Title:
ACTION GAME OF CHANCE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Systems, apparatuses, and methods for operating an action game of chance. The methods including methods of wagering on an action game by comparing a current player score to a plurality of other player scores, awarding a player based on a score and a random event, wherein the odds of receiving the award are increased as the score increases, establishing a game purse based on wagers placed and payouts made, requiring additional wagers if a player does not exceed a predetermined threshold minimum required score and terminating the action game if the game running score is lower than the minimum required score. Action game of chance apparatuses are also provided that include a display, a user interface, a wager acceptor, and a processor. The processor executes instructions that cause the processor to recognize an amount wagered, display an action game, vary the action game based on user input, and credit a player based on the input and a random event.



Inventors:
Czyzewski, Zbigniew (Henderson, NV, US)
James, Richard (Churchill, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/552907
Publication Date:
03/04/2010
Filing Date:
09/02/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/25
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LARSEN, CARL VICTOR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
The, Law Office OF Richard James W. (25 CHURCHILL ROAD, CHURCHILL, PA, 15235, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An action game of chance, comprising: a display; a user interface; a wager acceptor; and a processor coupled to the display, the user interface, and the wager acceptor; the processor executing instructions which cause the processor to: recognize an amount wagered at the wager acceptor; display an action game on the display; receive an input from the user interface; vary the action game based on the input; and credit a player based on the input received from the user interface and a random event.

2. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein the random event is generated by the processor.

3. The action game of chance of claim 1, further comprising a helmet.

4. The action game of chance of claim 3, wherein the display is included in the helmet.

5. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein the helmet further includes a speaker.

6. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein the helmet further includes a microphone.

7. The action game of chance of claim 1, further comprising a communication interface coupled to the processor.

8. The action game of chance of claim 7, further comprising a monitoring computer receiving communication from the communication interface.

9. The action game of chance of claim 1, further comprising a second action game of chance having a second processor communicating with the processor such that a user of the action game of chance may compete with a user of the second action game of chance.

10. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein the processor further maintains a score based on a plurality of inputs received from the user.

11. The action game of chance of claim 10, wherein a player of the action game of chance may end the game at any time and retain the current score.

12. The action game of chance of claim 10, wherein the score is increased when the user completes a game segment in a predetermined amount of time.

13. The action game of chance of claim 12, in which the segment must be completed to continue the game.

14. The action game of chance of claim 12, in which the segment does not have to be completed to continue the game

15. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein the game of chance consists of a series of segments and the user places a wager for each segment.

16. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein the credit is determined by a random event wherein the odds of receiving the credit vary based on the score.

17. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein the credit is based on a comparison between the user score and scores achieved by a plurality of previous players.

18. The action game of chance of claim 17, wherein the scores achieved by the plurality of previous players are scores achieved in the action game of chance.

19. The action game of chance of claim 17, wherein the scores achieved by a plurality of previous players are scores achieved in a different action game of chance.

20. The action game of chance of claim 1, wherein difficulty of the action game of chance is changed periodically to maintain operator revenue at a predetermined level.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is concerned with the adaptation of action games for gambling purposes. More particularly, the invention relates to entertainment video action games that include payouts based on chance and player sensory perception and responsiveness.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Three types of games that include a video display, sometimes know as “video games” are considered herein; random games of chance, strategy games, and action games.

Random games of chance may include such games as video slot games played on video type slot machines. Such games generally accept a wager and provide a random result, sometimes based on randomly generated events, such as a sequence of video generated slot reels.

Strategy games include games that require a player to make one or more decisions but do not require speed or agility. Examples of strategy games include video blackjack where a player makes one or more decisions regarding whether to take an additional card and video poker where the player makes a decision as to whether to trade cards.

Action games generally test the sensory perception and responsiveness of a player. For example, many arcade type games are action games. Such action games may test the coordination of various body parts or senses of the player, such as hand/eye coordination. Such games may also be referred to as “skills games.”

Currently, casinos are known to employ random games and strategy games. It is believed random games and strategy games are favored by casinos because the odds for those types of games can generally be easily calculated. Random games and strategy games also generally involve simple player interfaces, such as buttons.

It is believed there is a need for apparatuses, systems and methods of wagering on action games. Such an action game of chance is thought to fulfill a need in the casino industry to attract action game players to the casinos. Such wagering on action games is also thought to provide additional revenue to casinos.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the action game of chance are directed to systems, methods and apparatuses for designing or operating action games of chance or adapting existing games. Certain embodiments provide payout methods restraining the value of a payout to keep the game profitable.

A method of wagering on an action game includes comparing a current player score to a plurality of other player scores and awarding the current player if the current player score compares favorably with the plurality of other player scores.

Another method of wagering on an action game includes placing a wager on a game, playing the game to achieve a score, and awarding the player based on the score and a random event, wherein the odds of receiving the award are increased as the score increases.

