US20100056254A1 - Symbol alignment scheme for multiline gaming machines - Google Patents

Symbol alignment scheme for multiline gaming machines Download PDF

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US20100056254A1
US20100056254A1 US12/583,597 US58359709A US2010056254A1 US 20100056254 A1 US20100056254 A1 US 20100056254A1 US 58359709 A US58359709 A US 58359709A US 2010056254 A1 US2010056254 A1 US 2010056254A1
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symbols
symbol
set
number
provided
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Kathleen Nylund Jackson
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Kathleen Nylund Jackson
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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

Abstract

A method and apparatus for a gaming machine is disclosed. A slot machine processor and a video monitor screen are provided on which symbols may be provided in a grid for use in a video slot game. The player makes a wager to play the underlying game, with a predetermined initial set of symbols being available for the play of the game. Preferably the symbols are displayed in rows and columns and a first array of symbols from the initial symbol set are displayed in an initial position in the grid. Additional symbols from the remaining initial symbol set are then displayed in the grid, the symbols being displayed according to a specific method and predetermined criterium. Symbols combinations are then analyzed by the processor, and any winning combinations are paid according to a predetermined paytable.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to a video slot game suitable for use in casinos and other gaming enterprises. The invention further relates to video gaming play that features a system for providing symbols in a multiline game wherein a predetermined criterion is used to place the symbols.
  • 2. Background of the Art
  • Gaming machines, whether providing video poker or slot games, have grown exponentially in numbers in the last twenty years, as have the revenues generated by such devices. It is estimated that more than 75% of any casino's revenue is now provided by gaming machines as opposed to table games.
  • In the gaming industry, there is a continuous need for innovative game features that will attract new players as well as keep regular players amused and therefore willing to continue playing the game. Since in virtually every casino game there is a house advantage, the longer a player remains playing at a machine, the larger the casino's profit. And also since it is well recognized in the industry that players tend to easily tire of particular games, manufacturers must constantly develop new game features to stimulate player interest.
  • The majority of today's slot machines are video slots, particularly 5-reel×3-row multiple payline video slots. Especially in the last decade, these multiline machine games have exploded in popularity, although there is still a wariness for some casino patrons to play these games. The main drawback of multiline games is that the payline configurations are perceived to be difficult to comprehend in comparison to the long-traditional 3-reel slots that provide a single, easy-to-understand payline.
  • Due to the multiple number of symbols (most usually 15 symbols in a 5×3 grid) and the potential number of paylines (up to 243 paylines if all configurations are considered from left to right), it is a common complaint of players that although the play is entertaining, there remains the question of why, in fact, they won or lost the game. Some paylines do not actually even physically connect symbols within winning symbol combinations, which further frustrates the player.
  • Various attempts in prior art have been made to provide multiline games with novel and entertaining features that will attract new players and keep them at the machine.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,294,055 (Baerlocher, et al.) describes a gaming device having a game with a plurality of selections, where each selection has at least two characteristics. The gaming device is controlled by at least one processor to display a plurality of the selections; display an indication of one of the selections functioning as a base; determine at least one optimal selection from the displayed selections for providing a highest obtainable award for the game; display an indication of the optimal selection; and enable a player to input a pick of one of the plurality of displayed selections, other than the selection functioning as the base, where the picked selection has at least one characteristic that matches one of the characteristics of the selection functioning as the base.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,137,886 (Locke, et al.) discloses a gaming machine that provides a first group of first elements and a second group of second elements. A first element from the first group is selected and then compared to one or more second elements in the second group. The machine awards a payout based on any matches between the selected first element and the one or more second elements in the second group. The second elements may be ranked, and the payout may be based on the rank of any second elements that match the selected first element.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,128,646 (Baerlocher, et al.) teaches a gaming device including a game having at least one round and at least one selection in each of the rounds where the number of selections is made by a player. After the player makes a wager in the game, the gaming device displays at least one selection to the player. The gaming device enables the player to pick the selections to match at least one of the characteristics on the selections with one of the characteristics of a base. The player continues to match at least one of the characteristics of the selections with the characteristics of the base until the player cannot match any of the characteristics of the selections with the characteristics of the base or there are no rounds remaining in the game. The gaming device provides an award or awards to the player based on the number of successfully matched selections in each round of the game.