Title:
Game program, game apparatus, and method of controlling game apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A game program configured to cause a game apparatus to operate to implement as: a means that generates an image simulating a dealer and a play field; a means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; a means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on the bet number has been provided; a means for giving a chip to the dealer; a means that stores the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other, based on the input information; a means that determines a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the stored chip and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a means that pays back a gaming value when it is judged that the player has won in the gambling type game.



Inventors:
Hamada, Tetsuya (Tokyo, JP)
Todaiji, Mitsuru (Tokyo, JP)
Uchida, Kenji (Tokyo, JP)
Suzuki, Miyako (Tokyo, JP)
Hisajima, Takeshi (Tokyo, JP)
Yoshino, Keita (Tokyo, JP)
Yamasaki, Nobushiro (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/285942
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/16/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, ANH-VO V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WENDEROTH, LIND & PONACK, L.L.P. (1030 15th Street, N.W.,, Suite 400 East, Washington, DC, 20005-1503, US)
Claims:
1. A game program embodied on a computer-readable information storage: medium for a game apparatus comprising a control part, a storage part and an operating part operated by a player, wherein said game program configured to cause said game apparatus to operate to implement as: a first means that generates an image simulating a dealer and a play field; a second means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; a third means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on the bet number has been provided from the second means; a fourth means for giving a chip to the dealer; a fifth means that stores the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other, based on the input information from the fourth means; a sixth means that determines a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the stored chips and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a seventh means that pays back a gaming value when it is judged that the player has won in the gambling type game.

2. A game program embodied on a computer-readable information storage medium for a game apparatus comprising a control part, a storage part and an operating part operated by a plurality of players, wherein said game program configured to cause said each operating part to operate to implement as: a bet number determining means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; and a chip giving means for giving a chip to a dealer; and further wherein said game program configured to cause said control part to operate to implement as: a first means that generates an image simulating the dealer and play field; a second means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on a bet number has been provided from any said bet determining means; a third means that stores the operating part corresponding to the chip giving means and the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other when input information has been provided from any said chip giving means; a fourth means that references a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips stored in the chip information storage means and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a fifth means that pays back a gaming value to each of the players when it is judged that any of the players have won in the gambling type game.

3. The game program as claimed in claim 2, wherein the dealer is made up of a plurality of dealers, and the game program configured to cause said control part to operate to implement as: a sixth means that changes one of the plurality of dealers to another dealer when a predetermined period of time has elapsed.

4. The game program as claimed in claim 2, wherein said third means is further made to function as a seventh means that maintains storage of the chip information until at least one of the dealers is displayed on a display means after one dealer has been changed to another dealer.

5. The game program as claimed in claim 2, wherein the sixth means is made up of a favorable-impression table indicative of a correlation between the chips given from the chip giving means, the favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips, and behavior control of the dealer, and wherein an operation of the dealer is controlled based on the favorable-impression table.

6. A game apparatus that comprises a control part, a storage part, and an operating part operated by a player, said game apparatus further comprising: a first means that generates an image simulating a dealer and a play field; a second means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; a third means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on the bet number has been provided from the second means; a fourth means for giving a chip to the dealer; a fifth means that stores the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other, based on the input information from the fourth means; a sixth means that determines a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the stored chips and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a seventh means that pays back a gaming value when it is judged that the player has won in the gambling type game.

7. A game apparatus that comprises a control part, a storage part, and an operating part operated by a player, each of said operation parts having: a bet number determining means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; and a chip giving means for giving a chip to a dealer, said control part having: a first means that generates an image simulating the dealer and play field; a second means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on a bet number has been provided from any said bet determining means; a third means that stores the operating part corresponding to the chip giving means and the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other when input information has been provided from any said chip giving means; a fourth means that references a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips stored in the chip information storage means and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a fifth means that pays back a gaming value to each of the players when it is judged that any of the players have won in the gambling type game.

8. A control method of controlling a game apparatus that comprises a control part, a storage part, and an operating part operated by a player, said method causing the game apparatus to execute the steps of: a first means generating an image simulating a dealer and a play field; a second means determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; a third means executing a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on the bet number has been provided from the second means; a fourth means giving a chip to the dealer; a fifth means storing the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other, based on the input information from the fourth means; a sixth means determining a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the stored chip and controlling a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a seventh means paying back a gaming value when it is judged that the player has won in the gambling type game.

9. A method for controlling a game apparatus comprising a control part, a storage part and a plurality of operating parts operated by each of a plurality of players, wherein each of operating parts is controlled to implement as: a bet number determining means determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; and a chip giving means giving a chip to a dealer; and further, said control part is controlled to implement as: a first means generating an image simulating the dealer and play field; a second means executing a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on a bet number has been provided from any said bet determining means; a third means storing the operating part corresponding to the chip giving means and the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other when input information has been provided from any said chip giving means; a fourth means referencing a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips stored in the chip information storage means and controlling a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a fifth means paying back a gaming value to each of the players when it is judged that any of the players have won in the gambling type game.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a game apparatus in which a dealer object controlled by a computer and a player play a game while facing each other. In particular, the present invention relates to a game apparatus in which a player bets gaming values, such as a predetermined number of tokens, executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined winning combination is established, and if the player has won the game, gaming values are paid back at a predetermined number or more.

BACKGROUND ART

Game apparatuses in which a dealer object controlled by a computer and a player play a game while facing each other are known where a predetermined winning combination is established, and if the player has won the game, gaming values are paid back at a predetermined number or more. Such apparatuses include that where a game rule is changed according to the number of bets (see Patent Document 1, for example) and that in which the content of a dealer image is changed according to the number of bets placed, for example, the degrees of surprise of the dealer's facial expression and actions are gradually increased according to the number of bets placed (or the amount of the bets placed), for example (see Patent Document 2).

Patent Document 1: Japanese Laid-open Patent Application Publication No. 6-296753

Patent Document 2: Japanese Laid-open Patent Application Publication No. 2007-75346

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

(Problem(s) to Be Solved by the Invention)

In the conventional game apparatus described above, the contents of a game are changed according to the number of bets placed, so that a player can enjoy additional game contents which are responsive to the number of bets placed over and above those required for the betting payment which is made according to the number of bets placed. However, the game contents are changed according to the number of bets that are directly relevant to a payment, so that, when the game is over, the number of bets to be placed is returned to a default setting. Therefore, in the case where a game is repeatedly played, a player needs to bet a particular gaming value of which the number is greater than or equal to that of the previous (gaming value) bet every time.

In addition, Patent Document 1 discloses a means for changing a game rule to that in which the greater the number of bets is, the greater the advantage obtained by the player placing the bets. However, the game apparatus provided with that means is applicable only to single player. Therefore, in the case where this game apparatus is applied to that in which a plurality of players can play a game, for example, assuming that a player who makes a wager for the greatest number of bets is defined as player A, it is thought that only player A gains an advantage from the game rule; other players become disadvantaged by the game rule as long as they play a game with player A, or as long as they do not make a wager with a bet of which the number is greater than or equal to that of player A. Conversely, Patent Document 2 describes a scenario where the dealer object controlled by a computer is compatible with a plurality of players. However, the facial expression or action of the dealer object on the screen merely changes according to the number of bets placed by each player. For example, there is no event where the game contents are changed according to a player who has bet the most among the plurality of players playing the game. In addition, the game is thought to be monotonous because only the facial expression of the dealer changes, irrespective of the number of bets a player has placed.

