US20090275385A1 - Method for selecting lucky winning symbols in games - Google Patents

Method for selecting lucky winning symbols in games Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090275385A1
US20090275385A1 US12/113,207 US11320708A US2009275385A1 US 20090275385 A1 US20090275385 A1 US 20090275385A1 US 11320708 A US11320708 A US 11320708A US 2009275385 A1 US2009275385 A1 US 2009275385A1
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Prior art keywords
symbol
original
method
symbols
player
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US12/113,207
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Manendra Singh Yadav
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Bally Gaming Inc
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Bally Gaming Inc
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Priority to US12/113,207 priority Critical patent/US20090275385A1/en
Assigned to BALLY GAMING, INC. reassignment BALLY GAMING, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: YADAV, MANENDRA S.
Publication of US20090275385A1 publication Critical patent/US20090275385A1/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
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3267Game outcomes which determine the course of the subsequent game, e.g. double or quits, free games, higher payouts, different new games
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F17/00Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services
    • G07F17/32Coin-freed apparatus for hiring articles; Coin-freed facilities or services for games, toys, sports or amusements, e.g. casino games, online gambling or betting
    • G07F17/326Game play aspects of gaming systems
    • G07F17/3262Player actions which determine the course of the game, e.g. selecting a prize to be won, outcome to be achieved, game to be played

Abstract

The present invention is generally related to a method for operating an electronic gaming machine (“EGM”) having a symbol selection feature. This feature allows a player to select the winning symbols that will be displayed during play of a game on the EGM. In one embodiment, the method includes displaying a plurality of original or default winning symbols on a display of the EGM. In this method, the EGM receives player input for selecting one of the original symbols to be changed. The EGM also receives player input for selecting a new symbol that will be used to replace the selected original symbol. Further, the EGM replaces the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol on the display. In one embodiment, replacing the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol includes replacing all original symbols identical to the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is related to co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______, filed ______.
  • COPYRIGHT NOTICE
  • A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Many games of chance and gaming machines have been developed that have various features designed to capture and maintain player interest. Traditionally, games garner player interest by providing the player with the opportunity to win cash awards based upon a player's wager. For example, games may include one or more bonus games or the opportunity to win progressive jackpots in order to maintain player interest.
  • Additionally, over the years, games have grown in both sophistication and in the types of gaming features used to maintain a player's interest. For example, the mechanical reels of traditional gaming machines have been replaced with video depictions of spinning reels. These video gaming machines may provide a richer gaming experience for players by including graphics or animation as part of the game. However, there is a continuing need for games that provide player excitement and diversity of game play without creating overly complex games that unacceptably diminish player comfort.
  • SUMMARY
  • Briefly, and in general terms, various embodiments are directed to a method for operating an electronic gaming machine (“EGM”) having a symbol selection feature. This feature allows a player to select winning symbols to be displayed during play of a game on the EGM. In one embodiment, the method includes displaying a plurality of original or default winning symbols on a display of the EGM. As one example, the EGM enables play of a slot style game with the plurality of original default winning symbols (standard symbols normally displayed in the game) being displayed on several reels of the game. However, it will be appreciated that the symbol selection feature can be used in conjunction with any game that uses symbols. The original winning symbols are each associated with a pay table. In one embodiment, the EGM receives player input for selecting one of the original symbols the player wants to change. The EGM also receives player input for selecting a new symbol (not a standard symbol and not normally displayed in the game) that will be used to replace the selected original symbol. The EGM then replaces the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol on the display of the game. In one embodiment, replacing the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol includes replacing all original symbols identical to the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol.
  • In one embodiment, the selected new symbol will replace the selected original symbol on the pay table, and the selected new symbol will become associated with the pay table previously associated with the replaced original symbol. The symbol selection feature of this method allows for more interaction between the player and the EGM. In one embodiment, the player can replace an original symbol associated with a jackpot prize on the EGM with another symbol that the player may feel is more “lucky.”
