Title:
Gaming Machine And Playing Method Thereof, Capable Of Running Game Based On Audio Input
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Statement information is presented in accordance to the state of the game at a predetermined timing, voice message input from the outside through a microphone is accepted as vocal data, and a privilege is awarded when a predetermined keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data.



Inventors:
Yoshizawa, Kazumasa (Tokyo, JP)
Application Number:
12/194861
Publication Date:
02/25/2010
Filing Date:
08/20/2008
Assignee:
ARUZE CORP. (Tokyo, JP)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HARPER, TRAMAR
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC / WATCHSTONE LLP (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A gaming machine comprising: a base game that awards a payout in accordance to a predetermined winning; a plurality of sets of statement information presented in accordance to the state of said base game; keywords related to said plurality of sets of statement information; a microphone that allows a voice message to be input from the outside; and a controller that is programmed to control the operations through the following processes (a1) through (a4): (a1) to run said base game and award a payout in accordance to a predetermined winning; (a2) to present said statement information at a predetermined timing; (a3) to accept a voice message input from the outside through said microphone as vocal data; and (a4) to award a privilege when a keyword related to said statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by said vocal data.

2. The gaming machine according to claim 1, wherein said controller is structured so as to be capable of setting the timing of presenting said statement information.

3. A gaming machine comprising: a base game that awards a payout in accordance to a predetermined winning; a plurality of sets of statement information presented in accordance to the state of said base game; keywords related to said plurality of sets of statement information; a plurality of gaming terminals each including a microphone that allows a voice message to be input from the outside and a controller that is programmed to control the operations through the following processes (b1) through (b4): (b1) to run said base game independently from the other gaming terminals and award a payout in accordance to a predetermined winning; (b2) to present said statement information at a predetermined timing; (b3) to accept a voice message input from the outside through said microphone as vocal data; and (b4) to award a privilege when a keyword related to said statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by said vocal data.

4. A gaming machine comprising: a base game that awards a payout in accordance to a predetermined winning; a plurality of sets of statement information presented in accordance to the state of said base game; keywords related to said plurality of sets of statement information; options presented to allow selection one of a plurality of characters; a plurality of gaming terminals each including a terminal display that displays effect images of a plurality of characters, a microphone that allows a voice message to be input from the outside, an input device that accepts input from the outside and a controller that is programmed to control the operations through the following processes (c1) through (c7): (c1) to run said base game independently from the other gaming terminals and award a payout in accordance to a predetermined winning; (c2) to display effect images of said plurality of characters on said terminal display, and present said options; (c3) to determine one from said plurality of characters according to the input made on said input device; (c4) to display the determined character on said terminal display and present said statement information at a predetermined timing; (c5) to accept a voice message input from the outside through said microphone as vocal data; (c6) to accumulatively store predetermined points to an accumulated value stored, when a keyword related to said statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by said vocal data; and (c7) to award a privilege when the accumulated value that is stored has reached a predetermined value.

5. A method for playing a gaming machine comprising: (d1) a step of running a base game that awards payouts according to a predetermined winning and awarding payouts according to the predetermined winning; (d2) a step of presenting statement information in accordance to the state of the game at a predetermined timing; (d3) a step of accepting a voice message input from the outside through the microphone as vocal data; and (d4) a step of awarding a privilege when a predetermined keyword related to said statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by said vocal data.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a gaming machine and playing method thereof, that are capable of running a plurality of types of games based on audio input.

2. Description of Related Art

There are various gaming machines including card game machines, slot machines, dice game machines and roulette machines, and various apparatuses aimed at improving entertainment characteristics of the games have been disclosed. For example, a slot machine disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,604,999B2 Specification, U.S. Patent 20020065124A1 Specification or U.S. Patent 20040053676A1 Specification pays out a predetermined amount of game media when a predetermined combination of symbols appears along a winning line on a display that has stopped. Such a slot machine produces an exciting effect to arouse the expectations for the game media to be paid out. For example, a player's expectation for a jackpot is aroused by modifying the background picture or showing various characters. Such exciting effects to arouse the player's expectations constitute an important element of the entertainment characteristics of a gaming machine.

In addition U.S. Patent Laid-open Application No. 20070094007 Specification, U.S. Patent Laid-open Application No. 20070094008 Specification, U.S. Patent Laid-open Application No. 20070094005 Specification and U.S. Patent Laid-open Application No. 20070094004 Specification disclose a voice control device that is capable of outputting a pre-prepared set of vocal messages or topics organized in a context to players, while responding to player's vocal inputs.

However, there has been nothing new in such audio effects which therefore failed to provide entertainment beyond the players' expectations.

An object of the invention is to provide a gaming machine providing entertainment characteristics which are not brought about by the above mentioned prior art, and a controlling method thereof.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a gaming machine including a base game that awards payouts according to predetermined winning, a plurality of sets of statement information delivered in accordance to the state of the base game, keywords related to the plurality of sets of statement information, microphone that allow it to input voice messages from the outside, and a controller that is programmed to control the operations through the following processes (a1) through (a4); (a1) to run the base game and award payouts according to predetermined winning; (a2) to present the statement information at a predetermined timing; (a3) to receive the voice message from the outside input to the microphone as vocal data; and (a4) when a keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, to award a privilege.

According to the structure described above, the base game is run and payouts are awarded according to the predetermined winning. The statement information is presented at a predetermined timing according to the state of the base game. The voice message that is input from the outside to the microphone is accepted as vocal data. When a predetermined keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, a privilege is awarded.

Accordingly, the gaming machine makes it possible to input a vocal message in response to the statement information that is presented, while running the base game. On condition that a predetermined keyword is included in the vocal message that is input, a privilege is awarded. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

The present invention provides a gaming machine having a structure described below, wherein the controller is structured so as to be capable of setting the timing of presenting the statement information.

The structure described makes it possible to provide flexibility in the method of presenting the statement information from the gaming machine, so as to improve the entertainment characteristics.

The present invention provides a gaming machine including a base game that awards a payout according to predetermined winning, a plurality of sets of statement information presented in accordance to the state of the base game, keywords related to the plurality of sets of statement information, and a plurality of gaming terminals each including a microphone that allows a voice message to be input from the outside, and a controller that is programmed to control the operations through the following processes (b1) through (b4); (b1) to run the base game independently from other gaming terminals and award payouts according to predetermined winning; (b2) to present the statement information at a predetermined timing; (b3) to accept a voice message input from the outside to the microphone as vocal data; and (b4) when a keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, to award a privilege.

According to the structure described above, the base game is run independently from the other gaming terminals and a payout is awarded according to the predetermined winning. The statement information is presented at a predetermined timing in accordance to the state of the base game. The voice message input from the outside to the microphone is received as vocal data. When a keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, a privilege is awarded.

Accordingly, the gaming machine is capable of accepting a voice message that is input in response to the statement information that is presented, while running the base game. On condition that a predetermined keyword is included in the voice message that has been input, a privilege is awarded. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

The present invention provides a gaming machine including a base game that awards a payout according to predetermined winning, a plurality of sets of statement information presented in accordance to the state of the base game, keywords related to the plurality of sets of statement information, options presented so as to allow selection one of a plurality of characters, and a plurality of gaming terminals each including a terminal display that displays effect images of the characters, a microphone that allows a voice message to be input from the outside, an input device that accepts input from the outside, and a controller that is programmed to control the operations through the following processes (c1) through (c7); (c1) to run the base game independently from the other gaming terminals and award a payout according to predetermined winning; (c2) to present the options while displaying effect images for the plurality of characters on the terminal display; (c3) to select one of the plurality of characters according to the input through the input device; (c4) to display the selected character on the terminal display and present the statement information at a predetermined timing; (c5) to accept a voice message input from the outside through the microphone as vocal data; and (c6) when a keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, to accumulatively store predetermined point to an accumulated value; and (c7) to award a privilege when the accumulated points have reached a predetermined value.