The present invention has been developed in order to solve the problems described above. It is a primary object of the present invention to provide a game apparatus in which a player can favorably conduct a game according to the number of chips played that are not directly relevant to the game payment required to enter the game and which allows the player to maintain their wish to continuously play a game. It is a further object of the present invention to provide a game apparatus in which a dealer object can be changed to a different dealer object and, in the case where a plurality of players have participated in a game with a dealer object, each of the players can favorably conduct a game in accordance with the amount of chips paid to the dealer object.

(Means for Solving the Problem(s))

The present invention relates to a game program, a game apparatus, and a method of controlling said game apparatus,

and with respect to the game program, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved by a game program embodied on a computer-readable information storage medium for a game apparatus comprising a control part, a storage part and an operating part operated by a player, wherein said game program configured to cause said game apparatus to operate to implement as: a first means that generates an image simulating a dealer and a play field; a second means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; a third means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on the bet number has been provided from the second means; a fourth means for giving a chip to the dealer (or the banker); a fifth means that stores the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other, based on the input information from the fourth means; a sixth means that determines a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the stored chips and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a seventh means that pays back a gaming value when it is judged that the player has won in the gambling type game.

Alternatively, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved by a game program embodied on a computer-readable information storage medium for a game apparatus comprising a control part, a storage part and an operating part operated by a plurality of players, wherein said game program configured to cause said each operating part to operate to implement as: a bet number determining means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; and a chip giving means for giving a chip to a dealer; and further wherein said game program configured to cause said control part to operate to implement as: a first means that generates an image simulating the dealer and play field; a second means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on a bet number has been provided from any said bet determining means; a third means that stores the operating part corresponding to the chip giving means and the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other when input information has been provided from any said chip giving means; a fourth means that references a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips stored in the chip information storage means and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a fifth means that pays back a gaming value to each of the players when it is judged that any of the players have won in the gambling type game.

Further, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved more effectively by the game program, wherein the dealer is made up of a plurality of dealers, and the game program configured to cause said control part to operate to implement as: a sixth means that changes one of the plurality of dealers to another dealer when a predetermined period of time has elapsed.

Further, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved more effectively by the game program, wherein said third means is further made to function as a seventh means that maintains storage of the chip information until at least one of the dealers is displayed on a display means after one dealer has been changed to another dealer.

Further, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved more effectively by the game program, wherein the sixth means is made up of a favorable-impression table indicative of a correlation between the chips given from the chip giving means, the favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips, and behavior control of the dealer, and wherein an operation of the dealer is controlled based on the favorable-impression table.

In addition, with respect to a game apparatus, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved by a game apparatus that comprises a control part, a storage part, and an operating part operated by a player, said game apparatus further comprising: a first means that generates an image simulating a dealer and a play field (a virtual play space); a second means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; a third means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on the bet number has been provided from the second means; a fourth means for giving a chip to the dealer; a fifth means that stores the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other, based on the input information from the fourth means; a sixth means that determines a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the stored chips and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a seventh means that pays back a gaming value when it is judged that the player has won in the gambling type game.

Alternatively, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved by a game apparatus that comprises a control part, a storage part, and an operating part operated by a player, each of said operation parts having: a bet number determining means for determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; and a chip giving means for giving a chip to a dealer, said control part having: a first means that generates an image simulating the dealer and play field; a second means that executes a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on a bet number has been provided from any said bet determining means; a third means that stores the operating part corresponding to the chip giving means and the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other when input information has been provided from any said chip giving means; a fourth means that references a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips stored in the chip information storage means and controls a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a fifth means that pays back a gaming value to each of the players when it is judged that any of the players have won in the gambling type game.

In addition, with respect to a game apparatus control method, the above object of the present invention is achieved by a control method of controlling a game apparatus that comprises a control part, a storage part, and an operating part operated by a player, said method causing the game apparatus to execute the steps of: a first means generating an image simulating a dealer and a play field (a virtual play space); a second means determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; a third means executing a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on the bet number has been provided from the second means; a fourth means giving a chip to the dealer; a fifth means storing the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other, based on the input information from the fourth means; a sixth means determining a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the stored chip and controlling a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a seventh means paying back a gaming value when it is judged that the player has won in the gambling type game.

Alternatively, the above-described object of the present invention is achieved by a method for controlling a game apparatus comprising a control part, a storage part and a plurality of operating parts operated by each of a plurality of players, wherein each of operating parts is controlled to implement as: a bet number determining means determining a bet number of a particular gaming value; and a chip giving means giving a chip to a dealer; and further, said control part is controlled to implement as: a first means generating an image simulating the dealer and play field; a second means executing a gambling type game in which a predetermined number of gaming values have been bet between the player and the dealer when input information on a bet number has been provided from any said bet determining means; a third means storing the operating part corresponding to the chip giving means and the chips corresponding to the dealer in association with each other when input information has been provided from any said chip giving means; a fourth means referencing a favorable-impression rank corresponding to the chips stored in the chip information storage means and controlling a behavior of the dealer in response to the rank; and a fifth means paying back a gaming value to each of the players when it is judged that any of the players have won in the gambling type game.

ADVANTAGEOUS EFFECT OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention, in response to the number of chips played that are not directly relevant to a game payment required to enter or maintain the game, a action of a dealer object is changed so that the game provides an advantage to the player that pays those extra chips. Therefore, the player can advantageously influence a game by giving chips to a dealer object at any point without those chips being relevant to the betting gaming values at that point in time. In addition, the action of the dealer object is changed in a stepwise manner, thus making it possible to conduct a game more advantageously as more chips are paid to the dealer object.

In addition, even if the bet number of game values is paid back after one game has terminated, the number of chips stored in a storage part is not initialized. Thus, the player does not need to give chips of which the number is the same as that required in a previous game in order to restore the current state to that which is identical to the previous state in the next game. Therefore, the player can maintain their motivation to continuously play a game. In addition, in the case where it is judged that a predetermined period of time has elapsed, a dealer object may be changed to another dealer object. Thus, in the case where a plurality of players have participated in a game with a particular dealer object, each of the players can advantageously conduct the game in response to an amount of chips that each player has paid to that dealer object. Further, the number (total number) of chips paid to each of the dealer objects is stored in association with a particular player's operating part. Thus, a variety of effects or games can be carried out which include changing the dealer object's actions or facial expression in response to a player who gives more chips to one dealer object, or executing a game which is responsive to dealer objects having different characteristics.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing one example of the exterior configuration of a game apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic view showing one example of the configuration of a table part in the game apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view showing one example of the configuration of an operating part in the game apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a view showing one example of a display image in the game apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a block diagram depicting one example of a configuration of essential parts in the game apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a block diagram depicting one example of a configuration of a control part in the game apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a functional block diagram depicting one example of a configuration of essential parts in a game control means according to the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a view showing examples of dealer objects according to the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a schematic view for explaining the function of customizing a dealer object according to the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a view showing one example of the configuration of a favorable-impression level table according to the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a schematic view showing a method of changing a dealer object in the game apparatus according to the present invention and a mode of exchanging chips between each player and each dealer object;

FIG. 12 is a schematic view showing an example of a method of storing chip information in the present invention;

FIG. 13 is a flowchart for explaining one example of the operation of the game apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a schematic view for explaining a specific example of the effect processing of the game apparatus according to the present invention;

FIG. 15 is a partial view of the flowchart shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is a schematic view showing examples of sub-games according to the present invention; and FIG. 17 is a block diagram depicting another example of a configuration of the game apparatus according to the present invention.

