Title:
Match game method and device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and device for conducting a match game includes selecting game indicia from a game indicia set. A player selects zero or more game indicia and prompts re-selection of the game indicia not selected. Optionally, the re-selection is from the same game indicia set. Additional rounds of holding and re-selecting may be conducted. At the completion of the re-selection rounds, the game indicia displayed are examined for matches and a reward may be issued. Optionally, the game indicia display may be examined for a bonus outcome as well and a bonus, such as a secondary game, may be awarded.



Inventors:
Scott, Kenneth (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Krause, Lawrence (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Soubannarath, Matthourasy S. (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/218858
Publication Date:
03/08/2007
Filing Date:
09/02/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HYLINSKI, STEVEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Morishita Law, Firm Suite 850 L. L. C. (3800 Howard Hughes Pkwy., Las Vegas, NV, 89109, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A method of conducting a game for a player comprising: defining a game indicia set; defining at least one subset of matching game indicia from said game indicia set to be a winning set; randomly selecting an action set from said game indicia set; said player identifying game indicia from said action set to be held or re-selected; randomly replacing each game indicia of said action set identified to be re-selected; and rewarding said player if said action set is a subset of matching game indicia designated a winning set.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein each game indicia has only one attribute and said at least one winning set includes game indicia with a matching attribute.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein said attribute is color.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; and producing a bonus outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image.

5. The method of claim 1 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; producing a first outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

6. The method of claim 1 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; producing a first outcome in response to the player directing movement of said bonus image; displaying a subsequent bonus image; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player directing movement of said subsequent bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

7. The method of claim 6 further comprising if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome, triggering another bonus game.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein said game indicia set includes a plurality of game indicia, the quantity of matching game indicia in said game indicia set being directly proportional to the probability that any one game indicium will be selected.

9. The method of claim 1 further comprising: defining a time limit during which a player is free to conduct rounds of selecting to hold zero or more indicia of said action set and randomly selecting replacement indicia for each indicia of said action set not held; and at the end of said time limit, halting any further rounds and rewarding said player if said action set is a subset of matching game indicia designated a winning set.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein said player conducts at least two rounds of selecting to hold zero or more indicia of said action set and randomly selecting replacement indicia for each indicia of said action set not held, and wherein said reward decreases with each subsequent round.

11. The method of claim 1 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; and displaying a stationary, dynamic sequence of one or more bonus images wherein the bonus outcome for said bonus game is at least partially determined by the bonus image displayed at the end of said stationary, dynamic sequence.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein said sequence is random.

13. The method of claim 11 wherein said sequence follows a predetermined pattern.

14. The method of claim 11 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more kaleidoscope images or electronic simulation thereof.

15. The method of claim 11 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more explosion images or an electronic simulation thereof.

16. The method of claim 11 wherein said bonus images are different versions of the same bonus image differentiated by color.

17. A method of conducting a game for a player comprising: defining a game indicia set, each of said game indicia having only one attribute; defining at least one subset of game indicia with a matching attribute to be a winning set; randomly selecting an action set from said game indicia set; said player identifying game indicia from said action set to be held or re-selected; randomly replacing each game indicia of said action set identified to be re-selected; and rewarding said player if said action set is a subset designated a winning set based on the quantity of game indicia with a matching attribute in said action set and the attribute matched.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein said attribute is color.

19. The method of claim 17 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; and producing a bonus outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image.

20. The method of claim 17 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; producing a first outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

21. The method of claim 17 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; producing a first outcome in response to the player directing movement of said bonus image; displaying a subsequent bonus image; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player directing movement of said subsequent bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

22. The method of claim 17 wherein said game indicia set includes a plurality of game indicia, the quantity of matching game indicia in said game indicia set being directly proportional to the probability that any one game indicium will be selected.

23. The method of claim 17 further comprising: defining a time limit during which a player is free to conduct rounds of selecting to hold zero or more indicia of said action set and randomly selecting replacement indicia for each indicia of said action set not held; and at the end of said time limit, halting any further rounds and rewarding said player if said action set is a subset of matching game indicia designated a winning set.

