to FIG. 1E.
  • FIG. 1A to FIG. 1E are exemplary views of images displayed to a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • As shown in FIG. 1A, on a lower image display panel 16 provided in a slot machine 10 (see FIG. 2), an area 96 for displaying an image for selecting a combination thereto is installed. In the present embodiment, as combinations to be selected, there are “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”, “3BAR-3BAR”, “2BAR-2BAR”, and “BAR-BAR”.
  • A player can select a single combination by touching a predetermined place on a touch panel 69 (see FIG. 3), which corresponds to a display area of an image indicative of the combination to be selected. For example, the player can select the combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”, by touching the predetermined area on the touch panel 69 (see FIG. 3), which corresponds to the display area of a DOUBLE-DOUBLE image 96 a.
  • Further, as shown in FIG. 1A, each combination to be selected is associated with the required number of credits, and when the single combination is selected, the associated number of credits are subtracted. For example, in the case that the combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” is selected, 4 credits are subtracted.
  • For example, in the game executed after the combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” is selected, an image shown in FIG. 1B is displayed to an upper image display panel 33.
  • As shown in FIG. 1B, on the upper image display panel 33, there are provided an area 90 for displaying “No Pay Combination”, an area 91 for displaying “Remaining Games”, and an area 92 for displaying “RESCUE PAY”.
  • “No Pay Combination” refers to a combination of symbols (hereinafter, also refers to as “specific combination”) satisfying a condition (X-0), a condition (X-1), and a condition (X-2) as below:
  • (X-0) a symbol combination of two symbols is the single combination inputted by the player via the touch panel 69;
  • (X-1) when two symbols stop, out of three symbols to be scrolled, a possibility of payout of a coin is left;
  • (X-2) when the last one of symbols stops, after the condition (X-1) has been satisfied, a symbol combination is a combination not generating the payout of the coin.
  • Here, in the present description, a game satisfying the condition (X-0), the condition (X-1), and the condition (X-2) is referred to as a specific game. Further, the number of establishment of the specific game is referred to as the number of the specific game.
  • Here, since the player selects the combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” via the touch panel 69 in the example shown in FIG. 1B, the condition (X-0) is that the combination of two stopped symbols is the combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” selected by the player via the touch panel 69.
  • Further, the combination selected by the player via the touch panel 69 corresponds to the specific stopping state of the present invention.
  • Here, in the present embodiment, the condition (X-1) is that a combination of two stopped symbols is “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”, “3BAR-3BAR”, “2BAR-2BAR”, or “BAR-BAR”.
  • In the case of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”, for example, the payout of the coin is conducted when the last one of symbols is stopped at “DOUBLE” (see the first line of PAY TABLE shown in FIG. 4).
  • Further, in the case of “3BAR-3BAR”, “2BAR-2BAR”, or “BAR-BAR”, for example, the payout of the coin is conducted when the last one of symbols is stopped at “BAR” (see the 10th or 12th line of PAY TABLE shown in FIG. 4).
  • Namely, combinations of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”, “3BAR-3BAR”, “2BAR-2BAR”, and “BAR-BAR” satisfy the condition (X-1).
  • The condition (X-0) and the condition (X-1) each corresponds to the specific condition of the present invention. Namely, satisfying the condition (X-0) and the condition (X-1) corresponds to satisfying the specific condition of the present invention.
  • “Remaining Games” shows the required number (set value) of establishment of the specific game for the payout of the coin as “RESCUE PAY” and the number of remaining games for “RESCUE PAY”. For example, in FIG. 1B, “Remaining Games” of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” is 1/20. “20” of the denominator indicates that the required number of establishment of the specific game for “RESCUE PAY” is 20. “1” of the denomination indicates that the number of remaining games for “RESCUE PAY” is 1. Here, in FIG. 1B, the specific game of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” has been established for 19 times, so that the number of remaining games is 1. Here, the set value corresponds to the predetermined number of the present invention.
  • “RESCUE PAY” shows the number of coins to be paid out when the number of establishment of the specific game reaches the set value, that is, the number of remaining games becomes 0.
  • Further, as shown in FIG. 1B, on the lower image display panel 16 provided in the slot machine 10 (see FIG. 2), three display windows 15 (15L, 15C, 15R) are formed in which their back face are visible, and symbols drawn on the peripheral face of each of reels 14 (14L, 14C, 14R) are scroll-displayed via each of the display windows 15.
  • After satisfying the state of FIG. 1B, in the case that the reel 14L and the reel 14C are stopped at “DOUBLE” as shown in FIG. 1C, and then the reel 14R is stopped at “BLANK” as shown in FIG. 1D, for example, the condition (X-1) and the condition (X-2) are satisfied.
  • Consequently, the number of the specific game reaches the set value, so that 360 coins are paid out as “RESCUE PAY” of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”. At this time, to the upper image display panel 33, an image 93 a showing that the payout of the coin is conducted based on the number of the specific game having reached the set value, is displayed as shown in FIG. 1E. Further, the same image 93 b is displayed to the lower left side of the lower image display panel 16.
  • According to the slot machine 10, the touch panel 69 (input device) is provided, with which the player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state of symbols out of a plurality of stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a coin. The stopping state inputted from the touch panel 69 is stored in the slot machine 10.
  • Further, the number of the game satisfying the condition (X-0), the condition (X-1), and the condition (X-2) is counted as the number of the specific game. Then, in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number, the coin is paid out. Accordingly, the number of the game that may make the player be frustrated a lot is counted as the number of the specific game, so as to approach the predetermined number for the payout of the coin. Consequently, the frustration of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since only the number of the specific game is counted, the predetermined number for the payout of the coin can be set to a small number. As a result, the player can realize the possibility of receiving a return.
  • Furthermore, the number of the specific game corresponding to the condition (X-0) selected by the player is counted. In the case that the stopping state that the player has selected and has particularly aimed at misses being established, it is highly possible that the player is greatly disappointed. However, according to the slot machine 10, the number of the specific game selected by the player is counted, and the payout of the game medium is conducted in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number. Accordingly, the disappointment of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since the predetermined number of coins are required to be inserted to receive a return, it becomes possible for the management side of the recreation hall to control a loss.
  • Moreover, it becomes possible to provide a new enjoyment of expecting that the number of the specific game is counted.
  • FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing a slot machine according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • In the slot machine 10, a coin, a bill, or electronic valuable information corresponding to those is used as a game medium. However, in the present invention, the game medium is not particularly limited. Examples of the game medium may include a medal, a token, electronic money and a ticket. It is to be noted that the ticket is not particularly limited, and examples thereof may include a ticket with a barcode as described later.
  • The slot machine 10 comprises a cabinet 11, a top box 12 installed on the upper side of the cabinet 11, and a main door 13 provided at the front face of the cabinet 11. Inside the cabinet 11, three reels 14 (14L, 14C, 14R) are rotatably provided. On the peripheral face of each of the reels 14, a symbol sequence consisting of 22 figures (hereinafter also referred to as symbols) is drawn.
  • The reels 14 correspond to the symbol display of the present invention.
  • The lower image display panel 16 is provided at the front of the respective reels 14 on the main door 13. The lower image display panel 16 is provided with a transparent liquid crystal panel to which a variety of information concerning a game, an effect image and the like are displayed during the game.
  • On the lower image display panel 16, three display windows 15 (15L, 15C, 15R) are formed in which their back faces are visible, and three symbols drawn on the peripheral face of each of the reels 14 are displayed via each of the display windows 15. On the lower image display panel 16, one winning line L horizontally crossing over the three display windows 15 is formed. The winning line L is for determining a combination of symbols. When the combination of symbols that are rearranged along the winning line L is a predetermined combination, coins are paid out in number according to the combination and the number of inserted coins (the number of BETs).
  • In the present invention, it may be possible to provide a configuration such that, for example, there are formed a plurality of winning lines L crossing horizontally or diagonally over the three display windows 15, and the winning lines L in number according to the number of inserted coins are verified, and when a combination of symbols rearranged along the verified winning line L is a predetermined combination, coins are paid out in number according to the combination.
  • Further, when a specific symbol (so-called scatter symbol) is rearranged to the display window, coins may be paid out in number according to the number of the symbol regardless of the combination of symbols.
  • Moreover, although not shown, the touch panel 69 is provided at the front face of the lower image display panel 16. The player can operate the touch panel 69 to input a variety of commands.
  • The touch panel 69 corresponds to the input device of the present invention.
  • Below the lower image display panel 16, there are provided a control panel 20 including a plurality of buttons 23 to 27 with each of which a command according to game progress is inputted by the player, a coin receiving slot 21 through which a coin is accepted into the cabinet 11, and a bill validator 22.