Another method of wagering on an action game includes establishing a game purse, increasing the game purse based on a wager placed on the game, decreasing the game purse based on a payout to a player of the game, and basing a subsequent payout on the game purse.

Another wagering method for an action game of chance includes an initial wagering event and a decision event. The decision event permitting the game to continue if a current game score exceeds a predetermined threshold or if the current game score does not exceed the predetermined threshold and a player places an additional wager and the decision event terminating the game if the current game score does not exceed the predetermined threshold and the player does not place an additional wager.

A method for terminating an action game includes maintaining a game running score based on events and tasks encountered in the game by a player, maintaining a minimum required score, and terminating the action game if the game running score is lower than the minimum required score.

A payout method for an action game includes a random payout part regardless of a game score and a skill part which relies on a game score. Both payout parts can depend on the same random event. The total payout may be limited by a maximum expected value.

Another payout method for an action game includes a skill payout part which is independent of the random payout portion. The skill part is paid from the jackpot purse funded by player wagers. The value of the purse may be maintained at some predetermined level by controlling the game difficulty or by using additional random events.

An action game of chance apparatus is provided that includes a display, a user interface, a wager acceptor, and a processor. The processor executes instructions that cause the processor to recognize an amount wagered at the wager acceptor, display an action game on the display, receive an input from the user interface, vary the action game based on the input, and credit a player based on the input received from the user interface and a random event.

Accordingly, the present invention provides solutions to the shortcomings of prior gaming systems, apparatuses, and methods. Those of ordinary skill in the art will readily appreciate, therefore, that those and other details, features, and advantages of the present invention will become further apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated herein and constitute part of this specification, include one or more embodiments of the invention, and together with a general description given above and a detailed description given below, serve to disclose principles of embodiments of an action game of chance.

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of an action game of chance device;

FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of a video screen of an exemplary action game;

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of an action game of chance method;

FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of balancing the game on the go in an action game of chance; and

FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of an implementation of an action game of chance.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Reference will now be made to embodiments of apparatuses, systems, and methods for wagering on action games, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Details, features, and advantages of action games of chance will become further apparent in the following detailed description of embodiments thereof. It is to be understood that the figures and descriptions included herein illustrate and describe elements that are of particular relevance to action games of chance, while eliminating, for purposes of clarity, other elements found in typical action games.

Systems, apparatuses, and methods to perform action games of chance are described herein. Any reference in the specification to “one embodiment,” “a certain embodiment,” or any other reference to an embodiment is intended to indicate that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment and may be utilized in other embodiments as well. Moreover, the appearances of such terms in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. References to “or” are furthermore intended as inclusive so “or” may indicate one or another of the ored terms or more than one ored term. The term “casino” as used herein may include any or all wagering establishments and venues including gambling arcades and saloons.

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of an action game of chance console 100. The console 100 provides a monitor 102 to display the game to the player, a bill or ticket acceptor 110, a ticket printer 120, player information reader 130, and user input peripherals 140, 150, and 160.

The monitor 102 may be of any type that can display visual images to the player. The bill or ticket acceptor may accept paper money, change, or vouchers, such as paper tickets having a value, such as those used in casinos. The ticket printer 120 may print tickets or other vouchers having a value that may be redeemed for money or may be used to place a wager or otherwise receive a credit at another game.

The player information reader 130 may accept a player identification device such as a card or player characteristic. Player activities may be tracked by way of such player identification devices and special privileges may be offered to a player based on the player identification device. For example, player performance may be recorded on the player identification device and suggestions may be made as to level selection.

The user input peripherals 130, 140, 150 may receive player input by touch, tap, rotation, motion, or any other input sensor used in the electronic game industry. The game may alter based on the player input thereby “reacting” to the player input.

The user input peripherals 130, 140, 150, and 160 shown in FIG. 1 include joysticks or trackballs 140, buttons 150, and foot pedals 160. Buttons 150 may have various functions including, for example, a game exit button 150. In a long action game a player may be permitted to exit the game at any desired time by pressing the game exit button 150 and still qualify for a payoff with a current game score. Other input devices not depicted in FIG. 1 may be utilized including, for example, a microphone to receive a voice command. Such a voice command may furthermore be responsive to a command or audio event coming from a speaker, which is not depicted in FIG. 1.

Other input devices that may not be exposed on the game console 100. For example, sockets for coupling a headset of a virtual reality device may be provided on the game console. Moreover, sophisticated consoles 100 may provide video or audio output to a virtual reality hardware system, such that many or all of the game console elements (i.e., 102, 130, 140, 150) may be included in a virtual reality headset or other device and may not be required to be provided on the game console 100 itself. For example, a virtual reality helmet may provide visual effects through special glasses mounted inside the helmet, to enhance the visual experience. A three dimensional projection, for example, could virtually place the player “inside” the game, thereby providing a more realistic game experience. That could, in turn, be very satisfying especially for action games like racing or team sport events. Going farther, motion sensors directed toward or placed on the player body could provide information to the system on player movement, such as hand, leg, or body movement, and could incorporate such movements into the game making it even more realistic. A virtual reality device may allow a player to be immersed in the game and control the game from within the virtual reality environment using standard input devices or virtual reality devices. The input devices could be presented to the player from within the virtual reality device as devices controlled by the player with simple mapping explained before the game starts.

