Title:
Game Machine, Server Apparatus, and Game System Incorporating These Apparatuses
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game device can execute a competition game, in which a plurality of competition candidates compete. A server device is connected with the game device through a communication network. A specific information generating means is disposed in the server device and can generate specific information for specifying at least one of the competition candidates. A transmitting means is disposed in the server device and can transmit the specific information to the game device through the communication network. A receiving means is disposed in the game device and can receive the specific information transmitted. A game proceeding means is disposed in the game device and can execute the competition game on the basis of the specific information received.



Inventors:
Tomaru, Hiroshi (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
11/814316
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
01/19/2006
Assignee:
KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT CO., LTD. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/14; A63F13/00; A63F13/12; A63F13/33; A63F13/35
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ELISCA, PIERRE E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SUGHRUE-265550 (2000 PENNSYLVANIA AVE. NW SUITE 900, WASHINGTON, DC, 20006, US)
Claims:
1. A game system, comprising: a game machine, operable to perform a racing game in which a plurality of racing members compete with each other; a server device, connected to the game machine via a communication network; an identifier generator, provided in the server device and operable to generate an identifier for identifying at least one of the racing members; a transmitter, provided in the server device and operable to transmit the identifier to the game machine via the communication network, a receiver, provided in the game machine and operable to receive the transmitted identifier; and a game executer, provided in the game machine and operable to execute the racing game based on the received identifier.

2. The game system as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a rank determinant, provided in the game machine and operable to perform random number selection to determine a rank in the racing game for each of the racing members, wherein the game executer is operable to execute the racing game 6 based on the determined rank.

3. The game system as set forth in claim 2, further comprising a ranking information generator, provided in the server device and operable to generate ranking information for each of the racing members, the ranking information including a probability to be referred in the random number selection, wherein: the transmitter is operable to transmit the ranking information to the game machine via the communication network; the receiver is operable to receive the transmitted ranking information; and the rank determinant is operable to perform the random number selection through the use of the received ranking information.

4. The game system as set forth in claim 1, wherein: the game executer is operable to further execute a prediction game in which a ranking of at least one of the racing members in the racing game is predicted; and the game machine comprises: a betting reception, operable to receive a first amount of a gaming value from a player in accordance with the prediction for the ranking; and a payout executer, operable to pay out a second amount of the gaming value to the player in accordance with the received first amount of the gaming value and a result of the racing game.

5. The game system as set forth in claim 4, further comprising a storage, provided in the server device and operable to store odds information indicative of odds for each of the racing members in the racing game, wherein: the transmitter is operable to transmit the odds information to the game machine via the communication network; the receiver is operable to receive the transmitted odds information; and the payout executer is operable to calculate the second amount of the gaming value through the use of the received odds information.

6. The game system as set forth in claim 1, wherein the racing game includes a first racing game which accepts a participation of a racing member prepared by a player as one of the racing member, and a second racing game which exclusively accepts a participation of the racing members identified by the identifier.

7. The game system as set forth in claim 6, wherein the game executer is operable to execute the second racing game at a prescribed timing.

8. A game machine, adapted to be connected to a server device via a communication network and operable to perform a racing game in which a plurality of racing members compete with each other, comprising: a receiver, adapted to receive an identifier for identifying at least one of the racing members from the server device via the communication network; and a game executer, provided in the game machine and operable to execute the racing game based on the received identifier.

9. A server device, adapted to be connected via a communication network, to a game machine operable to perform a racing game in which a plurality of racing members compete with each other, comprising: an identifier generator, operable to generate an identifier for identifying at least one of the racing members; and a transmitter, operable to transmit the identifier to the game machine via the communication network, a wherein the identifier is adapted to be received by the game machine and to be used to execute the racing game.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a game machine operable to execute a racing game where a plurality of racing members race with one another, and a server apparatus connected to the game machine via a communication network, and a game system incorporating these apparatuses.

BACKGROUND ART

As this type of game machine, for example, a horseracing game machine disclosed in Japanese Patent Publication No. 2002-210228A is well-known.

In general, in a horseracing game machine, players execute a virtual race (racing game) in which a plurality of racehorse characters (racing members) are competed with each other. In such a horseracing game machine, in order to realize a situation close to an actual horserace, a variety of methods have been conventionally suggested. For example, a method of setting the names of racehorse characters to the names of actual racehorses or setting the capabilities of racehorse characters to be close to the capabilities of actual racehorses has been suggested. In such a conventional horseracing game machine, before shipment, data about the racehorse characters having the names of the actual racehorses or data about the racehorse characters having capabilities close to the capabilities of the actual racehorses is stored in a storage. The virtual race which is set to have the same situation as an actual race is executed using racehorse characters having the same names and capabilities as the racehorses which run in a past race which was executed actually. According to this horseracing game machine, the actual race which was executed in the past can be reproduced by the game. In this case, the result of the virtual racing game may be different from that of the past horserace which was executed actually.

