Title:
SLOT MACHINE PROVIDING PAYOUT WHICH INCREASES PLAYER'S EXPECTATION AND PLAYING METHOD THEREOF
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
When three or more symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged, the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged stop scrolling. Then, when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same, a bonus payout is awarded according to the total of the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181.



Inventors:
Yoshizawa, Kazumasa (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/179733
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
07/25/2008
Assignee:
Aruze Corp. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOSSER, ROBERT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHEPPARD, MULLIN, RICHTER & HAMPTON LLP (Costa Mesa, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A slot machine comprising: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including one or more symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of symbols; a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of: (a1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (a2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged; (a3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (a1), causing the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling; (a4) awarding a special payout according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

2. A slot machine comprising: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including one or more symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values; a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of: (b1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (b2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged; (b3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (b1), causing the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling; (b4) awarding a special payout according to a numerical value presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

3. A slot machine comprising: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values; a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of: (c1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (c2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged; (c3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (c1), causing the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling; (c4) when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same, awarding a special payout according to the numerical values presented.

4. A slot machine comprising: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values; a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of: (d1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (d2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged; (d3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (d1), causing the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling; (d4) awarding a special payout according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

5. A slot machine comprising: a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values; a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of: (e1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (e2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged; (e3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (e1), causing the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling; (e4) when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same, awarding a special payout according to a total of the numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

6. A playing method of a slot machine including a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, the display being structured to arrange in the arrangement areas plural kinds of scatter symbols including one or more symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of symbols, the method comprising the steps of: (f1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas; (f2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged; (f3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (f1), causing the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling; (f4) awarding a special payout according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims priority from a U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/045,535, which was filed on Apr. 16, 2008, the disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a slot machine providing a payout which increases player's expectation and playing method thereof.

2. Description of Related Art

Conventionally, in facilities having slot machines or the like placed therein, a variety of game media such as coins or cash are inserted into a slot machine to play a game.

Each slot machine is structured to award a payout according to a winning state resulting from a game played (result of a game).

In such a slot machine, as is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,604,999, or U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0065124, a predetermined number of game media are paid out when symbols stopped on a winning line correspond to a predetermined combination. Further, irrespective of a winning line, a predetermined payout is paid out according to the number of symbols which are called scatter symbols displayed on a display.

However, due to such a payout according to the symbol combination and the number of scatter symbols, payouts are all paid out in a similar manner. This has limited the player's expectation.

An object of the present invention is to provide a slot machine having an entertainment characteristic unobtainable from a conventional art, and a playing method thereof.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a slot machine which increases player's expectation for a payout, and a playing method thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A slot machine of the present invention includes:

a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including one or more symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of symbols;

a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of:

(a1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;

(a2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged;

(a3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (a1), causing the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling;

(a4) awarding a special payout according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

In the above structure, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged, the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged stop scrolling, and a special payout is awarded according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells. This variation of special payout according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

A slot machine of the present invention includes:

a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including one or more symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values;

a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of:

(b1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;

(b2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged;

(b3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (b1), causing the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling;

(b4) awarding a special payout according to a numerical value presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

In the above structure, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged, the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged stop scrolling, and a special payout is awarded according to a numerical value presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells. This variation of special payout according to a numerical value presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player. Further, a player is able to recognize the amount of the special payout simply by viewing the numerical value presented. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

A slot machine of the present invention includes:

a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values;

a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of:

(c1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;

(c2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged;

(c3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (c1), causing the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling;

(c4) when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same, awarding a special payout according to the numerical values presented.

In the above structure, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged, the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged stop scrolling. When the numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells are the same, a special payout is awarded according to the numerical value presented by the symbol-scrolling cells. As described, a special payout is varied according to a numerical value presented by the symbol-scrolling cells diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player, and the special payout is awarded only when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same. This diversifies the form of awarding a payout. Further, a player is able to recognize the amount of the special payout simply by viewing the numerical value presented. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

A slot machine of the present invention includes:

a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values;

a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of:

(d1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;

(d2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged;

(d3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (d1), causing the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling;

(d4) awarding a special payout according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

In the above structure, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged, symbol-scrolling cells rearranged stop scrolling, and a special payout is awarded according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells. This variation of special payout according to a numerical value presented by each of the symbol-scrolling cells diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player. Further, a player is able to recognize the amount of the special payout simply by viewing the numerical value presented. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

A slot machine of the present invention includes:

a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, which is structured to arrange, in the arrangement areas, plural kinds of scatter symbols including symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of numerical values;

a controller which is programmed to execute the steps of:

(e1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;

(e2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged;

(e3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (e1), causing the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling;

(e4) when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same, awarding a special payout according to a total of the numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

In the above structure, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged, the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged stop scrolling. When the numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells are the same, a special payout is awarded according to a total of the numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells. As described, a special payout is varied according to a numerical value presented by the symbol-scrolling cells diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player, and the special payout is awarded only when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same. This diversifies the form of awarding a payout. Further, a player is able to recognize the amount of the special payout simply by viewing the numerical value presented. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

A playing method of the present invention is a playing method of a slot machine including a display having a matrix of arrangement areas, the display being structured to arrange in the arrangement areas plural kinds of scatter symbols including one or more symbol-scrolling cells each scrolling therein plural kinds of symbols,

the method including the steps of:

(f1) rearranging scatter symbols in the arrangement areas;

(f2) giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols rearranged;

(f3) when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged as a result of (f1), causing the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged to stop scrolling;

(f4) awarding a special payout according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged.

