Title:
GAME SYSTEM AND GAME DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game system and game device are disclosed which shorten the time needed until a game is selected when a player is selecting a game with an operation accepting unit. When play history of players associated with player-specifying information (player ID) is stored in an identifier storage unit, and the input accepting unit accepts the player ID prior to acceptance by an operation accepting unit of game selection operation, an assist display image based on the play history associated with the accepted player ID is displayed prior to acceptance of game selection operation by the operation accepting unit. In this way, the player can check his/her own play history and the time a player takes to decide which game to play can be shortened.



Inventors:
Aida, Eiji (Zama city, JP)
Application Number:
11/674163
Publication Date:
09/27/2007
Filing Date:
02/13/2007
Assignee:
KONAMI GAMING INCORPORATED (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24; A63F5/04; A63F13/12
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040053699Conversion of gaming machine between reel slots and video gameMarch, 2004Rasmussen et al.
20070087838VIDEO GAME MEDIAApril, 2007Bradbury et al.
20090111567REEL GAME APPARATUS FOR PLAYING SUB GAME AND THE METHOD THEREOFApril, 2009Park
20040033829Symbol matching gaming machineFebruary, 2004Pacey et al.
20060149561System and method for jackpot wageringJuly, 2006Govender
20080234040GAMING SYSTEM WITH PROMOTIONAL FEATURESeptember, 2008Davies
20090239666METHOD FOR VIRAL INVITES AS GAME AND DISCOVERY MECHANICSeptember, 2009Hall et al.
20080153589Rotisserie fantasy league visualization toolsJune, 2008Baray et al.
20090062011REMOTE GAME SYSTEM AND REMOTE GAME MACHINEMarch, 2009Nagata et al.
20040259627Method and apparatus for alternate display informationDecember, 2004Walker et al.
20040063497Gaming server providing on demand quality of serviceApril, 2004Gould



Primary Examiner:
GARNER, WERNER G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GLOBAL IP COUNSELORS, LLP (1233 20TH STREET, NW, SUITE 700, WASHINGTON, DC, 20036-2680, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A game system in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication, wherein each game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept game selection operations for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from the player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of the game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display a game screen based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communication processing unit; and a display processing unit that controls the display on the display unit; and the server device comprises: a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, and the game operation information from the game terminals; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; a control unit configured to read from the program storage unit a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information or game progress status with the player-identifying information and store the same in the player information storage unit; wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal; and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

2. The game system according to claim 1, wherein the action history contains the number of times a game program has been executed.

3. The game system according to claim 1, wherein the action history includes game play results for each game program.

4. The game system according to claim 1, wherein the display processing unit, in place of, or together with, the assist display image, is configured to generate an assist display image based on action history associated with player-specifying information other than the player-specifying information inputted into the input accepting unit, and perform display processing in order to cause such assist display image to be displayed on the display unit of the game terminal or other display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

5. A game system configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals, wherein each game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information that specifies a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive from the server device a game program corresponding to the use request; a control unit configured to execute a game program received by the terminal communications processing unit, and control game data of the game to be executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in the game data; and a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and the server device comprises: a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, and the game operation information from a game terminal, read a game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the game selection operation information; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information or game progress status with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit; wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal; and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

6. The game system according to claim 5, wherein the action history contains the number of times each game program has been executed.

7. The game system according to claim 5, wherein the action history contains game play results for each game program.

8. The game system according to claim 5, wherein the display processing unit, in place of, or together with, the assist display image, is configured to generate an assist display image based on action history associated with player-specifying information other than the player-specifying information inputted into the input accepting unit, and perform display processing to cause such assist display image to be displayed on the display unit of the game terminal or other display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

9. A game system configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals, wherein each game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player; an operation accepting unit configured to accept game selection operations for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit the player-specifying information and the use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation to the server device, and receive from the server device a game program corresponding to the use request; a control unit configured to execute a game program received by the terminal communication processing unit, and control game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; a display unit configured to display a game image based on image information contained in the game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on game operation information for specifying the game operations or game progress status with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device; and the server device comprises: a program storage unit that stores at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, and association between action history and the player-specifying information from a game terminal, read a game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the use request; and a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information as well as the association between action history and the player-specifying information; wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal; and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

10. A game system in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication, wherein each game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information that specifies a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of a game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communications processing unit; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information or the game progress status with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device; and the server device comprises: a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the use request, the game operation information, and association between action history and the player-specifying information; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information as well as the associations between action history and the player-specifying information; and a control unit configured to read, from the program storage unit, a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control the game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; and wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal; and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

11. A game system in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication, wherein each game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a players; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, game selection operations, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of a game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communications processing unit; and a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and the server device comprises: a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the game selection operations, the use request, and the game operation information; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; a control unit configured to read, from the program storage unit, a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; an operation history processing unit configured to associate operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit; and an operation omission processing unit configured to generated, based on the operation history stored in the player information storage unit, pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history that were repeatedly accepted by the operation accepting unit are omitted at least in part; wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of the game terminal, the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal; and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

12. A game system configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals, wherein each game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, the game selection operation, and a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and receive a game program corresponding to the use request from the server device; a control unit configured to execute the game program received by the terminal communication processing unit, and control game data for the game executed by such game program in accordance with the game operation information for specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data; and a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and the server device comprises: a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the game selection operations, and the use request, read the game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the use request; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; an operation history processing unit configured to associate the operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit; and an operation omission processing unit configured to generated, based on the operation history stored in the player information storage unit, pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history that have been repeatedly accepted by the operation accepting unit are omitted at least in part; wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of the game terminal, the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal, and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control such that the same is displayed on the display unit.

13. A game system configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals, wherein each game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information and a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and receive a game program corresponding to the use request from the server device; a control unit configured to execute the game program received by the terminal communication processing unit, and control game data for the game executed by such game program in accordance with the game operation information for specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; an operation history processing unit configured to associate the operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device; and an operation omission processing unit configured to receive from the server device the operation history associated with the player-specifying information, and generate pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history associated with the player-specifying information that the operation accepting unit repeatedly accepted are omitted at least in part; and the server device comprises a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the use request, and the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information, read the game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the use request; and a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information, and store the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information; wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit the operation history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit to the operation omission processing unit of the game terminal via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal; and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

14. A game system in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication, wherein a game terminal comprises: an input accepting unit configured to accept, prior to game commencement, player-specifying information specifying a player; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of a game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communication processing unit; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; an operation history processing unit configured to associate operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device; and an operation omission processing unit configured to receive, from the server device, the operation history associated with the player-specifying information, and generate pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history associated with the player-specifying information that the operation accepting unit repeatedly accepted are omitted at least in part; and the server device comprises: a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, the game operation information, and the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information from the game terminals; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information, and store the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information; and a control unit configured to read from the program storage unit a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control game data of the game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; wherein the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit the operation history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit to the operation omission processing unit of the game terminal via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal; and the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

15. A game device comprises: a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; an input accepting unit configured to accept, prior to game commencement, player-specifying information that specifies a player; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a control unit configured to read a game program corresponding to the game selection operation from the program storage unit, execute the read game program, and control game data of the game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in the game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information with the player-specifying information, and cause the same to be stored in the player-specifying information storage unit; wherein the display processing unit is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit, and control such that the same is displayed on the display unit prior to acceptance of game selection operation by the operation accepting unit.

16. A game device comprising: a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; an input accepting unit configured to accept, prior to game commencement, player-specifying information specifying a player; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a control unit configured to read a game program corresponding to the game selection operation from the program storage unit, execute the read game program, and control game data of the game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in the game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; an operation history processing unit configured to associate the operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit; and an operation omission processing unit configured to generate pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history associated with the player-specifying operation repeatedly accepted by the operation accepting unit are omitted at least in part; wherein the display processing unit is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-080380. The entire disclosure of Japanese Patent Application No. 2006-080380 is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a game system and game device to be installed in a game facility or the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A known example of this type of game system is the system described in the specification of U.S. Pat. No. 6,409,602. This system comprises a server that stores a plurality of game programs and a plurality of game terminals, and the server can execute a plurality of game programs. Each client can access a plurality of game programs to be executed by the server, and the game screen of the accessed game program is displayed on the relevant client.

The player can choose a game program from among a plurality of game programs stored on the server by performing a game selection operation on the game terminal operation unit of the client game terminal. The player can play the relevant game program executed by the server by performing game operations at the client.

However, with this kind of game system, problems that arise are that the player that operates the operation accepting unit of the game terminal takes time in performing a game selection operation because he/she has trouble selecting which game to play, or the operations to be performed until a game is selected are time-consuming.

This kind of problem is not limited to game systems comprising a server and a plurality of clients. This problem also arises with a standalone game device storing a plurality of game programs from which the player can select a game.

In view of the above, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that there exists a need for an improved game system and game device that can reduce the amount of time needed for the player to select a game when selecting a game with the operation accepting unit. This invention addresses this need in the art as well as other needs, which will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the present invention, a game system is disclosed in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication.

Each game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept game selection operations for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from the player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of the game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display a game screen based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communication processing unit; and a display processing unit that controls the display on the display unit.

The server device comprises a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, and the game operation information from the game terminals; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; a control unit configured to read from the program storage unit a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information or game progress status with the player-identifying information and store the same in the player information storage unit.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. In addition, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

With this game system, the action history (play history) of players is associated with player-specifying information and stored. When the input accepting unit has accepted input of player-specifying information, an assist display image based on a specified play history associated with accepted player-specifying information is displayed on the display unit prior to acceptance of game selection operation by the operation accepting unit. Here, a player in many cases will select a game after referring to his/her own play history, such as the type of games played, number of times each type was played, and play performance. When players select a game, displaying an assist display image based on their own play history enables players to check their own play history and shorten the time spent deciding which game to play.

According to a second aspect of the present invention, the action history of the first aspect contains the number of times a game program has been executed.

When selecting a game, a player can check an assist display screen based on the number of times he/she played various games. Thus, a player can use the number of times he/she played a game as an aid to game selection and shorten the time taken to decide which game to select.

According to a third aspect of the present invention, the action history of the first aspect includes game play results for each game program.

This game system stores an action history containing game play results. Because an assist display image based on assist information generated using game play results is displayed, the player can check his/her own past play performance on an individual game basis. Thus, the player can use play results as an aid to game selection and shorten the time taken deciding which game to select.