However, since the conventional horseracing game machine is released to the market in a state that the data about the racehorse characters is previously stored in the storage as described above, the past horserace which was executed actually can be reproduced, but a virtual race close to a future horserace which will be executed actually cannot be executed.

Even in a race where a plurality of racing members race with one another or a game machine for executing an actual sporting event as a virtual racing game as well as the horseracing game machine, a virtual racing game close to a future race or sporting event which will be executed actually cannot be executed.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a game machine, a server apparatus, and a game system incorporating these apparatuses, which are capable of executing a virtual racing game similar to a future race or sporting event which will be executed actually.

In order to achieve the above object, according to the invention, there is provided a game system, comprising:

a game machine, operable to perform a racing game in which a plurality of racing members compete with each other;

a server device, connected to the game machine via a communication network;

an identifier generator, provided in the server device and operable to generate an identifier for identifying at least one of the racing members;

a transmitter, provided in the server device and operable to transmit the identifier to the game machine via the communication network;

a receiver, provided in the game machine and operable to receive the transmitted identifier, and

a game executer, provided in the game machine and operable to execute the racing game based on the received identifier.

With this configuration, racing members which participate in a racing game executed in a game machine can be determined on the basis of specific information generated by a server apparatus connected to a communication network. In general, members which are expected to participate in a future race or sporting event executed actually (expected actual participation members) are published before the race or sporting event is executed actually. Accordingly, the specific information for specifying the racing members on the game close to the published expected actual participation members can be generated by the server apparatus and transmitted to the game machine before the future race or sporting event is executed. Accordingly, in the game machines the racing game in which racing members close to the expected actual participation members participating in the race or sporting event participate can be executed before or when the future race or sporting event is executed.

In addition, in the present game system, since the specific information generated by the server apparatus is transmitted to the game machine via the communication network, the specific information generated based on the published expected actual participation members can be sent to the game machine within shortly from the publication, regardless of an area or place at which the game machine is disposed. Accordingly, the racing game in which the racing members close to the expected actual participation members participating in the future race or sporting event participate can be executed within a short time from the publication time. In the race or sporting event, the participation expectation members may be published immediately before the race or sporting event starts. However, according to the present game system, even in such a case, the racing game in which the racing members close to the expected actual participation members participating in the future race or sporting event participate can be executed before or when the race or sporting event starts.

The game system may further comprise a rank determinant, provided in the game machine and operable to perform random number selection to determine a rank in the racing game for each of the racing members. In this case, the game executer is operable to execute the racing game based on the determined rank.

As the racing game, there is a type in which a plurality of participants fight with each other to determine one winner such as baseball, soccer and fighting sport, and there is a type in which arrival orders are determined such as horse race, bicycle race and motorboat race. The racing game executed in the present game system is the latter type. The arrival orders of the racing game are determined by the rank determinant in advance, and executed so as to realize the determined arrival orders. Thus, a virtual racing game close to a future race which will be actually executed.

The game system may further comprise a ranking information generator, provided in the server device and operable to generate ranking information for each of the racing members, the ranking information including a probability to be referred in the random number selection. In this case, the transmitter is operable to transmit the ranking information to the game machine via the communication network. The receiver is operable to receive the transmitted ranking information. The rank determinant is operable to perform the random number selection through the use of the received ranking information.

With this configuration, the ranks of the racing game in which a plurality of racing members specified by the specific information transmitted together with the rank determining information participate are determined on the basis of the rank determining information generated by the server apparatus on the communication network. Accordingly, when the rank determining information is generated on the basis of the capabilities of the published expected actual participation members, the racing game having a result close to a race result obtained by the future race executed actually can be executed in the game machine.

The game executer may be operable to further execute a prediction game in which a ranking of at least one of the racing members in the racing game is predicted. In this case, the game machine comprises: a betting reception, operable to receive a first amount of a gaming value from a player in accordance with the prediction for the ranking; and a payout executer, operable to pay out a second amount of the gaming value to the player in accordance with the received first amount of the gaming value and a result of the racing game.