EXPLANATION OF REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 1 Erected part
  • 1A Lamp
  • 2 Table part
  • 2A Coin payout portion
  • 3 (3A to 3D) Dealer objects (or Banker objects)
  • 4 Field (Virtual play space) image
  • 5A Coin image
  • 5B Chip image
  • 6 Card image
  • 7 (7A to 7E) Players
  • 8 Chip information
  • 9 Dealer object data (Banker object data)
  • 10 Table display part (second display part)
  • 20 Operating part
  • 20a Coin processing part
  • 20b Voice output part
  • 20A Control panel
  • 21 Game button
  • 22 Coin entry part
  • 23 Bet unit
  • 24 Chip button
  • 25 Armrest
  • 30 Control part
  • 30A Main control part
  • 30B Sub control part
  • 31 Main CPU (Central Processing Unit)
  • 32 ROM (Read Only Memory)
  • 33 RAM (Random Access Memory)
  • 34 Image processing circuit
  • 34a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)
  • 34b Graphic memory
  • 35 Voice processing circuit (audio control circuit)
  • 35a Echo processing unit (sound CPU)
  • 35b Sound memory
  • 36 Interface circuit
  • 37 Wireless communication part
  • 40 External storage medium
  • 50 Game control part (game control means)
  • 51 Game execution control means
  • 52 Dealer object (Banker object) operation control means
  • 53 Dealer object (Banker object) change means
  • 54 Effect processing means
  • 55 Chip information storage means
  • 56 High favorable-impression rank determining means
  • 57 Gaming value payout means
  • 100 Game apparatus
  • 110 Dealer (Banker) display part (first display part)
  • 111 Main voice output part
  • 120 Terminal

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Hereinafter, preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing one example of the exterior configuration of a game apparatus according to the present invention. A game apparatus 100 shown in FIG. 1 is a gambling type game apparatus in which a dealer object or a banker object controlled by a computer and a player play a game while facing each other. In particular, this apparatus is preferably applied as a betting game apparatus of a type in which a player competes against a dealer object (or a banker object) while the player bets gaming values such as tokens in a card game (such as blackjack, baccarat, or poker).

In FIG. 1, a dealer display part (hereinafter, referred to as a “first display part”) 110 that displays a dealer object (or a banker object) 3 or its background image is located at an erected part 1 at the back side as viewed by a player while a display surface thereof is perpendicular to a ground surface, and an illumination lamp 1A or the like that emits bright color-based light is disposed upwardly thereof At the front side of the erected part 1, a table part 2 (table-shaped cabinet) that protrudes in a horizontal direction from the lower end of the first display part 110 is provided integrally with the first display part 110. At the table part 2, a table display part (hereinafter, referred to as a “second display part) 10 that displays an image indicative of a play field (The term “a play field” used herein denotes “a virtual play space”) of each player, or a gaming state and the like, and an operating part 20 that each player operates at are arranged adjacently so that a table surface is formed from the display surface and the operating surface. The game apparatus 100 in the present example is provided with: five terminals 120 having the operating part 20 configured so that a maximum of five players can participate in a gambling game with a dealer object (or a banker object), and a coin payout portion 2A which is provided in a location downward of the operating part 20 in each of the terminals.

In the present embodiment, a projector of a rear projection type DLP (Digital Light Processing) (DLP: Registered trademark of US Texas Instruments Co., Ltd.) system for projecting and displaying an image on a screen surface is employed for the first display part 110, and a LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is employed for the second display part 10. In addition, for the sizes of the display areas of the display parts, the first display part 110 is in the order of 62 inches, and the second display part 10 is in the order of 52 inches.

While, in the present embodiment, a DLP or an LCD is employed for the display parts, respectively, each of the display parts may be made up of a general display device such as a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), an EL (Electronic Luminescence) display, or a PDP (Plasma Display Panel) without being limited thereto.

FIG. 2 shows a configuration of the table part 2 of the game apparatus shown in FIG. 1, and the table part 2, as shown in FIG. 2, is made up of: a plurality of operating parts 20 at which operating surfaces, each formed in a substantially trapezoidal shape, are arranged in a ring shape (operating panels of the terminals 120(a) to 120(e)); and a second display part 10 having a substantially arc-shaped display surface that is continuously provided at one end of the operating surface of each of the operating parts 20. The level of the table part 2 is defined to be at a level low enough such that a player can comfortably play a game while his or her feet are placed on the ground when said player has taken a seat. In addition, the width of each of the operating parts 20 is formed at a width W (in the order of 65 cm in the present example) to an extent such that a personal space for each of the players can be allocated.

In the present embodiment, a field image 4 simulating the play field of a casino table is displayed on the table surface (second display part 10 shown in FIG. 2), and FIG. 2 shows an example displaying the field image 4 in a card game on the second display part 10.

Next, one possible configuration of the operating part 20 used in the game apparatus of the present invention will be described.

The game apparatus according to the present invention is directed to a game apparatus having a function of executing a gambling type game in which: a player executes a card game while betting gaming values of a predetermined number or more against a dealer object or a banker object (dealer object (or banker object) 3 being projected and displayed on the first display part 110 shown in FIG. 1); a predetermined winning combination in that particular card game is established; and the gaming values of the betting numbers, in the case where the player has won the game, are paid back, wherein at each of the operating parts 20 in terminals 120(a) to 120(e), a chip giving means for giving chips to a dealer object (or banker object) 3 is provided that is separate from a bet number determining means for determining the number of bets of a particular gaming value.

FIG. 3 shows an example of the control panel 20A that includes the configured operating parts 20 in the game apparatus shown in FIG. 1. In FIG. 3, on the control panel 20A, there are provided: a game button 21 having a plurality of button switches; a coin entry part 22 having a credit display part and a coin entry slot; a betting unit 23 used as a bet number determining means; a chip button 24 used as a chip giving means; and an armrest 25 having a space for placing a player's arm.

The button switches of the game button 21 are allocated as operating buttons for supplying instructions, i.e., “Hit” for adding one card, “Stand” for establishing a player's own hand without drawing a card; “Split” that is capable of adding an amount of money equal to that of a bet in the case where the first two cards are of the same number, and then, competing with each other while dividing their hands two ways; and “Double down” for drawing only one card while doubling a bet.

At the coin entry part 22, there are provided: a coin entry slot for inserting coins as gaming values (such as tokens, chips, or any other coin-like gaming values, with virtual gaming values also being acceptable); and a credit display part for displaying the number of gaming values (credit values) after counting the number of gaming values inserted from the coin entry slot and for storing a credit value that is responsive to the number of gaming values inserted.

The betting unit 23 is provided with a jog dial, a bet button, and a bet number display part, and is configured so that when a player turns the jog dial, a numerical value increasing or decreasing according to its rotational direction is displayed on the bet number display part, and unless the jog dial has been turned again, its display value is maintained. When the bet button is pressed, the gaming values of the bet number displayed on the bet number display part of the betting unit 23 (hereinafter, merely referred to as a “bet number”) are subtracted from the credit values displayed on the credit display part of the coin entry part 22, and the betting money to be used in that game is then bet. In the next game, by merely pressing the bet button, the gaming values of the same number as bet in the previous game (bet number set by the jog dial) are bet. While a gaming value to be bet as betting money may generally be a “chip”, in the present embodiment, the gaming value to be arbitrarily given from a player to a dealer object (or a banker object) is referred to as a “chip”, and is separate from the money used for betting.