According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, in the first aspect, the display processing unit, in place of, or together with, the assist display image, is configured to generate an assist display image based on action history associated with player-specifying information other than the player-specifying information inputted into the input accepting unit, and perform display processing in order to cause such assist display image to be displayed on the display unit of the game terminal or other display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

This game system displays assist display images based not only on the play history of a player but the play history of other players. A player can check the assist display image based on information containing the play histories of other players such as game popularity ranking, and ranking based on play history. Thus, the player can use the play histories of other players as an aid to game selection and shorten the time taken to decide which game to select.

According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, a game system is configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals.

Each game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information that specifies a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive from the server device a game program corresponding to the use request; a control unit configured to execute a game program received by the terminal communications processing unit, and control game data of the game to be executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in the game data; and a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit.

The server device comprises a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, and the game operation information from a game terminal, read a game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the game selection operation information; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information or game progress status with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. In addition, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

The effects of the fifth aspect of the invention are the same as the first aspect.

According to a sixth aspect of the present invention, the action history of the first fifth aspect contains the number of times each game program has been executed.

According to a seventh aspect of the present invention, the action history of the fifth aspect contains game play results for each game program.

According to an eighth aspect of the present invention, in the fifth aspect, the display processing unit, in place of, or together with, the assist display image, is configured to generate an assist display image based on action history associated with player-specifying information other than the player-specifying information inputted into the input accepting unit, and perform display processing to cause such assist display image to be displayed on the display unit of the game terminal or other display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

According to a ninth aspect of the present invention, a game system is configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals.

Each game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player; an operation accepting unit configured to accept game selection operations for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit the player-specifying information and the use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation to the server device, and receive from the server device a game program corresponding to the use request; a control unit configured to execute a game program received by the terminal communication processing unit, and control game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; a display unit configured to display a game image based on image information contained in the game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on game operation information for specifying the game operations or game progress status with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device.

The server device comprises a program storage unit that stores at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, and association between action history and the player-specifying information from a game terminal, read a game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the use request; and a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information as well as the association between action history and the player-specifying information.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. In addition, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

The effects of the ninth aspect of the invention are the same as the first aspect of the invention.

According to a tenth aspect of the present invention, a game system is disclosed in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication.

Each game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information that specifies a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of a game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communications processing unit; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information or the game progress status with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device.

The server device comprises a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the use request, the game operation information, and association between action history and the player-specifying information; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information as well as the associations between action history and the player-specifying information; and a control unit configured to read, from the program storage unit, a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control the game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of a game terminal, action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. In addition, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit in the period prior to acceptance by the operation accepting unit of the game selection operation.

The effects of the tenth aspect of the present invention are the same as those of the first aspect.

According to an eleventh aspect of the present invention, a game system is disclosed in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication.

Each game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a players; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, game selection operations, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of a game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communications processing unit; and a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit.

The server device comprises a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the game selection operations, the use request, and the game operation information; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; a control unit configured to read, from the program storage unit, a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control game data of a game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information; an operation history processing unit configured to associate operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit; and an operation omission processing unit configured to generated, based on the operation history stored in the player information storage unit, pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history that were repeatedly accepted by the operation accepting unit are omitted at least in part.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of the game terminal, the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. In addition, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

This game system associates operation history for past pre-game selection operation history—i.e., operations up to game selection—with player-specifying information and stores the same. When the input accepting unit accepts input of player-specifying information, operations performed repeatedly in the game selection operations are omitted based on the operation history associated with that player-specifying information. In some cases, as players repeat game selection tasks, their operations will to a certain extent fall into a specific pattern. Players with such a set pattern repeat the same operation pattern each time they play, and this can become tiresome for a player.

This game system can comprehend game selection operation patterns for players on an individual player basis based on the operation history for pre-game selection operations. Because recurring operations can be omitted at least in part, a player can enjoy the effects of repeated operations without having to actually perform the operations repeatedly. Thus the operations preceding a player's game selection operation can be simplified.

According to a twelfth aspect of the present invention, a game system is configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals.

Each game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, the game selection operation, and a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and receive a game program corresponding to the use request from the server device; a control unit configured to execute the game program received by the terminal communication processing unit, and control game data for the game executed by such game program in accordance with the game operation information for specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data; and a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit.

The server device comprises a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the game selection operations, and the use request, read the game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the use request; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; an operation history processing unit configured to associate the operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit; and an operation omission processing unit configured to generated, based on the operation history stored in the player information storage unit, pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history that have been repeatedly accepted by the operation accepting unit are omitted at least in part.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit, to the display processing unit of the game terminal, the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. In addition, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control such that the same is displayed on the display unit.

The effects of the twelfth aspect of the present invention are the same as those of the eleventh aspect.

According to a thirteenth aspect of the present invention, a game system is configured to enable two-way communication between a server device on which at least one game program is stored and a plurality of game terminals.

Each game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept player-specifying information specifying a player prior to game commencement; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information and a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and receive a game program corresponding to the use request from the server device; a control unit configured to execute the game program received by the terminal communication processing unit, and control game data for the game executed by such game program in accordance with the game operation information for specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; an operation history processing unit configured to associate the operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device; and an operation omission processing unit configured to receive from the server device the operation history associated with the player-specifying information, and generate pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history associated with the player-specifying information that the operation accepting unit repeatedly accepted are omitted at least in part.

The server device comprises a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a server communication processing unit configured to receive from a game terminal the player-specifying information, the use request, and the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information, read the game program corresponding to the use request from the program storage unit, and transmit the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source for the use request; and a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information, and store the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit the operation history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit to the operation omission processing unit of the game terminal via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. Here, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

The effects of the thirteenth aspect of the present invention are the same as those of the eleventh aspect.

According to a fourteenth aspect of the present invention, a game system is disclosed in which a server device configured to execute at least one game program, and a plurality of game terminals configured to communicate with the server device and provide a player with game data of the game program, are connected in a manner enabling two-way communication.

A game terminal comprises an input accepting unit configured to accept, prior to game commencement, player-specifying information specifying a player; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a terminal communication processing unit configured to transmit to the server device the player-specifying information, a use request for a game program corresponding to the game selection operation, and game operation information specifying the game operations, and receive game data provided by execution of a game program by the server device; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in game data received by the terminal communication processing unit; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; an operation history processing unit configured to associate operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and transmit the same to the server device; and an operation omission processing unit configured to receive, from the server device, the operation history associated with the player-specifying information, and generate pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history associated with the player-specifying information that the operation accepting unit repeatedly accepted are omitted at least in part.

The server device comprises a server communication processing unit configured to receive the player-specifying information, the use request, the game operation information, and the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information from the game terminals; a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information, and store the association between the operation history and the player-specifying information; and a control unit configured to read from the program storage unit a game program corresponding to the use request received from a game terminal, execute the read game program, and control game data of the game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information.

Here, the server communication processing unit is configured to transmit the operation history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit to the operation omission processing unit of the game terminal via the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal. In addition, the display processing unit of the game terminal is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

The effects of the fourteenth aspect of the present invention are the same as those of the eleventh aspect.

According to a fifteenth aspect of the present invention, a game device comprises a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; an input accepting unit configured to accept, prior to game commencement, player-specifying information that specifies a player; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a control unit configured to read a game program corresponding to the game selection operation from the program storage unit, execute the read game program, and control game data of the game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in the game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; and an action history processing unit configured to associate action history based on the game operation information with the player-specifying information, and cause the same to be stored in the player-specifying information storage unit.

Here, the display processing unit is configured to generate an assist display image based on the action history associated with the player-specifying information in the player information storage unit, and control such that the same is displayed on the display unit prior to acceptance of game selection operation by the operation accepting unit.

This game device associates player-specifying information and stores specified action history of players (play history). When the input accepting unit accepts input of player-specifying information, an assist display image based on specified play history associated with the received player-specifying information is displayed prior to acceptance of a game selection operation by the operation accepting unit. Players often select a game based on their own play history, such as the kinds of games played in the past, the number of times they played that game and play performance. Displaying an assist display screen based on a player's own play history when the player is selecting a game enables the player to check his/her own play history, shortening the time for a player to decide which game to play.

A game device comprising a program storage unit configured to store at least one game program; an input accepting unit configured to accept, prior to game commencement, player-specifying information specifying a player; a player information storage unit configured to store the player-specifying information; an operation accepting unit configured to accept a game selection operation for selection of a game program, and game operations for a game in progress, from a player; a control unit configured to read a game program corresponding to the game selection operation from the program storage unit, execute the read game program, and control game data of the game being executed by the game program in accordance with the game operation information specifying the game operations; a display unit configured to display game images based on image information contained in the game data; a display processing unit configured to control the display on the display unit; an operation history processing unit configured to associate the operation history based on the game selection operation with the player-specifying information, and store the same in the player information storage unit; and an operation omission processing unit configured to generate pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns in past operation history associated with the player-specifying operation repeatedly accepted by the operation accepting unit are omitted at least in part.

Here, the display processing unit is configured to generate an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data associated with the player-specifying information, and perform control so that the same is displayed on the display unit.

This game device associates operation history of past pre-game selection operations prior to game selection with player-specifying information and stores the same. When the input accepting unit accepts player-specifying information, recurring pre-game selection operations are omitted based on the operation history associated with that player-specifying information. In some cases, as players repeat game selection tasks, their operations will to a certain extent fall into a specific pattern. Players with such a set pattern repeat the same operation pattern each time they play, and this can become tiresome for a player.

This game device can grasp game selection operation patterns for players on an individual player basis based on the operation history for pre-game selection operations. Because recurring operations can be omitted at least in part, a player can enjoy the effects of repeated operations without having to actually perform the operations repeatedly. Thus the operations preceding a player's game selection operation can be simplified.

In accordance with the present invention, a game system or game device is provided that can shorten the time needed until a game selection operation when a player is selecting a game with an operation accepting unit.

These and other objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, which, taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Referring now to the attached drawings which form a part of this original disclosure:

FIG. 1 is functional block diagram showing the main configuration of a casino game system according to Embodiment 1.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing the hardware configuration of a server device constituting the casino game system.

FIG. 3 is an external view of a game terminal constituting the casino game system.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the hardware configuration of the main control board constituting the game terminal.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing the hardware configuration of a sub-control board constituting a game terminal.