With this configuration, in the racing game in which the racing members close to the expected actual participation members participating in the future race or sporting event executed actually participate, a prediction game for predicting which racing member wins can be executed.

The game system may further comprise a storage, provided in the server device and operable to store odds information indicative of odds for each of the racing members in the racing game. In this case, the transmitter is operable to transmit the odds information to the game machine via the communication network. The receiver is operable to receive the transmitted odds information. The payout executer is operable to calculate the second amount of the gaming value through the use of the received odds information.

With this configuration, the odds information of the prediction game is transmitted from the server apparatus to the game machine via the communication network. In general, when a member which wins in the future race or sporting event executed actually is predicted to bet money actually the odds is published before the race or sporting event is executed actually. Accordingly, the odds information based on the published odds can be transmitted from the server apparatus to the game machine before the future race or sporting event is executed. In the present game system, since the odds information is transmitted from the server apparatus to the game machine via the communication network, the odds information based on the published actual odds can be sent to the game machine shortly from the publication, regardless of an area or place at which the game machine is disposed. Accordingly, the prediction game using the odds information based on the actual odds can be executed shortly from the publication. The actual odds may be published immediately before the race or sporting event starts. However, according to the present game system, even in such a case, the prediction game for the racing game can be executed before or when the race or sporting event starts.

The racing game may include a first racing game which accepts a participation or a racing member prepared by a player as one of the racing member, and a second racing game which exclusively accepts a participation of the racing members identified by the identifier.

With this configuration, with respect to the normal first racing game which does not execute a racing game close to the future race or sporting event executed actually, the racing members participating therein can be determined by a player. In contrast, when the second racing game close to the future race or sporting event executed actually is executed, the racing members participating in the racing game cannot be determined by the player. Accordingly, the racing game close to the future race or sporting game executed actually can be realized.

The game executer may be operable to execute the second racing game at a prescribed timing.

With this configuration, for example, when the starting time of the racing game is set to be equal to the starting time of the future race or sporting event executed actually, the racing game close to the race or sporting event can star in the game machine at the same time as the starting time of the future race or sporting event executed actually.

According to the invention, there is also provided a game machine, adapted to be connected to a server device via a communication network and operable to perform a racing game in which a plurality of racing members compete with each other, comprising:

a receiver, adapted to receive an identifier for identifying at least one of the racing members from the server device via the communication network; and

a game executer, provided in the game machine and operable to execute the racing game based on the received identifier.

According to the invention, there is also provided a server device, adapted to be connected, via a communication network, to a game machine operable to perform a racing game in which a plurality of racing members compete with each other, comprising:

an identifier generator, operable to generate an identifier for identifying at least one of the racing members; and

a transmitter, operable to transmit the identifier to the game machine via the communication network,

wherein the identifier is adapted to be received by the game machine and to be used to execute the racing game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram entirely showing a game system according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a view schematically showing a configuration of the game system.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing an arcade game machine constituting the game system.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing a hardware configuration of a main controller of the arcade game machine.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing a hardware configuration of a station controller of the arcade game machine.

FIG. 6A is a table showing a data structure of player data.

FIG. 5B is a table showing a data structure of data recorded in a magnetic card distributed to a player.

FIG. 7 is a block diagram showing a hardware configuration of a server apparatus constituting the game system.

FIG. 8 is a sequence flowchart showing processing flow executed in the game system.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

There will be described below one embodiment of a game system including a commercial game machine (hereinafter, referred to as an “arcade game machine”) for executing a prediction game for allowing a player to expect a winner in a horserace (racing game) in which a plurality of racehorse characters (racing members) race with each other.

As shown in FIG. 2, this game system includes a plurality of arcade game machines 1 disposed in general game arcades and a server apparatus 20 connected to the arcade game machines 1 via a communication network. The communication network may be configured by a public telephone line, a dedicated telephone line, a cable TV line, or a radio communication line.

As shown in FIG. 3, the arcade game machine 1 includes a field 2 provided in a central portion and a plurality of stations 10 which are provided so as to surround the field 2. In the field 2, a racecourse 4 including a gate 3 is provided and a plurality of miniature horses run in the racecourse 4 to execute a horserace. A plurality of speakers 5 for outputting play-by-play commentary or cheers of the race are provided in the vicinity of the field 2. A display 6 for displaying a game name and an illumination device 7 for illuminating the field 2 are provided above the field 2. The display 6 and the illumination device 7 are supported by a support pillar 8.