The gaming value bet by the operation of the betting unit 23, as shown in FIG. 4, is displayed as a coin image 5A simulating the number of coins which have been bet, for example, on an image of the field image 4. In the present example, the coin image 5A is displayed on an image indicative of a bet spot part on a play field (a virtual play space). On the field image 4, apart from the coin image 5A or a card image 6, an image is displayed indicating how card objects are arranged on a table by the hands of a dealer object (or a banker object) or an image indicating how chips are moved on a table when a player gives chips to the dealer object (or the banker object).

The chip button 24 shown: in FIG. 3 is a button to be operated when the player gives chips to the dealer object (or the banker object), and the chips drawn from the stored credit value are delivered to the current dealer object (or the current banker object) 3 displayed on the display part 110 shown in FIG, 1. Although described later in detail, in the present embodiment, the action of a dealer object (or a banker object) is changed in a stepwise manner in accordance with the number of chips so that the greater the number of chip entries to a dealer object (or a banker object) there is, the greater the advantage obtained by the player giving the chips.

The armrest 25 shown in FIG. 3 is made up of a transparent plate and a frame body made of a hard transparent member so that the coin payout slot at the downward rear side of the transparent plate can be visually observed.

Next, the interior configuration of the game apparatus of the present invention will be described.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram depicting an example of one configuration of the essential parts of the game apparatus 100 shown in FIG. 1. In FIG. 5, this game apparatus is provided with: a control part 30 that is made up of a main control part 30A and a sub control part 30B; a first display part 110 for displaying an image of a dealer object or the like; a main voice output part 111 for outputting a voice or a sound effect of a dealer object(or a banker object); a second voice output part 10 for displaying an image or the gaming state of a play field (a virtual play space); and a plurality of terminal (terminal devices) 120. Each of the terminals 120 is provided with: the operating parts 20 mentioned previously; a coin processing part 20a made up of a coin selector and a coin hopper; and a voice output part 20b made up of a plurality of speakers or the like. In the present embodiment, each of the terminals 120 and the second display part 10 are controlled by means of the main control part 30, and the first display part 110 and the main voice output part 111 are controlled by means of the sub control part 30B.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram depicting an example of one hardware configuration of the control part 30. Hereinafter, a description will be given by way of example in which the main control part 30A and the sub control part 30B are configured as one control part 30.

In FIG. 6, the control part 30 of the game apparatus is provided with: a main CPU (Central Processing Unit) 31; a ROM (Read Only Memory) 32 and a RAM (Random Access Memory) 33 that serve as the main storage means; an image processing circuit 34 that generates an image signal output to the display part 110 based on image information generated by means of a game program; a voice processing circuit 35 that generates a voice signal output to a main voice output part (main speaker) 111; and an I/F (interface) circuit 36 that serves as an input/output control means, and these elements are connected via a bus.

The ROM 32 is a readout memory that stores basic software such as a program for starting up the game apparatus, and the RAM 33 is a rewritable volatile or nonvolatile memory for providing to the main CPU 31 an area or the like for temporarily recording data being processed. In the present embodiment, these storage devices temporarily store: count information regarding bet game values; count information regarding chips delivered to a dealer object (or a banker object) (chip information will be described later); dealer object (banker object) information (such as data on each dealer object (or banker object)); and control information or the like relating to controlling the progress of a game.

The image processing circuit 34 is made up of: a GPU (Graphic Processing Unit) 34a that operates in response to an instruction from the CPU 31; and a graphic memory (VRAM: Video Random Access Memory in this example) 34b or the like. This circuit carries out coordinate conversion processing from a three-dimensional coordinate to a two-dimensional coordinate or rendering processing based on image information (information such as a polygon object modeled in a three-dimensional virtual space, a virtual light source, or a virtual camera) that is generated in accordance with a game program (causing a computer of the game apparatus to function as a game control means). In addition, this circuit carries out a process causing the first display part 110 to display a game image (dealer object (or banker object) image in the present embodiment) and causing the second display part 10 to display a play field (a virtual play space) image and a bet-coin image.

In the case of a game apparatus that is not provided with an auxiliary processor for three-dimensional graphic processing, such as the GPU or a rendering processor, the game program causes the control part to execute the coordinate conversion processing and rendering processing as described above.

The voice processing circuit 35 is made up of equipment such as an echo processing unit 35a and a sound memory 35b. This circuit carries out the process of generating voice data such as a sound effect and outputs a voice signal, based on the voice information generated in accordance with the game program that causes the CPU 31 to function as a voice information generating means.

The interface circuit 36 for the input/output devices is provided with interface circuits with peripheral devices such as a DLP 110, an LCD 10, a main voice output part 111, various devices at the side of the terminal 120 (such as an operating switch, a jog dial, a display device, a hopper, a coin selector, and a speaker in the present example), and a reader/writer of an external storage medium 40. The devices at the side of the terminal 120 are connected to each other via terminal control parts (such as control parts that control terminal devices on a two by two basis, for example), although these are not shown in the present example.

While a disk-shaped external storage medium, for example, is used as an information storage medium that stores game software (such as a game program and control data), according to the present invention, any computer-readable information storage medium can be employed and the present invention is not limited to an external storage medium. In addition, in the case where game software is downloaded via a network to a RAM or another internal storage medium incorporated in the main body of the game apparatus, there is no requirement for the external storage medium 40 and associated reader/writer shown in FIG. 6.

The program for implementing the game apparatus according to the present invention is a program that causes the control part 30 of the game apparatus, as described above, to function as a game control means and is made up of, for example, a functional subroutine.

FIG. 7 is a functional block diagram showing an example of one configuration of the essential parts of a game control means (hereinafter, referred to as a “game control part”) according to the present invention. Means 51 to 57 shown in FIG. 6 are implemented in accordance with a computer program controlled by means of the CPU of the control part 30 of the present embodiment, and these means are stored in a predetermined storage medium that is computer-readable. When this program is executed, it functions as a memory resident program or an overlay program. In addition, means 51 to 57 are functionally classified by assigning means names, for the sake of clarity, however, it should be appreciated that these names do not denote a software configuration. Further, the means relevant to the dealer object (or the banker object) control is mainly shown herein, and general means such as a coin processing means or an image processing means are not described in this instance.

In FIG. 7, a game control part 50 is provided with: a game execution control means 51 that controls the entire processing of a game under the control of the CPU 31 shown in FIG. 6; a dealer object(or a banker object) operation control means 52 that controls an operation of a dealer object (or a banker object) relative to each player; a dealer object (or a banker object) change means 53 that carries out a process of changing a dealer object (or a banker object) in response to an elapsed period of time of a game; an effect processing means 54 that carries out a variety of effects with the use of a video image and sound effects or illumination and the like; a chip information storage means 55 that stores information on chips delivered from a player to a dealer object (or a banker object) by means of operation of a chip giving means provided at the operating part 20; a favorable-impression rank determining means 56 that determines the favorable impression (favorable-impression rank) of a dealer object (or a banker object) relative to a player; and a gaming value payout means 57 that pays out a gaming value to a player in response to a game outcome.

The dealer object (or The banker object) operation control means 52 carries out a process of changing an action of a dealer object (or a banker object) or the like in a stepwise manner so that a game being played by the player is advantageously conducted in response to the number (amount) of chips that the player gives to a dealer object(or a banker object). The term “action” used herein denotes an operation relevant to a game winner or loser or an operation that is beneficial to a player as a game outcome, such as the operation of giving advice to a player so that a game becomes favorable. In addition, the action of a dealer object (or a banker object) includes words of gratitude or facial changes of the dealer object (or the banker object) relative to a player when chips are given in the broader sense (an action irrelevant to a game winner or loser).

