Title:
Gaming machine, gaming machine control server and gaming system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming machine, gaming machine control server and gaming system which can provide a more amusing game are disclosed. The gaming machine according to the invention displays a labyrinth image to be used in a labyrinth fighting game on a main display, and a main CPU operates as an operating unit which is used for performing an operation input required for proceeding a labyrinth fighting game using the labyrinth image and a game proceeding control unit for displaying a labyrinth image on an image display unit and proceeding a labyrinth fighting game. The gaming machine is communicably connected to another gaming machine. The main CPU further operates as an own-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the machine and an other-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the other machine. The main CPU operating as the game proceeding control unit proceeds a game in accordance with an operation unit by using the operating unit after the completion of the detection of proceedable states by the own-machine state detecting unit and other-machine state detecting unit.



Inventors:
Kogo, Junichi (Tokyo, JP)
Hiranoya, Nobukatsu (Tokyo, JP)
Hayashi, Kentaro (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
11/213796
Publication Date:
03/02/2006
Filing Date:
08/30/2005
Assignee:
Aruze Corporation (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24; A63F13/33; A63F13/10; A63F13/12; A63F13/35; A63F13/45
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070218971Interactive internet lotterySeptember, 2007Berube
20080076499Information display system for BaccaratMarch, 2008Lowery et al.
20050079911Linked jackpot controllerApril, 2005Nakatsu
20090036188GENERAL GAMING ENGINEFebruary, 2009Gelman
20040053677Gaming device having a scatter pay symbolMarch, 2004Hughs-baird
20060281543WAGERING GAME MACHINE WITH BIOFEEDBACK-AWARE GAME PRESENTATIONDecember, 2006Sutton et al.
20090181749Wagering game with associated outcomesJuly, 2009Aoki
20090075732SCENARIO GAMEMarch, 2009Sanders
20080287173Projectile video gameNovember, 2008Rohde
20070135200Betting race gameJune, 2007Chen
20100075751NETWORK DIAGNOSTICS IN A WAGERING GAME SYSTEMMarch, 2010Garvey et al.



Primary Examiner:
LEE, WEI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (P.O. BOX 320850, ALEXANDRIA, VA, 22320-4850, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming machine comprising: image display means which displays a game image for use in a game; operating means which is used by a player for inputting an operation required for proceeding the game by using the game image; game proceeding control means which displays the game image on the image display means to proceed the game; own-machine state detecting means which detects a proceedable state in which the game in the own machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using the operating means or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the own machine by the player of the own machine is allowed; and other-machine state detecting means which detects a proceedable state in which the game in another machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the proceeding operation input by using the operation means of the another machine or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the another machine by a player of the another machine is allowed, wherein: the gaming machine is communicably connected with the another machine having the image display means, the operating means and the game proceeding control means; and the game proceeding control means proceeds the game in accordance with the operation input by using the operation means after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state by the own-machine state detecting means and the other-machine state detecting means.

2. The gaming machine according to claim 1, further comprising action determining means which determines an action of an acting body that acts in accordance with an operation by the player based on an input of the operation using the operating means, wherein: the game image includes at least an acting-body image showing the acting body; the another machine further includes the action determining means; and the game proceeding control means causes the acting body to take the action determined by the action determining means after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state by the own-machine state detecting means and the other-machine state detecting means.

3. A gaming machine control server which exchanges data with a gaming machine, the gaming machine having: image display means which displays a game image for use in a game; operating means which is used by a player for inputting an operation required for proceeding the game by using the game image; and game proceeding control means which displays the game image on the image display means to proceed the game, the control server comprising: proceedable state detecting means which detects a proceedable state in which the game in the gaming machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using the operating means of the gaming machine or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the gaming machine by the player is allowed; and commanding means for commanding the game proceeding control means of the gaming machine to proceed the game in accordance with the operation input by using the operating means after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state of the gaming machine by the proceedable state detecting means.

4. The gaming machine control server according to claim 3, wherein: the server exchanges data with gaming machines; each of the gaming machines further includes action determining means which determines an action of an acting body that acts in accordance with an operation by the player based on an input of the operation using the operating means; the game image includes at least an acting-body image showing the acting body; the game proceeding control means displays the acting-body image on the image display means to proceed the game using the acting-body image; and the commanding means commands the game proceeding control means of the gaming machine to cause the acting bodies to take an action determined by the action determining means of the gaming machines on all of the image display means in the gaming machines after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state of the gaming machines by the proceedable state detecting means.

5. The gaming machine control server according to claim 4, wherein priorities are assigned to the gaming machines under a predetermined condition, and the commanding means commands the acting bodies of respective gaming machines to take the action sequentially in priority order.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming machine which allows smooth proceeding of a game by using an image displayed on an image display unit, a gaming machine control server connected to the gaming machine and a gaming system.

2. Description of Related Art

Conventionally, a gaming machine (so-called video gaming machine) has been known by which a game can be played by using an image displayed on an image display unit, and this type of gaming machine includes a gaming machine playable by one player only and a gaming machine playable by two or more, that is, multiple players. Furthermore, this type of gaming machine may be roughly divided, based on the type of a game, into a gaming machine by which a point is rewarded when a predetermined combination is completed to win on a series of trump cards and/or tiles, a gaming machine (see JP-A-2001-300143) by which a game can be played (such as a role-playing game (RPG) and an adventure game) by using an acting-body image showing an acting body (such as a so-called character such as a car and an airplane) which acts in accordance with an operation by a player, and a gaming machine (see JP-A-2002-253860) such as a fighting game for a fight between or among acting bodies and a chess game and Mah-Jong game for a match.

Such a gaming machine by which multiple players can play for fighting or a match may adopt a so-called turn system (which is a game system to be proceeded by alternate implementations of an action (turn) of one side and an action (turn) of the other side). For example, JP-A-2002-369967 discloses a gaming system which allows simultaneous attacks between or among multiple players in one turn by dividing players participating in a game into first and second sides and, when an attack is commanded by a player of the first side and it satisfies a predetermined requirement, giving another player of the first side an opportunity to command an attack.

However, a gaming machine for fighting by multiple players as disclosed in JP-A-2002-369967 has a problem that the proceeding of a game is delayed when a required operation input is delayed as a result of too much time taken by a player to determine an action, for example, of an acting body. Especially, in a gaming machine by which multiple players can play by, for example, adopting the turn system, the delay of an operation input by some players may delay the proceeding of the entire game, which has an influence on the other players. In this case, waiting players may feel stressful or may be irritated, which reduces the original amusement of the game that players should be able to obtain from the gaming machine.

In a game to be played between or among gaming machines adopting the turn system, there are few opportunities to make a strategic determination such as “reading the next action of the other side and determining an action of his or her own side” since a player determines an action of his/her own side after checking the action of the other side and vice versa. Thus, not few players are demanding a more highly strategic game even with gaming machines adopting the turn system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention was made in order to solve these problems, and it is an object of the invention to provide a gaming machine, gaming machine control server and gaming system which can provide a more amusing game.

A gaming machine according to the invention is a gaming machine including an image display unit on which the gaming machine displays a game image for use in a game, an operating unit which is used by a player for inputting an operation required for proceeding a game by using the game image, a game proceeding control unit which displays the game image on the image display unit to proceed the game, an own-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state in which the game in the own machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using the operating unit or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the own machine by the player of the own machine is allowed, and an other-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state in which the game in another machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the proceeding operation input by using the operation unit of the other machine or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the other machine by the player of the other machine is allowed, wherein the gaming machine is communicably connected with the other machine having the image display unit, the operating unit and the game proceeding control unit, and the game proceeding control unit proceeds the game in accordance with the operation input by using the operation unit after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state by the own-machine state detecting unit and the other-machine state detecting unit.