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,112,136 (Anderson, et al.) discloses a slot machine that conducts a wagering game including a plurality of symbol-bearing reels. The reels are rotated and stopped to randomly place symbols on the reels in visual association with a display area. In response to the displayed symbols including a plurality of symbols selectable by the player, the player is prompted to select one of the selectable symbols. The machine provides an award based on the selected symbol and any other of the displayed symbols associated with the selected symbol.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 7,077,745 (Gomez, et al.) describes a method of conducting a that may, for example, be a video reel slot game that includes a plurality of symbols displayed in an array. The plurality of symbols are evaluated to determine a change to one of the symbols that will yield one of a plurality of predefined winning combinations of symbols. The one of the symbols is changed to another of the symbols to form the winning combination, and an award is awarded for the winning combination.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20070265059 (Ando, et al.) teaches a gaming machine in which, when a part of a symbol combination for a winning combination is aligned on a winning line, a player can have increased expectation on an alignment of the winning combination even if the player is well-experienced in games of such a gaming machine. The game machine includes three reels to interchangeably display a plurality of types of symbols, and makes a selection for either an acceptance to select an almost-winning prize which corresponds to a combination of symbols having a different part of symbol from a winning combination (a symbol combination of three White 7 symbols) for a predetermined prize group (e.g., White 7 Prize), or a refusal not to select the almost-winning prize. When an acceptance is selected by the selection, in the combination of symbols corresponding to almost-winning prize, a part of symbols which is identical to that of the winning combination (a part for a left reel and a part for a right reel) is controlled to be stopped on a winning line to be displayed. Then, after another selection is made to determine whether the winning combination is aligned on the winning line or not, a middle reel is controlled to stop based on the result of the latter selection.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20070060294 (Cuddy, et al.) discloses a gaming device including a re-initiation mode wherein the probability of extending the bonus game is increased by fixing the reel or reels displaying a wild symbol on the reel. In the re-initiation mode embodiment, the gaming device re-activates some or all of the reels except the reel displaying the wild symbol for a predetermined number of free spins or until the reactivated reels display or indicate a wild symbol on the reels. The gaming device provides any outcomes associated with indicated symbols or combination of symbols. In one embodiment, if a predetermined number of wild symbols are displayed on designated reels, the gaming device re-initiates the bonus game.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20070060289 (Hood) discloses a gaming device wherein the invention has an orthogonal array comprised of gaming symbol positions organized in rows and columns, each of the gaming symbol positions can display a gaming symbol chosen from a gaming symbol table assigned to that gaming symbol position. The array could further have multiple paylines comprised of gaming symbol positions, wherein the gaming symbol positions of a respective payline could be assigned to gaming symbol tables that are considered to be different frequency gaming symbol tables to one another. In this manner, no one row has gaming symbol tables assigned to its respective gaming symbol positions that could be considered to be identical frequency tables to one another. In this manner, no one row has gaming symbol tables assigned to its respective gaming symbol positions that could be considered to be identical frequency tables to one another.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20080051174 (Fiden; Daniel P.) describes a gaming terminal and a method for playing a wagering game utilizing a two-way cascading symbol feature. The wagering terminal has first and second displays, with a first game outcome displayed as a plurality of symbols on the first display. The symbols are analyzed to determine if they satisfy a predetermined condition. All symbols satisfying the condition are added to the second display. The symbols in the second display then are analyzed for a winning combination. If no winning combination exists, the game is over. A winning combination awards the player credits, before removing the winning symbols from the second display. All remaining symbols shift down one position. The symbols in the upper display are analyzed until no more winning combinations exists.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20080032791 (Hosokawa; Norio) provides a gaming machine which can increase an entertainment aspect by changing a disposition of a plurality of symbols and payout lines displayed on a display portion provided in the gaming machine, thus providing a visual change. In a gaming machine, in which an execution of a game is possible by means of a game medium being inserted by a player, a disposition aspect 1(A), a disposition aspect 2(B) and a disposition aspect 3(C), as disposition aspects of a plurality of display areas which display symbols, and payout lines corresponding to the disposition aspects, are stored in a memory such as a memory. A processor selects one from among the plurality of disposition aspects stored in the memory, fixes a position of the display areas on a screen of a display, in accordance with the selected disposition aspect, and displays a symbol inside each display area. Then, the processor, in accordance with an instruction from the player, redisplays symbols to be displayed inside the disposed display areas.