Other elements may be included in the action game of chance console 100 including, without limitation, a communication adaptor (See 512 on FIG. 5) to communicate with other computer based nodes such as, for example, one or more other action game of chance consoles 100 or a monitoring node 599. Communication between the action game of chance console 100 and other nodes may be performed by wire, fiber optics, or other cable, wirelessly, or in any way desired.

FIG. 2 illustrates the example game screen shot 200 for a simple game requiring a player to move a simulated shooting device, such as a cannon 202, and fire simulated projectiles 204 at simulated targets 206, such as alien spaceships. At the bottom of the screen a status bar 208 is provided in this embodiment. The status bar 208 displays the current game score at 210. The game score 210 is a simple measure of player performance, which accumulates points for events the player has successfully overcome. In certain embodiments, a more detailed game score may be provided. The running game score 212 may add or subtract points for events encountered, based on whether the player is successful or unsuccessful in overcoming the event or a portion of the event. A simple illustration may be provided in the context of a football game. A good player may playing a high difficulty game and the game score can be zero to zero, even though the player was able to move the ball close to the end zone. Conversely, scoring each event, such as each play in a football simulation game could provide a running score 212 with points accumulated or deducted on each play from scrimmage. Such a running score 212 could be used as the game score for purposes of winnings. Alternately, a running score 212 may play a role of game termination or additional wagering in a long game.

Certain action games may take longer periods of time than current casino games. The standard slot game may take a few seconds per wagering event. Action games of chance are different in nature and generally take longer to complete. Methods are provided herein, however, to provide flexibility to casinos operating action games of chance so that they can increase the number of wagering events per action game.

Certain methods use the running game score 212. In one embodiment, the game is divided into segments. The segments may be timed and the time allotted to complete a segment may be displayed to the player on the monitor 102. In such an embodiment, if a player does not complete a segment in an allotted time, the player may be penalized by, for example, terminating the game, deducting points from the player, or deducting from player winnings or odds of winning. In an embodiment, the player receives no points for a segment that is not completed in the allotted time.

In an embodiment, if at the end of the segment the player score is lower than a threshold level the player must place an additional wager or exit the game with the current score. The additional wager can have the same wagering effect as the original wager, or a different wagering effect, such as a lesser wagering effect.

In another embodiment, the method of operation of the action game of chance does not divide the game into segments but provides the player with a period of time 220 to play the game with the current running game score. In that wagering method, the game may maintain in memory a minimum required running score that varies, potentially incrementing, over time. Thus, for example, the minimum required running score may increment every second the player plays the game. The player may then be required at all times to have a higher score than the minimum required score. If the player's score falls below the minimum score, the player must place an additional wager or exit the game with the current score. When the player score is higher than minimum score, the computer may further provide the player with comparison information notifying the player by how much the player score exceeds the minimum required score. In this method a first game period may be excluded from displaying the player comparison information since player score might be very low.

FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of an action game of chance 300. The action game of chance 300 illustrated in FIG. 3 includes play, outcome, and payout determination. Payout is generally determinative to game profitability to the casino in which the game is operating. Game play may also include selection of a difficulty level.

The game session depicted in FIG. 3 begins with a default display screen 302. Default display screen 302 depicts games available to be played on the machine. Default display screen 302 permits a player to select an action game to be played.

At 305, the player chooses a game to play from a menu of games listed or otherwise depicted on the default display screen 302. Those game selections may include only action games or may include other games, such as traditional casino games as well.

At 306, the player may choose a difficulty level at which the player desires to play the selected game. In an embodiment that includes difficulty level selection, the lower the difficulty level, the simpler the game is and, correspondingly, the smaller the points awarded for completing tasks and the like, providing a smaller base payout.

At 307, the player may choose the outcome mode and the payout mode. For example, the player may elect one of two options, natural or random. When the natural option is selected, the action game of chance may be played in a “standard way” where the outcome is determined by the player performance in the game, for example by score, and the payout is made based on the outcome and amount wagered. This mode, however, may not be appealing to everyone. For example, a casino may fear consistent high payouts from skilled players or less skilled players playing against more skilled players may believe their odds of winning are low. Accordingly, a random mode may use a random determination, in part or in whole, to determine the payout for a game.

In an embodiment, the random option may use a random event in addition to the player performance to determine the final outcome of the game. That final outcome may be used, for example, to determine whether a win has occurred, to determine the extent of a win, or to determine a payout amount. Player performance may be defined based on completing tasks or segments, or achieving a score that is higher than predefined level.