The gaming machine includes the own-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the machine and an other-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the other communicably connected machine. When the detection of proceedable states by the own-machine state detecting unit and other-machine state detecting unit completes, a game is proceeded by the game proceeding control unit in accordance with an operation input by using the operating unit. Thus, when the gaming machine is connected to another machine, a game is not proceeded until not only the operation input by using the operating unit of the machine but also the operation input by using the operating unit of the other machine complete. Therefore, a player of the machine and a player of the other machine perform the operation inputs in the same timing so that the game can be proceeded more smoothly than that of a conventional gaming machine which assigns a time for an operation input to each player and that the player of the machine and the player of the other machine can enjoy strategic dealings therebetween.

The gaming machine may further include a communication unit which communicates with the other machine. Preferably, the other-machine state detecting unit receives data from the other machine through the communication unit and detects the proceedable state of the other machine based on reception data including information on the operation input in the other machine or the lapse.

A gaming machine according to the invention is a gaming machine including an image display unit on which the gaming machine displays an acting-body image showing an acting body that acts in accordance with an operation by a player, an operating unit which is used by the player for inputting an operation for determining an action of the acting body, an action determining unit which determines an action of the acting body based on an input of an operation by the player by using the operating unit, a game proceeding control unit which displays the acting-body image on the image display unit to proceed the game using the acting-body image, an own-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state in which the game in the own machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using the operating unit or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the own machine by the player of the own machine is allowed, and an other-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state in which the game in another machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using the operating unit of the other machine or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the other machine by a player of the other machine is allowed, wherein the gaming machine is communicably connected with the other machine having the image display unit, the operating unit, the action determining unit and the game proceeding control unit, and the game proceeding control unit causes the acting body to take an action determined by the action determining unit after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state by the own-machine state detecting unit and the other-machine state detecting unit.

The gaming machine includes the own-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the machine and an other-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the other communicably connected machine. When the detection of proceedable states by the own-machine state detecting unit and other-machine state detecting unit completes, the game proceeding control unit causes an acting body to take an action determined by the action determining unit. Thus, when the gaming machine is connected to another machine, a game is not proceeded until not only the operation input by using the operating unit of the machine but also the operation input by using the operating unit of the other machine complete. Therefore, the player of the machine and the player of the other machine perform the operation inputs in the same timing so that the game can be proceeded more smoothly than that of a conventional gaming machine which assigns a time for an operation input to each player and that the player of the machine and the player of the other machine can enjoy strategic dealings therebetween.

A gaming machine control server according to the invention is a gaming machine control server which can exchange data with a gaming machine, the gaming machine having an image display unit on which the gaming machine displays a game image for use in a game, an operating unit which is used by a player for inputting an operation required for proceeding a game by using the game image, and a game proceeding control unit which displays the game image on the image display unit to proceed the game. The control server includes a proceedable state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state in which the game in the gaming machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using the operating unit of the gaming machine or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the gaming machine by a player is allowed, and a commanding unit for commanding the game proceeding control unit of the gaming machine to proceed the game in accordance with the operation input by using the operating unit after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state of the gaming machine by the proceedable state detecting unit.

The gaming machine control server includes the proceedable state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the gaming machine and a commanding unit for commanding the game proceeding control unit of the gaming machine to proceed the game of the gaming machine. When the detection of a proceedable state by the proceedable state detecting unit completes, the commanding unit transmits the command to the game proceeding control unit. Thus, when the gaming machine control server is connected to gaming machines, a game in each of the gaming machines is not proceeded until the operation input by using the operating unit of each of the gaming machines completes. Therefore, players of the gaming machines perform operation inputs in the same timing so that the game can be proceeded more smoothly than that of a conventional gaming machine which assigns a time for an operation input to each player and that the multiple players can enjoy strategic dealings therebetween or thereamong.

The gaming machine control server may further include a communication unit which communicates with the gaming machine. Preferably, the proceedable state detecting unit receives data from the gaming machine via the communication unit and detects the proceedable state of the gaming machine based on reception data including information on the operation input in the gaming machine or the lapse.

A gaming machine control server according to the invention is a gaming machine control server which can exchange data with gaming machines, each of the gaming machines having an image display unit on which the gaming machine displays an acting-body image showing an acting body that acts in accordance with an operation by a player, an operating unit which is used by a player for inputting an operation for determining an action of the acting body, an action determining unit which determines an action of the acting body based on an input of an operation by the player by using the operating unit, and a game proceeding control unit which displays the acting-body image on the image display unit to proceed the game using the acting-body image. The control server includes a proceedable state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state in which the game in the gaming machine is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using the operating unit or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game in the gaming machine by a player is allowed, and a commanding unit for commanding the game proceeding control unit of the gaming machine to cause acting bodies to take an action determined by the action determining unit of the gaming machines on all of the image display unit in the gaming machines after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state of the gaming machines by the proceedable state detecting unit.

The gaming machine control server includes the proceedable state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the gaming machine and a commanding unit for commanding the game proceeding control unit of the gaming machine to cause an acting body to take an action determined by the action determining unit. When the detection of a proceedable state by the proceedable state detecting unit completes, the commanding unit transmits the command to the game proceeding control unit of each gaming machine. Thus, when the gaming machine control server is connected to gaming machines, an acting body in each of the gaming machines does not take a predetermined action until the operation input by using the operating unit of each of the gaming machines is completed by a player of each of the gaming machines. Therefore, players of the gaming machines perform an operation input in the same timing so that the game can be proceeded more smoothly than that of a conventional gaming machine which assigns a time for an operation input to each player and that the multiple players can enjoy strategic dealings therebetween or thereamong.

Priorities may be assigned to the gaming machines under a predetermined condition, and the commanding unit preferably commands the acting bodies of respective gaming machines to take the action sequentially in priority order. In this case, acting bodies in the gaming machines with higher priorities take actions sequentially, and various forms of game can be provided by changing the priorities of the gaming machines as required.

A gaming system of the invention is a gaming system including an image display unit which displays a game image for use in a game, multiple operating units which are used by multiple players for inputting an operation required for proceeding a game by using the game image, a game proceeding control unit which displays the game image on the image display unit to proceed the game, a proceedable state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state in which the game is proceedable based on a lapse from a time when the operation input by using each of the operating unit or the proceeding operation input for proceeding the game by a player is allowed, and a commanding unit for commanding the game proceeding control unit to proceed the game in accordance with the operation input by the player by using the operating unit after the completion of the detection of the proceedable state by the proceedable state detecting unit.

In the gaming system, when the detection of a proceedable state by the proceedable state detecting unit completes, the commanding unit transmits the command to the game proceeding control unit. Thus, a game is not proceeded until the multiple players playing a game in the gaming system complete operation inputs by using the operating unit. Therefore, multiple players perform operation inputs in the same timing so that the game can be proceeded more smoothly than that of a conventional gaming machine which assigns a time for an operation input to each player and that the multiple players can enjoy strategic dealings therebetween or thereamong.

[Advantage of the Invention]

The invention provides a gaming machine, gaming machine control server and gaming system which can provide a more amusing game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a system configuration diagram of a gaming system including gaming machines according to the invention.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view showing the gaming machines and a card dispenser.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view showing the entire construction of the gaming machine.

FIG. 4 shows a block diagram of the gaming machine mainly showing an internal construction.