FIG. 6 is a sequence flow diagram showing the process flow when a player is playing a game at a game terminal.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart showing the flow of a slot game based on a game program executed by a server device.

FIG. 8 is a diagram for explaining an example of stop patterns when a winning is decided in a slot game.

FIG. 9 is a functional block diagram showing the main configuration of a casino game system according to Embodiment 2.

FIG. 10 is a sequence flow diagram showing processing when a player plays a game at a game terminal constituting the casino game system.

FIG. 11 is a functional block diagram showing the main configuration of a game device in the Variations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Selected embodiments of the present invention will now be explained with reference to the drawings. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that the following descriptions of the embodiments of the present invention are provided for illustration only and not for the purpose of limiting the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.

Embodiment 1

Now, one embodiment of the present invention where the present invention is applied to a casino game system for a licensed casino facility (hereinafter referred to as “Embodiment 1”) will be explained. FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram showing the main configuration of the casino game system according to Embodiment 1. This casino game system is a thin-client type game system that is comprised of a plurality of game terminals 1 having no system board, and a server device 50 storing multiple kinds of game programs. In other words, a game based on a game program executed in the server device 50 can be played at each game terminal 1.

The game terminal 1 acts as an interface for a player when playing the game, and is installed on a casino floor where the players actually play the game. On the other hand, the server device 50 is installed in a security room, for example, where entry by the players is not permitted. This security room is strictly managed by a casino operator. Each game terminal 1 and the server device 50 are connected via a communication network so as to allow two-way communication therebetween. When all or a portion of the functional elements of the server device 50 are installed in a location away from the casino, they may be connected to the server device via a public telephone line, dedicated telephone line, communication network implemented by a wireless communication line, etc. Configuration of the server device 50

First, the server device 50 of the casino game system will be explained. FIG. 2 is a block diagram showing the hardware configuration of the server device 50 according to Embodiment 1. The server device 50 comprises a CPU 51, RAM 52, ROM 53, system bus 54, information storage device 55, input device 56, output device 57, server communication device 58, etc. Elements such as CPU 51 and RAM 52 exchange data and program instructions and the like with each other via the system bus 54. A program for operating the server device 50 in accordance with a predetermined sequence is stored in the ROM 53 and information storage unit 55, and called up to a working area in the CPU 51 and RAM 52 and executed as necessary. The information storage device 55 stores multiple kinds of game programs A, B, C and so on that can be played selectively on the game terminal 1. A new game program can be added to the information storage device 55 or an existing game program can be deleted therefrom by the casino operating staff operating the input device 56. These game programs may include a game program for a slot machine and a game program for a table game such as blackjack and poker, but is not limited thereto.

When the server device 50 receives game selection operation information from the game terminal 1, as explained below, the CPU 51 executes a game program specified by the game selection operation information. Image and audio information according to the progress of the game is created by the executed game program and is transmitted from the server communication device 58 to the game terminal 1, i.e., the source of the game selection operation information. When the game terminal 1 receives the image and audio information, a game display based on the image information and sound effects based on the audio information are outputted. When the player performs game operation to the game terminal, the game operation information is transmitted to the server device 50. The CPU 51 of the server device 50 that has received the game operation information changes the progress of the game based on the game operation information. This allows the player to play the game that progresses in accordance with the game program executed by the server device 50 on the game terminal 1.

Note that the server device 50 may be configured as a dedicated control device or may be configured using a general computer system. Also, it may be configured with a single computer or with a plurality of computers connected via a network, each of the plurality of computers being equipped with each of a plurality of functions. Configuration of the game terminal 1

Next, the game terminal 1 of the casino game system will be explained. FIG. 3 is a perspective exterior view of the game terminal 1 according to Embodiment 1. The game terminal 1 has a box-shape case 2, front panel 3 attached to the front side of the case 2 such that the case 2 can be opened and closed, and so on. Provided on the front panel 3 are a display window 4 for visibly checking a monitor 11, a coin slot 5a and bill slot 5b, a spin button 6a, a credit payoff button 6b, BET buttons 7a and 7b used to play a game after a player has inserted coins into the game terminal, a game selection button 8, a coin receiving tray 9 having a coin payout outlet 9a, lamps 10a and 10b, etc. The spin button 6a, credit payoff button 6b, BET buttons 7a and 7b, and game selection button 8 are lamp buttons that include a light emitter.

The monitor 11 is arranged inside the game terminal 1. This monitor 11 displays a game display based on the image information of a game display transmitted from the server device 50. In the case of a slot game, for example, a plurality of the same or different symbols that are to be arranged in a predetermined arrangement are respectively displayed in five symbol display areas 11a. The monitor 11 is configured with a CRT display but may also be configured with a plasma display, liquid crystal display, and the like. Also, the monitor 11 is provided with a credit display unit 11b, bet display unit 11c, and winning money display unit 11d above the five symbol display areas 11a. The credit display unit 11b displays the number of credits equivalent to the amount of money that the player has inputted into the coin slot 5a or bill slot 5b (deposit amount). The bet display unit 11c displays a bet that the player has placed using the BET buttons 7a and 7b. The winning money display unit 11d displays the amount of money that the player has won in accordance with the results of a game. The game terminal 1 also internally includes a detection device for detecting whether or not inputted coins and bills are counterfeit, a coin payout device having a hopper capable of holding a large number of coins (not shown), a speaker that serves as a sound output unit, etc. Note, however, that a control unit that executes a game program and progresses the game is not provided in the game terminal 1 but rather in the server device 50 as mentioned earlier.

A card slot 13 for inserting a house card as a portable recording medium used at the casino, and a display device 14, are provided at the upper part of the game terminal 1. The house card manages personal information that the player has registered at the casino reception and the like. A player ID, or unique player identification information for each player, is stored in the house card. The house card is also used by the server device 50 and the like to manage points given to the player in accordance with the amount of money he/she has spent for the game. This makes it easier to award privileges to a player, such as a hotel voucher based on the points. The points that the player has earned, etc. are displayed on the display device 14.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the hardware configuration of a main control board 20 of the game terminal 1. FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing the hardware configuration of a sub-control board 30 of the game terminal 1. An input/output port 21a of the main control board 20 is used in order to communicate with the sub-control board 30. An input/output port 21b of the main control board 20 is used in order to communicate with the monitor 11, lamps 10a and 10b, speaker 15, various buttons 6a, 6b, 7a 7b and 8, and coin payout device 16. An external input/output port 21c of the main control board 20 is used in order to communicate with the server device 50 via the communication network. Various programs, such as a communication program that are executed by a CPU 21, are stored in a ROM 22 and are outputted to the CPU 21. Note, however, that no game program is stored in the ROM 22. A RAM 23 temporarily stores the processing results and the like of the CPU 21. A video driver 25 controls the display of the monitor 11 under the control of the CPU 21. Alight control unit 26 controls the lighting of the lamps 10a and 10b under the control of the CPU 21. A sound control unit 27 controls audio announcements and sound effects and the like that the speaker 15 outputs under the control of the CPU 21. A payout control unit 28 controls the coin payout device 16 so that coins are paid out from the coin payout outlet 9a to the coin receiving tray 9 under the control of the CPU 21. The CPU 21 of the main control board 20 is also connected to the spin button 6a, credit payoff button 6b, BET buttons 7a and 7b, and game selection button 8, and receives operation signals from the input/output port 21b. In addition, the CPU 21 is also connected to a deposit amount counting device (not shown) that counts the amount of money inserted into the coin slot 5a and bill slot 5b.

The sub-control board 30 comprises a CPU 31, ROM 32, RAM 33, card reader 34, display driver 24, input/output ports 36a and 36b, etc. The ROM 32 stores data such as various programs, various databases, etc. used by the CPU 31, which are outputted to the CPU 31. The RAM 33 temporarily stores the processing results and the like of the CPU 31. The card reader 34 reads out an ID stored in a house card that is inserted in the card slot 13 and outputs the ID to the CPU 31. The display driver 35 controls the display of the display device 14 under the control of the CPU 31. The input/output port 36a is used for communicating data with the main control board 20. The input/output port 36b is used for communication with the display device 14.

As shown in the functional block diagram of FIG. 1, the game terminal in Embodiment 1 primarily comprises the operation accepting unit 41, terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, and input accepting unit 71.

The operation accepting unit 41 comprises a spin button 6a, credit payoff button 6b, BET buttons 7a and 7b, and game selection button 8, etc. When a player performs a button operation, the input-output port 21b sends the operation signal to the CPU 21 of the main control board 20. Included in these operations is a game selection operation for selecting the kind of game program to be executed by the server device 50.

The terminal communication processing unit 42 performs two-way communication with the server device 50 and comprises primarily the CPU 21, ROM 22, RAM 23, and external input-output port 21c of a main control board 20. When the operation accepting unit 41 accepts a game selection operation as described below, the terminal communication processing unit 42 performs processing for transmitting to the server device game selection operation information (use request) specifying the kind of game program to be executed on the server device 50. When the operation accepting unit 41 accepts various game operations, processing is performed to transmit the game operation information corresponding to the received game operation to the server device. Here, game operation information is information for performing controls such as changing the progress status of a game based on a game program being executed by the server device 50. Further, the terminal communication processing unit 42 also performs processing for receiving image and sound information in accordance with the progress status of a game based on a game program being executed by the server device.

The display unit 43 comprises the CPU 21 and 31, ROM 22 and 32, RAM 23 and 33, video driver 25, display driver 35, etc. serving as the display processing unit; and comprises the monitor 11 and display device 14, etc. The display unit 43 displays on the monitor 11 and display device 14 game images based on image information received from the terminal communication processing unit 42. The display unit also displays a screen for game selection as described below on the monitor 11.

The input accepting unit 71 comprises the card slot 13, card reader 34, etc., and accepts the ID that is the player identifier stored in the house card. More specifically, an ID stored in the house card inserted into the card slot 13 is read by the card reader 34, and that ID is transmitted to the terminal communication processing unit 42. The terminal communication processing unit 42 outputs the ID received from the input accepting unit 71 to the server device 50.

The other hand, the server device 50 comprises a storage unit 61, control unit 62, server communication processing unit 63, identifier storage unit 64, identifier selection unit 65 and action history processing unit 72.

The storage unit 61 comprises the RAM 52, ROM 53, information storage unit 55, etc., and stores a plurality of game programs A, B, C and the like.

