Title:
Game system and information management apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
To evoke the desire to play in a new player and also to increase the interest of a current player in a game. A game system includes a plurality of gaming machines and an information management apparatus connected thereto, the information management apparatus including: a selection execution module which carries out a selection relating to a payout of a cumulative playing value obtained by adding a prescribed proportion of playing values which correspond to playing operations on the gaming machines; a selection probability table storage module which stores a plurality of selection probabilities relating to the payout of the cumulative playing value; a central controller which designates a selection probability stored in the selection probability table storage module; and a notifying section which carries out a notification corresponding to the selection probability designated by the central controller, wherein the central controller, when prescribed conditions have been fulfilled, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than a current win probability.



Inventors:
Kobayashi, Masatsugu (Koto-ku, JP)
Application Number:
11/429280
Publication Date:
12/21/2006
Filing Date:
05/08/2006
Assignee:
Aruze Corp. (Koto-ku, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HENRY, THOMAS HAYNES
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
C. IRVIN MCCLELLAND;OBLON, SPIVAK, MCCLELLAND, MAIER & NEUSTADT, P.C. (1940 DUKE STREET, ALEXANDRIA, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game system comprising a plurality of gaming machines and an information management apparatus which collects and manages information concerning the plurality of gaming machines, the information management apparatus including: a selection section which carries out a selection relating to a payout of a cumulative playing value obtained by adding a prescribed proportion of playing values which correspond to playing operations on the gaming machines; a storage module which stores a plurality of selection probabilities relating to the payout of the cumulative playing value; a control section which designates a selection probability stored in the storage module; and a notifying section which carries out a notification corresponding to the selection probability designated by the control section, wherein the control section, when prescribed conditions have been fulfilled, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than a current win probability.

2. A game system according to claim 1, wherein the storage module stores a selection probability used at a normal time to pay out the cumulative playing value, a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the selection probability used at the normal time, and contents for which a notification is raised by the notifying section in accordance with each of the selection probabilities.

3. A game system according to claim 2, wherein the storage module stores a plurality of selection probabilities having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the selection probability used at the normal time.

4. A game system according to claim 1, wherein the control section, when the value of the cumulative playing value has exceeded a predetermined fixed value, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the current win probability.

5. A game system according to claim 1, wherein the control section, when a number of players on the plurality of gaming machine falls below a predetermined fixed number, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the current win probability.

6. An information management apparatus which collects and manages information concerning a plurality of gaming machines connected together via a communication network, comprising: a selection section which carries out a selection relating to a payout of a cumulative playing value obtained by adding a prescribed proportion of playing values which correspond to playing operations on the gaming machines; a storage module which stores a plurality of selection probabilities relating to the payout of the cumulative playing value; a control section which designates a selection probability stored in the storage module; and a notifying section which carries out a notification corresponding to the selection probability designated by the control section, wherein the control section, when prescribed conditions have been fulfilled, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than a current win probability.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the priority of Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-145111 filed on May 18, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a game system and information management apparatus, and more particularly to a game system and information management apparatus which actualizes a so-called jackpot function.

2. Related Art

Presently, among the gaming machines installed in a so-called game center, casino and the like, there are some which adopt a system which is called a jackpot system. The jackpot system is a system whereby values such as medals or coins (hereafter referred to as “playing values”) used in the gaming machines are accumulated in a fixed proportion and, when prescribed conditions such as the occurrence of a win by selection have been established, some of the playing values accumulated are paid to any one of the gaming machines or a player playing on the gaming machine. As the player can obtain not only a playing value which can be obtained in a game on the gaming machine but also a playing value which can be obtained on the jackpot system, the jackpot system has the feature of further increasing player's willingness to play.

In such a jackpot system, the system has been proposed whereby, when the amount of playing values accumulated reaches a predetermined amount, by granting some kind of privilege to a player lastly involved in thus reaching the predetermined amount, a new playability is provided and player's expectations are increased (for example, refer to Japanese Unexamined Patent Publication No. 2004-267428). In such a system, the predetermined amount is predicted by the player, whereby it is expected to attract the interest of a player other than a player actually playing and evoke the desire to play.

However, in the aforementioned existing game system, the predetermined amount cannot be known unless the player actually plays, and even in the case of being finally involved in reaching the predetermined amount, the player cannot always obtain the playing values accumulated. Therefore, there is the problem that the existing game has not necessarily led to evoking the desire to play in a player other than a player actually playing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention has been made in view of such a problem, and an object of the invention is to provide a game system and information management apparatus which can, as well as evoking the desire to play in a new player, increase the interest of a current player in a game.

The invention is a game system comprising a plurality of gaming machines and an information management apparatus which collects and manages information concerning the plurality of gaming machines, the information management apparatus including: a selection section which carries out a selection relating to a payout of a cumulative playing value obtained by adding a prescribed proportion of playing values which correspond to playing operations on the gaming machines; a storage module which stores a plurality of selection probabilities relating to the payout of the cumulative playing value; a control section which designates a selection probability stored in the storage module; and a notifying section which carries out a notification corresponding to the selection probability designated by the control section, wherein the control section, when prescribed conditions have been fulfilled, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than a current win probability.