In the above structure, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells are rearranged, the one or more symbol-scrolling cells rearranged stop scrolling, and a special payout is awarded according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells. This variation of special payout according to a symbol presented by each of the one or more symbol-scrolling cells diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

According to the above-described structures, provided is a slot machine having an entertainment characteristic unobtainable from a conventional art, and a playing method thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an explanatory view showing a playing method of a slot machine.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the slot machine.

FIG. 3 is an explanatory view of a display screen.

FIG. 4 is a table showing symbols and code numbers of the symbols.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing an external appearance of the slot machine.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram showing a control board of the slot machine.

FIG. 7 is a flow chart of a boot process.

FIG. 8 is a flow chart of a game execution process.

FIG. 9 is a flow chart of a bonus game process.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following describes an embodiment of a slot machine and playing method thereof according to the present invention.

As illustrated in FIG. 1, a slot machine 1 is structured to execute a playing method including the steps of: rearranging scatter symbols 180, including one or more symbol-scrolling cells 181 scrolling therein various numerical values, in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155 on a display; awarding a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of the rearrangement of the scatter symbols 180, causing the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged to stop scrolling; and when the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged all present the same numerical value, awarding a special payout according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged.

Here, each of the “symbol-scrolling cells” is a kind of scatter symbol 180 which is scrolled with other scatter symbols 180, and differs from the other scatter symbols 180 in that each symbol-scrolling cell scrolls therein various numerical values, while the other scatter symbols 180 scrolled with the symbol-scrolling cell displays a single cell. The numerical values scrolled in the symbol-scrolling cell 181 may be: “$50”, “$100”, “$300”, or the like. Note that the symbol-scrolling cell 181 may scroll various symbols such as “A”.

Further, the “special payout” is a bonus payout. When the scatter symbols 180 are rearranged and a predetermined number (three or more in this embodiment) of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged, each of symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged stops scrolling, presenting a numerical value. When all the symbol-scrolling cells 181 present the same numerical value, a payout is awarded according to a total of the numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181. Note that the “predetermine number” of symbol-scrolling cells 181 by which awarding of a bonus payout is triggered is not limited to three or more.

[Display 101]

As shown in FIG. 2, the slot machine which executes the above-described playing method has a display 101, and a controller 100. The display 101 has the matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155. These arrangement areas 151 to 155 are for arranging therein scatter symbols 180 including a scroll symbols 181.

Here, “arranged” means a state where scatter symbols 180 are visually identifiable by a player. In other words, it represents a state where scatter symbols 180 are displayed in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, as shown in FIG. 3. Meanwhile, “to rearrange” means to arrange scatter symbols 180 again after releasing them.

The display 101 may be mechanically structured with a reel device which arranges scatter symbols utilizing the rotation of a reel. Alternatively, the display 101 may have an electrical structure in which scatter symbols are arranged in a video reel displayed as an image. Further, the display 101 may have a structure of a combination of the mechanical structure (reels) and the electrical structure (video reels). The electrical structure may include a liquid crystal display device, a CRT (cathode-ray tube) device, a plasma display device, or the like. The specific structure of the display 101 will be detailed later.

[Controller 100]

The controller 100 is structured to execute: a first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180, including one or more symbol-scrolling cells 181 scrolling therein various numerical values, in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155 on a display 101; a second process of awarding a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged; a third process of, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of the rearrangement of the scatter symbols 180, causing the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged to stop scrolling; and a fourth process of, when the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged all present the same numerical value, awarding a special payout (bonus payout) according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged. In other words, the controller 100 has a first processing unit, a second processing unit, a third processing unit, and a forth processing unit.

The controller 100 has a symbol memory 108 which stores all the scatter symbols 180, and a display symbol memory 107 which stores scatter symbols to be displayed among the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The display symbol memory 107 can be accessed by a display control unit 114. In response to a control by a game execution unit 110, the display control unit 114 reads out the scatter symbols in the display symbol memory 107, and displays the scatter symbols 180 on the display 101. A specific display state will be detailed later.

The controller 100 has a rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 which determines scatter symbols to be rearranged (hereinafter, rearrangement scatter symbols) every unit game, based on the scatter symbols 180 stored in the symbol memory 108. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106 are stored in a rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols are output to the display symbol memory 107. After that, the rearrangement scatter symbols are displayed on the display 101 through image processing executed in the display control unit 114. That is, the controller 100 executes the first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180, including one or more symbol-scrolling cells 181 scrolling therein various numerical values, in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155 on a display 101.