The control unit 62 comprises the CPU 51, ROM 52, RAM 53, system bus 54, etc., and can execute at least two or more game programs simultaneously. When the control unit 62 receives an execution command from the identifier selection unit 65 described above, the storage unit 61 reads and executes the game program relating to that execution command. At this time, if while the game program is being executed on one game terminal 1, another execution command is received, the latter game program is executed in parallel while execution of the former game program continues. Further, the control unit 62 transmits via the server communication processing unit 63 image and audio information in accordance with the game progress status based on a game program to the game terminal 1 that is the transmission source for the game selection operation information corresponding to that game program. Further, when the server communication processing unit 63 receives game operation information, the control unit 62 performs control so as to change the game progress status based on the game operation information.

The server communication processing unit 63 performs two-way communication with each game terminal 1 and comprises primarily the CPU 51, ROM 52, RAM 53, system bus 54, server communication device 58, etc. The server communication processing unit 63 performs processing for receiving game selection operation or game operation information transmitted by each game terminal 1, and for transmitting to the game terminal image or audio information in accordance with the game progress status based on the game program being executed by the control unit 62.

The identifier storage unit 64 comprises RAM 52, ROM 53, information storage device 55, etc. and stores a plurality of different identifiers for the same game program. In other words, the identifiers make it appear that there is a plurality of the same game program, and identify each of them. For example, there are more than two identifiers for a game program A, more than two identifiers for a game program B, and more than two identifiers for a game program C. Note, however, there may be a program that has only one corresponding identifier, or a game program that has no corresponding identifier. Also note that a plurality of virtual machines (virtual game devices) that are capable of executing the same game program are provided, and each of the identifiers for the game program is correlated with each virtual machine.

The identifier selection unit 65 comprises a CPU 51, ROM 52, RAM 53, system bus 54 and the like. When the server communication processing unit 63 receives game selection operation information (use request), that game selection operation information is transmitted to the identifier selection unit 65. The identifier selection unit 65 then determines whether or not unselected identifiers exist for the game program corresponding to the game selection operation information. When there are unselected identifiers, the identifier selection unit 65 performs a process in which one identifier is selected from the unselected identifiers in accordance with a predetermined selection condition. As explained below, the selection condition in Embodiment 1 is that an identifier is selected if that identifier is unselected.

For example, each game terminal 1 transmits notification image selection information together with the game selection operation information to the server device 50. This notification image selection information indicates which virtual machine has been selected by a player. The notification image identifies each of the identifiers that corresponds to each of a plurality of the same game programs that exist virtually. Simply put, the notification image indicates whether or not each of a plurality of virtual machines that can execute a selected game is currently used, so that the player can select one from the unused virtual machines. Here, according to the selection condition of Embodiment 1, if an identifier corresponding to notification image selection information is an unselected identifier, that identifier can be selected.

Note that the selection condition is not limited to the aforementioned condition. It may be that an identifier is selected from unselected identifiers randomly, or that an identifier is selected based on an order of priority predetermined for a plurality of identifiers. Also, when the identifier selection unit 65 selects an identifier, it sets a selection flag on for that selected identifier in the identifier storage unit 64. The identifier selection unit 65 determines whether or not each identifier has already been selected depending on whether or not its selection flag is on. When selecting an identifier, the identifier selection unit 65 also outputs an execution command to the control unit 62 to execute a game program corresponding to that identifier.

The action history processing unit 72 comprises a CPU 51, ROM 52, RAM 53, system bus 54, etc. The action history processing unit 72 associates identifiers corresponding to the game program executed by the control unit 62, player IDs received from the game terminals, and the specified action history information (play history information) for game programs being executed, and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64. In other words, the action operation processing unit 72 performs processing to store the play history of players in the identifier storage unit 64.

Therefore, the identifier storage unit 64, in addition to storing a plurality of different identifiers for the same game program, associates action history information with player IDs and stores the same.

The action history information is a history of game operation information for each player or game progress status based on a game program executed by the control unit 62. Therefore, the action history processing unit 72 receives the game progress status from the control unit, and receives a player's game operation information from the operation accepting unit 41.

Next, the process flow when a player plays a game on the game terminal 1 is explained. FIG. 6 is a sequence flow diagram showing the process flow when a player plays the game on the game terminal. When the player is about to start playing the game on one game terminal 1, the monitor 11 of that game terminal 1 is usually displaying images of the preceding game played on that game terminal 1. The player can choose to play that game or to play another kind of game that is stored in the program storage unit 61 of the server device 50. When the player chooses to play another type of game, the player first performs an operation on the operation accepting unit 41 in order to call up a game selection display. Upon this operation, the CPU 21 of the game terminal 1 executes a game selection program, reads out game selection display information stored in the ROM 22 and RAM 23, and displays the game selection display on the monitor 11. Note that a case in which the game selection display information is stored in each game terminal 1 is explained in Embodiment 1, but it may be stored in the server device 50 instead. If the game selection display information is stored in the server device 50, the management efficiency will improve because all the game selection display information can be centrally managed. For example, when adding a new game program or deleting an existing game program, all that has to be done is to change the game selection display information stored in the server device 50. In this way, the changes can be made easily.

A list of available games for the player on the game terminal 1 is displayed on the game selection display. The player then views the game selection display, and, by operating the game selection button 8, performs a game selection operation on the operation accepting unit 41 in order to select a game that the player wishes to play. The game selection operation information corresponding to that operation is transmitted from the terminal communication processing unit 42 to the server device 50. Here, a case where the player has selected a slot game is taken as an example. When the server communication processing unit 63 receives the game selection operation information, the CPU 51 of the server device 50 executes a predetermined notification processing program. Upon this execution, the CPU 51 of the server device 50 specifies a game program based on the game selection operation information, refers to the identifier storage unit 64, and determines whether or not a selection flag is on for a plurality of identifiers (or one identifier) corresponding to the specified game program. Thereafter, the CPU 51 performs control by which selection flag information that indicates the determination result is sent from the server communication processing unit 63 to the game terminal 1 that has transmitted the game selection operation information. Here, the selection flag information is information (selected/unselected information) that indicates whether a virtual machine is being used or not (selected or unselected). Then, when the game terminal 1 receives the selection flag information by the terminal communication processing unit 42, the CPU 21 displays a virtual machine selection display on the display unit 43. The virtual machine selection display displays a plurality of virtual machine images (notification images) such that that each of them is identifiable. Note that a game selected by a game selection operation is provided with a plurality of identifiers, and a virtual machine image (notification image) is provided for each of the identifiers.

In other words, when a player selects a desired game, a plurality of virtual machine images (notification images) that can execute the selected game are displayed on the display unit 43. This plurality of virtual machine images indicate which virtual machine is being used (selected) and which virtual machine is not being used (unselected) among the plurality of virtual machines on which the selected game can be played. The player can thus know the selectable virtual machines from the virtual machine images.

In Embodiment 1, each virtual machine image (notification image) is thus displayed on the display unit 43 of the game terminal 1 by the cooperating of the game terminal 1 and the server device 50. A notification process in which each virtual machine image (notification image) is displayed on the display unit 43 is executed by a notification processing unit. The notification processing unit comprises the RAM 52 that configures the identifier storage unit 64 of the server device 50, CPU 51, the server communication device 58 that configures server communication processing unit 63; and the external input/output port 21c and CPU 21 that configures the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1.

In Embodiment 1, each virtual machine image on a virtual machine selection display is displayed on a different position thereon. An image of a slot machine can be used as a virtual game image, for example. Alternatively, an image of a slot machine with a virtual machine number assigned thereon can be used. In Embodiment 1, an image of slot machine with a virtual machine number is used for the virtual machine image. Each virtual machine image may be the same image or may be a different image. In Embodiment 1, however, a virtual machine image corresponding to an identifier that has already been selected by the identifier selection unit 65 (selected identifier) is at least made different from a virtual machine image corresponding to an identifier not yet selected by the identifier selection unit 65 (unselected identifier). Specifically, the virtual machine image corresponding to an unselected identifier is displayed in color; the virtual machine image corresponding to a selected identifier in gray.

A specific control will be explained below. The CPU 21 of the game terminal 1 executes the predetermined notification processing program. Upon this execution, the CPU 21 of the game terminal 1 determines whether each of the identifiers corresponding to the game program is selected or unselected based on selection flag information. A virtual machine selection display is displayed on the display unit 43 where a virtual machine image corresponding to an identifier determined to have been already selected is displayed in gray, and a virtual machine image corresponding to an identifier determined not to have been selected is displayed in color. Then, a player views the virtual machine selection display and performs a virtual machine selection operation (notification image selection operation). The virtual machine selection operation is an operation on the operation accepting unit 41 in which a player selects a virtual machine image with a desired virtual machine number. At this time, the operation accepting unit 41 accepts a virtual machine selection operation in which a virtual machine image with an unselected identifier (virtual machine image displayed in color) is selected, but does not accept a virtual machine selection operation in which a virtual machine image with a selected identifier (virtual machine image displayed in gray) is selected. Alternatively, a virtual machine image in gray may be made unselectable from the beginning. When the operation accepting unit 41 receives the virtual machine selection operation, virtual machine selection operation information corresponding to that operation is transmitted from the terminal communication processing unit 42 to the server device 50.

When the server communication processing unit 63 of the server device 50 receives the virtual machine selection operation information, the identifier selection unit 65 of the server device 50 refers to the identifier storage unit 64 and determines whether or not the virtual machine (identifier) specified by the virtual machine selection operation information has already been selected based on its selection flag. If it is determined that the identifier has not been selected (selection flag off), its selection flag is changed from off to on. Further, the identifier selection unit 65 outputs, to the control unit 62, an execution command to execute a game program corresponding to the identifier, i.e., a game program specified by the game selection operation information that the server communication processing unit 63 has currently received.

When the control unit 62 of the server device 50 receives the execution command from the identifier selection unit 65, it reads out a game program corresponding to the execution command from the program storage unit 62 and executes it. Upon this execution, the slot game is initiated on the game terminal 1 that has transmitted the virtual machine selection operation information. The control unit 62 of the server device 50 controls the server communication processing unit 63 to transmit image information in accordance with the progress of the slot game to the game terminal 1 that has transmitted the virtual machine selection operation information. After receiving the image information, the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1 displays a game display based on the image information on the display unit 43. The player can then play the slot game he/she has selected.