According to this configuration, when the prescribed conditions, such as the condition that the value of the cumulative playing value exceeds a fixed value, have been fulfilled, the control section designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than a current win probability. In response thereto, the notifying section carries out the notification corresponding to the selection probability designated. By this means, as the notification, which corresponds to the selection probability having a higher cumulative playing value win probability than the current one, is carried out, it is possible, through attracting the interest of a new player, to evoke the desire to play in the new player. Also, by increasing the probability of being able to obtain the cumulative playing value, it is possible to attract even the interest of a current player and also to arouse his or her gambling spirit, thus making it possible to increase the interest of the current player in a game.

In the game system, the configuration may be such that the storage module stores a selection probability used at a normal time to pay out the cumulative playing value, a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the selection probability used at the normal time, and contents for which a notification is raised by the notifying section in accordance with each of the selection probabilities. In this case, as the storage module stores a selection probability used at the normal time and a selection probability having a higher cumulative playing value win probability than the selection probability used at the normal time, it is possible for the control section to easily designate a selection probability used by the selection section. Also, as the control section can easily specify the notification contents corresponding to the selection probability designated by the control section, the notification corresponding to the selection probability designated by the control section can be carried out by simple control.

Also, in the game system, it is preferable that the storage module stores a plurality of selection probabilities having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the selection probability used at the normal time. In this case, by designating selection probabilities having a higher cumulative playing value win probability in a gradated manner, it is possible to increase the cumulative playing value win probability in a gradated manner. By this means, a new player, whose interest has not been attracted by only increasing the cumulative playing value win probability one step, can be prompted to play.

Furthermore, in the game system, it can be considered that the control section, when the value of the cumulative playing value has exceeded a predetermined fixed value, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the current win probability, or that the control section, when a number of players on the plurality of gaming machine falls below a predetermined fixed number, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than the current win probability. By changing the selection probability in accordance with such an occasion, it is possible to simplify the control involved in the change of the selection probability. Also, in the former case, as the cumulative playing value win probability is increased when the value of the cumulative playing value has exceeded the fixed value, by setting the fixed value to be somewhat high, the gambling spirit of a new player can be aroused, and the effect of evoking the desire to play in the new player can be further hoped for. In the latter case, as the cumulative playing value win probability is increased when the number of players has fallen below the fixed number, the operating rate of the game system by the players who have been prompted to play by the increase of the win probability can be increased.

Also, the invention is an information management apparatus which collects and manages information concerning a plurality of gaming machines connected together via a communication network, comprising: a selection section which carries out a selection relating to a payout of a cumulative playing value obtained by adding a prescribed proportion of playing values which correspond to playing operations on the gaming machines; a storage module which stores a plurality of selection probabilities relating to the payout of the cumulative playing value; a control section which designates a selection probability stored in the storage module; and a notifying section which carries out a notification corresponding to the selection probability designated by the control section, wherein the control section, when prescribed conditions have been fulfilled, designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than a current win probability.

According to this configuration, when the prescribed conditions, such as the condition that the value of the cumulative playing value exceeds the fixed value, have been fulfilled, the control section designates a selection probability having a higher win probability of the cumulative playing value than a current win probability. In response thereto, the notifying section carries out the notification corresponding to the selection probability designated. By this means, as the notification, which corresponds to the selection probability having a higher cumulative playing value win probability than the current one, is carried out, it is possible, through attracting the interest of a new player, to evoke the desire to play in the new player. Also, by increasing the probability of being able to obtain the cumulative playing value, it is possible to attract even the interest of a current player and also to arouse his or her gambling spirit, thus making it possible to increase the interest of the current player in a game.

According to the invention, it is possible to evoke the desire to play in a new player and also to increase the interest of a current player in a game.

Additional objects and advantage of the invention will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or may be learned by practice of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention may be realized and obtained by means of the instrumentalities and combinations particularly pointed out hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE INVENTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention, and together with the general description given above and the detailed description of the embodiments given below, serve to explain the principals of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a schematic configuration diagram of a game system according to an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a functional block diagram showing a configuration example of a management section in a management apparatus of the game system;

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing one example of contents registered in a selection probability table in a selection probability table storage module in the management section;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing an external configuration of a slot machine in the game system;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram schematically showing a control system of the slot machine; and

FIG. 6 is a sequence diagram showing an operational example of the game system.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

An embodiment of the invention will hereafter be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.

A game system according to this embodiment is one to which a progressive system is applied. The progressive system is a system which includes at least one gaming machine, wherein at least part of a playing value (hereafter referred to as a “cumulative playing value”), which can be obtained by cumulatively adding a prescribed proportion of playing values based on players' playing operations on the gaming machines, is allotted to any one of the gaming machines in accordance with prescribed conditions (for example, a payout condition, a win by selection and the like).