  • The invention, therefore, has an object of providing a gaming machine which can increase an entertainment aspect by, as well as variously changing a disposition, that is, a display position, of a plurality of symbols displayed on a display portion provided in the gaming machine, changing payout lines in accordance with the change in the disposition of the symbols, thus providing a visual change.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20080032786 (Hosokawa; Norio) provides a gaming machine which can increase an entertainment aspect by changing a disposition of a plurality of symbols and payout lines displayed on a display portion provided in the gaming machine, thus providing a visual change. The invention, has an object of providing a gaming machine which, scroll displaying each of a plurality of symbols displayed in a display portion in a predetermined display position, by interchanging symbol columns, provides a visual change and further increases an entertainment aspect.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20070075490 (Gak; Alexander) teaches a method of playing a game that has plurality of possible outcomes and establishes a fractional payout multiplier for each possible outcome. A wager is established by a player on one of the outcomes. The player wager includes a stake and a selected wager outcome. The game establishes an actual outcome. The actual outcome is compared to the selected wager outcome. If the actual outcome matches the selected outcome, a payout is determined by a function of the product of the stake and the fractional payout multiplier associated with the selected outcome.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20070010317 (Gallagher; Leo A.) discloses an improved slot machine provides a plurality of animated scenes, the outcomes of which determine whether the player has won. The slot machine provides some of the traditional elements of a slot machine but with improved entertainment replacing the spinning reels. Scenes may depict objects that are moving toward a line, which is reminiscent of the line in the traditional slot machine, but in this case represents something physical with which the objects interact. For example, the objects could be birds that are falling/flying down onto a wire. In another example, the objects are freely falling onto the ground or floor. The scenes depict several possible outcomes of the interaction between the objects. Based upon the resulting outcomes (e.g. matching outcomes, like a traditional slot machine) the player wins or loses.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20060068881 (Casey; Michael P.) discloses a slot machine that conducts a wagering game in which a plurality of arrays of symbols are successively displayed. Each array may, for example, result from a free spin of a plurality of symbol-bearing reels during a bonus feature. In each free spin, the reels are rotated and stopped to place the symbols on the reels in visual association with a display area. In response to a random event, at least one symbol may change its function and maintain that function for a plurality of the successive free spins. For example, the symbol may become a wild symbol or a scatter pay symbol. Payouts for the free spins are awarded according to a pay table.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20050208994 (Berman) discloses a method and apparatus for use in gaming activities such as slot machines. Multiple display segments are presented, where one or more of the display segments are presented having multiple display subsegments. Display subsegments present subsegment symbols independently of the other display subsegments in its respective display segment. Paylines are created from a plurality of the display segments, where the subsegment symbols of the display subsegments are independently used in formulating payout results for paylines in which the display segment is affiliated. Paylines may be dynamically created at any location as a result of corresponding symbols occurring in a predetermined number of adjacent display segments and/or subsegments.
  • United States Patent Application No. 20050054421 (Hughs-Baird, Andrea C.; et al.) describes a gaming device including a plurality of award values and a plurality of modifier values. A characteristic is associated with at least one award value position and at least one modifier value position. The gaming device provides an award to a player associated with at least one award value position and at least one modifier value position, wherein the award includes an additional award when the award value position and the modifier value position contain the same or related characteristics.