The station 10 includes a display 11 for displaying a game screen according to the progress of a game and a touch panel 12 which overlaps with a surface of the display 11. When a player touches a prescribed position of the game screen displayed on the display 11 according to an instruction of the game screen, the position is detected by the touch panel 12 and the manipulation contents of the player are recognized by the arcade game machine 1. In addition, the station 10 includes a token inlet 13 for allowing the player to input a token, which is a game value, a token outlet 14 for supplying the token to the player, and a magnetic card slot 15 for inserting a magnetic card.

In the arcade game machine 1, the player may participate in a game as a racehorse owner. More specifically, the player may select a favorite racehorse character among a plurality of racehorse characters and pay a prescribed number of tokens to acquire the racehorse character. The name of the acquired racehorse character may be prepared by combination of a name selected from names, which are previously recorded in a main body of the arcade game machine, and a player name input by the player (for example, the name of the player). The player may train the horse character so as to improve the capability of the acquired racehorse character. The trained racehorse character may run in a desired race. In the arcade game machine 1, since the continuity of the game is ensured when the player participates in the game as a racehorse owner, the player may resume the game on a separate date by using the magnetic card distributed to the player.

As shown in FIG. 4, a main control section 100 provided in the field 2 includes a main controller 101) a field controller 102 for controlling the running of miniature horses in the field 2, an illumination controller 103 for controlling the illumination device 7, an audio controller 104 for controlling sound such as the actual condition sound or shout output from the speakers 5, an SRAM 105 and a flash memory 106 for recording of a variety of data of each player, a ROM 107 for storing a variety of databases and a program necessary for a game, and a communicator 108 for performing data communication with the server apparatus 20 via the communication network. The main controller 101 is connected to the field controller 102, the illumination controller 103, the audio controller 104, the SRAM 105, the flash memory 1016 the ROM 107, and the communication 108. The ROM 107 stores the database including data about plural types of horse names, which are previously prepared and selected by a player who plays as a racehorse owner, sound data, a variety of data about horses, and a race schedule.

As shown in FIG. 5, a station control section 200 provided in each station 10 includes a station controller 201, a token manager 202 for managing the supply of the token, a RAM 203 for temporarily recording a variety of data of the player, a magnetic information reader 204 for reading magnetic information of the magnetic card inserted into the magnetic card slot 15, and a magnetic information writer 205 for writing a variety of information such as an ID code on the magnetic card. The station controller 201 is connected to the token manager 202, the RAM 203, the magnetic information reader 204, and the magnetic information writer 205. The station controller 201 is also connected to the display 11 and the touch panel 12 shown in FIG. 3, a not-shown token input sensor for detecting a token input via the token inlet 13, a not-shown magnetic card driver for driving the magnetic card inserted into the magnetic card slot 15, all of which are mounted in the station 10.

The station controller 201 of each station 20 is connected to the main controller 101 of the field 2 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 to effect necessary communication therebetween.

An example of a date structure of player data which is recorded and managed with respect to every player is shown in FIG. 6A. The player data includes an ID code allocated to the player, personal information of the player, information about a horse owned by the player, final play date information for specifying a date when the player plays a game finally, rewriting information for recording the update of data, and a check code for preventing the magnetic card from be tampered. The player data also includes game history information of the player and information unrelated to the progress of the game, such as a screen layout. The ID code is a single numeral allocated to a single player and is set not to be duplicative with the ID of other player data. The personal information, the owned horse information and the final play date information are used as the game history information for ensuring the continuity of the stopped game. The player data is stored in the SRAM 105 or the flash memory 106 shown in FIG. 4.

The personal information includes information about the player, such as the name of the player or the total number of times of play. The personal information is used as data applied to the game contents or customer management data such that the player name is used as the name of the owned horse. The information about the owned horse includes a horse name code for specifying the name of the owned horse, horse type information for specifying a growth curve indicating the feature of a growth method, sex, age, the number of times of run, a speed, stamina, a condition, the accumulation amount of acquired prizes, and past race records (for example, a first rank, a second rank, a third rank, or a lower rank). The horse name code is associated with horse name data in the database of horse name data stored in the ROM 107, and the horse name data is read on the basis of the horse name code to be used in a game.

An example, of a data structure of written data written on the magnetic card when a player stops play is shown in FIG. 6B. In the written data, a portion of the player data is recorded. More specifically, information including the ID code, the check code, and the screen layout unrelated to the progress of the game is recorded.