According to the structure described above, the base game is run independently from the other gaming terminals and payouts are awarded according to the predetermined winning. The effect images of the plurality of characters are displayed on the terminal display and the options are presented. One of the plurality of characters is selected according to the input made through the input device. The selected character is displayed on the terminal display and the statement information corresponding to the state of the base game is presented at a predetermined timing. The voice message that is input from the outside through the microphone is received as vocal data. When a predetermined keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, predetermined points are accumulatively stored to an accumulated value. When the accumulated points reach a predetermined value, a privilege is awarded.

Accordingly, the gaming machine is capable of accepting a voice message in response to the statement information that is presented together with the character image, while running the base game. On condition that a predetermined keyword is included in the voice message, a privilege is awarded. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

The present invention provides a method for playing the gaming machine including (d1) a step of running the base game that awards payouts according to a predetermined winning and awarding payouts according to the predetermined winning; (d2) a step of presenting statement information that corresponds to the state of the game at a predetermined timing; (d3) a step of accepting a voice message input from the outside through the microphone as vocal data; and (d4) a step of awarding a privilege when a predetermined keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data.

Accordingly, the gaming machine is capable of inputting the voice message in response to the statement information presented, while running the base game. On condition that a predetermined keyword is included in the voice message that has been input, a privilege is awarded. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a gaming machine and a playing method thereof.

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

FIG. 3 is an explanatory diagram showing display states of a terminal display.

FIG. 4 is an explanatory diagram showing display states of a terminal display.

FIG. 5 is an explanatory diagram showing display states of a shared display.

FIG. 6 is a diagram explanatory of a dealer selecting screen of the terminal display.

FIG. 7 is a diagram explanatory showing display states of statement information displayed on the terminal display.

FIG. 8 is a front view illustrating an external appearance of the gaming machine.

FIG. 9 is a top view illustrating an external appearance of a gaming terminal.

FIG. 10 is a block diagram illustrating an electrical structure of the gaming terminal.

FIG. 11 is a block diagram showing an electrical structure of a center control unit.

FIG. 12 is a diagram showing a statement information table.

FIG. 13 is a diagram showing a keyword table.

FIG. 14 is a flow chart showing a boot process executed by the gaming terminal and the center control unit.

FIG. 15 is a flow chart showing an initialization process executed by the gaming terminal and the center control unit.

FIG. 16 is a flow chart showing a center process routine executed in the center control unit.

FIG. 17 is a flow chart showing a gaming terminal process routine executed in the gaming terminal.

FIG. 18 is a flow chart showing a dealer selection process routine executed in the gaming terminal.

FIG. 19 is a flow chart showing a statement information presentation process routine executed in the gaming terminal.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The following describes an embodiment of a gaming machine and a playing method thereof according to the present invention with reference to FIG. 1 through FIG. 19.

The gaming machine 1 executes a playing method that comprises, as shown in FIG. 1, a step of running a base game that awards a payout according to predetermined winning and awarding payouts according to the predetermined winning, a step of presenting statement information that corresponds to the state of the game at a predetermined timing, a step of accepting a voice message input from the outside to the microphone as vocal data, and a step of awarding a privilege when a predetermined keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data.

The “gaming machine 1” herein may be designed either to be played by a single player or to have a plurality of gaming terminals to be played by a plurality of players. Moreover, the gaming machine of the independently-player type and/or the gaming machine of the multiple-player type may be connected in data communication with each other, thus allowing the players on the connected gaming machines to participate in a game.

The “privilege” herein refers to an advantageous state for a player, or an increased possibility to attain the advantageous state. The advantageous state may be the acquisition of credit or other value, a status that gives the player an upper hand in playing the game, or the like.

The gaming machine 1 that executes the playing method described above comprises a center control unit 200 and a plurality of gaming terminals 10 as shown in FIG. 2. The gaming terminal 10 comprises a game start unit 104, a BET unit 109, a microphone 103, an information presenting device 101 and a terminal controller 100.

As shown in FIG. 2, the game start unit 104, the BET unit 109 and the information presenting device 101 are connected to the terminal controller 100. The game start unit 104 has a function of outputting a game start signal, in response to an operation by the player. The game start signal output is then input to a later-detailed terminal-side game running unit 105 of the terminal controller 100.

The BET unit 109 has functions of receiving a BET entered through an operation by the player, and outputting a BET signal. The BET signal output is input to the terminal-side game running unit 105.

The microphone 103 has a function to receive voice message input from the outside and output the vocal data to the terminal controller 100. The vocal data output is input to the terminal-side game running unit 105.

The information presenting device 101 has a function to present statement information that corresponds to the playing state of the base game, in response to a command from the terminal controller 100.

(Terminal Controller 100)

The terminal controller 100 is structured so as to carry out a first process of running the base game and awarding payout in accordance to predetermined winning, a second process of presenting statement information at a predetermined timing, a third process of accepting the voice message input from the outside through the microphone 103 as vocal data, and a fourth process of awarding a privilege when the keyword related to the presented statement information is included in the information represented by the vocal data. In other words, the terminal controller 100 has the first processing unit, the second processing unit, the third processing unit and the fourth processing unit.

As shown in FIG. 2, the terminal controller 100 is connected to the center control unit 200 so as to be capable of communicating with each other. The terminal controller 100 has the terminal-side game running unit 105, a payout determining unit 107 and a payout awarding unit 108.

The terminal-side game running unit 105 is structured so as to send a game start preparation signal to the center control unit 200 in accordance to a BET signal from the BET unit 109, by taking the game start signal from the game start unit 104 as a trigger. The terminal-side game running unit 105 of each of the gaming terminals 10 in the gaming machine 1 to be described later as one embodiment of the present invention is structured to synchronize the unit game in accordance to a command from a center-side game running unit 201 of the center control unit 200, although the present invention is not limited to this structure. The terminal-side game running unit 105 also receives the vocal data from the microphone 103.

The payout determining unit 107 is structured so as to determine whether the outcome of a unit game that has been run upon command of the center control unit 200 represents the predetermined winning or not. The payout determining unit 107 may also determine whether the outcomes of a plurality of unit games represent the predetermined winning or not. The payout awarding unit 108 is structured so as to award payout corresponding to the winning, when the payout determining unit 107 has determined that the outcome of the base game represents the predetermined winning.

That is, the terminal controller 100 is structured so as to run the base game and carry out the first process of awarding the payout in accordance to the predetermined winning.

The terminal controller 100 has a statement control unit 106. The statement control unit 106 directs the information presenting device 101 to present the statement information that corresponds to the playing state of the base game, in accordance to the command that is output from the terminal-side game running unit 105 at a predetermined timing. Thus the terminal controller 100 executes the second process of presenting the statement information at a predetermined timing.