At 308, if the game is one that may be played by a player for what is considered a long time, the player may be required to select a wagering method (or termination method) as described herein.

At 310, the player places a wager. The difficulty selection level 306, outcome and payout mode selection 307, and wagering type selection 308 may be required, optional or may not be included in any particular game such that a game may move directly from game selection 305 to wager selection 310 if desired by, for example, the operator of the game

At 311, the player optionally places a progressive wager. It should be noted that a progressive wager may be placed separately as described in connection with 311 or a progressive wager may be included in a single wager, such as that described in connection with 310. Where a progressive wager is included in a single wager, a portion of the single wager may be applied to a payout based solely on the outcome of the game and a portion of the wager may be applied to a progressive payout based on a random event or the combination of a random event and the outcome of the game.

At 315 game play occurs. A score or credits may accrue in the game based on game play. Such accrued score or credits in the game may increase as a player participates in higher levels of the game. Higher levels may furthermore correspond to more difficulty, for example, in events or tasks encountered by the player. In an embodiment, a player may choose to begin at an elevated level, possibly to acquire more points more quickly than the player might acquire if the player began at a lower level.

At 320, the game score is presented. The game score may be presented as the game is played with a final score displayed when the game is over, or the final score may be displayed only when the game is over.

The action game of chance may pay a player based on the performance of the player in the game. Thus, the amount of the payoff, if any, for a game may depend on how the player performed while playing the game. Alternately or in addition, the payoff may be based on a random event. For example, in an embodiment, a score achieved by the player may be used to determine a base level of payoff and a random event, such as selecting a random number from a sequence of random numbers when a player presses a button, may be used as a multiplier for the payoff. In that way, the base payoff amount may be maintained at a level that assures the casino of a profit on the game and the multiplier may be adjusted to provide a desired level of profit to the casino.

In an embodiment, a determination of whether there will be a payout is solely random and, if there is to be a payout, the payout is based, at least in part on the player performance. In such an embodiment, the payout may further be based on a comparison between the player's score and other player's scores, whether past or present. The comparison could furthermore be between players of the same action game of chance or different actions games of chance. Comparison between different games may be based as desired, but in an embodiment, they are based on a historic comparison of scores in the various games.

If one of the random modes is operating, one or more additional events may take place at 330. Various methods may be used to determine the outcome based on the player score and a random event. One method is to employ an event which uses the player score as a seed number and generates the game outcome with odds of winning below 50% to provide a casino advantage. Alternately, the payout amount may be determined as a proportion of player score. In either method, the payout amount may be determined as a proportion of the wager placed by the player.

In yet another embodiment, the random outcome generation may be based on the outcomes of past games played at the same level. For example, a predetermined number of players who played the game at the same difficulty level may be randomly selected from the time the game was first played or over a period of time such as the last several days, and used as a basis for comparing the current player outcome with previous outcomes. If, for example, the player performed better than at least half of the selected players, then the player may be judged to win and a payout may be made to the player. Alternately or in addition, the payout may depend on the current player ranking among the players selected.

The random determination of the game outcome may operate in different ways. In an embodiment of the action game of chance, a random event determines whether the player wins a jackpot. The base odds of winning the jackpot may be small, but may be increased based on performance of the player. For example, a player who achieves a high score may have an increased chance of winning the jackpot, while a player achieving a low score may have a smaller chance of winning the jackpot.

In an embodiment, the player or casino may select that a portion of the game winnings is decided in the natural game course and another portion is decided in the random manner.

If the game outcome and payout are determined in the natural game course, the casino may face the problem of losing money. For example, in such a natural game payout embodiment the value of payout may depend on the game score. That way, however, good players could consistently win more than they wager and the casino could, therefore, lose money in such an arrangement. Accordingly, to game winnings in such an embodiment might be based on a portion of the amount wagered on that game, for example, over a time period and possibly across a number of similar game consoles, to assure that the overall payout for the game does not exceed the total wagered on the game.

At 335, the payout is determined and displayed to the player on the display. Where applicable, a progressive payout may also be displayed to the player on the display at 336.

The default display screen 330 may then be displayed and the action game of chance can be readied at 340 for use in a next game where that player, or another player may choose to play the same game or a different game.

In certain embodiments, two payout methods may be employed to limit the amount paid to players and keep the total amount paid at some predetermined level.

In general, the skills of players and game scores are unpredictable. There may, however, be some maximum score and minimum score stainable. If one could predict that the skill level statistics could be characterized by some function then a payout table could be calculated which would keep casino profitable and pay players based on achieved scores. In reality however any such payout table could lead either to overpaying players at the casino expense or to significantly underpaying the players.

In one embodiment, the game payout consists of two parts, one entirely random and a second part based on the player score reflecting the player's skill level presented during the game. Often the random part would be much bigger than the skill part simply because casinos favor games of chance so anybody has a chance for a payout. The skill portion of the payout may be associated with the random part of the payout by increasing the probability of a payout or the value of the winnings.