FIG. 5 shows a block diagram showing an example of the internal construction of an image control circuit.

FIG. 6 shows a block diagram showing a store server.

FIG. 7 shows a block diagram showing a game server and a database server.

FIG. 8 shows an exploded perspective view showing a construction of a figure.

FIG. 9 shows a flowchart showing operational steps of game processing from the start to the end of a game in the gaming machine.

FIG. 10 shows a flowchart showing operational steps of with-figure game processing.

FIG. 11 shows a flowchart showing operational steps of no-figure game processing.

FIG. 12 shows a flowchart showing operational steps of shift phase processing.

FIG. 13 shows a flowchart showing operational steps of moving phase processing.

FIG. 14 shows a flowchart showing operational steps of game start processing.

FIG. 15 shows a flowchart showing operational steps of character creation processing.

FIG. 16 shows a sequence chart showing operational sequences to be performed among the gaming machine, a store server and a center server.

FIG. 17 shows a flowchart showing operational details in the store server in the moving phase of the gaming machine.

FIG. 18 shows a flowchart showing a flow of the moving phase in each of the gaming machines.

FIG. 19 shows a flowchart showing a game flow in a conventional gaming machine.

FIG. 20 shows a diagram showing a labyrinth image.

FIG. 21 shows a diagram showing another labyrinth image.

FIG. 22 shows a diagram showing a fighting select image.

FIG. 23 shows a diagram showing a fighting image.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The mode which may be the best one for carrying out a gaming machine, gaming machine control server and gaming system according to the invention will be described below in detail with reference to attached drawings. The same reference numerals are given to the same or equivalent components, and the repetitive descriptions, if any, will be omitted herein.

[Entire Construction of Gaming System]

FIG. 1 is a system configuration diagram of a gaming system 100 including gaming machines 1 according to the invention, and FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing the gaming machines 1 and card dispenser 6. The gaming system 100 includes a total of three store servers 2 including one in a place A and two in a place B, the gaming machines 1 (eight in this embodiment) and card dispenser 6 communicably connected via a dedicated line 3, in-store routers 7 placed in the places of amusement A and B, and a center server group 5 connected through the in-store routers 7, communication lines 4a and the Internet 4.

Each of the places of amusement A and B has an in-store LAN (Local Area Network) in which the store server 2, gaming machines 1 and card dispenser 6 are connected via the dedicated line 3, and the in-store LAN is connected to the Internet 4 through the in-store router 7.

[Configuration of Gaming Machine]

The gaming machine 1 is a gaming machine according to an embodiment of the invention and has an image display unit which displays a character image (corresponding to an acting body image according to the invention) showing a character (the detail of which will be described later) which serves as a game image for use in a game and acts in accordance with an operation by a player and is configured to provide a game in which a character is caused to take an action in accordance with an operation by a player. The gaming machine 1 according to this embodiment provides a game (called “labyrinth fighting game”, hereinafter) in which a character may move within a labyrinth along a route selected by a player, fight against the other characters than himself/herself (such as a player character which takes an action in accordance with a selection by another player and a non-player character which is caused to take an action by the gaming machine) over an item (that is, a gem, which will be described later, in this embodiment) that the character has and collect all items to beat a character, that is the final goal. In this Labyrinth Fighting Game, the own point (called “Life”) of each character increases or decreases in accordance with a fighting result and/or the development of the game, and the character having no point is determined as a loser.

The gaming machine 1 has, as shown in FIG. 3, a main display 11 including a liquid crystal display device on the front face of a cabinet 10. The gaming machine 1 further has a sub display 12 and speakers 13L and 13R above and on the left and right sides of, respectively, the main display 11. The sub display 12 also includes a liquid crystal display device. The speakers 13L and 13R output voice or sound for effect use in a game.

The main display 11 is an image display unit according to the invention and displays a game image (such as a labyrinth image 160) in accordance with the stage of a game (which will be described later). The sub display 12 displays an image (such as a fighting image 180, which will be described later) in a specific stage of a game.

The gaming machine 1 further includes a control panel 14 below the main display 11, an authentication unit 15 on the left side of the control panel 14, a coin insertion slot 16 and a card slot 18 on the right side of the control panel 14, and an operation unit 19. A required coin (that is, gaming medium such as metallic currency and a gaming medal) is inserted through the coin insertion slot 16 to play a game. An ID card 17 is inserted through the card slot 18. The operation unit 19 includes an operation button.

The authentication unit 15 includes a base-attached portion 15a and reader portion 15b fixed on the surface of the control panel 14. The base-attached portion 15a internally has a thick, disk-shaped recess corresponding to the form of a base part 41 of a FIG. 40 (see FIG. 8), which will be described later. The base part 41 can fit into the recess. The reader portion 15b is placed in the recess of the base-attached portion 15a and has an IC chip reader, not shown. The IC chip reader is used to read recorded information from an IC chip 44 internally contained in the base part 41 of the attached FIG. 40. The authentication unit 15 has an LED and irradiates light to the figure during an operation for reading the FIG. 40, which will be described later.

Each of the gaming machines 1 included in the gaming system 100 has a machine ID unique to the gaming machine 1. The machine ID has a server ID unique to each of the store servers 2 and an ID unique to each of the gaming machines 1, such as A01, A02, A03 and so on for gaming machine 1 placed in the place A.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram of each of the gaming machines 1 mainly showing the internal construction. The gaming machine 1 includes multiple components with respect to a microcomputer 31.

The microcomputer 31 includes a main CPU (Central Processing Unit) 32, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 33, and a ROM (Read Only Memory) 34. The main CPU 32 operates in accordance with a program stored in the ROM 34. Through an I/O port 39, the main CPU 32 inputs a signal from a component provided on the control panel 14, inputs/outputs a signal from/to another component and performs operational control of the entire gaming machine 1. The RAM 33 stores data and/or a program (such as application data and game data, which will be described later, in this embodiment) to be used when the main CPU 32 operates. The ROM 34 stores a control program to be executed by the main CPU 32 and permanent data.

The gaming machine 1 further includes a random number generator 35, a sampling circuit 36, a clock pulse generating circuit 37 and a frequency divider 38. The random number generator 35 operates in accordance with a command from the main CPU 32 and generates a random number within a predetermined range. In accordance with a command from the main CPU 32, the sampling circuit 36 extracts an arbitrary random number from random numbers generated by the random number generator 35 and inputs the extracted random number to the main CPU 32. The clock pulse generating circuit 37 generates a reference clock for operating the main CPU 32. The frequency divider 38 inputs to the main CPU 32 a signal resulting from the division of the reference clock by a predetermined period.

The gaming machine 1 further includes a touch panel 11a, a coin sensor 16a, a card reader 18a, a communication control portion 21, a communication processing portion (communication unit) 22, an image control circuit 71, and a sound control circuit 72.

The touch panel 11a is an operating unit according to the invention and covers the display screen of the main display 11. The touch panel 11a detects the position touched by the finger of a player and inputs a position signal corresponding to the detected position to the main CPU 32. A player uses the touch panel 11a to perform an operation input for determining an action of a character. For example, the rectangular transparent plate surface of the touch panel 11a is coated with a conductive substance. Voltage is applied thereto from an electrode placed in the square of the transparent plate. A slight change in current due to the touch of the finger of a player is detected by the electrode, and the position of the part touched by the finger of the player is detected.

The coin sensor 16a detects a coin inserted through the coin insertion slot 16 and outputs a detection signal corresponding to the detection to the main CPU 32. The card reader 18a reads card information such as a player ID recorded in the ID card 17 inserted through the card slot 18 and inputs the read card information to the main CPU 32.

