Title:
GAMING METHOD WITH DUAL GAME FUNCTION, ELECTRONIC GAMING APPARATUS FOR PERFORMING THE GAMING METHOD, AND COMPUTER PROGRAM PRODUCT RECORDING A GAMING PROGRAM OF THE GAMING METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming method provides a dual game function and is implemented using a gaming apparatus. The gaming method includes: a) simultaneously starting a first game and a second game; and b) if a predetermined first winning result is obtained at the end of playing one round of the first game, applying a corresponding enhancement feature to the second game that enhances ability of a player to play the second game. A gaming apparatus and a computer program product are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Yang, Arden (St. Rosemead, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/853193
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
09/11/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/16
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DUFFY, DAVID W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OSTROLENK FABER LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming method providing a dual game function and implemented using a gaming apparatus, said gaming method comprising the steps of: a) simultaneously starting a first game and a second game; and b) if a predetermined first winning result is obtained at the end of playing one round of the first game, applying a corresponding enhancement feature to the second game that enhances ability of a player to play the second game.

2. The gaming method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: c) granting an award if a predetermined second winning result is obtained at the end of play of the second game.

3. The gaming method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: d) determining if the first game is restarted by a wager amount that is greater than or equal to a predetermined wager amount, and if so, applying the enhancement feature to the second game.

4. The gaming method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: e) continuing the second game but with the enhancement feature applied in step b) removed if the first game is not restarted.

5. The gaming method of claim 4, wherein, in step e), the second game is discontinued if a predetermined time period elapses before the first game is restarted.

6. The gaming method of claim 1, further comprising the step of: f) at the end of play of the second game, restarting the second game if the first game is restarted by the player.

7. The gaming method of claim 1, wherein the first game is a game of chance and the second game is a game of skill.

8. A gaming apparatus providing a dual game function, comprising: an input unit allowing input by a player; an output assembly for performing display; and a processing assembly coupled to said input unit and said output assembly, and configured to perform steps of a gaming method; wherein the gaming method includes: a) simultaneously starting a first game and a second game; and b) if a predetermined first winning result is obtained at the end of playing one round of the first game, applying a corresponding enhancement feature to the second game that enhances ability of a player to play the second game.

9. The gaming apparatus of claim 8, further comprising a graphics processing assembly coupled to said processing assembly and performing graphics rendering of gaming screens of the first and second games on said output assembly.

10. The gaming apparatus of claim 9, wherein said output assembly includes a pair of first and second output units coupled to said graphics processing assembly, the gaming screen of the first game being rendered on said first output unit and the gaming screen of the second game being rendered on said second output unit.

11. The gaming apparatus of claim 9, wherein said graphics processing assembly includes a pair of first and second graphics processing units, and said output assembly includes a pair of first and second output units coupled respectively to said first and second graphics processing units, the gaming screen of the first game being rendered on said first output unit by said first graphics processing unit and the gaming screen of the second game being rendered on said second output unit by said second graphics processing unit.

12. The gaming apparatus of claim 9, wherein said processing assembly includes a pair of first and second processing units configured to perform steps of a gaming method respectively of the first and second games, said graphics processing assembly includes a pair of first and second graphics processing units coupled respectively to said first and second processing units, and said output assembly includes a pair of first and second output units coupled respectively to said first and second graphics processing units, the gaming screen of the first game being rendered on said first output unit by said first graphics processing unit and the gaming screen of the second game being rendered on said second output unit by said second graphics processing unit.

13. The gaming apparatus of claim 8, wherein the gaming method further includes the step of: c) granting an award if a predetermined second winning result is obtained at the end of play of the second game.

14. The gaming apparatus of claim 8, wherein the gaming method further includes the step of: d) determining if the first game is restarted by a wager amount that is greater than or equal to a predetermined wager amount, and if so, applying the enhancement feature to the second game.

15. The gaming apparatus of claim 8, wherein the gaming method further includes the step of: e) continuing the second game but with the enhancement feature applied in step b) removed if the first game is not restarted.