24. The method of claim 17 wherein said player conducts at least two rounds of selecting to hold zero or more indicia of said action set and randomly selecting replacement indicia for each indicia of said action set not held, and wherein said reward decreases with each subsequent round.

25. The method of claim 17 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; and displaying a stationary, dynamic sequence of one or more bonus images wherein the bonus outcome for said bonus game is at least partially determined by the bonus image displayed at the end of said stationary, dynamic sequence.

26. The method of claim 25 wherein said sequence is random.

27. The method of claim 25 wherein said sequence follows a predetermined pattern.

28. The method of claim 25 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more kaleidoscope images or electronic simulation thereof.

29. The method of claim 25 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more explosion images or an electronic simulation thereof.

30. The method of claim 25 wherein said bonus images are different versions of the same bonus image differentiated by color.

31. A method of conducting a game for a player comprising: defining a game indicia set; defining at least one subset of said game indicia set to be a winning set; defining a time limit; randomly selecting an action set from said game indicia set; said player free to conduct rounds during said time limit, each timed round comprising: said player identifying game indicia from said action set to be held or re-selected; randomly replacing each game indicia of said action set identified to be re-selected; and at the end of said time limit, halting any further rounds and rewarding said player if said action set is a subset of matching game indicia designated a winning set.

32. The method of claim 31 wherein each game indicia has only one attribute and said at least one winning set includes game indicia with a matching attribute.

33. The method of claim 32 wherein said attribute is color.

34. The method of claim 31 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a three-dimensional projection bonus image; and producing a bonus outcome in response to the player directing movement of said bonus image.

35. The method of claim 31 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; producing a first outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

36. The method of claim 31 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; producing a first outcome in response to the player directing movement of said bonus image; displaying a subsequent bonus image; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player directing movement of said subsequent bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

37. The method of claim 36 further comprising if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome, triggering another bonus game.

38. The method of claim 31 wherein said game indicia set includes a plurality of game indicia, the quantity of matching game indicia in said game indicia set being directly proportional to the probability that any one game indicium will be selected.

39. The method of claim 31 further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; and displaying a stationary, dynamic sequence of one or more bonus images wherein the bonus outcome for said bonus game is at least partially determined by the bonus image displayed at the end of said stationary, dynamic sequence.

40. The method of claim 39 wherein said sequence is random.

41. The method of claim 39 wherein said sequence follows a predetermined pattern.

42. The method of claim 39 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more kaleidoscope images or electronic simulation thereof.

43. The method of claim 39 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more explosion images or an electronic simulation thereof.

44. The method of claim 39 wherein said bonus images are different versions of the same bonus image differentiated by color.

45. A device for conducting a game for a player comprising: a data processor; a display communicating with said data processor; an input device communicating with said data processor; and a data structure storing a game indicia set, at least one subset of matching game indicia from said game indicia set defined to be a winning set, and instructions executable by said data processor to conduct a method comprising: randomly selecting an action set from said game indicia set; displaying said action set at said display; receiving from said input device the player's identification of game indicia from said action set to be held or re-selected; randomly replacing each indicia of said action set identified to be re-selected; and rewarding said player if said action set is a subset of matching game indicia designated a winning set.

46. The device of claim 45 wherein each game indicia stored at said data structure has only one attribute and said at least one winning set includes game indicia with a matching attribute.

47. The device of claim 46 wherein said attribute is color.

48. The device of claim 45 further comprising: a bonus display, wherein said instructions further comprise a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image at said bonus display; and producing a bonus outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image.

49. The device of claim 48 wherein said instructions further comprise if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome, triggering another bonus game.

50. The device of claim 45 further comprising: a bonus display, wherein said instructions further comprise a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image at said bonus display; producing a first outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player actuating said bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

51. The device of claim 45 further comprising: a projection display, said projection display receiving input from said player, wherein said instructions further comprising a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a three-dimensional projection bonus image at said projection display; producing a first outcome in response to the player directing movement of said bonus image; displaying a subsequent three-dimensional projection bonus image at said projection display; producing at least one subsequent outcome in response to the player directing movement of said subsequent bonus image; and issuing a bonus award to said player if said first outcome matches said subsequent outcome.