FIG. 1 is a schematic configuration diagram of the game system according to the embodiment of the invention. In a game system 100 according to this embodiment, as shown in FIG. 1, slot machines 1a to 1d, which act as a plurality of (in FIG. 1, four) gaming machines, and an information management apparatus (hereafter referred to simply as a “management apparatus”) 200, which collects and manages various information of each of the slot machines la to id, are connected via a communication network 300.

The management apparatus 200 comprises a management section 201 and a notifying section 202 connected thereto. The management section 201 is connected to each of the slot machines la to id via the communication network 300, enabling two-way communication with respect to each of the slot machines 1a to 1d. Either a wired or wireless connection can be provided between the management section 201 and each of the slot machines 1a to 1d.

The management section 201 manages the game system 100 in such a way as to actualize the progressive system. That is, the management section 201, as well as carrying out the addition, subtraction and the like of the cumulative playing value, carries out a selection relating to the payout of the cumulative playing value. Also, the management section 201, as well as causing the notifying section 202 to carry out a prescribed effect in accordance with a result of the selection, carries out the payout of the cumulative playing value to a slot machine 1 which has won. In addition thereto, the management section 201, as well as causing the notifying section 202 to notify regarding a probability of paying out the cumulative playing value (hereafter referred to as a “cumulative playing value win probability”), increases the cumulative playing value win probability in the event that the prescribed conditions have been fulfilled.

The notifying section 202 includes a display device 203 and a speaker 204. The display device 203, along with displaying the value of the cumulative playing value, displays image data (including character data) for carrying out the prescribed effect which includes the notification of the cumulative playing value win probability. For example, the display device 203 displays a message (for example, a message “chance”, “big chance” or the like) which notifies the player that the cumulative playing value is currently set to be higher than at a normal time. The speaker 204, along with outputting background music for a game, outputs a sound effect for carrying out the prescribed effect which includes the cumulative playing value win probability. For example, the speaker 204, in the event that the cumulative playing value win probability is set to be higher than at the normal time, outputs a sound effect, which is different from a normal one, for attracting the player's interest.

FIG. 2 shows a functional block diagram showing a configuration example of the management section 201. As shown in FIG. 2, the management section 201 includes a communication controller 301, a central controller 302, which is connected to the communication controller 301, a cumulative playing value storage module 303, which is connected to the central controller 302, a selection execution module 304, a selection probability table storage module 305, and a notifying instruction module 306.

The communication controller 301 executes a communication protocol for carrying out communication with each slot machine 1. The central controller 302 carries out the determination, control and adjustment of operation of each part of the management section 201, as well as the addition, subtraction and the like of the cumulative playing value. Particularly, the central controller 302, in a prescribed case, updates the cumulative playing value selection probability registered in a selection probability table to be described hereafter. To be specific, in the event that the prescribed conditions, such as the condition that the cumulative playing value exceeds a fixed value, have been fulfilled, the central controller 302, by designating a selection probability having a higher cumulative playing value win probability than a current win probability, updates the cumulative playing value selection probability.

The cumulative playing value storage module 303 stores the value of the cumulative playing value. The selection execution module 304 executes a selection relating to the payout of the cumulative playing value in accordance with a selection request from a slot machine 1. At this time, the selection execution module 304 executes a selection of the cumulative playing value using the selection probability designated by the central controller 302. The selection probability table storage module 305 stores a table (hereafter referred to as a “selection probability table”) in which a plurality of the cumulative playing value selection probabilities is registered.

The notifying instruction module 306, as well as causing the notifying section 202 to execute the prescribed effect in a case in which the notifying instruction module 306 has been notified of the occurrence of a win of the cumulative playing value, causes the notifying section 202 to execute the prescribed effect in a case in which the cumulative playing value win probability has been increased. In response to such an instruction from the notifying instruction module 306, the notifying section 202 carries out the notification, which corresponds to the selection probability designated by the central controller 302, to the player. The configuration may be such that the notifying instruction module 306 only instructs each slot machine 1 to execute an effect involved in the occurrence of the win of the cumulative playing value or an effect involved in the increase of the cumulative playing value win probability, and such that a notifying module included in each slot machine 1 executes such effect processes.

At this point, a description will be given of the contents which are registered in the selection probability table. FIG. 3 shows one example of the contents which are registered in the selection probability table. In FIG. 3, the case is shown in which three cumulative playing values which the player can obtain exist, wherein they are displayed as Jackpot 1 (hereafter referred to as “JP1”), Jackpot 2 (hereafter referred to as “JP2”) and Jackpot 3 (hereafter referred to as “JP3”). The quantity of playing values which can be obtained with each of JP1, JP2 and JP3 is managed in such a way as to decrease in the order of JP1, JP2 and JP3.

A selection probability and a notification content to correspond with three stages, a “normal mode”, a “first special playing mode” and a “second special playing mode”, are registered in the selection probability table. A cumulative playing value selection probability used at the normal time is registered in the “normal mode”, a cumulative playing value selection probability, having the cumulative playing value win probability greatly increased in comparison with that in the “normal mode”, is registered in the “second special playing mode”, and a cumulative playing value selection probability, having the cumulative playing value win probability set between that in the “normal mode” and that in the “second special playing mode”, is registered in the “first special playing mode”. The selection probability values corresponding to JP1, JP2, JP3 and MISS are registered in the selection probability, and display data displayed by the display device 203 and sound data output by the speaker 204 are registered in the notification content.