The terminal-side game running unit 105 is structured so as to be capable of accepting the vocal data from the microphone 103 after the statement information has been presented. That is, the terminal controller 100 executes the third process of accepting the voice message input from the outside through the microphone 103 as vocal data.

The terminal controller 100 comprises the keyword storage unit 118, a voice control unit 119 and a privilege awarding unit 102. The keyword storage unit 118 stores the keyword that is related to the statement information presented by the information presenting device 101. The voice control unit 119 is structured so as to analyze the vocal data that is input to the terminal controller 100 and determine whether the keyword stored in the keyword storage unit 118 is included in the vocal data. The privilege awarding unit 102 awards privilege to the player in accordance to a command from the voice control unit 119.

To sum up, the terminal controller 100 carries out the fourth process to award a privilege when the keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data.

Each block of the terminal controller 100 described above may be realized with hardware or with software as needed.

(Operation of Terminal Controller 100)

The following describes an operation of the terminal controller 100 in the above structure. First, the BET unit 109 receives a BET entered through an operation by a player. Upon the player's operation, the game start unit 104 outputs the game start signal so that a unit game is started in the terminal-side game running unit 105. The payout determining unit 107 determines whether the outcome of the unit game justifies awarding the payout or not. When it is determined that the outcome of the unit game justifies awarding the payout, the payout awarding unit 108 awards the payout. In this way, the terminal controller 100 carries out the first process of running the base game independently from the other terminals and awarding the payout in accordance to the outcome of the unit game.

The terminal-side game running unit 105 outputs the statement information to the statement control unit 106 at a predetermined timing. The statement control unit 106 causes the information presenting device 101 to send the statement information that corresponds to the playing state of the base game, in accordance to the statement signal that is output from the terminal-side game running unit 105. Thus the terminal controller 100 executes the second process of presenting the statement information at a predetermined timing.

The microphone 103 outputs voice message, that is input from the outside, to the terminal-side game running unit 105 as vocal data. The terminal-side game running unit 105 outputs the vocal data that has been received by the voice control unit 119. Thus the terminal controller 100 executes the third process of accepting the voice message input from the outside through the microphone 103 as the vocal data.

The voice control unit 119 is structured so as to analyze the vocal data that is input to the terminal controller 100 and determine whether the keyword that corresponds to the statement information stored in the keyword storage unit 118 is included in the vocal data or not. The voice control unit 119 outputs a privilege awarding signal to the privilege awarding unit 102. The privilege awarding unit 102 awards the privilege to the player in accordance to the privilege awarding signal received from the voice control unit 119. Thus the terminal controller 100 executes the fourth process of awarding the privilege when the keyword related to the presented statement information is included in the information represented by the vocal data.

As will be apparent from the above description of the operation, the base game is run in the gaming machine 1 and payout is awarded in accordance to the predetermined winning. In accordance to the playing state of the base game, the statement information is presented at the predetermined timing. The voice message input from the outside through the microphone is accepted as the vocal data. The privilege is awarded when the predetermined keyword related to the presented statement information is included in the information represented by the vocal data.

As a result, the base game can be run in the gaming machine 1, wherein voice message can be input in response to the statement information presented. The privilege is awarded when the predetermined keyword is included in the voice message that has been input. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

The gaming machine 1 is not limited to the structure described above. For example, the gaming machine 1 may be structured such that the timing at which the statement information is presented by the information presenting device 101 can be set. This makes it possible to render variety to the method of presenting the statement information in the gaming machine 1 and thereby improve the entertainment characteristics.

For example, the gaming machine 1 may also have the following structure. The base game is run independently from the other gaming terminals and payouts are awarded according to predetermined winning. Effect images of a plurality of characters are displayed on the terminal display, while options are presented. One of the plurality of characters is selected according to the input through the input device. The selected character is displayed on the terminal display at a predetermined timing while the statement information is presented in accordance to the playing state of the base game. The voice message input to the microphone 103 is accepted as vocal data. When a predetermined keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, predetermined points are accumulatively stored. The privilege is awarded when the accumulatively stored points reach a predetermined value.

In the gaming machine 1 of the structure described above, the base game is run while voice message can be input in response to the statement information presented together with the character images. The privilege is awarded on condition that the predetermined keyword is included in the voice message that has been input. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

(Center Control Unit 200)

The center control unit 200 is connected to the plurality of terminal controllers 100 so as to be capable of communicating with each other. The center control unit 200 is structured so as to transmit a signal that synchronizes the unit game in the base game that is run in the terminal controller 100. The center control unit 200 has the center-side game running unit 201.

The center-side game running unit 201 has a function of synchronizing the gaming terminals 10 in execution of the unit game. That is, when the unit game is started at the gaming terminals 10 by the game start unit 104, the terminal-side game running unit 105 transmits the game start preparation signal to the center-side game running unit 201. The center-side game running unit 201 receives the game start preparation signal from the gaming terminals 10 within a predetermined period. Then the center-side game running unit 201 transmits a game start command signal to the gaming terminals 10 that have received the game start preparation signal. The gaming terminals are structured so as to start the unit game in accordance to the game start command signal sent from the center-side game running unit 201.

Since the center control unit 200 is structured so as to be capable of synchronizing the plurality of gaming terminals 10 in running the base game, the dramatizing effect can be improved further.

(Mechanical Structure: Overview)

Now an embodiment of the present invention will be described. FIG. 1 is a diagram explanatory of the schematic structure and operation of the gaming machine 1 according to this embodiment. As shown in FIG. 1, the gaming machine 1 has the plurality of gaming terminals 10 and the center control unit 200. The center control unit 200 has the shared display 210 that displays common effect image of the base game that is run in the gaming terminals 10.

The gaming terminal 10 has the terminal display 110 so that the effect images can be displayed at each of the plurality of gaming terminals 10. Mechanical structures of the gaming terminal 10 and the center control unit 200 will be described in detail later.

(Base Game)

Now the “base game” of this embodiment will be described with reference to FIG. 3 to FIG. 5. The “base game” of this embodiment is black jack, in which the player vies in the total value of the cards that have been dealt (hereinafter referred to as a score). In black jack, the total value of the dealer's cards and the total value of the player's cards are compared, and the one with higher total value that is not greater than 21 is the winner.

The individual session of the base game is started in accordance to the BET accepted by the gaming machine 1. The base game comprises one or more unit games started in accordance to the BET. The base game is not limited to black jack, and may also be baccarat, a slot game, roulette game or various book games.

FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 show examples of the screen of the terminal display 110 during the base game. As shown in FIG. 3, the terminal display 110 shows BET button images 111a, 111b, 111c, an amount of BET image area 112, a STAND button image 113, a HIT button image 114, a terminal dealer image 120 and dealer comment area 121.

The terminal display 110 shows, at the top right thereof, the terminal dealer image 120 and the dealer comment area 121. Specifically, the terminal dealer image 120 is an image of the character that represents the dealer. The dealer comment area 121 shows an image of text that prompts the player to do an input operation. This makes it possible to guide the player to proceed in the course of the base game.

The BET button images 111a, 111b, 111c are displayed at the right lower part of the terminal display 110. The touch panel 69 is provided so as to cover the terminal display 110, although it is not illustrated. The touch panel 69 has a function of, when pressed thereon, sending a signal representing the position of the panel that is pressed to the terminal controller 100. The terminal controller 100 makes reference to corresponding information related to the positional data. This makes it possible for the touch panel 69 to accept an input from the outside.