The player who plays as a horse owner inserts the magnetic card into any station 10 when resuming a game. Then, the check code recorded on the magnetic card is read, it is determined whether the information written thereon is normal, and the ID code recorded on the magnetic card is read. Then, the player data corresponding to the ID code is read from the SRAM 105 or the flash memory 106 shown in FIG. 4. The player data is read by the RAM 203, which is included in the station 10 and shown in FIG. 5, and is subjected to a prescribe processing. Accordingly, the player may always resume the game using the magnetic card and continuously enjoy the game using the racehorse character trained by himself/herself.

In the arcade game machine 1, races (hereinafter, referred to as a “normal race”) having the same titles as actual central horse races are sequentially held according to a prescribed cycle. About 60 races are prepared as races which will be executed within a year. For each race, a time for betting a token, that is, a time for purchasing a voting ticket (betting ticket) of the game, a time for executing the normal race using miniature horses, and a time for displaying a race result are ensured. The player may expect a winner in each race and freely purchase a betting ticket. The purchase of the betting ticket is performed by betting the token. If the purchased betting ticket is equal to the result of the race, a prescribed number of tokens according to odds and the number of betted tokens are supplied as a dividend. In the arcade game machine 1, as the type of a voting method, there are four methods such as Win, Quinella, Exacta, and Quinella Place. The player expects a racehorse character which will become a winner and makes a bet on the racehorse character using any one of the voting methods.

In the arcade game machine 1, a virtual race close to a future horserace which will be executed actually, that is, a race (hereinafter, referred to as a “special race”) where a plurality of racehorse characters specified by race information transmitted from the server apparatus 20 run a race, is also held, independently of the above-described normal race. The number of racehorse characters is specified by the race information and is equal to the number of racehorses which will run in a future horserace which will be executed actually. The details of the special race will be described later.

As shown in FIG. 7, the server apparatus 20 includes a system bus 300, a CPU 301, an internal storage, an external storage 304, an input device 305, an output device 306, and a communicator 307. The internal storage includes a RAM 302 or a ROM 303. The external storage 304 includes a hard disc drive (HDD) or an optical disc drive. The input device 305 includes a mouse or a keyboard. The output device 306 includes a display or a printer. The communicator 307 performs data communication with the arcade game machine 1 via the communication network.

The component such as the CPU 301 or the RAM 302 communicates data or command of a program with each other via the system bus 300. Various kinds of programs for operating the server apparatus 20 in prescribed order are stored in the ROM 301 or the external storage 304 and are retrieved and executed in an operation area of the CPU 301 or the RAM 302 as necessary. When race information (specific information) or odds information of a future race which will be executed actually is input via the input device 305 or the communication network this information is stored in the external storage 304. The server apparatus 20 may be configured as a dedicated device or may be configured using a general purpose computer system. One computer may be configured or a plurality of computers for respectively performing a plurality of functions may be connected via a network.

Next, the processing executed in the game system according the present embodiment will be described.

As shown in FIG. 1, the arcade game machine 1 constituting the game system has a receiver, a game executer, a rank determinant, a manipulation receiver, a betting determinant, a game value receiver, a game value supplier, a participation determinant, and a starting time information storage.

The receiver receives race information, rank determining information and odds information transmitted from the server apparatus 20 and is mainly configured by the communicator 108 in the present embodiment, the starting time information (described later) is also transmitted from the server apparatus 20 and is received by the receiver.

The game executer executes the above-described normal race and special rate for a bet about expectation of the order of arrival of a plurality of racehorse characters and executes a prediction game for allowing players to expect a racehorse character which will win in a race. The game executer is mainly configured by the main control section.

The rank determinant is mainly configured by the main control section. The rank determinant determines a racehorse character, which is placed first in a race executed by the game executer, by a lottery on the basis of data about winning percentages of a plurality of racehorse characters which run in a race, and sequentially determines the remainder of the racehorse characters up to a lowest-rank racehorse character using corrected winning percentage date X′ of the remainder of the racehorse characters obtained by the following Equation 1.


X′=X/(1−Y)

where, X denotes winning percentage data of the racehorse characters to be calculated and Y denotes the total sum of the winning percentage data of the racehorse characters of which ranks are previously determined.