As shown in FIG. 3, the selection probability (win probability) of each of JP1, JP2 and JP3 is higher in the “first special playing mode” than in the “normal mode” and higher in the “second special playing mode” than in the “first special playing mode”. However, the selection probability of MISS is lower in the “first special playing mode” than in the “normal mode” and lower in the “second special playing mode” than in the “first special playing mode”. That is, the probability of the player being able to obtain the cumulative playing value is set to be higher in the “first special playing mode” than in the “normal mode” and higher in the “second special playing mode” than in the “first special playing mode”.

In the “normal mode”, the display data displayed by the display device 203 is not particularly designated, in which case the value of the cumulative playing value is displayed on the display device 203. The background music played at the time of a base game is designated as the sound data output by the speaker 204. In the “first special playing mode”, the message “chance” is designated as the image data (character data) displayed by the display device 203, and “sound effect 1” is designated as the sound data output by the speaker 204. In the “second special playing mode”, the message “big chance” is designated as the image data (character data) displayed by the display device 203, and “sound effect 2” is designated as the sound data output by the speaker 204. In “sound effect 2”, preferably, the content which raises player's expectations in comparison with that of “sound effect 1” is designated. It can be considered that the contents of “sound effect 1” and “sound effect 2” are distinguished by, for example, the characteristics of melody and the volume of sound output.

At this point, a description will be given of a configuration of the slot machine 1 in the game system 100 according to this embodiment. FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing an external configuration of the slot machine 1 in the game system 100 according to the embodiment of the invention.

In FIG. 4, the slot machine 1 includes a cabinet 2 which forms the whole of the slot machine 1, wherein a lamp 20 is disposed on the top surface of the cabinet 2. An upper liquid crystal display 3 is disposed in the upper portion of the front of the cabinet 2, and a lower liquid crystal display 4 is disposed in the central portion of the front of the cabinet 2. The upper liquid crystal display 3 is configured from a generally used liquid crystal display, and the lower liquid crystal display 4 is configured from a so-called transparent liquid crystal display. Four variable display windows 22, 23, 24 and 25 are displayed on the lower liquid crystal display 4, wherein one activated pay line is provided in the four variable display windows 22 to 25.

An operating table 5 is provided, projecting forwards, below the lower liquid crystal display 4. A CHANGE button 6, a CHASHOUT button 7 and a HELP button 8 are disposed, in order from the far left, on such an operating table 5, and a coin insertion slot 9 and a bill insertion slot 10 are provided on the right of the HELP button 8. Also, a 1-BET button 11, a SPIN/REPEAT BET button 12, a 3-BET button 13 and a 5-BET button 14 are disposed, in order from the left, at the front of the operating table 5.

The CHANGE button 6 is a button for illuminating the lamp 20. The CASHOUT button 7 is a button which is depressed at the end of the base game whereby, in response to a depression thereof, coins equivalent to the playing values obtained in the game are repaid from a coin payout opening 15 into a coin receiving tray 16. The HELP button 8 is a button which is depressed in the event that a game operation method etc. is unclear whereby, in response to a depression thereof, various help information is displayed on the upper liquid crystal display 3 and the lower liquid crystal display 4.

A coin sensor 65 is disposed in the coin insertion slot 9 and detects a coin inserted. A bill sensor 66 is disposed in the bill insertion slot 10 and detects a bill inserted. The 1-BET button 11 is a button whereby, each time it is depressed, one bet is placed. The SPIN/REPEAT BET button 12 is a button whereby, in response to a depression thereof, the varying display of symbols is started in each of the variable display windows 22 to 25 in the lower liquid crystal display 4 so as to start the game with the current number of bets or the previous number of bets.

The 3-BET button 13 is a button whereby, in response to a depression thereof, the game is started with three bets. The 5-BET button 14 is a button whereby, in response to a depression thereof, the game is started with five bets. As well as the coin payout opening 15 being formed, the coin receiving tray 16, which receives the coins paid out from the coin payout opening 15, is provided at the bottom of the cabinet 2.

Next, a description will be given, with reference to FIG. 5, of a configuration relating to a control system of the slot machine 1. FIG. 5 is a block diagram schematically showing the control system of the slot machine.

In FIG. 5, the control system of the slot machine 1 is basically configured around a CPU 50 acting as a control section, wherein an ROM 51 and an RAM 52 are connected to the CPU 50. The ROM 51 stores a game control program, to be described hereafter, various effect programs for carrying out various effects on the upper liquid crystal display 3 and the lower liquid crystal display 4 as the game progresses, a selection table for selecting each kind of winning combination, and other various kinds of program, data table and the like which are necessary for the control of the slot machine 1. Also, the RAM 52 is a memory for temporarily storing the various kinds of data calculated by the CPU 50.