The BET button images 111a, 111b, 111c are areas in which different amounts of BET are to be input. For example, when an area where the BET button image 111a is displayed is pressed, $1 is input as the amount of BET. When an area where the BET button image 111b is displayed is pressed, $10 is input as the amount of BET. When an area where the BET button image 111c is displayed is pressed, $100 is input as the amount of BET.

The amount of BET image area 112 is displayed at the left center of the terminal display. The amount of BET image area 112 shows the amount of BET corresponding to which of the BET button images 111a, 111b, 111c was pressed.

In the case of the example shown in FIG. 3, a text reading “Please decide on the amount of BET” is displayed in the dealer comment area 121. When the BET button image 111b is pressed, the amount of BET image area 112 shows the amount of BET “10”.

As shown in FIG. 4, when the player has made BET, an initially dealt cards image 115 and a scoring image 116 are displayed at the upper-left of the terminal display 110. The initially dealt cards image 115 shows two of the cards. The scoring image 116 shows the sum of the values (scores) represented by the initially dealt cards image 115 and additionally dealt card image 117 to be described later.

The STAND button image 113 or the HIT button image 114 is displayed at the lower left part of the terminal display 110. The player presses an area representing the STAND button image 113 or the HIT button image 114, so as to determine the score from the unit game. Specifically, when the area representing the STAND button image 113 is pressed, the total value of the cards that were dealt first becomes the score. When the area representing the HIT button image 114 is pressed, the value represented by the additionally dealt card image 117 shown at the right of the initially dealt cards image 115 plus the total value of the cards that were dealt first becomes the score. The additionally dealt card image 117 shows one of the “cards”.

FIG. 5 shows an example of screen on the shared display 210 in the base game. The shared display 210 shows a common dealer image 211, a dealer's cards image 212 and a terminal's card image 213.

The common dealer image 211 is displayed at the center of the shared display 210. The common dealer image 211 is an image of a virtual dealer that administers the progress of the base game, and makes various visual effects as the base game proceeds.

The dealer's cards image 212 is displayed at the center of the shared display 210. The dealer's cards image 212 shows the cards dealt by the virtual dealer. The dealer's cards image 212 shows two cards that are dealt first and one card that is dealt (HIT) automatically when the score is 16 or less, while the score is determined (STAND) when it is 17 or more.

The terminal's card image 213 is displayed at the lower part of the shared display 210 so as to surround the dealer's cards image 212. The terminal's card image 213 is displayed in synchronization with the initially dealt cards image 115 that is displayed on the gaming terminal 10 that runs the base game and with the additionally dealt card image 117.

The score of each gaming terminal 10 and the dealer's score from the base game are determined as described above. The gaming terminal 10 wins when its score is 21 or less and is higher than the dealer's score, and a payout determined in accordance to the amount of BET is awarded. On the other hand, no payout will be awarded when the score of the gaming terminal 10 is 22 or higher, or lower than the dealer's score.

(Selection of Terminal Dealer Image 120)

The player is allowed in the base game to select one terminal dealer image 120 representing a plurality of virtual dealers displayed on the terminal display 110. Options of a plurality of dealers are presented for the player to select one therefrom. The options are not limited to the dealer, and may be another character or the like.

Specifically, the dealer selecting screen that allows selection of the dealer will be described with reference to FIG. 6. As shown in FIG. 6, the dealer selecting screen shows dealer candidate images 130 (130a, 130b, 130c) and a presented comment image 131.

The dealer candidate images 130a, 130b, 130c are displayed along horizontal line at the center of the terminal display 110. The dealer candidate images 130a, 130b, 130c are images of different dealers. The presented comment image 131 is a text image that prompts the player to make a selection. In the case of the example shown in FIG. 6, a text “Please select a dealer” is displayed. The player presses an area where one of the dealer candidate images 130a, 130b, 130c is displayed, and the dealer candidate image that is selected is displayed as the terminal dealer image 120. The pressing operation is accepted by the touch panel 69. That is, one of the plurality of dealers is determined in accordance to the input on the touch panel 69.

(Presentation of Statement Information)

Now the form of the statement information presented in accordance to the state of the base game will be described with reference to FIG. 7. While the statement information is presented as an image in this embodiment, the present invention is not limited to this form. For example, the statement information may be presented in the form of vocal message, or as a combination of vocal message and an image.

As shown in FIG. 7, the statement information is displayed as a comment image 132 in the dealer comment area 121 of the terminal display 110. The statement information is presented in the form of a message spoken by the dealer displayed on the terminal to the player. The comment image 132 is displayed in accordance to the state of the base game at a predetermined timing of the progress of the base game. Thus the comment image 132 that is presented in accordance to the state of the base game at a predetermined timing of the base game is presented together with terminal dealer image 120 that has been selected on the dealer selecting screen.

In the case of the example shown in FIG. 7, the comment image 132 display a text “You have been piling up losses, haven't you?”. In this embodiment, the text “You have been piling up losses, haven't you?” is displayed when the player has been losing three sessions in a row.

The terminal display 110 displays, in addition to the comment image 132, a vocal input allowing symbol image 133 and a vocal input request comment image 134. The vocal input allowing symbol image 133 is displayed at the lower-left of the terminal dealer image 120 indicating that vocal input can be made. The player knows that vocal input can be made by seeing the vocal input allowing symbol image 133. The vocal input request comment image 134, that is a text prompting the player to make vocal input, is displayed above the vocal input allowing symbol image 133. In the case of the example shown in FIG. 7, the vocal input request comment image 134 shows a text “Talk to me”.

(Awarding Privilege)

Voice message that is input is converted to vocal data by the microphone 103. The vocal data is analyzed by the gaming terminal 10 to determine whether a predetermined keyword is included or not. The “predetermined keyword” is the one that is related to the statement information that is presented when the voice message is input.

The terminal display 110 displays a point gauge image 135 that includes an accumulated point section 135a. The point gauge image 135 corresponds to the terminal dealer image 120 that is displayed on the terminal display 110. The accumulated point section 135a shows the accumulated point that is awarded when the predetermined keyword is included in the information represented by the vocal input. Length of a gauge of the accumulated point section 135a in the point gauge image 135 represents the amount of points.

When the predetermined keyword is included in the information represented by the vocal input, the accumulated point section 135a is displayed in such a way that the gauge has a length that corresponds to the accumulated point plus the newly awarded point as shown by the lower unit of FIG. 7.

In this embodiment, points are awarded when the predetermined keyword is included in the information represented by the vocal input, and a credit is awarded as the privilege when the accumulated value of points exceeds a predetermined value. However, the present invention is not limited to this embodiment. For example, the privilege may be given when the predetermined keyword is included in the information represented by the vocal input.

Moreover, the privilege is not limited to credit, and may be the presentation of secret information that gives the player the upper hand in playing the base game. The privilege may also be such that the secret information is presented more frequently as the value of accumulated points increases. Also the secret information is presented more accurately as the value of accumulated points increases.

(Mechanical Structure: Gaming Machine 1)

As shown in FIG. 8, the gaming machine 1 comprises the center control unit 200 and the plurality of gaming terminals 10. The gaming terminals 10 are disposed in front of the center control unit 200. As described previously, the gaming machine 1 has such a structure as the center control unit 200 has the shared display 210 that provides the effect images for the base game that is run at the gaming terminals 10. The shared display 210 is disposed so that the screen thereof is directed toward the gaming terminals 10.