52. The device of claim 45 wherein said game indicia set stored at said data structure includes a plurality of game indicia, the quantity of matching game indicia stored in said game indicia set being directly proportional to the probability that any one game indicium will be selected.

53. The device of claim 45 wherein said instructions further comprise: storing at said data structure a time limit during which a player is free to conduct rounds of selecting to hold zero or more indicia of said action set and randomly selecting replacement indicia for each indicia of said action set not held; and at the end of said time limit, halting any further rounds and rewarding said player if said action set is a subset of matching game indicia designated a winning set.

54. The device of claim 45 wherein said instructions further comprise: storing at said data structure a plurality of reward levels such that if said player conducts at least two rounds of selecting to hold zero or more indicia of said action set and randomly selecting replacement indicia for each indicia of said action set not held, said reward decreases with each subsequent round.

55. The device of claim 45 wherein said instructions further comprise a bonus game, comprising: defining at least one subset of said game indicia as a bonus trigger; in response to said action set matching said bonus trigger, displaying to the player a bonus image; and displaying a stationary, dynamic sequence of one or more bonus images wherein the bonus outcome for said bonus game is at least partially determined by the bonus image displayed at the end of said stationary, dynamic sequence.

56. The device of claim 55 wherein said sequence is random.

57. The device of claim 55 wherein said sequence follows a predetermined pattern.

58. The device of claim 55 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more kaleidoscope images or electronic simulation thereof.

59. The device of claim 55 wherein said stationary, dynamic sequence includes one or more explosion images or an electronic simulation thereof.

60. The device of claim 55 wherein said bonus images are different versions of the same bonus image differentiated by color.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to methods and devices for conducting games. Specifically, the present invention is a method and system for conducting a match game in which a player attempts to match indicia randomly selected in at least two stages.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A conventional video draw poker machine includes a display and a data processor. A player places a wager at the video draw poker machine and, in response to the wager, the data processor randomly selects a hand of cards from a data structure containing data representing a deck of playing cards. The hand of cards, typically five cards, is exposed at the display.

The player selects to hold zero or more of the cards of this initial hand and prompts the processor, through an input device, to discard the remaining cards. The data processor replaces the discarded cards with cards selected from the data structure containing data representing a deck of cards depleted of the initial hand. The replacement cards along with the held cards form a final hand.

The video draw poker device compares the final outcome to a set of pre-determined winning combinations stored in the data structure. Typically, these combinations represent conventionally ranked poker hands such as a pair of Jacks or better, two pair, three of a kind, and so forth. If the player's final outcome matches a winning combination, the final outcome is deemed to be a win and the player is rewarded according to a predetermined pay table based on his or her wager. Otherwise, the final outcome is deemed to be a loss and the player's wager is retained by the gaming machine.

Another popular gaming machine known in the art is a slot machine. A slot machine includes a game controller and a set of reels. The reels may be physical reels rotated by stepper motors controlled by a game controller or electronic representations of reels, i.e. computer graphics, generated by a video card and controlled by a game controller. The display of the reels, whether physical or electronic, is relative to pay lines that define the combinations that determine the outcome of the game.

The game itself begins with the player placing a wager. In a game in which multiple pay lines are available, the wager may be allocated among the pay lines. In response to the wager, the game controller spins the reels. The reels index with reel symbols displayed along the predefined pay line or pay lines. If the reel symbols along any of the pay lines form a predetermined “winning” combination, the player is rewarded based on a pay table.

In an enhancement on such gaming machines, another wheel may be added. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,848,932 to Adams discloses a game in which certain combinations of slot symbols comprise a bonus combination. When a bonus combination is obtained, a separate wheel is triggered to randomly select a bonus prize. The bonus prize could take many forms, including a payout, a bonus multiplier, or the like.