The controller 100 is connected to a game start unit 109. The game start unit 109 has a function of outputting a game start signal in response to an operation by a player. The controller 100 includes: the game execution unit 110, a combination payout determination unit 111, and a payout giving unit 113. In response to a game start signal from the game start unit 109, the game execution unit 110 executes a unit game in which scatter symbols 180 are rearranged. The combination payout determination unit 111 determines a payout decided according to the number of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged in the unit game. The payout giving unit 113 awards the payout determined by the combination payout determination unit 111. In short, the controller 100 executes the second process of giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged.

Further, the display control unit 114 causes the symbol-scrolling cells 181 to stop scrolling, when a predetermined number (three or more) symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of rearrangement of scatter symbols 180. That is the controller 100 executes the third process of, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of the rearrangement of the scatter symbols 180, causing the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged to stop scrolling.

The controller 100 further includes a bonus payout determining unit 115 and a bonus payout giving unit 116. The bonus payout determining unit 115 determines a bonus payout determined by the numerical values respectively presented in the symbol-scrolling cells 181 when the symbol-scrolling cells 181 stop scrolling. The bonus payout giving unit 116 awards the bonus payout determined by the bonus payout determining unit 115. Specifically, the bonus payout determining unit 115 determines whether the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are the same. If all the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are the same, the total of the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 is determined as a bonus payout. That is the controller 100 executes the fourth process of, when the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged all present the same numerical value, awarding a special payout (bonus payout) according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged.

Each of the blocks of the controller 100 may be realized in the form of hardware or in the form of software if necessary.

[Operation of Controller 100]

The following describes an operation of the controller 100 having the above-described structure. First, rearrangement scatter symbols are determined by the rearrangement symbol determination unit 106. The rearrangement scatter symbols determined are stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the rearrangement symbol memory 105 are stored in the display symbol memory 107. Then, the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107 are prepared to be displayed by the display control unit 114 on the display 101. When the game execution unit 110 executes a unit game, scatter symbols 180 are rearranged by having the display 101 display thereon the rearrangement scatter symbols stored in the display symbol memory 107. Thus, the controller 100 executes the first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180, including one or more symbol-scrolling cells 181 scrolling therein various numerical values, in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155 on a display 101.

Then, the combination payout determination unit 111 and the payout giving unit 113 give a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged. Thus, the controller 100 executes the second process of giving a payout according to the number of each kind of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged.

Further, when scatter symbols 180 rearranged on the display 101 includes a predetermined number (three or more) of symbol-scrolling cells 181, the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged stop scrolling. Thus, the controller 100 executes the third process of, when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of the rearrangement of the scatter symbols 180, causing the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged to stop scrolling.

Further, the when numerical values respectively presented in the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same, the bonus payout determining unit 115 and bonus payout giving unit 116 award a bonus payout according to a total of the numerical values respectively presented in the symbol-scrolling cells 181. Thus, the controller 100 executes the fourth process of, when the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged all present the same numerical value, awarding a special payout (bonus payout) according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged.

As should be understood from the above operation and FIG. 1, the slot machine 1 realizes a playing method including the steps of: rearranging scatter symbols 180, including one or more symbol-scrolling cells 181 scrolling therein various numerical values, in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155 on a display 101; awarding a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged; when a predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of the rearrangement of the scatter symbols 180, causing the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged to stop scrolling; and when the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged all present the same numerical value, awarding a special payout (bonus payout) according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged.

In the playing method, when a predetermined number (three or more) of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged, the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged stop scrolling. When, numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same, a special payout (bonus payout) is awarded according to the total of the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181. As described, a special payout is varied according to a numerical value presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player, and the special payout is awarded only when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same. This diversifies the form of awarding a payout. Further, a player is able to recognize the amount of the special payout simply by viewing the numerical value presented. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

[Display State]

Specifically described hereinafter is an exemplary display state of the display 101 in the slot machine 1 and in the operation process of the playing method thereof. The following description deals with a case where scatter symbols are arranged on the display 101 of a video reel-type, as shown in FIG. 3.

The display 101 has arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 in which scatter symbols 180 are arranged. In the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, symbol columns having more than one scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, respectively. Each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 is divided into an upper row 151a, a middle row 151b, and a lower row 151c. Scatter symbols 180 are stopped (arranged) in the rows 151a, 151b, and 151c of the respective arrangement areas. For example, in FIG. 3, “A” is stopped in the upper row 151a of the arrangement area 151, “Scroll Symbol” is stopped in the middle row 151b of the arrangement area 151, and “0” is stopped in the lower row 151c of the arrangement area 151. Thus, the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 display a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. Note that the symbol matrix is not limited to a matrix of five columns and three rows.

This embodiment deals with a case where a process of paying out a coin or the like is executed when a predetermined number (e.g., four) or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the symbol matrix. However, it is possible to employ such a configuration that, for example, a payline L is provided so as to cross the middle row 151b of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, and when scatter symbols stopped on the payline L correspond to a predetermined combination, a coin is paid out.

Further, as shown in FIG. 3, when a predetermined number (three or more) symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of rearrangement of scatter symbols 180, the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged stop scrolling. Then, when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same, a bonus payout is awarded according to a total of the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged. In the case of FIG. 3, the three symbol-scrolling cells 181 each presents “$50”. Therefore, a bonus payout of “$150” is awarded. However, no bonus payout is awarded if the predetermined number of symbol-scrolling cells 181 include even a single symbol-scrolling cell 181 presenting a different numerical value.

