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Numéro de publicationUS20110118001 A1
Type de publicationDemande
Numéro de demandeUS 12/943,716
Date de publication19 mai 2011
Date de dépôt10 nov. 2010
Date de priorité13 nov. 2009
Numéro de publication12943716, 943716, US 2011/0118001 A1, US 2011/118001 A1, US 20110118001 A1, US 20110118001A1, US 2011118001 A1, US 2011118001A1, US-A1-20110118001, US-A1-2011118001, US2011/0118001A1, US2011/118001A1, US20110118001 A1, US20110118001A1, US2011118001 A1, US2011118001A1
InventeursJamie Vann
Cessionnaire d'origineWms Gaming Inc.
Exporter la citationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Liens externes: USPTO, Cession USPTO, Espacenet
Wagering Game Having a Free-Play Bonus With a Variable Free-Play Retriggering Condition
US 20110118001 A1
Résumé
A gaming system for conducting a wagering game includes a gaming system having a wager input device for receiving a wager from a player, a display configured to display a wagering game, a memory device, and a processor communicatively coupled to the display, the wager input device, and the memory device. The processor is configured to determine a retrigger condition for a wagering game feature, conduct the wagering game feature, determine if the retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature, and conduct another wagering game feature if the first retrigger condition was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature, the another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature. The processor is also configured to determine another retrigger condition for the another wagering game feature, the another retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
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Revendications(20)
1. A gaming system comprising:
a wager input device for receiving a wager from a player;
a display configured to display a wagering game;
a memory device; and
a processor communicatively coupled to the display, the wager input device, and the memory device, the processor being configured to:
determine a retrigger condition for a wagering game feature;
conduct the wagering game feature;
determine if the retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature;
conduct another wagering game feature if the first retrigger condition was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature, the another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature; and
determine another retrigger condition for the another wagering game feature, the another retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
2. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the processor is configured to randomly determine at least one of the retrigger condition and the another retrigger condition.
3. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the processor is configured to randomly determine at least one of the retrigger condition and the another retrigger condition by random selection from a weighted probability table.
4. The gaming system of claim 3, wherein the processor is configured to randomly determine the retrigger condition and the another retrigger condition for the wagering game feature by using different weighted probability tables.
5. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein a probability of achieving the another retrigger condition in the another wagering game feature is lower than a probability of achieving the retrigger condition in the wagering game feature.
6. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein the wagering game feature and the another wagering game feature each comprise a plurality of free spins of symbol-bearing reels.
7. The gaming system of claim 1, wherein at least one of the retrigger condition and the another retrigger condition comprises an occurrence of a particular symbol or symbol combination in a free spin of a plurality of reels.
8. A gaming device comprising:
a wager input device for receiving a wager from a player;
a display configured to display a wagering game;
a memory device; and
a processor communicatively coupled to the display, the wager input device, and the memory device, the processor being configured to:
determine a first retrigger condition for a first wagering game feature;
conduct the first wagering game feature;
determine if the retrigger condition for the first wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the first wagering game feature;
conduct a second wagering game feature subsequent to completion of the first wagering game feature following at least one occurrence of the first retrigger condition during play of the first wagering game feature, the second wagering game feature having the same game format as the first wagering game feature; and
determine a second retrigger condition for the second wagering game feature, the second retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
9. The gaming device of claim 8, wherein the processor is configured to randomly determine at least one of the first retrigger condition and the second retrigger condition.
10. The gaming device of claim 8, wherein the processor is configured to randomly determine at least one of the first retrigger condition and the second retrigger condition by random selection from a weighted probability table.
11. The gaming device of claim 10, wherein the processor is configured to randomly determine the first retrigger condition and the second retrigger condition for the wagering game feature by using different weighted probability tables.
12. The gaming device of claim 8, wherein a probability of achieving the second retrigger condition in the second wagering game feature is lower than a probability of achieving the first retrigger condition in the first wagering game feature.
13. A method of conducting a wagering game comprising the acts of:
using a wager input device to accept a player wager and to transform the player wager into an electronic data signal indicative of the wager;
using a user interface device to accept a player input;
using at least one processor to conduct a wagering game and to display on a display a randomly determined outcome;
using the at least one processor, or another processor, to execute a stored instruction set and perform the acts of:
triggering a first wagering game feature responsive to at least one predetermined randomly determined outcome in the wagering game;
determining a first retrigger condition for a first wagering game feature;
conducting the first wagering game feature;
determining if the first retrigger condition for the first wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the first wagering game feature;
conducting a second wagering game feature subsequent to completion of the first wagering game feature following at least one occurrence of the first retrigger condition during play of the first wagering game feature, the second wagering game feature having the same game format as the first wagering game feature; and
determining a second retrigger condition for the second wagering game feature, the second retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
14. The method of claim 15, wherein the act of using at least one of the processors to determine a first retrigger condition for the first wagering game feature comprises using the at least one of the processors to randomly determine the first retrigger condition, and wherein the act of using at least one of the processors to determine a second retrigger condition for the second wagering game feature comprises using the at least one of the processors to randomly determine the second retrigger condition.
15. The method of claim 15, wherein the act of using at least one of the processors to determine a first retrigger condition for the first wagering game feature comprises using the at least one of the processors to randomly determine the first retrigger condition by random selection from a weighted probability table stored in a memory device, and wherein the act of using at least one of the processors to determine a second retrigger condition for the second wagering game feature comprises using the at least one of the processors to randomly determine the second retrigger condition by random selection from a weighted probability table stored in a memory device.
16. A method of conducting a wagering game on a wagering game terminal, the method comprising the acts of:
conducting a base wagering game on the wagering game terminal;
satisfying a precondition for entry into a wagering game feature during the act of conducting the base wagering game;
randomly determining, prior to conducting the wagering game feature, a retrigger condition from amongst a plurality of available retrigger conditions;
conducting the wagering game feature;
determining if the randomly determined retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature; and
randomly determining, prior to conducting another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature, another retrigger condition from amongst the plurality of available retrigger conditions, the another retrigger condition being different than the retrigger condition.
17. The method of claim 19, wherein the act of randomly determining a retrigger condition from amongst a plurality of available retrigger conditions comprises using a processor to randomly determine the retrigger condition, and wherein the act of randomly determining another retrigger condition from amongst the plurality of available retrigger conditions comprises using the same processor or another processor to randomly determine the another retrigger condition.