  • Other features will become apparent from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate by way of example, the features of the various embodiments.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
  • FIG. 1 depicts one embodiment of an electronic gaming machine;
  • FIG. 2 depicts a flow diagram of one method for operating an electronic gaming machine including a symbol selection feature;
  • FIG. 3 depicts a diagram of an electronic gaming machine Setup Menu Screen;
  • FIG. 4A depicts a diagram of a Game Setup Screen with a Multi-Symbol field set to ‘Enable’;
  • FIG. 4B depicts a diagram of a Symbol Configuration Screen listing new lucky winning symbols;
  • FIG. 5 depicts a base game screen for a slot style game with default winning symbols displayed;
  • FIG. 6 depicts a Pay Screen showing a payout table and default winning symbols;
  • FIG. 7 depicts the base game screen of FIG. 5 with the ‘3 Bar’ symbol selected in a Symbols soft button;
  • FIG. 8 depicts a Choose Your Lucky Symbol Screen showing a plurality of lucky winning symbols;
  • FIG. 9 depicts the base game screen of FIG. 5, with the ‘3 Bar’ symbol having been replaced with a ‘Smiley Face’ symbol;
  • FIG. 10 depicts the Pay Screen of FIG. 6, with the ‘3 Bar’ symbol having been replaced with the ‘Smiley Face’ symbol;
  • FIG. 11 depicts another embodiment of a base game screen for a slot style game with default winning symbols displayed;
  • FIG. 12 depicts the base game screen of FIG. 11 with the ‘Triple’ symbol having been replaced with a ‘Yin/Yang’ symbol; and
  • FIG. 13 depicts a diagram of one embodiment of a gaming system including a plurality of gaming machines including a symbol selection feature.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Generally, various embodiments disclosed herein are directed to a system and method for allowing players to select their own lucky winning game symbols from a list during play of a game on an electronic gaming machine (EGM). In some embodiments, the EGM enables play of a slot style base game having multiple reels, with each reel including a variety of symbols disposed thereon. This type of EGM also has increasing payouts based on different combinations of symbols across multiple available paylines. In one embodiment, the EGM enables a player to select the winning symbols to be displayed on the multiple reels. The EGM maintains the player selected winning symbols until the player chooses to select other winning symbols or return the selected winning symbols back to the original or default symbols. This enhanced interaction between the player and the EGM helps maintain the player's amusement at the casino, and thereby, generates more game play and more revenue for the casino.
  • Players may also try to play with different symbols to “try their luck,” which can increase the gaming duration for the player, and as such, increase the amount of money spent on the EGM. A player can try his luck with one symbol and then change the winning symbol to another symbol, which he may believe to be luckier.
  • For the sake of brevity and clarity, the disclosure and example used in herein relate to a slot style game, but those skilled in the art will appreciate that a player may choose and select symbols on any game of chance or game of skill displaying symbols.
  • Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals denote like or corresponding parts throughout the drawings, there are shown various embodiments of a gaming machine or EGM 20 presenting a symbol selection feature for selecting and changing multiple winning symbols for new lucky winning symbols by the player at the EGM. FIG. 1 depicts an embodiment of one EGM 20, which is a five reel slot game 22. The machine includes a gaming cabinet 24 that houses a display screen 26. The display 26 in this embodiment is a touch screen system, however, a touch glass system may also be used. The game 22 includes a dedicated set of buttons 28 having functions such as, but not limited to, a collect button (or cash-out), select lines button, bet per line button, max bet button, and a spin button.
  • The EGM 20 shown in FIG. 1 also includes a player interface having a set of buttons 32 for the game presented on the display 26. The buttons 32 function as input mechanisms and may include mechanical buttons, electromechanical buttons, or touch screen buttons. While FIG. 1 illustrates an EGM having both touch screen buttons and mechanical buttons, other contemplated embodiments have only mechanical buttons or touch screen buttons. According to one embodiment, the buttons 32 are backlit to indicate whether the button is active. In another embodiment, one input mechanism is a universal button module that provides a dynamic button system adaptable for use with various games, as disclosed in U.S. application Ser. No. 11/106,212, entitled “Universal Button Module”, filed Apr. 14, 2005 and U.S. application Ser. No. 11/223,364, entitled “Universal Button Module”, filed Sep. 9, 2005, which are both hereby incorporated herein by reference. Additionally, other input devices, such as, but not limited to, a touch pad, track ball, mouse, switches, toggle switches, are included with the gaming machine to also accept player input. Optionally, one or more handles 34 may be “pulled” by a player to initiate a slots-based game.