Consider the payout issue from a statistical point of view for one embodiment, the random part of the payout equals some predetermined percentage of the total amount wagered TR. If XR is a random variable representing a random event determining the random portion of the payout, then the expected value of this variable, EXR, corresponds to the predetermined percentage of TR as may be expressed as shown in Equation 1.


0≦EXR≦1 Equation 1

The random variable XR can be realized in the simplest case by a random number function which returns a winning payout value of WR with probability of PR and a value of zero with probability of 1−PR as may be expressed as shown in Equation 2.


WRPR=EXR Equation 2

The skill portion of the payout may be restricted to occur only when the random payout happens. It may furthermore be assumed that the skill portion of the payout represents S percent of the total payout for a player. If a player reaches a score which qualifies for a skill payout and X is a random variable representing a random event determining the payout, then the expected value of this variable may be represented as shown in Equation 3.


EX=EXR/(1−S) Equation 3

For example, if the random payout is 0.72 (72%) and S=0.1 (10%) then the total of the random payout plus the skill based payout is 0.8 (80%). The random variable X can be realized in the simplest case by a random number function which returns a winning payout value of WS with a probability of PS and a value of zero with a probability of 1−PS as may be expressed as shown in Equation 4.


WSPS=EX Equation 4

Thus, combining Equation 3 with Equation 4, we may have:


WSPS=WRPR/(1−S) Equation 5

If the game returns the same payout value for a random only win and a random plus skill win, then the probability of a win for a random plus skill win is higher than for the random only win, as may be expressed as shown in Equation 6.


PS=PR/(1−S) Equation 6

If the action game outcome can qualify for a random only win or a random plus skill win and the outcome is determined by the random variables XR and X and equations (1)-(6), then the total payout for all players should statistically be higher than EXR and lower than EX regardless of player scores. Similar conclusions apply when the probabilities PS and PR are equal and the value of payout WS is higher than WR by a factor of 1/(1−S).

This method limits the total payout but permits the mean payout value to be between EXR and EX. There are various ways to limit the range of the mean payout value. Ways to limit the range of the mean value of the payout as calculated using a large real payout sample which includes both types of scores follow. In one embodiment, the skill portion of the payout may be small, for example a few percent, and therefore the range of the mean value may be similarly small. The mean payout value may depend on the number of the skill level scores and the number of games played. If many players qualify for the skill payout then the mean value will be closer to EX. If the goal is to keep the mean value at a level somewhere between EXR and EX then the goal may translate into controlling the number of scores qualifying for a skill payout. This could be achieved by an adaptive control mechanism varying the game difficulty as it is described in detail later. The value of the mean payout calculated on a large sample could be compared with the predetermined target mean value. If the mean value for the current sample is higher than the target value then the game difficulty is slightly increased. On the other hand if the mean value for the current sample is lower than the target value then the game difficulty is slightly decreased.

The above described random method including the skill portion of the payout can be applied to more than one skill level of payout which relates to more than one score level. For example, if the player gets a score within an N score level and the XN is a random variable representing a random event determining the random plus skill portion of the payout, then the expected value of this variable, EXN, should be smaller than the predetermined maximum expected value EX. This could lead to small differences in probabilities between adjacent levels. Again to keep the value of the mean payout at some predetermined level the adaptive control mechanism of the game difficulty may be applied.

In an alternative embodiment, the random portion of the payout and the skill portion of the payout are separate and independent of each other. The random portion may not even exist in certain embodiments. The payout for the skill portion may be performed in a similar manner to the way a payout for a progressive jackpot is conducted. The skill jackpot purse or money pool may be formed at a predetermined time. Every time a player places a wager, a portion of a wager for a skill payout goes into the skill jackpot. A small portion of this contribution may also go into a reserve jackpot, which replaces the main jackpot when the main jackpot is hit. The jackpot purse may thus be the only source of funds for the skill payout. That method may effectively limit the total skill payout. The jackpot purse may be managed efficiently to keep the average value of the purse, including the reserve jackpot, at some predetermined level. One way to manage such a system is to limit the number of skill awards or high level jackpots, which may be determined through a jackpot payout table. Managing jackpot payout may be accomplished by using an adaptive control mechanism of the game difficulty which will be discussed later in connection with FIG. 4.

If the mean value for the current total jackpot purse is higher than the target value then the game difficulty may be slightly increased. On the other hand if the mean value for the current total jackpot purse is lower than the target value then the game difficulty may be slightly decreased. In one embodiment of this alternative method, the gaming establishment will be able to deduct the initial jackpot purse as well as any subsequent reseed jackpot amounts from the wagering pool.