  • Despite the above referenced prior art, there remains a need for new game features that will stimulate the gaming public. Since it is known that gamblers not only play for the win, but for the anticipation of winning as well, the present invention provides methods that offer exciting yet easy-to-understand symbol placement and symbol combinations. All reference material cited herein is incorporated herein in their entirety as background technology in the practice of the present invention, including description of hardware, software and platforms.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • A slot machine processor and a video monitor screen are provided on which symbols may be provided in a predetermined pattern, circle, matrix, grid or orthagonal format for use in a video slot game such that orders or lines of symbols can be presented. A predetermined initial set of symbols is available for the play of the game, and the game preferably utilizes in a 3-row by 5-column configuration. The player makes a wager to play the game. A first array of symbols from the initial symbol set is displayed in an initial position in the display (preferably a grid). Preferably the left-most column or reel (or, alternately, the top row) is first randomly or pseudo-randomly populated with a first selection of symbols from the initial total available set. Additional symbols from the remaining initial symbol set (the initial total set less the first selection of symbols) are then first displayed in a screen area outside of the grid area for eventual placement into the grid. At least three, but preferably at least five symbols, are preferably displayed as a set above each remaining column (or alternately, as a set beside each row). Each set of symbols, in sequential order from the second column to the fifth column, is then distributed one-at-a-time in a continuous or cascading flow into the column below until a specific condition is met. The specific condition is predetermined, and preferably requires that a specific characteristic of one symbol relates to (i.e., matches or otherwise related in a predetermined manner) a specific characteristic of one of the other symbols in a same row. Preferably the related symbols appear in adjacent columns. As soon as a characteristic-related symbol is displayed in an adjacent column in the same row, the distribution of the symbol set into that specific column is terminated. Symbols in that symbol set that are not displayed in the grid are discarded. Using this symbol distribution method, each of the columns 2 through 5 will be completed with a) no symbols, b) one symbol, c) two symbols or d) three symbols. After the symbol distribution in all columns has been completed, the final symbol display is then analyzed by the processor, and any winning symbol combinations on a wagered payline are paid according to a predetermined paytable. Preferably all paylines are horizontal or linear, although any continuous or discontinuous pattern of symbols may be used as the payline.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • FIG. 1 shows a monitor screen of a slot machine with the results of a first spin.
  • FIG. 2 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 3 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 4 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 5 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 6 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 7 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 8 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 9 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 10 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 11 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 12 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 13 shows the same game at a later stage.
  • FIG. 14 shows the same game at a final stage.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • A slot machine processor and a video monitor screen are provided (usually in a housing with player input capability) on which symbols may be provided for use in a video slot game. The symbols may be positioned in any desired geometric or irregular pattern that defines spaces wherein symbols may be distributed and viewed in relationship with other symbols, such as circles, concentric circles, grids, matrices, and the like preferably as a matrix of rows and columns comprised of symbol-bearing areas, or may be positioned in other symmetric, asymmetric or random patterns. An initial set of symbols is provided for play of the game, the symbols having at least one specific characteristic (i.e., color, shape, suit, rank, etc.). After the player makes a wager to play the game, a first array of symbols from the initial set of symbols is randomly or pseudo-randomly displayed in a first predetermined area of the defined spaces (a grid will be discussed for convenience) that is comprised of a predetermined number of symbol areas that is less than the entire number of symbol areas. At least one second array of symbols from the remaining initial set of symbols is then displayed in a linear fashion outside of the grid area. The at least one linear second set of symbols is then distributed into at least a second area of the grid that may be comprised of a predetermined number of symbol areas. The symbols in the linear set may be provided one-at-a-time in a continuous flowing manner into and through the symbol areas. The flow of the symbols continues into and through the symbol areas until a predetermined condition is met. The predetermined condition may be a predetermined relationship between a first provided symbol and a particular symbol in the at least one second grid area and a particular symbol in a separate grid area, and preferably includes the position of each of the two symbols. The relationship of the two symbols may be and is preferably based on at least one characteristic of each symbol or a characteristic of the two symbols considered together (e.g., alphabetical, numerical order, relative size, etc.). As soon as the predetermined condition is met, the flow of the symbols into the at least second grid area is terminated. Any symbols that are stopped in a symbol area are displayed in that area, and any symbols that are stopped outside of the at least second grid area are discarded. The same symbol distribution method is utilized for all remaining grid areas, the final symbol display is then analyzed by the processor, and any winning symbol combinations on a wagered payline are paid according to a predetermined paytable.