  • The control panel 20 is provided with a spin button 23, a change button 24, a CASHOUT button 25, a 1-BET button 26 and a maximum BET button 27. The spin button 23 is used for inputting a command to start rotation of the reels 14. The change button 24 is used for making a request of staff in the recreation facility for exchange. The CASHOUT button 25 is used for inputting a command to pay out credited coins to a coin tray 18.
  • The 1-BET button 26 is used for inputting a command to bet one coin on a game out of credited coins. The maximum BET button 27 is used for inputting a command to bet the maximum number of coins that can be bet on one game (three coins in the present embodiment) out of credited coins. In addition, the maximum number of BETs may be configured so as to be set by the operator, staff or the like of the casino.
  • The bill validator 22 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 11. It is to be noted that the bill validator 22 may be configured so as to be capable of reading a later-described ticket 39 with a barcode. At the lower front of the main door 13, namely, below the control panel 20, there is provided a belly glass 34 on which a character or the like of the slot machine 10 is drawn.
  • The upper image display panel 33 is provided at the front face of the top box 12. The upper image display panel 33 is provided with a liquid crystal panel to display, for example, an effect image, an image representing introduction of contents of a game, and explanation of a rule of the game.
  • Also, a speaker 29 is provided on the top box 12. The speaker 29 corresponds to an output device of the present invention. Under the upper image display panel 33, there are provided a ticket printer 35, a card reader 36 (see FIG. 2), a data display 37, and a keypad 38. The ticket printer 35 prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits, a date, an identification number of the slot machine 10, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 39 with a barcode. The player can make another slot machine read the ticket 39 with a barcode to play a game thereon, or exchange the ticket 39 with a barcode with a bill or the like at a predetermined place in the recreation facility (e.g. a cashier in a casino).
  • The card reader 36 reads data from a smart card inserted into the card slot 36 a and writes data into the smart card. The smart card is a card owned by the player, and for example, data for identifying the player (identification data) and data concerning a history of games played by the player are stored therein. Data corresponding to a coin, a bill or a credit may be stored in the smart card. Further, a magnetic stripe card may be adopted in place of the smart card. The data display 37 includes a fluorescent display and the like, and displays, for example, data read by the card reader 36 or data inputted by the player via the key pad 38. The key pad 38 is used for inputting a command and data concerning issuing of a ticket, and the like.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing the internal configuration of the slot machine shown in FIG. 2.
  • A gaming board 50 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 51, a ROM 55, and a boot ROM 52 which are interconnected to one another by an internal bus, a card slot 53S corresponding to a memory card 53, and an IC socket 54S corresponding to a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 54.
  • The memory card 53 includes a nonvolatile memory such as CompactFlash®, and stores a game program and a game system program. The game program includes a to-be-stopped symbol determination program. The to-be-stopped symbol determination program is a program for determining a symbol (code No. corresponding to the symbol) on each of the reels 14 to be rearranged along the winning line L. The to-be-stopped symbol determination program includes symbol weighing data respectively corresponding to a plurality of types of payout ratios (e.g. 80%, 84%, 88%). The symbol weighing data is data showing the corresponding relation between code No. (see FIG. 19) of each symbol and one or a plurality of random numbers belonging to a predetermined numerical range (0 to 255), for each of the three reels 14. The payout ratio is set based on payout ratio setting data which is outputted from the GAL 54, and a symbol to be rearranged is determined based on the symbol weighing data corresponding to the payout ratio.
  • Further, the card slot 53S is configured so as to allow the memory card 53 to be inserted thereinto or removed therefrom, and is connected to the mother board 40 by an IDE bus. Therefore, the memory card 53 can be removed from the card slot 53S, and then another game program and another game system program are written into the memory card 53, and the memory card 53 can be inserted into the card slot 53S, to change the type and contents of a game played on the slot machine 10. Further, the memory card 53 storing one game program and one game system program can be exchanged with the memory card 53 storing another game program and another game system program, to change the type and contents of a game played on the slot machine 10.
  • The game program includes a program according to progress of the game. Further, the game program includes image data and sound data to be outputted during the game, image data and sound data for notifying that the mode has been shifted to the insurance mode, image data and sound data for notifying that the mode has been shifted to the non-insurance mode, and the like.
  • The GAL 54 is a type of a PLD having an OR fixed type array structure. The GAL 54 is provided with a plurality of input ports and output ports. When predetermined data is inputted to the input port, the GAL 54 outputs, from the output port, data corresponding to the inputted data. The data outputted from the output port is the above-mentioned payout ratio setting data.
  • Further, the IC socket 54S is configured such that the GAL 54 can be mounted thereon and removed therefrom and the IC socket 54S is connected to the mother board 40 through the PCI bus. Therefore, the GAL 54 can be removed from the IC socket 54S, and then a program to be stored into the GAL 54 is rewritten, and the GAL 54 is then mounted onto the IC socket 54S, to change the payout ratio setting data outputted from the GAL 54. Further, the GAL 54 can be exchanged with another GAL 54 to change the payout ratio setting data.
  • The CPU 51, the ROM 55 and the boot ROM 52 interconnected to one another by an internal bus are connected to the mother board 40 through the PCI bus. The PCI bus not only conducts signal transmission between the mother board 40 and the gaming board 50, but also supplies power from the mother board 40 to the gaming board 50. In the ROM 55, country identification information and an authentication program are stored. In the boot ROM 52, an auxiliary authentication program and a program (boot code) to be used by the CPU 51 for activating the auxiliary authentication program, and the like are stored.
  • The authentication program is a program (falsification check program) for authenticating a game program and a game system program. The authentication program is written along a procedure (authentication procedure) for checking and proving that a game program and a game system program to be subject to authentication loading processing have not been falsified, namely authenticating the game program and the game system program. The auxiliary authentication program is a program for authenticating the above-mentioned authentication program. The auxiliary authentication program is written along a procedure (authentication procedure) for proving that an authentication program to be subject to the authentication processing has not been falsified, namely, authenticating the authentication program.
  • The mother board 40 is configured using a commercially available general-purpose mother board (a print wiring board on which fundamental components of a personal computer are mounted), and provided with a main CPU 41, a ROM (Read Only Memory) 42, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 43, and a communication interface 44. The main CPU 41, the ROM 42 and the RAM 43 mounted on the mother board 40 constitute the controller of the present invention.
  • The ROM 42 comprises a memory device such as a flash memory, and stores a program such as a BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) executed by the main CPU 41 and permanent data. When the BIOS is executed by the main CPU 41, processing for initializing a predetermined peripheral device is conducted, concurrently with start of processing for loading the game program and the game system program stored in the memory card 53 via the gaming board 50. It is to be noted that, in the present invention, the ROM 42 may or may not be data rewritable one.
  • The RAM 43 stores data and a program to be used at the time of operation of the main CPU 41. Further, the RAM 43 is capable of storing an authentication program to be read via the gaming board 50, a game program and a game system program.
  • Further, the RAM 43 is provided with a storage area for an insurance mode flag. The insurance mode flag is a flag for indicating whether the mode is the insurance mode or the non-insurance mode. The storage area for the insurance mode flag, for example, comprises a storage area of a predetermined number of bits, and the insurance mode flag is turned “ON” or “OFF” according to the stored contents of the storage area. The insurance mode flag being “ON” indicates the insurance mode, and the insurance mode flag being “OFF” indicates the non-insurance mode.
  • Further, the RAM 43 is provided with a storage area for data showing the number C of the games.
  • Moreover, the RAM 43 stores data of the number of credits, the numbers of coin-ins and coin-outs in one game, and the like. The communication interface 44 serves to communicate with an external device such as a server of the casino, via the communication line 101.
  • Moreover, the mother board 40 is connected with a later-described body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 and a door PCB 80 through respective USBs. Further, the mother board 40 is connected with a power supply unit 45. When power is supplied from the power supply unit 45 to the mother board 40, the main CPU 41 of the mother board 40 is activated concurrently with supply of power to the gaming board 50 via the PCI bus to activate the CPU 51.
  • The body PCB 60 and the door PCB 80 are connected with an equipment and a device that generate an input signal to be inputted into the main CPU 41 and an equipment and a device operations of which are controlled by a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 executes the game program and the game system program stored in the RAM 43 based on the input signal inputted into the main CPU 41, and thereby executes the predetermined arithmetic processing, stores the result thereof into the RAM 43, or transmits a control signal to each equipment and device as processing for controlling each equipment and device.