The communication control portion 21 operates in accordance with a command from the main CPU 32 and controls the connection and disconnection of a line for communicating with the store server 2. The communication processing portion 22 operates in accordance with a command from the communication control portion 21 and exchanges data via the dedicated line 3.

The image control circuit 71 controls image display on the main display 11 and sub display 12 and displays images such as an image showing a character on the main display 11 and sub display 12.

The image control circuit 71 includes, as shown in FIG. 5, an image control CPU 71a, a work RAM 71b, a program ROM 71c, an image ROM 71d, a video RAM 71e and a VDP (Video Display Processor) 71f. The image control CPU 71a determines images to be displayed on the main display 11 and sub display 12 in accordance with an image control program (relating to the display on the main display 11 and sub display 12) pre-stored in the program ROM 71c based on a parameter defined in the microcomputer 31. The work RAM 71b serves as a temporary storage unit for use when the image control CPU 71a executes an image control program.

The program ROM 71c stores an image control program and a select table. The image ROM 71d stores dot data for forming an image. The video RAM 71e serves as a temporary storage unit for use when the VDP 71f forms an image. The VDP 71f has a control RAM 71g, forms an image in accordance with displayed information on the main display 11 and sub display 12, which is determined by the image control CPU 71a, and outputs the formed images to the main display 11 and sub display 12.

The sound control circuit 72 inputs to the speakers 13L and 13R a voice signal for outputting voice from the speakers 13L and 13R. The speakers 13L and 13R output voice for augmenting a game in a timing after the start of the game, for example.

[Configurations of Store Server, Card Dispenser and In-Store Router]

As shown in FIG. 6, the store server 2 includes a CPU 201, a ROM 202, a RAM 203, a communication processing portion (communication unit) 204, a communication control portion 205 and a data storage portion 206 storing application data. The CPU 201 reads and writes data from and to the RAM 203 and operates in accordance with a program stored in the ROM 202. The communication control portion 205, on the other hand, causes the communication processing portion 204 to operate in accordance with a command from the CPU 201. The store server 2 exchanges data with each of the gaming machines 1 placed in the places of amusement A and B via the dedicated line 3 and may transmit (or download) application data to each of the gaming machine 1 and relay the data exchange among the gaming machines 1 and with the center server group 5. The application data includes various kinds of data (game image data) to be used for executing a labyrinth fighting game in the gaming machine 1 and a board data (that is, a setting program for associating an operation button included in the operation unit 19 with a labyrinth fighting game). Note that the store server 2 and the gaming machine 1 may be connected so as to allow data transmission via a dedicated signal cable without requiring conversion in data format or may be connected over a predetermined network by using the communication processing portion 204.

The card dispenser 6 includes an operating portion to be used by a player for performing an operation for inputting personal information and a card issuing unit. In accordance with a predetermined input operation through the operating portion, the card issuing unit stores card information including a player ID unique to each player and issues the ID card 17.

The in-store router 7 connects an in-store LAN in each of the places of amusement A and B and a LAN in the center server group 5 over the communication lines 4a and the Internet 4.

[Configuration of Center Server Group]

The center server group 5 includes game servers (two game servers 101 and 102 in FIG. 1) each corresponding to one game and a database server 103. The game servers are connected via a dedicated line 104 to form a LAN, and the LAN is connected to the Internet 4 through a router, not shown.

The game server 101 is provided for executing a labyrinth fighting game and includes, as shown in FIG. 7, a CPU 301, a ROM 302, a RAM 303, a communication processing portion (communication unit) 304, a communication control portion 305 and a data storage portion 306. In the game server 101, the CPU 301 reads and writes data from and to the RAM 303 and operates in accordance with a program stored in the ROM 302, and the communication control portion 305, on the other hand, causes the communication processing portion 304 to operate in accordance with a command from the CPU 301.

The game server 101 exchanges data with each of the store servers 2 over the Internet 4. The game server 101 receives entry data, which will be described later, transmitted from each of the gaming machines 1 and receives the participation (entry) by a player in a labyrinth fighting game, updates the player's participation information, determines a player to fight against and transmits the result to the database server 103.

The game server 102 is provided for executing another game and has the same configuration as that of the game server 101 except for the data and program stored therein.

The database server 103 includes a CPU 401, a ROM 402, a RAM 403, a communication processing portion 404, a communication control portion 405 and a data storage portion 406. In the database server 103, the CPU 401 reads and writes data from and to the RAM 403 and operates in accordance with a program stored in the ROM 402, and the communication control portion 405, on the other hand, causes the communication processing portion 404 in accordance with a command from the CPU 401 to exchange data with each of the store servers 2 over the Internet 4. The data storage portion 406 stores a player ID, a password to be used for authentication of a player, a type of game and game data. The player ID is read from the ID card 17 and is transmitted from the gaming machine 1.

As described later, the gaming machine 1 reads a FIG. 1D from a FIG. 40, which is set by a player in the authentication unit 15 and to be used by the player, and transmits the read FIG. 1D corresponding to the FIG. 40 to the database server 103. The database server 103 has, in the data storage portion 406, an ID management file, which can be stored with multiple corresponding figure IDs associated with one player ID transmitted from the gaming machine 1. The ID management file may be used for managing a player and a figure to be used by the player. The ID management file may be used for authentication of a player and authentication of a figure, which will be described later.

The game data includes, for multiple characters appearing in a labyrinth fighting game, data unique to a character and characterizing each character (such as each character's costume, costume color, character ability values including a defensive parameter, offensive parameter and attackable range, and information on a special ability, which are called “figure information”, hereinafter), and data on a history relating to a labyrinth fighting game of each player. The game data is transmitted from the database server 103 to the gaming machine 1 and is used in a labyrinth fighting game.

[Construction of Figure]

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view showing a construction of the FIG. 40. The FIG. 40 includes the base part 41 and the figure body portion 42 exhibiting a three-dimensional form of each character appearing in a labyrinth fighting game.

The base part 41 has a dimension to fit into the recess of the base-attached portion 15b and a recess and thick disk shape. The base part 41 includes a bottomed cylindrical base body portion 43 having a top portion 43a and an IC chip 44. The IC chip 44 is fitted and fixed to the open end of the base body portion 43. The top portion 43a of the base body portion 43 has a projection 43b substantially at the center. The IC chip 44 stores a FIG. 1D unique to a corresponding character in the figure body portion 42.

The figure body portion 42 includes a foot base portion 46 having a concave 46a to which the projection 43b fits and a doll portion 47 which stands with two legs on the foot base portion 46 and is modeled after each character appearing in a labyrinth fighting game. The projection 43b is fitted into the concave 46a and is fixed to the top portion 43a of the base portion 41. Note that the FIG. 40 may be held in a capsule, not shown, with a diameter of about 7 cm through a dispenser similar to the card dispenser 6. Since a very few capsules contain a monster figure, the monster figure may be used instead of the FIG. 40 (in a with-figure mode, which will be described later). Furthermore, the players' incentive to collect figures may be enhanced by uniqueness of characters expressed by slight color changes, changes in figure information, which will be described later, and so on even for one character.

The FIG. 40 can be identified by a player based on the form of the figure body portion 42 and can be identified by the gaming machine 1 based on the FIG. 1D. The FIG. 1D is unique to each different FIG. 40 to inhibit multiple registrations of a same figure with the gaming system 100.