In this embodiment, the programs, data and the like used in controlling the slot machine 1 are not limited to being previously stored in the ROM 51 and the RAM 52, but changes can be made as appropriate. For example, the configuration may be such that the same programs, data and the like are previously stored in a storage medium, such as a Compact Flash (registered trademark), and are downloaded into the ROM 51 and the like from such a storage medium.

A clock pulse generator 53, which generates a reference clock pulse, and a frequency divider 54 are connected to the CPU 50, as are a random number generator 55, which generates a random number, and a random number sampling circuit 56. The random number sampled via the random number sampling circuit 56 is used for the various kinds of selection of the winning combinations etc.

A SPIN/REPEAT BET switch 58 appended to the SPIN/REPEAT BET button 12, a 1-BET switch 59 appended to the 1-BET button 11, a 3-BET switch 60 appended to the 3-BET button 13, a 5-BET switch 61 appended to the 5-BET button 14, a CHANGE switch 62 appended to the CHANGE button 6, a CASHOUT switch 63 appended to the CASHOUT button 7, and a HELP switch 64 appended to the HELP button 8, are each connected to the CPU 50. Based on the switch signal output by each switch according to the depression of each button, the CPU 50 carries out control so as to execute the various kinds of operation corresponding to each button.

The coin sensor 65 disposed in the coin insertion slot 9 and the bill sensor 66 disposed in the bill insertion slot 10 are each connected to the CPU 50. The coin sensor 65 detects the coins inserted through the coin insertion slot 9, whereby the CPU 50 calculates the number of coins inserted based on the coin detection signal transmitted from the coin sensor 65. The bill sensor 66 detects the kind and value of the bills inserted through the bill insertion slot 10, whereby the CPU 50 calculates the number of coins equivalent to the value of the bills, based on the bill detection signal transmitted from the bill sensor 66.

Four stepping motors 68, which rotate respective reels 220 via a motor drive circuit 167, are connected to the CPU 50. When a motor drive signal is transmitted to the motor drive circuit 167 from the CPU 50, each stepping motor 68 is rotary driven by the motor drive circuit 167, thereby rotating each reel 220.

At this time, after the rotation of each reel 220 is started, the number of drive pulses, which is supplied to each of the stepping motors 68, is calculated, and the calculated value is written in a prescribed area of the RAM 52. Also, a reset pulse is transmitted from each reel 220 for each revolution and is received by the CPU 50. When the reset pulse is thus received by the CPU 50, the calculated value written in the RAM 52 is cleared to 0 whereby, based on the calculated value corresponding to a rotational position of each reel 220 within one revolution and a symbol table in which the rotational position of each reel 220 stored in the ROM 51 is related to the symbols formed on the surface of each reel 220, the CPU 50 recognizes the rotational position of the symbols on each reel 220.

A position change detection circuit 69 is connected to the CPU 50. The position change detection circuit 69 detects a change in the stationary position of the reels 220 after they are stop-controlled by the motor drive circuit 167. For example, in a case in which, although a combination of stationary symbols does not actually fall into a win pattern, the stationary position has compulsorily been changed by the player in such a way that the combination of stationary symbols falls into a win pattern, or in a like case, the position change detection circuit 69 detects such a change in the stationary position of the reels 220. The position change detection circuit 69 is configured in such a way that, for example, by detecting fins attached at prescribed intervals to the inner portion of each of the reels 220, it can detect a change in the stationary position of the reels 220.

A hopper 71 is connected to the CPU 50 via a hopper drive circuit 70. When a drive signal is transmitted to the hopper drive circuit 70 from the CPU 50, the hopper 71 pays out a prescribed number of coins from the coin payout opening 15. Also, a coin detector 73 is connected to the CPU 50 via a payout completion signal circuit 72. The coin detector 73 is disposed inside the coin payout opening 15. In a case in which the prescribed number of coins is detected to have been paid out from the coin payout opening 15, a coin payout detection signal is transmitted from the coin detector 73 to the payout completion signal circuit 72, based on which the payout completion signal circuit 72 transmits a payout completion signal to the CPU 50.

The upper liquid crystal display 3 and the lower liquid crystal display 4 are connected to the CPU 50 via a liquid crystal drive circuit 74. A graphic board or the like can be used as the liquid crystal circuit 74. The upper liquid crystal display 3 and the lower liquid crystal display 4 may be configured in such a way as to be controlled by separate liquid crystal circuits.

LED's 78 are connected to the CPU 50 via an LED drive circuit 77. A large number of the LED's 78 are distributed on the front of the slot machine 1 wherein, when various kinds of effect are carried out, illumination control is carried out by the LED drive circuit 77 based on a drive signal from the CPU 50. Also, a sound output circuit 79 and a speaker 80 are connected to the CPU 50, wherein the speaker 80, based on an output signal from the sound output circuit 79, emits various kinds of sound effect when the various effects are carried out.

The lamp 20 is connected to the CPU 50 via a lamp drive circuit 75. The lamp 20 is disposed on the top surface of the slot machine 1 (refer to FIG. 4) wherein, when the CHANGE button 6 is depressed, illumination control is carried out by the lamp drive circuit 75 based on a drive signal from the CPU 50.