  • The body PCB 60 is connected with a lamp 30, a sub CPU 61, a hopper 66, a coin detecting portion 67, a graphic board 68, the speaker 29, the touch panel 69, the bill validator 22, the ticket printer 35, the card reader 36, a key switch 38S and the data display 37. The lamp 30 is lighted in a predetermined pattern based on a control signal outputted from the main CPU 41.
  • The sub CPU 61 serves to control rotation and stop of the reels 14 (14L, 14C, 14R). A motor driving circuit 62 having an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) 63 and a driver 64 is connected to the sub CPU 61. The FPGA 63 is an electronic circuit such as a programmable LSI, and functions as a control circuit of a stepping motor 70. The driver 64 functions as an amplification circuit of a pulse to be inputted into the stepping motors 70. The stepping motors 70 (70L, 70C, 70R) for rotating the respective reels 14 are connected to the motor driving circuit 62. The stepping motor 70 is a one-two phase excitation stepping motor.
  • In the present invention, the excitation method of the stepping motor is not particularly limited, and for example, a two phase excitation method, one phase excitation method or the like may be adopted. Further, a DC motor may be adopted in place of the stepping motor. In the case of adopting the DC motor, a deviation counter, a D/A converter, and a servo amplifier are sequentially connected to the sub CPU 61, and the DC motor is connected to the servo amplifier. Further, a rotational position of the DC motor is detected by a rotary encoder, and a current rotational position of the DC motor is supplied as data from the rotary encoder to the deviation counter.
  • Further, an index detecting circuit 65 and a position-change detecting circuit 71 are connected to the sub CPU 61. The index detecting circuit 65 detects the position (later-described index) of the reels 14 during rotation, and is further capable of detecting a loss of synchronism of the reels 14. Here, the control of rotation and stop of reels 14 will be described later in detail using the figures.
  • The position-change detecting circuit 71 detects the change of the stop positions of the reels 14, after the stop of the rotation of the reels 14. For example, the position-change detecting circuit 71 detects the change of the stop positions of the reels 14, in a case such that a player forcibly changes the stop positions of the reels 14 to create a combination of symbols in a winning state, even though the actual combination of symbols is not in the winning state, or in some other cases. The position-change detecting circuit 71 is configured, for example, to detect fins (not shown) mounted to the inner sides of the reels 14 at predetermined intervals so as to detect the change of the stop positions of the reels 14.
  • The hopper 66 is installed inside the cabinet 11, and pays out a predetermined number of coins based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, from the coin payout exit 19 to the coin tray 18. The coin detecting portion 67 is provided inside the coin payout exit 19, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in the case of detecting payout of the predetermined number of coins from the coin payout exit 19.
  • The graphic board 68 controls image display to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16 based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41. The number of credits stored in the RAM 43 is displayed to a number-of-credits display portion 31 of the lower image display panel 16. Further, the number of coin-outs is displayed to a number-of-payouts display portion 32 of the lower image display panel 16.
  • The graphic board 68 comprises a VDP (Video Display Processor) for generating image data based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, a video RAM for temporarily storing image data generated by the VDP, and the like. It is to be noted that image data used in generation of the image data by the VDP is included in the game program read from the memory card 53 and stored into the RAM 43.
  • The bill validator 22 not only discriminates a regular bill from a false bill, but also accepts the regular bill into the cabinet 11. Upon acceptance of the regular bill, the bill validator 22 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 based on a face amount of the bill. The main CPU 41 stores in the RAM 43 the number of credits corresponding to the face amount of the bill transmitted with the input signal.
  • The ticket printer 35, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, prints on a ticket a barcode as coded data of the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, a date, and an identification number of the slot machine 10, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 39 with a barcode. The card reader 36 reads data from the smart card and transmits the read data to the main CPU 41, and writes data onto the smart card based on the control signal from the main CPU 41. The key switch 38S is provided on the keypad 38, and outputs a predetermined input signal to the main CPU 41 when the key pad 38 is operated by the player. The data display 37 displays data read by the card reader 36 and data inputted by the player via the key pad 38, based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41.
  • The door PCB 80 is connected with a control panel 20, a reverter 21S, a coin counter 21C, and a cold cathode tube 81. The control panel 20 is provided with a spin switch 23S corresponding to the spin button 23, a change switch 24S corresponding to the change button 24, a CASHOUT switch 25S corresponding to the CASHOUT button 25, a 1-BET switch 26S corresponding to the 1-BET button 26, and the maximum BET switch 27S corresponding to the maximum BET button 27. Each of the switches 23S to 27S outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when each of the buttons 23 to 27 corresponding thereto is operated by the player.
  • The coin counter 21C is provided inside the coin receiving slot 21, and discriminates a regular coin from a false coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 21 by the player. Coins other than the regular coin are discharged from the coin payout exit 19. Further, the coin counter 21C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in detection of the regular coin.
  • The reverter 21S operates based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41, and distributes a coin recognized by the coin counter 21C as the regular coin into a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 66, which are disposed in the slot machine 10. Namely, when the hopper 66 is filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the cash box by the reverter 21S. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not filled with coins, the regular coin is distributed into the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 functions as a back light installed on the rear face side of the lower image display panel 16 and the upper image display panel 33, and is lit up based on the control signal outputted from the main CPU 41.
  • FIG. 4 is an explanatory view of a payout table in the present embodiment.
  • “DOUBLE”, “3BAR”, “2BAR”, “1BAR”, and “CHERRY” in the payout table represent types of symbols drawn on the reels 14. It is to be noted that, other than the above-mentioned symbols, a bonus trigger, which is a symbol corresponding to “GIFT BONUS”, and other symbols are also drawn on the reels 14. In the payout table, “ANY BAR” represents “3BAR”, “2BAR” or “1BAR”, and “ANY” represents an arbitrary symbol.
  • Combinations shown in the payout table represent winning combinations, and the number of coin-outs according to the numbers of BETs is set for each of the winning combinations.
  • When a combination of rearranged symbols on each of the reels 14 is the combination of “GIFT BONUS”, a predetermined number of coins is paid out as a jackpot. It is to be noted that a numeric value corresponding to “GIFT BONUS” in the payout table indicates an expectation value of the number of coin-outs, and is constant regardless of the number of BETs. Therefore, a setting is made such that the probability for establishing “GIFT BONUS” is high and the number of coin-outs is small in the case of 1BET, whereas the probability for establishing “GIFT BONUS” is low and the number of coin-outs is large in the case of the MAXBET. It should be noted that this probability setting is conducted by using the symbol weighing data.
  • Further, four types of jackpots “GRAND”, “MAJOR”, “MINOR” and “MINI” are provided in decreasing order of the number of coin-outs. The larger the number of coin-outs is, the lower the jackpot occurrence ratio is set, and which jackpot to be established is determined randomly using a random number. It should be noted that the expectation value of the number of coin-outs according to each jackpot is constant.
  • When a game is started by pressing of the spin button 23 after pressing of a 1-BET button 26 or a maximum BET button 27, the sequences of symbols drawn on the respective reels 14 are scroll-displayed downwardly in the display windows 15 with rotation of the reels 14, and after the lapse of a predetermined period of time, the sequences of symbols drawn on the respective reels 14 are rearranged in the display windows 15 with the stop of rotation of the reels 14. Further, a variety of winning combinations are previously set based on the respective combinations of symbols, and when the combination of symbols corresponding to the winning combination stops along the winning line L, the number of coin-outs according to the winning combination is added to credits owned by the player. When the combination of the bonus triggers of “GIFT BONUS” is established, a predetermined number of coin-outs is added to the credits owned by the player.
  • It should be noted that, in the present embodiment, there is described the case of paying out coins according to the jackpot when the combination of bonus triggers is established. However, the gaming state generated in establishment of the combination of bonus triggers is not particularly limited in the present invention. Examples of the gaming state may include a free game, a second game, and a mystery bonus. Further, when the combination of bonus triggers is established, the ticket 39 with a barcode may be issued with predetermined information printed thereon.
  • Combinations of symbols in italic in the payout table are combinations of which the number of coin-outs to be conducted is equal to or more than 180 when established in a game played with a MAXBET.
  • In the game played with a MAXBET in the insurance mode, when any one of those combinations of symbols is established, the mode is shifted from the insurance mode to the non-insurance mode.
  • Here, insurance in the slot machine 10 is described.
  • As for the insurance, the slot machine 10 has two modes: the insurance mode “RESCUE PAY ON”; and the non-insurance mode “RESCUE PAY OFF”.
  • The non-insurance mode is set immediately after the power is turned on in the slot machine 10, and the mode is then shifted to the insurance mode by an insertion of a predetermined number of game media.