Note, however, that the present invention may be adapted so that, a bonus payout is awarded according to the total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged, even if the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are not the same. Alternatively, the present invention may be adapted so that, when the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same (e.g. $50), a bonus payout is awarded according to the numerical values ($50) presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181. Further, the present invention may be adapted so that a bonus payout is awarded according to the greatest numerical value among those presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181.

[Scatter Symbols]

As shown in FIG. 4, scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 of the display 101 constitute symbol columns, each symbol column having twenty-two scatter symbols. Each symbol of each symbol column has a code number, any one of numbers from 0 to 21. Each symbol column includes a combination of: six kinds of animal symbols “FROG”, “HAWK”, “DEER”, “PARROT”, “LION”, and “HIPPOPOTAMUS” and scroll symbols; alphabet symbols “A”, “J”, “Q”, “L”; and scroll symbols 181 “$$$”.

Successive three scatter symbols of each symbol column are displayed (arranged) respectively in the upper row 151a, the middle row 151b, and the lower row 151c of each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, thereby constituting a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. When a later-mentioned bet button and a spin button are sequentially pressed in this order to start a game, scatter symbols constituting a symbol matrix start to scroll. After the symbols are scrolled for a predetermined period of time, the scrolling of symbols stops (symbols are rearranged).

When a predetermined number or more scatter symbols of a same kind are displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a player gets an advantage. To get an advantage means that coins are paid out according to scatter symbols displayed, the value of coins to be paid out is added to a credit value, a bonus game is started, or the like.

Specifically, when four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, twenty coins (game media) are paid out for one bet. When a predetermined number (three or more) of scroll symbols 181 are rearranged, a bonus game is triggered, thus stopping the scrolling of the scroll symbols 181. a transition of gaming state from a basic game to a bonus game. Further, when symbols of all six kinds of animals are rearranged, a bonus game is triggered. This causes a transition of the gaming state from the basic game to the bonus game.

Here, a bonus game is a gaming state which provides a larger advantage than a basic game. In this embodiment, the bonus game is a free game. The free game is a game which allows a player to play a unit game a predetermined number of times (in this embodiment, five times) without betting a coin. Note that another bonus game may be employed in combination, provided that the other bonus game is advantageous to a player, i.e., the other bonus game is more advantageous than a basic game. For example, that other bonus game which may be employed is a game providing: a state where a larger amount of game media can be obtained than in a basic game; a state where game media can be obtained more likely than in a basic game; or a state where a smaller amount of game media are consumed than in a basic game.

[Mechanical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]

Next, the following describes a specific example of mechanical and electrical structures of the slot machine 1 thus structured.

As shown in FIG. 5, the slot machine 1 is an upright slot machine and has a cabinet 3 for housing electrical or mechanical components for executing a predetermined game mode. As a display unit 4 for displaying game information in response to a player's game operation, there may be provided an upper variable display unit 4A, a middle variable display unit 4B, and a lower variable display unit 4C. The display units 4A to 4C are attached to the front face of the cabinet 3 having a longer length in the vertical direction.

The upper variable display unit 4A has a transparent upper liquid crystal panel 5A fixed to a front door of the cabinet 3. The upper liquid crystal panel 5A displays thereon an image showing, for example, an effect image, an introduction of a game, or rules of the game.

The middle variable display unit 4B is a display panel for rotating symbols, which is to be constantly viewed by a player. The middle variable display unit 4B has a transparent center liquid crystal panel 5B (display 101) fixed to the front door of the cabinet 3. On the center liquid crystal panel 5B, five arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are displayed. Further, on the center liquid crystal panel 5B, an effect of moving images is executed at a time of winning or the like. Further, in an upper portion of the center liquid crystal panel 5B, a payout number indicator 8 and a credit number indicator 9 are d splayed.

The lower variable display unit 4C has a lower liquid crystal panel 5C which displays the number of points stored in a card or the number of points of a game. Such a number is displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C based on a result displayed on the middle variable display unit 4B. When a winning combination is achieved in the middle variable display unit 4B, the number of points of the game displayed on the lower liquid crystal panel 5C is increased according to the type of the winning achieved. On the left of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a ticket printer 14 is provided. On the right of the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, a card reader 15 is provided. Note that winning means an occasion where four or more scatter symbols of a same kind are rearranged, awarding various payouts according to the result.

Below the lower variable display unit 4C is disposed an operation table 10 which protrudes forward from the front face of the cabinet 3. On the operation table 10, there are arranged operation buttons 11 (e.g., a spin button 73, change button 74, cash-out button 75, 1-bet button 76, maximum bet button 77, or the like) serving as a control panel which enables a player to execute a game-related operation. In addition, the operation table 10 is provided with a coin insertion slot 12 and a bill insertion slot 13.

Below the operation table 10, a waist-high panel 17 is disposed. The waist-high panel 17 is a plastic panel having a game-related image printed thereon. This waist-high panel 17 is fixed to a lower front door 18 and illuminated by a cold cathode tube. Further, below the waist-high panel 17 is disposed a coin receiving tray 19 for storing a coin paid out based on a game result.