  • In yet another embodiment, a cellular phone or other input device (e.g., PDA), separate and apart, from the EGM 20 may also be used to input various player choices and information to enhance the player's interactive experience with the gaming machine. In this embodiment, the EGM 20 also includes an IR sensor, RF sensor, BLUETOOTH receiver, or other means for receiving input from a cellular phone or other wireless input devices. Furthermore, inputting information via these devices provides an added level of security as any key presses may be hidden from view. In yet another embodiment, a player may call or send a text message or a short message service (SMS) to the EGM 20.
  • The EGM 20 includes a ticket reader/ticket printer slot 36 that is associated with a cashless gaming system (not shown). According to one embodiment, the slot 36 is used for the ticket reader and ticket printer. Accordingly, the same slot 36 may be used to insert and/or issue a ticket. However, in alternate embodiments, separate slots (not shown) may be provided for the ticket acceptor and the ticket printer. In one embodiment, the ticket reader (not shown) of the cashless gaming system is capable of accepting previously printed vouchers, paper currency, promotional coupons, or the like. The ticket printer (not shown) of the cashless gaming system generates vouchers having printed information that includes, but is not limited to, the value of the voucher (i.e., cash-out amount) and a barcode that identifies the voucher. In another embodiment, the EGM 20 may allow a player to insert credit onto the EGM through an electronic funds transfer from a player's account. In this embodiment the slot may be a card reader for reading a credit or debit card from the player.
  • Additionally, the EGM 20 is in communication with a player tracking system (not shown). The player tracking system allows a casino to monitor the gaming activities of various players. The player tracking system typically includes a database of all qualified players (i.e., those players who have enrolled in a player rating or point accruing program). Generally, the database for the player tracking system is separate from the gaming machines. Additionally, the player tracking system is able to store data relating to a player's gaming habits as well as the player's preferences for gaming machine configuration, including a player's preference for lucky winning symbols. That is, a player can accrue player points that depend upon the amount and frequency of their wagers. Casinos can use these player points to compensate the loyal patronage of players. For example, casinos may award or “comp” a player free meals, room accommodations, tickets to shows, and invitations to casino events and promotional affairs.
  • The player tracking system is operatively connected to one or more input components on the EGM 20. These input components include, but are not limited to, a player card slot 38 for receiving a player tracking card, a keypad or equivalent, and a display 40. Accordingly, the gaming activity of the players may be tracked. Alternatively, the EGM 20 includes no slot at all. If the EGM 20 does not include a player card slot, the players may input player identification via a touch screen, keypad, or other input mechanisms that are associated with the player tracking system in lieu of inserting a player tracking card.
  • In another embodiment, each EGM 20 includes an Internet connection or other known network connections to link a plurality of EGM's together. According to one embodiment, the Internet connection is used for web browsing, prize redemption, or access to other gaming or non-gaming information.
  • The main cabinet 24 of the EGM 20 also houses a CPU, circuitry, and software for receiving signals from the player-activated buttons 28 and one or more handles 34, operating the games, and transmitting signals to the game display and speakers. In one embodiment, the game 22 and the symbol section feature are operated by separate processors that are in communication with one another. In yet another embodiment, the game 22 and the symbol selection feature are operated remotely via one or more servers.
  • In various embodiments, one or more game programs may be stored in a memory (not shown) comprising a read only memory (ROM), volatile or non-volatile random access memory (RAM), a hard drive or flash memory device or any of several alternative types of single or multiple memory devices or structures. Optionally, each EGM 20 includes one or more data repositories for storing data. Examples of information stored by the EGM 20 include, but are not limited to, accounting data, maintenance history information, short and/or long-term play data, real-time play data, and sound data. In one embodiment, the data repository also stores display content configurations for various games and gaming machines, include a list or database of lucky winning symbols.
  • In FIG. 1, the EGM 20 includes a top box 42 on the main cabinet 24. According to one embodiment, the top box is a separate and distinct component that is affixed to the main cabinet. In another embodiment, the top box is an area that is partitioned from the main cabinet. Alternatively, the top box and the main cabinet may be contiguous areas with the outward appearance of two distinct components. The top box may include a secondary display for displaying game information (e.g., name of the game, animation, one or more pay tables, game information, one or more help menus, progressive jackpot or game information, tournament game information, or any combination thereof) or non-game related information (e.g., news, advertisements, messages, promotions, or any combination thereof). In one embodiment, the secondary display presents a secondary game such as, but not limited to, a bonus game, progressive game, or a continuation game of the primary game. In yet another embodiment, the top box also includes a display glass that includes the name of the game, artwork, game instructions, pay table, or other information relating to one or more games presented on the EGM 20.