[Operational Details of Gaming Machine]

Next, operational details of the gaming machine 1 having this construction will be described with reference to flowcharts shown in FIGS. 9 to 15. A case that four gaming machines 1 of eight gaming machines 1 placed in the place of amusement A are operated by respective players to play one labyrinth fighting game will be described, for example, below.

FIG. 9 is a flowchart showing operational steps of game processing from the start to the end of a game in each of the gaming machines 1. In FIGS. 9 to FIGS. 10 to 16, which will be described later, the term, “step”, is abbreviated to S. One gaming machine 1 of those operated by four players will be described, for example, below.

The gaming machine 1 transmits a download request for application data to the store server 2 upon powered on (step 100, which will be described later). On the other hand, when th store server 2 receives the download request, the store server 2 transmits the application data to the gaming machine 1 having transmitted the download request (see FIG. 16).

Upon receipt of the application data, the gaming machine 1 stores the application data in the RAM 33. In the gaming machine 1, after the main CPU 32 loads the application data, the main CPU 32 operates as a game proceeding control unit according to the invention and proceeds a labyrinth fighting game in accordance with an operation input by a player. The gaming machines 1 display a game image on the main displays 11 in synchronization with each other through the store server 2 and the center server group 5.

Here, upon start of game processing, each of the gaming machines 1 moves to step 1 where game start processing, which will be described later, is performed including coin insertion, insertion of an ID card, and character creation processing. In step 2, whether predetermined data is set in a with-figure flag, which will be described later, (set) or not is determined from the result of the game start processing. Based on the determination result, the processing is moved to step 3 or 4 (that is, to step 3 if the with-figure flag is set while to step 4 otherwise) where either processing is performed. Then, the with-figure flag is cleared in step 5 subsequent to step 3, and the processing moves to step 6 where the game result (fighting result) such as a fighting score is displayed. On the other hand, in order to update the game data in the database server 103, post processing is performed for transmitting the data on the fighting result to the database server 103 through the store server 2. Then, the processing ends.

In this way, in the gaming machine 1, a labyrinth fighting game can be played in one mode of the with-figure mode and the no-figure mode. However, the with-figure mode is more advantageous than no-figure mode to a player with respect to the game details (the details of which will be described later).

[With-Figure Game Processing]

The gaming machine 1 performs with-figure game processing and no-figure game processing based on the flowcharts shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, respectively. FIGS. 10 and 11 are flowcharts illustrating operational steps of game processing in the with-figure mode (with-figure game processing) and game processing in the no-figure mode (no-figure game processing).

Upon start of the with-figure game processing, the gaming machine 1 moves to step 10 shown in FIG. 10 and waits for the receipt of game data from the store server 2. When the gaming machine 1 receives the game data, the gaming machine 1 stores the data temporarily in the RAM 33 and moves to step 11 where the main CPU 32 extracts figure information corresponding to the FIG. 1D of the FIG. 40 to be used by the player. In this way, the extracted figure information is used to perform the game processing in the with-figure mode. Next, the processing moves to step 12 where processing for selecting a costume, a dungeon and so on is performed.

Here, the main CPU 32 has, on the main display 11, a broader selection range for items below than that of the no-figure game processing. In this case, the main display 11 displays a selection screen, not shown, such that a player can select following items. That is, a player can select an attribute (costume that a character will wear in this embodiment) of the character corresponding to the newly set and authenticated (or already authenticated) FIG. 40 and a dungeon to be used in a labyrinth fighting game.

When the player touches the main display 11 by the figure and selects a desired costume and dungeon, the information on the selection is input from the touch panel 11a to the main CPU 32. Since step 12 is processing in the with-figure mode, one of multiple kinds (such as three kinds) of costume and one of two dungeons in normal and special forms can be selected. On the other hand, in the no-figure game processing, the processing corresponding to step 12 is not performed, but a default costume defined for each character can only be set for the former, and the normal form can only be set for the latter.

Then, right-holder determination processing is performed in step 13. Here, one of the players (four players in this embodiment) participating in the labyrinth fighting game is determined as a player (shift right holder) who can shift a wall, which will be described later. The players are determined as the shift right holder in order.

In the subsequent step 14, shift phase processing is performed. The shift phase processing is performed by following the flowchart shown in FIG. 12. Upon start of the shift phase processing, the main CPU 32 moves to step 31 where the main CPU 32 commands the image control circuit 71 to display a labyrinth image 150 as shown in FIG. 20 on the main display 11. The labyrinth image 150 includes a player display portion 150a (including Players 1, 2, 3 and 4) for displaying the presence of the shift right and/or priorities for attacks of the four players and a labyrinth display portion 150b for displaying an image of the labyrinth including multiple walls. Furthermore, images of multiple characters 51 (that is, acting body images according to the invention) are displayed within the labyrinth. The labyrinth image 150 further includes a timer display portion 150c including an indication of a remaining time including a set time and a first lapse as an input-prompting image in order to prompt a player to input an operation, a Life indicator portion 150d, and a description display portion 150e for providing a description of a method of moving walls. The timer displaying portion 150c is displayed on the main display 11 by the main CPU 32 and decreases the displayed value as the first lapse increases.

Next, in step 32, the main CPU 32 starts measuring the first lapse. The first lapse indicates a lapse from a time when an operation input is allowed which indicates that a player determines a wall (shift wall) to be positionally shifted on the screen (proceeding operation input or determination operation input) to the time when the player touches a desired arrow a and performs the proceeding operation input or determination operation input. In the next step 33, the main CPU 32 determines whether any shift wall is determined or not. The processing moves to step 34 if so while the processing moves to step 37 if not. In step 34, the main CPU 32 determines whether the first lapse is equal to or shorter than a first set time (10 seconds in this embodiment). The processing moves to step 35 if so while the processing skips step 35 and moves to step 36 if not. In step 35, the main CPU 32 adds “1” to the defensive parameter. The defensive parameter is one of operational parameters, which is an advantage for proceeding a labyrinth fighting game by a player since the defending power against attacks from the other characters can be increased as the value increases. In the next step 36, the main CPU 32 defines the determined wall as a shift wall and determines the action (that is, shifting the wall) of the character.

On the other hand, in step 37 subsequent to step 33, whether the first lapse is equal to or shorter than a time limit (15 seconds in this embodiment) for the shift determination is determined. The processing returns to step 33 if so while the processing moves to step 38 if not where one wall is defined as a shift wall at random by, for example, using a random number extracted from the sampling circuit 36. Then, the labyrinth image after the shift is displayed in step 39, and the shift phase processing ends. Though a shift wall can be determined within the time limit (15 seconds) of shift determination, “1” is added to the defensive parameter if the player performs the determination earlier than the time limit (within 10 seconds), which is advantageous to the player.

Next, moving phase processing in step 15 is performed. The moving phase processing is performed by following the flowchart shown in FIG. 13. Note that the moving phase processing is performed simultaneously in all of the gaming machines 1 participating in a same labyrinth fighting game.

Upon start of the moving phase processing, the main CPU 32 moves to step 41 where the main CPU 32 commands the image control circuit 71 to display a labyrinth image 160 of the moving phase as shown in FIG. 21 on the main display 11. The labyrinth image 160 includes display portions (that is, a player display portion 160a, a labyrinth display portion 160b, a timer display portion 160c and a Life indicator portion 160d) similar to those in the labyrinth image 150 and a destination select display portion 160e having a message for requesting to select a destination where a character 161 is placed within the labyrinth and a display of a DETERMINE button for the destination.