16. The gaming apparatus of claim 15, wherein, in step e), the second game is discontinued if a predetermined time period elapses before the first game is restarted.

17. The gaming apparatus of claim 8, wherein the gaming method further includes the step of: f) at the end of play of the second game, restarting the second game if the first game is restarted by the player.

18. The gaming apparatus of claim 8, wherein the first game is a game of chance and the second game is a game of skill.

19. A computer program product comprising a computer-readable storage medium that stores a gaming program for causing a computer to execute steps of a gaming method including: a) simultaneously starting a first game and a second game; and b) if a predetermined first winning result is obtained at the end of playing one round of the first game, applying a corresponding enhancement feature to the second game that enhances ability of a player to play the second game.

20. The computer program product of claim 19, wherein the gaming method further includes: c) granting an award if a predetermined second winning result is obtained at the end of play of the second game.

21. The computer program product of claim 19, wherein the gaming method further includes the step of: d) determining if the first game is restarted by a wager amount that is greater than or equal to a predetermined wager amount, and if so, applying the enhancement feature to the second game.

22. The computer program product of claim 19, wherein the gaming method further includes the step of: e) continuing the second game but with the enhancement feature applied in step b) removed if the first game is not restarted.

23. The computer program product of claim 22, wherein, in step e), the second game is discontinued if a predetermined time period elapses before the first game is restarted.

24. The computer program product of claim 19, wherein the gaming method further includes the step of: f) at the end of play of the second game, restarting the second game if the first game is restarted by the player.

25. The computer program product of claim 19, wherein the first game is a game of chance and the second game is a game of skill.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of Taiwanese Application No. 095133828, filed on Sep. 13, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming method with a dual game function, an electronic gaming apparatus for performing the gaming method, and a computer program product recording a gaming program of the gaming method.

2. Description of the Related Art

Some conventional games provide a main game and a bonus game. However, the link between the main and bonus games is very weak. Typically, the main and bonus games are no more than two games unnaturally combined into one, in which the bonus game is played when a predetermined winning condition, which is wholly unrelated to the bonus game, is satisfied during play of the main game.

There is a need, therefore, for a gaming method and apparatus that provide for a dual game function in which the two games are closely associated with one another, so that players are able to have a more exciting and enjoyable gaming experience.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the object of the present invention is to provide a gaming method with a dual game function, in which first and second games of the gaming method are closely associated with one another. The present invention also provides an electronic gaming apparatus for performing the gaming method, and a computer program product recording a gaming program of the gaming method.

According to one aspect, the gaming method of this invention provides a dual game function and is implemented using a gaming apparatus. The gaming method comprises: a) simultaneously starting a first game and a second game; and b) if a predetermined first winning result is obtained at the end of playing one round of the first game, applying a corresponding enhancement feature to the second game that enhances ability of a player to play the second game.

According to another aspect of this invention, the gaming apparatus comprises: an input unit allowing input by a player; an output assembly for performing display; and a processing assembly coupled to the input unit and the output assembly, and configured to perform steps of the gaming method of this invention.

According to yet another aspect of this invention, a computer program product comprises a computer-readable storage medium that records a gaming program for causing a computer to execute steps of the gaming method of this invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a schematic circuit block diagram of a preferred embodiment of an electronic gaming apparatus providing a dual game function according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic circuit block diagram of a first modified example of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 3 is a schematic circuit block diagram of a second modified example of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a schematic circuit block diagram of a third modified example of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a gaming method according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of exemplary gaming screens displayed during play of the dual game of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1, the preferred embodiment of a gaming apparatus providing a dual game function according to the present invention is shown to comprise an input unit 11, a processing assembly 12, a graphics processing assembly 13, and an output assembly 14.

The input unit 11 allows input by a player, and is operable to generate control signals in response to player manipulation for controlling a first game and a second game, i.e., the two games involved in the “dual game function” provided by the gaming apparatus. The input unit 11 may include buttons (not shown), a lever (not shown), etc.

