Title:
GAMING APPARATUS EXECUTING RACE BY A PLURALITY OF RACE OBJECTS, AND GAME CONTROL METHOD THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A gaming machine, comprising a controller programmed to execute the processing of:
    • (A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established;
    • (B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; and
    • (C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the processing (B) when the special racing game executed in the processing (A) results in a prescribed result.



Inventors:
Saito, Hiroki (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/185295
Publication Date:
02/26/2009
Filing Date:
08/04/2008
Assignee:
Aruze Corp. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F13/27; A63F9/24; A63F13/32; A63F13/55; A63F13/45; A63F13/69
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WILLIAMS, ROSS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OBLON, MCCLELLAND, MAIER & NEUSTADT, L.L.P. (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent of the United States is:

1. A gaming machine, comprising a controller programmed to execute the processing of: (A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established; (B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; and (C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said processing (B) when the special racing game executed in said processing (A) results in a prescribed result.

2. The gaming machine according to claim 1, comprising a display capable of displaying an image, wherein said controller is further programmed to execute processing of (D) displaying an image showing the ranking determined in said processing (B) to said display device in a prescribed mode in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in said processing (A).

3. The gaming machine according to claim 2, wherein said prescribed result is that a prescribed race object finishes first, and said processing (D) includes the processing of: (D-1) displaying an image showing a plurality of race objects running; (D-2) displaying images showing said respective rankings in a first mode while the image displayed in said processing (D-1) is on display; (D-3) displaying an image showing the prescribed race object finishing first; and (D-4) displaying the image showing the ranking determined in said processing (B) at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point among the images showing said respective rankings, when the image according to said processing (D-3) is displayed.

4. The gaming machine according to claim 1, comprising an input device with which a player can input a direction, wherein said controller is further programmed to execute the processing of: (E) accepting a BET of game media on a normal racing game that is different from said special racing game, from said input device; and (F) cumulatively storing at least part of the game media betted in said processing (E), and said processing (C) is processing of offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said processing (B) out of the game media cumulatively stored in said processing (F) when the special racing game executed in said processing (A) results in a prescribed result.

5. A gaming machine, comprising a display capable of displaying an image, and a controller, said controller programmed to execute the processing of: (A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established; (B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; (C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said processing (B) when the special racing game executed in said processing (A) results in a prescribed result; and (D) scroll-displaying to said display device a strip-shaped image where images showing said respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in said processing (A), and then stop-displaying the image showing the ranking determined in said processing (B).

6. A gaming machine, comprising a display capable of displaying an image, and a controller, said controller programmed to execute the processing of: (A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established; (B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; (C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said processing (B) when the special racing game executed in said processing (A) results in a prescribed result; and (D) scroll-displaying to said display device a strip-shaped image where images showing said respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in said processing (A), and then displaying the image showing the ranking determined in said processing (B) at a position closer to an image showing a goal point than any other images showing the rankings.

7. A game controlling method, comprising the steps of: (A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established; (B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; and (C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said step (B) when the special racing game executed in said step (A) results in a prescribed result.

8. The game controlling method according to claim 7, further comprising the step of (D) displaying an image showing the ranking determined in said step (B) to said display device in a prescribed mode in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in said step (A).

9. The game controlling method according to claim 8, wherein said prescribed result is that a prescribed race object finishes first, and said step (D) includes the steps of: (D-1) displaying an image showing a plurality of race objects running; (D-2) displaying images showing said respective rankings in a first mode while the image displayed in said step (D-1) is on display; (D-3) displaying an image showing the prescribed race object finishing first; and (D-4) displaying the image showing the ranking determined in said step (B) at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point among the images showing said respective rankings, when the image according to said step (D-3) is displayed.

10. The game controlling method according to claim 7, comprising the steps of: (E) accepting a BET of game media on a normal racing game that is different from said special racing game, from said input device; and (F) cumulatively storing at least part of the game media betted in said step (E), and said step (C) is step of offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said step (B) out of the game media cumulatively stored in said step (F) when the special racing game executed in said step (A) results in a prescribed result.

11. A game controlling method, comprising the steps of: (A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established; (B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; (C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said step (B) when the special racing game executed in said step (A) results in a prescribed result; and (D) scroll-displaying to said display device a strip-shaped image where images showing said respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in said step (A), and then stop-displaying the image showing the ranking determined in said step (B).

12. A game controlling method, comprising the steps of: (A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established; (B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; (C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in said step (B) when the special racing game executed in said step (A) results in a prescribed result; and (D) scroll-displaying to said display device a strip-shaped image where images showing said respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in said step (A), and then displaying the image showing the ranking determined in said step (B) at a position closer to an image showing a goal point than any other images showing the rankings.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit of priority based on Japanese Patent Application No. 2007-216228 filed on Aug. 22, 2007. The contents of this application are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming apparatus that executes a race by a plurality of race objects, and a game control method thereof.

Conventionally, there have been known racing games, such as horse racing game apparatuses, in which a plurality of race objects contend with one another for winning (cf. see U.S. Pat. No. 6,210,275, U.S. Pat. No. 6,358,150, U.S. Pat. No. 6,450,887, U.S. Pat. No. 6,634,944, JP-A2001-87461, U.S. Pat. No. 6,848,991, JP-B 3291287, U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,410, JP-B 3366308, U.S. Pat. No. 6,921,331, U.S. Pat. No. 6,929,550, JP-A 2002-85852, U.S. Pat. No. 6,962,529, JP-A 2002-035429, U.S. Pat. No. 7,025,353, and U.S. Pat. No. 7,172,508). In general, a player who plays on the gaming apparatus of this kind predicts which race object will win based on information provided from the gaming apparatus or intuitive prediction, and bets game media such as medals on the race object. When the prediction proves correct, the player can receive a payout corresponding to the bet.

The contents of U.S. Pat. No. 6,210,275, U.S. Pat. No. 6,358,150, U.S. Pat. No. 6,450,887, U.S. Pat. No. 6,634,944, JP-A 2001-87461, U.S. Pat. No. 6,848,991, JP-B3291287, U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,410, JP-B 3366308, U.S. Pat. No. 6,921,331, U.S. Pat. No. 6,929,550, JP-A 2002-85852, U.S. Pat. No. 6,962,529, JP-A 2002-035429, U.S. Pat. No. 7,025,353, and U.S. Pat. No. 7,172,508 are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

The foregoing horse racing game apparatus provides a game patterned after an actual horse racing. However, in the horse racing game apparatus, existing horses do not actually run in a race right in front of players as in the actual horse racing, and there has thus been a problem that the gaming machine lacks realness and looks inferior to the actual horse racing. Hence there has been a problem that the player gets bored of the game in a short period of time.

On the other hand, in such a horse racing game apparatus, there has been a scope for improving interesting aspects as a game by devising what cannot be done in the actual horse race and can be done only by the gaming machine.

The present invention was made in view of the foregoing problems, and has an object to provide a gaming machine and a game controlling method, having enough interesting aspects to prevent a player from quickly getting bored.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In order to solve the foregoing problems, the present invention provides the following.

A gaming machine, comprising

a controller programmed to execute the processing of:

(A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established;

(B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; and

(C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the processing (B) when the special racing game executed in the processing (A) results in a prescribed result.

According to the invention of (1), when a prescribed condition is established (e.g. the special racing game is determined to be executed by the lottery), a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects (e.g. racehorses) contend with one another for winning is made to proceed. Further, one ranking for payout is determined out of a plurality of rankings for payout, and when the special racing game results in a prescribed result (e.g. a prescribed racehorse finishes first), a payout is offered based upon the determined ranking. Therefore, the player can obtain the payout based upon the determined ranking when the prescribed condition is established and the special racing game results in the prescribed result.