(Mechanical Structure: Gaming Terminal 10)

FIG. 9 is a top view of the gaming terminal 10. As shown in FIG. 9, the gaming terminal 10 comprises the cabinet 2, an ID card slot 4, a bill insertion slot 5, a coin insertion slot 6, a dispensing port 7 (refer to FIG. 8), the terminal display 110 and the touch panel 69 (refer to FIG. 10).

The cabinet 2 has the betted amount display 3, the ID card slot 4, the bill insertion slot 5, the coin insertion slot 6, the terminal display 110 and the touch panel 69 disposed at predetermined positions on top thereof. In the cabinet 2, the dispensing port 7 is fixed at a predetermined position of a front surface. The cabinet 2 also protects the electronics installed therein.

The terminal display 110 has a transparent liquid crystal panel that displays various information. The terminal display 110 displays, for example, statement information corresponding to the state of the base game, effects images relating to the virtual dealer, etc.

The ID card slot 4 is structured so as to accept ID card that contains the player ID used to identify the player, to be inserted therein. The bill insertion slot 5 and the coin insertion slot 6 accept bank notes and coins, respectively, that are charged therein by the player for betting a desired amount of BET. The dispensing port 7 is used to reimburse those of the bank notes and coins that have been charged but not put into BET, and to award the payout in accordance to the outcome of the base game.

The touch panel 69 is provided so as to cover the terminal display 110, although it is not illustrated. The touch panel 69 is structured from transparent electrodes of two-layer structure. The touch panel 69 has a function of, when pressed thereon, sending a signal representing the position of the panel that is pressed. Thus the touch panel 69 enables entering of the BET information and the like for running the base game. The touch panel 69 also allows selection of a dealer from the terminal dealer image 120 by pressing on the dealer selecting screen.

(Electrical Structure of Gaming Machine 1)

Now electrical structure of the gaming machine 1 will be described with reference to FIG. 10 and FIG. 11.

(Electrical Structure: Gaming Terminal 10)

FIG. 10 is a block diagram illustrating an electrical structure of the gaming terminal 10. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the cabinet 2 includes therein a control unit having at least one of the functions of a terminal controller 100. The control unit includes, as shown in FIG. 10, a motherboard 40, a main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60, a gaming board 50, and various switches, sensors, or the like.

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

The memory card 53 stores therein a game program and a game system program. The memory card 53 stores therein various types of data for use in the game programs and the game system programs. Specifically, the memory card 53 stores various data table information shown in FIG. 12 and FIG. 13. For example, the memory card 53 stores information such as the timing of displaying the comment image 132 as the statement information. The data of the the memory card 53 is transferred to the RAM 43 of the motherboard 40, at the time of running a game program.

The card slot 53S is structured so as to allow the memory card 53 to be attached/detached to/from the card slot 53S. This card slot 53S is connected to the motherboard 40 through an IDE bus. Thus, the type and content of a game run by a gaming terminal 10 can be modified by detaching the memory card 53 from the card slot 53S, write a different game program and a different game system program into the memory card 53, and inserting the memory card 53 back into the card slot 53S.

For example, setting of the timing of presenting the statement information can be changed by adjusting the timing of displaying the comment image 132. That is, the control unit that functions as the terminal controller 100 is structured so as to set the timing of displaying the comment image 132 as the statement information.

Each of the game program includes a program related to the progress of the base game. Each of the game programs includes image data and audio data output during the game.

The GAL 54 has input and output ports. When the GAL 54 receives data via the input port, it outputs data corresponding to the input data from its output port.

IC socket 54S is structured so as to allow the GAL 54 to be attached/detached to/from the IC socket 54S. The IC socket 54S is connected to the motherboard 40, via a PCI bus. Thus, the GAL 54 is removed from the IC socket 54S and the program stored in the GAL 54 is rewritten, before the GAL 54 is reinstalled in the IC socket 54S thereby changing the data output from the GAL 54.

The CPU 51, the ROM 55 and the boot ROM 52 connected through an internal bus are connected to the motherboard 40 through the PCI bus. The PCI bus communicates signals 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 country identification information and an authentication program. The boot ROM 52 stores a preliminary authentication program and a program (boot code) for enabling the CPU 51 to run the preliminary authentication program.

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 (terminal controller 100), a ROM (Read Only Memory) 42, a RAM (Random Access Memory) 43, and a communication unit 44.

The main CPU 41 has a function of a terminal controller 100 controlling the entire gaming terminal 10. That is, the main CPU 41 controls various process routines to be described later.

The main CPU 41 analyzes vocal data of the voice input through the microphone 103 after the statement information is presented in accordance to the not-shown process routines. Specifically, the main CPU 41 converts the vocal data generated from the player's voice message into a character string. The character string obtained by this conversion is compared with the keyword related to the statement information provided in the keyword table in FIG. 13, to determine whether the character string includes the keyword or not. Thus it is determined whether the information represented by the voice input includes the keyword or not.

The ROM 42 stores a program such as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) run by the main CPU 41, and permanently-used data. 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 perform a process.

The communication unit 44 is also used for performing communication with the center control unit 200 over a communication line. Further, a main body PCB (Printed Circuit Board) 60 is connected to the motherboard 40, through USB (Universal Serial Bus). 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 thereof.

The main body PCB 60 is connected to various devices or units which generate signals to be input to the main CPU 41, and various devices or units whose operations are controlled by signals from the main CPU 41. Based on a signal input to the main CPU 41, the main CPU 41 runs the game program and the game system program stored in the RAM 43, to perform an arithmetic process. Then, the main CPU 41 stores the result of the arithmetic process in the RAM 43, or transmits a control signal to the various devices and units to control them based on the result.

The main body PCB 60 is connected to a hopper 66, a coin sensor 67, a graphic board 68, a touch panel 69, the speaker 29, a bill validator 22, and an ID card reader 36, /*70%*/The main body PCB 60 is connected with a lamp 30, a hopper 66, a coin sensor 67, a graphic board 68, the speaker 29, a bill validator 22, a ticket printer 35, a card reader 36, a key switch 38S, and a data displayer 37.

The hopper 66 is installed within the cabinet 2, and pays out predetermined payouts through the dispensing port 7 in accordance to the control signals that are output from the main CPU 41. The coin sensor 67 is provided inside the dispensing port 7, and outputs a signal to be input to the main CPU 41 upon sensing that a predetermined number of coins have been delivered from the dispensing port 7.

The graphic board 68 controls image displaying of the terminal display 110, based on a control signal output from the main CPU 41. Further, the graphic board 68 is provided with a VDP (Video Display Processor) for generating image data on the basis of a control signal from the main CPU 41, a video RAM for temporarily storing the image data generated by the VDP, or the like. Image data used at the time of generating the image data by the VDP is in a game program which is read out from the memory card 53 and stored in the RAM 43.

The touch panel 69 transmits a signal that represents the position where the player pressed to the main CPU 41. The main CPU makes reference to corresponding information related to the positional data that is stored in the ROM 42.

The bill validator 22 reads an image on the bill and takes only those recognized as to be genuine into the cabinet 2. When taking in a genuine bill, the bill validator 22 outputs an input signal indicating the value of the bill to the main CPU 41. The main CPU 41 stores into the RAM 43 a credit-value corresponding to the value of the bill indicated by the signal.

The ID card reader 36 reads data from the ID card that is inserted by the player through the ID card slot 4, and transmits the data to the main CPU 41.