  • One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that not all EGM's 20 have all these components and may have other components in addition to, or in lieu of, those components mentioned here. Furthermore, while these components are viewed and described separately, various components may be integrated into a single unit in some embodiments.
  • A symbol selection feature module (not shown) that allows a player to select and choose different lucky winning symbols to be displayed on the multiple reels of the game 22 may be stored on the EGM 20. The symbol selection feature module can be a processor assembly including a processor, memory tangibly embodying instructions which comprise an operating system and one or more applications. Operating system and applications are comprised of instructions which, when read and executed by the computer processor causes the function to be performed. In one embodiment, the symbol selection feature module may be stored on a network server that is in communication with the EGM 20 through a network.
  • Referring now to FIG. 2, a flow diagram is displayed depicting one embodiment of a method for selecting and choosing a lucky winning symbol to be displayed on the game 22. At step 50, a user selects “setup” 51 from a setup menu screen 60 to display a setup menu 62 as shown in FIG. 3. At step 52 of FIG. 2, the user selects “game setup” 64 from the setup menu 62, as shown in FIG. 3, to enter a “game setup” screen 66 as shown in FIG. 4A. At step 54, the use can toggle the field labeled “multi symbol” 68 between “enable” and “disable.” If the “multi symbol” field is set to “disable” then the user may exit the setup menu 60 and the EGM 20 will present the normal game display without allowing a player to change or select different winning symbols as shown at step 56 of FIG. 2. On the other hand, if the “muti symbol” field 68 is set to “enable,” the user proceeds to step 58 and selects a “symbol configuration” button 70 to display a symbol configuration page 72 as shown in FIG. 4B. The symbol configuration page 72 displays a list of all available lucky winning symbols 74 that the user may enable. All enabled lucking winning symbols 74 may later be chosen by a player during game play, and disabled lucky winning symbols can not be selected during game play. Any number of lucky winning symbols 74 may be displayed in the list on the symbol configuration page 72, and any lucky winning symbol 74 can be enabled. As shown in FIG. 4B, and by way of example only, the symbols include a butterfly, a smiley face, a yin/yang sign, and a mushroom. Once all of the lucky winning symbols that are desired to be enabled are selected and enabled, step 59 is performed, where the user presses a “save and exit” button 76 to exit the setup menu and return to a base game screen 78 on the display 26 of the EGM as shown in FIG. 5.
  • In one embodiment, the user navigating through the EGM setup menu screen 60 is a casino operator, and in another embodiment, the user enabling/disabling the symbol selection feature is a player who is granted access to the setup menu of the EGM.
  • FIG. 5 displays the base game screen 78 with original or default winning symbols 80 displayed on reels 82 of the slot game 22, and also in a ‘SYMBOLS’ soft button 84. In this embodiment, there is a left arrow 86 and a right arrow 88 on each side of the ‘SYMBOLS’ soft button 84 to scroll through the original symbols 80. This screen also includes a ‘PAYS’ soft button 90, which when pressed displays a PAYS screen 92 shown in FIG. 6. The default winning symbols 80 are displayed on the PAYS screen 92 with associated a pay table 94. Pressing an ‘EXIT’ button 96 on the PAYS screen 92 returns the player to the base game screen 78 of FIG. 5. Still at step 59 of FIG. 2, the player may press either the left or right arrows 36 and 38 to scroll through the original symbols 80 until displaying the original winning symbol that is to be replaced with a new lucky winning symbol 74.
  • For example, if the player desires to replace the ‘3 Bar’ winning symbol, the player uses the left and right arrow buttons 86 and 88 until the ‘3 Bar’ winning symbol is displayed in the ‘SYMBOLS’ soft button 84 as shown in FIG. 7. The ‘3 Bar’ winning symbol may also become highlighted in the base game screen 78. In this embodiment, at step 61 of FIG. 2, the player next presses the ‘SYMBOLS’ soft button 84 to activate a Choose Your Lucky Symbol Screen 98 as shown in FIG. 8. Screen 98 displays the lucky winning symbols 74 that were enabled at the symbol configuration screen 70. The symbol that is to be replaced, in this case the ‘3 Bar’ symbol, may also be displayed on screen 98. Still at step 61, the player selects the lucky winning symbol 74 to replace the ‘3 Bar’ winning symbol by touching the screen 98 located above the new lucky winning symbol 74 of the player's choice. At screen 98, the player may also reselect the original symbol, or the ‘3 Bar’ symbol in this example. The player is not allowed to select a winning symbol 74 that is already present on the base game screen 78. At step 63, the symbol selection feature returns to step 61 if the selected lucky winning symbol 74 is already present on the game screen 78, and proceeds to step 65 if the selected lucky winning symbol is not already in use. Also, two winning symbols displayed with separate winning amounts on the pay table 94 can not be replaced by the same winning symbol.