The transparent touch panel 30 is connected to the CPU 50 via a touch panel drive circuit 67. The transparent touch panel 30, which is equipped on the screen of the lower liquid crystal display 4, is configured in such a way that it transmits the coordinate position information of a portion touched by the player via the touch panel drive circuit 67, and that the CPU 50 can thereby determine the portion touched.

A progressive interface (I/F) 81, which is a communication port for carrying out communication with respect to the management apparatus 200, is appended to the CPU 50. The CPU 50 is configured in such a way as to be capable of sending a selection request to the communication controller 301 (refer to FIG. 2) of the management apparatus 200, while receiving the notification of the cumulative playing value, selection result and the like from the communication controller 301 of the management apparatus 200.

Next, a description will be given, with reference to FIG. 6, of an operational example of the game system 100 according to this embodiment. FIG. 6 is a sequence diagram showing an operational example of the game system 100 according to this embodiment. FIG. 6 shows only one slot machine 1 which carries out communication with the management apparatus 200. Also, in FIG. 6, the management apparatus 200 carries out control in accordance with the selection probability table shown in FIG. 3, and the cumulative playing value selection probability is set to the “normal mode” before the sequence shown in FIG. 6 is started.

FIG. 6 shows the sequence related to the case of updating the cumulative playing value selection probability in the management apparatus 200 and carrying out a selection relating to cumulative playing value payout. The management apparatus 200 carries out a cumulative playing value addition process in response to an addition request from the slot machine 1, updates the cumulative playing value selection probability when the prescribed conditions have been fulfilled, and notifies the player to the updated content. Also, the management apparatus 200 carries out the selection relating to cumulative playing value payout in response to the selection request from the slot machine 1, and thus pays out the cumulative playing value.

First, it is supposed that a game is started on the slot machine 1 and a credit accumulation condition has occurred during the game (ST601). In the game system 100, each time the credit accumulation condition occurs from each slot machine 1, the management apparatus 200 collects and cumulatively adds a fixed proportion of playing values and, on condition that a win has occurred, pays out the cumulative playing value obtained as a result to a specified player. The credit accumulation condition can be variously selected. For example, the insertion of a coin acting as the playing value, the operation of a BET button such as the 1-BET button 11 and the like can be considered to be the credit accumulation condition.

When the credit accumulation condition has occurred, the slot machine 1 notifies the management apparatus 200 of a playing value to be newly added to the current cumulative playing value, and thereby transmits to the management apparatus 200 the addition request which requests that the playing value be added to the cumulative playing value (ST602). Upon reception of this addition request, the management apparatus 200 carries out the addition process in which the playing value of which it has been notified by the slot machine 1 is added to the cumulative playing value already stored at this point (ST603). At this time, the management apparatus 200 causes the display device 203 to display the cumulative playing value obtained by carrying out this addition process.

After the addition process has been carried out, it is supposed that the condition to update the cumulative playing value selection probability (hereafter referred to as the “selection probability update condition”) has occurred in the management apparatus 200 (ST604). The selection probability update condition can be variously selected. For example, the case in which the value of the cumulative playing value has reached a predetermined fixed value, the case in which the total number of games performed on the slot machine 1 connected has reached a predetermined fixed number, the case in which a selection process has been carried out regardless of the value of the cumulative playing value and the total number of games, and in which the update of the cumulative playing value selection probability has been selected according to the selection result, or a like case, can be considered to be the selection probability update condition. Herein, it is supposed that the selection probability update condition has occurred with the result that the value of the cumulative playing value has reached the predetermined fixed value.

When the selection probability update condition has occurred, the management apparatus 200 carries out the process of updating the cumulative playing value selection probability (hereafter referred to as the “selection probability update process”) (ST605). The selection probability update process is carried out in accordance with the contents registered in the selection probability table. That is, in the selection probability update process, as shown in FIG. 3, the management apparatus 200 switches the mode in use from the “normal mode” to the “first special playing mode” or the “second special playing mode”, and thereby updates the cumulative playing value selection probability, thus increasing the cumulative playing value win probability.

In the selection probability update process, it can be arbitrarily set whether the mode is to be updated from the “normal mode” to the “first special playing mode” or to the “second special playing mode”. For example, the mode to be updated from the “normal mode” may be switched in order between the “first special playing mode” and the “second special playing mode”, or may be switched in such a way as to be updated to the “second special playing mode” on condition that it has been updated a fixed number of times from the “normal mode” to the “first special playing mode”.

After having carried out the selection probability update process, the management apparatus 200 carries out a process (hereafter referred to as an “updated information notifying process”) which notifies the player, who plays on the slot machine 1, to the updated information (ST606). The updated information notifying process is carried out in accordance with the contents registered in the selection probability table. That is, the management apparatus 200 causes the notifying section 202 to notify the player to the notification contents corresponding to the mode determined in the selection probability update process. For example, when the mode has been updated from the “normal mode” to the “first special playing mode”, the display device 203 displays the message “chance”, and the speaker 204 outputs “sound effect 1”. Meanwhile, when the mode is updated from the “normal mode” to the “second special playing mode”, the display device 203 displays the message “big chance”, and the speaker 204 outputs “sound effect 2”.