The jackpot payout table may have fixed amount awards as well as awards that are a percentage of the current jackpot value. In addition, if a player achieves a score qualifying for an award, an additional random event may be triggered for performance, which qualifies the player for an award. The triggering random event may be a simple random event with success probability P and failure probability 1−P. Alternately, the triggering event might be more sophisticated. For example, a random sample of scores of previous players could be chosen and the current player may be required to have a score that is better than those selected. Regardless of the type of triggering event, use of a triggering event might provide a method of keeping the jackpot purse value at the predetermined level.

The adaptive control mechanism may modify the probability of the success in the triggering event thus limiting the number of awards and consequently keeping the purse level at a predetermined level. This method of control can keep the game difficulty at a constant low level making the game more attractive to play. To qualify for the main jackpot award a player may have to achieve a very high score without additional wagering events and fulfill one or more additional tasks chosen randomly before a game starts. Such additional tasks may relate to specific events during the game. For instance, for a multi-level game a player may have to achieve certain scores at different levels or collect certain types of tokens or numbers of tokens. These additional tasks can be revealed to a player after the game.

FIG. 4 depicts one embodiment of keeping the game winnings percentage at a desired level that may be referred to as “balancing the game on the go” 400. At 402, the game purse is initialized to a predetermined value. At 405, each time a player places a wager on the game the wagered value goes to the purse. At 410, each time the game is won the winning amount is deducted from the purse. At 415, the game purse is balanced. Such balancing could occur periodically as desired. For example, the game purse could be balanced every day or every time period in which a predetermined number of players played the game. In an embodiment, the game purse could be balanced for every period during which the total bets (number or value) reach a predefined review level. At 420, when the purse is balanced, the percentage of money won by players may be calculated for one or more past balancing periods.

At 425, a decision as to whether to change game difficulty may be made. At 430, the difficulty of the game may be changed, for example to vary odds. Such an adjustment may be made in an attempt to provide stable profit to the casino providing the action game of chance.

At 430, if the percentage of money won by players at 420 is higher than desired, the game difficulty may be adjusted higher. If the percentage is too low the game difficulty levels could alternately be adjusted lower at 430. Thus, in an embodiment, when the purse is lower than expected the game difficulty is increased and when the purse is greater than expected the game difficulty is decreased.

Random events may be used to adjust difficulty. For example in games including role playing games, shield use or aim accuracy of one or more opponents may be varied to increase the difficulty of the game. Where such difficulty levels increase as the game progresses, it may be seen as a natural occurrence that opponent skill increases as one progresses toward a goal.

Regardless of the level of the game, game levels or segments may vary and include varying events or tasks. In certain embodiments, the order of segments, events, or tasks may be varied. In embodiments, layouts for segments, events, or tasks vary and the behavior of computer simulated characters may also or alternately vary. Segments, events, or tasks can furthermore be added to increase difficulty or vary the game in an interesting way.

In embodiments, game difficulty may vary by level of game. For example, a game may begin relatively easy to encourage players to attempt the game. As a player advances through the game, levels may become more difficult. Thus, the game may provide a greater challenge to better players and simultaneously reduce potential payouts by making it difficult for a player to advance through the game.

In an embodiment, difficulty may be altered by changing the number of game events per selected amount of time or simply by shortening or increasing the amount of time per game task. Alternately or in addition, the game could add random events to make the game more difficult. For example, in an embodiment the game may include an event that requires shooting a target. If the player fires, a random modification could be added to ball trajectory or movement of the target, for example, either of which which could result in the shot missing the target.

In embodiments, the action game of chance may include a series of segments with various events or tasks to be accomplished in each segment. In certain embodiments, the player may be required to react to an event or task in a predefined period of time. For example, certain action games that will be referred to herein as “role playing” or “simulated character playing” games” require the player to control the actions of a simulated character. If the player is successful, the player may be awarded credits or points. The quantity of credit awarded to the player may furthermore be based on the speed with which the player overcomes the event or accomplishes the task. The quantity of credit may furthermore vary based on how well the player overcomes the event or accomplishes the task. For example, in a role playing game, points may be awarded based on the number of opposing characters that are subdued or killed. Alternately, or in addition, points may be awarded based on the skill of the player in controlling the game character so as to avoid harm to the game character.

Events and tasks may require physical actions, such as speed or agility. For example, fast sensory perception and responsiveness and motion co-ordination of various body parts, such as hands and legs, may be required to overcome and event or complete a task in certain action games of chance. Other events and tasks may require logical thinking to choose an appropriate response to the task or event. Certain events and tasks may require both physical actions and logical actions.

An adjustment in game difficulty may be performed by a person or automatically at a game console or over a network of games. In an embodiment, a remote computer, such as the monitoring computer illustrated in FIG. 5 may automatically adjust game difficulty for a network of action games of chance.