  • After selecting the new lucky winning symbol 74 at step 65 of FIG. 2, the new lucky winning symbol 74 replaces all original winning symbols 80 identical to the selected winning symbol on the base game screen 78 as shown in FIG. 9. In this example, the ‘Smiley Face’ symbol was selected to replace all ‘3 Bar’ symbols on the base game screen 78. The new lucky winning symbol 74 (the ‘Smiley Face’ symbol) is also displayed in the ‘SYMBOLS’ soft button 84 as well as in the base game screen 78. At step 65, the pay table is also updated with the new lucky winning symbol 74. Pressing the ‘PAYS’ button 90 instructs the EGM to display the PAYS screen 92. As shown in FIG. 10, the newly selected lucky winning symbol 74 (the ‘Smiley Face’) is now displayed in place of the ‘3 Bar’ symbol 80 and becomes associated with the pay table 94 previously associated with the ‘3 Bar’ symbol. The player can repeat this process by selecting a symbol 74 or 80 in the ‘SYMBOLS’ soft button 84 and replacing the selected symbol with a new lucky winning symbol or original winning symbol 80 from the Choose Your Lucky Symbol Screen 98. Play of the game 22 can commence with the new lucky winning symbols 74 being displayed on the reels 82 of the game
  • In another embodiment, not shown on the flow diagram of FIG. 2, the player may change original winning symbols 80 to lucky winning symbols 74 simply by touching the touch-screen (or touch-glass) display 26 located above one original winning symbol 80 or one lucky winning symbol 74 to be changed. FIG. 11 shows the base game screen 78 with original winning symbols 80 displayed on the reels 82 of the EGM 20. As an example, to change the ‘Triple’ symbol 80, a player touches the location on the touch-screen above the “Triple” symbol, and the symbol selection feature module of the EGM automatically changes the ‘Triple’ symbol to one of the previously enabled lucky winning symbols 74. The player may touch the selected symbol multiple times, and on each subsequent touch, the symbol selection feature module of the EGM 20 changes the currently displayed symbol to the next lucky winning symbol 74 in the list or database. In this embodiment no list of lucky winning symbols 74 is shown to the player. However, the player can cycle through the lucky winning symbols 74 and original winning symbols 80 by touching the currently displayed symbol to be changed. Multiple symbols 80 can be changed to lucky winning symbols 74, and the new lucky winning symbols will become associated with the pay table 94 previously associated with the replaced symbols. As shown in FIG. 12, the player selected the ‘Triple’ symbol and the EGM changed this symbol to the next lucky winning symbol 74 in the list, which happened to be the ‘Yin/Yang’ symbol.
  • Referring back to the flow diagram of FIG. 2 and step 65, once one symbol 74 or 80 is changed by the player, the EGM 20 records the change in the system's game history. As required by gaming regulatory agencies, the selection of any new lucky winning symbols 74 will be recorded in the game history of the EGM 20. To view the game history, a user (casino operator or player) returns to the setup menu screen 60 as shown in FIG. 3 and selects a “history” button 99, which instructs the EGM 20 to display the game history on the display 26. All recorded game events will be displayed in the history including all new selections involving the changing of winning symbols 74 and 80. This step may be necessary to resolve any player's dispute with the base game on the EGM or payout.