  • The initial set of symbols as previously described may also comprise special symbols. These special symbols may include wild symbols, scatter-pay symbols, multipliers and the like. In addition there may be included a special symbol that, when appearing as a final symbol within the grid, causes at least one blank symbol area to be populated with a symbol before the final symbol display is analyzed for wins. For instance, in a game featuring colored star symbols, a “Big Bang” symbol may be displayed in the final grid. The “Big Bang” symbol may then “explode”, distributing at least one colored star symbol into at least one blank symbol area. An exploding “Big Bang” symbol may randomly distribute any number of colored stars, and these star symbols may be displayed in one, some or all of the blank symbol areas. Any stars that emanate from the “Big Bang” that do not come to rest inside the grid are discarded. The final display is then analyzed for wins, and winning symbol combinations are paid according to the predetermined paytable.
  • In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a video slot game is discussed. The game consists of at least two parallel columns or reel areas, the reel areas providing individual symbol areas. A symbol area is defined by the intersection of one row and one column. For instance, in a 5-column by 3-row symbol configuration, there would be 15 symbol areas. Predetermined paylines that intersect the symbol areas are available for wagering. Preferably, the video slot game is a 5-reel×3-row arrangement of 15 symbol areas, and at least 18 paylines are offered. Preferably all paylines are horizontal, and at least one payline may be a segment of a separate payline. The player chooses the number of paylines upon which to wager, and the number of credits to be wagered on each payline. The total wager is the number of paylines times the number of credits per payline. Upon making the game wager, the machine is activated to play the game, randomly or pseudo-randomly displaying a first array of symbols from an initial set of symbols into a first reel area. The symbols in the initial set of symbols each bear at least one particular characteristic (color, shape, rank, etc.). For example, the game may utilize star symbols, each star symbol being colored either red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple; and from bottom (row 3) to top (row 1), a red star, green star and yellow star (i.e., red-green-yellow) may be displayed on the first (left-hand) reel. The second reel is then populated with a second array of symbols from the remainder of symbols in the initial set of symbols by utilizing the following method: a) preferably five symbols are first linearly displayed in a screen area above the second reel area (for example, a purple star may appear directly above the second reel, an orange star above that purple star, a red star above that orange star, a red star above that red star, and a yellow star above that red star [i.e., purple-orange-red-red-yellow]); b) the linear display of symbols above the second reel area moves down into the second reel area, one-at-a-time and collectively as a group (continuing the example, the purple star drops into the top symbol area [row 1] on the second reel, and orange-red-red-yellow also drop down so that the orange star is now displayed directly above the second reel); c) the linear display of symbols continues to move down as in (b) until a symbol in a row of the second reel matches a symbol in the same row on the first reel or until all symbols have moved down and out of the second reel area; d) the movement of the linear display is terminated as soon as a first match is determined or until all symbols in the linear display have exited through the second reel area; and e) any symbols in the linear display that have stopped in the second reel area are displayed on the second reel, and any symbols not displayed in the second reel area are discarded. The third reel is then populated with a third array of symbols from the remainder of symbols in the initial set of symbols by utilizing the same symbol-distribution method as for the second reel. The fourth reel is then populated with a fourth array of symbols from the remainder of symbols in the initial set of symbols by utilizing the same symbol-distribution method as for the second reel. The fifth and final reel is then populated with a fifth array of symbols from the remainder of symbols in the initial set of symbols by utilizing the same symbol-distribution method as for the second reel, and final symbol result is shown. Depending on whether or not there was a symbol match and the position of that matching symbol, the above symbol-distribution method allows that either three symbols, two symbols, one symbol or no symbols may appear on each reel 2-5. The final symbol array is then analyzed, and any winning symbol combination on a wagered payline is paid according to a predetermined paytable.
  • The paylines in the preferred embodiment of the present invention may be comprised of horizontal configurations only. Since matching symbols in the same row on adjacent reels cause the termination of further symbol distribution, there is a greater likelihood that any final symbol combinations will be horizontally displayed. Only-horizontal paylines may provide an opportunity for the player to more clearly anticipate winning symbol combinations, therefore adding to the excitement of the game. In addition, anticipation may also be heightened by revealing the linear sets of symbols prior to final placement, allowing the player to view potential wins before the symbols are finalized in the reel area. Moreover, horizontal paylines are traditionally easier-to-understand than other paylines that include diagonally-connecting or non-connecting symbols; therefore the player may experience a more satisfying win when he understands exactly why he won. In order to provide horizontal paylines only, one payline may comprise a segment of a second payline. Paylines preferably are determined on a left-to-right basis, and may begin on the first, second, third or fourth reels. Paylines may be comprised of two, three, four or five symbols, although paylines of at least three symbols are preferred. In a 5-reel by 3-row grid, reading from left to right, there are twelve 2-symbol paylines, nine 3-symbol paylines, six 4-symbol paylines and three 5-symbol paylines. FIG. 1 provides a more thorough description of the paylines.