As thus described, according to the invention of (1), a new game that is different from a normal racing game in which a payout is offered in accordance with a BET can be provided when a BET on a ranking of finish of a racehorse is accepted from the player and when his or her prediction proves correct. With this new game provided, it is possible to prevent the player from getting bored and to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, since the ranking for payout to be offered is determined out of the plurality of rankings, even when the special racing game results in the prescribed result, the ranking for payout to be offered is not the same all the time. It is therefore possible to enhance the expectation of the player for the ranking for payout to be offered.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(2) The gaming apparatus according to the above-mentioned (1), wherein

the controller is further programmed to execute processing of

(D) displaying an image showing the ranking determined in the processing (B) to the display device in a prescribed mode in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in the processing (A).

According to the invention of (2), an image showing the determined ranking is displayed in a prescribed mode (e.g. mode of displaying the plurality of rankings in order and then displaying the image showing the determined ranking for a fixed period) in accordance with the progress of the special racing game. It is thereby possible to allow the player to visually recognize easily which ranking of the payout has been offered.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(3) The gaming apparatus according to the above-mentioned (2), wherein

the prescribed result is that a prescribed race object finishes first, and

the processing (D) includes the processing of:

(D-1) displaying an image showing a plurality of race objects running;

(D-2) displaying images showing the respective rankings in a first mode while the image displayed in the processing (D-1) is on display;

(D-3) displaying an image showing the prescribed race object finishing first; and

(D-4) displaying the image showing the ranking determined in the processing (B) at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point among the images showing the respective rankings, when the image according to the processing (D-3) is displayed

According to the invention of (3), an image showing a plurality of race objects running is displayed, and during the display, images showing the respective rankings are displayed in a first mode (e.g. mode of displaying the plurality of rankings in order). Subsequently, an image showing the prescribed race object finishing is displayed, and an image showing the determined ranking, out of the images showing the respective rankings, is displayed at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point. Hence the player can be aware that the prescribed race object finished first and that a payout will be offered, and can also be aware of the ranking for the payout. Consequently, when an image showing a ranking for a large amount of payout is displayed, the player can feel pleasure at the large amount of payout in addition to pleasure for being offered a payout so as to feel a large upsurge of sentiment. Further, when an image showing a ranking for a small amount of payout is displayed, the player feels pleasure for being offered a payout, and triggered by that pleasure, the player can have an expectation for obtaining a larger amount of payout next time.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(4) The gaming machine according to the above-mentioned (1), comprising

an input device with which a player can input a direction,

wherein

the controller is further programmed to execute the processing of:

(E) accepting a BET of game media on a normal racing game that is different from the special racing game, from the input device; and

(F) cumulatively storing at least part of the game media betted in the processing (E), and

the processing (C) is processing of offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the processing (B) out of the game media cumulatively stored in the processing (F) when the special racing game executed in the processing (A) results in a prescribed result.

According to the invention of (4), a BET of game media on a normal racing game that is different from the special racing game is accepted; at least part of the bet game media is cumulatively stored; and when the special racing game results in a prescribed result, a payout for the special racing game is offered from the cumulatively stored game media. Therefore, when the normal racing game is played, the amount of stored game media increases, and thus the amount of game media to be offered as the payout can also increases. It is therefore possible to further enhance the expectation of the player. Moreover, since the payout for the special racing game is offered from the cumulatively stored game media, it is possible to reduce the possibility that the owner side will suffer a large loss.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(5) A gaming machine, comprising

a display capable of displaying an image, and

a controller,

the controller programmed to execute the processing of:

(A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established;

(B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout;

(C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the processing (B) when the special racing game executed in the processing (A) results in a prescribed result; and

(D) scroll-displaying to the display device a strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in the processing (A), and then stop-displaying the image showing the ranking determined in the processing (B).

According to the invention of (5), when a prescribed condition is established (e.g. the special racing game is determined to be executed by the lottery), a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects (e.g. racehorses) contend with one another for winning is made to proceed. Further, one ranking for payout is determined out of a plurality of rankings for payout, and when the special racing game results in a prescribed result (e.g. a prescribed racehorse finishes first), a payout is offered based upon the determined ranking. Therefore, the player can obtain the payout based upon the determined ranking when the prescribed condition is established and the special racing game results in the prescribed result.

As thus described, according to the invention of (5), a new game that is different from a normal racing game in which a payout is offered in accordance with a BET can be provided when a BET on a ranking of finish of a racehorse is accepted from the player and when his or her prediction proves correct. With this new game provided, it is possible to prevent the player from getting bored and to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, since the ranking for payout to be offered is determined out of the plurality of rankings, even when the special racing game results in the prescribed result, the ranking for payout to be offered is not the same all the time. It is therefore possible to enhance the expectation of the player for the ranking for payout to be offered.

Further, after the strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order is scroll-displayed to the display device in accordance with the progress of the special racing game, the image showing the determined ranking is stop-displayed. Therefore, with concurrent execution of a visual effect, it is possible to allow the player to easily recognize which ranking of the payout is offered.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(6) A gaming machine, comprising

a display capable of displaying an image, and

a controller,

the controller programmed to execute the processing of:

(A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established;

(B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout;

(C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the processing (B) when the special racing game executed in the processing (A) results in a prescribed result; and

(D) scroll-displaying to the display device a strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in the processing (A), and then displaying the image showing the ranking determined in the processing (B) at a position closer to an image showing a goal point than any other images showing the rankings.

According to the invention of (6), when a prescribed condition is established (e.g. the special racing game is determined to be executed by the lottery), a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects (e.g. racehorses) contend with one another for winning is made to proceed. Further, one ranking for payout is determined out of a plurality of rankings for payout, and when the special racing game results in a prescribed result (e.g. a prescribed racehorse finishes first), a payout is offered based upon the determined ranking. Therefore, the player can obtain the payout based upon the determined ranking when the prescribed condition is established and the special racing game results in the prescribed result.

As thus described, according to the invention of (6), a new game that is different from a normal racing game in which a payout is offered in accordance with a BET can be provided when a BET on a ranking of finish of a racehorse is accepted from the player and when his or her prediction proves correct. With this new game provided, it is possible to prevent the player from getting bored and to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, since the ranking for payout to be offered is determined out of the plurality of rankings, even when the special racing game results in the prescribed result, the ranking for payout to be offered is not the same all the time. It is therefore possible to enhance the expectation of the player for the ranking for payout to be offered.

Further, after the strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order is scroll-displayed to the display device in accordance with the progress of the special racing game, the image showing the determined ranking is displayed at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point. Therefore, with concurrent execution of a visual effect, it is possible to allow the player to easily recognize which ranking of the payout is offered.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(7) A gaming controlling method, comprising the steps of:

(A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established;

(B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout; and

(C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the step (B) when the special racing game executed in the step (A) results in a prescribed result.

According to the invention of (7), when a prescribed condition is established (e.g. the special racing game is determined to be executed by the lottery), a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects (e.g. racehorses) contend with one another for winning is made to proceed. Further, one ranking for payout is determined out of a plurality of rankings for payout, and when the special racing game results in a prescribed result (e.g. a prescribed racehorse finishes first), a payout is offered based upon the determined ranking. Therefore, the player can obtain the payout based upon the determined ranking when the prescribed condition is established and the special racing game results in the prescribed result.

As thus described, according to the invention of (7), a new game that is different from a normal racing game in which a payout is offered in accordance with a BET can be provided when a BET on a ranking of finish of a racehorse is accepted from the player and when his or her prediction proves correct. With this new game provided, it is possible to prevent the player from getting bored and to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, since the ranking for payout to be offered is determined out of the plurality of rankings, even when the special racing game results in the prescribed result, the ranking for payout to be offered is not the same all the time. It is therefore possible to enhance the expectation of the player for the ranking for payout to be offered.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(8) The game controlling method according to the above-mentioned (7), further comprising the step of

(D) displaying an image showing the ranking determined in the step (B) to the display device in a prescribed mode in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in the step (A).