  • At step 67 of FIG. 2, after the player changes symbols 74 or 80 and the pay table 94 is updated, the game 22 can be played with the newly selected lucky winning symbols 74 in place on the game. Between spins on the slot style game 22, the player may select and change any symbol to another symbol of the player's choice. The player also has the option at step 69 to reset the winning symbols back to the original or default symbols 80 on the EGM 20. If the player wishes to reset the symbols to the original winning symbols 80, then either the player or casino operator, at step 71, returns to the setup menu screen 60 (FIG. 3) and selects the ‘Game Setup’ button 64 from the setup menu 62 to return to the game setup screen 66. At this screen, the user can select a ‘Reset Symbols’ button (not shown) to restore the original or default winning symbols 80 in the game 22 on the EGM 20. In another embodiment, a reset to the default winning symbols 80 can also be achieved from the Choose Your Lucky Symbol Screen 98 by including a ‘Reset Symbols’ button on screen 98. Placing a reset button on screen 98 will allow a player to more easily reset all symbols to the default symbols 80. After resetting the symbols, the player may continue to play the game 22 on the EGM 20.
  • In another embodiment, at the start of a player's gaming session on the EGM 20 having the symbol selection feature, the system may ask the player if he wishes to set the winning symbols to be displayed on the game. If the player wishes, he may select all of the winning symbols from a list of original winning symbols 80 (standard symbols found in the game) and new lucky winning symbols 74 (symbols that are not standard and not normally found in the game). The player's selections will become associated with the pay table 94, and the game will begin displaying the player selected winning symbols. At any time during play of the game 22, the player may reset the symbols back to the original symbols 80, or the player may select new lucky wining symbols 74 to be associated with the pay table 94.
  • Referring now to FIG. 13, a casino gaming system 100 is illustrated. The casino gaming system 100 comprises one or more gaming machines or EGM's 20 and may include one or more banks of associated EGM's 101. The EGM 20 illustrated in FIG. 1 acts as a terminal for interacting with a player playing a casino game. Networking components facilitate communications between a system server 112 and game management units 126 that control displays for carousels of EGM's 20 across a network. Game management units (GMU's) 126 connect EGM's 20 to networking components and may be installed in the gaming machine cabinet 24 or external to the EGM 20. The function of the GMU 126 is similar to the function of a network interface card connected to a desktop personal computer (PC). Some GMU's 126 have much greater capability and can perform such tasks as presenting and playing a game using a display (not shown) operatively connected to the GMU 126. In one embodiment, the GMU 126 is a separate component located outside the EGM 20. Alternatively, in another embodiment, the GMU 126 is located within the EGM 20. Optionally, in an alternative embodiment, one or more EGM's 20 connect directly to a network and are not connected to a GMU 126. In certain embodiments, the GMU 126 may have the capacity to act as the symbol selection feature module.
  • The EGM's 20 are connected via a network to a network bridge 120, which is used for networking, routing and polling gaming machines, including slot machines. The network bridge 120 connects to a back end system 112. Optionally, the EGM's 20 may connect to the network via a network rack 122, which provides for a few number of connections to the back end system 112. Both network bridge 120 and network rack 122 may be classified as middleware, and facilitate communications between the back end system 112 and the game management units 126. The network bridges 120 and network rack 122 may comprise data repositories for storing network performance data. Such performance data may be based on network traffic and other network related information. Optionally, the network bridge 120 and the network rack 122 may be interchangeable components. For example, in one embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise only network bridges and no network racks. Alternatively, in another embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise only network racks and no network bridges. Additionally, in an alternative embodiment, a casino gaming system may comprise any combination of one or more network bridges and one or more network racks.
  • The back end system 112 may be configured to comprise one or more servers, and as previously stated, the back end system can house the symbol selection feature module. The type of server employed is generally determined by the platform and software requirements of the gaming system. In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 13, the back end system 112 is configured to include three servers: a slot floor controller 114, a casino management server 116 and a casino database 118. The slot floor controller 114 is a part of the player tracking system for gathering accounting, security and player specific information. The casino management server 116 and casino database 118 work together to store and process information specific to both employees and players. Player specific information includes, but is not limited to, passwords, biometric identification, RFID, player card identification, and biographic data. Additionally, employee specification information may include biographic data, biometric information, job level and rank, passwords, authorization codes and security clearance levels.
  • Overall, the back end system 112 performs several functions. For example, the back end system 112 can collect data from the slot floor as communicated to it from other network components, and maintain the collected data in its database. The back end system 112 may use slot floor data to generate a report used in casino operation functions. Examples of such reports include, but are not limited to, accounting reports, security reports, and usage reports. The back end system 112 may also pass data to another server for other functions. Alternatively, the back end system 112 may pass data stored on its database to floor hardware for interaction with a game or game player. For example, data such as a game player's name or the amount of a ticket being redeemed at a game may be passed to the floor hardware. Additionally, the back end system 112 may comprise one or more data repositories for storing data. Examples of types of data stored in the system server data repositories include, but are not limited to, information relating to individual player play data, individual game accounting data, gaming machine accounting data, cashable ticket data, sound data, and optimal display configurations for one or more displays for one or more system game.