The dealer object (The banker object) change means 53 monitors an elapsed period of time of a game by the dealer object and carries out control or the like by sequentially changing a current dealer object to another dealer object (or a current banker object to another banker object) in response to the elapsed period of time. In the present embodiment, an identical dealer object (or an identical banker object) is periodically generated by cyclically changing a plurality of dealer objects (or a plurality of banker objects) in response to an elapsed period of time. In addition, at this time, information on chips delivered to a dealer object (or a banker object) is maintained until at least all the dealer objects(or all the banker objects) have made one round.

Types of dealer objects (or Types of banker objects) targeted to be changed by the dealer object (the banker object) change means 53 will now be described by way of specific examples of various dealer objects (or banker object).

FIGS. 8A to 8D are views showing examples of a plurality of dealer objects (or banker object) set as defaults. In this example, three dealer objects (or banker object) 3A, 3C, and 3D are shown that simulate women and one dealer object ( or banker object)3B is shown that simulates a man. For these dealer objects (or banker objects) 8A to 8D, a variety of the dealer object control parameters (or a variety of the banker object control parameters), such as characteristic parameters indicating various characteristics (such as cool, friendly, attractive (only for objects simulating women)), for example, are set in association with a dealer object ID (or a banker object ID). Each dealer object (or Each banker object) is controlled by the dealer object(or banker object) operation control means 52 so that different actions or words, for example, are generated in response to characteristics and other situations (the amount of chips or progress of a game). In addition, these dealer objects (or these banker objects) 3A to 3D are changeable to other dealer objects (or other banker objects) which may be registered aside from the defaults (initial settings) by means of an operation of a user (such as an equipment administrator or arcade manager), and the sequential order of change of the dealer objects (the banker objects) can also be changed.

Further, the dealer object (or the banker object) change means 53 has a function of displaying a customization screen for selecting a combination of change elements while objects associated with dealer objects (or banker objects) such as dealer object (or banker object) characteristics, face, hairstyle, color of hair, clothing type, clothing color, and accessories and parameters such as characteristics and voice are defined as change elements, and then, changing the change elements, based on the information selected on the screen (function of changing image or speech (voice) of a dealer object (or a banker object)). By using that function, for example, as shown in the examples shown in FIGS. 9A to 9D, a user can freely customize a dealer object (or a banker object). Examples of the dealer objects (or the banker objects) 3D(1) to 3D(4) shown in FIGS. 9A to 9D are equivalent to an example of customizing the dealer object (or banker object) 3D shown in FIG. 8D.

The effect processing means 54 carries out a variety of effects relative to the player in response to the number of chips in a game and carries out effect processing that is responsive to a time interval such as noon or night. For example, in a scene in which a player gives chips to a dealer object (or a banker object), on a play field (a virtual play space) displayed on the second display part 10 (on a field image), the effect processing means carries out effect processing for displaying an image simulating how chips fly from the front side of a player to the front side of a dealer object (a banker object) displayed on the first display part 110. In addition, this means carries out effect processing for automatically changing clothing of a dealer object (a banker object) in response to a time interval such as noon or night. Further, this means carries out specific effect processing by selecting parameters such as the facial expression or voice of a dealer object (a banker object) relative to the player in response to a favorable impression or words that are different from those set as defaults from a word table (not shown) stored in advance, thereby changing words, for example, or alternatively, by means of image, voice, and sound effect or illumination light control or the like.

As effect processing that is responsive to the favorable impression of a dealer object (or a banker object) for a player, for example, with a higher favorable impression, the action of the dealer object (or a banker object) is changed from a business-like demeanor to a friendly demeanor. In addition, immediately after the dealer objects have been rotated once by the dealer object (or the banker object) change means 53, a music item request right is given to a player operating an operating part that gives the largest number of chips to a dealer object (or a banker object), as shown in FIG. 8A, for example (a player having the highest favorable-impression rank). The effect processing means 54 carries out a process of displaying a screen for selecting a requestable music item on a second display part 10 of the terminal 120, for example (or on a first display part 110), and then, supplying the corresponding music item as BGM (Back Ground Music) from a voice output part 111 while a dealer object or a banker object is changed to the next dealer object or the next banker object (or in a game conducted by the next dealer object or the next banker object), based on the music item information selected on the selection screen.

This effect processing means may carry out effect processing for storing an image table that corresponds to a selected music item in a storage part and then display an image that corresponds to the music item (such as a video image of dance suitable for jazz music, for example) on the first display part 110, based on the table information.

The chip information storage means 55 stores, in a storage part such as RAM, the number of chips delivered to a dealer object (or a banker object) by aligning the number of chips to the ID of the dealer object (or the banker object) and an operating part 20 (terminal ID).

The favorable-impression rank determining means 56 carries out a process of increasing the favorable-impression point of the dealer object (or the banker object) relative to each player in response to the number of chips or the progress of a game and then determines the rank (degree) of favorable impression of a dealer object (or a banker object) relative to the player in response to the favorable-impression point.

The dealer object (or the banker object) operation control means 52 mentioned previously executes a process of changing an action of the dealer object (or the banker object) in response to a range of favorable impressions determined by the favorable-impression rank determining means 56. In addition, the effect processing means 54 executes effect processing responsive to a rank of favorable impression, for example, so that a player with a higher rank of favorable impression can obtain the right of requesting the BGM mentioned previously by supplying, as BGM, the music item requested by the player who has obtained the request right. For example, assuming that the ranked sensitivities “f” of five players are “0”, “2”, “3”, “3”, and “5”, the probabilities that each of the players can obtain the right of selecting a music item are “0”, “2/13”, “3/13”, “3/13”, and “5/13” (where the denominator is the sum of the rank values of the sensitivities), and the right of selecting a music item is determined depending on these probabilities. In other words, the probability of obtaining a right is varied in response to the sensitivity of the dealer objects (or the banker objects) relative to players, whereby a player with a higher range of favorable impression can obtain the right of selecting music items or the like.

With chips that are employed for dealer object (or banker object) action control or effect processing, in the present embodiment these are independent of the main game, and a player can pay these chips to a dealer object (or a banker object) at an arbitrary time under a predetermined condition. For example, every time “one” chip is delivered to a dealer object (or a banker object), the favorable-impression point relative to that dealer object (or banker object) is increased by “1”. In addition, in the case where a player has won a game, or in the case where a player has not participated in a game, the favorable-impression point is decreased in a predetermined amount in accordance with either of these cases.

The favorable-impression rank determining means 56 determines the rank “n” of sensitivities of a dealer object (6 stages of favorable-impression rank where “n”=0 to 5 in the present example) relative to a player in response to the value of a favorable-impression point corresponding to the number of chips passed from a player to a dealer object. For example, the favorable-impression rank is set to “3” if the favorable-impression point is within the range of “25” to “50”, for example, based on information contained in a favorable-impression table indicative of the relationship between the range of favorable-impression points and the favorable-impression rank, as shown in FIG. 10. In the example shown in FIG. 10, in the case where the favorable-impression point is MAX “100”, the favorable-impression rank of a dealer object relative to a player is the highest, thus disabling further acceptance of chips from the operating part relative to the dealer object (or the banker object).

In addition to the foregoing description, even in the case where an acceptance of chips has occurred from the operating part relative to the dealer object (or the banker object), a process may be carried out such that the favorable-impression point corresponding to the number of chips is limited to a maximum of “100”.