  • Reference to all of the Figures will assist in further understanding of the practice of the present invention.
  • FIG. 1 shows the configurations of the preferred paylines according to the present invention. The 18 paylines (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36) are all horizontal, and each comprise either three, four or five symbol areas. One payline may be a segment of a separate payline. For instance, the 3rd payline 6 comprises a three symbol winning combination, and the 12th payline 24 comprises a four symbol winning combination.
  • FIG. 2 shows a slot machine monitor screen 2 with the result of the completed spin after the player has wagered to play the game. Fifteen individual symbol areas (130, 132, 134, 136, 138, 140, 142, 144, 146, 148, 150, 152, 154, 156, 158) are arranged in a three-row (120, 122, 124) by five-column (110, 112, 114, 116, 118) matrix. Three symbols are displayed in the first column 110, comprising a red star 200 in symbol area 150, a green star 202 in symbol area 140, and a yellow star 204 in symbol area 130. Five symbols (300, 302, 304, 306, 308) are displayed, from bottom to top, above the second column 112. Five symbols (400, 402, 404, 406, 408) are displayed, from bottom to top, above the third column 114. Five symbols (500, 502, 504, 506, 508) are displayed, from bottom to top, above the fourth column 116. Five symbols (600, 602, 604, 606, 608) are displayed, from bottom to top, above the fifth column 118.
  • FIG. 3 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 2 with the five symbols (300, 302, 304, 306, 308) moving downward as a group, with the first symbol 300 being displayed in the top symbol area 132 of the second column 112. The symbol group will continue to descend until one symbol in the second column matches a symbol in the first column and same row.
  • FIG. 4 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 3 with the five symbols (300, 302, 304, 306, 308) moving further downward as a group, with the first symbol 300 now being displayed in the middle symbol area 142 of the second column 112. Again, the symbol group will continue to descend until one symbol in the second column matches a symbol in the first column and same row.
  • FIG. 5 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 4 with the five symbols (300, 302, 304, 306, 308) moving further downward as a group, with the first symbol 300 now being displayed in the bottom symbol area 152 of the second column 112. Again, the symbol group will continue to descend until one symbol in the second column matches a symbol in the first column and same row.
  • FIG. 6 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 5 with the five symbols (300, 302, 304, 306, 308) moving further downward as a group, with the first symbol 300 now being displayed below and outside of the second column 112. Again, the symbol group will continue to descend until one symbol in the second column matches a symbol in the first column and same row.
  • FIG. 7 refers refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 6 with the first symbol 300 having been discarded after passing outside of the second column area. Four of the five remaining symbols (302, 304, 306, 308) have moved further downward as a group, with the second symbol 302 now being displayed below and outside of the second column 112. In this move, a red star symbol 304 in the second column now matches the red star symbol 200 in the first column and in the same row.
  • FIG. 8 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 7 with the symbol distribution being terminated according to the predetermined condition as taught in the description above (i.e, the red star symbol 304 in the second column matches the red star symbol 200 in the first column). The second symbol 302 has been discarded, as it was displayed outside of the second column area when the predetermined condition was met.
  • FIG. 9 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 8 with the five symbols (400, 402, 404, 406, 408) having moved downward in the third column 114 as taught in FIGS. 2 through 8. The symbol distribution is shown terminated according to the predetermined condition as taught in the description above (i.e, the red star symbol 408 in the third column matches the red star symbol 306 in the second column), and symbols displayed outside of the third column area have been discarded.
  • FIG. 10 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 9 with the five symbols (500, 502, 504, 506, 508) having moved downward in the fourth column 116 as taught in FIGS. 2 through 8. The symbol distribution is shown terminated according to the predetermined condition as taught in the description above (i.e, the red star symbol 500 in the third column matches the red star symbol 408 in the third column), and symbols displayed outside of the fourth column area have been discarded.