  • In the insurance mode, the number of the specific game established after shifting to the insurance mode, namely, the number of the specific game is counted.
  • The specific game refers to, as already described with reference to FIG. 1A, a game satisfying the condition (X-0), the condition (X-1) and the condition (X-2). The number of the specific game refers to the number of establishment of the specific game. Further, there is a plurality of the specific games.
  • When the number of the specific game counted in the insurance mode reaches the set value determined according to the respective specific games, coins are paid out (RESCUE PAY). For example, when the number of the specific game of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” reaches 20, 360 coins are paid out (see FIG. 1A to FIG. 1D).
  • However, in the game played with a MAXBET in the insurance mode, when there is established a combination of which the number of coin-outs is equal to or more than 180, the counted number of the specific game is cleared and the mode is shifted from the insurance mode to the non-insurance mode, as described above.
  • FIG. 5 is an explanatory view of combinations to be selected.
  • The combinations to be selected are respectively associated with the number of payouts as “RESCUE PAY”, the set value indicating the required number of establishment of the specific game for “RESCUE PAY”, the possibility of establishment of each combination to be selected, and the required number of coins (insurance fee) to select each combination to be selected. For example, the specific combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” is associated with the number of payouts of “360” and the set value of “20”.
  • In the game program, a table defining the correspondence of each combination to be selected, the number of payouts as “RESCUE PAY”, the set value, the possibility of establishment of each combination to be selected, and the required number of coins (insurance fee) to select each combination to be selected, is included.
  • In the table, the higher the possibility of establishment of the combination to be selected is, the larger the required number of coins to select the combination is set. Here, in the present invention, the relation between the possibility of establishment of the combination to be selected and the required number of coins to select the combination is not limited to this example, and may be set as appropriate.
  • The combination selected by the player via the touch panel 69, out of the combinations to be selected, is to be stored in the RAM 43 as the specific combination.
  • Next, the flow of a game played on the slot machine 10 is described by using FIG. 6A to FIG. 8B.
  • FIG. 6A to FIG. 8B are views showing images displayed to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16 provided in the slot machine 10.
  • In the figures, a numeral 15 (15L, 15C, 15R) denotes a display window. A numeral 31 denotes a number-of-credits display portion. A numeral 32 denotes a number-of-payouts display portion. A symbol L denotes a winning line.
  • In the non-insurance mode, as shown in FIG. 6A, an image 94 a showing “RESCUE OFF” is displayed to the upper image display panel 33. The image 94 a is an image showing that the current gaming state is the non-insurance mode.
  • Moreover, a button type image 94 b showing “BET FOR RESCUE PAY MORE INFO” is displayed to the lower right portion of the lower image display panel 16. The button type image 94 b is an image to request an input of a command to output information concerning the insurance mode. The player can input the command to output information concerning the insurance mode by touching a predetermined place of the touch panel 69 corresponding to the display area of the button type image 94 b.
  • When the above-mentioned command is inputted, an image 95 showing information relating to the insurance mode is displayed to the lower image display panel 16 (see FIG. 6B).
  • The image 95 includes information concerning the insurance mode as follows:
  • (I) the number of the game satisfying the condition (X-0), the condition (X-1) and the condition (X-2) is counted as the number of the specific game;
  • (II) a coin is paid out as “RESCUE PAY”, when the number of the specific game reaches the predetermined number.
  • Further, the image 95 includes information to make a request for an option as to whether or not to shift the mode from the non-insurance mode to the insurance mode, a button type image “YES” 95 a, and a button type image “NO” 95 b.
  • When a predetermined area of the touch panel 69 corresponding to the button type image “NO” 95 b is touched by the player, the image 94 b shown in FIG. 6A is displayed to the lower image display panel 16 again.
  • On the other hand, when a predetermined area of the touch panel 69 corresponding to the button type image “YES” 95 a is touched by the player, an image shown in FIG. 6C is displayed.
  • A description of the image shown in FIG. 6C is omitted here, since the image is the same as the image shown in FIG. 1A.
  • In the state shown in FIG. 6C, when the combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” is selected, for example, the image shown in FIG. 6D is displayed and the mode is shifted from the non-insurance mode to the insurance mode.
  • When the mode is shifted to the insurance mode, as shown in FIG. 6D, the area 90 for displaying “No Pay Combination”, the area 91 for displaying “Remaining Games”, and the area 91 for displaying “RESCUE PAY” are provided on the upper image display panel 33.
  • To the area 90, an image showing the specific combination selected by the player is displayed. To the area 91, an image showing an initial value (same value as the set value) of the number of remaining games is displayed. To the area 92, an image showing “RESCUE PAY” corresponding to the specific combination is displayed.
  • FIG. 7A is a view showing an image displayed to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16 at a certain instant after the mode is shifted to the insurance mode.
  • As shown in FIG. 7A, there are provided the area 90, the area 91, and the area 92 on the upper image display panel 33. To the area 90, “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” is displayed as the selected specific combination. To the area 91, 18/20 is displayed as “Remaining Games” of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”.
  • To the lower image display panel 16, symbols drawn on the peripheral faces of the reels 14 (14L, 14C, 14R) are scroll-displayed.
  • After satisfying the state of FIG. 7A, in the case that the reel 14L and the reel 14C are stopped at “DOUBLE” as shown in FIG. 7B, and then the reel 14R is stopped at “BLANK” as shown in FIG. 7C, for example, the condition (X-0), the condition (X-1), and the condition (X-2) are satisfied.
  • Accordingly, the number of the specific game is counted. As a result, 17/20 is displayed as “Remaining Games” of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”.
  • On the other hand, in the case that the reel 14L and the reel 14C are stopped at “DOUBLE” as shown in FIG. 7B, and then the reel 14R is stopped at “DOUBLE” as shown in FIG. 8A, the condition (X-2) is not satisfied. Accordingly, the number of the specific game is not counted.
  • Further, a combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE-DOUBLE” displayed to the lower image display panel 16 is a winning combination that generates payout of 180 coins or more (see the first line of PAY TABLE shown in FIG. 4). Accordingly, the mode is shifted from the insurance mode to the non-insurance mode. Consequently, an image indicating that the mode is the non-insurance mode is displayed to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16, as shown in FIG. 8B.
  • Here, with regard to an image displayed when the number of the specific game reaches the predetermined number in the insurance mode, there has been described with reference to FIG. 1A to FIG. 1E.
  • Next, processing conducted in the slot machine 10 is described.
  • [Main Processing]
  • FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing main processing conducted in the slot machine 10.
  • First, activation processing is conducted in the slot machine 10 (step S101). The activation processing is specifically described later by using FIG. 14.
  • It is to be noted that, upon receipt of a detection signal outputted from the coin counter 21C when a coin inserted into the coin receiving slot 21 is detected by the coin counter 21C after the activation processing, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for adding the amount of inserted coins to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 as interruption processing.
  • After the processing of step S101, the non-insurance mode image is displayed in the slot machine 10 (step S102). In this processing, the main CPU 41 transmits a drawing command of the non-insurance mode image to the graphic board 68. On the graphic board 68, based on the above-mentioned drawing command, the VDP extracts image data from the RAM 43, expands it into a video RAM, generates image data of one frame, and outputs this image data to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16. This results in display of an image, for example as shown in FIG. 6A, to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the current gaming state is the insurance mode, namely whether or not the insurance mode flag stored in the RAM 43 is “ON” (step S103)
  • When determining that the current gaming state is not the insurance mode in step S103, the main CPU 41 executes game execution processing A (non-insurance mode) (step S200), and then returns the processing to step S103. The game execution processing A is specifically described later by using FIG. 11.
  • On the other hand, when determining that the current gaming state is the insurance mode in step S103, the main CPU 41 executes game execution processing B (insurance mode) (step S300), and then returns the processing to step S103. The game execution processing B is specifically described later by using FIG. 12.
  • In the slot machine 10, insurance setting processing is executed in a predetermined cycle, when the non-insurance mode image is displayed (see FIG. 6A) as described above.
  • FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of the insurance setting processing.
  • First, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the button type image “RESCUE PAY” 94 b (see FIG. 7A) has been touched, namely, whether or not to have received a detection signal that is outputted from the touch panel 69 when a predetermined place of the touch panel 69 corresponding to the display area of the button type image 94 b is touched (step S110). When the main CPU 41 determines that the button type image 94 b has not been touched, the present subroutine is terminated.
  • On the other hand, when determining that the button type image 94 b has been touched, the main CPU 41 displays an insurance information image (see FIG. 6B), including the button type image “YES” 95 a and the button type image “NO” 95 b for responding to “RESCUE ON”, to the lower image display panel 16 (step S111).