In Embodiment 1, a game program that the control unit 62 of the server device 50 executes is the same no matter which virtual machine image in a virtual machine selection display is selected by the player. Here, the player can select a virtual machine image in the virtual machine selection display before he/she starts playing the slot game. The player cannot select a virtual machine image that is already selected by another player. Therefore, when the player selects a virtual machine, it is as if he/she is choosing a real game machine. Accordingly, a player who plays a slot game based on the game program executed by the server device 50 can feel as if he/she is playing the slot game on a virtual game machine (virtual machine) that he/she has selected.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart showing the flow of the slot game based on the game program executed by the server device 50. First, when a coin (not shown) is inserted into the coin slot 5a or bill slot 5b of the game terminal 1 by a player, the deposit amount is counted by the deposit amount counting device (not shown). Thereafter, the CPU 21 of the main control board 20 in the game terminal performs a credit adding process, in which the number of credits equivalent to the deposit amount counted by the deposit amount counting device are added to the credit data stored in the RAM 23.

After deciding an amount to bet, the player operates the BET buttons 7a and 7b of the game terminal 1 in order to place the bet (S1). When the operation accepting unit 41 receives this bet operation (game operation), the bet operation information (game operation information) is transmitted to the server device 50 from the terminal communication processing unit 42. When the server communication processing unit 63 of the server device 50 receives this bet operation information, the control unit 62 of the server device 50 changes the progress of the slot game according to the bet operation information. In other words, the game status is changed where the spin button 6a can accept a spin operation (game operation).

Specifically, the control unit 62 creates image information based on the bet operation information, and transmits it to the game terminal 1 from the server communication processing unit 63. When the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1 receives this image information, the amount of the bet according to the bet operation information is displayed on the bet display unit 11c. When the operation accepting unit 41 accepts the bet operation, the CPU 21 of the main control board 20 of the game terminal 1 performs a process in which the number of credits according to the bet operation is reduced from the credit data of the RAM 23 (S2).

Thereafter, when the player operates the spin button 6a of the game terminal 1 (S3), the operation accepting unit 41 accepts that spin operation (game operation). Then, the spin operation information (game operation information) is transmitted to the server device 50 from the terminal communication processing unit 42. When the server communication processing unit 63 of the server device 50 receives this spin operation information, the control unit 62 of the server device 50 changes the progress of the slot game according to the spin operation information. For example, the symbols displayed on the five symbol display areas 11a of the display unit 43 are symbols that are changed randomly one after another. Specifically, image information for changing the symbols to be displayed on the five symbol display areas 11a one after another is transmitted from the server communication processing unit 63 to the game terminal 1. On the game terminal 1 that has received this image information with its terminal communication processing unit 42, the symbols are displayed randomly on the five symbol display areas 11a in accordance with the received image information (S4).

When the server communication processing unit 63 receives the spin operation information, the control unit 62 of the server device 50 generates five random numbers (S5), and performs a process in which the symbols to be displayed statically in the symbol display areas 11a are determined. Specifically, the control unit 62 compares the five generated random numbers with their respective stoppage position tables. The stoppage position table is provided for each symbol display area 11a. Based on each of the random numbers and stoppage position tables, the control unit 62 determines the stoppage position in the symbol display areas 11a of each of the symbols that have been displayed randomly.

Further, when the server communication processing unit 63 receives the spin operation information, the control unit 62 of the server device 50 compares a combination of the five random numbers with a win determination table, and performs a prize drawing process which determines whether or not any prizes have been won (S6). In Embodiment 1, the prizes are mainly categorized as prizes which award the player predetermined credits, and prizes which allow the player to play an event, bonus game, and feature game that are categorized in a special game status. Then, based on the combination of the random numbers, and the win determination table, the control unit 62 of the server device 50 determines which prize the player has won from the current slot game, or that no prize has been won. In the following explanation, the former prize is taken as an example.

In Embodiment 1, each win determination table is made to determine a win when a symbol corresponding to one prize is displayed statically in any one of the symbol displaying areas and in its adjacent symbol displaying areas, in relation to the stoppage position table. In other words, an arrangement pattern of the symbols displayed statically in all of the symbol display areas 11a is determined by the five generated random numbers and the stoppage position tables. A winning prize is determined by comparing a combination of symbols that are displayed statically in any one of the symbol display areas 11a and its adjacent symbol display areas with the win determination table. For example, when the symbols displayed in the adjacent symbol display areas are in a predetermined arrangement, a prize is won.

FIG. 8 is an explanatory diagram showing one example of a pattern of the symbols statically displayed when determining a win. In this example, five prizes are won. For the purpose of explanation, the five symbol display areas 11a are referred to, from left to right in FIG. 8, a first symbol display area, second symbol display area, third symbol display area, fourth symbol display area, and fifth symbol display area. As mentioned above, if the symbol corresponding to one same prize is displayed statically on any one of the symbol display areas and its adjacent symbol display areas, a prize will be won.

With reference to FIG. 8, all of the symbol display areas have a “1st” symbol statically displayed thereon. Therefore, the “First” prize corresponding to the five “1st” symbols is won. Meanwhile, a “W” symbol is statically displayed on the second symbol display area. Here, a “W” symbol can be treated as a “1st” symbol. Therefore, similar to the aforementioned case, another “First” prize corresponding to the five “1st” symbols is won. All of the symbol display areas have a “K” symbol statically displayed thereon. Therefore, the “King” prize corresponding to the five “K” symbols is won. Meanwhile, a “W” symbol is statically displayed on the second symbol display area. This “W” symbol can be treated as a “K” symbol. Therefore, similar to the aforementioned case, the “King” prize corresponding to the five “K” symbols is won. Furthermore, a “2nd” symbol is statically displayed in the third and fourth symbol display areas, and a “W” symbol is statically displayed in the second symbol display area. Because a “W” symbol can also be treated as “2nd” symbol, the “Second” prize corresponding to three “2nd” symbols is won. Note that a prize will be won only when more than three adjacent symbol display areas display a symbol corresponding to the same prize in Embodiment 1. Therefore, with reference to FIG. 8, although an “A” symbol is statically displayed in the first and second symbol display areas, because neither an “A” nor a “W” symbol is displayed in the third symbol display area, this does not constitute the “Ace” prize. Of course, the number of adjacent symbol display areas with the same symbol to win a prize may be set to be more than two or four instead of three. In Embodiment 1, even a prize corresponding to the same symbol may be treated as a different prize if the number of the same symbols is different. More specifically, even for a prize corresponding to a “1st” symbol, the “First” prize corresponding to three “1st” symbols, the “First” prize corresponding to four “1st” symbols, and the “First” prize corresponding to five “1st” symbols are considered to be different prizes. Accordingly, the dividend amount will be different for each prize. The more symbols there are, the bigger the dividend will become.

In Embodiment 1, the prize is won when a symbol corresponding to one prize is statically displayed in any one of the symbol display areas and in its adjacent areas, but the method for determining a win is not limited thereto. A typical slot game may be employed in which a prize is won when the same symbol is displayed statically on a prize-winning line that lies across all of the symbol display areas, as well as various kinds of slot games.

When the prize drawing process has thus been completed, and after a predetermined time period has elapsed since the spin operation information was received, the control unit 62 of the server device 50 changes the progress of the slot game so that the random display of symbols in the symbol display areas 11a is stopped at a stoppage position determined by the five random numbers and the stoppage position tables. Specifically, image information for stopping the random display of the five symbol display areas 11a is transmitted from the server communication processing unit 63 to the game terminal 1. When the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1 receives the image information, the random display of the five symbol display areas 11a is stopped according to the received image information (S7).

On the other hand, if, in the prize drawing process, a prize in which predetermined credits will be awarded to the player is decided (S8), the control unit 62 of the server device 50 transmits prize winning information that indicates the winning of the prize from the server communication processing unit 63 to the game terminal. When the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal receives this prize winning information, the CPU 21 of the main control board 20 performs a process for paying out the dividend (S9). Specifically, the CPU 21 of the main control board 20 performs a pay out process in which credits according to the winning prize are added to the credit data stored in the RAM 23. Also included in the prize winning information of Embodiment 1 is information regarding a lamp control instruction and sound effects. Therefore, when the terminal communication processing unit of the game terminal receives the prize winning information, the CPU 21 of the main control board 20 outputs a control instruction to the light control unit 26 in accordance with the lamp control instruction. In this way, the light control unit 26 performs a lighting process in which the lamp buttons provided with the light emitter such as the lamps 10a and 10b, spin button 6a, credit payoff button 6b, BET buttons 7a and 7b, game selection button 8, etc. that are left on are made to flash with a flashing pattern in accordance with the control instruction. Also, the CPU 21 of the main control board 20 transmits sound effect information to the sound control unit 27. Then, the sound control 27 pauses the music that has been outputted from the speaker 15 as accompanying music, and outputs the sound effects from the speaker 15. In this way, the various lamp buttons of the game terminal 1 are flashed and sound effects are outputted from the speaker 15.

If a player playing such a slot game on the game terminal 1 wants to play a different game, he/she performs an operation to call up a game selection screen with the operation accepting unit 41. With this operation, a game selection screen is displayed on the monitor 11 as described above. The player selects another game by operating the game selection button 8 and when he/she selects a virtual machine image of the virtual machine number that he/she wants to play, he/she can play the selected game.

In this way, with the above game system, a player can freely select a game program to be executed from among a plurality of game programs. Here, some kind of support is needed if there are far too many games to choose from. If no support is available when selecting from among many selections, the problem arises of the player not being able to choose what game to play and taking time to perform a game selection operation because the operations until selection are time-consuming. Spending time on game selection operations is a waste of the player's time. Further, for the game facility, a game is not progressing even though a player is at game terminal 1, meaning that the actual operating rate is lowered.

EXAMPLE 1

Next, Example 1, which supports the game selection operation of players using the game system of Embodiment 1, will be explained.

In Example 1, when the input accepting unit 71 accepts a player ID, the control unit 62 reads action history (play history) corresponding to the player from the identifier storage unit 64. The control unit 62 generates assist information to assist with selection based on this play history. Then, this assist information is sent to the game terminal 1 where the relevant player ID was accepted. When it receives the assist information, the game terminal 1 displays an assist image on the display unit 43 based on the assist information.

