Title:
Coin operated game device using LEDs to provide general illumination
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A coin operated amusement game such as a pinball machine having a playing surface to which LEDs are mounted as a means for illuminating portions of the game playing surface generally.



Inventors:
Tanzer, Raymond Carl (Naperville, IL, US)
Application Number:
11/502903
Publication Date:
02/14/2008
Filing Date:
08/11/2006
Assignee:
Stern Pinball, Inc. (Melrose Park, IL, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
273/118A
International Classes:
A63F7/00; A63D3/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIU, RALEIGH W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Greenberg Traurig, LLP (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A coin operated amusement game, comprising: a playfield including a plurality of features which are utilized to define play of the coin operated amusement game wherein the playfield has mounted to an underside thereof a first illumination device comprised of at least one LED positioned in cooperation with the playfield to illuminate at least a portion of the playfield generally.

2. The coin operated amusement game as recited in claim 1, wherein the first illumination device is illuminated in response to a control signal received via a bus architecture.

3. The coin operated amusement game as recited in claim 1, wherein the playfield supports a transparent overlay which overlays the first illumination device.

4. The coin operated amusement game as recited in claim 1, wherein the first illumination device comprises a first white colored LED and a second orange colored LED.

5. The coin operated amusement game as recited in claim 1, wherein at least one of the plurality of features is illuminated by a second illumination device specifically under the control of a microprocessor in response to game play conditions.

6. The coin operated amusement game as recited in claim 5, wherein the second illumination device comprises at least one LED.

7. The coin operated amusement game as recited in claim 1, wherein the playfield comprises an inclined playfield of a pinball machine.

8. A pinball machine, comprising: a downwardly sloping playfield; a mechanism for launching a ball from a lower portion of the playfield to an upper portion of the playfield along a side of the playfield; flipper mechanisms located at a lower end of the playfield for diverting the travel of the ball to prevent a ball from exiting the lower end of the playfield under the force of gravity where it is returned to the mechanism for launching a ball; a plurality of features on the playfield which, when interacted with by the ball, influence scoring during game play; and an illumination device comprised of at least one LED positioned in cooperation with the playfield to illuminate at least a portion of the playfield generally.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Generally using LEDs as an illumination source is know. For example, PCT published application No. WO 2006/001221 describes an illumination source composed of a white LED of a first light source color and an orange LED of a second light source color so that light is emitted in a color created as a result of mixing the first and second light source colors.

SUMMARY

The following describes a system and method for using LEDs as a source of general illumination for a coin operated game device, such as a pinball machine.

A better understanding of the objects, advantages, features, properties and relationships of the system and method will be obtained from the following detailed description and accompanying drawings which set forth illustrative embodiments which are indicative of the various ways in which the principles of the invention may be employed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a better understanding of the invention directed to using LEDs as a source of general illumination in a coin operated game device, reference may be had to the following drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a coin operated game device, in the exemplary form of a pinball machine, using LEDs as a source of general illumination; and

FIG. 2 is a top view, partially transparent, of an exemplary playing surface of the coin operated game device of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to the FIGS. 1 and 2, a coin operated game device, in the exemplary form of a pinball machine 10 similar to that shown in EP Patent Application 0 992 264 but capable of being generally illuminated in accordance with the invention, is now described. More particularly, the coin operated game device 10 includes a cabinet 12, generally illuminated as described hereinafter, which houses various apparatus used to define play of a game. Game play is typically commenced in response to insertion of money—paper or coins referred to collectively as “coins”—into a coin accepting device or upon exercising of credits earned. Upon activation of the game in this manner, game play, in the case of a pinball machine, is defined upon an inclined playfield 14 that supports a number of playfield accessories or devices 16. More particularly, in the case of a pinball machine, game play is generally defined through the use of a pair of flippers 18 to propel a ball 20 relative to the playfield and accessories/devices associated with the playfield 14. The playfield 14 is usually inclined from the horizontal such that the ball 20 tends to eventually roll back down the playfield 14 in the direction of the flippers 18. While not intended to be limiting, the playfield accessories or devices 16 may include elements such as bumpers, ramps, and/or targets. The playfield 14 may be covered by a transparent or glass sheet 25 to permit viewing of the playfield 14. In addition to the foregoing, the playfield 14 usually includes a plunger element 32 which shoots the ball 20 up an alley 34 onto the playfield 14. Other player-activated elements, typically in the form of push-buttons (not shown) on the sides of the cabinet 12, are usually provided for controlling operation of the flippers 18. The pinball machine 10 may also includes a backbox 26 which is mounted to overlay a top rear portion of the cabinet 12 and which contains a game display 28, such as a dot matrix display, CRT, or the like. The backbox 26 may also support speakers (not illustrated) associated with the game sound system. Within the backbox 26 may be located various of the electronic circuits for controlling the operation of the playfield, the display, general illumination, and the sound system.

To generally illuminate the coin operated device 10, the playfield 14 is provided with illumination devices 22 which are mounted to an underside of the playfield 14 using mounting hardware 24. The illumination devices 22 are mounted to allow for the light emitted from the illumination devices 22 to generally illuminate desired portions of the playing interior of the coin operated device 10. Since, in the case of pinball machine, the ball 20 may roll over an area of the playfield to which the illumination devices 22 are mounted, a generally transparent overlay 26 may be provided to the playfield 14 in a location over the illumination devices 22. The illumination devices 22 may include a single LED, such as illumination device 22a, or may include multiple LEDs, such as illumination device 22b. The LEDs can be any color as desired. However, when multiple LEDs are provided, it is desired that the LEDs be one each of a white color and an orange color which, when illuminated simultaneously, provide a more natural looking white light illumination to the coin operated machine 10. The illumination devices 22 may be provided power under the control of a system bus architecture or may be provided power by a dedicated illumination circuit.

Similar illumination devices 28 may also be provided in association with play features of the playfield 14. In this case, however, rather than being provided for the purpose of generally illuminating areas of the playing interior of the coin operated game 10, the illumination devices 26 will be powered under processor control and be provided in association with a particular game feature to thereby illuminate that particular game feature specifically, e.g., a colored overlay 30, as opposed to an area of the game in general.

While a specific embodiment of the invention has been described in detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications and alternatives to those details could be developed in light of the overall teachings of the disclosure. Accordingly, the particular arrangement disclosed is meant to be illustrative only and not limiting as to the scope of the invention which is to be given the full breadth of the appended claims and any equivalents thereof.

All patents, patent applications, and other references cited within this document are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.