Next, in step 42, the main CPU 32 starts measuring a second lapse. The second lapse indicates a lapse from a time (input starting time) when an operation input is allowed for selecting a destination of a player's character by the player (Select Destination) to the time when the player selects a destination and then touches the destination select display portion 160e and performs an operation input for proceeding the game (the proceeding operation input or determination operation input). In the next step 43, the main CPU 32 determines whether any destination is selected or not. The processing moves to step 44 if so while the processing moves to step 47 if not. In step 44, an image (not shown) having a floor surface to the destination in a changed display color to clearly indicate the destination. In step 45, whether the player touches the DETERMINE button in the destination select display portion 160e (determines a destination) or not is determined. The processing moves to step 46 if so while the processing moves to step 48 if not. In step 46, the main CPU 32 determines whether the second lapse is equal to or shorter than a second set time (15 seconds in this embodiment) or not. The processing moves to step 47 if so while the processing skips step 47 and moves to step 49 if not. In step 47, the main CPU 32 adds “1” to the offensive parameter. The offensive parameter is also one of operational parameters of the invention, like the defensive parameter, which is an advantage for proceeding a labyrinth fighting game by a player since the offending power can be increased as the value increases.

On the other hand, in step 48, whether the second laps is equal to or shorter than a time limit (30 seconds in this embodiment) of the destination determination or not is determined. The processing returns to step 43 if so. Otherwise, the moving phase processing ends in response to a command from the store server 2 (that is, gaming machine control server), which will be described later (where the character stands by at the original position without moving). In step 49, the main CPU 32 operates as an action determining unit of the invention and determines an action (movement within the labyrinth) of the character in accordance with the determination in the steps up to this point and displays an image having the character moved in response to a command from the store server 2, which will be described later. Then, the moving phase processing ends. Though a destination can be determined within the time limit (30 seconds) of destination determination, “1” is added to the offensive parameter if the player performs the determination earlier than the time limit (within 15 seconds), which is advantageous to the player. Note that, in the moving phase processing in the with-figure mode, a special card (such as a Teleport card which allows random movement and a Through-Wall card which allows movement through a wall) is available as a reward which is not available in the no-figure mode.

Now, referring back to FIG. 10, in step 16 subsequent to the moving phase processing, the main CPU 32 determines whether any fight occurs or not. Here, the processing moves to step 17 if any fight occurs (that is, when multiple characters exist in an attackable range in the labyrinth) while the processing moves to step 20 if not.

In step 17, fight select phase processing is performed. Here, the main CPU 32 commands the image control circuit 71 to display a fight select image 170 (having a right table display portion 170a and having characters within the labyrinth) as shown in FIG. 22 on the main display 11. With reference to the fight select image 170, each of the players (four in this embodiment) selects the opponent to attack and selects the use or non-use of a technique card indicating a technique of a character and the technique card to use. The order of the attacks by characters is with reference to the shift right holder.

In the fight select phase processing, a technique card can be selected (where the technique card is given to a character as a reward in accordance with a fighting score at the end of a game). More kinds of technique card are available and can be selected in the with-figure mode than those in the no-figure mode. Furthermore, the probability that a rare card for bringing advantageous bonus information (such as exhibiting a special technique) is defined higher than that of the no-figure mode. In other words, when a player plays a game by using the FIG. 40 in the with-figure mode, many technique cards including the rare card are available so that the player can have an increased probability of use of them.

In this case, the main CPU 32 searches through a first mode technique select table (such as a table having associations between random numbers and technique cards to be selected). The first mode and second mode technique select tables are different in that the former has a wider range of random numbers corresponding to the rare cards than that of the latter.

In the next step 18, fighting processing is performed. In other words, the offending and defending power of each character are specified based on the figure information, and the attackable range is also defined. Thus, the offensive parameter and defensive parameter of the character to fight against are compared in consideration of the use or nonuse of a technique card to decide the outcome of the game of each character. In this case, the sub display 12 displays a fighting image 180 showing a state that characters 181a and 181b are fighting as shown in FIG. 23.

In step 19, finishing-fight and score calculating processing is then performed. Here, in accordance with the result of the fighting processing in step 18 (the type and outcome of the opponent character), the addition or subtraction is performed on the Life, and a title and/or gem are given or deprived to or from the character (where various titles such as “champion”, “master” and “expert” can be given based on the action of a character in the with-figure mode). In the next step 20, the satisfaction of finishing requirement is determined. If the finishing requirement is satisfied (that is, if the score is equal to or lower than zero (0)), the with-figure game processing ends. Otherwise (that is, the score>0), the processing returns to step 13, and the processing above is repeated. The labyrinth fighting game ends for the player having a score of 0 or lower, and the main CPU 32 participates the game as a different character instead. The Life of the player who has no points, not shown, can be recovered by a certain amount if a recovery card is used or a coin is inserted.

As described above, in the shift phase processing and moving phase processing in the gaming machine 1, the determination of a shift wall and determination of a destination within a set time can increase the defending power and offending power since the values of the defending and offensive parameters are increased by the addition processing on the operational parameters. The outcome of the fight between fighting characters can be decided based on the parameters so that the proceeding of the labyrinth fighting game can be controlled. Thus, the addition processing on the operational parameters can be incentive to prompt each player to fast determination of a shift wall and determination of a destination. Therefore, an earlier operation input can be prompted, which can accelerate the proceeding of the entire game by preventing each player from taking a time for operation inputs more than necessary.

Furthermore, in the shift phase processing and moving phase processing, the timer display portions 150c and 160c are displayed such that the numbers decrease as the time from the start of measuring a lapse increases, which can prompt a player to perform an operation input as early as possible.

In particular, when one player delays his/her operation in a game in which multiple players are participating as in the gaming machine 1, the other players must wait for the delay and may feel stressful and/or be irritated. However, the gaming machine 1 can eliminate the problem and can provide players with the original amusement of a game that should be given by a labyrinth fighting game.

[No-Figure Game Processing]

The no-figure game processing shown in FIG. 11 is performed by following the flowchart substantially similar to that of the with-figure game processing in FIG. 10. The no-figure game processing is different from the with-figure game processing in that step 12 is skipped.

In the no-figure mode, a game is proceeded without any figure, but, when game data is received and stored in the RAM 33 and the response signal includes a FIG. 1D (of any authenticated figure), the figure information corresponding to the FIG. 1D is extracted.

Since step 12 is not performed and no choices are available in costume and dungeon unlike the with-figure more, the game details are more limited than those of a labyrinth fighting game in the with-figure mode. Furthermore, the selectable ranges of the cards selectable in step 15 and the technical cards selectable in step 17 are also limited.

In step 19, a title in accordance with a fighting result is given to a character. However, in the no-figure mode, a title, “Ronin”, is only given even with a good fighting result.

In this way, in the gaming machine 1, a game can be proceeded not only with the FIG. 40 but also without the FIG. 40. Since a benefit can be given with the FIG. 40, which is not given without the FIG. 40, the incentive to collect figures may be enhanced, and the amusement making the best use of the original features of the labyrinth fighting game can be provided. In particular, when a labyrinth fighting game is played with the FIG. 40, the score of the character corresponding to the figure may be increased in accordance with the development of the game and/or a title may be advantageously given thereto. Therefore, the willingness for repeatedly using the figure is inspired, and satisfaction can be given to the player.

[Game Start Processing]

The game start processing in step 1 is performed by following the flowchart shown in FIG. 14. FIG. 14 is a flowchart showing operational steps of the game start processing, and FIG. 15 is a flowchart showing operational steps of character creation processing.