In this way, when the update condition has occurred (ST604), after the cumulative playing value win probability has been increased by the selection probability update process (ST605), the notifying section 202 notifies the player to the message and sound effect indicating that the cumulative playing value win probability has been increased by the updated information notifying process (ST606). By this means, it is possible to attract the interest of a player who is not currently playing on the slot machine 1 (for example, a player or the like who is observing the playing status from the periphery of the game system 100), and also to attract the interest of a player who is currently playing on the game system 100.

After the updated information notifying process has been carried out, it is supposed that a selection condition has occurred while the game is being performed on the slot machine 1 (ST607). The selection condition can be variously selected. For example, an appearance of the win pattern in which specified symbols such as ALL SEVENS are arranged, an appearance of the win pattern including a symbol which permits the selection for obtaining the cumulative playing value, and the like, can be considered to be the selection condition. The ALL SEVENS refers to a case in which all the symbols stopped on the activated pay line L are SEVEN symbols.

When the selection condition has occurred, the slot machine 1 transmits to the management apparatus 200 a selection request which requests a selection relating to cumulative playing value payout (ST608). Upon reception of the selection request, the management apparatus 200 executes the selection (ST609). As such a selection, for example, the method can be considered by which, in the event that a random number value generated in response to the selection request matches a predetermined value, it is determined as a win, and in the event that the random number value does not match the predetermined value, it is treated as a miss. However, another selection method is also acceptable.

In the event that a win has been determined as a result of the selection process (ST610), in order to notify the player on the slot machine 1 that the win has occurred, the management apparatus 200 carries out a win occurrence notifying process which causes the notifying section 202 to execute a prescribed operation (ST611). As the win occurrence notifying process, it can be considered to display the value of the paid-out cumulative playing value in a flashing form on the display device 203 of the notifying section 202, and also to output sound data such as a fanfare from the speaker 204 of the notifying section 202.

Following the win occurrence notifying process, the management apparatus 200 executes an allotment of the cumulative playing value. Specifically, the management apparatus 200 notifies the slot machine 1, which is to be allotted with the cumulative playing value, that a win has been obtained as the selection result and of the value of the cumulative playing value to be allotted (ST612).

Upon reception of the notification to the effect that the win has been obtained and of the value of the cumulative playing value, the slot machine 1 carries out a credit addition process (ST613). That is, the slot machine 1 adds the value of the cumulative playing value, of which it has been notified by the management apparatus 200, to the credit value being stored at the point when the notification has been received, and stores the resulting value as a new credit value. That is, the player on the slot machine 1 receives a payment such as a credit for a so-called Jackpot win.

Meanwhile, after having carried out the notification to the effect that the win has been obtained and of the value of the cumulative playing value to be allotted, the management apparatus 200, in order to respond to the payout of the cumulative playing value (ST612 and ST613), carries out a subtraction process which returns the value of the cumulative playing value to an initial value (for example, 0, 100 or the like) (ST614).

After having carried out the subtraction process, the management apparatus 200 carries out the selection probability update process again (ST615). In the selection probability update process in this case, the cumulative playing value selection probability updated in the selection probability update process of ST605 is returned from the “first special playing mode” or the “second special playing mode” to the “normal mode”.

After having carried out the selection probability update process, the management apparatus 200 carries out the updated information notifying process again (ST616). In the updated information notifying process in this case, the updated information notifying process carried out in ST606 is stopped. By this means, the cumulative playing value selection probability in the game system 100 is returned to the initial “normal mode”. In this way, a series of operations in the game system 100 is finished, and the same processes will be repeated again.

As described heretofore, according to the game system 100 of this embodiment, when the prescribed conditions, such as the condition that the value of the cumulative playing value exceeds the fixed value, have been fulfilled, the management apparatus 200, as well as increasing the cumulative playing value win probability, notifies the player with the message and sound effect indicating that the cumulative playing value win probability has increased. By this means, it is possible to attract the interest of a player who is not currently playing on the slot machine 1, thus making it possible to evoke the desire to play in a new player. Also, as the probability of being able to obtain the cumulative playing value increases, it is possible to attract even the interest of a current player and also to arouse his or her gambling spirit, thus making it possible to increase the interest of the current player in the game.

Also, in the game system 100 of this embodiment, the management apparatus 200 maintains a selection probability used at the normal time to pay out the cumulative playing value, a selection probability having a higher cumulative playing value win probability than the selection probability used at the normal time, and the contents for which a notification is raised by the notifying section 202 in response to each of the selection probabilities. Specifically, the management apparatus 200 maintains a selection probability table having registered therein a selection probability used at the normal time and a selection probability having a higher cumulative playing value win probability than the selection probability used at the normal time, and designates the notification contents corresponding to a cumulative playing value registration probability in the selection probability table. By using this selection probability table, it is possible for the management apparatus 200 to easily designate a selection probability to be used at a selection time to pay out the cumulative playing value. Also, as the notification contents corresponding to the designated selection probability can easily be specified, it is possible to carry out the notification corresponding to the specified selection probability by simple control.