  • FIG. 11 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 10 with the five symbols (600, 602, 604, 606, 608) having moved downward in the fifth column 118 as taught in FIGS. 2 through 8. The symbol distribution is shown terminated according to the predetermined condition as taught in the description above (i.e, the red star symbol 604 in the fifth column matches the red star symbol 500 in the fourth column), and symbols displayed outside of the fifth column area have been discarded. This completes the final result of the spin.
  • FIG. 12 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 11. A first winning payline 4 (see FIG. 1) comprising three symbols (306, 408, 500) is highlighted.
  • FIG. 13 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 11. A second winning payline 7 (see FIG. 1) comprising three symbols (408, 500, 604) is highlighted.
  • FIG. 14 refers to the game elements shown in FIG. 11. A third winning payline 13 (see FIG. 1) comprising four symbols (306, 408, 500, 604) is highlighted.
  • The present technology may be described generally as including a method of playing a video wagering game having steps of:
  • a player placing a wager on the video wagering game;
  • providing the player with multiple spaces in which symbols will be displayed;
  • providing a first number of symbols into a first set of adjacent spaces;
  • providing at least a first symbol of a second set of symbols into a second set of adjacent spaces, the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols first positioned adjacent a first symbol of the first number of symbols;
  • wherein a) if the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent first symbol of the first number of symbols, no more symbols are provided into the second set of symbols and a first symbol of a third set of symbols is provided, and
  • b) if there is no predetermined relationship, providing at least a second symbol of a second set of symbols into the second set of adjacent spaces, the at least second symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent a first symbol of the first number of symbols, and the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent a second symbol of the first number of symbols; and if step b) is performed such that:
      • i) if either the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent second symbol of the first number of symbols or an at least second symbol of the second number of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the first symbol of the first number of symbols, no more symbols are provided into the first set of symbols and the second set of symbols and at least a first symbol of a third set of symbols is provided; and
      • ii) if neither the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent second symbol of the first number of symbols nor an at least second symbol of the second number of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the first symbol of the first number of symbols, providing at least a third symbol of the second set of symbols into the second set of adjacent spaces, the at least third symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent the first symbol of the first number of symbols, the at least second symbol of the second set of symbols positioned adjacent the second symbol of the first number of symbols and the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent a third symbol of the first number of symbols;
        wherein c) if the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent third symbol of the first number of symbols, the at least second symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the second symbol of the first set of symbols, or the at least third symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the first symbol of the first set of symbols, no more symbols are provided into the second set of symbols and a first symbol of a third set of symbols is provided,
  • completing at least a first payline including the at least first symbol of the first number of symbols; and
  • providing awards for all paylines that have at least one predetermined combination of winning symbols in the payline.
  • Each column is filled (up to the limit of available symbols or until there is a symbol relationship established with a symbol in a previous adjacent column) one symbol at a time so that players can view whether each placement establishes a relationship or not. The filling of each column (after the first column) is performed one column at a time. The available payline relationships (as shown in FIG. 1) are easily understood by the player, as opposed to many of the available multi-line paylines.
  • At least three adjacent paylines may have to be completed with at least three, four or five symbols provided in at least one payline, whether paylines are linear or not. There may be a maximum, predetermined number of symbols available in each set of symbols after the first set (e.g., the second column, third column, forth column and/or fifth column), whether or not a predetermined relationship is achieved between adjacent symbols in a payline. In providing the columns of symbols, all sets of numbers of symbols may be displayed above the individual columns after a first column before all numbers of symbols are provided to those individual columns. A 3 row×5 column matrix of spaces is preferably provided for symbols. In one embodiment, only three symbols are provided into a first column and at least 3-5 symbols are available for each remaining four columns. The process may be played on a traditional video gaming platform having a housing, a video display monitor and a processor containing software enabling execution of the method on the video display monitor.
  • Those trained in the art will appreciate that these play options are exemplary and are not intended to dictate an exclusive method of play, nor limit or restrict specific gameplay. Although specific examples and specific images have been provided in this discussion, these specifics are intended to be only support for the generic concepts of the invention and are not intended to be absolute limits in the scope of the technology discussed.

Claims (20)

1. A method of playing a video wagering game comprising:
a player placing a wager on the video wagering game;
providing the player with multiple spaces in which symbols will be displayed;
providing a first number of symbols into a first set of adjacent spaces;
providing at least a first symbol of a second set of symbols into a second set of adjacent spaces, the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols first positioned adjacent a first symbol of the first number of symbols;
wherein a) if the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent first symbol of the first number of symbols, no more symbols are provided into the second set of symbols and a first symbol of a third set of symbols is provided, and
b) if there is no predetermined relationship, providing at least a second symbol of a second set of symbols into the second set of adjacent spaces, the at least second symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent a first symbol of the first number of symbols, and the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent a second symbol of the first number of symbols; and if step b) is performed such that:
i) if either the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent second symbol of the first number of symbols or an at least second symbol of the second number of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the first symbol of the first number of symbols, no more symbols are provided into the first set of symbols and the second set of symbols and at least a first symbol of a third set of symbols is provided; and
ii) if neither the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent second symbol of the first number of symbols nor an at least second symbol of the second number of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the first symbol of the first number of symbols, providing at least a third symbol of the second set of symbols into the second set of adjacent spaces, the at least third symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent the first symbol of the first number of symbols, the at least second symbol of the second set of symbols positioned adjacent the second symbol of the first number of symbols and the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols being positioned adjacent a third symbol of the first number of symbols;
wherein c) if the at least first symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the adjacent third symbol of the first number of symbols, the at least second symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the second symbol of the first set of symbols, or the at least third symbol of the second set of symbols has a predetermined relationship with the first symbol of the first set of symbols, no more symbols are provided into the second set of symbols and a first symbol of a third set of symbols is provided,
completing at least a first payline including the at least first symbol of the first number of symbols; and
providing awards for all paylines that have at least one predetermined combination of winning symbols in the payline.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein at least three adjacent paylines are completed with at least three symbols provided in at least one payline.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein at least three adjacent linear paylines are completed with at least three symbols provided in at least one linear payline.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein at least three adjacent linear paylines are completed with at least four symbols provided in at least one linear payline.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein at least three adjacent linear paylines are completed with five symbols provided in at least one linear payline.
6. The method of claim 3 wherein a maximum, predetermined number of symbols is available in each set of symbols after the first set, whether or not a predetermined relationship is achieved between adjacent symbols in a payline.
7. The method of claim 4 wherein a maximum, predetermined number of symbols is available in each set of symbols after the first set, whether or not a predetermined relationship is achieved between adjacent symbols in a payline.
8. The method of claim 5 wherein a maximum, predetermined number of symbols is available in each set of symbols after the first set, whether or not a predetermined relationship is achieved between adjacent symbols in a payline.
9. The method of claim 6 wherein all sets of numbers of symbols are displayed above individual columns after a first column before all numbers of symbols are provided to those individual columns.
10. The method of claim 7 wherein all sets of numbers of symbols are displayed above individual columns after a first column before all numbers of symbols are provided to those individual columns.
11. The method of claim 8 wherein all sets of numbers of symbols are displayed above individual columns after a first column before all numbers of symbols are provided to those individual columns.
12. The method of claim 9 wherein a 3 row×5 column matrix of spaces is provided for symbols.
13. The method of claim 10 wherein a 3 row×5 column matrix of spaces is provided for symbols.
14. The method of claim 11 wherein a 3 row×5 column matrix of spaces is provided for symbols.
15. The method of claim 12 wherein only three symbols are provided into a first column and at least 3-5 symbols are available for each remaining four columns.
16. The method of claim 13 wherein only three symbols are provided into a first column and at least 3-5 symbols are available for each remaining four columns.
17. The method of claim 14 wherein only three symbols are provided into a first column and at least 3-5 symbols are available for each remaining four columns.
18. A gaming apparatus comprising a housing, a video display monitor and a processor containing software enabling execution of the method of claim 1 on the video display monitor.
19. A gaming apparatus comprising a housing, a video display monitor and a processor containing software enabling execution of the method of claim 10 on the video display monitor.
20. A gaming apparatus comprising a housing, a video display monitor and a processor containing software enabling execution of the method of claim 17 on the video display monitor.
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