The drawback of video draw poker is that a player must have at least a superficial understanding of poker hands and the odds of obtaining certain hands to play the optimum strategy. In other words, the player's success in video draw poker depends at least in part on the player's skill and knowledge of poker.

Slot machines, by contrast, are entirely automatic. That is, the player needs to know nothing about the pay outs and symbol combinations to play most slot machines. Thus, the drawback of slot machines is that they are too simple for some players.

Thus, it can be seen that there is a need in the art for a gaming machine that provides a new match game in which a player attempts to match indicia randomly selected in at least two stages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a method and system for conducting a match game. The match game system includes a data processor communicating with a video controller and a data structure. The data processor controls a display through the video controller. Optionally, a three-dimensional projection display that provides actual or simulated holographic images, and that allows a player to interactively control the images thereon, is provided.

Turning to the method, the player initiates the game, optionally after placing a wager. A plurality of game indicia are selected from a game indicia set to form an action set, and the action set is displayed. Optionally, the probabilities of selecting any one game indicia from the game indicia set may be equally or unequally weighted. For example, in one optional embodiment, the game indicia set is predefined so that the probability that any one game indicia is selected is based on the frequency of the game indicia in the game indicia set.

Optionally the game indicia set contain game indicia in the form of colored discs. In such an optional embodiment, multicolored discs are animated to spin, then appear as a single color. In another optional embodiment, the game indicia are differently colored kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like images animated to shift colors, rather than spin. In such an optional embodiment, the color of the kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like image may determine the property of the game indicia that the player tries to match.

Once the action set is randomly selected, the player is enabled to identify game indicia from the action set to be held or re-selected. This identification could optionally occur by the player selecting zero or more game indicia to be held or, equivalently, by the player selecting zero or more game indicia to be re-selected. Replacement game indicia are randomly selected for each game indicia to be re-selected. Optionally, the same game set is used in the re-selection. In one embodiment, the game may terminate after one re-selection. In an alternate optional embodiment, the game may include multiple rounds in which a player may hold none, some, or all the game indicia after each re-selection, then reselect again. In one version of such an embodiment, the player may conduct as many rounds of re-selection as possible within a fixed time period.

In any event, after the final re-selection, the game indicia are compared. Based on the quantity of matched game indicia, and the particular game indicia matched, the player is rewarded on his or her wager.

Optionally, certain matched game indicia may be designated a bonus outcome. Such a bonus outcome may result in a supplemental reward, trigger a secondary game, or the like. In one such embodiment, a secondary game may include a bonus in which player interactivity is provided.

For example, in one optional embodiment, the secondary game is also a match game in which a bonus image moves in response to a player actuating the bonus image, such as by touching the bonus image, by pressing a button, or the like. The bonus image establishes a standard, which the player attempts to match in one or more subsequent spins of the same or a different bonus image.

In another optional embodiment, a projected (such as a three-dimensional projected) bonus image of an object may be provided and, in response to actuating the object, such as by a player touching the bonus image and simulating motion, the bonus image moves. The bonus image moves and eventually comes to a stop. The player reveals the bonus prize awarded, such as by touching the bonus image.

In yet another optional embodiment, the bonus game may include displaying stationary, dynamic cycle of one or more versions of a bonus image in response to a bonus trigger. Optionally, the sequence may include kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like images and/or explosion images. The bonus outcome is at least partially determined by the version of the bonus image displayed at the end of the stationary, dynamic sequence.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a display of a game according to an embodiment of the present invention before an initial selection;

FIG. 2 is a display of the game of FIG. 1 during an initial selection;

FIG. 3 is a display of the game of FIG. 1 after an initial selection;

FIG. 4 is a display of the game of FIG. 1 during a re-selection in which certain game indicia have been held;

FIG. 5 is a display of the game of FIG. 1 after a re-selection;

FIG. 6 is a flow chart of a method according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a flow chart of a method according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a block diagram of a device according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a display of a bonus game according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a display of a game according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION

Reference is now made to the figures wherein like parts are referred to by like numerals throughout. The present invention is a method and system for conducting a game. Optionally, the game is a wagering game, although it is contemplated that the present game could also be embodied as a promotional game, arcade game, console game, computer game, or the like. Similarly, winning the game may result in a payout in one optional embodiment, but in other optional embodiments, winning the game may result in scoring points, winning tangible prizes, or may simply be for enjoyment and entertainment.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, an optional embodiment includes the player placing 82 a wager. In an optional embodiment in which wagers are placed 82, a player may use a wager receiver to allocate game credits or input a wager for play of a game. For example, in the optional embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, a display may include a display 66 of the game credits available to the player. According to the optional embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, a player may use a “BET 1” button 60 to singly allocate game credits to a wager singly, or a “BET MAX” button 62 to allocate the maximum credits permitted by the game to a wager. In the optional embodiment of the figures, a display 64 of the amount wagered is provided. In such an embodiment, a player signals the completion of wagering and initiates the game by either using the “BET MAX” button 62 if the maximum wager allowed is to be placed or by using the “BET 1” button 60 to select the player's wager amount and the “SPIN” button 68 to commence selection of game indicia.

In a further optional embodiment, the wagers accepted could be multiples of the quantity of game indicia locations used in the game. For example, in a game in which seven game indicia locations, wagers may be made in multiples of seven credits. Such an arrangement could also apply to other “lucky” numbers as eight, eleven, and thirteen such that players could place wagers that are multiples of a selected quantity of credits. It is noted that this could be done without regard to whether (a) the quantity of game indicia used is different for each “lucky” number or (b) the “lucky” number used as the base to determine the multiples of the wagers accepted is related to the conduct or play of the game. In other words, playing a game using certain multiples may have no impact at all on the underlying game or the pay table for the underlying game, other than to determine the amount a player may have at stake in any particular game.

Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, according to the game of the present invention, a plurality of game indicia are selected 84 from a defined 82 game indicia set. The selected game indicia form an action set. The action set may include any quantity of game indicia, but in the optional embodiment of the figures, seven game indicia are selected. The game indicia set can take many different forms, but in the optional embodiment of FIGS. 1-5, the game indicia set is defined 82 to include discs capable of attaining a color selected from five different colors. The game indicia could additionally or alternatively be distinguished by any characteristic, such as shape, symbol, alpha-numeric symbol, sign, image, or the like. It is also contemplated that the player may be able to select the game indicia set to be used in conducting the game. Additionally, in an optional embodiment, a wild symbol may be included.

Optionally, the selection 84 is performed in a random or weighted random fashion. For example, in the optional embodiment of FIG. 1, prior to the selection 84, the game indicia locations are represented by multicolored discs 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24. The number of segments 26 in the disc of a particular color may optionally represent the probability that the color will be selected. Thus, if, for example, a multicolored disc 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 has twenty segments 26, two of which are red, the probability of selecting red may simply be 1:10. In an optional embodiment, the pay outs for any particular outcome may be proportional to the probability of that outcome being obtained. Similarly, in an optional embodiment, the pay table may be a multiplier pay table in which a player is rewarded based on his or her wager.

Alternatively, selection 84 may take place by mapping outcomes to random numbers. A random number generator (“RNG”) generates a number and, based on the number generated, a correlated outcome is displayed to the player.

In any event, the selection process may be visually represented to the player. In the optional embodiment of FIG. 2, this visual representation takes the form of the multicolored discs 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 blurring to simulate spinning. The color of the discs 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 after the end of the selection process represents selected game indicia.

In another optional embodiment shown in FIG. 10, selection and reselection may be visually represented by shifting kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like images rather than “spinning.” In one optional version of such an embodiment, circular rims 124, 126, 128, 130, 132, 134, 136 are depicted. During the selection process, the center of the rims 124, 126, 128, 130, 132, 134, 136 may explode or shift into different colored kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like images and upon stopping, the color of the kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like images represent selected game indicia. It is noted that the game indicia and the selection process of the game indicia may take many other forms.