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the button type image “YES” 95 a has been touched (step S112). When determining that the button type image “YES” 95 a has not been touched in step S112, the main CPU 41 then determines whether or not the button type image “NO” 95 b has been touched (step S113). When the main CPU 41 determines that the image “NO” 95 b has been touched, the present subroutine is terminated. On the other hand, when the main CPU 41 determines that the button type image “NO” 95 b has not been touched, the processing is returned to step S111.
  • When the button type image “YES” 95 a has been touched in step S112, the main CPU 41 conducts processing according to the selection of the specific combination (step S114). In the processing, the main CPU 41 accepts the input indicating the selection of the specific combination from the touch panel 69, as well as displaying the image shown in FIG. 6C.
  • Next, in step S11S, the main CPU 41 stores the specific combination inputted from the touch panel 69 in the RAM 43 as a memory. Then, the main CPU 41 subtracts the number of credits corresponding to the selected specific combination from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. For example, when the combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” is selected, “4” is subtracted from the number of credits (see FIG. 5).
  • It should be noted that bills or coins that correspond to the number of credits may be inserted in place of subtracting the number of credits.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 sets the insurance mode flag stored in the RAM 43 to “ON” so as to shift the mode to the insurance mode (step S116).
  • The main CPU 41 then sets the number C of the specific games to zero (the number C of the specific game=0) in the data storage area showing the number C of the specific game which is provided in the RAM 43, and starts counting the number of the specific game (step S117).
  • In step S117, the main CPU 41 sets the number C1 of the specific game specifically corresponding to “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”, to zero. Further, the main CPU 41 sets the number C2 of the specific game corresponding to “3BAR-3BAR” to zero. Furthermore, the main CPU 41 sets the number C3 of the specific game corresponding to “2BAR-2BAR” to zero. Moreover, the main CPU 41 sets the number C4 of the specific game corresponding to “BAR-BAR” to zero.
  • Subsequently, the main CPU 41 displays the insurance mode images shown in FIG. 6D to the upper image display panel 33 (step S118). The insurance mode image includes an image showing the number of remaining games until the number of the specific game to be counted reaches the predetermined number. After the processing of step S118, the present subroutine is terminated.
  • [Game Execution Processing A (Non-Insurance Mode)]
  • FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of the game execution processing A called and executed in step S200 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 9.
  • First, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for displaying the non-insurance mode image (see FIG. 6A) to the upper image display panel 33 and the lower image display panel 16 (step S201).
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a coin has been BET (step S202). In this processing, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not to have received an input signal that is outputted from the 1-BET switch 26S when the 1-BET button 26 is operated, or an input signal that is outputted from a maximum BET switch 27S when the maximum BET button 27 is operated. When the main CPU 41 determines that the coin has not been BET, the processing is returned to step S202.
  • On the other hand, when determining that the coin has been BET in step S202, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 according to the number of coins BET (step S203). It is to be noted that, when the number of coins BET is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, the main CPU 41 does not conduct the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, and the processing is returned to step S202. Further, when the number of coins BET exceeds the upper limit of the number of coins that can be BET in one game (three coins in the present embodiment), the main CPU 41 does not conduct the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, and the processing is proceeded to step S204.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the spin button 23 has been turned ON (step S204). In this processing, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not to have received an input signal that is outputted from the spin switch 23S when the spin button 23 is pressed.
  • When the main CPU 41 determines that the spin button 23 has not been turned on, the processing is returned to step S202.
  • It is to be noted that, when the spin button 23 is not turned ON (e.g. when the spin button 23 is not turned ON and a command to end the game is inputted), the main CPU 41 cancels a subtraction result in step S203.
  • In the present embodiment, a case is described where, after a coin is BET (step S202), the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits is conducted (step S203) before whether or not the spin button 23 has been turned ON is determined (step S204). However, the present invention is not limited to this example. For example, after a coin was BET (step S202), whether or not the spin button 23 has been turned ON may be determined (step S204), and when it is determined that the spin button 23 has been turned ON (step S204: YES), the processing for making a subtraction from the number of credits may be conducted (step S203).
  • On the other hand, when determining that the spin button 23 has been turned ON in step S204 in FIG. 11, the main CPU 41 conducts to-be-stopped symbol determination processing (step S206). In this to-be-stopped symbol determination processing, the main CPU 41 (arithmetic processing unit) executes a to-be-stopped symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 (storage device) so as to determine a code No. in stopping each of the reels 14. Thereby, a combination of symbols to be rearranged is determined. This processing will be specifically described later by using FIG. 16 and FIG. 19. It should be noted that, in the present embodiment, a case is described where a combination of symbols to be rearranged is determined so as to determine one winning combination out of a plurality of types of winning combinations. However, in the present invention, for example, a random number may be used first so as to determine one winning combination to be selected randomly from the plurality of types of winning combinations, and thereafter, a combination of symbols to be rearranged may be determined based on the above-mentioned winning combination.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 conducts reel rotation control processing (step S207). This is the processing for starting rotation of all the reels 14 and then stopping rotation of the reels 14 so that the combination of symbols corresponding to the winning combination determined in step S206 is rearranged along the winning line L. This processing will be specifically described later by using FIG. 17 to FIG. 19.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a combination of bonus triggers has been established (step S220). When it is determined that the combination of bonus triggers has been established, a single jackpot is selected out of four types of jackpots “GRAND”, “MAJOR”, “MINOR” and “MINI” by using a random number, and the number of coins set with respect to the selected jackpot is paid out (step S223). In the case of accumulating coins, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for adding a predetermined number of credits to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, in the case of paying out coins, the main CPU 41 transmits a control signal to the hopper 66 in order to pay out a predetermined number of coins. At that time, the coin detecting portion 67 counts the number of coins paid out from the hopper 66, and when the counted value reaches a designated number, the coin detecting portion 67 transmits a payout completion signal to the main CPU 41. Thereby, the main CPU 41 stops driving of the hopper 66 and ends the coin payout processing. Thereafter, the present subroutine is terminated.
  • On the other hand, in step S220, when determining that the combination of bonus triggers has not been established, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a winning combination has been established (step S221). When determining that the winning combination has been established, the main CPU 41 pays out coins according to the number of BETs and the winning combination (step S222). When it is determined that any of winning combinations has not been established in step S221, or when the processing of step S222 or S223 has been executed, the present subroutine is terminated.
  • [Game Execution Processing B (Insurance Mode)]
  • FIG. 12 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of the game execution processing B which is called and executed in step S300 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 9.
  • First, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for displaying the insurance mode image (see FIG. 6C) to the upper image display panel 33 (step S301).
  • Subsequently, processing of steps S302 to S307 is conducted, and the processing is the same as the processing of steps S202 to S207 shown in FIG. 11.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a combination of bonus triggers has been established (step S320), and when determining that the combination of bonus triggers has been established, the main CPU 41 conducts jackpot payout processing (step S323).
  • On the other hand, when determining that the combination of bonus triggers has not been established in step S320, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a winning combination has been established (step S321). When determining that the winning combination has been established, the main CPU 41 pays out coins according to the number of BETs and the winning combination (step S322). When it is determined that any of winning combination has not been established in step S321, the processing is shifted to step 330.
  • In the case of having executed the processing of step S322 or the step S323, the main CPU 41 executes rescue-pay execution processing (step S324) and terminates the present subroutine.
  • [Rescue-Pay Execution Processing]
  • FIG. 13 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of rescue-pay execution processing.
  • First, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not a winning combination is established (step S401). When determining that the winning combination is established, the CPU 41 determines whether or not more than 180 coins have been paid out in the present game (step S402). When determining that more than 180 coins have been paid out in the present game, the main CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S407. On the other hand, when determining more than 180 coins have not been paid out, the CPU 41 terminates the present subroutine.
  • When determining that the winning combination is established in step S401, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the specific combination selected by the player is established (step S403). The specific combination refers to a combination of specific symbols, which satisfies the condition (X-0), the condition (X-1), and the condition (X-2) described with reference to FIG. 1A.
  • When determining that the specific combination is established in step S403, the main CPU 41 adds “1” to the count value (the number C of the specific game) of the number of the specific game (step S404).
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number (set value) (step S405). When determining that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number, the main CPU 40 pays out “RESCUE PAY” corresponding to the specific combination (step S406), and shifts the processing to step S407. For example, in the case of the specific combination of “DOUBLE-DOUBLE”, 360 credits of “RESCUE PAY” corresponding to the specific combination “DOUBLE-DOUBLE” are paid out. On the other hand, when determining that the number of the specific game has not reached the predetermined number in step S405, the CPU 41 terminates the present subroutine.