The main body PCB 60 is connected to a reverter 21S, a coin counter 21C, and a cold cathode tube 81.

The coin counter 21C is provided within the coin insertion slot 6, and identifies whether the coin inserted into the coin insertion slot 6 by the player is genuine. A coin except the genuine coin is discharged from the dispensing port 7. In addition, the coin counter 21C outputs an input signal to the main CPU 41 upon detection of a genuine coin.

The reverter 21S is operated on the basis of the control signal output from the main CPU 41 and distributes a coin, which is recognized as a genuine coin by the coin counter 21C, to a not-illustrated cash box or hopper 66 mounted in the gaming terminal 10. In other words, when the hopper 66 is full of the coins, the genuine coin is distributed into the cash box by the reverter 21S. On the other hand, when the hopper 66 is not yet full with the coins, the genuine coin is distributed into the hopper 66. The cold cathode tube 81 functions as a backlight mounted to rear sides of the terminal display 110, and turns on according to a control signal from the main CPU 41.

(Electrical Structure of Center Control Unit 200)

FIG. 11 is a block diagram showing the electrical structure of the center control unit 200. Disposed in the center control unit 200 has a control unit. As shown in FIG. 11, the control unit comprises a mother board 240, a gaming board 260, a graphic board 268, a light emission control circuit 304, a bonus payout (display unit indicator) control circuit 308, an actuator and other components.

The gaming board 260 has the same structure as the gaming board 50. The mother board 240 has the same structure as the motherboard 40. The communication unit 244 is provided for communicating with the terminal controller 100 through a communication line.

The graphic board 268 has the same structure as that of the graphic board 68, except in that the graphic board 268 controls image displaying of the shared display 210 based on a control signal from the main CPU 241.

(Statement Information Table)

Now the statement information table shown in FIG. 12 will be described. The statement information table has a statement information ID column, a timing column, a statement condition column and a statement content column.

The statement information ID column includes statement information ID that is an identification number which uniquely identifies the corresponding statement information data stored in the statement information table. The timing column includes data representing the timing of presenting the statement information data. The statement condition column includes the condition for presenting the statement information. The statement content column includes text data of the comment image 132 that is displayed as the statement information.

For example, when the player has sustained three or more losses in a row at the time of awarding the payout of the base game, reference is made to the content “You have been piling up losses, haven't you?” of the statement information data having statement information ID of 001, and the comment image 132 is displayed according to the content.

The data of the statement information table is stored in the memory card 53, and reference is made to the data that has been transferred from the memory card 53 and stored in the RAM 43. This makes it possible to easily set the timing of presenting the statement information by modifying the timing data in the statement information table stored in the memory card 53.

The method of setting the timing of presenting the statement information is not limited to that described above. For example, the timing of presenting the statement information may also be set from the outside via a network (communication line), or such a structure may be employed as the settings stored in the center control unit 200 are reflected to all of the gaming terminals 10.

(Keyword Table)

Now the keyword table shown in FIG. 13 will be described. The keyword table has a statement information ID column, a keyword column and an awarded point column.

The statement information ID column includes the statement information ID similar to that of the statement information table. The keyword column includes the keyword for the statement information ID. It is determined whether point should be awarded or not, based on this keyword. The awarded point column contains the number of points to be awarded.

For example, when statement information of which statement information ID is “001” is shown as the comment image 132, it is checked to see whether an utterance “My luck is out” is included in the voice message input subsequently. When the utterance “My luck is out” is included, 5 points are awarded.

It is allowable that the statement information ID column of the keyword table contains the keyword for the same statement information ID. That is, a plurality of keywords may be set for the same statement information. Points are stored in the RAM 43 of the gaming terminal 10.

[Operation of Gaming Machine 1: Boot Process]

The following describes a boot process which takes place in the gaming machine 1. Upon powering on the gaming machine 1, the mother board 240 and gaming board 260 in the center control unit 200, and the motherboard 40 and the gaming board 50 in the terminal controller 100 execute the boot process routine illustrated in FIG. 14. The memory cards 53 and 263 are assumed to be inserted into the card slots 53S and 263S of the gaming boards 50 and 260, respectively. Further, the GALs 54 and 264 are assumed to be attached to the IC sockets 54S and 264S, respectively.

First, turning on the power switch of (powering on) the power units 45 and 245 boots the motherboards 40 and 240 and the gaming boards 50 and 260. Booting the motherboards 40 and 240 and the gaming boards 50 and 260 starts independent processes proceed in parallel. That is, in the gaming boards 50 and 260, the CPUs 51 and 261 read out preliminary authentication programs stored in the boot ROMs 52 and 262, respectively. Then, preliminary authentication is performed according to the read out programs so as to confirm and authenticate that no modification is made to authentication programs, before reading them in the motherboards 40 and 240, respectively (S1). Meanwhile, the main CPUs 41 and 241 of the motherboards 40 and 240 run BIOS stored in the ROMs 42 and 242 to load into the RAMs 43 and 243 compressed data built in the BIOS, respectively (S2). Then, the main CPUs 41 and 241 run a procedure of the BIOS according to the data loaded into the RAMs 43 and 243 so as to diagnose and initialize various peripheral devices (S3).

The main CPUs 41 and 241, which are respectively connected to the ROMs 55 and 265 of the gaming boards 50 and 260 via PCI buses, read out authentication programs stored in the ROMs 55 and 265 and stores them in the RAMs 43 and 243 (S4). During this step, the main CPUs 41 and 241 each derives a checksum through ADDSUM method (a standard check function) which is adopted in a standard BIOS, and store the authentication programs into RAMs 43 and 243 while confirming if the operation of storing is carried out without an error.

Next, the main CPUs 41 and 241 each checks what connects to the IDE bus. Then, the main CPUs 41 and 241 access, via the IDE buses, to the memory cards 53 and 263 inserted into the card slots 53S and 263S, and read out game programs and game system programs from the memory cards 53 and 263, respectively. In this case, the main CPUs 41 and 241 each reads out four bytes of data constituting the game program and the game system program at one time. Next, the main CPUs 41 and 241 authenticate the game program and the game system program read out to confirm and prove that these programs are not modified (S5) in accordance with authentication programs stored in the RAMs 43 and 243.

When the authentication properly ends, the main CPUs 41 and 241 write and store the authenticated game programs and game system programs in RAMs 43 and 243 (S6).

Next, the main CPUs 41 and 241 access, via the PCI buses, to the GALs 54 and 264 attached to the IC sockets 54S and 264S, and read out payout rate setting data from the GALs 54 and 264, respectively. The payout rate setting data read out is then written and stored in the RAMs 43 and 243 (S7).

Next, the main CPUs 41 and 241 read out, via the PCI buses, country identification information stored in the ROMs 55 and 265 of the gaming boards 50 and 260, respectively. The country identification information read out is then stored in the RAMs 43 and 243 (S8).

After executing the processes described above, the main CPUs 41 and 241 each performs an initial process of FIG. 15.

[Operation of Gaming Machine 1: Initial Process]

The following describes an initial process which takes place in the gaming machine 1. After the execution of the boot process shown in FIG. 14, the center control unit 200 reads out from the RAM 243 and executes a center side initial setting routine shown in FIG. 15. Meanwhile, after the execution of the boot process shown in FIG. 14, the gaming terminal 10 reads out from the RAM 43 a terminal side initial setting routine illustrated in FIG. 15 and executes the routine. The center side and terminal side initial setting routines are executed in parallel.