Play history information may be action history such as the number of times a game has been in a specified progress state in a specified period in the past or the kind of specified progress state, etc. This play history information is associated with the player ID input before play and stored in the identifier storage unit 64. More specifically, the play history is game progress status in a game based on a game program executed by the control unit 62 of the server device 50, such as the number of times a large amount of credit has been paid out or the number of times a specified event has occurred. Taking the example of the slot game described above, the number of times a prize is won resulting in an event or a transition to a bonus game or feature game or the type of such prize, etc. can be stored as play history information. Another example of a player history is a history of a player's game operations.

When the server device 50 receives a player ID from a game terminal 1, the control unit 62 generates assist information based on play history information associated with that player's ID and transmits the same to the game terminal 1. The display processing unit of the game terminal that received the assist information displays a display image of the relevant assist information (hereinafter “assist image”) before the operation accepting unit 41 accepts a game selection operation. In this way, because the player can select a game while referring to an assist image, the player can be encouraged to select a game.

Some examples of play history information stored in the identifier storage unit 64 are, for each kind of game or for each virtual machine, the up-to-date figures (including the past one month, for example) for the number of times a game has been played, losses, and the number of times a bonus game has been won or largest payout on a slot machine. If a prize has been set such as a jackpot that has no relation to the game progress state, the game identifier or virtual machine identifier so set can be stored in the identifier storage unit 64 along with the number of times a prize was awarded.

As described above, an example was given of taking play history when the game progress status reached a specified progress status, but provided that taking play history is a significant action, play history is not limited to the foregoing. For example, a history of game operations by a player can be used as a play history.

The assist image displayed on the display unit 43 can be, for example, an image in which play history information is expressed in figures that is quantified. More specifically, when a recognizable icon is displayed for each playable game (or virtual machine) on the selection screen, the play history information expressed in numerical form is displayed at positions corresponding to each icon. The numbers displayed here can be all or a portion of the numbers relating to specified play history information stored in the identifier storage unit 64.

The assist image displayed on the display unit 43 can also be an image made based on the play history information. For example, when input of a player ID is accepted, an assist image is generated based on the number of times each game program has been executed in the past or number of times a selected virtual machine has been used with the relevant player ID. For example, the control unit 62 generates as an assist image a ranking table that ranks the kinds of games in order of most times executed and virtual machines in order of most times used, and the display processing unit displays this assist image on the display unit 43.

It is also possible to display on the display unit 43 only the icons corresponding to the game program executed the most times or the virtual machine used the most times. In this way, games that are played more frequently can be selected easily.

Further, from the number of times each game was played in the past, trends in a player's game selection (preferences) can be predicted, and a game suited to the player's preferences can be displayed. Here, elements for predicting trends in a player's game selection include game category such as poker and slots, manufacturer, or game series. Information for games having the same elements for game category, manufacturer, game series or the like with games played often is displayed on the selection screen of the display unit 43 as an assist image.

In the case of a game series, when the game program for a new game that is a sequel to a game played frequently by the relevant player is added to the server device 50, an assist image announcing that a new game has arrived can be displayed on the display unit 43. Further, in addition to announcement of the game, the display unit 43 can display a button enabling execution of the new game, and when the player selects the button, the relevant new game is executed.

Also, when many kinds of games are stored in the server device 50, a player will very likely take time selecting a game. In such cases, as described above, a selection screen such that only games in accordance with a player's preferences are displayed on the display unit 43. In this way, the player is encouraged to select a game, and the time taken for game selection can be shortened.

Assist screens are not limited to screens for facilitating selection of games played frequently. An assist screen can facilitate selection of games not played frequently, or games in game categories or from manufacturers not played frequently.

Alternatively, based on win-loss data for each kind of game or each virtual machine, specifically, data that compares amount inserted and amount won, a kind of game or virtual machine well suited to the player is extracted. An assist screen that can identify a kind of game or virtual machine well suited to a player can be displayed on the display unit 43. The win-loss data here is not limited to total number of wins and losses, but if the game is a slot game, the number of times a bonus game was awarded, or the highest single payout amount could be used; and a game or virtual machine that suits the player well is extracted based on such data.

In an alternative configuration, a suitable game type of virtual machine is not extracted, but rather, icons only for games for which the difference between amount won and amount inserted, number of times a bonus game was won, or the maximum paid out at one time or the like is at least a certain value are displayed on the display unit 43. In this way, players can determine which games are suitable for them and which are not.

The basis for assist information generation is not limited to the number of times a play executed a game program. Assist information can also be generated based on number of times a game program has been executed on the game system overall. In other words, assist information is generated based on the total number of times players have played the game program on the game system. Players for whom the total number of times played is at least a specified number of times are designated VIP players, and an assist screen different from the screen for regular players is displayed on the display unit 43. For example, a game selection screen enabling selection of VIP-specific games or special images or special images are displayed on the display unit 43.

Alternatively, a customer manager meticulously analyzes a VIP player's trends based on his/her play history and creates specialized assist information. The specialized assist information can be associated with the relevant VIP player and stored in the identifier storage unit 64. In this case, when player ID information of the relevant VIP player is input into the input accepting unit, an assist image based on the specialized assist information is generated by the control unit 62 and displayed on the display unit 43.

The standards for determining a VIP player are not limited to the number of times a player has played a game but can also be the number of times the player has visited the game facilities, the total time spent playing or the total amount inserted.

The game system of the present invention is equipped with search functions enabling search of content or history data as requested by a player.

When a player requests information other than information displayed on the normal selection screen or assist screen, game selection is facilitated with content search, enabling the listing of information using various classifications. Such information classifications include game category, manufacturer, year of manufacture, rate and so on. With this content search, for example, by choosing slot machine from types of game and selecting a rate of either high or low, only information relating to games meeting the selected conditions is displayed on the display unit 43. Narrowing down the conditions in this way facilitates selection of a desired game when selecting from a large variety of games; a player is encouraged to select a game, and the time the player takes to select a game can be shortened. The condition for narrowing down selections can be a condition for narrowing down selections based on a player's play history such as “games played in the last week.”

With history data search, a player can check a list of games played in the past based on a player's play history. In this way, when a player wants to play a game again that he/she has played in the past, the player can search for that game from a list, even if he/she does not know the name.

The play history of all players with registered IDs is stored in the identifier storage unit 64 described above. Therefore, the control unit 62 can generate assist information based on information contained in play history associated with other player IDs and is not limited to play history associated with the player from whom input accepting unit 71 accepted input. For example, an assist image is displayed on the display unit 43 that displays in an easy-to-understand manner the kinds of game that are currently popular, such as a ranking of games that are popular at the game facility or a ranking of the top ten games being played, thus encouraging all players to select popular game.

Alternatively, the identifier storage unit 64 can record the play history of all players on an individual virtual machine basis, rather than the play history for each game. Play history information is displayed for each virtual machine image corresponding to a virtual machine. The play history information includes not only play history information of a specified player, but the play history information of other players. In this case, players can learn which prizes have been won how many times in games played within a specified period on the virtual machines, with respect not just to themselves, but including the information for other players.

Alternatively, assist information is not limited to assist information based on play history stored in identifier storage unit 64, and recommendation information set by the game facility can also be displayed as assist information. At this time, the recommended game is displayed on the display unit 43 in a state making selection thereof easier than selection of other games, thus encouraging a player to select the recommended game.

The identifier storage unit 64 can also store a concierge character associated with a player ID. This concierge character is selected by the player, for example, and registered. When the input accepting unit 71 accepts a player ID, the concierge character associated with the relevant player ID is displayed on the display unit 43 together with the game selection image; and this concierge character gives directions so as to assist with game selection operations.

In Example 1 of Embodiment 1 above, the action history processing unit 72 associates player action history (play history) with player-specifying information and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64, which is the player information storage unit. When the input accepting unit 71 has accepted input of a player ID, an assist display image based on a specific play history associated with the accepted player-specifying information is displayed on the display unit before the operation accepting unit 41 accepts a game selection operation. In other words, play history is stored on an individual player basis, and when a player selects a game, an assist display image is displayed based on the player's own play history. Thus, game selection by the player is encouraged and the time the player takes deciding on a game to play is shortened.

EXAMPLE 2

Next, Example 2, which supports game selection operations of a player using the game system of Embodiment 1, will be explained.

In Example 2, the control unit 72 shown in FIG. 1 includes an operation history processing unit, and the control unit 62 includes an operation omission processing unit. The operation history processing unit and operation omission processing unit can also be provided separately and independently of the action history processing unit 72 and the control unit 62.

In Example 2, the operation history of past pre-game selection operations prior to game selection is associated with player-specifying information and stored. When the input accepting unit accepts input of player-specifying information, recurring operations in the pre-game selection operations are omitted based on the operation history associated with the specifying information of that player.

More specifically, the operation history processing unit associates specific operation history operation received from the operation accepting unit 41 (pre-game selection operation history) and player ID and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64. When the player inputs a player ID into the input accepting unit 71, the operation omission processing unit reads such player's pre-game selection operation history information from the identifier storage unit 64. The operation omission processing unit determines whether or not the read pre-game selection operation history information contains operations repeatedly accepted by the operation accepting unit 41 (operation patterns). If an operation pattern is contained in the pre-game selection operation history information, the operation omission processing unit generates a pattern-omitted signal for omitting at least a portion of the operation pattern (pattern-omitted data), and transmits this pattern-omitted signal to the game terminal 1 at which the relevant player ID was accepted. When the game terminal 1 receives the pattern-omitted signal, a pattern-omitted operation screen based on the pattern-omitted signal is displayed on the display unit 43.

In the game system of Example 2, operation patterns prior to game selection can be grasped from each player's operation history for pre-game selection operations. Pattern-omitted image is generated such that based on operation history recurring operations are omitted at least in part. By performing an operation before game selection using the pattern-omitted image, the game system performs the same processing as the repeated operations and the player is not forced to repeat operations. In this way, operations up to game selection can be simplified and the player can be encouraged to select a game.

Operation patterns can be for example, in a case where a certain player always selects a specific game, the pre-game selection operations the player performs when performing game selection operations for that specified game.

Here, many kinds of games are provided and it is difficult to display on one screen all of the games that can be selected. One game selection method is to make classifications into categories such as game category, manufacturer and the like, narrow down choices in stages, and in the end have a player select the game he/she wants to play. In this case, if operation patterns cannot be omitted, the player will end up repeating the same operation patterns each time, following the same selection screens as other players, even if the player wants to play the specific game he/she always plays. These kinds of operations force a player to perform troublesome operations.