18. The method of claim 19, wherein the act of randomly determining a retrigger condition from amongst a plurality of available retrigger conditions comprises using a processor to randomly determine the first retrigger condition by random selection from a weighted probability table stored in a memory device, and wherein the act of randomly determining another retrigger condition from amongst the plurality of available retrigger conditions comprises using the same processor or another processor to randomly determine the another retrigger condition by random selection from a weighted probability table stored in the memory device or in another memory device.
19. The method of claim 21, wherein the weighted probability table used to determine the retrigger condition is different than the weighted probability table used to determine the another retrigger condition.
20. A computer program product comprising a computer readable medium having an instruction set borne thereby, the instruction set being configured to cause, upon execution by a controller, the acts of:
conducting a base wagering game on a wagering game terminal;
determining whether or not a precondition for entry into a wagering game feature was satisfied in connection with the conduct of the base wagering game;
randomly determining using the controller, prior to conducting the wagering game feature, a retrigger condition from amongst a plurality of available retrigger conditions;
conducting the wagering game feature on the wagering game terminal;
determining using the controller whether or not the randomly determined retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature; and
randomly determining using the controller, prior to conducting another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature, another retrigger condition from amongst the plurality of available retrigger conditions, the another retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority from common subject matter in Provisional Application No. 61/261,088 filed Nov. 13, 2009 to the same inventor. That application is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • COPYRIGHT
  • [0002]
    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright rights whatsoever.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates generally to a gaming apparatus and methods for playing wagering games, and more particularly, to a gaming apparatus and methods for playing wagering games comprising bonus games, and still more particularly, to a gaming apparatus and methods for playing wagering games comprising progressive games.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0004]
    Gaming terminals, such as slot machines, video poker machines and the like, have been a cornerstone of the gaming industry for several years. Generally, the popularity of such machines with players is dependent on the likelihood (or perceived likelihood) of winning money at the machine and the intrinsic entertainment value of the machine relative to other available gaming options.
  • [0005]
    Some conventional gaming terminals include “free spin” type games in which a triggering event (e.g., mystery or symbol trigger) triggers a bonus/secondary feature including a series of free spins of the same reels or bonus reels. In some gaming terminals, the free spin series are re-triggered by a fixed retrigger condition that occurs during the initial series of free spins, the occurrence of the same retrigger condition causing an additional series of free spins to be added to the total number of free spins.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    According to one aspect of the present invention, a gaming system for conducting a wagering game includes a gaming system having a wager input device for receiving a wager from a player, a display configured to display a wagering game, a memory device, and a processor communicatively coupled to the display, the wager input device, and the memory device. The processor is configured to determine a retrigger condition for a wagering game feature, conduct the wagering game feature, determine if the retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature, and conduct another wagering game feature if the first retrigger condition was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature, the another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature. The processor is also configured to determine another retrigger condition for the another wagering game feature, the another retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
  • [0007]
    According to another aspect of the present invention, a gaming device comprises a wager input device for receiving a wager from a player, a display configured to display a wagering game, a memory device and a processor communicatively coupled to the display, the wager input device, and the memory device. The processor is configured to perform functions comprising determining a first retrigger condition for a first wagering game feature, conducting the first wagering game feature, determining if the retrigger condition for the first wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the first wagering game feature, conducting a second wagering game feature subsequent to completion of the first wagering game feature following at least one occurrence of the first retrigger condition during play of the first wagering game feature, the second wagering game feature having the same game format as the first wagering game feature, and determining a second retrigger condition for the second wagering game feature, the second retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
  • [0008]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a wagering game comprises using a wager input device to accept a player wager and to transform the player wager into an electronic data signal indicative of the wager, using a user interface device to accept a player input, using at least one processor to conduct a wagering game and to display on a display a randomly determined outcome, and using the at least one processor, or another processor, to execute a stored instruction set. The processor, upon execution of the instruction set, performs the acts of triggering a first wagering game feature responsive to at least one predetermined randomly determined outcome in the wagering game, determining a first retrigger condition for a first wagering game feature, conducting the first wagering game feature, determining if the first retrigger condition for the first wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the first wagering game feature, conducting a second wagering game feature subsequent to completion of the first wagering game feature following at least one occurrence of the first retrigger condition during play of the first wagering game feature, the second wagering game feature having the same game format as the first wagering game feature, and determining a second retrigger condition for the second wagering game feature, the second retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
  • [0009]
    According to another aspect of the invention, a method of conducting a wagering game on a wagering game terminal comprises the acts of conducting a base wagering game on the wagering game terminal, satisfying a precondition for entry into a wagering game feature during the act of conducting the base wagering game, randomly determining, prior to conducting the wagering game feature, a retrigger condition from amongst a plurality of available retrigger conditions. The method further includes conducting the wagering game feature, determining if the randomly determined retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature, and randomly determining, prior to conducting another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature, another retrigger condition from amongst the plurality of available retrigger conditions, the another retrigger condition being different than the retrigger condition.
  • [0010]
    According to yet another aspect of the invention, computer readable storage media is encoded with instructions for directing a gaming system to perform the above methods.
  • [0011]
    According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is provided a computer program product comprising a computer readable medium having an instruction set borne thereby. The instruction set is configured to cause, upon execution by a controller, the acts of conducting a base wagering game on a wagering game terminal, determining whether or not a precondition for entry into a wagering game feature was satisfied in connection with the conduct of the base wagering game, randomly determining using the controller, prior to conducting the wagering game feature, a retrigger condition from amongst a plurality of available retrigger conditions, and conducting the wagering game feature on the wagering game terminal. The instruction set is configured to cause, upon execution by a controller (e.g., the same controller or another controller), the acts of determining using the controller whether or not the randomly determined retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature and randomly determining using the controller, prior to conducting another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature, another retrigger condition from amongst the plurality of available retrigger conditions, the another retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition.
  • [0012]
    Additional aspects of the invention will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of the detailed description of various embodiments, which is made with reference to the drawings, a brief description of which is provided below.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a free-standing gaming terminal according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic view of a gaming system according to an embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 is an image of an exemplary basic-game screen of a wagering game displayed on a gaming terminal.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 is a depiction of a screen showing a triggering condition triggering the start of a free spin bonus game in accord with aspects of the present concepts.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 is a depiction of a screen introducing a first free spin bonus game and a first challenge in accord with aspects of the present concepts.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 is a depiction of a screen just prior to initiation of the first free spin bonus game in accord with aspects of the present concepts.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 is a depiction of an intermediate stage of the first free spin bonus game wherein the first challenge is satisfied in accord with aspects of the present concepts.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 is a depiction of another intermediate stage of the first free spin bonus game in accord with aspects of the present concepts.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 9 is a depiction of an end of the first free spin bonus game in accord with aspects of the present concepts.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 10 is a depiction of a screen introducing a second free spin bonus game and a second challenge in accord with aspects of the present concepts.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 11 is a flowchart for an algorithm that corresponds to instructions executed by a controller in accord with at least some aspects of the disclosed concepts.
  • [0024]
    While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail herein. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0025]
    While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.
  • [0026]
    Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a gaming terminal 10 similar to those used in gaming establishments, such as casinos. With regard to the present invention, the gaming terminal 10 may be any type of gaming terminal and may have varying structures and methods of operation. In one implementation, the BLUEBIRD®2 gaming terminal, manufactured by WMS Gaming of Waukegan, Ill., may be used. In some aspects, the gaming terminal 10 is be an electromechanical gaming terminal configured to play mechanical slots, whereas in other aspects, the gaming terminal is an electronic gaming terminal configured to play a video casino game, such as slots, keno, poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, etc. It should be understood that although the gaming terminal 10 is shown as a free-standing terminal of the upright type, the gaming terminal is readily amenable to implementation in a wide variety of other forms such as a free-standing terminal of the slant-top type, a portable or handheld device primarily used for gaming, such as is disclosed by way of example in PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US2007/000792 filed Jan. 26, 2007, titled “Handheld Device for Wagering Games,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, a mobile telecommunications device such as a mobile telephone or personal digital assistant (PDA), a counter-top or bar-top gaming terminal, or other personal electronic device, such as a portable television, MP3 player, entertainment device, etcetera.
  • [0027]
    The gaming terminal 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 comprises a cabinet or housing 12. For output devices, this embodiment of the gaming terminal 10 includes a primary display area 14, a secondary display area 16, and one or more audio speakers 18. The primary display area 14 and/or secondary display area 16 variously displays information associated with wagering games, non-wagering games, community games, progressives, advertisements, services, premium entertainment, text messaging, emails, alerts or announcements, broadcast information, subscription information, etc. appropriate to the particular mode(s) of operation of the gaming terminal. For input devices, the gaming terminal 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 includes a bill validator 20, a coin acceptor 22, one or more information readers 24, one or more player-input devices 26, and one or more player-accessible ports 28 (e.g., an audio output jack for headphones, a video headset jack, a wireless transmitter/receiver, etc.). While these typical components found in the gaming terminal 10 are described below, it should be understood that numerous other peripheral devices and other elements exist and are readily utilizable in any number of combinations to create various forms of a gaming terminal in accord with the present concepts.
  • [0028]
    The primary display area 14 include, in various aspects of the present concepts, a mechanical-reel display, a video display, or a combination thereof in which a transmissive video display is disposed in front of the mechanical-reel display to portray a video image in superposition over the mechanical-reel display. Further information concerning the latter construction is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,517,433 to Loose et al. entitled “Reel Spinning Slot Machine With Superimposed Video Image,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The video display is, in various embodiments, a cathode ray tube (CRT), a high-resolution liquid crystal display (LCD), a plasma display, a light emitting diode (LED), a DLP projection display, an electroluminescent (EL) panel, or any other type of display suitable for use in the gaming terminal 10, or other form factor, such as is shown by way of example in FIG. 1. The primary display area 14 includes, in relation to many aspects of wagering games conducted on the gaming terminal 10, one or more paylines 30 (see FIG. 3) extending along a portion of the primary display area. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1, the primary display area 14 comprises a plurality of mechanical reels 32 and a video display 34, such as a transmissive display (or a reflected image arrangement in other embodiments), in front of the mechanical reels 32. If the wagering game conducted via the gaming terminal 10 relies upon the video display 34 only and not the mechanical reels 32, the mechanical reels 32 are optionally removed from the interior of the terminal and the video display 34 is advantageously of a non-transmissive type. Similarly, if the wagering game conducted via the gaming terminal 10 relies only upon the mechanical reels 32, but not the video display 34, the video display 34 depicted in FIG. 1 is replaced with a conventional glass panel. Further, in still other embodiments, the video display 34 is disposed to overlay another video display, rather than a mechanical-reel display, such that the primary display area 14 includes layered or superimposed video displays. In yet other embodiments, the mechanical-reel display of the above-noted embodiments is replaced with another mechanical or physical member or members such as, but not limited to, a mechanical wheel (e.g., a roulette game), dice, a pachinko board, or a diorama presenting a three-dimensional model of a game environment.
  • [0029]
    Video images in the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 are rendered in two-dimensional (e.g., using Flash Macromedia™) or three-dimensional graphics (e.g., using Renderware™). In various aspects, the video images are played back (e.g., from a recording stored on the gaming terminal 10), streamed (e.g., from a gaming network), or received as a TV signal (e.g., either broadcast or via cable) and such images can take different forms, such as animated images, computer-generated images, or “real-life” images, either prerecorded (e.g., in the case of marketing/promotional material) or as live footage. The format of the video images can include any format including, but not limited to, an analog format, a standard digital format, or a high-definition (HD) digital format.
  • [0030]
    The player-input or user-input device(s) 26 include, by way of example, a plurality of buttons 36 on a button panel, as shown in FIG. 1, a mouse, a joy stick, a switch, a microphone, and/or a touch screen 38 mounted over the primary display area 14 and/or the secondary display area 16 and having one or more soft touch keys 40, as is also shown in FIG. 1. In still other aspects, the player-input devices 26 comprise technologies that do not rely upon physical contact between the player and the gaming terminal, such as speech-recognition technology, gesture-sensing technology, eye-tracking technology, etc. The player-input or user-input device(s) 26 thus accept(s) player input(s) and transforms the player input(s) to electronic data signals indicative of a player input or inputs corresponding to an enabled feature for such input(s) at a time of activation (e.g., pressing a “Max Bet” button or soft key to indicate a player's desire to place a maximum wager to play the wagering game). The input(s), once transformed into electronic data signals, are output to a CPU or controller 42 (see FIG. 2) for processing. The electronic data signals are selected from a group consisting essentially of an electrical current, an electrical voltage, an electrical charge, an optical signal, an optical element, a magnetic signal, and a magnetic element.
  • [0031]
    The information reader 24 (or information reader/writer) is preferably located on the front of the housing 12 and comprises, in at least some forms, a ticket reader, card reader, bar code scanner, wireless transceiver (e.g., RFID, Bluetooth, etc.), biometric reader, or computer-readable-storage-medium interface. As noted, the information reader may comprise a physical and/or electronic writing element to permit writing to a ticket, a card, or computer-readable-storage-medium. The information reader 24 permits information to be transmitted from a portable medium (e.g., ticket, voucher, coupon, casino card, smart card, debit card, credit card, etc.) to the information reader 24 to enable the gaming terminal 10 or associated external system to access an account associated with cashless gaming, to facilitate player tracking or game customization, to retrieve a saved-game state, to store a current-game state, to cause data transfer, and/or to facilitate access to casino services, such as is more fully disclosed, by way of example, in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0045354 entitled “Portable Data Unit for Communicating With Gaming Machine Over Wireless Link,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The noted account associated with cashless gaming is, in some aspects of the present concepts, stored at an external system 46 (see FIG. 2) as more fully disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,280,328 to Holch et al. entitled “Cashless Computerized Video Game System and Method,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety, or is alternatively stored directly on the portable storage medium. Various security protocols or features can be used to enhance security of the portable storage medium. For example, in some aspects, the individual carrying the portable storage medium is required to enter a secondary independent authenticator (e.g., password, PIN number, biometric, etc.) to access the account stored on the portable storage medium.
  • [0032]
    Turning now to FIG. 2, the various components of the gaming terminal 10 are controlled by one or more processors (e.g., CPU, distributed processors, etc.) 42, also referred to herein generally as a controller (e.g., microcontroller, microprocessor, etc.). The controller 42 can include any suitable processor(s), such as an Intel® Pentium processor, Intel® Core 2 Duo processor, AMD Opteron™ processor, or UltraSPARC® processor. By way of example, the controller 42 includes a plurality of microprocessors including a master processor, a slave processor, and a secondary or parallel processor. Controller 42, as used herein, comprises any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware disposed in and/or disposed outside of the gaming terminal 10 that is configured to communicate with and/or control the transfer of data between the gaming terminal 10 and a bus, another computer, processor, or device and/or a service and/or a network. The controller 42 comprises one or more controllers or processors and such one or more controllers or processors need not be disposed proximal to one another and may be located in different devices and/or in different locations. For example, a first processor is disposed proximate a user interface device (e.g., a push button panel, a touch screen display, etc.) and a second processor is disposed remotely from the first processor, the first and second processors being electrically connected through a network. As another example, the first processor is disposed in a first enclosure (e.g., a gaming machine) and a second processor is disposed in a second enclosure (e.g., a server) separate from the first enclosure, the first and second processors being communicatively connected through a network. The controller 42 is operable to execute all of the various gaming methods and other processes disclosed herein.
  • [0033]
    To provide gaming functions, the controller 42 executes one or more game programs comprising machine-executable instructions stored in local and/or remote computer-readable data storage media (e.g., memory 44 or other suitable storage device). The term computer-readable data storage media, or “computer-readable medium,” as used herein refers to any media/medium that participates in providing instructions to controller 42 for execution. The computer-readable medium comprises, in at least some exemplary forms, non-volatile media (e.g., optical disks, magnetic disks, etc.), volatile media (e.g., dynamic memory, RAM), and transmission media (e.g., coaxial cables, copper wire, fiber optics, radio frequency (RF) data communication, infrared (IR) data communication, etc). Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, a hard disk, magnetic tape (or other magnetic medium), a 2-D or 3-D optical disc (e.g., a CD-ROM, DVD, etc.), RAM, PROM, EPROM, FLASH-EPROM, any other memory chip or solid state digital data storage device, a carrier wave, or any other medium from which a computer can read. By way of example, a plurality of storage media or devices are provided, a first storage device being disposed proximate the user interface device and a second storage device being disposed remotely from the first storage device, wherein a network is connected intermediate the first one and second one of the storage devices.
  • [0034]
    Various forms of computer-readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions to controller 42 for execution. By way of example, the instructions may initially be borne on a data storage device of a remote device (e.g., a remote computer, server, or system). The remote device can load the instructions into its dynamic memory and send the instructions over a telephone line or other communication path using a modem or other communication device appropriate to the communication path. A modem or other communication device local to the gaming machine 10 or to an external system 46 associated with the gaming machine can receive the data on the telephone line or conveyed through the communication path (e.g., via external systems interface 58) and output the data to a bus, which transmits the data to the system memory 44 associated with the processor 42, from which system memory the processor retrieves and executes the instructions.
  • [0035]
    Thus, the controller 42 is able to send and receive data, via carrier signals, through the network(s), network link, and communication interface. The data includes, in various examples, instructions, commands, program code, player data, and game data. As to the game data, in at least some aspects of the present concepts, the controller 42 uses a local random number generator (RNG) to randomly generate a wagering game outcome from a plurality of possible outcomes. Alternatively, the outcome is centrally determined using either an RNG or pooling scheme at a remote controller included, for example, within the external system 46.
  • [0036]
    As shown in the example of FIG. 2, the controller 42 is coupled to the system memory 44. The system memory 44 is shown to comprise a volatile memory (e.g., a random-access memory (RAM)) and a non-volatile memory (e.g., an EEPROM), but optionally includes multiple RAM and multiple program memories.
  • [0037]
    As shown in the example of FIG. 2, the controller 42 is also coupled to a money/credit detector 48. The money/credit detector 48 is configured to output a signal the controller 42 that money and/or credits have been input via one or more value-input devices, such as the bill validator 20, coin acceptor 22, or via other sources, such as a cashless gaming account, etc. The value-input device(s) is integrated with the housing 12 of the gaming terminal 10 and is connected to the remainder of the components of the gaming terminal 10, as appropriate, via a wired connection, such as I/O 56, or wireless connection. The money/credit detector 48 detects the input of valid funds into the gaming terminal 10 (e.g., via currency, electronic funds, ticket, card, etc.) via the value-input device(s) and outputs a signal to the controller 42 carrying data regarding the input value of the valid funds. The controller 42 extracts the data from these signals from the money/credit detector 48, analyzes the associated data, and transforms the data corresponding to the input value into an equivalent credit balance that is available to the player for subsequent wagers on the gaming terminal 10, such transforming of the data being effected by software, hardware, and/or firmware configured to associate the input value to an equivalent credit value. Where the input value is already in a credit value form, such as in a cashless gaming account having stored therein a credit value, the wager is simply deducted from the available credit balance.
  • [0038]
    As seen in FIG. 2, the controller 42 is also connected to, and controls, the primary display area 14, the player-input device(s) 26, and a payoff mechanism 50. The payoff mechanism 50 is operable in response to instructions from the controller 42 to award a payoff to the player in response to certain winning outcomes that occur in the base game, the bonus game(s), or via an external game or event. The payoff is provided in the form of money, credits, redeemable points, advancement within a game, access to special features within a game, services, another exchangeable media, or any combination thereof. Although payoffs may be paid out in coins and/or currency bills, payoffs are alternatively associated with a coded ticket (from a ticket printer 52), a portable storage medium or device (e.g., a card magnetic strip), or are transferred to or transmitted to a designated player account. The payoff amounts distributed by the payoff mechanism 50 are determined by one or more pay tables stored in the system memory 44.
  • [0039]
    Communications between the controller 42 and both the peripheral components of the gaming terminal 10 and the external system 46 occur through input/output (I/O) circuit 56, which can include any suitable bus technologies, such as an AGTL+ frontside bus and a PCI backside bus. Although the I/O circuit 56 is shown as a single block, it should be appreciated that the I/O circuit 56 alternatively includes a number of different types of I/O circuits. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the components of the gaming terminal 10 can be interconnected according to any suitable interconnection architecture (e.g., directly connected, hypercube, etc.).
  • [0040]
    The I/O circuit 56 is connected to an external system interface or communication device 58, which is connected to the external system 46. The controller 42 communicates with the external system 46 via the external system interface 58 and a communication path (e.g., serial, parallel, IR, RC, 10bT, near field, etc.). The external system 46 includes, in various aspects, a gaming network, other gaming terminals, a gaming server, a remote controller, communications hardware, or a variety of other interfaced systems or components, in any combination. In yet other aspects, the external system 46 may comprise a player's portable electronic device (e.g., cellular phone, electronic wallet, etc.) and the external system interface 58 is configured to facilitate wireless communication and data transfer between the portable electronic device and the controller 42, such as by a near field communication path operating via magnetic field induction or a frequency-hopping spread spectrum RF signals (e.g., Bluetooth, etc.).
  • [0041]
    The gaming terminal 10 optionally communicates with external system 46 (in a wired or wireless manner) such that each terminal operates as a “thin client” having relatively less functionality, a “thick client” having relatively more functionality, or with any range of functionality therebetween (e.g., an “intermediate client”). In general, a wagering game includes an RNG for generating a random number, game logic for determining the outcome based on the randomly generated number, and game assets (e.g., art, sound, etc.) for presenting the determined outcome to a player in an audio-visual manner. The RNG, game logic, and game assets are contained within the gaming terminal 10 (“thick client” gaming terminal), the external systems 46 (“thin client” gaming terminal), or are distributed therebetween in any suitable manner (“intermediate client” gaming terminal).
  • [0042]
    Referring now to FIG. 3, an image of a basic-game screen 60 adapted to be displayed on the primary display area 14 is illustrated, according to one embodiment of the present invention. A player begins play of a basic wagering game by providing a wager. A player can operate or interact with the wagering game using the one or more player-input devices 26. The controller 42, the external system 46, or both, in alternative embodiments, operate(s) to execute a wagering game program causing the primary display area 14 to display the wagering game that includes a plurality of visual elements.
  • [0043]
    In accord with various methods of conducting a wagering game on a gaming system in accord with the present concepts, the wagering game includes a game sequence in which a player makes a wager, such as through the money/credit detector 48, touch screen 38 soft key, button panel, or the like, and a wagering game outcome is associated with the wager. The wagering game outcome is then revealed to the player in due course following initiation of the wagering game. The method comprises the acts of conducting the wagering game using a gaming apparatus, such as the gaming terminal 10 depicted in FIG. 1, following receipt of an input from the player to initiate the wagering game. The gaming terminal 10 then communicates the wagering game outcome to the player via one or more output devices (e.g., primary display 14) through the display of information such as, but not limited to, text, graphics, text and graphics, static images, moving images, etc., or any combination thereof. In accord with the method of conducting the wagering game, the controller 42, which comprises one or more processors, transforms a physical player input, such as a player's pressing of a “Spin Reels” soft key 84 (see FIG. 3), into an electronic data signal indicative of an instruction relating to the wagering game (e.g., an electronic data signal bearing data on a wager amount).
  • [0044]
    In the aforementioned method, for each data signal, the controller 42 is configured to processes the electronic data signal, to interpret the data signal (e.g., data signals corresponding to a wager input), and to cause further actions associated with the interpretation of the signal in accord with computer instructions relating to such further actions executed by the controller. As one example, the controller 42 causes the recording of a digital representation of the wager in one or more storage devices (e.g., system memory 44 or a memory associated with an external system 46), the controller, in accord with associated computer instructions, causing the changing of a state of the data storage device from a first state to a second state. This change in state is, for example, effected by changing a magnetization pattern on a magnetically coated surface of a magnetic storage device or changing a magnetic state of a ferromagnetic surface of a magneto-optical disc storage device, a change in state of transistors or capacitors in a volatile or a non-volatile semiconductor memory (e.g., DRAM), etc. The noted second state of the data storage device comprises storage in the storage device of data representing the electronic data signal from the controller (e.g., the wager in the present example). As another example, the controller 42 further, in accord with the execution of the instructions relating to the wagering game, causes the primary display 14 or other display device and/or other output device (e.g., speakers, lights, communication device, etc.), to change from a first state to at least a second state, wherein the second state of the primary display comprises a visual representation of the physical player input (e.g., an acknowledgement to a player), information relating to the physical player input (e.g., an indication of the wager amount), a game sequence, an outcome of the game sequence, or any combination thereof, wherein the game sequence in accord with the present concepts comprises acts described herein. The aforementioned executing of computer instructions relating to the wagering game is further conducted in accord with a random outcome (e.g., determined by the RNG) that is used by the controller 42 to determine the outcome of the game sequence, using a game logic for determining the outcome based on the randomly generated number. In at least some aspects, the controller 42 is configured to determine an outcome of the game sequence at least partially in response to the random parameter.
  • [0045]
    The basic-game screen 60 is displayed on the primary display area 14 or a portion thereof. In FIG. 3, the basic-game screen 60 portrays a plurality of simulated movable reels 62 a-e. Alternatively or additionally, the basic-game screen 60 portrays a plurality of mechanical reels or other video or mechanical presentation consistent with the game format and theme. The basic-game screen 60 also advantageously displays one or more game-session meters and various buttons adapted to be actuated by a player.
  • [0046]
    In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 3, the game-session meters include a “credit” meter 64 for displaying a number of credits available for play on the terminal; a “lines” meter 66 for displaying a number of paylines to be played by a player on the terminal; a “line bet” meter 68 for displaying a number of credits wagered (e.g., from 1 to 5 or more credits) for each of the number of paylines played; a “total bet” meter 70 for displaying a total number of credits wagered for the particular round of wagering; and a “paid” meter 72 for displaying an amount to be awarded based on the results of the particular round's wager. The depicted user-selectable buttons include a “collect” button 74 to collect the credits remaining in the credits meter 64; a “help” button 76 for viewing instructions on how to play the wagering game; a “pay table” button 78 for viewing a pay table associated with the basic wagering game; a “select lines” button 80 for changing the number of paylines (displayed in the lines meter 66) a player wishes to play; a “bet per line” button 82 for changing the amount of the wager which is displayed in the line-bet meter 68; a “spin reels” button 84 for moving the reels 62 a-e; and a “max bet spin” button 86 for wagering a maximum number of credits and moving the reels 62 a-e of the basic wagering game. While the gaming terminal 10 allows for these types of player inputs, the present invention does not require them and can be used on gaming terminals having more, less, or different player inputs.
  • [0047]
    As shown in the example of FIG. 3, paylines 30 extend from one of the payline indicators 88 a-i on the left side of the basic-game screen 60 to a corresponding one of the payline indicators 88 a-i on the right side of the screen 60. A plurality of symbols 90 is displayed on the plurality of reels 62 a-e to indicate possible outcomes of the basic wagering game. A winning combination occurs when the displayed symbols 90 correspond to one of the winning symbol combinations listed in a pay table stored in the memory 44 of the terminal 10 or in the external system 46. The symbols 90 may include any appropriate graphical representation or animation, and may further include a “blank” symbol.
  • [0048]
    Symbol combinations are evaluated in accord with various schemes such as, but not limited to, “line pays” or “scatter pays.” Line pays are evaluated left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, or any combination thereof by evaluating the number, type, or order of symbols 90 appearing along an activated payline 30. Scatter pays are evaluated without regard to position or paylines and only require that such combination appears anywhere on the reels 62 a-e. While an embodiment with nine paylines is shown, a wagering game with no paylines, a single payline, or any plurality of paylines (e.g., 243 paylines) will also work with the present invention. Additionally, though an embodiment with five reels is shown in FIG. 3, different embodiments of the gaming terminal 10 comprise a greater or lesser number of reels in accordance with the present invention. Further, the game concepts presented herein may advantageously be implemented across different machines in a bank of machines. For example, a plurality of gaming terminals 10 configured to play a first base wagering game (e.g., a 25 line game with stacked top award symbols) and a plurality of gaming terminals 10 configured to play a second base wagering game (e.g., a 243 line game with multiplying wilds) may share the same bonus game.
  • [0049]
    Referring now to FIG. 4, an embodiment of the gaming terminal 10 is depicted wherein the primary display area 14 displays a slot game entitled “The Godfather.” The game comprises an array of symbol positions such as, but not limited to, five video reels 62 a-e wherein each reel has a plurality of symbol positions having symbols 90 thereon or associated therewith. Alternatively, for example, each symbol position could itself comprise a separate reel. In the depicted array of symbol positions in FIG. 4, the occurrence of three scattered “The Godfather” symbols 95 constitutes a “start bonus” outcome entitling the player to enter a wagering game feature, such as a free spin bonus game, as described by way of example in greater detail herein. Of course, any suitable start bonus trigger may be employed in accord with the present concepts, such start bonus trigger may comprise any predetermined trigger, such as, but not limited to, any single symbol or any plural symbols in any predetermined symbol position(s), relation or arrangement. Further, non-symbol related triggering conditions may optionally be employed to trigger the free spin bonus game, such as a mystery trigger.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 5 depicts the primary display area 14 displaying a start screen of the free spin bonus game in accord with the present concepts, the free spin bonus being triggered, as noted above. As is seen in FIG. 5, the Godfather, Vito Corleone, is shown to say “Bring in Sal Tessio. I want to talk to him.” Preferably, but not necessarily, an audio clip or sound-alike voice over is provided an auditory accompaniment to accentuate the theme and presence of the game. FIG. 5 shows a presentation 102 of the rules of the free spin bonus game in accord with aspects of the present concepts, stating in this particular example that there are 5 free spins and all wins pay 2×. Naturally, the present concepts include other variants, such as variations in the number of free spins for the initial free spin bonus game as well as for any subsequent, associated free spin bonus game. By way of example, a typical series of free spins will include 5, 10, or 20 free spins, but any number of free spins may be provided. The number of free spins in at least an initial round of free spins may be fixed or, optionally, may be variable depending, for example, on a random number generator, a weighted table, or some aspect of game play in the base wagering game or satisfaction of some condition in the base wagering game.
  • [0051]
    FIG. 5 further sets forth the first challenge, an initial retrigger condition 105, to the player. If the initial retrigger condition 105 is satisfied during the initial free spin series, the player is awarded an additional series of free spins. In this example, the initial retrigger condition 105 is any 3, 4 or 5 “Sal Tessio” symbol combination. If the initial retrigger condition 105 is satisfied, the player is awarded five additional spins in this example. In other variants of the present concepts, the number of symbols could influence the number of additional spins. For example, a three “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 combination may award five additional spins, whereas a four “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 combination may award ten additional spins, and a five “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 combination may award fifteen or more additional spins. In still other variants, the symbols that are selected for the initial retrigger condition may, in lieu of a fixed symbol combination along a payline, may comprise scattered symbols. Further, in other aspects of the present concepts, the initial retrigger condition 105 may comprise a single occurrence of a single symbol, such as a “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 or other object of the challenge at hand, on any reel or on a particular reel.