  • Of course, one will appreciate that the gaming system 100 may also comprise other types of components, and the above illustrations are meant only as examples and not as limitations to the types of components or games used in a casino gaming system presenting a symbol selection feature.
  • One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that not all systems including a symbol selection feature have all these components and may have other components in addition to, or in lieu of, those components mentioned here. Furthermore, while these components are viewed and described separately, various components may be integrated into a single unit in some embodiments.
  • The various embodiments described above are provided by way of illustration only and should not be construed to limit the claimed invention. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize various modifications and changes that may be made to the claimed invention without following the example embodiments and applications illustrated and described herein, and without departing from the true spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims.

Claims (20)

1. A method for operating an electronic gaming machine, said method comprising:
displaying a plurality of original symbols on a display of an electronic gaming machine, and the original symbols are associated with a pay table; and
receiving player input for selecting one of the original symbols to be changed;
receiving player input for selecting a new symbol to replace the selected original symbol; and
replacing the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol on the display.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein replacing the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol includes replacing all original symbols identical to the selected original symbol with the selected new symbol.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the selected new symbol becomes associated with the pay table originally associated with the selected original symbol.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein two different original symbols can not be replaced by one new symbol.
5. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving input for enabling a symbol selection feature in a setup menu associated with the electronic gaming machine, wherein the symbol selection feature allows original symbols to be changed to new symbols on the display of the electronic gaming machine.
6. The method of claim 5, further comprising receiving input for enabling the selection of one or more new symbols.
7. The method of claim 1, wherein receiving player input for selecting one of the original symbols to be replaced includes detecting a touch located above one of the original symbols on a touch-screen display associated with the electronic gaming machine.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein receiving player input for selecting a new symbol includes detecting a touch located above the new symbol displayed on the touch-screen display.
9. The method of claim 1, further comprising displaying a plurality of new symbols for the player to select.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising replacing the selected new symbol with the selected original symbol.
11. The method of claim 1, further comprising storing in a gaming history the selection of the new symbol to replace the original symbol.
12. A method for operating an electronic gaming machine, the method comprising:
enabling play of a slot style game, the slot style game includes a plurality of original symbols displayed on a touch screen display associated with an electronic gaming machine, and the original symbols are associated with a pay table;
detecting a player's first touch on the touch screen display located above one original symbol;
detecting the player's second touch on the touch screen display located above a new symbol; and
replacing the touched original symbol with the touched new symbol on the touch screen display.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the touched new symbol becomes associated with the pay table originally associated with the touched original symbol.
14. The method of claim 13, wherein two different original symbols can not be replaced by one new symbol.
15. The method of claim 12, further comprising displaying a plurality of new symbols for the player to select after detecting the player's first touch.
16. The method of claim 12, further comprising replacing the touched new symbol with the touched original symbol.
17. A method for operating an electronic gaming machine, the method comprising:
enabling play of a casino game on an electronic gaming machine, the casino game includes a plurality of original symbols displayed on a touch screen display associated with the electronic gaming machine, and the original symbols are associated with a pay table;
detecting a player's touch on the touch screen display located above a first position displaying one original symbol; and
displaying a first new symbol at the first position in response to the player's touch on the touch screen display located above the first position.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising replacing all original symbols identical to the touched original symbol on the touch screen display with the first new symbol.
19. The method of claim 17, further comprising detecting the player's subsequent touch on the touch screen display located above the first position and displaying a second new symbol at the first position.
20. The method of claim 19, further comprising replacing all new symbols identical to the first new symbol displayed on the touch screen display with the second new symbol.
US12/113,207 2008-05-01 2008-05-01 Method for selecting lucky winning symbols in games Abandoned US20090275385A1 (en)

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AS Assignment

Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA

Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:YADAV, MANENDRA S.;REEL/FRAME:021014/0472

Effective date: 20080522

STCB Information on status: application discontinuation

Free format text: ABANDONED -- FAILURE TO RESPOND TO AN OFFICE ACTION