On the other hand, with the game system of Example 2, when a player always selects a specific game each time, an operation pattern is stored in the pre-game selection operation history information in the identifier storage unit 64. Here, when the input accepting unit 71 accepts a player ID, the operation omission processing unit determines where there is an operation pattern based on stored pre-game selection operation history information associated with the relevant player ID. The operation omission processing unit generates a pattern-omitted signal for omitting operation patterns, and transmits the pattern-omitted signal to the game terminal that accepted the relevant player ID. The game terminal 1 displays a pattern-omitted operation image based on the received pattern-omitted signal on the display unit 43. Thus, when the player inputs his/her player ID in the input accepting unit 71, he/she can check the pattern-omitted screen on the display unit 43. The pattern-omitted screen could be a message asking whether the player wants to play a specific game (for example, displaying YES/NO buttons). If the player performs the operation for selecting the specified game (for example, selects the YES button), the control unit 62 executes the game program corresponding to the relevant specified game based on the game selection operation. In this way, a player can play a specified game he/she always plays without being forced to repeatedly perform an operation pattern following the same selection screens as other players.

Further, when a certain player performs operations to have specified information displayed on the display unit 43 each time before a game selection operation, the pre-game selection operations that are performed until the specified information is displayed can be configured as operation patterns.

Here, in the game system of Embodiment 1, a player can select a game from among a plurality of game programs, and can check information useful when selecting a game. In such cases, information frequently checked by each player will be different. More specifically, some players consider their own play history to be useful information while other players consider a ranking of recent popular games to be useful information. Still other players select a game without checking any such information.

Here, there will be cases where there is a large amount of information useful for selecting a game, and all of the useful information cannot be displayed on a single screen. In such cases, a player performs operations from the normal selection screen for causing display of a screen containing the information they will check, the selections are narrowed down in stages in accordance with the displayed information, and in the end the player selects the information he/she wants to check. In such cases, if operation patterns cannot omitted, the player will end of repeating the same operation patterns each time, even if he/she wants to check specific information that he/she always checks. These kinds of operations force a player to perform troublesome operations.

On the other hand, with the game system of Example 2, when a player always checks specified information each time, an operation pattern is stored in the pre-game selection operation history in the identifier storage unit 64. Here, the operation omission processing unit generates a pattern-omitted signal and the display processing unit of the game terminal 1 displays a pattern-omitted operation image on the display unit 43 in the same manner as described above. Therefore, when a player inputs his/her player ID into the input accepting unit 71, the pattern-omitted image can be checked on the display unit 43. With this pattern-omitted image, the specific information is displayed on the display unit 43. Alternatively, even if there is more than a single piece of information, shortcuts or other icons enabling the respective information to be checked can be displayed on the display unit 43. In this way, the player can check the specific information that he/she always checks without having to repeat patterned operations following the same selection screens as other players.

As described above, with Example 2 of Embodiment 1, the operation processing accepting unit associates operation history for past pre-game selection operations prior to game selection with the player-specifying information and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64. When the input accepting unit 71 accepts input of the player-specifying information, the operation omission processing unit calls up the pre-game selection operation history corresponding to such player-specifying information, and the operation patterns recurring in pre-game selection operations are omitted at least in part. Therefore, operations until a player makes game selection operations can be shortened, and the player is encouraged to select a game.

Embodiment 2

Next, another embodiment will be explained in which the present invention is applied to the casino game system similar to that of Embodiment 1 (hereinafter referred to as “Embodiment 2”). FIG. 9 is a functional block diagram showing the main configuration of the casino game system according to Embodiment 2. This casino game system is a download type game system. The server device 50 stores multiple kinds of game programs. Each game terminal 1 downloads a game program that the player has selected from the server device 50 and executes it. Each game terminal 1 is installed on a casino floor where the players actually play the game. The server device 50 is installed in a security room as in the case of Embodiment 1. Each game terminal 1 and the server device 50 are connected via a communication network so as to allow two-way communication therebetween. When some or all of the functional elements of the server device 50 are installed at a location away from the casino, they may be connected to the server device via a public telephone line, dedicated telephone line, communication network achieved by a wireless communication line, etc. The hardware configurations of the game terminal 1 and the server device 50 are almost identical to those described in Embodiment 1 so the explanation therefor is omitted.

The game terminal 1 according to Embodiment 2 comprises a control unit 70 in addition to the operation accepting unit 41, terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, deposit accepting unit 44, deposit amount detection unit 45, credit process execution unit 46, and the credit storage unit 47 that the game terminal 1 of Embodiment 1 also comprises. The terminal communication processing unit 42 of Embodiment 2 transmits the game selection operation information to the server device 50 after the operation accepting unit 41 has accepted the game selection operation. The game selection operation information specifies the kind of game program to be downloaded from the server device 50. The terminal communication processing unit 42 also receives the game program corresponding to the game selection operation information. The control unit 70 executes the game program that the terminal communication processing unit 42 has received and, changes the progress of the game based on the game operation information. The game operation information is generated when the operation accepting unit 41 accepts the game operation from the player. The control unit 70 also performs control by which game images are displayed on the monitor 11 and display device 14 in accordance with the game progress, and sounds for the sound effects are outputted from the speaker 15. In other words, the control unit 70 of Embodiment 2 controls the progress of the game in a similar manner to the control unit 62 of Embodiment 1.

In Embodiment 2, the control unit 70 provided for each game terminal only has to be capable of executing a single game program, and does not have to be capable of executing a plurality of game programs in parallel as the control unit 62 provided in the server device in Embodiment 1 does. Because the casino game system of Embodiment 1 is a thin-client type, the control unit 62 provided in the server device must be able to execute a plurality of game programs in parallel. Therefore, the processing ability required from the control unit 70 according to Embodiment 2 is much less than the processing ability required from the control unit 62 of Embodiment 1. Therefore, the control unit 70 of Embodiment 2 can be constructed at a much lower cost than the control unit 62 of Embodiment 1.

A typical conventional game system comprises a plurality of independent game machines (self-contained real game devices) each of which executes a particular game program. In the casino game system of Embodiment 1, on the other hand, many of the functions that were conventionally provided in a game machine are omitted from each game terminal 1, and are centralized in the server device 50. This dramatically reduces the costs for each game terminal 1, thus reducing the cost of the entire system. With the casino system of Embodiment 2, it is possible to reduce costs as much as the casino system of Embodiment 1 does.

The control unit 62 is included in the server device 50 of Embodiment 1, but is not included in the server device 50 of Embodiment 2. In other words, the server device 50 of Embodiment 2 is not equipped with the function of executing the game program and controlling the progress of the game. Note that the other functions are almost identical to the ones the server device 50 of Embodiment 1 is equipped with.

Next, the process flow when a player plays a game on the game terminal 1 will be explained. FIG. 10 is a sequence flow diagram showing a flow of process when the player plays the game on the game terminal 1. When the player is about to start playing the game at one game terminal 1, the monitor 11 of that game terminal 1 is usually displaying the display of the preceding game that was played on the game terminal 1. The player can choose to play that game or to play another kind of game that is stored in the storage unit 61 of the server device 50. Similar to Embodiment 1, when the player chooses to play another kind of game, the player will perform an operation to call up the game selection display to the operation accepting unit 41. Then, the game selection display is displayed on the monitor 11. Also in Embodiment 2, a case will be explained in which the game selection display information is stored in each game terminal 1, but it may be stored in the server device 50 as explained in Embodiment 1.

The player then views the game selection display displayed on the monitor 11, and, by operating the game selection button 8, performs a game selection operation on the operation accepting unit 41 to select a game that the player wishes to play. The game selection operation information corresponding to that operation is transmitted from the terminal communication processing unit 42 to the server device 50. Here, similar to Embodiment 1, a case in which the player has selected a slot game is taken as an example. When the server communication processing unit 63 of the server device 50 receives this game selection operation information, the CPU 51 of the server device 50 executes a predetermined notification processing program. Upon this execution, the CPU 51 of the server device 50 specifies a game program based on the game selection operation information in a similar manner to Embodiment 1, and checks whether or not each of the identifiers for the game program has the selection flag on. The CPU 51 of the server device 50 also transmits selection flag information that indicates the check result from the server communication processing unit 63 to the game terminal 1 that is a source of the game selection operation information. When the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1 receives the selection flag information, a virtual machine selection display is displayed on the display unit 43 by the CPU 21 executing the predetermined notification processing program.

Thereafter, the player views the virtual machine selection display and selects a virtual machine image with a desired virtual machine number. Then, virtual machine selection operation information corresponding to this virtual machine selection operation (notification image selection operation) is transmitted from the terminal communication processing unit 42 to the server device 50. When the server communication processing unit 63 of the server device 50 receives the virtual machine selection operation information, as in Embodiment 1, the identifier selection unit 65 of the server device 50 determines whether or not the virtual machine (identifier) specified by the received virtual machine selection operation information has already been selected. If it has not been selected, the identifier selection unit 65 of the server device 50 outputs an execution command to the control unit 70 to execute the game program corresponding to the identifier via the server communication processing unit 63, as well as setting its selection flag on.

When the server communication processing unit 63 of the server device 50 receives the execution command from the identifier selection unit 65, it reads out the game program corresponding thereto from the program storage unit 61 and transmits it to the game terminal that has transmitted the virtual machine selection operation information. When the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1 receives the game program, the game program is temporarily stored in a game program storage region of the RAM 23. Thereafter, the control unit 70 of the game terminal 1 executes the game program stored in the RAM 23 and initiates the slot game. Specifically, the control unit 70 displays the game display according to the executed game program on the display unit 43. This allows the player to play the slot game that the player has selected. Then, the player performs a game operation such as the bet operation and spin operation mentioned above to the operation accepting unit 41 which changes the progress of the game, and the slot game proceeds further. Note that the control of the slot game is identical with that of Embodiment 1, except that the control unit 70 provided in the game terminal 1 executes the game program, an therefore an explanation thereof will be omitted.