The winning percentage data of the racehorse characters is stored in the SRAM 105 or the flash memory 106. The winning percentage date indicates odds that each of the racehorse characters, which run in a race, is placed first in the race. The winning percentage data of the racehorse characters varies depending on a parameter such as capability values of the other racehorse characters which run in a race and the winning percentage data of the same racehorse character varies according to races. As a parameter which has influence on the winning percentage data, the speed, stamina, condition and age of the racehorse character, a racecourse state, a jockey, and weather may be used and it is set which parameter is properly used. In the present embodiment the main controller 101 determines a plurality of racehorse characters, which run in a race, and calculates the winning percentage data in consideration of the variety of parameters, before the game executer executes the prediction race. The calculated winning percentage data is stored in the SRAM 105 or the flash memory 106 as the winning percentage data of the racehorse characters.

The detailed operation of the rank determinant will now be described. First, a lottery table including the winning percentage data of the racehorse characters as lottery odds data of the racehorse characters is generated. The lottery table is obtained by proportionally allotting random numbers, which can be generated by the main controller 101, according to a ratio of the winning percentage data of the racehorse characters and associating the random numbers with the racehorse characters. The main controller 101 generates one random number, compares the generated random number with the lottery table, and specifies a racehorse character corresponding to the random number, in order to determine a racehorse character which is placed first. Accordingly, the game executer executes the race such that the racehorse character is placed first.

Next, the main controller 101 substitutes the winning percentage data of the racehorse character, which is determined to be first, and the winning percentage data of the remainder of the racehorse characters to Equation (1), and calculates corrected winning percentage data X1′ to X7′ of the remainder of the racehorse characters. A new lottery table including calculated corrected winning percentage data X1′ to X7′ as lottery odds data of the racehorse characters is generated. Thereafter, the main controller 101 generates one random number compares the generated random number with the new lottery table, and specifies a racehorse character corresponding to the random number, in order to determine a racehorse character which is placed second. Accordingly, the game executer executes the race such that the racehorse character is placed second. Similarly the ranks of the racehorse characters are determined up to a lowest rank racehorse character.

The manipulation receiver receives a betting manipulation of a player and is mainly configured by the touch panel 12, the station controller 201 and the main controller 101. When the player makes a bet, an odds table or a manipulation button image for allowing the player to select two racehorse characters for a bet and inputting the number of betted tokens is displayed on the display 11 of the station 10. The player manipulates the touch panel 12 according to the display contents of the display 11 and performs the bet manipulation.

The betting determinant selects a prescribed number of racehorse characters according to the voting method on the basis of a player manipulation (betting manipulation) received by the manipulation receiver, and determines the number of tokens (game value) betted on the selected racehorse characters. More specifically, a bet is made in the unit of one racehorse character in Win and is made in the unit of two racehorse characters in Quinella, Exacta, and Quinella Place. The betting determinant is mainly configured by the station controller 201 and the main controller 101. More specifically, manipulation data indicating the contents of the bet manipulation performed by the player is sent from the touch panel 12 of the station 10 to the main controller 101 via the station controller 201. The main controller 10 selects a racehorse character on the basis of the manipulation data and determines the number of tokens betted on the selected racehorse character. The bet contents of the player is stored the SRAM 105 and the flesh memory 106 for each player.

The game value receiver receives the tokens by the number of tokens determined by the betting determinant from the player who performs the bet manipulation. More specifically the tokens input to the token inlet 13 of the station 10 by the player is counted and is managed by the token manager 202 as token data. The token manager 202 manages the tokens which are exchanged between the player and the arcade game machine 1. When the tokens are received from the player, the token manager 202 performs processing of reducing the count value of the token data of the player by the number of received tokens. Accordingly, in the present embodiment, the game value receiver is mainly configured by the station controller 201 and the token manager 202.

The game value supplier determines a winner in voting methods on the basis of the ranks of the racehorse characters determined by the rank determinant, and supplies the player with the tokens by the number obtained by multiplying the number of tokens betted on the race character related to the winner by corresponding odds. More specifically, the token manager 202 performs processing of increasing the count value of the token data of the player by the number of supplied tokens. Accordingly, in the present embodiment the game value supplier is mainly configured by the station controller 201 and the token manager 202.

With respect to the normal race, odds used by the game value supplier are calculated on the basis of the winning percentage data of the racehorse characters which run in the normal race. In contrast, in the special race, odds which are calculated from the winning percentage data similar to the normal race or odds which are calculated on the basis of odds information transmitted from the server apparatus 20 as described below is used.