Further, lamps 30 are disposed on the cabinet 3 of the slot machine 1 so as to surround game areas including the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B, the lower variable display unit 4C, and the operation table 10. The lamps 30 include side lamps 22, speaker lamps 24, under lamps 25, and top lamps 26. The side lamps 22 are provided on inclined parts 21 provided at the front right and front left of the cabinet 3, each of which parts protruding in a bow shape so as to extend over the upper variable display unit 4A, the middle variable display unit 4B and the lower variable display unit 4C. The speaker lamps 24 are provided on arc-shaped speakers 23 which protrudes sideways at the right and a left ends of the cabinet 3 adjacent to the operation table 10. The speaker lamps 24 are arranged along edges of the speakers 23. The under lamps 25 are provided on the lower front door 18 and arranged along a lower edge of the waist-high panel 17. The top lamps 26 are provided above the upper variable display unit 4A. The top lamps include power lamps 26a disposed at both sides respectively and band-type lamps 26b arranged in a horizontal direction between the power lamps.

[Electrical Structure of the Slot Machine 1]

Inside the cabinet 3 is provided a control unit including the controller 100 of FIG. 2. As shown in FIG. 6, the control unit includes components such as a motherboard 40, a main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60, a gaming board 50, a sub CPU 61, a door PCB 80, various switches, and a sensor.

The gaming board 50 is provided with a CPU (Central Processing Unit) 51, a ROM 55 and a boot ROM 52, a card slot 53S for a memory card 53, and an IC socket 54S for a GAL (Generic Array Logic) 54, which are connected to one another through an internal bus.

The memory card 53 stores therein a game program and a game system program. The game program contains a program to determine symbols to be stopped (hereinafter “stop symbol determination program”). The stop symbol determination program is a program for determining a symbol matrix of five columns and three rows. This stop symbol determination program contains sets of symbol weighting data respectively correspond to several kinds of payout rates (e.g., 80%, 84%, and 88%). Each set of symbol weighting data indicates, for each of the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155, a relation between a code number of each symbol and at least one random number values. The random number value is a value within a predetermined range of 0 to 256 for example.

A payout rate is set based on payout rate setting data output from the GAL 54. Rearrangement symbols are determined based on a set of symbol weighting data corresponding to the payout rate set.

The memory card 53 stores therein various types of data for use in the game program and game system program. Specifically, the memory card 53 stores, in the form of table, data indicating relations between scatter symbols 180 displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 of FIG. 3 and a range of random number values. This data is transferred to a RAM 43 of the motherboard 40, at a time of execution of the game program.

The card slot 53S is structured so that the memory card 53 is inserted/removed thereto/therefrom. This card slot 53S is connected to the motherboard 40 via an IDE bus. Thus, the type and content of a game run by the slot machine 1 can be modified by removing the memory card 53 from the card slot 53S, writing a different game program and game system program into the memory card 53, and inserting the memory card 53 back to the card slot 53S.

The game program includes a program related to the progress of a game and/or a program for causing a transition to a bonus game. Also, the game program includes image data and audio data output during a game.

The GAL 54 has input ports and output ports. Upon the input of data to an input port, the GAL 54 outputs data corresponding to the input data from an output port. This data output from the output port is the before-mentioned payout rate setting data.

The IC socket 54S is structured so that the GAL 54 is attached/detached thereto/therefrom. The IC socket 54S is connected to the motherboard 40 via a PCI bus. Thus, the payout rate setting data to be output from the GAL 54 can be modified by detaching GAL 54 from the IC socket 54S, overwriting a program stored in the GAL 45, and attaching the GAL45 back to the IC socket 54S.

The CPU 51, the ROM 55, and the boot ROM 52, which are connected to one another via the internal bus, are connected to the motherboard 40 via the PCI bus. The PCI bus communicates a signal between the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50, and supplies power from the motherboard 40 to the gaming board 50. The ROM 55 stores therein country identification information and an authentication program. The boot ROM 52 stores therein a preliminary authentication program, a program (boot code) for enabling the CPU 51 to run the preliminary authentication program, or the like.

The authentication program is a program (falsification check program) for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The authentication program is a program for confirming and verifying that the game program and the game system program are not falsified. In other words, the authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for authenticating the game program and the game system program. The preliminary authentication program is a program for authenticating the authentication program. The preliminary authentication program is described in accordance with a procedure for verifying that the authentication program to be authenticated is not falsified. In short, the preliminary authentication program authenticates the authentication program.

The motherboard 40 is provided with a main CPU 41 (controller), a ROM (Read Only Memory) 42, the RAM (Random Access Memory) 43, and a communications interface 44.

The main CPU 41 serves as a controller that controls the overall slot machine 1. Specifically, the main CPU 41 executes the controls of: outputting a command signal, upon pressing the spin button 73 after a bet of credit, to the sub CPU 61 so as to scroll scatter symbols on the center liquid crystal panel 5B; determining symbols to be stopped after the scrolling of symbols; and stopping the determined symbols in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.

That is, the main CPU 41 functions as an arrangement controller to execute an arrangement control by which, among various kinds of scatter symbols, symbols to be arranged in a symbol matrix are selected and determined, and then scrolling of the symbols is stopped so that the determined symbol matrix appears. With this function, scatter symbols displayed while being scrolled on the center liquid crystal panel 5B are rearranged in a new symbol matrix.