First, the main CPU 41 of the gaming terminal 10 checks operations of a work memory such as RAM 43, operations of various sensors and operations of various drive mechanism (A1). The main CPU 41 then determines whether the check results are all normal or not (A2). If the main CPU 41 determines that the check results contain an error (A2: NO), an error signal is supplied to the center control unit 200 (A3), and further, the error is notified in the form of outputting beep sound from a speaker 29 (A4), and then the routine is ended.

On the other hand, when it has been determined that the check results are all normal (A2: YES), the main CPU 41 outputs the initial setup signal to the center control unit 200 (A5). Thereafter the process waits for the supply of an initial setting signal from the center control unit 200 (A6, A7: NO)

Then the main CPU 241 of the center control unit 200 receives a signal from each terminal (B1). Then, the main CPU 241 determines whether a signal received is an error signal (B2). If the main CPU 241 determines that the signal is an error signal (B2: YES), the main CPU 241 outputs the error signal to a server of a not-illustrated host computer or the like (B9) to report the error (B10), and ends the routine.

On the other hand in B2, if the main CPU 241 determines that the signal is not an error signal (B2:NO), the main CPU 241 determines whether a predetermined time (check time) has elapsed from the time of powering on (B3). If the main CPU 241 determines that the check time has elapsed (B3: YES), B9 is executed. On the other hand, if the main CPU 241 determines that the check time has not yet elapsed (B3:NO), it is determined whether an initial setting signal is received from all the gaming terminals 10 (B4). If the main CPU 241 determines that an initial setting signal from all the gaming terminals 10 is not received (B4: NO), the process returns to B1. On the other hand, if the main CPU 241 determines that initial setting signals from all the gaming terminals 10 are received (B4: YES), the main CPU 241 checks operations of work memory such as the RAM 243 (B5). Then, the main CPU 241 determines whether all the check results are normal (B6). If the main CPU 241 determines the check results contain an error (B6: NO), the main CPU 241 executes B9.

On the other hand, after the checking operations through the step B6, if all the check results are normal (B6: YES), the main CPU 241 outputs an initial setting signal to all the gaming terminals 10 (B7), and causes the shared display 210 to display a demo-screen (B8). Then, the main CPU 241 ends the routine.

In A7, the main CPU 41 of the gaming terminals 10 determines that an initial setting signal is received from the center control unit 200 (A7: YES), and causes the terminal display 110 to display a demo-screen (A7). The main CPU 41 then ends the routine.

[Process at Center]

Now procedure at the center executed by the main CPU 241 of the center control unit 200 will be described with reference to FIG. 16.

First, the dealer is determined (C1). Specifically, the common dealer image 211 displayed on the shared display 210 is determined. Determination of the dealer may be either executed for each unit game, for example, for each of a predetermined number of unit game, or executed at predetermined intervals.

Then it is determined whether the BET signal is received or not (C2). The BET signal is output from each of the gaming terminals 10. When the BET button image 111a, 111b or 111c is pressed at the gaming terminal 10, the BET signal that carries the information on the amount of BET is sent to the center control unit 200. When the BET signal is not received (C2: YES), the process of step C2 is repeated. The BET signal is received in a predetermined period of time, although not shown in the drawing. That is, gaming terminal 10 that does not send the BET signal within predetermined period of time is not allowed to participate in the game.

When the BET signal is received (C2: YES), a card signal is sent (C3). Specifically, the card signal is sent only to the gaming terminal 10 that has sent the BET signal in step C2. The card signal contains the information on two cards that have been randomly selected and dealt at the start of the unit game.

Then it is determined whether the card request signal has been received (C4). When it is determined that the card request signal is output (C4: YES), an additional card signal is sent to the gaming terminal 10 that has transmit the card request signal (C5). The additional card signal contains the information on one card that has been randomly selected.

In this embodiment, random selection from the 52 kinds of card is carried out by generating a random number by means of a program (not shown) that is executed by the main CPU 241. The method of selecting the card is not limited to this. For example, the gaming machine 1 may have such a structure that has a random number generator or other hardware.

The outcome showing process is carried out (C6). Specifically, the outcome of the unit game for each of the gaming terminals 10 is displayed on the shared display 210, and this routine ends.

[Process at Gaming Terminal]

Now procedure at the gaming terminal executed by the main CPU 41 of the gaming terminal 10 will be described with reference to FIG. 17.

First, dealer selecting process is executed (D1). In the dealer selecting process, which will be described in detail later with reference to FIG. 18, a terminal dealer image 120 is determined at the gaming terminal 10.

Then it is determined whether BET has been made or not (D2). Specifically, it is checked to see whether any of the BET button images 111a, 111b, 111c has been pressed by the player or not. When BET has not been made (D2: NO), the process of step D2 is repeated. When BET has been made (D2: YES), the BET signal that contains the information on the amount of BET is transmitted to the center control unit 200 (D3).

The number of credits stored in the RAM 43 is decreased by the amount of BET (D4). Then it is determined whether the card signal has been received or not (D5). If no gaming terminal determine signal has been received (D5: NO), the process of the step D5 is repeated. When it is determined that the card signal has been received (D5: YES), card displaying process is carried out (D6). Specifically, as shown in FIG. 4, the initially dealt cards image 115 is displayed in accordance to the card signal, and sum of the values of the two cards is displayed as the point image 116.

Then it is checked to see whether the total value of the cards is not greater than 16 and HIT is declared or not (D7). Specifically, when the total value of the two cards displayed on the gaming terminal is not greater than 16, it is checked to see whether the player has pressed the area of HIT button image 114 or not. When the total value of the cards is not greater than 16 and HIT is declared (D7: YES), a card request signal is output to the center control unit 200 (D8), and it is determined whether the additional card signal has been received or not (D9). When it is determined that the additional card signal is not received (D9: NO), the process of step D9 is repeated. When it is determined that the additional card signal is received (D9: YES), additional card displaying process is carried out (D10). Specifically, as shown in FIG. 4, additionally dealt card image 117 is displayed in accordance to the additional card signal.

When the total value of the cards is not greater than 16 and HIT is not declared (D7: NO), or the process of step D10 has been completed, it is determined whether the outcome signal has been received or not (D11). When it is determined that the outcome signal is received, the outcome is displayed on the terminal display 110 (D12), and it is checked to see whether there is a payout or not (D13). When there is not a payout (D13: NO), the control returns to step D1 and this routine is repeated. When there is a payout (D13: YES), the payout is determined and awarded (D14) and the control returns to step D1 to repeat this routine.

[Dealer Selection Process]

Dealer selection process that is executed by the main CPU 41 of the gaming terminal 10 will now be described with reference to FIG. 18. This routine is recalled from the gaming terminal process shown in FIG. 17 and is returned to the gaming terminal process when completed.

First, it is checked to see whether the ID card is inserted or not (E1). Specifically, it is checked to see whether the ID card is inserted in the ID card reader 36 of the ID card slot 4 or not. When the ID card is not inserted (E1: NO), this routine is terminated. When the ID card is inserted (E1: YES), it is checked to see whether the player ID contained in the ID card is identical to the player ID stored in the RAM 43 or not (E2). When there is no player ID stored in the RAM 43, it is determined that the player ID is not identical. The player ID contained in the inserted ID card is stored in the RAM 43 in step E3 to be described later.