The game program that is temporarily stored in the game program storage region of the RAM 23 may be deleted when the player chooses a different game as the next game to play. In this case, the game program storage region of the RAM 23 only needs to have a capacity for one game program, therefore costs can be reduced. When the remaining capacity of the game program storage region of the RAM 12 is smaller than the volume of the downloaded program, some (the game program that was first downloaded, for example) or all of the game programs stored in that game program storage region, may be deleted. In this case, if the game program that the player has selected is still in the RAM 23, that game program can be executed without a need to transmit the game selection operation information to the server device 50. In this way, the communication data volume between each game terminal 1 and the server device 50 can be reduced, and the degradation of overall performance of the casino game system can be minimized.

EXAMPLES

Examples 1 and 2 can be applied to Embodiment 2 as well. In other words Examples 1 and 2 can also be applied to the download-type game system of Embodiment 2. In such cases, the server device 50 does not have a control unit, and game terminal 1 has a control unit 70.

When Example 1 is applied to Embodiment 2, the server device 50 has the storage unit 61, server communication processing unit 63, identifier storage unit 64, identifier selection unit 65, and action history processing unit 72, and the game terminal 1 has the terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, and control unit 70.

When the server communication processing unit 63 receives game selection operation information from the game terminal 1, it reads the corresponding game program from the storage unit 61, and transmits the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source of the game selection operation information. The control unit 70 of the game terminal 1 executes the received game program and controls the game in accordance with the player's game operation information. Further, when the server communication processing unit 63 receives a player's ID, it reads the action history associated with the player ID from the identifier storage unit 64, and transmits the same to the control unit 70 via the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1. The control unit 70 of the game terminal 1 generates assist display image based on the received action information, and the display processing unit displays an assist display screen on the display unit 43 prior to acceptance of a game selection operation by the operation accepting unit 41.

When Example 1 is applied to Embodiment 2, the server device 50 comprises the storage unit 61, server communication processing unit 63, identifier storage unit 64, identifier selection unit 65, operation history processing unit and operation omission processing unit. The game terminal 1 comprises the terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, and control unit 70. When the server communications processing unit 63 receives game selection operation information from the game terminal 1, it reads the corresponding game program from the storage unit 61, and transmits the read game program to the game terminal that was the transmission source of the game selection operation information. The control unit 70 of the game terminal 1 executes the received game program and controls a game in accordance with the player's game operation information. Further, when the server communication processing unit 63 receives a player ID, it reads the action history associated with the player ID from the identifier storage unit 64, and transmits the same to the control unit 70 via the terminal communication processing unit 42 of game terminal 1. The server communication processing unit 63 transmits the pattern omitted data corresponding to such player ID to the control unit 70 via the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1. The control unit 70 of the game terminal 1 generates assist display information based on the pattern omitted data, and the display processing unit displays the assist display screen on the display unit 43.

OTHER EXAMPLES

In the above example, the server device 50 comprises the action history processing unit 72; alternatively, the game terminal 1 can have an action history processing unit. Further, above, the server device 50 comprises an operation history processing unit and operation omission processing unit; alternatively, the game terminal 1 can have an operation history processing unit and operation omission processing unit. More specifically, the following configuration is an example.

In a thin-client type game system, the server device 50 comprises the storage unit 61, control unit 62, server communication processing unit 63, identifier storage unit 64 and identifier selection unit 65, and the game terminal 1 comprises the terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, and action history processing unit. The action history processing unit of the game terminal 1 associates an action history with a player ID and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64 of the server device 50. When the control unit 62 of the server device 50 receives a player ID, it reads the action history associated with the player ID in the identifier storage unit 64, and generates an assist display image based on that action history. The control unit 62 transmits the assist display image via the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1 to the display processing unit of the game terminal. The display processing unit of the game terminal displays an assist display image on the display unit 43 prior to acceptance of a game selection operation by the operation accepting unit 41.

In a download-type game system, the server device 50 comprises the storage unit 61, server communication processing unit 63, identifier storage unit 64 and identifier selection unit 65, and the game terminal 1 comprises the terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, control unit 70 and action history processing unit. The action history processing unit of the game terminal 1 associates an action history with a player ID and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64 of the server device 50. When the server communication processing unit 63 receives a player ID, it transmits the action history associated with the player ID in the identifier storage unit 64 to the control unit 70 via the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1. The control unit 70 of game terminal 1 generates an assist display image based on the received action history. The display processing unit displays the assist display image on the display unit 43 prior to acceptance of a game selection operation by the operation accepting unit 41.

In a thin-client game system, the server device 50 comprises the storage unit 61, control unit 62, server communication processing unit 63, identifier storage unit 64 and identifier selection unit 65, and the game terminal 1 comprises the terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, an operation history processing unit and an operation omission processing unit. The operation history processing unit of the game terminal 1 associates an operation history based on the pre-game selection operation with a player ID and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64 of the server 50. When the server communication processing unit 63 receives the player ID, it transmits the operation history associated with the player ID in the identifier storage unit 64 to the operation omission processing unit via the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1. The operation omission processing unit of the game terminal 1 receives the operation history associated with the player ID from the server 50 and generates pattern-omitted data such that operation patterns are omitted at least in part. The display processing unit of the game terminal 1 displays an assist display image on the display unit 43 based on the pattern-omitted data.

In a download-type game system, the server device 50 comprises the storage unit 61, server communication processing unit 63, identifier storage unit 64 and identifier selection unit 65, and the game terminal 1 comprises the terminal communication processing unit 42, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, control unit 70, an operation history processing unit and operation omission processing unit. The operation history processing unit of the game terminal 1 associates an operation history based on pre-game selection operations with a player ID and stores the same in the identifier storage unit 64 of the server device 50. When the server communication processing unit 63 receives the player ID, it transmits the operation history associated with the player ID in the identifier storage unit 64 to the operation omission processing unit via the terminal communication processing unit 42 of the game terminal 1. The operation omission processing unit of the game terminal 1 receives the operation history from the server device 50 and generates pattern-omitted data such that the operation patterns are omitted at least in part. The display processing unit of the game terminal 1 displays an assist display image based on the pattern-omitted data on the display unit 43.

Note that while hereinabove the control unit 62 of the server device 50 or the control unit 70 of the game terminal 1 generates an assist display image, the display processing unit can also generate an assist display image.

Variation 1

Next, Variation 1 of Embodiments 1 and 2 will be explained. In the above Embodiments, an explanation was given for the present invention as applied to a game system comprising the server device 50 and a game terminal 1. However, the present invention can also be similarly applied to a standalone-type game device, such that the game device alone selects and executes a game program relating to game selection operations by a player from among a plurality of game programs stored in a storage unit.

FIG. 11 is a functional block diagram showing the main configuration of a standalone-type game device 100 of Variation 1. The standalone-type game device 100 of Variation 1 comprises a storage unit 61, identifier storage unit 64, identifier selection unit 65, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, control unit and action history processing unit.

In the game system of Embodiment 1, because the server device 50 and game terminal 1 are separate, the server communication processing unit 63 and the terminal communication processing unit 42, which exchange information with each other. In contrast, the game device 100 of Variation 1 by itself achieves generation and display of an assist display image based on a play history that in Embodiment 1 was performed by the server device 50 and game terminal 1.

Variation 2

Next, Variation 2 of Embodiments 1 and 2 will be explained. The standalone-type game device 100 of Variation 2 has a storage unit 61, identifier storage unit 64, identifier selection unit 65, display unit 43, operation accepting unit 41, input accepting unit 71, control unit, operation history processing unit and operation omission processing unit. The game device 100 of Variation 2 achieves by itself the function of omitting at least in part operation patterns repeatedly carried out before game selection that had been performed by the server device 50 and game terminal 1.

Other Variations

In the above Embodiments (including the above Variations), explanation was made of a case where the operation accepting unit 41 was constituted by buttons; alternatively, a touch panel can also be provided on the monitor 11.

Further, in the above embodiments, when a player performs a game selection operation during display of a game selection screen, the display is changed to the virtual machine selection screen. A plurality of virtual machine images corresponding to the game relating to that game selection operation is displayed in the virtual machine selection screen. When the player performs a virtual machine selection operation, the relevant game commences. However, the configuration is not limited thereto. For example, on the game selection screen, virtual machine images corresponding to two or more games are initially displayed. When the player performs an operation to select a virtual machine image, in addition to virtual machine selection operation information to the effect that that virtual machine image was selected, game selection operation information to the effect that a game corresponding to that virtual machine image was selected can also be transmitted to the server device 50. In this case, the player can complete game selection and virtual machine image selection in a single operation, simplifying operations.

In the above embodiments and variations an example was given of a case where the virtual machine images are displayed on the monitor 11 constituting the display unit 43 in a state where they are identifiable from each other, but these could also be displayed by a separate display device 14. A player uses the operation accepting unit 41 to select a virtual machine image from among the virtual machine images displayed on the display device 14.

Further, in the embodiments and variations, an explanation was given for a case where the virtual machines are processed in a state where they are identifiable from each other; however, the configuration is not limited to by individual virtual machine, and identification can be made by individual game-type. In this case, the player selects a game on an individual game program type basis rather than selecting on an individual virtual machine basis. When the number of people who can play a single game type is limited, the selection flag information is attached not only on an individual virtual machine basis, but on an individual game-type basis. When the number of people who can play a single game type is not limited, processing for attaching the selection flag information is not necessary.

General Interpretation of Terms

In understanding the scope of the present invention, the term “configured” as used herein to describe a component, section or part of a device includes hardware and/or software that is constructed and/or programmed to carry out the desired function. In understanding the scope of the present invention, the term “comprising” and its derivatives, as used herein, are intended to be open ended terms that specify the presence of the stated features, elements, components, groups, integers, and/or steps, but do not exclude the presence of other unstated features, elements, components, groups, integers and/or steps. The foregoing also applies to words having similar meanings such as the terms, “including”, “having” and their derivatives. Also, the terms “part,” “section,” “portion,” “member” or “element” when used in the singular can have the dual meaning of a single part or a plurality of parts. Finally, terms of degree such as “substantially”, “about” and “approximately” as used herein mean a reasonable amount of deviation of the modified term such that the end result is not significantly changed. For example, these terms can be construed as including a deviation of at least ±5% of the modified term if this deviation would not negate the meaning of the word it modifies.

While only selected embodiments have been chosen to illustrate the present invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art from this disclosure that various changes and modifications can be made herein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. Furthermore, the foregoing descriptions of the embodiments according to the present invention are provided for illustration only, and not for the purpose of limiting the invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents.