US 20030162579 A1
A game performed by a gaming machine is described herein which involves an element of player skill in order for the gaming machine to grant an award to the player. The player is presented with a plurality of images to select in a certain manner, such as in a logical order, within a specified period of time. The proper selection of the images results in an award to the player. Video or mechanical reels, having images around their peripheries, then stop to reflect the player-selected images. The concept of the player making selections and the selections appearing as a final outcome on reels (or other display means) to determine an award may be applied to many other types of games.
1. A gaming device comprising:
a display portion for displaying a first plurality of images;
at least one control element for being controlled by a player for selecting at least some of the first plurality of images in a certain manner, the certain manner comprising an award-winning manner and a losing manner; and
control circuitry for granting an award to the player for selecting the at least some of the first plurality of images in an award-winning manner.
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18. A method performed by a gaming device comprising:
displaying a first plurality of images;
selecting by a player using at least one control element at least some of the first plurality of images in a certain manner, the certain manner comprising an award-winning manner and a losing manner; and
granting an award to the player for selecting the at least some of the first plurality of images in an award-winning manner.
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 This invention is related to gaming devices and, in particular, to a method for a player to determine a winning symbol combination in a gaming machine.
 From the European Publication EP 1139310 A2, a coin operated gaming machine is known comprising a video screen and control elements. The video screen incorporates a touch screen where players make selections by touching icons on the screen. Five adjacent reels having symbols thereon are displayed on the screen. Below the reels, control elements (virtual buttons) are displayed on the screen. Below the screen, additional control elements in the form of physical push buttons are provided. The game can be controlled either by the mechanical push buttons or by the touch screen control elements.
 In such a device and in many other common gaming devices, the player touches a spin button or pulls a handle to initiate the rotation of the reels, and the reels are randomly stopped using a random number generator to display combinations of symbols across one or more pay lines. An award is granted to the player for winning symbol combinations across the one or more pay lines.
 It would be desirable for a player to have greater control over the outcome of the game to increase the player's interest in playing the gaming machine.
 A game performed by a gaming machine is described herein which involves an element of player skill in order for the gaming machine to grant an award to the player. This game may be used in a bonus game, or after a losing game, or for each game, or randomly.
 In one embodiment of the invention, a gaming machine has a video display for displaying, for example, five rotating reels having symbols thereon. The display is a touch screen. Beneath the display of the reels there are, for example, three virtual buttons, each virtual button displaying a number, a letter, a playing card, or any other suitable image. While the virtual reels are spinning, the player must touch the virtual buttons to arrange the three images in a logical sequence, such as in an ascending order of numbers or letters, in a specified period of time. For example, the three images shown in the virtual buttons may be the numbers 3, 1 and 2. The goal is for the player to touch these numbers in the ascending order of 1, 2, 3 within a specified period of time, such as within two seconds. The images in the virtual buttons may change positions according to the order selected by the player.
 After the specified period of time has elapsed, the reels are then stopped to display the virtual button images in the order selected by the player. For example, if the player correctly arranged the numbers in the virtual buttons to be 1, 2, 3, this order will be displayed on the middle three stopped reels. Displaying this correct order of images on the reels causes an award to be paid to the player in the form of coins or credits. An incorrect selection by the player will result in no award to the player.
 Many other types of images for the player to arrange or select are also envisioned.
 The concept of the player making selections and the selections appearing as a final outcome on reels (or other display means) to determine an award may be applied to many other types of games. This skill-type game gets the players involved in the outcome of the game, making the game more exciting and popular.
 An example of the present invention is shown in the figures.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine incorporating the present invention.
FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of certain components of the gaming machine of FIG. 1.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a gaming machine 1 that embodies the present invention. A display screen 2 may be a CRT, LCD, TFT, or any other type of display that incorporates a transparent touch screen layer, of conventional design, that detects a position of a player's finger touching the screen. The X-Y position of the touching is correlated to a function to be performed by a control unit.
 Below display 2 there are physical push buttons 3 to control certain conventional aspects of the game, such as spin reels, bet, bet max, cash out, and other suitable functions. Buttons 3, the touch screen, and display 2 are connected to a control unit 12 (FIG. 2), such as a microcomputer.
 The gaming machine of FIG. 1 also incorporates a bill acceptor 5 and a coin slot 6 for accepting money or tokens in one or more denominations to generate credits within machine 1 for playing games. A coin tray 7 receives coins or tokens from a coin hopper internal to machine 1 upon a win or upon a player cashing out.
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of certain components of the gaming machine of FIG. 1. A coin unit 13, connected to the control unit 12, accepts and verifies coins and bank notes and signals this acceptance to control unit 12. Control unit 12 includes a microcomputer with an I/O unit to provide a data transfer between the microcomputer and peripheral elements, such as display 2, buttons 3, the touch screen, and coin unit 13. The microcomputer comprises a microprocessor, ROM, RAM, a clock generator for the timing and controlling of the microprocessor and memory, and a bus system. The data memory comprises all programs necessary for the operation of machine 1, including a pseudo number generator and a pay table. Pseudo random numbers are determined for every game. All credits are stored in the RAM.
 The above described hardware elements may be conventional.
 Instructions to the player for playing the below-described game may be presented on the display glass or on display 2.
 In one embodiment, display 2 displays five reels 8, with a set of symbols displayed around each of the reels. After the player makes a bet and presses a spin button 3, the symbols to be displayed by the outside two reels are randomly selected by a pseudo-random number generator in control unit 12. Reels 8 then rotate and, after a predetermined time, the two outside reels are stopped to reveal the preselected symbols. The remaining three reels still rotate.
 Within virtual buttons 9, 10, and 11 displayed on display 2, certain images are shown in a certain order. Such images may be three numbers, three letters, three playing card ranks (e.g., a king, queen, and jack), three sets of stones, or any other suitable images. The player has a predetermined period of time, such as two seconds, in which to arrange the images into a specified order, such as an ascending order.
 In the example of FIG. 1, the numbers 3, 1, and 2 are shown within virtual buttons 9, 10, and 11, respectively. To place the numbers in the correct order, the player would first touch button 10, then button 11, then button 9. Optionally, the images within the buttons may then be rearranged by the machine to display the numbers in the selected order.
 After the predetermined time, the three middle rotating reels will stop to display the player-selected order of images. In the example of FIG. 1, the player has not selected the correct order, and the three middle reels stop after the predetermined time to display the incorrectly selected order 3, 1, 2.
 A correctly selected order of the images in buttons 9-11, after being displayed by the middle three reels, will result in an award to the player. Such correspondence between the award and the images may be presented to the player on the display glass of the gaming machine so the player can anticipate the amount to be won by selecting the correct order. The symbols on the outside two reels may also contribute to a winning amount.
 Hence, there is an element of skill in winning the game.
 In another embodiments, there are as many virtual buttons as reels, and the player's selection of the order of the images within the virtual buttons dictates the stop position of each of the reels. Since the reels are virtual reels, they can be stopped to display any symbol displayed by the corresponding virtual buttons.
 Many other types of similar games may be played. For example, the player may be offered a set of similar images and must choose three identical images (or any other number) using virtual buttons. The reels will then stop at those identical images to provide an award to the player if the images were correctly selected. An incorrect selection will result in a losing symbol combination on reels 8.
 Physical buttons 3, instead of virtual buttons, may be associated with each of the displayed images, and the player presses the buttons to select the images in the correct manner.
 In another embodiment, the game may not require the player to arrange images but may simply require the player to press virtual or physical buttons in a certain order. In one example, one of the series of buttons may be illuminated for a very short period of time, and the player must touch the illuminated button in order to obtain a winning symbol for the associated reel. If the buttons are properly selected, the reels will stop to reveal a certain winning symbol combination. Many other types of games using these concepts are envisioned.
 Further, the reels 8 may be motor-driven reels instead of virtual reels, and the images on virtual buttons 9-11 may take any other form, such as LEDs, or small physical reels.
 Accordingly, a main game or secondary game for a gaming machine is described wherein a player makes certain selections by touching or pressing buttons and the selections are reflected in the stopped positions of rotating reels (or other means). The final symbol combinations on the reels determine whether an award is to be paid to the player.
 Having described the invention in detail, those skilled in the art will appreciate that, given the present disclosure, modifications may be made to the invention without departing from the spirit of the inventive concepts described herein. Therefore, it is not intended that the scope of the invention be limited to the specific embodiments illustrated and described.