Further, in the present embodiment, a plurality of players can participate in a gambling type game between a plurality of dealer objects (or a plurality banker objects) (dealer objects (or banker objects) that are sequentially changed) and the players. Thus, each dealer object (or banker object) may have a higher favorable-impression point in comparison with each player. The dealer object (or The banker object) operation control means 52 controls a dealer object (or a banker object) action so that a player that is judged to have a favorable-impression rank that is the highest (a player who has won the most chips) gains an advantage in the game. Therefore, even when one player gives chips to a dealer object who has not given chips previously, another player can still gain an advantage in the game.

FIG. 11 is a schematic view showing a method of changing a dealer object (or a banker object) and a mode of exchanging chips between a plurality of players and a plurality of dealer objects (or banker objects). As shown in FIG. 11, the dealer objects (or the banker objects) 3A to 3D that rotate (circulate) at a predetermined elapsed period of time (every 15 minutes in the present example) store sensitivities (favorable-impression ranks) responsive to the number of chips given (favorable-impression points) by players 7A to 7E. For example, in the case where player 7A has first given one chip when the current dealer object is dealer object (or banker object) 3A, the favorable-impression point of dealer object (or banker object) 3A relative to player 7A increases by 1.

After that, in the example table shown in FIG. 10, the favorable-impression rank of dealer object (or banker object) 3A relative to player 7A increases from “0” to “1”. The number of chips that a player has given to a dealer is stored in a storage part, and the stored favorable-impression rank determined depending on the number of chips is also maintained. In other words, even if no chip has been given thereafter, the favorable-impression rank relative to player 7A when the dealer object (or the banker object 3A has reappeared is set to “1”.

The gaming value payout means 57 carries out a process of paying out the number of gaming values that are greater than or equal to the number of bets, in the case where it is judged that a player has won in a game execution outcome.

Next, chip information stored in a storage part by the chip information storage means 55 will be described with reference to FIG. 12.

FIG. 12 is a schematic view showing one example of a method of storing chip information delivered to a dealer object. As shown in the figure, as information relating to each of the terminals 120(a) to 120(e), the terminal IDs (a) to (e) for specifying terminals (operating parts) are stored in a storage part. Dealer (Banker) information (dealer object data(or banker object data) and control parameters or link information for storing a part of these items of data) is stored as data 9 relating to each dealer object (or each banker object), for example, in association with the dealer object IDs (A) to (D) used for specifying dealer objects(or banker objects).

In the case where it is judged that chips have been delivered to a dealer(or a banker) object (currently displayed dealer object or banker object) by operation of an operation part in any one of the terminals with a terminal ID (a) to (e), the chip information storage means 55 defines the number of delivered chips (favorable-impression points corresponding to the number of chips) as chip information 8, and then stores the information in a storage part in association with the ID of the dealer object(or the banker object) and terminal ID. For example, in the example of terminal (a) shown in FIG. 12, 11 chips are given from a player operating the operating part to the dealer (or banker) object (A), and one chip is given to dealer (banker) object (B). From the viewpoint of dealer (or banker) object (A), 11 chips are obtained from the player of terminal (a), and 25 chips are obtained from the player of terminal (b). In that case, in the example of the table shown in FIG. 10, the favorable-impression rank of terminal (a) for dealer (or banker)object (A) relative to the player is set to “2”; the favorable-impression rank of terminal (a) for dealer (or banker) object (B) relative to the player of terminal (a) is set to “3”; and the favorable-impression rank relative to the other players is set to “0”.

In the present embodiment, based on the favorable-impression rank relative to each player, the dealer object (or the banker object) is determined depending on the number of chips, as described previously, and the effect processing means 54 executes a process of generating a special effect in the game, or alternatively, the dealer object (or the banker object) operation control means 52 executes a process of controlling an operation of the dealer object (or the banker object), thereby generating a scene in which a player gains an advantage. In addition, in the present embodiment, chip information is stored after being aligned between each dealer object (or banker object) and each player (terminal), thus making it possible to change the reaction or the like of the dealer object (or the banker object) relative to a specific player in response to the number of chips given to the dealer object (or banker object) by that player, for example, changing the reaction or facial expression in accordance with a player who has given more chips to one dealer object(or one banker object).

These processing operations may be defined as modes to be carried out for individual players without being associated with another player, or alternatively, may be defined as modes to be carried out for a player who has delivered the most chips among players who have participated in a game. Further, both of these modes may be determined depending on a particular scenario. For example, in the case of executing a game between a plurality of players and a dealer object (or a banker object) in parallel, each player operates an operating part and then controls an action of the dealer object (or the banker object) for each individual player so that each player (or a player who has paid the most chips relative to the dealer object (or the banker object)) gains an advantage in a game in accordance with the number of chips provided to the dealer object or the banker object (sensitivity rank). At that time, in the case where the favorable impression is high, if a player has made a poor choice, advice is given to the player in order to prompt the player to recheck their choice. In addition, if a player has lost as the result of following that advice, an image (and voice) is output indicating that the dealer object apologizes to that player.

Chip information 8 shown in FIG. 12 is maintained and stored even when one gambling game with a dealer object terminates, and in the case where chips are given to a dealer object in the next game, the number of chips is added to. In addition, in the case where the current dealer object(or the current banker object) has been changed to an identical dealer object(or an identical banker object) after the dealer objects (the banker objects) have made one round, the chip information 8 stored in a storage part is used as described previously.

Next, main processes in a game control part according to the present invention will be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 13. The processing operations that have already been described are thereby omitted, or alternatively, are only briefly described hereafter.

Among data on a plurality of dealer objects stored in a storage part, a game control part 50 controls a first display part 110 in order to display the video image 3 of one dealer object (one banker object), as shown in FIG. 1, based on any one item of data. In addition, this game control part controls a second display part 10 in order to display a field image responsive to the type of game to be executed, and starts the game in accordance with the dealer object (the banker object) (step S1).

Subsequently, the game control part 50 starts bet acceptance (step S2); judges whether or not a player has participated in a previous game based on information on a game participation flag to be described later, with the information being stored in response to an operating part 20 (step S3); and enables chip acceptance from the operating part 20 in the case where the judgment result is affirmative. In other words, the player having participated in the previous game can deliver chips to a dealer object (or a banker object) prior to betting gaming value. This is because a player having won the previous game is allowed to challenge for a new game after giving chips as an acknowledgment of thanks (step S4).

In step S4 and step S14 (in a game) to be described later, in the case where it is judged that an operation of giving chips to a dealer object (or a banker object) has been made, the chips are displayed so that they are moved as a moving object on a field image 4 from the side of the operating part 20 to the direction in which a dealer object (or a banker object) is displayed. In addition, the number of chips delivered to a dealer object is stored in a storage part in association with the ID of the dealer object (the banker object) and an operating part 20 (terminal ID). Furthermore, in the present embodiment, based on the input information for operating chips from a chip button 24 of the operating part 20, it is judged whether or not the operation of giving chips to a dealer object has been made. In the case where the judgment result is affirmative, as shown in FIG. 14, an effect is rendered such that the chips (chip image 5B) fly from the front side of a player (P1 position in FIG. 14) to the front side of a dealer object (or a banker object) (P2 position in FIG. 14) on the table surface (on the field image 4). In FIG. 14, an example is shown where a player, having taken a seat at the right-most terminal, has delivered chips to the dealer object (the banker object).