After displaying the selection process, the selected game indicia may be displayed to the player. For example, in FIG. 3, the seven game indicia displayed after the selection include two red discs 32, 34, one orange disc 36, one yellow disc 38, one blue disc 40, and two green discs 42, 44.

Referring generally to FIGS. 3, 4, 6 and 7, based on the game indicia displayed, the player may identify 86 the game indicia of the action set to hold or re-select. More specifically, the player may input the player's selection to hold or re-select the game indicia. In an optional embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the p layer selects the game indicia to “hold” through a “HOLD” button 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 representing the game indicia to be held; in another optional embodiment, not shown, the player selects the game indicia to re-spin or re-select through a “SPIN” or “RE-SPIN” button (not shown) representing the game indicia to be re-selected. In FIGS. 3 and 4, the player has selected to hold two red discs 32, 24 and re-select the remaining discs 36, 38, 40, 42, 44 by using the two “HOLD” buttons 46, 56 associated with the discs 32, 34 to be held. As in the original selection, the discs 36, 38, 40, 42, 44 to be re-selected may blur, as shown in FIG. 4, to simulate spinning during the re-selection.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, during the re-selection process, the displayed game indicia that are identified for re-selection (or, conversely, not identified to be held) are randomly replaced 88. Keeping in mind that the goal for the player is to form a winning subset of game indicia, the player may desire to hold certain game indicia in an attempt to obtain additional game indicia in the re-selection to complete the subset. In multiple round embodiments described below, it is noted that the player may optionally be committed to game indicia held, that is, may not change selections after a subsequent round, or may choose to hold or re-spin all game indicia after each round. For example, in one optional embodiment, winning subsets are matching game indicia. If a player holds two red discs in the first round, but obtains four yellow discs after the re-spin, it is contemplated that the rules could allow the player to spin the red discs and hold the yellow discs instead for a subsequent round. In the optional embodiment of the FIG. 6, one round of re-selection takes place. However, as shown in FIG. 7, any quantity of rounds may be conducted by repeating 96 the process of identifying 86 game indicia for replacement (or game indicia to be retained) and randomly replacing 88 those game indicia to be re-selected.

In an optional embodiment, a predetermined number of re-selection rounds will be conducted. In this regard, the quantity of rounds to be conducted may be determined in many different ways, including being set by house rule, proceeding based on the satisfaction of criteria at each round, or being selected by the player prior to initiating the game. In an optional embodiment in which a player selects the quantity of rounds prior to initiating the game, the available pay outs may decrease as the quantity of rounds increase.

In another optional embodiment, the player may determine the quantity of re-selection rounds during play. Thus, if a player of such an optional embodiment obtains four matching game indicia in a first re-selection round the player may choose to end the game, or conduct one or more subsequent re-selection rounds to attempt to match additional game indicia. In one optional form of this embodiment, a reward, if any, may be tied to the quantity of re-selection rounds so that the player may need to balance the probability of obtaining additional matches against a pay table that decreases pay outs in subsequent rounds.

In a further optional embodiment, the number of re-selection rounds is not predetermined. In such an embodiment, play may be timed, with the player conducting as many rounds as desired or possible during the time period. Optionally, each spin during the time period is included in the original wager or each spin may require an additional wager. For example, in an optional embodiment, a player may have twenty seconds to obtain as many matched game indicia as possible by successively holding and prompting for re-selection. At the end of the time period, input is no longer accepted from the player and the game is completed.

The re-selection process itself optionally occurs using the same game indicia set as the original selection. That is, in the re-selection, the same game indicia available in the original selection are once again available. Similarly, the re-selection process may be random or weighted random in nature. Relating this to the example shown in the figures, the re-selection may take place with the same twenty segment disc having the same color distribution as in the original selection process.

However, it is also contemplated that the game indicia set and/or the weighting in the re-selection process may be different from the original selection process. For example, in the example shown in the figures, the re-selection may take place using a different disc with greater or fewer segments than the original disc, a different color distribution than the original disc, or both.

Turning to FIG. 5, after re-selection, the game indicia displayed are compared to determine 90 whether the action set contains a winning subset. As noted, a primary goal in one optional embodiment is to have as many matching game indicia as possible, although this does not necessarily preclude embodiments in which other goals may be desired, such as to obtain certain combinations of game indicia, or the like. In such an optional embodiment, it is noted that the combinations desired need not be fixed but may, in an optional embodiment, vary across games. In the example of FIG. 5, the player has through one or more re-selection rounds, obtained six red discs 33, 34, 72, 74, 76, 78 and one yellow disc 70.

As noted above, the player may be rewarded 92 based on the outcome. In an optional embodiment including such a reward, the reward could take many different forms, including money, credit, game credits, points, or the like. Such an optional reward may be issued to the player in many different forms as well, such as through coin, token, electronic credit, ticket, or the like. Conversely, in an embodiment in which wagers are placed, wagers may be collected 94 from players who do not obtain a winning subset.

The size of the reward could be determined based on any number of factors. For example, the reward may be a flat reward or may vary. Examples of the factors that may be considered in a varying award could include the game indicia matched, the quantity of matched game indicia, the size of the wager, if any, the number of re-selections required to obtain the matches, or any other factor or combination of factors.

In an optional embodiment, the game indicia displayed at the end of the re-selection process may also be examined for a bonus outcome. The consequence of obtaining a bonus outcome may vary depending upon the game. For example, a bonus outcome could trigger a bonus pay, a payout multiplier, a secondary game, or the like. For example, as shown in the optional embodiment of FIG. 5, obtaining a certain quantity of matches of a certain game indicia may trigger a bonus round.

In an optional embodiment, the bonus round includes player interaction during the bonus round. For example, a display of a bonus image, such as a bonus disc, may be displayed. By actuating the bonus image (such as by touching a bonus disc, pressing a button, or the like) the bonus image may move (such as by spinning, flipping, or the like) and produce a bonus reward. The bonus reward could take any form and could be of any size including zero, i.e. no bonus reward. While the bonus image could be a conventional computer-generated image, in an optional embodiment, the bonus image is a projected image, three-dimensional hologram or holographic effect that appears to float before a player. While the bonus image could be actuated using a button or other actuator, in an optional embodiment, the player may be enabled to touch the bonus image and, in a further optional embodiment, make a motion as if to move the bonus image, the player sets the holographic bonus disc in motion.

In this regard, the three-dimensional holographic image or effect could take any form and could be controlled in any fashion. That is, generally speaking, the holographic image or effect would be displayed in response to a bonus trigger in the base game. A bonus outcome is produced in response to the player directing movement of the holographic image or effect. As noted, the holographic image could be a rotatable bonus disc that the player spins, but could also take many other forms. Additionally, as noted above, the use of holographic images or effects need not be limited to a bonus round but could also be used in the conduct of the base game.

For example, in an optional embodiment, one or more three-dimensional objects appear in a projected bonus image. The player spins the projection and the images blur together. Upon stopping, the winning image or means of displaying a prize value would be presented or projected. In one optional embodiment, the image is a treasure chest. The player of such an optional embodiment touches lid and prize pops out. It is noted that such a side game could be triggered from an initial game or the outcome of bonus round. In a further optional embodiment, player could also be asked to risk bonus round winnings to enter “super bonus round.”

The bonus round or side game results could be based on player input resulting from their manipulation, but in this optional embodiment the bonus round results are determined by a random number generator and the player's spin of the holographic effect merely simulates that the player's manipulation created or determined the outcome.

It is contemplated that the present method may collect input from the player for conduct of an optional bonus round in any fashion. That is, in an optional embodiment, the player input is not necessarily through simulated or actual manipulation of a bonus image, but could include input through a button, switch, keyboard, controller, touch screen, or the like.