The participation determinant determines a racehorse character which participates in the normal race, according to a race manipulation (player manipulation) performed when a horse owned by the player runs in the normal race and is mainly configured by the station controller 201 and the main controller 101. More specifically, manipulation data indicating the contents of a race manipulation performed by the player is sent from the touch panel 12 of the station 10 to the main controller 101 via the station controller 201. The main controller 101 selects the racehorse character owned by the player on the basis of the manipulation data and sends the race information for specifying the selected racehorse character to the game executer and the rank determinant. The other racehorse characters which run in the normal race are determined according to a racehorse determination program. With respect to the normal race without a race manipulation, all racehorse characters which run in the normal race am determined a racehorse determination program. The participation determinant does not determine the participation of a racehorse character according to the race manipulation of the player with respect to the special race.

The starting time information storage stores starting time information for specifying a starting time of the special race. The starting time information storage is mainly configured by the SRAM 105 or the flash memory 106 of the main control section. The starting time information stored in the starting time information storage is sent to the game executer and the game executer starts the special game at the starting time specified by the received starting time information. In the present embodiment, as described below, the special race starts at a time other than the starting time specified by the starting time information. That is, in the present embodiment, a special virtual race close to a future horserace which will be executed actually is executed in plural before the actual horserace starts. In the present embodiment, the starting time information for determining the starting time of the special game is received from the server apparatus via the communication network. Accordingly, the server apparatus 20 can collectively manage the starting times of the special games which are executed by all the arcade game machines 1. The starting time information may be, for example, generated by the arcade game machine 1 according to the manipulation of a player or the manipulation of an operator of a game arcade in which the arcade game machine 1 is disposed. In this case, the starting time of the special game can be properly set according to the desire of the game arcade or the desire of the player, for each arcade game machine 1.

The server apparatus 20 constituting the game system includes a transmitter, a specific information generator, a rank determining information generator, and an odds information storage.

The transmitter transmits the race information, the rank determining information, the odds information and the starting time information to the arcade game machines 1 via the communication network and is mainly configured by the communicator 307.

The specific information generator generates the race information (specific information) for specifying a plurality of racehorse characters participating in the special game and is mainly configured by the system bus 300, the CPU 301, the internal storage, and external storage 304. In the present embodiment, the published race information is input to the server apparatus 20 by the operator and the race information transmitted to the arcade game machines 1 is generated according to a prescribed race information generating program on the basis of the input race information.

The rank determining information generator generates rank determining information of the racehorse characters used when the rank determinant of the arcade game machine 1 determines the rank and is mainly configured by the system bus 300, the CPU 301, the internal storage, and the external storage 304. In the present embodiment, the rank determining information is information on parameters used for determining the winning percentage data of the plurality of racehorse characters related to the race information, and more particularly, data used when the arcade game machine 1 calculates the winning percentage data, among the speed, stamina, condition, and age of each of the racehorse characters. The rank determining information is determined on the basis of the past careers of the racehorses which run in a future horserace executed actually. More specifically, the speed, stamina, condition and age of each of the racehorses are determined from the past careers of the racehorses and are input to the server apparatus 20 by the operator. The CPU 301 of the server apparatus 20 executes a prescribed rank determining information generating program and generates the rank determining information such as the speed, stamina, condition, and age of each of the racehorse characters corresponding thereto on the basis of a variety of input information.

The odds information storage stores odds information for calculating the game value supplied by the game value supplier with respect to the player who makes a bet on a racehorse character which wins in a racing game in which a plurality of racehorse characters specified by the race information participate. The odds information storage is mainly configured by the RAM 302 or the external storage 304. The odds information is determined on the basis of the odds information published with respect to a future horserace executed actually. More specifically, the published odds information is input to the server apparatus 20 and is stored in the odds information storage. Although a case where the published odds information is used without alteration is described in the present embodiment the published odds information may be adjusted to be used for the arcade game machine 1 and be stored in the odds information storage.

Next, processing of executing the special race in the present game system will be described. In the following description, a case where a special virtual race close to an actual GI race held on the next Sunday is executed before the GI race starts and a case where the special virtual race is simultaneously executed when the GI race starts will be described.

In general, the race information including horse names, horse numbers and gate numbers of the actual GI race which will be held on the next Sunday is published on Wednesday immediately before the race. Accordingly, the operator of the server apparatus 20 inputs the race information including horse names, horse numbers and gate numbers to the server apparatus 20 according to the published race information, as shown in FIG. 8. When the publisher who performs the publication distributes the race information as electronic data, the race information may be input to the server apparatus 20 by downloading the electronic data via the communication network. In the server apparatus 20, the specific information generator generates the race information transmitted to the arcade game machine 1 according to a prescribed race information generating program, on the basis of the input race information. The rank determining information generator of the server apparatus 20 generates the rank determining information of the racehorses specified by the published race information. The race information and the rank determining information are transmitted to the arcade game machine 1 via the communication network by the transmitter of the server apparatus 20, together with the starting time information. In addition, the starting time information of the present embodiment uses information indicating a predicted starting time of the GI race.