  • In step S407, the main CPU 41 sets the insurance mode flag stored in the RAM 43 to “OFF” so as to shift the mode to the non-insurance mode.
  • Next, in the storage area of data showing the number C of the specific game provided in the RAM 43, the main CPU 41 sets the number C of the specific game to zero (C=0) so as to clear the number of the specific game (step S408). Thereafter, the present subroutine is terminated.
  • [Activation Processing]
  • FIG. 14 is a flowchart showing a procedure of activation processing called and executed in step S101 of the flowchart shown in FIG. 9. This activation processing is the processing conducted by the mother board 40 and the gaming board 50. It should be noted that the memory card 53 is inserted into the card slot 53S in the gaming board 50, and the GAL 54 is mounted onto the IC socket 54S.
  • First, when a power switch is turned on (power is turned on) in the power supply unit 45, the mother board 40 and the gaming board 50 are activated (steps S1-1, S2-1). Inactivation of the mother board 40 and the gaming board 50, individual processing is respectively executed in parallel. Namely, in the gaming board 50, the CPU 51 reads the auxiliary authentication program stored in the boot ROM 52, and conducts auxiliary authentication according to the read auxiliary authentication program, to previously check and prove that the authentication program is not falsified before loading the program to the mother board 40 (step S2-2). Meanwhile, in the mother board 40, the main CPU 41 executes the BIOS stored in the ROM 42, and expands compressed data which is incorporated in the BIOS into the RAM 43 (step S1-2). The main CPU 41 then executes the BIOS expanded into the RAM 43 to diagnose and initialize a variety of peripheral devices (step S1-3). The processing of step S1-3 will be specifically described later with reference to FIG. 15.
  • Since the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50 is connected to the main CPU 41 via the PCI bus, the main CPU 41 reads the authentication program stored in the ROM 55, and stores the read authentication program into the RAM 43 (step S1-4). At this time, according to the standard BIOS function of BIOS, the main CPU 41 takes a checksum by ADDSUM system (normal checking system) and stores the authentication program into the RAM 43, while conducting processing for confirming whether or not the storage is certainly conducted.
  • Next, after confirming what is connected to the IDE bus, the main CPU 41 accesses, via the IDE bus, the memory card 53 inserted in the card slot 53S, to read a game program or a game system program from the memory card 53. In this case, the main CPU 41 reads data constituting the game program and the game system program by 4 bytes. Subsequently, the main CPU 41 conducts authentication to check and prove that the read game program and game system program have not been falsified, following the authentication program stored in the RAM 43 (step S1-5). When this authentication processing is normally completed, the main CPU 41 writes and stores the game program and the game system program, which have been the authentication targets (which have been authenticated), into the RAM 43 (step S1-6). Next, the main CPU 41 accesses, via the PCI bus, the GAL 54 mounted on the IC socket 54S, reads payout ratio setting data from the GAL 54, and writes and stores the data into the RAM 43 (step S1-7). Subsequently, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for reading country identification information stored in the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50 via the PCI bus, and writes and stores the read country identification information into the RAM 43 (step S1-8).
  • After conducting the above-mentioned processing, the main CPU 41 sequentially reads and executes the game program and the game system program, thereby execute the processing shown in FIG. 9 and FIG. 10.
  • FIG. 15 is a chart illustrating a procedure of peripheral-device initialization processing.
  • First, the main CPU 41 diagnoses and initializes a reel-related device (step S3-1). In this processing, the main CPU 41 sequentially transmits request signals to the index detecting circuit 65, the position-change detecting circuit 71, and the motor driving circuit 62. Then, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not to have received predetermined response signals and conducts clearance of a predetermined storage area, and the like.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 diagnoses and initializes a display (step S3-2). In this processing, the main CPU 41 transmits the request signal to the graphic board 68. Then, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not to have received a predetermined response signal and conducts clearance of a predetermined storage area, and the like.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 diagnoses and initializes various types of input devices (step S3-3). In this processing, the main CPU 41 transmits request signals to the input devices such as the spin switch 23S, the change switch 24S, the CASHOUT switch 25S, the 1-BET switch 26S, the maximum BET switch 27S, and the touch panel 11, and then determines whether or not to have received predetermined response signals.
  • Subsequently, the main CPU 41 diagnoses and initializes other peripheral devices connected to the main CPU 41 (step S3-4). Then the present subroutine is terminated.
  • [To-Be-Stopped Symbol Determination Processing]
  • FIG. 16 is a flowchart illustrating a subroutine of the to-be-stopped symbol determination processing called and executed in step S206 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 11. This is the processing conducted such that the main CPU 41 executes the to-be-stopped symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43.
  • First, the main CPU 41 executes a random number generation program included in the to-be-stopped symbol determination program, to select random numbers respectively corresponding to three reels 14, out of the numbers falling in the numeric range of 0 to 255 (step S31). In the present embodiment, the case of generating random numbers on the program (the case of using a so-called software random number) is described. However, in the present invention, a random number generator may be provided and random numbers may be extracted from the random number generator (a so-called hardware random number may be used).
  • Next, the main CPU 41 (arithmetic processing unit) determines a code No. (see FIG. 19) of the respective reels 14 based on the selected three random numbers, by referring to symbol weighing data according to the payout ratio setting data outputted from the GAL 54 and stored in the RAM 43 (storage device) (step S32). The code Nos. of the respective reels 14 correspond to code Nos. of symbols to be rearranged along the winning line L. It should be noted that later-described reel rotation control processing is conducted based on these code Nos. of the reels.
  • [Reel Rotation Control Processing]
  • FIG. 17 is a flowchart showing the reel rotation control processing called and executed in step S207 of the subroutine shown in FIG. 11. It is to be noted that this is the processing conducted between the main CPU 41 and the sub CPU 61.
  • First, the main CPU 41 transmits to the sub CPU 61 a start signal to start rotation of the reels (step S40). Upon receipt of the start signal from the main CPU 41, the sub CPU 61 conducts the reel rotation processing (step S51). In this processing, the sub CPU 61 supplies a pulse to the motor driving circuit 62. The pulse outputted from the sub CPU 61 is amplified by the driver 64, and then supplied to each of the stepping motors 70 (70L, 70C, 70R). This results in rotation of each of the stepping motors 70, along with which each of the reels 14 (14L, 14C, 14R) is rotated. In the one-two phase excitation stepping motor 70, a step angle is 0.9 degrees and the number of steps per rotation is 400. Therefore, when 400 pulses are supplied to the stepping motor 70, the reels 14 rotate one turn.
  • In starting rotation of the reels 14, the sub CPU 61 supplies a low frequency pulse to the motor driving circuit 62, and gradually increases the pulse frequency. Along with this, a rotational speed of the reels 14 increases. After a lapse of a predetermined period of time, the pulse frequency is made constant. This results in rotation of the reels 14 at a constant speed.
  • Here, the rotational operation of each of the reels 14 is described by using FIGS. 18A to 18D.
  • FIGS. 18A to 18D are side views for explaining the rotational operation of each of the reels 14.
  • As shown in FIG. 18A, a semicircular metal plate 14 a is provided on the side face of each of the reels 14. The metal plate 14 a is rotated along with each of the reels 14. Further, 22 symbols are provided on the peripheral face of each of the reels 14. Three symbols out of the 22 symbols drawn on the peripheral face of each of the reels 14 become visually identifiable via the display window 15 formed in front of each of the reels 14. In the figure, heavy-line arrows indicate the rotational direction of each of the reels 14. Further, an adjacent sensor 65 a is provided on the side face of each of the reels 14. The adjacent sensor 65 a is for detecting the metal plate 14 a. The adjacent sensor 65 a does not move or rotate along with rotation of each of the reels 14.
  • FIG. 18A shows a position (hereinafter also referred to as position A) of the metal plate 14 a at the time of becoming detected by the adjacent sensor 65 a. When each of the reels 14 rotates with the metal plate 14 a located in the position A, the metal plate 14 a moves to a position shown in FIG. 18B. FIG. 18B shows a position (hereinafter also referred to as position B) of the metal plate 14 a at the time of being detected by the adjacent sensor 65 a. When each of the reels 14 rotates with the metal plate 14 a located in the position B, the metal plate 14 a moves to a position shown in FIG. 18C. FIG. 18C shows a position (hereinafter also referred to as position C) of the metal plate 14 a at the time of becoming undetected by the adjacent sensor 65 a.