According to the invention of (8), an image showing the determined ranking is displayed in a prescribed mode (e.g. mode of displaying the plurality of rankings in order and then displaying the image showing the determined ranking for a fixed period) in accordance with the progress of the special racing game. It is thereby possible to allow the player to visually recognize easily which ranking of the payout has been offered.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(9) The game controlling method according to the above-mentioned (8), wherein

the prescribed result is that a prescribed race object finishes first, and

the step (D) includes the steps of:

(D-1) displaying an image showing a plurality of race objects running;

(D-2) displaying images showing the respective rankings in a first mode while the image displayed in the step (D-1) is on display;

(D-3) displaying an image showing the prescribed race object finishing first; and

(D-4) displaying the image showing the ranking determined in the step (B) at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point among the images showing the respective rankings, when the image according to the step (D-3) is displayed.

According to the invention of (9), an image showing a plurality of race objects running is displayed, and during the display, images showing the respective rankings are displayed in a first mode (e.g. mode of displaying the plurality of rankings in order). Subsequently, an image showing the prescribed race object finishing is displayed, and an image showing the determined ranking, out of the images showing the respective rankings, is displayed at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point. Hence the player can be aware that the prescribed race object finished first and that a payout will be offered, and can also be aware of the ranking for the payout. Consequently, when an image showing a ranking for a large amount of payout is displayed, the player can feel pleasure at the large amount of payout in addition to pleasure for being offered a payout so as to feel a large upsurge of sentiment. Further, when an image showing a ranking for a small amount of payout is displayed, the player feels pleasure for being offered a payout, and triggered by that pleasure, the player can have an expectation for obtaining a larger amount of payout next time.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(10) The game controlling method according to the above-mentioned (7), comprising the steps of:

(E) accepting a BET of game media on a normal racing game that is different from the special racing game, from the input device; and

(F) cumulatively storing at least part of the game media betted in the step (E), and

the step (C) is step of offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the step (B) out of the game media cumulatively stored in the step (F) when the special racing game executed in the step (A) results in a prescribed result.

According to the invention of (10), when a BET of game media on a normal racing game that is different from the special racing game is placed, at least part of the bet game media is cumulatively stored. Then, when the special racing game results in a prescribed result, a payout for the special racing game is offered from the cumulatively stored game media. Therefore, when the normal racing game is played, the amount of stored game media increases, and thus the amount of game media to be offered as the payout can also increases. It is therefore possible to further enhance the expectation of the player. Moreover, since the payout for the special racing game is offered from the cumulatively stored game media, it is possible to reduce the possibility that the owner side will suffer a large loss.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(11) A game controlling method, comprising the steps of:

(A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established;

(B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout;

(C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the step (B) when the special racing game executed in the step (A) results in a prescribed result; and

(D) scroll-displaying to the display device a strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in the step (A), and then stop-displaying the image showing the ranking determined in the step (B).

According to the invention of (11), when a prescribed condition is established (e.g. the special racing game is determined to be executed by the lottery), a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects (e.g. racehorses) contend with one another for winning is made to proceed. Further, one ranking for payout is determined out of a plurality of rankings for payout, and when the special racing game results in a prescribed result (e.g. a prescribed racehorse finishes first), a payout is offered based upon the determined ranking. Therefore, the player can obtain the payout based upon the determined ranking when the prescribed condition is established and the special racing game results in the prescribed result.

As thus described, according to the invention of (11), a new game that is different from a normal racing game in which a payout is offered in accordance with a BET can be provided when a BET on a ranking of finish of a racehorse is accepted from the player and when his or her prediction proves correct. With this new game provided, it is possible to prevent the player from getting bored and to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, since the ranking for payout to be offered is determined out of the plurality of rankings, even when the special racing game results in the prescribed result, the ranking for payout to be offered is not the same all the time. It is therefore possible to enhance the expectation of the player for the ranking for payout to be offered.

Further, after the strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order is scroll-displayed to the display device in accordance with the progress of the special racing game, the image showing the determined ranking is stop-displayed. Therefore, with concurrent execution of a visual effect, it is possible to allow the player to easily recognize which ranking of the payout is offered.

Further, the present invention provides the following.

(12) A game controlling method, comprising the steps of:

(A) proceeding with a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects contend with each other for winning when a prescribed condition is established;

(B) determining one ranking for payout, out of a plurality of rankings for payout;

(C) offering a payout based upon the ranking determined in the step (B) when the special racing game executed in the step (A) results in a prescribed result; and

(D) scroll-displaying to the display device a strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order in accordance with the progress of the special racing game executed in the step (A), and then displaying the image showing the ranking determined in the step (B) at a position closer to an image showing a goal point than any other images showing the rankings.

According to the invention of (12), when a prescribed condition is established (e.g. the special racing game is determined to be executed by the lottery), a special racing game in which a plurality of race objects (e.g. racehorses) contend with one another for winning is made to proceed. Further, one ranking for payout is determined out of a plurality of rankings for payout, and when the special racing game results in a prescribed result (e.g. a prescribed racehorse finishes first), a payout is offered based upon the determined ranking. Therefore, the player can obtain the payout based upon the determined ranking when the prescribed condition is established and the special racing game results in the prescribed result.

As thus described, according to the invention of (12), a new game that is different from a normal racing game in which a payout is offered in accordance with a BET can be provided when a BET on a ranking of finish of a racehorse is accepted from the player and when his or her prediction proves correct. With this new game provided, it is possible to prevent the player from getting bored and to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, since the ranking for payout to be offered is determined out of the plurality of rankings, even when the special racing game results in the prescribed result, the ranking for payout to be offered is not the same all the time. It is therefore possible to enhance the expectation of the player for the ranking for payout to be offered.

Further, after the strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order is scroll-displayed to the display device in accordance with the progress of the special racing game, the image showing the determined ranking is displayed at a position the closest to an image showing a goal point. Therefore, with concurrent execution of a visual effect, it is possible to allow the player to easily recognize which ranking of the payout is offered.

According to the present invention, it is possible to provide a gaming apparatus and a game control method, which have such interesting aspects that can prevent the player from being soon bored of the game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view showing an example of images displayed to a sub monitor of a station installed in a horse racing game apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing an example of the horse racing game apparatus according to the present embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view schematically showing an example of the stations shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of a main game portion provided in the horse racing game apparatus shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of a station provided in the horse racing game apparatus shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of game execution processing performed in the main game portion and the station.

FIG. 7 is a view schematically showing an example of images displayed to the sub monitor.

FIG. 8 is flowchart showing a subroutine of popularity ranking determination processing performed in the main game portion.

FIG. 9 is a view showing an example of a previous race popularity ranking table stored in an external storage device.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of total popularity ranking determination processing performed in the main game portion.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of bet information display processing performed in the main game portion.

FIG. 12 is a view showing an example of images displayed to the main monitor.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of a racing game execution processing performed in the main game portion.

FIG. 14 is flowchart showing a subroutine of a bonus game execution processing performed in the station.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

An embodiment of the present embodiment is described based on the drawings. In the following, the case of applying the present invention to a horse racing game apparatus is described as a preferred embodiment of the present invention. It is to be noted that a game in the present invention is a game totally processed by a CPU, except for input performed by a player.

FIG. 1 is a view showing an example of images displayed to a sub monitor of a station installed in a horse racing game apparatus according to the present embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing an example of a horse racing game apparatus according to the present embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view schematically showing an example of the stations shown in FIG. 2.

As shown in FIG. 2, a horse racing game apparatus 1 includes a main monitor 21, and a plurality of stations 101 installed so as to face the main monitor 21.