Revenue balancing, whether performed “on the go” or otherwise, may be performed programmatically by a computer program. Revenue balancing may be performed for a single machine, such as the action game of chance 500 illustrated in FIG. 5, or a network of machines. Moreover, where a network of machines are revenue balanced, the programming may apply to a single action game of chance or more than one action game of chance. Any changes to game difficulty may be logged to a central computer system, such as the monitoring computer 599 illustrated in FIG. 5 for security or other reasons. The revenue balancing may furthermore be performed by a central computer such as the monitoring computer 599.

FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the action game of chance 500 that includes memory 502, a processor 504, one or more output device couplings 508, and one or more input device couplings 510, and may include a storage device 506 and one or more communication adaptors 512. That action game of chance 500 may, for example, be utilized as or in the place of the action game device 100 illustrated in FIG. 1. The action game of chance 500 may furthermore be coupled to a remote computer 599 by any coupling 524 desired.

Communication between the memory 502, the processor 504, the storage device 506, the outputs coupled at 508, the inputs coupled at 510, and the communication adaptor 512 may be performed by way of one or more communication busses 514. Those busses 514 may include, for example, a system bus, a peripheral component interface bus, and an industry standard architecture bus.

The memory 502 may include any memory device including, for example, random access memory (RAM), dynamic RAM, and/or read only memory (ROM) (e.g., programmable ROM, erasable programmable ROM, or electronically erasable programmable ROM) and may store computer program instructions and information. The memory may furthermore be partitioned into sections including an operating system partition 516 in which operating system instructions are stored, a data partition 518 in which data is stored, and an action game of chance partition 520 in which instructions for carrying out the game are stored. The action game of chance 520 may store program instructions and allow execution by the processor 504 of the program instructions. The data partition 518 may furthermore store data such as one or more operating parameters to be used during the execution of the program instructions. The operating parameters might furthermore be used to create game events and tasks to be presented in the action game of chance.

The processor 504 may execute the program instructions and process the data stored in the memory 502. In one embodiment, the instructions are stored in memory 502 in a compressed and/or encrypted format. As used herein the phrase, “executed by a processor” is intended to encompass instructions stored in a compressed and/or encrypted format, as well as instructions that may be compiled or installed by an installer before being executed by the processor 504.

The storage device 506 may, for example, be a magnetic disk (e.g., floppy disk and hard drive), optical disk (e.g., CD-ROM) or any other device or signal that can store digital information.

The communication adaptor 512 permits communication between the action game of chance 500 and other devices or nodes coupled to the communication adaptor 512 directly or through a network at the communication adaptor port 524. The communication adaptor 512 may be a network interface that transfers information from one or more nodes on a network to the action game of chance 500 or from the action game of chance 500 to one or more nodes on the network. The network may be a local or wide area network, such as, for example, the Internet or the World Wide Web. The action game of chance 500 may alternately or in addition be coupled directly to one or more other devices such as the monitoring computer 599 illustrated in FIG. 5, through one or more communication adaptors 512.

The action game of chance 500 may be implemented alone or in a network. A network in which an action game of chance may be implemented may be a network of nodes, which are typically processor-based devices, interconnected by one or more forms of communication media. The communication media coupling the action game of chance 500 to one or more other devices or a network may include, for example, twisted pair, co-axial cable, optical fibers and wireless communication methods such as use of radio frequencies. The action game of chance 500 may furthermore be coupled to other devices such as sensors and actuators by such communication media. A node performing the action game of chance 500 may receive signals or data from another action game of chance node and may modify or otherwise utilize those signals or data. A node performing an action game of chance 500 may also transmit signals or data to another action game of chance node where the signal or data may be modified or utilized.

It should be recognized that any or all of the components 502-524 of the action game of chance 500 may be implemented in a single machine. For example, the memory 502 and processor 504 might be combined in a state machine or other hardware based logic machine.

A method of payout for an action game comprises a single random event XR to determine whether payout is awarded if a game score does not qualify for an additional skill award and another single random event X to determine whether payout is awarded if a game score qualifies for an additional skill award, wherein the expected value of the event XR is smaller than the expected value of an event X; the difference in the expected values between these two events is a bonus related to a better score reflecting possible higher skill level of a player. That method may include the probability of receiving the award for a random payout that is not bigger than the probability of receiving the award for a random and skill payout. That method may include an award value for a random payout that is not higher than the award value for a random and skill payout. That method may include a control mechanism to keep the mean value of a payout at a predetermined level. That method may include increasing the difficulty of the game when the mean value for a sample of recent winnings is higher than the predetermined level and decreasing the difficulty of the game when the mean value for the sample of recent winnings is lower than the predetermined level.

A method of payout for an action game comprises a single random event XR to determine whether payout is awarded if a game score does not qualify for an additional skill award, a set of score levels which qualify for a random event determining whether a payout is awarded, a set of single random events XN to determine whether a payout is awarded wherein each random event corresponds to a different score level and wherein the expected value of the event XR is smaller than the expected value of each event XN, the difference in the expected values between these two events being a bonus related to a better score reflecting possible higher skill level of a player. That method may include the probability of receiving the award for a random payout that is not bigger than the probability of receiving the award for a random and skill payout for every score level. That method may include the award value for a random payout being not higher than the award value for a random and skill payout for every score level. That method may include a control mechanism to keep the mean value of a payout at predetermined level. That method may include increasing the difficulty of the game when the mean value for a large sample of latest winnings is higher than the predetermined level and decreasing the difficulty of the game when the mean value for a large sample of latest winnings is lower than the predetermined level.