An image 9 shown in FIG. 14 shows an example in which the shape of a bet spot displayed on a table has been changed according to a favorable-impression rank (6 stages from 0 to 5 in the present example).

A game control part 50 clocks the time after bet acceptance has been started in step S2, and terminates bet acceptance if a predetermined period of time has elapsed (step S5). In the case where it is judged that no player has participated in a previous game in step S3, it is then judged whether or not a bet operation has been made by a player based on operational input information from a betting unit 23 of an operating part 20 (step S6). In the case where it is judged that a bet operation has been made, the current step reverts to step S4 in which chip acceptance from the operating part 20 is enabled. Conversely, in the case where it is judged that a bet operation has not been made in step S6, chip acceptance is disabled (step S7).

The game control part 50 then judges whether or not a bet time has elapsed (step S8). In the case where it is judged that the bet time has elapsed, the current step reverts to step S5 in which bet acceptance is terminated. The player who has not participated in the previous game is not allowed to deliver chips unless betting is carried out in order to prevent an occurrence of a situation in which the player cannot participate in a game because chips are given and are mistaken as a bet.

Upon terminating bet acceptance, the game control part 50 judges whether or not a bet operation has been made within a bet time (step S9). In the case where a main game with the players (a maximum of five players in the present example) is started, it is judged that a bet operation has been made by a player, it is judged that the player has participated in a current game; a game participation flag is set to ON, with the flag corresponding to the operating part 20 (terminal ID) at which the bet operation has been made. The player who has participated in a game can give chips to a dealer object (or a banker object) at any time independent of the main game.

Hereinafter, as an example of the main game, a description will be provided by way of example of the execution of a game of blackjack. First, the basic rules of blackjack will be generally described.

In the game of blackjack, a one-to-one play is carried out between a dealer object (dealer or banker) and a player. The player is determined to be a winner if a total of two firstly delivered cards and additional cards that the player is allowed to draw are greater than that of the dealer object (the banker object) without exceeding 21. At that time, the dealer object (the banker object) draws cards until a predetermined value (17, for example) or more has been reached. As a numerical value at the time of summing up the cards, “2 to 10” cards are numerically counted as they are; picture cards (J, Q, K) are counted as “10”; and an A (ACE) card is conveniently calculated as either of “1” or “11”. If the counted total value of the cards delivered exceeds 21, a bust (BUST) occurs, and a player is determined to be a loser at that point in time. With respect to betting money, a player determines an arbitrary number of bets by operating the bet number determining means (betting unit 23 shown in FIG. 3). When the player has won a game, the bet money is doubled. If the player has lost, the bet money becomes 0. If the result is “draw”, the bet money is kept unchanged. If the total value of the delivered card has reached “21”, it is referred to as “blackjack.” In general, a payment that is 2.5 times higher than usual can be obtained in that instance. However, in the present embodiment, a player executes a sub game, to be described later, in which the game contents change according to the favorable impression of a dealer object (or a banker object) relative to the player, making it possible to obtain a payment that is 2 to 21 times higher than usual, for example, according to the game outcome. At that time, the operation of a dealer object (or a banker object) is controlled so that a high payment can be obtained according to a favorable-impression rank.

The flow of a “blackjack” game and a sub game will now be described with reference to the flowchart shown in FIG. 15.

A game control part 50 generates an image indicating that a dealer object (or a banker object) delivers cards to each participant in a game, and causes a display part to display the image. At that time, using both the display surface of a first display part 110 and that of a second display part 10, an image of the dealer object's (or the banker object's) hands is displayed so that the hands move from a display area of the first display part 110 to that of the second display part 10, thereby displaying an image that can be seen to appear as if a dealer object (or banker object) actually delivered cards onto the table (step S21). When the first card delivery has been competed, the game control part 50 judges whether or not there exists a player who has established a specific winning combination (blackjack in this example) (step S22).

In the case where it is judged that no blackjack player exists in step S22, turn processing of each player is executed for game participants simultaneously in parallel. During a player turn, the player selects HIT, STAND, DOUBLE DOWN, or SPLIT by way of operation of the operating buttons provided at the operating part 20 (game buttons 21 shown in FIG. 3). If the counted total value of the cards exceeds 21 during the player turn, it is judged that the player is a loser (bust) at that point in time (step S23).

During the dealer object (the banker object) turn, a first display part 110 displays an image indicating how the dealer object (the banker object) repeats the process of drawing cards on a one by one basis until a predetermined value or more has been reached (step S24). When the player and dealer (or banker) object terms terminate, the game control part 50 judges whether a player has won or lost, based on the basic rules described previously, stores the game result, and reverts to step S12 shown in FIG. 13 (step S25).

In the case where it is judged that there exists a player who has established a specific winning combination in step S22, the game control part 50 successively executes a plurality of sub games such that the current game proceeds to a next sub game in response to the result of execution of the sub game. In that sub game, the game control part 50 controls the play of the dealer object (the banker object) in the sub game so that the probability that the amount of gaming values to be paid back to a player increases in response to the number of chips given to the dealer object (the banker object), for example.

Various types of sub games will now be described.

FIGS. 16A to 16C are schematic views showing examples of the sub games according to the present invention. In this example there exists a first sub game (hereinafter, referred to as a “bonus dart”) G1 using dice objects simulating dice, as shown in FIG. 16A; and a second sub game (hereinafter, referred to as a “million dart”) G2 using a dart object simulating a dart, as shown in FIG. 16B. If a specific condition is met in the second sub game (in this example, if a dart object has shot the center of a dartboard object simulating a target (dartboard)), the game control part 50 processes the subsequent main game as a bonus game by a predetermined number of times (three times in this example). Hereinafter, a mode in which a main game is processed as a bonus game is referred to as a “Nailed Ace”.

In the “Nailed Ace”, the game control part 50 controls the probability (and payment) that a winning combination having a high winning rate is established, and increases it so that the player gains an advantage in the game. In this example, during the Nailed Ace, as shown in FIG. 16C, an image G3 is displayed with the image simulating a state in which a card object simulating an A (ACE) card has been fixed on a field image by “n” number of dart objects indicative of the number of bonus games. In a main game, a video image indicating that a second card and subsequent cards are delivered is displayed in a state in which a first card delivered to a player is fixed to the A. Then, when the first game terminates, in the case where a player has lost (or the dealer or banker has win), in the image G3 shown in FIG. 16, the current image is changed to an image indicating that one dart object has been removed from the card objects described previously, and then the next bonus game is executed until the number of dart objects has become “0”. Hereinafter, the flow of sub games in step S26 and subsequent steps will be described.

In a “Bonus Dice”, the game control part 50 displays on each of the first display part 110 and the second display parts 10 an image indicating that a dealer object (or a banker object) has thrown dice objects toward a player. Then, while magnifications (for example, duplication, triplication, quintuple) preset on the top surfaces of the dice having stopped on a field image are defined as first magnifications, the first magnifications are stored in a storage part in association with the player who operates an operating part of a terminal. In addition, in the case where the top faces of the dice having stopped on the field image indicate specific contents (“DARTS” in this example), in the case where a favorable-impression rank is greater than or equal to a reference value, or alternatively, in the case where the current game mode is in the “Nailed Ace”, the dice object textures are changed; gold dice of which dice colors have been changed may be displayed; and the probability of extending to a “million darts” is, for example, 3 times higher than usual. In the present embodiment, an occurrence percentage of gold dice is increased by 5% every time the favorable-impression rank is increased by 1, and in the case where gold dice have occurred, a probability of extending to a million darts is, for example, 3 times higher than usual. Then, based on that probability, it is determined whether the current game mode is extended to the million darts or the current step is reverted to step S12 without extending to the million darts (step S26).