When the information is received by the receiver of the arcade game machine 1, the arcade game machine 1 executes the special race where the racehorse characters related to the received race information run and the prediction game after the normal race (normal race cycle) executed within a year is finished. More specifically, when the normal race cycle is finished, first, the rank determinant of the arcade game machine 1 calculates the winning percentage data related to the received race information on the basis of the received rank determining information and calculates odds on the basis of the winning percentage data. The calculated odds are displayed on the display 11 of the station 10 as the odds table. The calculated odds data is sent to the game value supplier. The rank determinant determines the ranks of the racehorse characters related to the received race information on the basis of the calculated winning percentage date. Data on the determined rank is sent to the game executer.

The game executer first executes the prediction game on the basis of the received race information. The player performs the bet manipulation using the touch panel 12 by referring to the odds table displayed on the display 11 of the station 10. When a betting period is finished, the game executer starts the special race where the racehorse characters related to the race information run and executes the special race such that the racehorse characters have the ranks determined by the rank determinant. The special race and the prediction game are executed whenever the normal race cycle is finished, until the last special race (described later) is held. In the prediction games for the special races, when the player makes a bet on a race character related to a winner of the voting methods determined based on the ranks determined by the rank determinant, the game value supplier supplies the player with tokens by the number obtained by multiplying the number of betted tokens by the corresponding odds received from the rank determinant.

When the odds information of the actual GI race which will be held on the next Sunday is published, the operator of the server apparatus 20 inputs the probabilities corresponding to the voting method to the server apparatus 20 according to the published odds information. When the publisher who performs the publication distributes the odds information as electronic data, the odds information may be input to the server apparatus 20 by downloading the electronic data via the communication network. In the server apparatus 20, the input odds information is stored in the odds information storage. The odds information stored in the odds information storage is transmitted to the arcade game machine 1 via the communication network by the transmitter of the server apparatus 20.

When the odds information is received by the receiver of the arcade game machine 1 the odds based on the received odds information are used as the odds used in the prediction game for the special race executed in the arcade game machine 1. More specifically, in the prediction game for the special race, the rank determinant determines the odds on the basis of the received odds information. The determined odds are displayed on the display 11 of the station 10 as the odds table. Accordingly, the odds table becomes equal to the odds table at the current time point in the actual GI race which will be held on the next Sunday. The rank determinant calculates the winning percentage data of the race characters which run in the special race, on the basis of the received rank determining information, and determines the ranks of the racehorse characters on the basis of the winning percentage data, similar to the above description.

After the game executer executes the special race on the basis of the received race information, when the player makes a bet for the race character related to the winner of the voting methods determined based on the ranks determined by the rank determinant in the prediction game, the game value supplier supplies the player with the token by the number obtained by multiplying the number of betted tokens by the odds received by the rank determinant, that is, the odds at the current time point in the actual GI race which will be held on the next Sunday.

When the odds information used in the actual GI race is updated, it is preferable that the updated odds information is input to the server apparatus whenever the update is performed and is transmitted to the arcade game machine 1 such that the prediction game is always performed with latest odds information.

At a prescribed time point before the starting time indicated by the predicted starting time stored in the starting time information storage of the arcade game machine 1, the game executer executes the last special race and the prediction game thereof after the normal race executed currently. The last special race and the prediction game thereof start at a time point when the normal race is finished executed currently even during the normal race cycle. More specifically, the game executer first executes the prediction game after the normal race is finished and then starts the last special race at the starting time. Accordingly, the special virtual race close to the GI race can simultaneously start when the actual GI race starts.

As described above, according to the present embodiment, in the arcade game machines 1 disposed in the general game arcades, a special virtual race close to a future race which will be executed actually can be executed before the horserace starts.

In addition, in the present embodiment, since the race of the horse owned by a player is inhibited with respect to the special race, only racehorse characters close to the racehorses which run in the future horserace executed actually can run in the special race. As a result, the special race can be executed to be close to the future horserace executed actually.

In addition, although a case where a game system for executing a horserace where a plurality of racehorse characters race one another is described in the present embodiment, the present invention is applicable to another race such as a bicycle race or a motorboat race and a sporting event such as baseball or soccer.