  • [0052]
    The initial retrigger condition 105 or challenge itself and/or any subsequent challenge or retrigger condition, may be randomly chosen from a weighted probability table, may comprise a pre-programmed sequence of retrigger conditions, may comprise different probability tables to be used with each occurrence of a particular retrigger condition, or may be weighted or programmed to get progressively more difficult to accomplish, on average. As to the latter example, by way of example, the chance of successfully satisfying the variable retrigger condition in each successive round may decrease (e.g., by a fixed percentage, a variable percentage, etc.).
  • [0053]
    FIG. 6 shows a depiction of a free spin bonus screen on primary display area 14 just prior to initiation of the first free spin bonus game. For the free spin bonus game, reels 62 a-e are shown and the same base wagering game reels may be used or different reels may be used, either in the same position as the base wagering game reels (e.g., a traditional video slot display), overlaying the base wagering game reels (e.g., a transmissive display), or in a different location than the base wagering game reels (e.g., a top box display or area display). Additionally, a different number of reels may be used in the wagering game feature, such as the free spin bonus game, than is used in the base wagering game. For example, four reels or six reels may be used.
  • [0054]
    As noted above, in this example, the initial retrigger condition requires the player to obtain a combination of 3, 4, or 5 “Sal Tessio” symbols. If, during the five free spins, the player obtains 3, 4, or 5 “Sal Tessio” symbols 97, the player is awarded, subsequent to completion of the first series of free spins, five additional free spins. Further, the player is presented with another challenge or stated differently, the variable retrigger condition is again randomly redetermined in some manner. As is shown by way of example in the banner 100 at the top of FIG. 6, the game preferably displays the current retrigger condition, such as the initial retrigger condition in FIG. 6, prior to and throughout the series of free spins in the free spin bonus, at least until the retrigger condition is satisfied. For clarity, the particular symbol 90, here the “Sal Tessio” symbol 97, that is the object of the challenge is embedded in the banner 100.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 7 depicts the primary display area 14 following the execution of the first two free spins, as is indicated by the “Spins Remaining” counter 110 showing “3” at the bottom of the screen. As shown in FIG. 7, a payline 32 passes through a “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 on reel 62 a, a “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 on reel 62 b, a “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 on reel 62 c, a “Luca Brasi” symbol 99 on reel 62 d, and a “Godfather Logo” 85 on reel 62 e. FIG. 7 shows the primary display area 14 depicting a payline 32 passing through the five reels 62 a-e indicating the combination of symbols 90 (here the “Sal Tessio” symbols 97) comprises a winning outcome in this wagering game feature. A banner 120 also indicates “Sal Tessio Found!” with a corresponding presentation of the corresponding “Sal Tessio” symbol 97. The “Win” meter 115 shows that, during the free spin bonus, the player has been awarded 720 credits.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 8 shows the primary display area 14 following the execution of the last of the five free spins, as is indicated by the “Spins Remaining” counter 110 showing “0” at the bottom of the screen. As shown in FIG. 8, a payline 32 passes through a “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 on reel 62 a, a “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 on reel 62 b, a “Sal Tessio” symbol 97 on reel 62 c, a “Godfather Logo” 85 on reel 62 d, and a “Luca Brasi” symbol 80 on reel 62 e. A banner 120 indicates “Sal Tessio Found! ×2” with a corresponding presentation of the corresponding “Sal Tessio” symbol 97, indicating that the Sal Tessio challenge has been met twice. The “Win” meter 115 shows that, thus far during the free spin bonus, the player has been awarded 1420 credits. FIG. 9 shows the primary display area 14 further to the screen shown in FIG. 8, a banner 122 indicating “Task Complete ×2” with a corresponding presentation of the “Sal Tessio” symbol 97, together with an indicated award of “860 credits” for the twice-met satisfaction of the challenge. The “Win” meter 115 is updated in FIG. 9 to show the addition of the challenge award and indicates a win in the first challenge of “2280 credits”.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 10 depicts the primary display area 14 displaying a start screen of a second free spin bonus game, triggered by successful completion of the first challenge in the first free spin bonus game. FIG. 10 shows that the “Credits” meter 150 has been updated to add the 2280 credits from the first challenge to yield a total of “4252” credits. As is seen in FIG. 10, the Godfather, Vito Corleone, is shown to say “I'm hungry. Bring me some cannoli.” Preferably, but not necessarily, an audio clip or sound-alike voice over is provided an auditory accompaniment to accentuate the theme and presence of the game. FIG. 10 shows a presentation 102 of the rules of the second free spin bonus game in accord with aspects of the present concepts, stating in this particular example that there are 5 free spins and all wins pay 3×. In accord with at least some aspects of the present concepts, the multiplier optionally increases with each round in the free spin bonus. In accord with other aspects, the multiplier in each round of the free spin bonus may optionally be determined by a random number generator or a weighted table or may be influenced by the degree of success in a preceding free spin bonus challenge or satisfaction of some other condition (e.g., accumulated credits, occurrence of a particular symbol, symbols, or combination, etc.).
  • [0058]
    FIG. 10 further sets forth the second challenge or the new retrigger condition 105 to the player wherein, if the second retrigger condition is satisfied during the second free spin series, the player is awarded yet another series of free spins. In this example, the new retrigger condition 105 is that any 4 or 5 “Cannoli” symbol 107 combination will trigger another wagering game feature, in this case a free spin bonus that awards the player five additional spins. A greater or lesser number of free spins is contemplated as being within the scope of the present concepts include, as are greater or lesser multipliers. The number of free spins in the second or any subsequent round of free spins in the free spin bonus may optionally be influenced by the degree of success in the preceding free spin bonus challenge or satisfaction of some other condition (e.g., accumulated credits, occurrence of a particular symbol, symbols, or combination, etc.) in the preceding free spin bonus game. Alternatively, the number of free spins may be determined by a random number generator or a weighted table. As to the selection of the challenge or retrigger condition that will be presented to the player for a particular free spin bonus game, the challenge or retrigger condition is, in at least some aspects, chosen from a weighted table, wherein at least some different challenge or retrigger conditions have different probabilities. In accord with such aspects, each round may optionally comprise a different weighted table. In still other aspects of the present concepts, the selection of the challenge or retrigger condition for a particular free spin bonus game may be randomly determined from amongst equally weighted options.