Upon start of the game start processing, the main CPU 32 moves to step 61 where the main CPU 32 performs message output processing and commands the image control circuit 71 to display a predetermined message (including a request to insert a coin, a request to insert an ID card and a request to enter a password) on the main display 11. Then, the processing in steps 62 and 63 is performed.

In order to start a game, a player inserts a coin through the coin insertion slot 6, inserts the ID card 17 into the card slot 18 and enters his/her password by using the operation unit 19. Thus, a detection signal for the inserted coin is input from the coin sensor 16a to the main CPU 32, and card information stored in the ID card 17 is input from the card reader 18a. Furthermore, the password is input from the operation unit 19. The processing moves to step 63 with all of these inputs, and the main CPU 32 therein commands the communication control portion 21 to operate the communication processing portion 22 and transmits the read card information and entered password to the store server 2.

In the next step 64, the processing waits until the receipt of a response signal, which will be described later, from the center server 5. When the response signal is received, the processing moves to step 65. In step 65, the presence of a figure and the authentication (registration) are determined from the response signal, and a command is given to display a select screen for selecting one of selectable characters on the main display 11. In the next step 66, the processing waits until the touch panel 11a is touched. In response to a touch thereon, the processing moves to step 67 where whether “With-Figure” is selected in step 65 or not is determined. Here, the processing moves to step 68 if so while the processing moves to step 69 if not. The character creation processing, which will be described later, is performed in step 68 while character creation command (non-figure character creation command) data based on the selection of “No-Figure” is set in entry data, which will be described later, in step 69, and both steps 68 and 69 are followed by step 70. More specifically, the processing moves to step 68 where character creation processing is performed if “With-Figure” is selected by a player in step 67 in both cases that a figure never used before is to be used and that an authenticated figure exists but a different figure from the authenticated figure is to be used. Alternatively, when no figure is to be used from the beginning or an authenticated figure is not used and when “No-Figure” is selected by a player, the processing moves to step 69.

In step 68, the main CPU 32 performs the character creation processing by following the flowchart shown in FIG. 15. Upon start of the processing, the processing for outputting a message for requesting to set a figure is performed in step 81. Here, the main CPU 32 commands the image control circuit 71 to display on the main display 11 a message for attaching the FIG. 40 to the authentication unit 15 and setting to read the FIG. 1D (for example, “Set the base of the figure at the authentication unit on the control panel. The authentication unit lights up brightly when the authentication of the figure starts, so do not remove the figure until the light is off”). In the next step 82, the processing waits for the completion of reading of the FIG. 1D. When a player sets the FIG. 40 at the authentication unit 15 in accordance with the displayed message, the authentication unit 50 reads the FIG. 1D stored in the IC chip 44 of the FIG. 40 and inputs the read FIG. 1D to the main CPU 32. Then, in step 83, the main CPU 32 sets the character creation command data including the read FIG. 1D in entry data. In the next step 84, predetermined data (“1” in this embodiment) is set in a with-figure flag indicating that the FIG. 1D of the FIG. 40 is read by the authentication unit 15 (that is, the figure is set). After execution of step 84, the character creation processing ends.

In step 70, the main CPU 32 commands the communication control portion to operate the communication processing portion 22 and transmits te entry data to the store server 2. After completion of step 70, the game start processing ends.

The gaming machine 1, in this way, sets predetermined data in the with-figure flag when a figure is set therein. Once a figure is set, entry data including character creation command data is transmitted to the database server 103 through the store server 2, stores, in an ID management file in the database server 103, the FIG. 1D associated with a player ID unique to a player having set the figure, which is used for determining whether the figure has been already authenticated or not. The result from the determination of whether the figure has been authenticated or not based on the ID management file is transmitted as a response signal from the database server 103. Thus, the player can select a character corresponding to the authenticated figure to play a labyrinth fighting game. However, since the setting of the with-figure flag is not performed without the setting of a figure, the FIG. 40, even authenticated, must be set in the authentication unit 15 to read the FIG. 1D in order to play a labyrinth fighting game in the with-figure mode. After the figure is set therein, the figure information corresponding to the read FIG. 1D is created in the database server 103 so that another labyrinth fighting game can be played without requiring repetitive setting of the FIG. 40.

In step 68, the CPU 32 commands the communication control portion 21 to operate the communication processing portion 22 and transmits the entry data to the store server 2. After the completion of step 68, the game start processing ends.

On the other hand, processing is implemented in an order shown in FIG. 16 in the gaming machine 1, store server 2 and center server group 5 in accordance with the processing above. FIG. 16 is a sequence chart showing operational sequences to be performed among the gaming machine 1, store server 2 and center server group 5.

In step 100, the gaming machine 1 transmits a download request to the store server 2 and downloads application data and, in step 63 as described above, transmits card information and so on. Then, in step 301, the center server group 5 performs authentication processing for determining whether the player and figure have been already registered or not by using the card information and password in the database server 103, which is transmitted from the gaming machine 1 to the CPU 401, and with reference to the ID management file, for example. If the player and figure have been registered, they are determined as authenticated, and the processing moves to step 302 where the response signal indicating the authentication result is transmitted to the gaming machine 1. In this case, the database server 103 performs the same authentication processing on the eight gaming machines 1 in each of the places of amusement A and B.

Each of the gaming machines 1 transmits entry data as shown in step 68 above. Then, in step 303, the game server 101 in the center server group 5 uses the entry data from each of the gaming machines 1 to receive the entry of players. Furthermore, in the next step 304, the update of player's participation information, the registration or update of a figure to the ID management file by using FIG. 1D corresponding to the character creation command data (where the FIG. 1D may be a FIG. 1D of a figure which has not been authenticated and to be newly registered or a figure which has been authenticated and to be re-authenticated), and the creation or update of the figure information are performed therein. In the next step 305, a player to fight against (four players in this embodiment) is determined. In step 306, the database server 103 extracts game data of each player to fight against. In step 307, the extracted game data is transmitted to the store server 2. Upon receipt of the game data, the store server 2 transmits it to each of the gaming machines 1.

[Operational Details of Store Server]

Next, operational details of the store server 2 in the moving phase will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 17. The store server 2 controls four gaming machines 1, for example, in the following description.

In the moving phase of the gaming machines 1, once the main CPU 32 of each of the gaming machines 1 starts measuring the second lapse, the CPU 201 of the store server 2 serving as a proceedable state detecting unit waits until a labyrinth fighting game in all gaming machines 1 get ready to proceed (proceedable state) in step 80 in response to the determination of destinations by players or when the second lapse passes the time limit, for example. More specifically, the CPU 201 receives reception data including information on operation inputs in the gaming machines 1 and information on the excessive lapse from the gaming machines 1 through the communication processing portion 204 and waits for the proceedable state based on the reception data.

When the CPU 201 actually detects the proceedable state in all of the gaming machines 1, the CPU 201 functioning as a commanding unit transmits a command to the main CPUs 32 of the four gaming machines 1 in step 81 subsequent to step 80. The command causes each of the main CPUs 32 of the gaming machines 1 to function as a game proceeding control unit and proceed the labyrinth fighting game. In other words, when each of the main CPUs 32 of the gaming machines 1 receives the command, an image having a character moved in step 49 shown in FIG. 13 may be displayed or an image having the character at the original position is displayed if the second lapse excesses the time limit for the destination determination. Then, the moving phase processing ends. In other words, characters corresponding to all of the gaming machines 1 perform predetermined character operations (moving or waiting) on each of the displays 11 of the gaming machines 1.

Now, a flow of the moving phase in four gaming machines (with machine IDs A01, A02, A03 and A04) will be more specifically described with reference to the time chart in FIG. 18.