The station 101 is equipped with a sub monitor 113 having a touch panel 114 on the front face thereof.

In the horse racing game apparatus 1, first, a bet from a player seated at each station 101 is accepted through the touch panel 114. The player can predict a combination of horse numbers of horses that will finish first and second in any order, and can place a BET on the predicted combination of the horse numbers of the horses that will finish first and second. When a BET acceptance period ends, an image of a plurality of racehorses running in a race is displayed on the main monitor 21. When the player's prediction comes true, coins are paid out in number based upon the number of BETs and odds.

Further, in the horse racing game apparatus 1, a bonus game is executed at the station 101 selected by lottery out of the stations 101 where a player bets not less than 20 coins in the last race. In this bonus game, one racehorse is allocated to the player, and when this racehorse finishes first, a payout is offered based upon one progressive jackpot (hereinafter also referred to as a JP) determined out of three kinds of progressive jackpots: Mini, Major and Grand.

The main monitor 21 corresponds to the display in the present invention. Further, the bonus game corresponds to the special racing game in the present invention. Moreover, Mini, Major and Grand correspond to the rankings in the present invention.

FIG. 1 is the image displayed to the sub-monitor of the station where the bonus game is in execution.

As shown in FIG. 1, a racehorse image 170 is which shows a plurality of racehorses running from the right side toward the left side of the sub-monitor 113 is displayed to the sub-monitor 113.

Further, at the back of the racehorse image 170, an inner latch image 171 showing an inner latch (a fence inside a race track) is displayed. In the inner latch image 171, a ranking image 172 showing the ranking for JP is repeatedly displayed at fixed intervals. In FIG. 1, a ranking image 172a showing “Mini”, a ranking image 172b showing “Major”, and a ranking image 172c showing “Grand” are repeatedly displayed from the left side. Further, on the front of the inner latch image 171, a pole image 173 showing a goal point is displayed. In FIG. 1, the ranking image 172a showing “Mini” is displayed at a position closer to the pole image 173 than the other ranking images 172. In this case, when the racehorse allocated to the player finishes first, a JP for “Mini” will be paid out.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view schematically showing an example of horse racing game apparatuses according to the present embodiment.

The horse racing game apparatus 1 includes: the main monitor 21; speakers 22 installed on both the right and left sides of the main monitor 21; an indicator 23 installed on a top of the main monitor 21; and the plurality of stations 101 installed so as to face the main monitor 21.

To the main monitor 21, an image showing the progress of a race, an image showing information based on bets, and the like, are displayed. From the speakers 22, a sound in accordance with the progress of the race is outputted. To the indicator 23, information regarding the game in general and the like are displayed.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view schematically showing an example of the stations shown in FIG. 2.

The station 101 has: a cabinet 111, a chair 112 installed inside the cabinet 111; a sub monitor 113 installed on the cabinet 111 so as to face the chair 112; a touch panel 114 installed on the screen of the sub monitor 113; a bill validator 115 installed on the cabinet 111 to the right of the chair 112; and a ticket printer 116 installed below the bill validator 115.

To the sub monitor 113, a later-described bet image, an image showing the progress of a race, and the like, are displayed. The touch panel 114 is used when the player performs input, such as a bet operation that uses the bet image.

The touch panel 114 corresponds to the input device in the present invention.

The bill validator 115 identifies validity of a bill, and accepts a regular bill into the cabinet 111. The bill accepted into the cabinet 111 is converted into the number of coins at a prescribed rate, and the number of credits corresponding to the number of coins is added to the number of credits owned by the player. It is to be noted that the bill validator 115 may be configured so as to be capable of reading a later-described ticket 39 with a barcode.

The ticket printer 116 prints on a ticket a barcode formed by encoding data such as the number of credits, date and time, and an identification number of the station 101, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 39 with a barcode. The player can make another station read the ticket 39 with a barcode and play a game on that station 101, or exchange the ticket 39 with a barcode with bills or the like at a prescribed place in a gaming facility (e.g. cashier booth in a casino).

FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of a main game portion provided in the horse racing game apparatus shown in FIG. 2.

A main game portion 11 is a central portion of the horse racing game apparatus 1 in the present embodiment. The main game portion 11 has a main control portion 12, the main monitor 21, the speakers 22, the indicator 23, a switch 24, and an external storage device 25.

The main control portion 12 has a microcomputer 45, arranged on a circuit board, as a main constituent. The microcomputer 45 has a CPU 41 that performs a control operation in accordance with a previously set program, a RAM 42, and a ROM 43. The microcomputer 45 corresponds to the controller in the present invention

The RAM 42 is a memory for temporarily storing a variety of data computed in the CPU 41. The ROM 43 stores a variety of programs for performing processing necessary in controlling the horse racing game apparatus 1, information regarding a plurality of racehorses, data on winning percentage of each racehorse, and the like. Especially, the ROM 43 stores a program for bonus game processing. The CPU 41 executes this program to determine at which station 101 the bonus game will be executed, or to determine which one of three kinds of JPs will be selected for JP in the bonus game, and then notifies the determined items to the station 101.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with an image processing circuit 31 through an I/O interface 46. The image processing circuit 31 is connected to the main monitor 21, and controls the drive of the main monitor 21.

The image processing circuit 31 has a program ROM 311 (not shown), an image ROM 312 (not shown), an image control CPU 313 (not shown), a work RAM 314 (not shown), an image data processor 315 (not shown, hereinafter also referred to as a “VDP 315”), and a video RAM 316 (not shown).

The program ROM 311 stores a program for image control regarding display within the main monitor 21, and a variety of selection tables.

Further, the image ROM 312 stores, for example, dot data for forming an image within the main monitor 21 and a variety of image data such as background image data and image data of racehorses.

Further, the image control CPU 313 determines an image to be displayed to the main monitor 21 out of the dot data and image data previously stored inside the image ROM in accordance with the image control program previously stored inside the program ROM, based on a parameter set in the microcomputer 45.

Further, the work RAM 314 is configured as a temporary storage unit in execution of the image control program in the image control CPU 313.

Furthermore, the VDP 315 generates image data in accordance with display contents determined in the image control CPU 313, and outputs the data to the main monitor 21.

Moreover, the video RAM 316 is configured as a temporary storage unit in formation of an image in the VDP 315.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with a voice circuit 32 through the I/O interface 46. The voice circuit 32 is connected with the speakers 22. The speakers 22 are provided on the right and left sides of the main monitor 21, and output a sound under output-control by the voice circuit 32, based on a drive signal from the CPU 41.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with an indicator driving circuit 33 through the I/O interface 46. The indicator driving circuit 33 is connected with the indicator 23. The indicator 23 is provided on the top of the main monitor 21, and displays information regarding a game in general, and the like, under display-control by the indicator driving circuit 33, based on a drive signal from the CPU 41.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with a switch circuit 34 through the I/O interface 46. The switch circuit 34 is connected with the switch 24. The switch 24 is provided below the main monitor 21, and inputs a command by a setting operation performed by an operator into the CPU 41, based on a switch signal from the switch circuit 34.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with a random number generator 35 through the I/O interface 46. The random number generator 35 generates a random number to be sampled by the CPU 41.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with a timer 37 through the I/O interface 46. The timer 37 is used for measuring time at the start of a racing game, and the like.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with the external storage device 25 through the I/O interface 46. The external storage device 25 is provided on the periphery of the main monitor 21. The external storage device 25 stores, for example, a later-described previous race popularity ranking table.

Further, for example, storing the dot data for forming an image and the like into the external storage device 25 allows the external storage device 25 to have a function similar to that of the image ROM 312 inside the image processing circuit 31. Therefore, when determining an image to be displayed to the main monitor 21, the image control CPU 313 inside the image processing circuit 31 also takes the dot data and the like previously stored inside the external storage device 25 as objects for the determination.

The microcomputer 45 is connected with the communication interface 36 through the I/O interface 46. The communication interface 36 is connected with a sub control portion 102 of each of the stations 101. Therefore, the CPU 41 transmits and receives a command, a request, data, and the like, to and from each of the stations 101 through the communication interface 36.

FIG. 5 is a block diagram showing an internal configuration of the station provided in the horse racing game apparatus shown in FIG. 2.

The station 101 includes the sub control portion 102, the sub monitor 113, the touch panel 114, the bill validator 115, and the ticket printer 116.

The sub control portion 102 has the microcomputer 135 arranged on the circuit board, as a main constituent. The microcomputer 135 has a CPU 131 that performs a control operation in accordance with a previously set program, a RAM 132, and a ROM 133.

The RAM 132 is a memory for temporarily storing a variety of data computed in the CPU 131. The ROM 133 stores a variety of programs for performing processing necessary in controlling the horse racing game apparatus 1, a data table, and the like. Especially, the ROM 133 stores a program for proceeding with the bonus game. When receiving from the main game portion 11 a notification that the bonus game will be executed, the CPU 131 executes this program to proceed with the bonus game. Specifically, the CPU 131 determines racehorses to run in the bonus game and determines what effect to be executed, and further performs control to display an image based upon the determinations to the sub-monitor 113.

Further, the ROM 133 stores a variety of image data according to the bonus game, such as image data on the racehorses, image data on the rankings (Mini, Major, Grand), image data on the inner latch, and image data on the pole.

The microcomputer 135 is connected with a sub monitor driving circuit 121 through an I/O interface 136. The sub monitor driving circuit 121 is connected with the sub monitor 113. The sub monitor driving circuit 121 controls the drive of the sub monitor 113, based on a drive signal from the main game portion 11. The sub monitor driving circuit 121 has a configuration and function similar to those of the image processing circuit 31, and for example, controls the drive of the sub monitor 113 so that a later-described bet image is displayed.

The microcomputer 135 is connected with a touch panel driving circuit 122 through the I/O interface 136. The touch panel driving circuit 122 is connected with the touch panel 114. The touch panel 114 is provided on the screen of the sub monitor 113, and inputs into the CPU 131a command by a touching operation of the player as a coordinate signal from the touch panel driving circuit 122.

The microcomputer 135 is connected with a bill validator driving circuit 123 through the I/O interface 136. The bill validator driving circuit 123 is connected with the bill validator 115. The bill validator 115 identifies validity of a bill and the ticket 39 with a barcode. When accepting a regular bill, the bill validator 115 inputs the amount of the accepted bill into the CPU 131, based on an identification signal from the bill validator driving circuit 123. Further, when accepting a regular ticket 39 with a barcode, the bill validator 115 inputs into the CPU 131 the number of credits and the like which are recorded on the ticket 39 with a barcode, based on an identification signal from the bill validator driving circuit 123.

The microcomputer 135 is connected with a ticket printer driving circuit 124 through the I/O interface 136. The ticket printer driving circuit 124 is connected with the ticket printer 116. The ticket printer 116 prints on a ticket a barcode formed by encoding data such as the number of owned credits stored in the RAM 132, and the like, and outputs the ticket as the ticket 39 with a barcode under output-control by the ticket printer driving circuit 124, based on a drive signal outputted from the CPU 131.

The microcomputer 135 is connected with a communication interface 125 through the I/O interface 136. The communication interface 125 is connected with the main control portion 12 of the main game portion 11. Therefore, the CPU 131 transmits and receives a command, a request, data, and the like, to and from the main game portion 11 through the communication interface 125.

The microcomputer 135 is connected with the timer 126 through the I/O interface 136. The timer 126 is used for measuring time in ending acceptance of the bet operation.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of game execution processing performed in the main game portion and the station.

It is to be noted that FIG. 6 shows only processing performed in one station 101 for the sake of avoiding complexity.

First, the game execution processing performed in the CPU 41 installed in the main game portion 11 will be described below.

In the CPU 41 installed in the main game portion 11, respective operations of steps S100 to S109 are performed.

First, in step S100, the CPU 41 selects information regarding a prescribed number of (e.g. 6) racehorses out of information regarding a plurality of racehorses stored in the ROM 43, based on random numbers generated by the random number generator 35, and determines those horses as racehorses to run in a race this time around. At this time, the CPU 41 provides starting numbers of “1” to “6” to the racehorses to run.

Next, in step S101, the CPU 41 executes processing of determining odds per betting ticket system. At this time, the CPU 41 sets odds, based on winning percentage data of each racehorse which is stored in the ROM 43. Therefore, order-of-finish prediction odds including a racehorse with a high winning probability are set low, whereas order-of-finish prediction odds including a racehorse with a low winning probability are set high.

In step S102, the CPU 41 transmits, to each station 101, race information on the racehorses to run and odds which have been determined in the processing of steps S100 and S101.

In step S103, the CPU 41 determines a total popularity ranking by total popularity ranking determination processing.

In this total popularity ranking determination processing, the CPU 41 determines a total popularity ranking of each racehorse, based on an average popularity ranking of each racehorse in past 50 racing games.

This total popularity ranking determination processing is detailed later using a drawing.

Next, in step S104, the CPU 41 starts measuring elapsed time t1 by the timer 37.

After the processing of step S104, upon receipt of a BET information signal including the number of coins bet by the player from the CPU 131 provided in the station 101, the CPU 41 stores part (2% in the present embodiment) of the BET into the RAM 42 as a JP.

Thereafter, in step S105, the CPU 41 controls to make the VDP 315 execute bet information display processing.

In this bet information display processing, the CPU 41 controls the VDP 315 so as to output to the main monitor 21 an image showing the total popularity ranking, names of the racehorses to run, and odds, which have been determined in the processing of steps S100, S101 and S103. Further, the CPU 41 controls the VDP 315 so as to output to the main monitor 21 an image showing the number of existing bets on each racehorse and the popularity ranking thereof stored in the RAM 42.

This bet information display processing is detailed later using a drawing.

Next, in step S106, the CPU 41 determines whether or not the elapsed time t measured by the timer 37 has reached previously-set specified time T1 (e.g. 60 seconds). When determining that the elapsed time t1 has not reached the specified time T1, the CPU 41 returns the processing to step S106. On the other hand, when determining that the elapsed time t1 has reached the specified time T1, the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S107.

In step S107, the CPU 41 executes racing game execution processing.

In this racing game execution processing, the VDP 315 determines an order of finish of each racehorse in the racing game, based on a random number generated by the random number generator 35. The VDP 315 then outputs an image showing the progress of the race to the main monitor 21.

This racing game execution processing is detailed later using a drawing.

In step S108, the CPU 41 determines an amount of payout for each station 101, based on the order of finish of each racehorse which has been determined in the racing game execution processing of step S107 and on a bet information signal transmitted from each station 101 in later-described processing of step S15.

Next, in step S151, the CPU 41 determines whether or not to execute the bonus game. When determining that the bonus game will be executed, the CPU 41 determines 10 stations 101 as stations where the bonus game will be generated, out of the stations 101 where a total of the number of BETs is 20 or more in the racing game this time around. The CPU 41 then determines at which of the station 101 out of the 10 stations 101 a JP will be offered, and determine which JP out of the three kinds of JPs will be offered. Subsequently, the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S152.

In step S152, the CPU 41 transmits bonus game information to the 10 stations 101 determined in step S151. The bonus game information includes information regarding ranking of finish of racehorses allocated to the respective stations 101, and information regarding the kinds of JPs to be offered. It is to be noted that in the present embodiment, when it is determined that the JP for Grand will be offered, one-half of the JP stored in the RAM 42 is offered. When it is determined that the JP for Major will be offered, one-quarter of the JP stored in the RAM 42 is offered. When it is determined that the JP for Mini will be offered, one-eighth of the JP stored in the RAM 42 is offered.