The main CPU 41 has functions of the controller 100 which execute: a first process of rearranging scatter symbols 180, including one or more symbol-scrolling cells 181 scrolling therein various numerical values, in a matrix of arrangement areas 151 to 155 on a display 101 (center liquid crystal panel 5B); a second process of awarding a payout according to the number of the scatter symbols 180 rearranged; a third process of, when a predetermined number (three or more) of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged as a result of the rearrangement of the scatter symbols 180, causing the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged to stop scrolling; and a fourth process of, when the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged all present the same numerical value, awarding a special payout (bonus payout) according to a total of numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 rearranged.

The ROM 42 stores a program such as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) run by the main CPU 41, and data that is permanently used. When the BIOS is run by the main CPU 41, each of peripheral devices is initialized and the game program and the game system program stored in the memory card 53 are read out through the gaming board 50.

The RAM 43 stores data or a program used for the main CPU 41 to execute a process. For example, RAM 43 has the symbol storage unit 108 of FIG. 2, the display storage unit 107, and the rearrangement symbol storage unit 105, in the form of data area. In the data area of the symbol storage unit 108 are stored the scatter symbols 180 in the form of data table shown in FIG. 4. In the data area of the rearrangement symbol storage unit 105 are stored symbols to be rearranged. In the data area of the display symbol storage unit 107 is stored a symbol matrix.

The communications interface 44 communicates via a communication line with a host computer or the like provided in a game arcade. The motherboard 40 is connected to the main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 and the door PCB 80 through USBs (Universal Serial Buses). Further, the motherboard 40 is connected to a power unit 45. The power unit 45 supplies power to the motherboard 40 to boot the main CPU 41 thereof. Meanwhile, the power unit 45 supplies power to the gaming board 50 through the PCI bus to boot the CPU 51.

The main body PCB 60 and the door PCB 80 are connected to: a device or apparatus which generates an input signal to be input to the main CPU 41; and a device or apparatus controlled by a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 runs the game program and the game system program stored in the RAM 43 based on the input signal input to the main CPU 41, to carry out an arithmetic process, thereby storing a result thereof in the RAM 43 or transmitting a control signal to each device or apparatus to control them.

The main body PCB 60 is connected to the lamps 30 (to be more specific, the side lamps 22, the speaker lamps 24, the under lamps 25, and the top lamps 26), the sub CPU 61, a hopper 66, a coin detecting unit 67, a graphic board 68, the speakers 23, a bill validator 62, the ticket printer 14, the card reader 15, and a key switch 38S.

The lamps 30 are turned on/off based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The sub CPU 61 controls an operation of scrolling symbols in the arrangement areas 151 to 155, and is connected to a later-mentioned VDP (Video Display Processor). The VDP reads out image data of symbols stored in an image data ROM (not shown), and then generates an image of scrolling symbols to be displayed in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 to output the image to the center liquid crystal panel 5B.

The hopper 66 is provided in the cabinet 3, and pays out a predetermined number of coins from a coin payout opening to the coin receiving tray 19 based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The coin detecting unit 67 is provided inside the coin payout opening, and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting that a predetermined number of coins are paid out from the coin payout opening.

The graphic board 68 controls image displaying of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A, the center liquid crystal panel 5B, and the lower liquid crystal panel 5C, based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The graphic board 68 is provided with a VDP which generates image data based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, a video RAM which temporarily stores image data generated by the VDP, and the like.

The bill validator 62 reads an image on a bill inserted to the bill insertion slot 13 and accepts a genuine bill into the cabinet 3. When accepting a genuine bill, the bill validator 62 outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 corresponding to the amount of the bill. The main CPU 41 stores in the RAM 43 the number of credits corresponding to the amount of the bill transmitted by the input signal.

Based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41, the ticket printer 14 prints a bar code on a ticket, and then outputs the ticket with a bar code. Data such as the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, time and date, identification number of a slot machine 1, or the like is encoded to the bar code.

The card reader 15 reads data from a smart card to transmit them to the main CPU 41, or write data to a smart card based on a control signal from the main CPU 41. The key switch 38S is mounted on a keypad (not shown), and outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 in response to an operation of the keypad by a player.

The door PCB 80 is connected to a control panel 70, a reverter 71S, a coin counter 71C, and a cold cathode tube 81. The control panel 70 is provided with: a spin switch 73S corresponding to the spin button 73, a change switch 74S corresponding to the change button 74, a cash-out switch 75S corresponding to the cash-out button 75, a 1-bet switch 76S corresponding to the 1-bet button 76, and a maximum bet switch 77S corresponding to the maximum-bet button 77. The switches 73S to 77S output input signals to the main CPU 41 upon operations of the corresponding buttons 73 to 77 by a player, respectively.

The coin counter 71C is provided inside the coin insertion slot 12, and validates whether a coin inserted by a player into the coin insertion slot 12 is genuine. Anything other than a genuine coin is discharged to the coin receiving tray 19. The coin counter 71C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 when detecting a genuine coin.