A method of payout for an action game comprises a jackpot purse funded by a portion of player wagers, wherein the jackpot purse provides a payout award if a game score qualifies for a skill award. That method may include a payout method if a game score does not qualify for a skill award. That method may include a set of fixed amount awards or jackpot percentage type awards. That method may include a control mechanism to keep the mean value of a payout at a predetermined level. That method may include increasing the difficulty of the game when the mean value for a large sample of most recent winnings is higher than the predetermined level and decreasing the difficulty of the game when the mean value for a large sample of most recent winnings is lower than the predetermined level. That method may include a single random event to determine whether a payout is awarded if a game score qualifies for a skill award. The probability of receiving the award may decrease when the mean value for a large sample of most recent winnings is higher than the predetermined value and the probability may increase when the mean value for a large sample of latest winnings is lower than the predetermined value. That method may include comparing a current player score to a plurality of other player scores and awarding the current player if the current player score compares favorably with the plurality of other player scores

An action game of chance comprises a display, a user interface, a wager acceptor, and a processor coupled to the display, the user interface, and the wager acceptor; the processor executing instructions which cause the processor to recognize an amount wagered at the wager acceptor, display an action game on the display receive an input from the user interface, vary the action game based on the input, and credit a player based on the input received from the user interface and a random event or a payout method using random events or jackpot purse.

A method of wagering on an action game comprises comparing a current player score to a plurality of other player scores and awarding the current player if the current player score compares favorably with the plurality of other player scores. That method may include computing a random event if the current player compares favorable and awarding the current player based on the random event. In that method, the plurality of other player scores may be from previously completed games. In that method, the plurality of other player scores may be from players playing simultaneously with the current player.

A method of wagering on an action game comprises placing a wager on a game, playing the game to achieve a score, and awarding the player based on the score and a random event, wherein the odds of receiving the award are increased as the score increases.

A method of wagering on an action game comprises placing a wager on a game, playing the game to achieve a score, and awarding a player based on the score and a random event, wherein the amount of the award increases as the score increases. In that method, the amount of the award may further be based on a portion of money wagered on the action game.

A method of determining a payout in an action game of chance comprises establishing a game purse, increasing the game purse based on a wager placed on the game, decreasing the game purse based on a payout to a player of the game, and basing a subsequent payout on the game purse. That method may include increasing the difficulty of the game when the purse is reduced. In that method, the purse may be reduced when the purse falls below a predetermined threshold. That method may include reducing a payout to a subsequent player when the purse is reduced. That method may include decreasing the difficulty of the game when the purse is increased. In that method, the purse may be increased when the purse rises above a predetermined threshold. That method may include increasing a payout to a subsequent player when the purse is increased.

A wagering method for an action game of chance comprises an initial wagering event and a decision event wherein the game continues if a current game score exceeds a predetermined threshold, the game continues if the current game score does not exceed the predetermined threshold and a player places an additional wager, and the game terminates if the current game score does not exceed the predetermined threshold and the player does not place an additional wager. In that method, an initial wager amount wagered during the initial wagering event may be determined by a difficulty level chosen by the player.

A method for terminating an action game comprises maintaining a game running score based on events and tasks encountered in the game by a player, maintaining a minimum required score, and terminating the action game if the game running score is lower than the minimum required score.

An action game of chance comprises a display, a user interface, a wager acceptor, and a processor coupled to the display, the user interface, and the wager acceptor; the processor executing instructions which cause the processor to recognize an amount wagered at the wager acceptor, display an action game on the display, receive an input from the user interface, vary the action game based on the input, and credit a player based on the input received from the user interface and a random event. That action game of chance, wherein the display includes a touch screen to receive input. That action game of chance, further comprising a speaker coupled to the processor. That action game of chance, wherein the user interface includes at least one button. That action game of chance, wherein the user interface includes a joystick. That action game of chance, wherein the user interface includes a pedal. That action game of chance, wherein the user interface includes a microphone. That action game of chance, wherein the user interface includes a motion sensor. That action game of chance, further comprising a console in which the processor is situated. That action game of chance, further comprising a wagering method which determines the way the player wagers on the game and the way the game is terminated.

While the present invention has been disclosed with reference to certain embodiments, numerous modifications, alterations, and changes to the described embodiments are possible without departing from the scope of the present invention, as defined in the appended claims. Accordingly, it is intended that the present invention not be limited to the described embodiments, but that it have the full scope defined by the language of the following claims, and equivalents thereof.