Next, in step S153, the CPU 41 subtracts a number in accordance with the kind of JP determined to be offered from the JP stored in the RAM 42.

When determining in step S151 not to execute the bonus game, or after executing the processing of step S153, in step S109, the CPU 41 transmits a payout amount each determined in the processing of step S108 to the corresponding station 101 as payout information. Subsequently, the CPU 41 completes the present subroutine.

The following description will discuss the game execution processing, which is executed by the CPU 131 provided in the station 101.

First, in step S10, the CPU 131 determines whether or not race information has been received from the main game portion 11. When determining that the information has not been received, the CPU 131 returns the processing to step S10. On the other hand, when determining that the information has been received, the CPU 131 shifts the processing to step S11.

In step S11, the CPU 131 starts measuring elapsed time t2 by the timer 126.

In step S12, the CPU 131 displays a bet image to the sub monitor 113, based on the race information transmitted from the CPU 41.

In the processing of step S12, the bet image displayed to the sub monitor 113 will be described.

FIG. 7 is a view schematically showing an example of bet images displayed to the sub monitor.

The bet image is displayed to the whole area of the sub monitor 113 covered by the touch panel 114.

In more specific, on the sub monitor 113, there are displayed, in order from left, a horse number display region 201; a horse name display region 202; a basic ability display region 203 displaying speed and stamina by means of bar charts; a record display region 204 displaying orders of finish in last five races; a condition display region 205 displaying current conditions by means of arrows; and a betting ticket purchase button region 206 displaying, with odds and number of bets, a betting ticket per chance button for quinella in which a combination of horse numbers that will finish first and second in any order is predicted.

Further, on the upper side of the sub monitor 113, a help button 211, a 1-bet button 213, a 5-bet button 214, a 10-bet button 215, a 50-bet button 216, a cancel button 217, a cash-out button 218, and a betting ticket system switch button 222 are displayed in order from left. Also, a time display region 212 is disposed between the help button 211 and the 1-bet button 213.

Moreover, on the upper right side of the sub monitor 113, there are displayed, in order from left, a number-of-bets display region 219, an amount-of-payout display region 220, and a number-of-credits display region 221.

The help button 211 is a button for displaying an operation method for betting and the like to the sub monitor 113. In the time display region 212, remaining time possible for bet-input is displayed. The 1-bet button 213 is a button for adding “1” to the current number of bets. The 5-bet button 214 is a button for adding “5” to the current number of bets. The 10-bet button 215 is a button for adding “10” to the current number of bets. The 50-bet button 216 is a button for adding “50” to the current number of bets.

The player can operate those buttons (help button 211, 1-bet button 213, 5-bet button 214, 10-bet button 215, 50-bet button 216) through the touch panel 114.

The cancel button 217 is a button for canceling the added number of bets. The cash-out button 218 is a button for paying out coins in number in accordance with the number of credits owned by the player by means of the ticket 39 with a barcode. In the number-of-bets display region 219, the total number of bets set by the player in the current race is displayed. The amount-of-payout display region 220 displays an amount of payout in the race this time around. In the number-of-credits display region 221, the number of credits owned by the player is displayed.

The player can operate those buttons (help button 211, 1-bet button 213, 5-bet button 214, 10-bet button 215, 50-bet button 216, cancel button 217, cash-out button 218) through the touch panel 114.

The image shown in FIG. 7 is the image when the bet method is quinella, and when the player operates a betting ticket system switch button 222, the bet image is switched to win, place, exacta, trifecta, bracket quinella, trio, quinella-place (wide), and the like.

The player operates any of the 1-bet button 213, the 5-bet button 214, the 10-bet button 215, and the 50-bet button 216, and then operates any betting ticket purchase button within the betting ticket purchase button display region 206, so as to place a bet. For example, when operating the 10-bet button 215 and then operating a “1-2” betting ticket purchase button within the betting ticket purchase button display region 206, the player can add “10” to the current number of bets on “1-2”. Here, “1-2” means that a combination of No. 1 horse and No. 2 horse will take first and second place in any order. It is to be noted that the current number of bets on each combination of horse numbers is displayed next to the betting ticket purchase button corresponding to each combination.

In step S13 in FIG. 6, the CPU 131 specifies contents of the bet operation performed by the player based on a coordinate signal from the touch panel driving circuit 122, and stores the contents into the RAM 132. Further, The CPU 131 reflects the contents of the bet operation to the display on the bet image of the sub monitor 113.

In step S14, the CPU 131 determines whether or not the bet operation has been performed. When determining that the bet operation has not been performed, the CPU 131 returns the processing to step S13. On the other hand, when determining that the bet operation has been performed, the CPU 131 shifts the processing to step S15.

In step S15, the CPU 131 transmits bet information showing the contents of the bet operation as a bet information signal to the main control portion 12 through the communication interface 125. It is to be noted that the bet information signal includes at least an ID of a racehorse on which the bet has been placed, the number of bet game media, information regarding the type of a betting ticket, and an identification number of the station 101.

In step S16, the CPU 131 determines whether or not the elapsed time t2 measured by the timer 126 has reached previously set specified time T2 (e.g. 60 seconds). When determining that the elapsed time t2 has not reached the specified time T2, the CPU 131 returns the processing to step S13. On the other hand, when determining that the elapsed time t2 has reached the specified time T2, the CPU 131 shifts the processing to step S51.

In step S51, the CPU 131 determines whether or not to have received bonus game information from the CPU 41 provided in the main game portion 11. When determining that the bonus game information has been received, the CPU 131 shifts the processing to step S52 and executes the bonus game processing. The bonus game processing is detailed later.

When determining that the bonus game information has not been received in step S51, or after execution of the processing of step S52, upon receipt of payout information from the CPU 41 provided in the main game portion 11, the CPU 131 updates the number of credits owned by the player stored in the RAM 132 based upon the received payout information (step S17). Further, the CPU 131 updates displays in the amount-of-payout display region 220 and the number-of-credits display region 221 on the BET image of the sub-monitor 113. After the processing of step S17, the CPU 131 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 8 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of popularity ranking determination processing performed in the main game portion.

The popularity ranking determination processing shown in FIG. 8 is processing read and executed at prescribed timing separately from the game operation processing shown in FIG. 6.

First, in step S200, the CPU 41 determines whether or not a bet information signal has been received from the CPU 131. When determining that the bet information signal has not been received, the CPU 41 returns the processing to step S200. On the other hand, when determining that the bet information signal has been received, the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S201.

In step S201, the CPU 41 extracts bet information from the received bet information signal. Next, the CPU 41 determines whether or not the number of existing bets has been stored in the RAM 42 in association with the racehorse ID included in the bet information (step S202).

Here, the number of existing bets is a numeric value showing the number of game media having already been bet on a racehorse to run in the race this time around.

In step S202, when determining that the number of existing bets has not been stored, the CPU 41 stores the number of game media included in the bet information as the number of existing bets into the RAM 42 in association with the racehorse ID included in the bet information (step S203).

For example, in the case of the win betting ticket system, the very number of game media bet on the racehorse is stored as the number of existing bets. Further, in the case of the quinella betting ticket system, a total number of game media bet with the betting ticket may be taken as the number of existing bets on each of the racehorses predicted to take first and second place with the betting ticket, or the half of the game media bet with the betting ticket may be taken as the number of existing bets on each of the racehorses predicted to take first and second place with the betting ticket. Meanwhile, in the case of the exacta betting ticket system, the total number of game media bet with the betting ticket may be taken as the number of existing bets on each of the racehorses predicted to take first and second place with the betting ticket, or the half of the game media bet with the betting ticket may be taken as the number of existing bets on each of the racehorses predicted to take first and second place with the betting ticket; or, the number of game media may be divided at a ratio of 7:3 and the respective divided numbers of game media may be taken as the numbers of existing bets on the racehorses predicted to take first and second place with the betting ticket.

In step S202, when determining that the number of existing bets has been stored, the CPU 41 stores in the RAM 42 a figure obtained by adding the number of game media included in the bet information to the number of existing bets stored in the RAM 42 in association with the racehorse ID included in the bet information, as the new number of existing bets, in association with the racehorse ID (step S204). It is to be noted that as in the case of step S103, depending on the type of the betting ticket system, the very number of game media included in the bet information may be added to the number of existing bets, the half of the number of game media may be added to the number of existing bets, or the number of game media divided at a prescribed ratio may be added to the number of existing bets.

The CPU 41 compares the numbers of existing bets stored in the RAM 42 in association with the IDs of the respective racehorses provided with the starting numbers of “1” to “6”, and determines a popularity ranking in decreasing order of number of existing bets (step S205). The CPU 41 then stores the popularity ranking determined in step S205 into the RAM 42 (step S206). Further, the CPU 41 sets an update flag (step S207).

In step S208, the CPU 41 determines whether or not a race end flag has been set. When determining that the race end flag has not been set, the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S200. On the other hand, when determining that the race end flag has been set, the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S209.

In step S209, the CPU 41 stores into the external storage device 25 the popularity ranking stored in the RAM 42, as the previous race popularity ranking in association with the racehorse IDs and the race No. The CPU 41 then clears the number of existing bets and the popularity ranking which are stored in the RAM 42 (step S210), and completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 9 is a view showing an example of previous race popularity ranking tables stored in the external storage device.

In the previous race popularity ranking table, names of racehorses and previous race popularity ranking data are stored in association with the racehorse IDs.

In the previous race popularity ranking data, a popularity ranking of each racehorse in each race is stored in association with the racehorse ID. For example, in a race of race No. 0001, a racehorse ID 1 is ranked first, a racehorse ID 5 is ranked second, a racehorse ID 8 is ranked third, and a racehorse ID 3 is ranked fourth. Further, the race No. is a number provided to a racing game in each play of the racing game, and a larger number means a racing game played more recently.

FIG. 10 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of total popularity ranking determination processing performed in the main game portion.

First, the CPU 41 adds up the previous race popularity rankings of each racehorse in past 50 racing games up to a previous racing game (step S300). For example, when the largest race No. of the previous race popularity ranking data stored in the previous race popularity ranking table is 0178, the previous race popularity rankings of each racehorse in racing games of race No. 0129 to 0178 are added up.

Next, the CPU 41 calculates the number of running races of each racehorse in the past 50 racing games up to the previous racing game (step S301). For example, when the largest race No. of the previous race popularity ranking data stored in the previous race popularity ranking table is 0178, the number of racing games in which each racehorse ran, out of the racing games of race No. 0129 to 0178, is calculated.

The CPU 41 divides the added-up previous race popularity ranking obtained in step S300 by the number of running races calculated in step S301, to calculate an average popularity ranking of each racehorse (step S302). The CPU 41 then determines a total popularity ranking from the top in descending order of calculated average popularity ranking (step S308). Namely, a racehorse with the highest average popularity ranking is ranked first in the total popularity ranking.

FIG. 11 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of bet information display processing performed in the main game portion.

The bet information display processing shown in FIG. 11 is a processing executed by the VDP 315 under control of the CPU 41.

First, the VDP 315 produces respective images showing the total popularity ranking, names of racehorses to run and odds thereof which have been determined in the processing of steps S100, S101 and S103, based on the dot data, the background image data and the like which are stored in the image ROM 312. The VDP 315 outputs the produced images (bet information image) to the main monitor 21 (step S400).

The bet information image displayed to the main monitor 21 in processing of step S400 will be described here.

FIG. 12 is a view showing an example of images displayed to the main monitor.

As shown in FIG. 12, a BET information image 2 is displayed over the whole screen of the main monitor 21.

On the right-side portion of the BET information image 2, a total popularity ranking display region 8 is provided which displays a total popularity ranking showing a popularity ranking of each racehorse throughout a prescribed number of races up to the last race. Among the racehorses displayed in the total popularity ranking, racehorses to run in a race currently accepting a BET-input are displayed in a different mode from other racehorses not to run in the race. Namely, the racehorses to run in the race are displayed so as to be visually recognizable by the player.

On the lower left side of the BET information image 2, a race course display region 9 is provided which displays a whole picture of a race course of the racing game currently accepting a BET-input. Symbol S denotes a start point of the race and symbol G denotes a goal point of the race.

The images displayed in the popularity ranking display region 6, a BET state display region 7 and the total popularity ranking display region 8 correspond to the images showing information based upon BETs in the present invention.

When the processing of step S400 shown in FIG. 11 is executed, the image showing the names of the racehorses to run is displayed in the horse name display region 4 of the bet information image 2, and the image showing the odds is displayed in the odds display region 5 of the bet information image 2. Further, the image showing the total popularity ranking is displayed in the total popularity ranking display region 8 of the bet information image 2.

Next, in step S401, the VDP 315 determines whether or not an update flag has been set. When determining that the update flag has not been set, the VDP 315 returns the processing to step S401. On the other hand, when determining that the update flag has been set, the VDP 315 shifts the processing to step S402.

In step S402, the VDP 315 produces respective images showing the number of existing bets and the popularity ranking of each racehorse which are stored in the RAM 42, based on the dot data, the background image data, and the like which are stored in the image ROM 312. The VDP 315 then outputs the produced images to the main monitor 21. By the processing of step S402, the image showing the number of existing bets is displayed in the betting state display region 7 of the bet information image 2, and the image showing the popularity ranking is displayed in the popularity ranking display region 6 of the bet information image 2. It is to be noted that the image showing the numbers of existing bets and the image showing the popularity ranking correspond to the image showing information based on bets in the present invention.

Next, in step S403, the VDP 315 clears the update flag. Further, in step S404, the VDP 315 determines whether or not a race end flag has been set. When determining that the race end flag has not been set, the VDP 315 returns the processing to step S401. On the other hand, when determining that the race end flag has been set, the VDP 315 completes the present subroutine.

FIG. 13 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of racing game execution processing performed in the main game portion.

First, in step S500, the CPU 41 determines an order of finish of each racehorse in the racing game, based on random numbers generated by the random number generator 35.

In step S501, the CPU 41 sets an effect pattern for image display, based on the order of finish of each racehorse determined in the processing of step S500. Under control of the CPU 41, the VDP 315 produces an effect image of each racehorse from the start to the finish based on the background image data, the image data of the racehorses, and the like which are stored in the image ROM 312.

In step S502, the CPU 41 controls the VDP 315 so as to display the effect image (image showing a race process) produced in the processing of step S501, to the main monitor 21.

Next, in step S503, the CPU 41 determines whether or not all the racehorses running in the racing game have crossed the finish line. When determining that all the racehorses have not crossed the finish line, the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S502. On the other hand, when determining that all the racehorses have crossed the finish line, the CPU 41 shifts the processing to step S504.

In step S504, the CPU 41 sets the race end flag. It should be noted that the race end flag is a flag to be set at the end of the race and cleared when racehorses to run in a next race are determined. After the processing of step S504, the present subroutine is completed.

FIG. 14 is a flowchart showing a subroutine of bonus game processing performed in the station.

First, the CPU 131 determines a racehorse to run in the bonus game (step S600).

Next, the CPU 131 determines a ranking of finish of each racehorse (step S601).

Next, the CPU 131 determines a racehorse of the player based upon bonus game information received from the CPU 41 provided in the main game portion 11 (step S602). The racehorse of the player is determined based upon information regarding the ranking of finish of the racehorse included in the received bonus information. For example, when the received bonus information includes information that the ranking of finish of the racehorse is the first, the CPU 131 determines the racehorse which has been determined to finish first in step S601, as the racehorse of the player.