The reverter 71S is operated based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. The reverter 71S distributes a coin that is recognized as genuine by the coin counter 71C to a cash box (not shown) or the hopper 66 mounted in the slot machine 1. In other words, when the hopper 66 is filled with coins, the reverter 71S distributes a genuine coin to the cash box. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not filled with coins, a genuine coin is distributed to the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 functions as a backlight mounted to the rear sides of the upper liquid crystal panel 5A and the center liquid crystal panel 5B. The cold cathode tube 81 is turned on based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41.

[Process Operation of the Slot Machine 1]

Next, the process operation of the slot machine 1 will be described.

[Boot Process]

First, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a boot process routine shown in FIG. 7. This boot process routine is executed by the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. The memory card 53 is assumed to be inserted into the card slot 53S of the gaming board 50, and the GAL 54 is assumed to be attached to the IC socket 54S.

First, turning on a power switch of (powering on) the power unit 45 boots the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50. Booting the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50 starts separate processes in parallel. That is, in the gaming board 50, the CPU 51 reads out the preliminary authentication program stored in the boot ROM 52, and according to the preliminary authentication program read out, the CPU 51 executes the preliminary authentication to confirm and verify that the authentication program is not falsified, before reading that program in the motherboard 40 (S101).

On the other hand, in the motherboard 40, the main CPU 41 runs the BIOS stored in the ROM 42, to load into the RAM 43 compressed data built in the BIOS (S1). Then, the main CPU 41 runs a procedure of the BIOS according to the data loaded into the RAM 43 so as to diagnose and initialize various peripheral devices (S2).

The main CPU 41, which is connected to the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50 via the PCI bus, reads out the authentication program stored in the ROM 55, and stores it in the RAM 43 (S3). During this step, the main CPU 41 derives a checksum through ADDSUM method (a standard check function) which is adopted in a standard BIOS, and stores the authentication program in the RAM 43 while confirming if the operation of storing is carried out without an error.

Next, the main CPU 41 checks what is connected via the IDE bus. Then, the main CPU 41 accesses via the IDE bus to the memory card 53 inserted into the card slot 53S to read out the game program and the game system program from the memory card 53. In this case, the main CPU 41 reads out four bytes of data constituting the game program and the game system program at one time. Subsequently, according to the authentication program stored in the RAM 43, the main CPU 41 executes an authentication to confirm and verify that the game program and game system program read out are not falsified (S4). When this authentication process is properly finished, the main CPU 41 writes and store in the RAM 43 the game program and game system program which were the subjects of the authentication (authenticated) (S5).

Then, the main CPU 41 accesses, via the PCI bus, the GAL 54 attached to the IC socket 54S, and reads out the payout rate setting data from the GAL 54, which data is written to and stored in the RAM 43 (S6). Next, the main CPU 41 reads out, via the PCI bus, the country identification information stored in the ROM 55 of the gaming board 50. The country identification information read out is stored in the RAM 43 (S7).

Then, the main CPU 41 determines if the writing to the RAM 43 is normally executed (S8). When it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is normally executed (S8, YES), the sensor is checked (S9) Then, it is determined if the sensor is normal (S10). When it is determined that the sensor is normal (S10, YES), the operation of a drive mechanism is checked (S11). Then, it is determined if the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12). When it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is normal (S12, YES), the operation of illuminations (the lamps 30 or the like) is checked (S13). Then, it is determined if the operation of illuminations is normal (S14). When it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is normal (S14, YES), a boot signal is output (S15), the game program and game system program are read out from the RAM 43 (S16), a basic game process is executed (S17), and this routine ends.

In the cases where: it is determined that the writing to the RAM 43 is not normally executed in the step S8 (S8, NO); it is determined that the sensor is not normal in the step S10 (S10, NO); it is determined that the operation of the drive mechanism is not normal in the step S12 (S12, NO); and it is determined that the operation of the illuminations is not normal in the step S14 (S14, NO); an abnormal signal is output (S18) and an abnormal status is notified (S19) to end this routine.

[Game Execution Process]

After the boot process routine shown in FIG. 7, the main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a game execution process routine shown in FIG. 8. In the game execution process routine, first, the main CPU 41 determines if a coin is bet (A1). In this process, determined is if an input signal is received in response to pressing of the 1-bet button 76 or the maximum bet button 77. When it is determined that a coin is not bet (A1, NO), the step A1 is executed again to enter a standby mode until a coin is bet.

On the other hand, when it is determined that a coin is bet (A1, YES), the number of credits corresponding to the number of coins bet is subtracted from the number of credits stored in the RAM 43 (A2). When the number of coins bet is larger than the number of credits stored in the RAM 43, the process of subtracting the number of credits is not executed, and the step A1 is executed again.

Then, it is determined if the spin button 73 is pressed (set to ON) (A3). When it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (A3, NO), the process returns to the step A1. When the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON) (for example, when an instruction to finish the game is input while the spin button 73 is not pressed (not set to ON)), the result of subtraction in the step A2 is canceled.

On the other hand, when it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (A3, YES), the symbol determining process is executed (A4). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 33 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.

Then, scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are scrolled (A9). After the scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, the symbol matrix determined in the step A4 is stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.

Then, it is determined if a combination is established, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (A6). When it is determined that a combination is established (A6, YES), a payout award process is executed (A7). That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of a same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits is added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.