The processing assembly 12 is coupled to the input unit 11, and is configured to perform steps of a gaming method. The present invention also provides a computer program product comprising a computer-readable storage medium that records a gaming program for causing a computer to execute the steps of a gaming method. As an example, the gaming program may cause the processing assembly 12 to execute the steps of the gaming method. Further, the computer-readable storage medium may be a part of the processing assembly 12, or may be separate from but accessible by the processing assembly 12.

The graphics processing assembly 13 is coupled to the processing assembly 12 and the output assembly 14, and performs graphics rendering of gaming screens of the first and second games on the output assembly 14. It is to be noted that the graphics processing assembly 13 is optional and may be omitted from the configuration of the gaming apparatus, in which case it is the processing assembly 12 that performs operations associated with graphics rendering.

The output assembly 14 is coupled to the graphics processing assembly 13 as described above, and performs display of the gaming screens rendered by the graphics processing assembly 13. If the graphics processing assembly 13 is not included as part of the gaming apparatus as described above, the output assembly 14 is coupled to the processing assembly 12, and the gaming screens are rendered on the output assembly 14 by the processing assembly 12.

In the preferred embodiment, the output assembly 14 is a display sufficiently sized to allow simultaneous display of the gaming screens of the first and second games. As an example, the output assembly 14 may be a rectangular display with its length vertically placed such that the gaming screens of the first and second games are displayed on the output assembly 14 in a manner of vertically arranged split windows.

Referring to FIG. 2, in a first modified example of the preferred embodiment, the output assembly 14 includes a pair of first and second output units 141, 142 coupled to the graphics processing assembly 13. In this first modified example, the gaming screen of the first game is rendered on the first output unit 141 and the gaming screen of the second game is rendered on the second output unit 142.

Referring to FIG. 3, in a second modified example of the preferred embodiment, the graphics processing assembly 13 includes a pair of first and second graphics processing units 131, 132, and the output assembly 14 includes a pair of first and second output units 141, 142 coupled respectively to the first and second graphics processing units 131, 132. In this second modified example, the gaming screen of the first game is rendered on the first output unit 141 by the first graphics processing unit 131, and the gaming screen of the second game is rendered on the second output unit 142 by the second graphics processing unit 132.

Referring to FIG. 4, in a third modified example of the preferred embodiment, the processing assembly 12 includes a pair of first and second processing units 121, 122 configured to perform steps of a gaming method respectively of the first and second games, the graphics processing assembly 13 includes a pair of first and second graphics processing units 131, 132 coupled respectively to the first and second processing units 121, 122, and the output assembly 14 includes a pair of first and second output units 141, 142 coupled respectively to the first and second graphics processing units 131, 132. In this third modified example, the gaming screen of the first game is rendered on the first output unit 141 by the first graphics processing unit 131, and the gaming screen of the second game is rendered on the second output unit 142 by the second graphics processing unit 132.

In the first, second, and third modified examples of the preferred embodiment, the first and second output units 141, 142 may be arranged vertically to allow for easy viewing of the gaming screens of the first and second games.

The preferred embodiment of a gaming method providing a dual game function will now be described with reference to FIG. 5. For purposes of illustration, the gaming method is described as being implemented using the gaming apparatus of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1. Alternatively, the gaming method may be implemented by any one of the modified examples of the preferred embodiment. As another alternative, the gaming method may be executed by a computer as part of a gaming program stored in the computer-readable storage medium of the computer program product of the present invention.

First, in step 201, before a player starts to play the first and second games, control is performed such that the output assembly 14 displays preview screens of the first and second games. This is done to attract the attention of players, as well as to provide a brief introduction to the first and second games to players not familiar with the dual game of the present invention.

Next, in step 202, the player is allowed to place a bet and the bet is received. For example, control may be performed to prompt the user via the output assembly 14 to place a bet, which the user may do via the input unit 11 such as by inserting tokens into the gaming apparatus.

Subsequently, the first game is started in step 203, and the second game is started in step 204. In the preferred embodiment, steps 203 and 204 are performed simultaneously, i.e., the first and second games are started simultaneously.