Since, as described above, the moving phase is processing to be performed simultaneously in the four gaming machines 1 playing one labyrinth fighting game, the labyrinth image 160 including, for example, a destination select requesting message is displayed on each of the displays 11 of the gaming machines 1 (see step 41 in FIG. 13) at a time T1.

Then, in the timing (time T1) when the labyrinth image 160 is displayed in each of the gaming machines 1, the measurement of the second lapse is started (see step 42 in FIG. 13). Then, a player of each of the gaming machines 1 determines the destination of his/her character (at time T2 (A01), T2 (A02), T2 (A03) and T2 (A04)). When all of the gaming machines 1 have the game proceedable state (at time T2 (A03) in FIG. 18), the CPU 201 of the store server 2 completes the state detection of all of the gaming machines 1 immediately and transmits a command to proceed the game (that is, to operate characters) to the gaming machines 1. Thus, character operations are started in the gaming machines 1 substantially in the same timing as the time T2 (A03) when the destinations of all characters are determined, and the moving phase ends at the time (T3) when the character operations are completed. Then, the processing in step 16 and subsequent steps in FIG. 11 is started. Here, T10 refers to the time from the transition of the gaming form to the moving phase to the actual completion of operations of four characters corresponding to the four gaming machines 1. Note that, when a time-out for the destination determination occurs (that is, when the second lapse excesses the time limit) in any one of the four gaming machines 1, the character operations in the gaming machines 1 are started at a time (T4) when the time limit has passed.

The four characters corresponding to the gaming machines 1 may be moved in order from the character corresponding to the gaming machine 1 with A01, the character corresponding to the gaming machine 1 with A02, the character corresponding to the gaming machine 1 with A03 and the character corresponding to the gaming machine 1 with A04 (like the order to become the shift right holder) or the four characters may be moved at the same time. The order of the character movement may depend on the priority under a predetermined requirement (such as the height of each score and the height of each parameter) or the priority defined at random. In order to move characters sequentially, the CPU 201 of the store server 2 transmits to the gaming machine 1 a command to move the characters corresponding to the gaming machines 1 with higher priorities in order. Moving characters in the priority order can produce various effects and can provide diversity to the gaming rules.

Now, a form that the moving phase is implemented in gaming machines 1 adopting the conventional turn system on the other hand will be described with reference to FIG. 19. Here, four gaming machines (with machine IDs: Z01, Z02, Z03 and Z04) will be described, for example, where input operations are performed in order from those with the machine IDs Z01, Z02, Z03 and Z04.

In a game adopting the conventional turn system, the gaming machine with Z01 of the four gaming machines first shifts to the moving phase, and the labyrinth image 160 including a destination select request message is displayed at a time T11 (Z01), and measuring the second lapse is started. Thus, the destination of the character of the player of the gaming machine with Z01 is determined (time: T12 (Z01)), and the character operation starts in the timing. Then, when the character operation completes (T13 (Z01)), the moving phase of the gaming machine with Z01 ends, and the processing in step 16 and subsequent steps in FIG. 11 is performed. Then, when the processing in step 16 and subsequent steps completes in the gaming machine with Z01 (time: T14 (Z01)), it is a turn of the character movement in the gaming machine with Z02, and the moving phase processing in the gaming machine with Z02 is performed in the same manner as that of Z01. In this way, the moving phase processing in the gaming machines are performed sequentially, and one turn (times: T11 (Z01) to T14 (Z04)) ends in the conventional turn system when the character movement completes in the last gaming machine with Z04 and the processing in step 16 and subsequent steps in FIG. 11 ends (T14 (Z04)).

In other words, all conventional gaming machines participating in a game requires a total time of times T11 (Z01) to T13 (Z01), T11 (Z02) to T13 (Z02), T11 (Z03) to T13 (Z03) and T11 (Z04) to T13 (Z04) for moving phase processing.

As described in detail above, the store server 2 detects that the four gaming machines 1 are ready for performing character operations and, upon detection, transmits a predetermined command to the gaming machines 1. Thus, the gaming machines 1 can perform operations for determining destinations of characters at the same time. On the other hand, in conventional gaming machines described with reference to FIG. 19, players perform operations for determining character movement sequentially, the time for the determination operation is required by each player, which requires a large amount of time for the moving phase processing in a game. In other words, the gaming machines 1 connecting to the store server 2 can proceed a labyrinth fighting game more smoothly than conventional gaming machines.

In a conventional gaming machine, as described with reference to FIG. 19, since each player determines an operation of his/her character after checking character operations of the other players, the player may hardly make a strategic determination. On the other hand, in the gaming machines 1, as described with reference to FIG. 18, since each player make a determination before checking determination details by the other players, the labyrinth fighting game may be a highly strategic game.

In other words, since the smooth proceeding of a labyrinth fighting game can be achieved by the store server 2 which controls timings of character movements in the gaming machines 1, players can feel the original amusement of the game, with which each player should be provided through the labyrinth fighting game, without any stress and irritation. Furthermore, the store server 2 can add a strategic element to games, and more amusing labyrinth fighting games can be provided.

Furthermore, players can be prompted to input an operation as early as possible since both of the timer display portions 150c and 160c displayed in the shift phase processing decrement as the time passes by from the start of the measurement of lapses.

Having described the embodiment that the CPU 201 of the store server 2 operates as the proceedable state detecting unit and the commanding unit above, the CPU 301 of the game server 101 of the game server group 5 may operate as the two units (the proceedable state detecting unit and the commanding unit) (see FIG. 7). In other words, instead of the store server 2, the game server 101 may be used as a server for controlling the timings of the character movement in the gaming machine 1.

Alternatively, instead of the servers, the gaming machine itself may detect that it is ready for implementing a character operation. In other words, the gaming machine 1 may detect the state of its own machine and detect the state of the other machine connecting to the machine. In this case, the main CPU 32 of the gaming machine 1 may operate as an own-machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of its own machine and an other machine state detecting unit which detects a proceedable state of the other machine, instead of the CPU 201 of the store server 2 operating as the proceedable state detecting unit. Then, when the destination of a character is determined in each of the gaming machines 1, and the detection of the state of the gaming machines by the main CPU 32 completes, the character movements are implemented in each of the gaming machines 1. In this embodiment, the gaming machines 1 may be connected by a connection method which implements data transmission via a dedicated signal cable without conversion in data format or a connection method over a predetermined network by using the communication processing portion 22.

Though the embodiment above includes a gaming system including the gaming machine 1 having the image display unit, the operating unit and the game proceeding control unit and the store server 2 having the proceedable state detecting unit and the commanding unit, the units may be exchanged between the gaming machine 1 and the store server 2. Furthermore, the gaming system may include a device (such as a game proceeding control device) having the same functions as those units in addition to the gaming machine 1 and the store server 2.

Having described the FIG. 40 as a subject to be read in the gaming machine 1, for example, the present invention is applicable to a different subject to be read from the FIG. 40. For example, a game card or card-shaped cassette may be used which has a picture and/or pattern corresponding to a character thereon and storing ID information. Though the gaming machine 1 that provides a labyrinth fighting game has been described, for example, the invention is applicable to a gaming machine that provides another game. For example, a gaming machine is applicable which may provide a baseball or soccer game, for example, in which multiple players appear, by which a team play can be simulated by using figures corresponding to the players and/or a cassette.

The main display 11 and the sub display 12 may be separately provided though the gaming machine 1 includes the main display 11 and the sub display 12 for displaying game images.