Next, the CPU 131 determines the ranking for JP based upon the received bonus information (step S603). For example, when the received bonus game information includes information that the ranking is Mini, the CPU 131 sets the ranking to Mini.

Next, the CPU 131 sets an effect pattern based upon the ranking of finish of each racehorse determined in step S601, the ranking for JP determined in step S603, and the like (step S604). Specifically, the CPU sets an effect pattern for making the racehorses run so that the racehorses finish in the order determined in step S601. Further, the CPU sets the effect pattern data in a manner that the image showing the ranking determined in step S604 is displayed at a position the closest to the pall image 173 than any other images showing the rankings.

Next, the CPU 131 extracts images showing the respective rankings in prescribed order and arranges the images in prescribed order based upon the effect pattern set in step S604 (step S605).

Next, the CPU 131 successively extracts images showing the racehorses running based upon the effect pattern set in step S604 (step S606).

Next, the CPU 131 outputs the images extracted in step S605 to the sub-monitor 113. Thereby, the respective ranking images 172 for “Mini”, “Major” and “Grand” are displayed to the sub-monitor 113 in stripe shape, and these ranking images 172 displayed in the strip shape are scroll-displayed.

Further, the image showing the racehorses running is displayed to the sub-monitor 113 (step S607).

The CPU 131 repeats the processing of steps S605 to S607 before the first racehorse finishes (step S608: NO), and extracts an image showing the ranking determined in step S603 (step S609) at the timing when the first racehorse finishes (step S608: YES).

Next, the CPU 131 extracts an image showing finishing of the first racehorse (step S610). Next, the CPU 131 outputs the image extracted in step S610 to the sub-monitor 113. Thereby, the ranking image 172 showing the ranking determined in step S603 (the ranking image 172a showing “Mini” in FIG. 1) is displayed at a position closer to the pole image 173 than the other images showing the rankings, and the image showing finishing of the first racehorse is simultaneously displayed (step S611). After executing the processing of step S611, the CPU 131 terminates the present subroutine.

As mentioned above, according to the horse racing game apparatus 1 and the game controlling method of a horse racing game, when a bonus game has been decided to be executed, the bonus game is executed. Moreover, when one ranking for payout is determined out of three rankings for payout (Mini, Major, Grand), and also the racehorse allocated to the player finishes first in the bonus game, a payout based on the determined ranking is offered. Therefore the player can obtain the payout based on the determined ranking when the bonus game has been determined to be executed and the racehorse allocated to the player finishes first in the bonus game.

As thus described, according to the horse racing game apparatus 1 and the game controlling method of a horse racing game, when a BET on ranking of finish of a racehorse is accepted from the player and the prediction of the player proves correct, it becomes possible to provide the player with a new game that is different from a normal racing game in which a payout is offered in accordance with a BET. With this new game provided, it is possible to prevent the player from getting bored and to make the player fully enjoy the game.

Further, since the ranking for payout to be offered is determined out of the plurality of rankings, even when the special racing game results in the prescribed result, the ranking for payout to be offered is not the same all the time. It is therefore possible to enhance the expectation of the player for the ranking for payout to be offered.

Further, after the strip-shaped image where images showing the respective rankings are arranged in a prescribed order is scroll-displayed to the sub-monitor 113 in accordance with the progress of the bonus game, the image showing the determined ranking is displayed at a position the closest to the poll image 173 than any other images showing the ranking. Therefore, with concurrent execution of a visual effect, it is possible to allow the player to easily recognize which ranking of the payout is offered.

Moreover, the player can be aware that the racehorse allocated to the player finished first and that a payout will be offered, and can also be aware of the ranking for the payout. Consequently, when an image showing a ranking for a large amount of payout is displayed, the player can feel pleasure at the large amount of payout in addition to the pleasure of being offered a payout, and thus feel a large upsurge of sentiment. Further, when an image showing a ranking for a small amount of payout is displayed, the player feels the pleasure of being offered a payout, and triggered by this pleasure, the player can have an expectation for obtaining a larger amount of payout next time.

In the present embodiment, the case has been described where the bonus game is executed when the bonus game is determined to be executed. However, the prescribed condition in the present invention is not limited to the determination to execute the bonus game. For example, the prescribed condition may be that a total number of BETs placed on the last racing game has exceeded a prescribed number, or that a payout of game media in number not smaller than a prescribed number has been offered in the last game, or that prescribed time has come.

In the present embodiment, the case has been described where a JP is offered when the racehorse allocated to the player finishes first. However, the prescribed result in the present invention is not limited to the first finishing of the racehorse allocated to the player. The prescribed result may be that a previously set racehorse finishes first, or that the racehorse allocated to the player or the previously set racehorse finishes first with a lead of not smaller than a prescribed distance (e.g. a distance corresponding to 10 horse bodies) over the other racehorses.

In the present embodiment, the case has been described where, after each ranking image 172 is sequentially arranged in stripe shape and scroll-displayed, the ranking image 172 showing the determined ranking is displayed at a position closer to the pole image 173 than any other ranking images 172. However, the prescribed mode (mode for displaying the image showing the ranking) in the present invention is not limited to this example. For example, the images showing the respective rankings may be previously stop-displayed, and an image for pointing any of the images showing the rankings (e.g. an image of a bar) may be scroll-displayed and then stop-displayed in a mode of pointing the image showing the determined ranking. Further, the images showing the respective rankings may be displayed on a mechanical reel, and this reel may be rotated and then stopped so as to display the image showing the determined ranking. Moreover, the images showing the respective rankings may be displayed on an image patterned after a reel, and this image may be scroll-displayed and stopped so as to display the image showing the determined ranking.

In the present embodiment, the case has been described where the progressive jackpot is the payout based upon the ranking in the present invention. However, the payout based upon the ranking in the present invention is not limited to this embodiment. The payout may be game media in amount previously set in accordance with the ranking, e.g. 1000 coins in the case of Mini, 10000 coins in the case of Major, and 100000 coins in the case of Grand.

In the present embodiment, the case has been described where racehorses to run are determined based on random numbers generated by the random number generator 35. However, in the present invention, racehorses may be made to run in sequential order. For example, racehorses may be made to run in a racing game in order of racehorse ID. Further, racehorses may be divided into groups each consisting of a prescribed number of (e.g. 6) racehorses, and made to run in the unit of groups in order of group.

In the present embodiment, the case has been described where one racecourse is stored in the ROM 43. However, in the present invention, a plurality of racecourses may be stored in the ROM; for example, a dirt course, a turf course, a clockwise course, a counter-clockwise course, courses having different race distances, and the like may be stored in the ROM.

Specifically, the CPU 41 selects one racecourse out of a plurality of racecourses stored in the ROM 43 based on a random number generated by the random number generator 35, and takes the selected racecourse as a course of the race this time around. Further, the CPU 41 transmits to each station 101 the selected racecourse as race information, along with racehorses to run and odds thereof which have been determined in the processing of steps S100 and S101.

In the present embodiment, the case of applying the present invention to the horse racing game apparatus 1 has been described, but in the present invention, a bike racing game apparatus, a boat racing game apparatus, a dog racing game apparatus, a car racing game apparatus, a motorcycle racing game apparatus, or the like may be adopted. In the case of forming such a configuration, bikes, motorboats, dogs, cars, or motorcycles correspond to the race objects in the present invention.

Although the embodiment of the present invention has been described above, it just presents a specific example, and does not particularly limit the present invention. A specific configuration of each unit or the like can be appropriately changed in terms of design. Further, the description of the effects made in the embodiment of the present invention are only recitation of the most preferable effects that arise from the present invention, and the effects according to the present invention are not limited to those described in the embodiment of the present invention.