In another bonus game that could be applied to the present invention, one or more bonus images could be displayed to a player. The bonus images may be two-dimensional images or three-dimensional images. In an optional embodiment, the bonus images are stationary and dynamic in that the bonus image does not move on the screen, but the image itself appears to change. Examples of bonus images that could dynamically cycle could include kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like images, explosion images, or any other form of image. In an optional embodiment, the bonus images are distinct from one another, in another optional embodiment, the bonus images are different versions of the same image that are distinguishable by some feature of the bonus image. For example, in one such optional embodiment, each bonus image varies from another in color. The bonus image that is displayed to the player at the end of the cycle determines, at least in part, the bonus outcome of the bonus game.

Thus, in one optional embodiment of the bonus game, shown in FIG. 9, the bonus image may include a circular rim 120 with colored jewels 122 surrounding it. In an optional embodiment, each set of colored jewels 122 fires a ray of colored light into the rim 120 and the center of the rim explodes into a kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like bonus image. Optionally, the kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like bonus images are distinguished from one another by color. It is noted that the sequence of bonus images may be ordered or random. In other words, in one optional embodiment, a first set of jewels fires, then a second, then a third, and so forth, in a predetermined pattern. In another optional embodiment, the order is random. As previously described, one or more of these bonus images is displayed to the player and the bonus image at the end of the sequence of images determines, at least in part, the bonus outcome. Optionally, the bonus image displayed at the end of the sequence is determined in a random or weighted random fashion. Thus, in such an example, the kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like image shown at the end of the sequence may determine whether a bonus prize is awarded and, if so, the value of the bonus prize. In a further optional embodiment, multiple rims may be displayed concurrently or sequentially, such as in a multiple stage bonus game.

In a further optional embodiment, the bonus image may not be confined to a display, but the gaming machine or a portion of the gaming machine could comprise the bonus image. For example, the gaming machine could include illuminated portions that change with the bonus image. Thus, in the previous example, as the kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like image appears in, for example, orange, the illuminated portions may likewise appear orange. As the kaleidoscope or kaleidoscope-like image changes color, the illuminated portions may likewise change color.

Referring to FIG. 8, a system for carrying out the present invention includes a data processor 100 communicating with a video controller 102, an input device 104, and a data structure 106. A display 108 is controlled by the data processor 100 through the video controller 102. The display is optionally a conventional screen display, such as a CRT monitor, LCD display, plasma display, or the like. Optionally, the display is a three-dimensional projection display. In an alternate optional embodiment, shown in FIG. 8, two displays 108, 116 are provided—a conventional two-dimensional display 108 and a bonus display 116 (which could be two-dimensional or three-dimensional). While each could be controlled from the same video controller, optionally a separate video controller 102, 114 is provided for each display 108, 116. As noted above, in an optional embodiment in which players place a wager, a wager receiver 110 communicating with the data processor 100 may be provided. Additionally, a reward device 112 may be provided to issue a reward to a winning player.

The data structure 106 stores instructions executable by the data processor 100 as well as any data needed in conducting the game, such as the game indicia set. According to the present invention, the data processor 100 selects game indicia from the game indicia set and displays the selected game indicia at the display 108. The data processor 100 receives input from the player selecting to hold zero or more of the game indicia at an input device 104. The game indicia not held are re-selected by the data processor 100. The rounds of holding and re-selection are conducted by the data processor 100 in accordance with the game rules and may include additional rounds or a time period for conducting rounds.

The data processor 100 compares the game indicia displayed for matches. In an optional embodiment including a reward, the data processor 100 determines whether the game indicia displayed entitle the player to a reward and, if so, the size and/or type of reward. In an optional embodiment, the data processor 100 may also examine the game indicia displayed for a bonus outcome and, if a bonus outcome is obtained, award the bonus. Optionally, awarding the bonus includes the data processor 100 conducting a secondary game, such as in the form of a bonus round. As noted above, a bonus round may be conducted at a bonus display 116. In a further optional embodiment, the bonus display 116 is a three-dimensional projection display that displays actual or simulated holographic images.

While certain embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described it is to be understood that the present invention is subject to many modifications and changes without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention presented herein.