  • [0059]
    Thus, should the player successfully achieve a 4 or 5 “Cannoli” symbol 107 combination, the player will be presented with yet another challenge in which the variable bonus retrigger condition is again changed for the subsequent series of free spins. As noted above, the reels symbols for the free spin bonus game may be the same as that used for the base wagering game reels or may be different, and may alternatively be different in number as well. In particular, the reels and/or symbols used in the free spin bonus game may either the same as or different than that used in the base wagering game or in any preceding challenge. Accordingly, each challenge presented to the player may optionally comprise unique symbols and/or graphics particular to the particular challenge facing the player.
  • [0060]
    FIGS. 5-10 thus show an example of the determining of a retrigger condition for a wagering game feature (FIG. 5), conducting of the wagering game feature (FIGS. 6-9), determining if the retrigger condition for the wagering game feature was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature (satisfied in FIG. 8), and conducting another wagering game feature if the first retrigger condition was satisfied during play of the wagering game feature, the another wagering game feature having the same game format as the wagering game feature (FIG. 10 being the start screen), and determining another retrigger condition for the another wagering game feature, the another retrigger condition being different than the first retrigger condition (FIG. 10). By format, it is meant that the type of game is the same (e.g., free spins), but there could be differences (e.g., number of free spins, number of reels, numbers of symbol positions on reels, composition of symbols on reels, etc.). It is not necessary that the theme or background of the wagering game features remain the same and the theme or background of the wagering game features may be advantageously configured to vary automatically, vary responsive to a random event, or even vary responsive to a player selection or command. For example, the theme (e.g., Godfather) may remain as a constant throughout successive wagering game features, but the background imagery and/or one or more reel symbols may changed in different wagering game features. Alternatively, the theme of the wagering game feature is optionally changed without changing the underlying functionality of the wagering game feature.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 11 is a flowchart for an algorithm that corresponds to instructions executed by a controller in accord with at least some aspects of the disclosed concepts, as described above. In act A100, the game system checks to determine if a pre-determined bonus trigger condition in base wagering game has been satisfied, such as the occurrence of three “The Godfather” symbols in the example of FIG. 4. In act A110, the game system determines the retrigger condition for the first round of the bonus game. In the example of FIG. 5, the game system determined that the retrigger condition to activate a second round of the bonus game would be the occurrence of 3, 4, or 5 “Sal Tessio” symbols within the five allotted free spins. In act A120, the game system conducts the bonus game in accord with the determined retrigger condition. For simplicity, the conduct of individual free spins is not shown. During the conduct of the free spins, or at least upon completion of the first round of the bonus game, the game system determines in act A130 if the retrigger condition for the bonus game has been satisfied. If the retrigger condition for the bonus game has been satisfied, control passes back to act A110, wherein the game system determines the retrigger condition for the next (e.g., second) round of the bonus game. Once, in a given round of free spins it is determined that the retrigger condition has not been satisfied for the preceding free spins, the bonus game ends in act A140.
  • [0062]
    Although the basic game and the bonus game described herein are both slot games, various other games may be played in accordance with the present invention. For example, the basic game comprise games such as video poker, keno, blackjack, or roulette. All that is preferred is the game have at least bonus trigger outcome that causes entry by the player into a free spin bonus game in accord with the concepts described herein. Further, other variants of the present concepts are also contemplated, wherein the “free spin” bonus game instead is presented as a “free card” or “free hand” card game wherein the challenge is to draw, from five dealt hands of cards, a predetermined hand, suit, rank, symbol, or the like, wherein satisfaction of the challenge leads to additional, different challenges in accord with a variable retrigger condition. In still further alternative aspects, player-selectable objects may be presented to permit a player to interact with and influence the free spin bonus game. For example, a player may be permitted to select a player-selectable element from a displayed field of player-selectable elements, wherein the selected player-selectable element reveals an associated number of additional spins that will be awarded if the player successfully completes the challenge (e.g., 5, 10, 15, etc.) or reveals an associated number of symbols or a particular type that will satisfy the challenge at hand (e.g., 3/4/5 combination, 4/5 combination, etc.).
  • [0063]
    Still further, in accord with the present concepts, one or more eligibility constraints may be imposed to enable the disclosed bonus game having a variable retrigger. For example, the player may be required to place a minimum wager in the base wagering game (e.g., a Max Bet wager, a wager that covers all paylines, etc.).
  • [0064]
    Although described herein in relation to as a bonus game for illustrative purposes, the present concepts are not limited to a bonus game, per se, and are applicable to game features conducted in a base wagering game and other aspects of wagering game play including, but not limited to, bonus games.
  • [0065]
    The variable retrigger conditions need not be determined in the same manner in successive wagering game features. For example, a first retrigger condition may be determined randomly, whereas a second retrigger condition may be determined by using a weighted table. The present concepts include any manner of selecting the variable retrigger condition, such as those set forth by way of example above and other methods, such as player selection of a player-selectable element from a field of player-selectable elements, the player-selectable elements each being associated with a variable retrigger condition that is initially concealed from a player until the player's selection of a player-selectable element, contemporaneously therewith the association of at least the selected player-selectable element being revealed to the player.
  • [0066]
    Each of these embodiments and obvious variations thereof is contemplated as falling within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention, which is set forth in the following claims. As one example, where functionality of a processor or controller is recited, such functionality may be distributed amongst any number of processors or controllers, wherever located locally or remotely, without limitation.
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Classifications
Classification aux États-Unis463/20, 463/25
Classification internationaleA63F9/24
Classification coopérativeG07F17/34
Classification européenneG07F17/34
Événements juridiques
DateCodeÉvénementDescription
31 janv. 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: WMS GAMING INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:VANN, JAMIE;REEL/FRAME:029728/0931
Effective date: 20091123
18 déc. 2013ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS COLLATERAL AGENT, TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:SCIENTIFIC GAMES INTERNATIONAL, INC.;WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:031847/0110
Effective date: 20131018
29 juil. 2015ASAssignment
Owner name: BALLY GAMING, INC., NEVADA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:WMS GAMING INC.;REEL/FRAME:036225/0464
Effective date: 20150629