In the case where it is determined that the current game mode is extended to a million darts, the game control part 50 displays, on the first display part 110, an image G2 of a dartboard object simulating a target (dartboard), as shown in FIG. 12B, and displays an image simulating a state in which a dealer object casts a dart object. Then, while magnifications (for example, duplication, triplication, quintuple, sevenfold, 21fold) preset at a part at which a dart object has been shot at are defined as second magnifications, the second magnifications are stored in a storage part in association with a player who operates an operating part of a terminal. In addition, in the case where a dart object has shot the center of a dartboard object, the current game mode is reverted to the Nailed Ace (step S27). After that, the game mode is set at the Nailed Ace mentioned previously, and then the current step is reverted to step S12 (step S28) so that the subsequent main games are processed as bonus games by a specified number of times.

In this manner, in a sub game, the probability of proceeding to the next sub game is increased and the amount of payment is increased in response to the number of chips given to the dealer object (or the banker object) (favorable-impression rank determined depending on the number of chips in the present example).

Upon termination of the game processing in step S11 of FIG. 13, in the case where a sub game is not executed, the game control part 50 executes a process of paying back gaming values at a reference payment (for example, the amount of payment that is twice as high as the amount of betting money) for a player who has won against the dealer object (or the banker object). For a player who has lost against the dealer object (or the banker object), the bet money is forfeited to the dealer object (or the banker object). However, in the case where a Nailed Ace is further established in a sub game in the bonus game state, the game control part 50 executes a process of resetting bet money, and then paying back the gaming values to the player. If a sub game is executed, this game control part 50 executes a process of establishing a payment to the player, and then pays back gaming values at the determined payment level (a payment of 2 to 21 times in the present example), on the basis of the first magnification of the payment stored in the storage part or from the first and second magnifications (step S21).

When the payment process terminates, the game control part 50 judges whether or not a player has won in a game with a dealer object (or a banker object) (step S13). In the case where it is judged that the player has lost the game, the favorable-impression point is kept unchanged. In the case where it is judged that the player has won, the favorable-impression point is decreased by “1” (step S14), and thereafter, the game with the player (participant) is terminated (step S17).

Conversely, in the case where it is judged that a bet operation has not been made within a betting time limit in step S9, it is then judged that a player having taken a seat at that terminal has not participated in a current game, chip acceptance is disabled, and a state of waiting for a next game is established (step S15). In addition, the number of chips stored in a storage part in association with the dealer object ID and terminal ID (number of chips=favorable-impression point in the present example) is decreased by “10” (step S16). After that, the current step proceeds to step S17 in which the end of the game is established.

When one game terminates, the game control part 50 judges whether or not a predetermined period of time has elapsed in a game conducted by the dealer object (the banker object) (step S18). In the case where the judgment result is negative, the current step reverts to step S1 in which the next game is started by the same dealer object (or the same banker object). Conversely, in the case where the judgment result is affirmative, the game control part executes a process of changing the current dealer object (or the current banker object) to another dealer object (or another banker object). The favorable-impression point of a dealer object before being changed is stored in a storage part until the dealer object (or the banker object) has next reappeared (in this example, the dealer object (or the banker object) reappears 45 minutes later in accordance with a rotation of four dealers (or four bankers) that are changed every 15 minutes). In addition, the above-detailed control part executes a process of changing the display of a favorable-impression point (and favorable-impression rank) on the second display part in accordance with a change of dealer object (or banker object) (step S19). After that, the current step reverts to step S1 in which a game conducted by the dealer object after being changed is started.

Other Embodiment

While, in the foregoing embodiment, an equipment configuration was employed such that multi-terminal operating parts are arranged adjacent to each other, and a description was provided by way of example of a game apparatus that is played in a state in which one player exists in close proximity to another player, the configuration of the game apparatus is not limited thereto. For example, an embodiment may be applied such that a plurality of game apparatuses are interconnected so as to be communicable in either a wired or wireless manner, and each player operates an operating part of a game apparatus in order to execute the game mentioned previously. Hereinafter, a configuration of the latter game apparatus that achieves this embodiment will be described.

FIG. 17 is a block diagram depicting another example of a configuration of a game apparatus according to the present invention in association with FIG. 5 and FIG. 6. Like constituent elements are designated by like reference numerals and any duplicate description is hereby omitted.

The game apparatus 100A shown in FIG. 17 further includes a wireless communication part 37 in comparison with the configuration of the game apparatus shown in FIG. 5 and FIG. 6. The wireless communication part 37 is connected to an interface circuit 27.

This wireless communication part 37 has a function of transmitting/receiving data utilized for the game processing described in the previous embodiments or for transmitting/receiving any other items of data to/from another wireless communication part 37 of another game apparatus 100A having a similar configuration.

At that time, by providing a short distance wireless communication function for making wireless communication that conforms to the wireless LAN standard of IEEE802.11, the IrDA standard for making communication utilizing infrared-rays, or the Bluetooth standard (Bluetooth: Registered trademark of US Bluetooth SIG., Co., Ltd.), wireless communication with a game apparatus 100A having another wireless communication part may be carried out.

By providing wireless communication units that conform to these standards, the wireless communication part 100A can transmit specified data to another game machine. Thus, the same game can be executed by a plurality of game apparatuses 100A by making communication with at least one other game apparatus 100A. In that case, there is no need to provide one game apparatus 100A with a plurality of terminals. Therefore, as shown in FIG. 17, the present invention can be applied to a game apparatus in which only one operating part 20 is provided and a voice output part 20b for terminals (and a coin processing part 20a) is not provided.

Further, by implementing a protocol such as TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), the game apparatus 100A enables communication with an external communication network via a wireless communication part 37. Furthermore, by making communication with another game apparatus 100A via an external communication network, it is possible to execute the same game on a plurality of game apparatuses without being limited to the location in which these game apparatuses are actually placed.

The game image display mode is similar to that of the foregoing embodiments, wherein a dealer object (or a banker object) is displayed on a first display part of each game apparatus 100A, and a field image or the like simulating a play field (a virtual play space) is displayed on a second display part. At that time, a mode of displaying a play field (a virtual play space) of each player may be established, and a mode of displaying a player's own play field may be established. In addition, one display may be screen-divided into two sections, and then a first divisional area may be defined as a first display part and a second divisional area may be defined as a second display part, whereby image processing may then be carried out.

The above configuration may be further amended, whereby, as in the foregoing embodiments, it becomes possible to change a dealer's (or a banker's) action or facial expression in response to a player who gives more chips to one dealer. In other words, it becomes possible to change an action or the like of the dealer (the banker) relative to a specific player in response to the number of chips received by the dealer (the banker) from that player. In comparison with the foregoing embodiment, an advantageous effect may be obtained in that a player can give (deliver) chips to a dealer (or a banker) without worrying about another player, and further, a player may give chips so as to have an advantage over another player.

In addition, while, in the foregoing embodiments, a game executed on a game apparatus was described by way of example of a card game, in addition to the card game, a game apparatus can be provided such as that which executes a gambling type game with a dealer object simulating a variety of casino games such as Sic bo, roulette or Big Six.

Up until now, the present invention has been described by way of the foregoing embodiments. While the present invention has been described by showing specific examples, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and alterations can be made to these specific examples without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention defined in the appended claims. In other words, it should not be construed that the present invention is limited by the detailed specific examples and the accompanying drawings included herein.