Particularly, a plurality of (in this embodiment, two) selection probabilities having a higher cumulative playing value win probability than the selection probability used at the normal time are registered in the selection probability table. By this means, it is possible to increase the cumulative playing value win probability in a gradated manner and also to carry out the notification corresponding to the selection probability changed. By thus increasing the cumulative playing value win probability in a gradated manner, a new player, whose interest has not been attracted by only increasing the win probability one step, can be prompted to play. Also, as the gambling spirit of a current player can be further aroused, it is possible to increase the interest of the current player in the game.

In the aforementioned embodiment, a description has been given of the case in which the management apparatus 200 manages various selection probabilities and the notification contents corresponding to the selection probabilities using the selection probability table. However, as for the configuration of managing such selection probabilities and the notification contents corresponding to the selection probabilities, the invention is not limited to the above configuration, but modifications can be made as appropriate. For example, it is acceptable to use any technique which can specify the notification contents corresponding to various modes, such as the normal mode, the first special playing mode which is more beneficial to the player than the normal mode in obtaining the cumulative playing value, and the second special playing mode which is still more beneficial than the first special playing mode, as designated in the selection probability table.

Furthermore, in the game system 100 of this embodiment, by the value of the cumulative playing value reaching the predetermined fixed value, the selection probability update condition occurs, thus increasing the cumulative playing value win probability. By setting the predetermined fixed value to be somewhat high, it is possible to arouse the gambling spirit of a new player, so that the effect of evoking the desire to play in the new player can be further hoped for.

The aforementioned selection probability update condition is shown as one example, and modifications can be made as appropriate in accordance with contents such as the operational status, current time, installation location or the like of the game system 100. For example, the configuration may be such that, in the event that the number of players on a plurality of slot machines 1 falls below a predetermined fixed number, the selection probability update condition is caused to occur, thus increasing the cumulative playing value win probability. In the case of such a modification, the operating rate of the game system 100 can be increased by a player who has been prompted to play by the increase of the cumulative playing value win probability.

Also, the invention is not limited to the aforementioned embodiment, but various modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. As for the size, the shape and the like shown in the accompanying drawings in the aforementioned embodiment, the invention is not limited thereto, but modifications can be made within the range in which the beneficial effects of the invention are achieved. Any other modifications can be made and practiced without departing from the scope of the object of the invention. Modified examples of the invention will be illustrated hereafter.

In the aforementioned embodiment, in the selection probability update process, the setting when the mode is switched from the “normal mode” to the “first special playing mode” or the “second special playing mode” is one example. For example, in consideration of player's interest and the like, modifications can be made as appropriate. For example, it is acceptable to set in such a way that the mode is switched not only from the “normal mode” to either the “first special playing mode” or the “second special playing mode”, but from the “first special playing mode” to the “second special playing mode”.

Also, it is acceptable to determine by selection which mode a transition is to be made to in the selection probability update process. In such a selection, it can be considered to determine which mode a transition is to be made to in accordance with a correlation between a random number and a predetermined value. However, it is acceptable to determine which mode a transition is to be made to using another method. In that case, the correlation between the random number and the predetermined value may be set to be one to one or a plurality to one. Also, instead of using a random number used in the selection as it is, it is acceptable to determine the mode which a transition is to be made to in accordance with the calculated result obtained by subjecting the random number to a prescribed calculation process.

Furthermore, it is acceptable to change a mode to which the mode is switched in accordance with the number of players who are playing on the game system 100. For example, in a case in which the occupancy by the players on the slot machines 1 connected is 40% to 60%, the mode is switched to the “first special playing mode”, while in a case in which the occupancy falls below 40%, the mode is switched to the “second special playing mode”. In this way, by changing a mode to which the mode is switched in accordance with the number of players, it can also be expected to control the operating rate of the game system 100.

Further still, in the aforementioned embodiment, in the updated information notifying process, the case is shown in which the notifying section 202 carries out the notification corresponding to the selection probability updated in the selection probability update process. However, in consideration of prompting of a new player to play and the like, the contents of the notification by the notifying section 202 can be changed as appropriate. For example, it is acceptable to carry out the notification corresponding to a cumulative playing value which can be updated in the next selection probability update process. Also, it is acceptable, along with this notification, to notify the player to the condition maintained until the selection probability is updated (for example, the value of the cumulative playing value which is maintained until it reaches the fixed value). In a case in which such a notification is carried out, it is possible to attract the interest of a new player before the cumulative playing value win probability is actually increased, thus making it possible to evoking the desire to play in the new player. In the case of carrying out such a notification, it is preferable that the notifying section 202 carries it out at all times.

The invention is applied to the game system and information management apparatus which actualizes a so-called jackpot function whereby, as well as evoking the desire to play in a new player, it increases the interest of a current player in the game, thus having industrial applicability.

Additional advantages and modifications will readily occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the specific details and representative embodiments shown and described herein. Accordingly, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the general inventive concept as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.