  • When each of the reels 14 rotates with the metal plate 14 a located in the position C, the metal plate 14 a moves to a position shown in FIG. 18D. FIG. 18D shows a position (hereinafter also referred to as position D) of the metal plate 14 a at the time of being not detected. When each of the reels 14 rotates with the metal plate 14 a located in the position D, the metal plate 14 a returns to the position A. As thus described, the position of the metal plate 14 a changes sequentially from the position A, the position B, the position C, the position D, the position A, and so forth, along with rotation of each of the reels 14.
  • The adjacent sensor 65 a constitutes the index detecting circuit 65 (see FIG. 3). Assuming that the state where the adjacent sensor 65 a is detecting the metal plate 14 a is referred to as “High” and the state where the adjacent sensor 65 a is not detecting the metal plate 14 a is referred to as “Low”, the index detecting circuit 65 is in the “High” state when the metal plate 14 a is located in the position A→the position B→the position C, and the index detecting circuit 65 is in the “Low” state when the metal plate 14 a is located in the position C→the position D→the position A. It is to be noted that the sub CPU 61 identifies the rotational position of each of the reels 14 such that a leading edge from “Low” to “High” as index (original point) 1 and a falling edge from “High” to “Low” as index (original point) 2.
  • After transmitting a start signal to the sub CPU 61 in step S40, the main CPU 41 executes effects in rotation of the reels (step S41). This is the processing for displaying an image to the lower image display panel 16, outputting sound from the speaker 29, and the like, during a period (e.g. 3 seconds) set according to a result of the to-be-stopped symbol determination processing (FIG. 11, step S206) or the like.
  • Next, the main CPU 41 determines whether or not the current time point is the timing for instructing to stop rotation of the reels 14 (step S42).
  • Here, the timing for instructing to stop rotation of the reels 14 is the timing before the time point of stopping the performance of effects in rotation of the reels only by the minimum time required for stopping rotation of the reels 14. It is to be noted that the minimum time required for stopping rotation of the reels 14 is previously set.
  • In step S42, when determining that the current time point is not the timing for instructing to stop rotation of the reels 14, the main CPU 41 returns the processing to step S42, and continuously executes the performance of effects in rotation of the reels. On the other hand, when determining that the current time point is the timing for instructing to stop rotation of the reels 14 in step S42, the main CPU 41 transmits code No. stored in the RAM 43 to the sub CPU 61 (step S43).
  • In this processing, the main CPU 41 sequentially transmits code No. of the reel 14L, code No. of the reel 14C, and the code No. of reel 14R to the sub CPU 61 at predetermined time intervals.
  • Upon receipt of code No. of the reels from the main CPU 41, the sub CPU 61 converts code No. into the stop position (the number of steps) of each reel from the index, based on the correspondence table of the number of steps stored in ROM (not shown) provided in the sub CPU 61 and code No. (step S52).
  • FIG. 19 is a schematic view showing a correspondence table of the number of steps and code No. Each code No. is associated with index and the number of steps.
  • It should be noted that each code No. corresponds to a symbol drawn on the peripheral face of each of the reels 14. Symbols of code No. “00” to “10” correspond to index 1. Symbols of code No. “11” to “21” correspond to index 2. Further, the numbers of steps in the correspondence table shown in FIG. 19 are the numbers of steps set by regarding index 1 as a reference. For example, when code No. is “08”, a position 145 steps from index 1 is the stop position of the reel. Further, when code No. is “12”, a position 218 steps from index 1 is the stop position of the reel.
  • Next, the sub CPU 61 executes a reel stoppage processing (step S53). In this processing, the sub CPU 61 detects the leading edge (index 1) from “Low” to “High” of each reel 14 in the index detecting circuit 65, and supplies the index detecting circuit 65 with pulses corresponding to the number of steps into which code No. has been converted in step S52, at the timing of detecting index 1, and thereafter, the supply of the pulse is stopped.
  • For example, when it is determined that the stop position of the reel is a position 145 steps away from index 1 in step S52, the sub CPU 61 supplies the index detecting circuit 65 with 145 pulses at the timing of detecting index 1, and then stops the supply of the pulse. Further, in step S52, when it is determined that the stop position of the reel is a position 218 steps away from index 1, the sub CPU 61 supplies the index detecting circuit 65 with 218 pulses at the timing of detecting index 1. As a result, the reels 14 stop with the code numbers as determined in step S32 in FIG. 16, and a combination of symbols corresponding to the winning combination determined in step S32 in FIG. 17 is rearranged along the winning line L. Meanwhile, the main CPU 41 ends the performance of effects in rotation of the reels. After completing the processing of steps S44 and S53, the present processing is terminated.
  • When index corresponding to code No. transmitted in step S43 differs from index detected by the index detecting circuit 65 in stopping rotation of the reels 14, a loss of synchronism has occurred in the reels 14, and therefore, the main CPU 41 conducts processing for displaying an error message to the lower image display panel 16, or the like, to discontinue the game.
  • For example, when the index 1 is detected by the index detecting circuit 65 in stopping rotation of the reel 14L although the main CPU 41 conducts the processing for stopping reel 14L at code No. 12 which corresponds to index 2, the game is discontinued.
  • According to the control method of the slot machine 10, the touch panel 69 (input device) is provided, with which the player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state out of a plurality of stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a coin. The stopping state inputted from the touch panel 69 is stored in the slot machine 10.
  • Further, the number of the game satisfying the condition (X-0), the condition (X-1), and the condition (X-2) is counted as the number of the specific game. Then, in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number, the coin is paid out. Accordingly, the number of the game that may make the player be frustrated a lot is counted as the number of the specific game, so as to approach the predetermined number for the payout of the coin. Consequently, the frustration of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since only the number of the specific game is counted, the predetermined number for the payout of the coin can be set to a small number. As a result, the player can realize the possibility of receiving a return.
  • Furthermore, the number of the specific game corresponding to the condition (X-0) selected by the player is counted. In the case that the stopping state that the player has selected and has particularly aimed at misses being established, it is highly possible that the player is greatly disappointed. However, according to the slot machine 10, the number of the specific game selected by the player is counted, and the payout of the game medium is conducted in the case that the number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number. Accordingly, the disappointment of the player can be reduced.
  • Further, since the predetermined number of coins are required to be inserted to receive a return, it becomes possible for the management side of the recreation hall to control a loss.
  • Moreover, it becomes possible to provide a new enjoyment of expecting that the number of the specific game is counted.
  • According to the control method of the slot machine, a mode is shifted from the non-insurance mode to the insurance mode on condition that the predetermined number of game media according to the occurrence probability of the specific stopping state has been inserted. Accordingly, it is possible to provide the player with an enjoyment of selecting a stopping state to effect insurance, out of the stopping state having a high occurrence probability and the stopping state having a low occurrence probability.
  • At this time, to shift the mode to the insurance mode, the predetermined number of game media according to the occurrence probability are required to be inserted. Therefore, the player needs to determine whether or not to effect insurance considering an insertion number of the game media. Accordingly, it is possible to provide a game with greater strategic characteristics.
  • In the above-described embodiment, there has been described a case where the set value (predetermined number) is fixed. However, in the present invention, the set value (predetermined number) may be varied according to the combination to be selected.
  • FIG. 20 is an explanatory view of a specific combination according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • In the table shown in FIG. 20, the possibilities of establishment of the respective combinations to be selected are the same. Further, the set value is set to be larger according to increase of the number of payout as “RESCUE PAY”.
  • According to the above-described slot machine, the relatively large value is set as the predetermined number with respect to the combination to be selected, which is associated with the large amount of payout of coins based on the number of the specific game having reached the predetermined number (set value). Further, the relatively small number is set as the predetermined number with respect to the combination to be selected, which is associated with the small amount of payout of coins based on the number of the specific game having reached the predetermined number. As just described, since the predetermined number is determined according to the combination to be selected, it is possible to set the various states regarding the return to the player.
  • The slot machine 10 according to the present embodiment is a stand-alone type slot machine and counts the number of the specific game. However, in the present invention, the slot machine is not necessarily a stand-alone type slot machine, and a server (central controller) connected to a plurality of slot machines via a network may count the number times of the specific game played in each slot machine.
  • FIG. 21 is a diagrammatic view showing an entire configuration of a game system according to one embodiment of the present invention.
  • A game system 100 includes a plurality of slot machines 10 and a central controller 200 connected with these slot machines 10 via a predetermined communication line 101. Such a game system 100 may be constructed inside one recreation facility where a variety of games can be played such as a bar or a casino, or constructed among a plurality of recreation facilities. In the case of constructing the game system inside one recreation facility, the game system 100 may be constructed on each floor or in each section of the recreation facility. The communication line 101 is not particularly limited, and may be either wired or wireless, and an exclusive line, an exchange line or the like can be adopted.