In step A6, when it is determined that a combination is not established (A6, NO), or after the A7 is executed, there is determined whether or not a bonus triggering condition is met (A8). When it is determined that the bonus triggering condition is met (A8, YES), the symbol-scrolling cells 181 stop scrolling (A9). Then, there is determined whether or not numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same (A10). In the step A10, when it is determined that the numerical values are all the same (A10, YES), a bonus payout award process is executed (A11). That is, the number of coins according to the total value of the numerical values presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 is calculated. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits is added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out, to the coin receiving tray 19, a predetermined number of coins according to the total value.

In the step A8, when it is determined that the bonus triggering condition is not met (A8, NO), there is determined whether or not a bonus triggering condition is met (A12). This step A12 is also executed when the step A10 of determining whether or not numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same results in “NO”, 6 or after the step A11 is executed. When it is determined that the bonus triggering condition is not met (A12, NO), this routine ends. On the other hand, when it is determined that the bonus triggering condition is met (A12, YES), a bonus game process is executed (A13). The bonus game process is described later. The present routine ends thereafter.

As described, when a predetermined number (three or more) of symbol-scrolling cells 181 are rearranged, the symbol-scrolling cells 181 stops scrolling. When numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 are all the same, a special payout (bonus payout) according to the total of the numerical values presented in the symbol-scrolling cells 181 is awarded. As described, a special payout is varied according to a numerical value presented by the symbol-scrolling cells 181 diversifies the form of awarding a payout to a player, and the special payout is awarded only when numerical values respectively presented by the symbol-scrolling cells rearranged are all the same. This diversifies the form of awarding a payout. Further, a player is able to recognize the amount of the special payout simply by viewing the numerical value presented. Thus, player's expectation for a payout is improved.

(Bonus Game Process)

The main CPU 41 of the slot machine 1 executes a bonus game process routine shown in FIG. 9, when the main CPU 41 determines that the bonus triggering condition is met in A12 of FIG. 8. In the bonus game process routine, the main CPU 41 first sets bonus game count T to “5” (B1). Then, it is determined whether a spin button 73 is pressed (B2). If it is determined that the spin button 73 is not pressed (A6, NO), the process returns to the step B2. On the other hand, if it is determined that the spin button 73 is pressed (B2, YES), a symbol determining process is executed (B3). That is, a stop symbol determination program stored in the RAM 43 is executed to determine a symbol matrix.

Then, scatter symbols 180 in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155 are scrolled (B4). After the scatter symbols 180 are scrolled, the symbol matrix determined in the step B3 is stopped (rearranged) in the arrangement areas 151, 152, 153, 154, and 155.

Then, it is determined if a combination is established, i.e., if four or more scatter symbols 180 of a same kind are rearranged (B5). When it is determined that a combination is established (B5, YES), a payout awarding process is executed (B6). That is, the number of coins to be paid out is calculated according to the number of scatter symbols of a same kind. When a coin to be paid out is reserved, a predetermined number of credits is added to the number of credits stored in the RAM 43. On the other hand, when a coin is paid out, a control signal is transmitted to the hopper 66 to pay out a predetermined number of coins to the coin receiving tray 19.

In step B5, when it is determined that a combination is not established (B5, NO), or after the B6 is executed, the bonus game count T is reduced by “1” (B7), and there is determined whether or not the bonus game count T is “0” (B8). If it is determined that the bonus game T is not “0” (B8, NO), the operation returns to the step B2. On the other hand, if it is determined that the bonus game T is “0” (B8, YES), the present routine ends.

In the detailed description provided above, characteristic parts have mainly been described in order that the present invention can be understood more easily. However, the present invention is not limited to the embodiment shown in the detailed description provided above, and may be applied to other embodiments. The scope of application of the present invention should be construed as broadly as possible. Terms and phraseologies adopted in the present specification are for correctly illustrating the present invention, not for limiting. It would be easy for those skilled in the art to derive, from the spirit of the invention described in the present specification, other structures, systems, methods and the like which are included in the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, it should be considered that claims cover equivalent structures, too, without departing from the technical idea of the present invention. An object of the abstract is to enable an intellectual property office, general public institutions, persons belonging to the art but not familiar with patent, legal terms, or technical terms to quickly understand technical contents and essences of the present invention through a simple research. Therefore, the abstract is not intended to limit the scope of the invention that should be evaluated by the claims. In addition, it is desirable to sufficiently refer to already-disclosed documents and the like, in order to fully understand the objects and effects of the present invention.

The detailed description provided above includes a processing which is executed on a computer or a computer network. The descriptions and expressions provided above are given for the purpose of allowing those skilled in the art to understand the invention most effectively. In the specification, respective steps used to induce one result, or blocks having a predetermined processing function should be understood as a processing having no self-contradiction. In addition, in each step or block, an electrical or magnetic signal is transmitted/received, recorded, and the like. In a processing in each step or block, such a signal is embodied in the form of a bit, a value, a symbol, a character, a term, a number, and the like. However, it should be noted that they have been used simply because they are convenient for explanations. A processing in each step or block has sometimes been described using an expression which is common to a human behavior. However, in principle, the processing described in the specification is executed by various devices. In addition, other structures necessary for each step or block are apparent from the above description.