When the player ID is identical (E2: YES), this routine is terminated. When the player ID is not identical (E2: NO), the player ID stored in the RAM 43 is deleted and the player ID contained in the ID card that is inserted is stored in the RAM 43 (E3).

That is, in the case of this embodiment, the dealer selecting screen is displayed every time the player changes. When a predetermined period of time has elapsed after the end of the unit game, or when a clearance button (not shown) is pressed to get the credit paid out, the player ID stored in the RAM and the accumulated points are deleted at the same time. At this time, notification about deletion of the points may be made through the speaker 29 or other means.

Then the dealer selecting screen shown in FIG. 6 is displayed (E1). IT is determined whether any of the dealer candidate images 130a, 130b, 130c has been pressed or not (E5). In the dealer selecting process, which will be described in detail later with reference to FIG. 18, the terminal dealer image 120 is determined at the gaming terminal 10. When any of the BET button images 111 has not been pressed (E5: NO), the process of step E5 is repeated.

On the other hand, when any of the display areas of the BET button images 111 has been pressed (E5), it is determined which of the dealers has been selected in accordance to the positional information from the touch panel (E6), and the selected dealer is displayed at the terminal dealer image 120 (E7). Then the accumulated points stored in the RAM 43 is reset (E8), and this routine ends.

[Statement Information Presenting Process]

Now the statement information presenting process that is executed by the main CPU 41 of the gaming terminal 10 will be described with reference to FIG. 19. This routine is recalled from a plurality of predetermined points in the game terminating process shown in FIG. 17 and is, when completed, returned to the game terminating process, although not shown in the drawing.

First, it is determined to see whether the statement condition is satisfied (F1). Specifically, the statement condition is checked for all data of which timing of storing in the timing column of the statement information table corresponds to the timing of recalling the statement information process. Further, when there is data of which statement condition that has been checked is applicable to the current state of the base game, it is determined that the statement condition is satisfied. When the statement condition is not met (F1: NO), this routine ends.

On the other hand, when the statement condition is met (F1: YES), notification process is carried out (E2). Specifically, content of the data of which statement condition is met is displayed as comment image 132, as shown in FIG. 7. At this time, the vocal input allowing symbol image 133 and the vocal input request comment image 134 are displayed to prompt the player to enter voice message. It is determined whether a voice message has been input within a predetermined period of time (F3). When voice message has not been input within the predetermined period of time (F3: NO), this routine ends.

When a voice message has been input within the predetermined period of time (F3: YES), the voice message that has been input is analyzed (F4). It is determined whether the voice message contains the keyword (F5). Specifically, the keyword table is checked to compare the keyword that corresponds to the statement information ID of the statement information data subjected to the notification process in step F2 with the character string generated from the voice data. When the character string includes the keyword, it is determined that the keyword is included. When the keyword is not included (F5: NO), this routine ends.

When the keyword is included (F5: YES), point is accumulatively stored (F6). Specifically, by checking the keyword table, point corresponding to the keyword that is determined to be included in step F5 is accumulatively stored in the RAM 43. When point data is not stored in the RAM 43, the point is stored anew.

Then the screen display of the terminal display 110 is updated (F7). Specifically, the accumulated point section 135a of the point gauge image 135 is updated in accordance to the amount of points stored in the RAM 43. Then it is determined whether the amount of points has reached a predetermined level (F8). When the amount of points has not reached a predetermined level (F8: NO), this routine ends. When the amount of points has reached the predetermined level (F8: YES), a predetermined credit is awarded (F9) and this routine ends.

As described above, the base game is run in the gaming machine 1 and the payout is awarded in accordance to the predetermined winning. The comment image 132 is displayed as the statement information that corresponds to the state of the base game at the predetermined timing. The voice message input from the outside through the microphone 103 is accepted as the vocal data. The privilege is awarded when the keyword related to the presented statement information is included in the information represented by the vocal data.

In the process described above, the gaming machine 1 runs the base game and, at the same time, allows a voice message to be input in response to the statement information. The privilege is awarded when the keyword related to the presented statement information is included in the information represented by the vocal data. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

The gaming machine 1 is structured such that the timing at which the statement information is presented can be set, which makes it possible to render flexibility to the method of presenting the statement information in the gaming machine 1 and improve the entertainment characteristics.

Also in the gaming machine 1, the base game is run independently from the other gaming terminals 10 and payouts are awarded according to the predetermined winning. The statement information that corresponds to the state of the base game is displayed at the predetermined timing. The voice message input from the outside through the microphone 103 is accepted as the vocal data. The privilege is awarded when the keyword related to the presented statement information is included in the information represented by the vocal data.

In the process described above, the gaming machine 1 runs the base game and, at the same time, allows a voice message to be input in response to the statement information. The privilege is awarded when the keyword related to the presented statement information is included in the information represented by the vocal data. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

In the gaming machine 1, the base game is run independently from the other gaming terminals 10 and payouts are awarded according to the predetermined winning. The effect images of the plurality of characters are displayed on the terminal display and the options are presented. One of the plurality of dealers is selected according to the input to the input device. The selected dealer is displayed as the terminal dealer image 120 on the terminal display 110 and the statement information corresponding to the state of the base game is presented. The voice message input from the outside through the microphone 103 is received as vocal data. When a keyword related to the statement information that has been presented is included in the information represented by the vocal data, predetermined points are accumulatively stored. When the accumulated points reach a predetermined value, a privilege is awarded.

As a result, the gaming machine 1 runs the base game and, at the same time, allows the voice message to be input in response to the statement information that is presented together with the terminal dealer image 120. The privilege is awarded when the predetermined keyword is included in the voice message. As a result, new entertainment characteristics are provided.

The detailed description of the present invention provided hereinabove mainly focused on characteristics thereof for the purpose of easier understanding; however, the scope of the present invention shall be construed as broadly as possible, encompassing various forms of other possible embodiments, and therefore the present invention shall not be limited to the above description. Further, the terms and phraseology used in the present specification are adopted solely to provide specific illustration of the present invention, and in no case should the scope of the present invention be limited by such terms and phraseology. Further, it will be obvious for those skilled in the art that the other structures, systems, methods or the like are possible, within the spirit of the invention described in the present specification. The description of claims therefore shall encompass structures equivalent to the present invention, unless otherwise such structures are regarded as to depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Further, the abstract is provided to allow, through a simple investigation, quick analysis of the technical features and essences of the present invention by an intellectual property office, a general public institution, or one skilled in the art who is not fully familiarized with patent and legal or professional terminology. It is therefore not an intention of the abstract to limit the scope of the present invention which shall be construed on the basis of the description of the claims. To fully understand the object and effects of the present invention, it is strongly encouraged to sufficiently refer to disclosures of documents already made available.

The detailed description of the present invention provided hereinabove includes a process executed on a computer or computer network. The above descriptions and expressions are provided to allow the one skilled in the art to most efficiently understand the present invention. A process performed in or by respective steps yielding one result or blocks with a predetermined processing function described in the present specification shall be understood as a process with no self-contradiction. Further, the electrical or magnetic signal is transmitted/received and written in the respective steps or blocks. It should be noted that such a signal is expressed in the form of bit, value, symbol, text, terms, number, or the like solely for the sake of convenience. Although the present specification occasionally personifies the processes performed in the steps or blocks, these processes are essentially executed by various devices. Further, the other structures necessary for the steps or blocks are obvious from the above descriptions.