  • The central controller 200 controls the plurality of slot machines 10. In the present embodiment, in particular, the central controller 200 conducts the processing for counting the number of the specific game played in each slot machine 10. The central controller 200 may have a function as a so-called hall server which is installed in a recreation facility having a plurality of slot machines 10, a server to control a plurality of recreation facilities in block, or the like. It is to be noted that each slot machine 10 is provided with a unique identification number, and according to the identification number, the central controller 200 determines from which slot machine data is transmitted. Also when data is transmitted from the central controller 200 to the slot machine 10, the central controller 200 specifies to which slot machine the data will be transmitted, by using the identification number.
  • FIG. 22 is a chart illustrating a procedure of activation processing executed by the central controller shown in FIG. 21.
  • First, when the power switch is turned on (the power is turned on) in the power unit, a mother board is activated (step S4-1).
  • In the mother board, a CPU executes a BIOS stored in a ROM so as to expand compressed data incorporated in the BIOS into a RAM (step S4-2). Then, the CPU executes the BIOS expanded into the RAM, and then, diagnoses and initializes various types of peripheral devices such as a display (step S4-3).
  • Next, the CPU executes initialization processing of each slot machine. In this processing, the CPU establishes a network connection between the central controller and each slot machine, and diagnoses if the network functions properly.
  • After the above-described processing, the CPU controls proceeding of the game executed in a plurality of the slot machines by reading and executing a game control program.
  • In the above-mentioned example, the case of using mechanical reels 14 has been described. However, in the present invention, symbols may be displayed to a display device such as a liquid crystal display device in place of the mechanical reels.
  • FIG. 23 is a perspective view schematically showing a slot machine according to another embodiment of the present invention.
  • Except for displaying symbols to a lower image display panel, a slot machine 300 has substantially the same appearance, circuit configuration and the like as those of the slot machine 10, and the flowchart of the slot machine 300 is substantially the same as that of the slot machine 10. Therefore, descriptions of the slot machine 300 are omitted except for a description of symbol display. Further, constituent elements corresponding to those of the slot machine 10 are provided with the same numerals as in the slot machine 10.
  • The lower image display panel 16 included in the slot machine 300 is provided with symbol display areas 250 having three columns and three rows, and one symbol is displayed in each symbol display area. In such a configuration, the scroll-display of symbols may be displayed to the lower image display panel 16 in place of the reel rotation control by the sub CPU 61.
  • Here, in the present invention, variable-display of symbols refers to scroll-display of symbols by using a mechanical reel as in the slot machine 10, and also refers to display of symbols in a state of scrolling by using a image display such as a liquid crystal display as in the slot machine 300.
  • Although the embodiments of the present invention were described above, they were just illustrations of specific examples, and hence do not particularly restrict the present invention. A specific configuration of each step and the like is appropriately changeable in terms of design. Further, the effects described in the embodiments of the present invention are just recitations of the most suitable effects generated from the present invention. The effects of the present invention are thus not limited to those described in the embodiments of the present invention.
  • Further, the foregoing detailed descriptions centered the characteristic parts of the present invention in order to facilitate understanding of the present invention. The present invention is not limited to the embodiments in the foregoing specific descriptions but applicable to other embodiments with a variety of application ranges. Further, terms and phrases in the present specification were used not for restricting interpretation of the present invention but for precisely describing the present invention. It is considered easy for the skilled in the art to conceive other configurations, systems, methods and the like included in the concept of the present invention from the concept of the invention described in the specification. Therefore, it should be considered that recitations of the claims include uniform configurations in a range not departing from the range of technical principles of the present invention. Moreover, an object of the abstract is to enable a patent office, a general public institution, an engineer belonging to the technical field who is unfamiliar with patent, technical jargon or legal jargon, and the like, to smoothly determine technical contents and an essence of the present application with simple investigation. Accordingly, the abstract is not intended to restrict the scope of the invention which should be evaluated by recitations of the claims. Furthermore, for thorough understanding of an object of the present invention and an effect specific to the present invention, it is desired to make interpretation in full consideration of documents already disclosed and the like.
  • The foregoing detailed descriptions include processing executed on a computer or a computer network. Explanations and expressions above are described with the aim of being most efficiently understood by the skilled person in the art. In the specification, each step for use in deriving one result should be understood as the self-consistent processing. Further, in each step, transmission/reception, recording or the like of an electrical or magnetic signal is performed. While such a signal is expressed by using a bit, a value, a symbol, a letter, a term, a number or the like in processing of each step, it should be noted that those are used simply for the sake of convenience in description. While there are cases where processing in each step may be described using an expression in common with that of action of a human, processing described in the specification is essentially executed by a variety of devices. Further, another configuration requested for performing each step should become apparent from the above descriptions.

Claims (6)

1. A slot machine comprising:
a symbol display capable of variably displaying a plurality of symbols;
an input device with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state of symbols out of a plurality of the stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium;
a memory; and
a controller,
said controller programmed to execute processing of
(A) storing the stopping state of symbols inputted from said input device as a specific stopping state in said memory,
(B) shifting a mode from a non-insurance mode to an insurance mode on condition that a predetermined number of game media has been inserted,
(C) stop-displaying said plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying said plurality of symbols to said symbol display,
(D) determining, in a state that said symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in said processing (C) and only the last one of said symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in said memory,
(E) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium, when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed after said specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in said processing (D),
(F) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of said symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in said processing (E), after shifting the mode to said insurance mode,
(G) determining whether or not said number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, and
(H) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that said number of the specific game has reached said predetermined number in said processing (G).
2. The slot machine according to claim 1,
wherein
said processing (B) is processing of
shifting a mode from the non-insurance mode to the insurance mode on condition that the predetermined number of game media according to an occurrence probability of the specific stopping state stored in said memory in said processing (A) has been inserted.
3. The slot machine according to claim 1,
wherein
said processing (G) is processing of
determining whether or not said number of the specific game has reached the predetermined number determined for each stopping state of symbols for generating payout of the game medium.
4. A slot machine comprising:
a symbol display capable of variably displaying a plurality of symbols;
an input device with which a player can make an input indicating a selection of a single stopping state of symbols out of a plurality of the stopping states of symbols for generating a payout of a game medium;
a memory; and
a controller,
said controller programmed to execute the processing of
(A) storing the stopping state of symbols inputted from said input device as a specific stopping state in said memory,
(B) stop-displaying said plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying said plurality of symbols to said symbol display,
(C) determining, in a state that said symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in said processing (B) and only the last one of said symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in said memory,
(D) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium, when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed after said specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in said processing (C),
(E) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of said symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in said processing (D),
(F) determining whether or not said number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, and
(G) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that said number of the specific game has reached said predetermined number in said processing (F).
5. A control method of a slot machine, said control method comprising the steps of:
(A) storing a stopping state of symbols inputted from an input device as a specific stopping state in a memory;
(B) shifting a mode from a non-insurance mode to an insurance mode on condition that a predetermined number of game media has been inserted;
(C) stop-displaying a plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying said plurality of symbols to a symbol display;
(D) determining, in a state that said symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in said step (C) and only the last one of said symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in said memory;
(E) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating a payout of the game medium, when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed after said specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in said step (D);
(F) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of said symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in said step (E), after shifting the mode to said insurance mode;
(G) determining whether or not said number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number; and
(H) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that said number of the specific game has reached said predetermined number in said step (G).
6. A control method of a slot machine, said control method comprising the steps of:
(A) storing a stopping state of symbols inputted from an input device as a specific stopping state in a memory,
(B) stop-displaying a plurality of symbols sequentially, after variably displaying said plurality of symbols to a symbol display,
(C) determining, in a state that said symbols have been sequentially stop-displayed in said step (B) and only the last one of said symbols is variably displayed, whether or not a stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols satisfies a specific condition that the stopping state when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed could be the specific stopping state stored in said memory,
(D) determining whether or not the stopping state of the stop-displayed symbols is a stopping state not generating the payout of a game medium, when the last one of said symbols is stop-displayed after said specific condition has been determined to be satisfied in said step (C),
(E) counting a number of a specific game, in which the stopping state of said symbols has been determined to be the stopping state not generating the payout of the game medium in said step (D),
(F) determining whether or not said number of the specific game has reached a predetermined number, and
(G) paying out a predetermined number of game media, when determining that said number of the specific game has reached said predetermined number in said step (F).
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