In this embodiment, the first game is a slot machine game and the second game is a car racing game. Stated differently, in this embodiment, the first game is a game of chance and the second game is a game of skill. FIG. 6 shows two gaming screens 61, 62 as they might appear on the output assembly 14 for this example. Of course, the present invention is not limited with respect to game type, and the first and second games may be any combination of two games, each involving differing degrees of chance and/or skill.

In this embodiment, the first game quickly ends and so may be played multiple times during one round of play of the second game. Therefore, assuming one round of play of the first game is completed, in step 205, the processing assembly 12 determines whether the first game is restarted by the player. In this embodiment, such a determination is made on the basis of whether the player continues betting. As a concrete exemplary embodiment involving step 205, the processing assembly 12 may determine whether the first game is restarted by the player, and if not, whether a predetermined time period has elapsed. If the processing assembly 12 determines that the predetermined time period has elapsed before the first game is restarted, the second game is discontinued and the flow returns to step 201 of displaying the preview screens of the first and second games. In other embodiments, step 205 may be performed at different or additional points in the gaming method of the present invention, with the determination of step 205 yielding different results depending on at which point in the gaming method step 205 is performed. Examples will be given below.

Next, in step 206, it is determined if a predetermined first winning result is obtained at the end of playing one round of the first game (i.e., the just-completed round prior to restarting of the first game). If so, in step 207, a corresponding enhancement feature is applied to the second game that enhances the ability of the player to play the second game, and the second game is played with this enhancement feature. If not, however, in step 208, the second game is continued in a normal manner without the enhancement feature applied thereto. To provide an example, in this embodiment where the first game is a slot machine game and the second game is a car racing game, the first winning result of the slot machine game may be that corresponding to a “TURBO” enhancement feature, and when this enhancement feature is applied to the car racing game, the speed of a car in the car racing game is increased such that the ability of the player to play the car racing game is enhanced.

In an alternative embodiment where the second game is a game of chance, a winning probability of the second game may be set to a high level in step 207 or determined randomly in step 208, depending on the determination result of step 205.

To provide an example of an alternative embodiment involving step 205, it may be determined in step 205 whether the first game is restarted by a wager amount that is greater than or equal to a predetermined wager amount. If so, step 207 may be performed to apply the enhancement feature to the second game. If not, however, step 208 may be performed to continue the second game in a normal manner without the enhancement feature applied thereto. In yet another alternative embodiment involving step 205, this step may be performed after step 207, i.e., at any point during continued play of the second game with the enhancement feature applied thereto, in which case if the first game is not restarted, the second game is continued but with the enhancement feature applied in step 207 removed. It is to be noted that “wager amount” may also be an accumulated amount of wagers placed by the user in restarting the first game a multiple number of times during play of one or more rounds of the second game.

Next, in step 209, it is determined if a predetermined second winning result is obtained at the end of play of the second game. If so, in step 210, an award is granted. If not, however, in step 211, no award is granted. As an example, step 211 may involve providing an indication to the player on the output assembly 14 that he or she has lost the game.

Finally, in step 212, it is determined if the first game is restarted by the player. If so, then the flow returns to step 204 and the second game is restarted. If not, however, then the flow returns to step 201 and control is performed such that the output assembly 14 displays the preview screens of the first and second games.

It is to be noted that in addition to application to a single gaming apparatus, the present invention may also be applied in a network environment in which a plurality of individual gaming apparatuses are interconnected. In such a network application, a plurality of players may play the second game together and compete against each other. Further, in this exemplary embodiment, each player plays the first game individually and the results of the first game for each of the players can influence his or her ability to play the second game (i.e., can determine whether the enhancement feature is applied to his or her particular game player, item, etc.). Alternatively or additionally, the amount wagered by each player when restarting his or her respective first game can influence his or her ability to play the second game in the manner described above. Finally, win and loss among the players in this exemplary embodiment may be determined by the outcome of the second game.

In the present invention, due to the close association between the first and second games as described hereinabove, players are provided with a more exciting and enjoyable gaming experience.

While the present invention has been described in connection with what is considered the most practical and preferred embodiment, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiment but is intended to cover various arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and equivalent arrangements.